*Dr. Vinod Sharma
As pet parents, we always want to let our pets be part of all of our festivities and joyous occasions. But as we all know, Holi, despite the incredible excitement it holds for us, is not meant for our pets at all. Holi is a festival of colours, music, sweets, and often a kind of unbridled revelry we’re all too familiar with. This makes it a very difficult time for our pets, who are neither used to seeing so many people around, nor so much activity or loud noises, not to mention the most common dangers – the colours and the sweets. So, to make sure your beloved animal companion doesn’t fall victim to your festivities and help both you and your pet have a fantastic Holi this year, Dr. Vinod Sharma, Head of Veterinary Services at DCC Animal Hospital shares a few things to keep in mind.
Keep your pets comfortable, safe, and secure
As annoyed as they might be, it is best to keep your pets at home on this day, skipping their walks or outdoor time, and instead, making sure they have a safe, quiet corner that is comfortable and familiar to them. All of the loud noises and people outside can get very overwhelming for them, and as such, they should also have at least one member of the family that they’re familiar with, keeping them company, at all times. You can even give them some extra treats, or their favourite toy or blanket to make them feel comfortable, and check in on them every now and then. But when you do, simply make sure to not contaminate the area or touch your pets, if you’ve already been playing with colours.
Keep them away from colours
While we all know the incomparable joy of playing with colours, be it dry gulal or water-based ones, we need to be extremely careful about making sure our pet never comes in contact with them. The chemicals and components in the colours can be very toxic for their skin and fur, and if any of the coloured water gets into their eyes or ears, it can actually cause blindness, or severe infections, which take a long time to heal. Not just that, even if your pet ends up licking any surfaces stained by these colours, it could cause a host of allergies, vomiting, diarrhoea, rashes, and more! While it is imperative to keep your pets safe and away from areas where you’re playing, or where the colours are accessible, it is always better to use organic, pet-friendly colours, based on turmeric, neem, henna, or beetroot, and the like.
Pets and foods
Holi is also a time for delectable sweets, thandai, lassi, and a whole range of pakodes and snacks. But while we might relish them in troves, we cannot feed any of them to our pets. From the sugar content in them to the spices, the oils, and many other ingredients, these festive delights, along with most human foods, are not meant for our pets. So, if you’d like to make sure your pets don’t miss out on the celebrations, make or buy specific treats for your pets that are meant for them!
Observe their behaviour
Finally, when it comes to your pets, paying attention to their behaviour is just as important as knowing the best practices and things to avoid. Our lives are naturally quite dynamic and vast, but for most of our pets, their entire life comprises us, their family, their home, and the neighbourhood, at best. So, make sure to keep in mind that they might require your love, compassion, and reassurance especially more, amidst all the excitement. Pay attention to how they are reacting, whether they look stressed, anxious, or calm, because when they feel scared or threatened, many pets tend to act out, either through aggression or by peeing in spaces they know they aren’t supposed to.
So, while we should absolutely try to enjoy the festive occasion of Holi as best as we can, as a pet-parent, it is also our duty to keep in mind the above factors and help make sure our beloved companions also feel happy and safe, throughout the day!