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The festive season and your pets

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Festive season and your petsEach Diwali we get some form of emergency or the other. Normally it is that the pets are totally uneasy and distressed� The festival season has started and slowly the summer has begun to disappear. While in general this is a time for celebrations, spare a thought
for your pets. I decided to write this article, for each year in this season I get a large number of emergencies that are totally avoidable. I remember two years ago a black Labrador, Boski, had just delivered eight pups. On the night of Diwali, the owner called me frantically that one of the pups was howling in pain. On subsequent questioning it was found out that the dam had accidentally knocked the feeding bowl on the pups head on hearing a loud cracker burst near her. The pup was brought to the clinic where we felt a lump on her forehead. We slowly aspirated the area and removed about ten milliliters of blood. It was after this that the pup felt some relief. The dam and the pups were then transported to the basement where she slept in peace.Each Diwali we get some form of emergency or the other. Normally it is that the pets are totally uneasy and distressed. On other occasions it is that there are burn injuries. This year a very timid Labrador bit the grandchild in the house when the neighborhood sounds were reaching a deafening crescendo. So what exactly is the cause for all this and is there a solution? Let’s begin by trying to understand the physiology of the dog.
The canine nose can smell about a thousand times better than the human nose and it is said that they can smell a single drop of blood in a full bucket of water. They are better at determining minute smells in comparison to the humans. If we then find the odour of the crackers to be pungent, how do we expect the dog to cope up? No wonder this festival is one of the most stressful times in the dog’s life.
But it is not only the sense of smell that causes problems galore for your dog. The canine ear can hear four times as far as the human ear. Both ears can hear independently of each other and each bomb appears to be four times as loud as it sounds to us. It is because of this that pets often tend to run away in this part of the season. Once they get lost the deafening sounds and smells force them to lose judgment and they progressively move further away from the original spot. In case one loses his pet on Diwali the most sensible approach would be to inform all the vets around because invariably some kind soul brings the traumatized pet to the clinic the next day. Some clients have got good results by putting small banners in the local markets with their dog’s photo and contact numbers.
I have often seen and heard of children tie crackers on the tails of pups in the street and set them on fire. There seems to be some perverse pleasure in seeing these scared animals run around in fear as the crackers burst. If you do come across such incidents please try and put an end to it for such
animals invariably end up becoming biters and trouble for society in the future. Burns both accidental and intentional are common and the best first aid is to put some cold water on the burnt area. It is better to muzzle the dog as even the gentlest dog in severe pain can bite. Then contact your vet
and get the needed first aid done. 

Speaking of the vet. Always keep his emergency number handy. Ask prior to the festival whether he is willing to see patients in case of a genuine emergency or whether he has a junior to call upon. If there is an emergency carry out the required first aid and then inform the vet that you are about
to reach his practice. Stay calm and let the doctor work after which you can clear all your doubts. Bombarding him with queries as he works just distracts him. But to all readers especially those with children, saying ‘no to fire crackers’ is the best Diwali gift for the pets. Even if they want to burn crackers try and avoid the bombs and play with sparklers instead. In case you anticipate trouble ask your vet to prescribe tranquilizers a day earlier, as these medicines are only available on presenting a prescription.

The other aspect one needs to touch about is sweets. Each year I get calls that the pet stole into the temple within the house and ate up boxes of sweets! Just as I write I got a call from an exasperated client whose Labrador drank a liter of ghee! Sounds funny to us but the pet can get serious stomach upsets. So feed your pet limited sweets and lock up the rest. Especially chocolates. Few people know that chocolates are poisonous to dogs. Dogs lack the enzyme to digest it and ingesting larges amounts can cause severe toxicity.

So if all pet owners follow these few tips during the festive season it can be a sane festival for your pets as well. Do spare a thought for your pet amidst your festivities.

(Dr. Gautam Unny is a practicing Veterinarian in Anand Vihar, Delhi and can be contacted at 011-2215 3622 or 98100- 53451. He is the author of the bestseller ‘A Manual on Dog Care’ by Rupa & Co. available at all leading stores. To order the book contact Rupa & Co at 011-23278586 & 011- 2327

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Responses to The festive season and your pets

  1. 1 chetan

    Phool ki shuruwat kali se hoti hai,

    Zindgi ki shuruwat jaan se hoti hai,

    Pyar ki shuruwat dosti se …

    aur Dosti ki shuruwat apse hoti hai !!!

    Diwali wishes!

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