March 10, 2011 (Calcutta Tube): Holi,the colour festival of India, is indeed one of the most auspicious festivals celebrated with loved ones. Pets, being a part of the family, are also pulled into the celebrations. But do we realize that smearing colours on your pets might not be as joyous to your pet dog as it is for us? An IBNS report
Holi is not so colourful for our pets, especially dogs. These colours can actually cause a lot of damage to our pet dogs. It is extremely important to understand that some breeds of dogs are more susceptible to the damage than others.
[ReviewAZON asin=”B002WN2VZK” display=”inlinepost”]Puppies, senior dogs and short hair coat dogs are more predisposed to falling victim to these colours than long hair coat breeds, because sparsely coated regions of body are commonly affected by these colours.
During festivals like these, control over the quality and content of colours becomes impossible. Some chemicals found in commonly used colours include lead oxide, silver, aluminium bromide, mercury sulphate, Prussian blue, copper sulfate.
These chemicals have the potential to cause skin irritation (contact dermatitis) or allergy (contact allergy) in susceptible pets. These colours may also have a traumatic effect on their hair coat causing hair and skin discolouration particularly in light or white coloured coat breeds.
Some of these chemicals are also reported to be carcinogenic. Ingestion of large amount of these chemicals may cause stomach upsets (vomiting, loose motion, abdominal pain) and liver damage. Likewise, chemicals like lead can cause anemia, neurological signs and kidney failure.
One should also be careful with children playing Holi anywhere near the pets; as accidental exposure of these chemicals in to eyes may have repercussions from severe irritation to complete blindness. Inhalation of colour powder may cause nasal irritation and possibly respiratory allergy or infection.
Though symptoms vary in dogs basis their breed and endurance, the common signs of such harmful effects on dogs are loss of appetite, excessive drinking of water, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, sneezing, coughing, discharge from nostrils, constant biting, itching or licking, rashes on skin, excessive hair fall in a short time, watery or red eyes and signs of blindness.
According to Dr. KG Umesh, Waltham Scientific Communication Manager, South Asia Mars India, “We must ensure that during celebrations like these, we keep our dogs safe from the colours. As a precautionary measure we can apply any commonly available hair oil before exposure to colours.”
“This helps washing away the dry colours easily from hair coat. In all cases one should avoid using kerosene, petrol and spirits to remove colour stains as this will further dry the skin,” said Umesh.