Animals might have their own gods. While some animals reside with us, they believe in us, not in our beliefs. So while dogs, cats and birds, be it pets or strays, have adjusted to our ways of life; the traffic, the construction works, the cooking, the television, the family tiffs...they tend to get disturbed when the entire surrounding change for a day or two. Deepavali is one such time which gives a nightmare to these pets and strays.
And not because they are jealous of our beliefs, but because their physical built-up is such that they cannot tolerate high decibels. Worldwide research shows that while humans hear up to 20 kHz, dogs hear up to 45 kHz (125 per cent higher than humans), and cats hear up to 64 kHz (220 per cent higher than humans).
Imagine their plight when entire Bangalore erupts on Deepavali.
And because strays cannot go to a veterinary doctor, many vets are familiar with the condition of the dogs, because in the city, dogs are the most favoured as pets, not cats or birds.
According to Mohan PL, veterinary doctor from Mathikere, dogs start shivering, get lethargic, and show symptoms of fever. "Fear always converts into fever. Some dogs have loose motions. So we have the option of a basic training. We also have injections given to control their anxiety, but it is not advisable. The best way to keep the dogs away from sound is to plug cotton into their ears. Dogs prefer to be by the owners during such times," he says. He also states that, Pomeranian breed and puppies always face problems during Deepavali. "In some cases, dogs die of heart attack. Tablets are commercially available, but it is better that they are trained," he says.
Dr MT Thimmaiah, another vet states that pets usually are in a state of shock during Deepavali. “The first sign in dogs is that they stop eating and prefer to stay indoors. Birds get restless during the festival especially if it is breeding time. Some birds try to migrate during this time,” he says.
He reveals that, since the last one week, he has been visited by many pet owners. “They can be tranquillised for a few days or given sleeping tablets but later these dogs will have major side effects. We advise precaution than medication,” he states.
Many vets are of the opinion that thunder and fireworks are common cause of noise phobia among dogs. Keshav Veerapally, another vet from RT Nagar, states that as much as 20 per cent of dogs belonging to varied breeds as well as age group suffer from noise phobia. They tend to behave violently, unlike cats, who are more sensitive to noise, but they just run away and hide. Noise phobia affects dogs so much that they go in to a panic mode,” he says.
According to him, music therapy could be a solution, but currently, we are not yet there. “It is common practice in the west where dog owners seek music therapy. It can help soothe a distressed dog. Of course, we have dog saloons, but exclusive music therapy of the dogs might take a while,” he says.