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Holi: How to prevent the festival of colours from turning your pet’s day grey!

New Delhi

If you get hit by water balloons or splashed with colours while strolling in your garden, you know ‘Holi’ is around the corner!

Family and friends from children to grown-up alike might be gung-ho to throw colours on each other and to munch on mouthwatering treats that are associated with Holi.

However, before going all out to celebrate the fun festival, do not forget your four-legged companions! Stray dogs and cats are vulnerable to being hit by water balloons and smeared in colours Aharien Joy, pet owner of ‘Rambo’, a one-year-old Golden retriever emphasises on keeping your four-legged companions safe during festival time.

“During Holi in 2016 some unknown people splashed colours on my dog as I was taking him for a walk in the evening,” Joy said.

Splashing colours on animals, especially chemical colours are dangerous for all pets.

“Apart from cases of skin allergies and skin rashes…these colours can also injure their eyes and cause them to become blind,” he further said.

“Rambo is a part of our family and his safety takes priority. Keeping that in mind, I prefer not to take him along or even step out of the house with him during Holi,” Joy said.

Apart from playing with colours, the festival also comes with the temptation got dig onto mouth-watering sweets and snacks.

Bhavana Chaturvedi, owner of Tiger, a German Shepherd, says care should be taken to feed dogs sweets and not all sweets are to be fed to dogs.

“After celebrating last year’s Holi with Tiger, there weren’t many problems because of colours, but the issue was with the consumption of certain sweets,” Bhawna said.

“Since my dog is allergic to ‘gujia'(dumpling), I try my maximum to avoid treating him with one, no matter what the festival is,” she further stated.

Shreya Roy, an ardent pet lover and owner of the breed Lhasa apso is more fearful of water balloons being thrown from a height at her pet than of the colours. “More than colours I am worried about water balloons that kids from the terraces of neighbouring societies throw. From that height it could pretty much kill ‘muffins’ or any pet for that matter,” Shreya said.

She also said that laypersons should be made aware of the consequences of throwing colours on pets. “A million times yes, street dogs have no way of defending themselves nor can they clean themselves up. They will end up absorbing these harmful chemicals and if not careful can lead them to their death.”

The harsh use of any chemical colour can cause pets to suffer from:


The dyes and colours filled in the water balloons can be detrimental to their eyes and can even lead to permanent loss of eyesight.

Skin allergies
This is the most common and immediate reaction that we see in our four-legged companions when they get hit by the colours. What it seems like a minor skin rash can have an adverse effect in the longer run.

Respiratory disorders

When the face is stuffed with a whole lot of colours, difficulty in breathing is a common case even in human beings! You can now imagine how much this can affect our four-legged companion having a weak defence mechanism. These powders in bulk can lead to lungs and respiratory diseases.
Internal problems

Animals have the habit of licking themselves, and with this act, the colours present in their body is directly going inside their mouth. These can lead to internal problems.
Psychological issues

A factor that is not given utmost importance when we consider our four-legged companions, is their mental and psychological state. An uncalled sudden splash of water, colour or balloons, can give them a sudden shock. This can bring trouble to their mental state.

In a bid to work for a cause, a student-run social entrepreneurial organization –Enactus Motilal Nehru College– does their best work for the welfare of native bred dogs
Giving keen attention during the time of festivals, the team takes up various initiatives to make sure about the animal’s safety.

Some of the measures suggested include:

  •  creating awareness among laymen through posters in and around neighbourhood or through social media platforms.
    Educating children about the harmful effects on dogs will make them refrain from throwing colours on them.
  • Watch for symptoms like loose stools, behavioural change, vomiting, excessive drools. If identified, take them to the nearest vet as soon as possible.
  •  Moreover, if you see any stray being teased with colours for fun, offer help to the dog. And also any sight of stray dog suffering or in colour, call any Animal Welfare NGO immediately Hence, this festival spread the colour of joy, with four-legged companions.
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