What’s good for you isn’t good for your pet

Holi is just round the corner and we are all geared up to welcome it with open arms. However, one aspect that people don’t give much thought to is the effect the festival has on our canine friends. While the intentions and feelings are understandable — it’s all for fun — the truth is that your dog must not really be enjoying Holi as much as you are.
The harmful chemicals in colours cause a lot of damage to our pet dogs. This is because dog skin is thinner than human skin. And their skin barrier function is very weak. In addition, it is extremely important to understand that some breeds of dogs are more susceptible to damage than others. Puppies, senior dogs and short hair coat dogs are more predisposed to falling prey to chemicals than long hair coat breeds because sparsely-coated regions of body are commonly affected by these colours.

Dry colours are just as bad as liquid ones
Most dog owners feel that as long as they use dry colours on their pets, there’s no harm. They couldn’t be farther than the truth. The presence of lead, which acts as an accumulative poison, makes these colours high-risk material. Inhalation of coloured powder may cause nasal irritation, and possibly, respiratory allergy or infection. Pet parents also need to know that most dogs get paranoid when you rub colours on them, since it very often gets into their eyes and nose, making them uncomfortable. They also tend to lick their body, and the taste of dry colours makes them prone to throwing up. Some breeds are so sensitive that they immediately get skin rashes.

Also, keep your pet away from children who tend to throw water balloons at them. If a dog gets hit in the eye, it could cause major complications. Do not take your pet to places where they are likely to be the target of such insensitive activities. Parents should also teach their kids not to hurt dogs – stray or domestic.

Keep away the sweets
While it is okay for you to eat sweets during Holi, refrain from feeding your pets these festival delights, particularly, chocolates.

Dr KG Umesh advises people never to use kerosene, spirits or any hair oil to clean the colour off their coat. A good light dog shampoo should suffice. “If the dog has been hit in the eye by a water balloon, wash the eye with clean water, and if irritation persists, take the dog to a vet.”

Did you know that dog skin is thinner than human skin? And that their skin barrier function is very weak? Also, some breeds are more susceptible to damage than Others

Holi colours may cause...
-Loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, sneezing, coughing, discharge from nostrils, excessive thirst
-Constant biting, itching or licking; rashes on skin
-Excessive hair fall in a short time; watery or red eyes and signs of irritation in eyes


Q. My neighbour is out of station and he has handed us his turtle for a few days. The turtle’s eyes have puffed up. Also, it barely eats anything or moves. How can we help?
Swollen/inflamed eyes and puffy eyelids in turtles can be a result of poor water quality (or too much chlorination), poor diet, infections or injury. Install a biological filter or change its water regularly to keep it clean. Feed good quality pelleted diet or vitamin A-rich greens, like lettuce or green beans. Take the turtle to a vet to rule out any bacterial or fungal infection or injury to the eye.

Readers’ stories
...In which we print reader stories that come to us

A poem for Rover Almighty

“My son, Rover Almighty’s glittering eyes and smiling face speaks volumes about the warmth he feels for you.
He loves you unconditionally, irrespective of what you say or what you do.
He brings a smile on your face, and takes away your pains. You’ll fall in love with him as he dances carefree amid the careless rain...
He understands you better than humans, catches up with your highs and lows.
I wish I could hear him speak some time, as his tongue would be sweeter than all the melodies I’ve ever heard. I pray that he stays with me forever.”
—Samir Samuel David, author, Photographer

Richard Parker’s story

Hi Guys!
This is Richard Parker. World ka Doggy Number 1 – that’s what my master calls me. I also have a nickname, Pillu, but don’t tell anyone... that name is reserved just for mom to call me. I was born in Saket, and was the friendliest dog ever. I met so many of my parent’s friends! Life with them was a lot of fun. We went on rides, trips, to doggie cafes etc.
I had a full-time nanny to take care of me – everyone used to scare me with his name. He was the sweetest guy but never showed any emotion. I had my own time with him when my parents were at work. I would supervise his work and ensure he did everything. I was the youngest member of our sweet little family but at the same time the smartest, bravest and coolest!
Mum and Dad are getting married in four months. I don’t know why but I couldn’t give mum a lot of time. She will be quite upset about it. You must be wondering what I am talking about. Let me give you some background here first. Dad finally found his love. Mum used to visit our house to spend time with Dad but ended up spending more time with me. Dad told me she was the mum.
I left my heavenly abode in 2017 and now, I’m the brightest star in the sky!
—Trishala Kulkarni

- Dr Umesh Kallahalli