Holi, the very word conjures images of colour, laughter and the arrival of spring! But amidst all the fun, often pet parents get so busy or carried away with the preparations, guests or the festivities that they lose track of what is going on with their pets. A dog that is bored due to lack of attention, or stressed with the onslaught of guests, or even traumatised with the different environment, can soon turn a Holi party into a colourful nightmare. So when celebrating this year, it would be wise to ensure that your dog is safe and sharing in the good times. Here are a few tips to celebrating a safe and happy Holi.
No Coloured Canines!
It may be a lot of fun to smear colour and coloured water over other people, but please keep all animals out of this. Most colours contain harmful chemicals, including lead, which can irritate a dog’s skin, can harm the dog’s eyes and if ingested (when the dog licks himself) can make a dog violently ill. Inhalation of colour powder may cause nasal irritation and possibly respiratory allergy or infection. Do not also throw water balloons at dogs as not only can it injure a dog, but it can create a fear in the dog’s mind which can be difficult to erase later.
It’s wiser not to take your dog for a walk at times or in places where you and your dog can be a target for others to throw balloons or colour at either of you. So walk your dog early morning and then keep him indoors safely out of harm’s way for the rest of the day.
If your dog is hit by a balloon on his face or does get hurt, rush to the vet immediately.
Keep your dog on a leash when outdoors. Make sure your dog wears a collar with an Identity tag containing your name, phone number and address. If your dog does get lost, the tag will increase your chances of getting him back.
If you take care of street dogs or a building dog, it may be wise to keep them indoors on this day to avoid other people making them a target of the fun and smearing colour all over them. It is sad to see street dogs with colour on them struggling to take it off or eventually licking it off and falling ill or getting skin infections.
Clean Up Carefully
Many people use kerosene, hair oil or spirit in an attempt to remove colour from a dog’s coat. Vets advise against this as these can do more harm than good. If your dog has a ton of colour on his coat, head to a professional groomer who can take it off safely. At home, a simple dog shampoo should suffice.
No Party For Poochie
Not all dogs share their owners’ enthusiasm to welcome guests into their home at Holi. Some dogs get very upset with the constant onslaught of visitors. If you have a dog that is used to a quiet life and feels its territory is being invaded, it would be prudent to keep him in a secluded area of the house where he can be comfortable and not troubled by the visitors. Too much sudden excitement in a dog’s life can cause a stomach upset or even trigger a pre-existing dormant illness.
Protect your pet at this time by keeping him indoors and away from the door while you’re greeting guests at your home to prevent him from darting outside and getting hurt.
No Mithai For Munchkin!
Rich festival foods – mithais, gravies, dry fruits and chocolates may seem harmless, but if eaten in excess by a pet can cause severe gastric distress. Avoid feeding your dog these foods. Instead, choose treats made especially for canines. Chocolates are poisonous to dogs and should not be fed at all.
Ensure your garbage can is out of your dog’s reach and secured with a tight lid.
Spend Time With Your Dog
You should take time out of the festivities to try and stick to your dog’s regular feeding and exercising times. This small sacrifice on your part can go a long way in reducing your dog’s stress. Holi is a time for family gatherings and to remind us about the triumph of good over evil. This is a perfect opportunity to teach children how to be respectful and kind to all living creatures.