Is it safe to play Holi colours with my dog?

This popular ancient Hindu festival of colours is celebrated by almost every Indian. Holi colours, also known as ‘festival of colours’, ‘festival of love’ and ‘festival of spring’ is observed every year at the arrival of spring and end of winter. The festival adds colours to our dull life and makes us feel rejoiced. The main aim of this festival is to show the triumph of good over evil. But, it so happens that humans hurt others, especially animals at this festival. Playing Holi colours with dogs or with your dog is not something a wise man would do. You may very well make your pets a part of your family. But making them a part of your celebrations is not a good decision.   

As an owner of a dog or cat, you should never think of applying colours on it even if they are dry. The dry colours used in this festival are very harmful. The toxic chemicals contained in it can lead to rashes, skin allergies or even blindness. The stray dogs are the ones who are mostly exposed to these colours. Over time, they develop various health problems which weaken their defence mechanism. Using dry colours on your pet will lead to nasal irritation and respiratory allergy because of the presence of lead which acts as an accumulative poison that will slowly affect your pet.  Therefore keeping them away from the vicinity of such festivals is strictly recommended.

What colours do your pet?

Several adverse effects can happen if your pet comes in contact with the colours. Some of them are:

  1. Skin allergies and hair loss – The dry colours used in this festival also contains mercury, sulphate and other metal oxides. Once applied, these can cause constant scratching and itching leading to hair rashes and hair fall. The metal oxides it contains are known for inducing skin allergies and inflammation in the animals
  2. Blindness – Unfortunately, stray dogs are the most exposed to this festival. Children throw balloons of water mixed with colours on these dogs. The dyes can be deleterious, once they enter the eyes of the dogs, thus leading to irritation in the eyes or even permanent blindness. 
  3. Respiratory disorders – The dry powered colours smeared on the dogs can enter through their nasal tracts causing lung infections, sneezing, coughing, vomiting or even diarrhoea. Therefore think twice before involving them in your fun. 
  4. Acting as slow poison – Most cats and dogs tend cleaning themselves by licking. In this way, they ingest a large amount of these dyes applied to them. The toxic metal oxides lead to slow poisoning of your pets. They face excessive hair loss in a very short time. It can also lead to dermatitis or the death of these animals.


 Things to do if your pet gets coloured:

There are several things you should do to ensure that your pet is not affected by the colours

  1. Use shampoo for removing the colours – You should always use the shampoos specialised for pets for removing the colours. As soon as you see any colour on them, give them a good shower. Avoid using human shampoo because that can also have adverse effects on your pet like skin allergies or infection. Also avoid using kerosene, alcohol or any other oils on them as it can also lead to rashes and cause them irritation.
  2. Keep them indoors – Try keeping your pet indoors while the celebration is going on outside. That is the best and the only way to keep them away from water balloons and dry powder.
  3. Check for colour poisoning –  Vomiting, loose stool and behavioural changes are early symptoms of poisoning. Therefore, if you find any of these in them, rush to your veterinarian immediately.

All this was about your pets. Keeping them safe is easier, but what about the stray dogs? If you are a real animal lover, you will reach out to these poor innocent dogs. In case, you see them affected, try to wash the colours off them. If you still find them suffering, try taking them to a veterinarian. 

Precautions you should take during this festival: 

Besides enjoying the festival, you should also keep in mind your companions who can be harmed in these festivities. 

  1. Teach children not to throw water balloons at animals – Teach your children not to throw water balloons or dry powdered colours at animals. They may not be able to understand that it scares the animals
  2. Refrain from giving sweets to animals – Every typical Hindu festival includes an exchange of sweets among relatives and other friends. But it should not go beyond that. The creams, resins and other preservatives used for making the sweets will weaken your pet’s digestive system. Animals do not have the metabolism to digest sugar. Therefore avoid giving them any. It can also lead to serious complications of liver failure or may even kill them.
  3. Create awareness – Awareness of such factors should be created. Try spreading it as much as you can. As your housing associates to put up notices about these precautions. You can also use social media as a platform for spreading awareness since most people are using it. 

Before enjoying the festival, take a few minutes to do the needful so that the animals or birds are not harmed by your enjoyment. A little consideration to the innocent pets can help them live a better life. During these festivals, they become depressed and anxious as to what is going on around them. Try taking proper care of them. These colourful yet harmful and chemical-laced colours might be your source of enjoyment, but it is a source of pain and suffering for the animals and birds. Therefore, try keeping them away from them as much as possible. They attack only if they are scared. They have no intention of harming you, thus, try not to harm them too. 

Wishing you a happy and safe Holi!

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