The most colorful festival is just around the corner and so are mouth watering gujiyas, cooling thandai, music, gulaal and parties. It’s easy to get carried away with the festive high and include the animals around us in the celebration. Whether accidental or intentional, when animals are exposed to colors, it can lead to severe health problems like skin infections, blindness, respiratory problems and slow poisoning. Apart from this, forced play and loud music can lead to fear, aggression, trauma and even depression in pets and strays.
Here’s how you can celebrate a safe and colorful Holi with your pets:
Go for a walk before the celebrations begin
Take your dog for a walk before the streets are filled with people and color, this way you and your pet can avoid getting colored. Walking your dog early morning is also easy on their paws, especially during summers, check out more summer care tips for pets here.
Make a comfy corner inside the house
Keep your pet indoors, preferably in a place where the music won’t bother their ears. Let them relax with their favourite toys and treats. Don’t forget to keep sufficient food and water around.
Use pet friendly colors
Human colors are extremely toxic for pets, even the organic ones you get in the market, do not use them on any animals. If you must, you can use turmeric, kumkum and beetroot juice to make homemade colors that are safe for your pet. You can just water down the above ingredients to make some pet friendly color.
Make homemade treats
Your house is going to be flooded with gujiyas, jalebis, laddoos and thandai but please don’t let your pet come near them! Don’t think- a little bit is okay. It’s not. Sugar, artificial sweeteners, raisins, nuts and chocolates are some common ingredients in Indian sweets, most of these ingredients are toxic for dogs and cats. Instead, make them some delicious homemade pet friendly treats for Holi.
Celebrate at pet-friendly events
It’s hard to celebrate without your pets and your pets shouldn't miss out on having fun with you! If you’d really like to be with your pooch for Holi, you can look for holi events near you that are pet friendly. These events celebrate by using organic Holi colors that are completely safe for your pets while offering them fun activities that make their Holi an unforgettable one!
Protect the strays too
Strays are often forcefully or accidentally colored due to lack of awareness and ignorance amongst people. Educate your neighbourhood and the people around you, especially children about the harmful effects of using colors and water balloons on pets. Urge them to be more careful while playing when stray animals are around. You can put up posters describing the dangers on your society notice board. You can even ask the security guards to keep any eye out for strays/streeties during the celebrations.
What to do if your dog or cat is exposed to color?
If at all, unfortunately, your pet gets colored or you see a stray dog or cat with color smeared on them, first use a cloth to remove all the dry color, if the color doesn’t seem to come off, use water and pet friendly shampoo meant for cats and dogs and give them a bath. (Use lukewarm water for the bath.) Use a waterless bath for puppies and kittens as a shampoo bath is not recommended for them.
Human shampoos can cause skin irritations and rashes when used on animals. Kerosene, turpentine and alcohol shouldn’t be used to remove color from your pet’s coat at any point, even when the colors aren’t coming off, in such cases, you must contact the vet nearest to you.
If the color enters their ears, eyes or nose, use water to wash it off and call a vet immediately.
If your pet has licked or ingested any color, call your vet immediately and keep an eye out for signs of poisoning like vomiting, excessive drooling, loose tools and hyperactivity.
Some extra precautions you can take:
- Keep the colors hidden from your pet, especially if your pet is a curious one and definitely not where they can reach them easily.
- Keep moisture and water away from your pet’s coat as moisture can cause bacterial infections.
- If your pet is going out, apply some coconut oil on their coat but consult your vet before doing so.
- Keep fresh water for your pets and the strays in your locality to make sure they don’t consume toxic water.
- Be there for your pet if they are feeling uncomfortable due to the hoo-hah of the celebration.
- Always keep an eye out for any signs of poisoning in your pets.
- Keep a pet emergency kit nearby and make sure it’s stocked up.
- Keep your vet’s phone number and address visible or save it in your phone.
If you cannot visit a vet or take the animal to a veterinary clinic, call us on +91 84316 20000 and a Vet will come to your location. Our Vet On Call service is currently available in Pune, Mumbai and Hyderabad.
Wishing you a safe, fun and colorful Holi with your pets!