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Our pets are generally up for anything, whether you decide to have a midnight feast, or want to go for a walk at 5 am or you just want to laze around. They perfectly complement 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. While Diwali is a festival where 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 -
1. Fur loss and irritation - Holi colours are made with chemicals that will damage your pet's fur, make their skin very itchy and might end up having to visit the vet. While you can wash off these colours easily, even the herbal ones can be difficult to get off a pet's coat.
2. Eye damage - You already know that anything going into your pet's eyes are dangerous. For breeds that are prone to eye issues like pugs, you have to be doubly careful because being exposed to these powders can cause eye irritation
3. Step up for strays: Among other things, Holi celebrates the victory of good over evil. If you see a stray being bullied, please step up and give them a safe haven in your compound for the day. These voiceless animals generally don't have the option of a bath or a visit to a vet so any damage will have a lasting impact on their lives
4. Defensive: Throwing colour on pets will only make them defensive and scared because they probably won't understand what got into you. Pets are also quite scared of loud noises (remember everything 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 pets safe indoors and provide community dogs and cats a safe haven in your apartment complex or compound.
5. 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 colours.
6. 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 behaviour. Keep an eye out for excessive drooling or signs of poisoning and if you notice these, take them to a vet immediately.
Celebrating Holi with Your Pets
There's plenty of ways to celebrate Holi without chemical filled powders. If you'd like to celebrate with your pet, look for activities that your pet would love. Maybe a long drive or a visit to the dog park. You could also hand them a new chew to chomp or hand them an interactive puzzle filled with treats!
- Rashi Sanon Narang from Heads Up For Tails