As pet parents, despite the incredible excitement it holds for us, Holi is not at all intended for our pets. Holi is a festival of colours, music, sweets, and, all too often, the kind of unbridled revelry we’re all too accustomed to. This is especially difficult for our pets, who aren’t used to seeing so many people, let alone so much activity or loud noises, let alone the most common dangers – the colours and the sweets.
Dr. Vinod Sharma, Head of Veterinary Services at DCC Animal Hospital, shares a few things to keep in mind to ensure that your beloved animal companion does not become a victim of your festivities and that both you and your pet have a fantastic Holi this year.
Keep your pets comfortable, safe, and secure
As irritated as they may be, it is best to keep your pets at home on this day, foregoing walks or outdoor time in favour of ensuring they have a safe, quiet corner that is comfortable and familiar to them. All of the loud noises and people outside can be very overwhelming for them, so they should always have at least one familiar member of their family keeping them company.
You can even give them extra treats, or their favourite toy or blanket, to make them feel more at ease, and check in on them from time to time. However, if you’ve already been playing with colours, make sure not to contaminate the area or touch your pets.
Keep them away from colours
While we all know the incomparable joy of playing with colours, whether dry gulal or water-based, we must be extremely cautious to ensure that our pet never comes into contact with them. The chemicals and components in the colours can be extremely toxic to their skin and fur, and if any of the coloured water gets into their eyes or ears, it can result in blindness or severe infections that take a long time to heal.
Not only that, but licking any surfaces stained by these colours could result in a slew of allergies, vomiting, diarrhoea, rashes, and more! While it is critical to keep your pets safe and away from areas where you are playing or where the colours are accessible, it is always preferable to use organic, pet-friendly colours such as turmeric, neem, henna, or beetroot.
Pets and foods
Holi is also a time to indulge in delectable sweets, thandai, lassi, and a variety of pakodes and snacks. However, while we may enjoy them in abundance, we cannot feed any of them to our pets. From the sugar content to the spices, oils, and a variety of other ingredients, these holiday treats, like most human foods, are not suitable for our pets. So, if you want to make sure your pets don’t miss out on the festivities, make or purchase special treats for them!
Observe their behaviour
Finally, paying attention to your pets’ behaviour is just as important as knowing the best practises and things to avoid when it comes to them. Our lives are naturally quite dynamic and vast, but for the majority of our pets, their entire life consists, at best, of us, their family, their home, and the neighbourhood. So, keep in mind that, in the midst of all the excitement, they may require your love, compassion, and reassurance even more.
Pay attention to how they react, whether they appear stressed, anxious, or calm, because many pets tend to act out when they are scared or threatened, either through aggression or by peeing in places they aren’t supposed to.
So, while we should certainly try to enjoy the festive occasion of Holi as much as possible, it is also our responsibility as pet-parents to keep the above factors in mind and help ensure that our beloved companions feel happy and safe throughout the day!