December 11, 2020
Our pets are generally up for anything, whether you decide to have a midnight feast, suddenly want to go for a walk at 5 am or you just want to laze around. They’re so good at complementing our needs and activities, that it is easy to forget that their idea of a good time may be different from ours.
Loud noises, music and crowded spaces make pets quite nervous. So, many of the celebrations that we plan can really stress out our pets and can impact a dog's health. While Diwali is one time of the year that dogs and cats are visibly nervous and scared, there are actually many occasions through the year that pets do not enjoy. So instead of forcing them to take part, the best thing to do is give them a quiet area where they can feel safe.
Holi is a lovely time to celebrate colour but it is a human festival and our pets don’t understand the significance. Here are reasons for animals wanting to steer clear of conventional Holi celebrations:
- Fur loss and irritation - Holi colours are made with chemicals that will damage your pet’s fur, make their skin very itchy and end up with a visit to the vet. While humans can wash off these colours easily, even the herbal ones can be difficult to get off a pet’s coat.
- Eye damage - You already know that anything going into your pet’s eyes is dangerous. For those prone to dog eye problems like pugs, you have to be doubly careful because being exposed to these powders can cause eye irritation
- Step up for street animals: Among other things, Holi celebrates the victory of good over evil. So, tormenting helpless dogs, cats and cows should really not be on the agenda. If you see a street animal being bullied, please step up and give them a safe haven in your compound for the day. These voiceless animals generally don’t always have the option of a bath or a visit to a vet so any damage or skin problems with dogs will have a lasting impact on their lives.
- Defensive behavior: Throwing color on pets will only make them defensive and scared because they probably won’t understand what’s gotten into you. Pets are also quite scared of loud noises (remember that their sense of hearing is much better than ours) and crowds. When they’re scared, they can panic and do everything possible to get far away. This is why many pets go missing and strays get displaced during festivals. Keep your pet safe indoors and provide community dogs and cats a safe haven in your apartment complex or compound.
- Respiratory distress: These powders enter an animal’s nasal tract very quickly which can give them respiratory issues and lung infections. For dogs and cats with flat faces (brachycephalic), respiration is already difficult and this will only make matters worse. So, keep your pug, boxers, bulldogs etc. far from Holi colors.
- Poison: Holi powders are made of a lot of chemicals including lead and when pets lick themselves to clean off, they ingest these chemicals. This is a slow poison for animals depending on the quantity ingested. Incidentally, lead poisoning is extremely dangerous for humans as well. If your pet has been around Holi powders, clean them off as soon as you can and watch for any changes in behavior, excessive drooling or signs of poisoning. Take them to a vet immediately.
Celebrating a Pet-friendly HoliThere’s plenty of ways to celebrate Holi without chemical filled powders. Holi celebrations are all about coming together as a family and there are plenty of ways to include your pet in the festivities. You just have to look for activities that can make it a safe holi for dogs. Maybe a long drive or a picnic? Enjoying a family day in with a delicious feast for all to enjoy!