Vets give tips on pet safety as fireworks sales on the up for New Year’s

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Randy Goonraj with a trolley full of fireworks at FireOne Fireworks warehouse in Macoya, on Friday. – SUREASH CHOLAI

With the new year approaching and the tradition of setting off fireworks upon us, more people are coming out to buy fireworks as said by managing director of FireOne Andre Abraham.

“The number of customers that came through the store was the highest we’ve seen in terms of our levels of busyness and there’s definitely an increase in customers and sales,” he said.

Abraham said he knew of the concerns of pet owners and, seeing that, FireOne launched a series of pet-friendly fireworks and even silent ones for sale.

It is distinguished by a paw print on the packaging.

He said it was also “very popular” and people are very appreciative of this product.

He added, “On our web page, we also (publish) pet safety guidelines. And I think one of the most important things to note in our country, is that we need to have consideration and respect and think about our fellow neighbours and not use fireworks unannounced in an indiscriminate fashion.”

He added that owning and taking care of pets is also a personal responsibility, so people should always bear in mind that they need to protect their pets.

Along with Abraham, chairman of the TT Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (TTSPCA) Sita Kuruvilla, veterinarian Dr Michael Alexander and a vet assistant from Broad Street Veterinary Clinic offered the best ways to ensure the safety of pets.

Kuruvilla said, “We advise people to not chain their dogs or tie them, but to secure them in an area where if possible where they can reduce the amount of noise coming in.”

She urged people to bring their pets inside as it would be better, but if not, they should ensure that there’s no way for them to escape and injure themselves.

Kuruvilla added, “If people know that their animals are very susceptible we do recommend that they check with their vet clinic to see whether the use of sedatives might help.”

Alexander owner of Arouca Veterinary Clinic said between 30 and 35 people for the week have already visited him for sedatives. He said he usually gives Promazine, but told pet owners that current stock “isn’t as good as the previous one.”

“We are still using Promazine, one tablet for every 20 pounds of body weight, but people are complaining that it isn’t working as good as before.”

Alexander hopes that people would take their pets inside, but if not and they have to be tied, animals should be secured in safe places.

Broad Street Veterinary Clinic vet assistant Sue said at least ten people had inquired about sedatives in the last few days. She suggested Gravol as an alternative.

She added, “Rather than leaving them alone in an unprotected area, we would rather that people stay with them and try to keep them in a confined area where they can monitor them.

“Make it nice and cosy, we usually recommend putting them in a room where you can put music on and in a dark atmosphere.”

She said a lot of the deadly accidents happen when the pets are not home and are not being monitored.

Kuruvilla said, “We also advise people to make sure that their animals have ID tags on them or some form of identification in case they go missing.”

She said, even if pets don’t have an ID tag, owners can write a phone number on the pet’s collar. She said if that was not done, in the event that a pet does go missing, owners should make social media posts that include as much information as possible on their pet. They should also check animal shelters.

Kuruvilla added, “We have also been lobbying with the government consistently about introducing legislation that takes fireworks out of the hands of the public. We’re very unhappy with the bill that is currently being circulated by Legal Affairs and we did attend the public consultations and sent in our written position on it. We feel that when fireworks are in the hands of the public, use cannot be controlled.”

The current bill in circulation was drafted by former attorney general Faris Al-Rawi and says that certain authorities must be notified of the intended use of the fireworks, but allows use on public holidays and Old Year’s night, yet restricts its use by individuals as well as in specified areas. Penalties can be given after an offence.

Abraham added, “We try to get our customers to use fireworks in specific times which is Old Year’s Day into New Year’s morning. This is between the hours of 11 pm to around 12.30 am. In that way, the people who have pets will be able to prepare.”

Kuruvilla said, “We are seeking for a change in the law that only allows for fireworks if we must have events with all the necessary notifications about the event and so on.”

She said she has first-hand experience in dealing with noisy fireworks displays, since the TTSPCA animal shelter is near the Jean Pierre Complex – well-known for the many events it hosts.

Kuruvilla said during such events, the shelter chooses the dogs that are most susceptible to harm and places them in the recovery kennels – normally used after an animal has been operated on.

“Other than that, we have a few kennels which we call ‘No Climb’ which are secured right up to the top of the ceiling since we do get some dogs that are climbers.”

She added that she sees a lot of people abandoning their pets around this time of year, she urged them to find a shelter instead.