By Dr. Kalpana Pawar
New Delhi– Its the season of festivities and loads of mouth-watering sweets! Diwali is the time we come together, celebrate and share happiness along with a box of sweets. Understandably, you want to share the same happiness with your pets too. But most Diwali mithai can be harmful to your pets. Lets see how.
Traditional Diwali sweets, namkeens & spicy snacks
Everyone likes to gorge on rava and besan laddoos and the tri-colored karanjis, including your pets. But the sugar content in them is harmful and can be life-threatening for your pets.
Diwali sweets contain some namkeen and spicy items like chivda, chakli and kachoris which contain salt and can be dangerous for pets. Consuming salt can lead to salt poisoning, water deprivation, stomach problems, seizures, tremors, depression and be fatal in severe cases.
Additionally, the silver coating that we usually find on kaju katli and other sweets usually contain aluminum, lead, nickel or other toxic elements.
Some households use artificial sweeteners in their Diwali sweets to ensure that even diabetics can indulge their sweet tooth. However, these sugar-free sweets contain xylitol. Xylitol can cause a dangerous blood sugar drop, hypoglycemia or rapid liver failure in pets. The symptoms of toxicity show up within 30 minutes of consumption and include vomiting, weakness, inability to move, seizures, depression and coma.
Some sweets contain dry fruits like raisins. Raisins can cause rapid kidney failure and be ultimately fatal for your pet. So watch out for raisin cookies, fruit cakes or boxes of dry fruits containing raisins.
Other dehydrated fruits like apricots, cherries, peaches and kiwis usually contain added sugar which is toxic for pets. Some dry fruits like dates, dried apricots with seeds and pistachios may be dangerous too as they may get stuck in your pet’s throat and even be poisonous.
Sweets like rasmalai, pedha or halwa contain milk or milk by-products and cannot be easily digested by our pets. Other sweets like shrikhand, amarkhand, sweet seviyan, basundi and sheera also contain cow or buffalo milk which is not suitable for pets. A majority of the pets are lactose intolerant and consuming milk or dairy products can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and other digestive problems for them.
No Diwali sweet box is complete without some rich cashews and pistachios. Most nuts are high in fat and protein and can cause obesity and pancreatic issues in pets. Apart from that, small nuts like almonds and cashews can also be choking hazards for pets. Most of the nuts we receive in our Diwali boxes are coated with salt or other spices making them extremely toxic for our pets.
Chocolate is dangerous for your pets as it is very difficult to metabolize. Ingesting a little bit of dark chocolate can cause diarrhoea and vomiting. Large amounts of it can cause seizures, irregular heart function and even death.
The severity of the symptoms and toxicity depends on the size of your pet. The darker and less sweet the chocolate is, the more harmful it is to your pet.
Fruit baskets and sweets containing fruits
Sweets like cakes, custards, or sweets made with fruits are also harmful to your pets. Any sweet containing grapes, lemon, pomegranate, apricot, cherries, peach and chikoo is a strict no-no. These fruits cannot be digested by your pets and can be the cause of an upset stomach.
So what should you do?
Here are a few tips that can help you avoid a visit to the vet on the day of Diwali:
Keep sweet boxes and any other toxic food away from your pet’s reach. We’d recommend keeping the sweets closed in boxes on high shelves. You can even use baby proof latches for drawers, cupboards and the fridge if your pet is extremely skilled at getting what they want
Keep your vet’s number handy and call them immediately if you notice your pet acting unusual or catch them eating a Diwali sweet
Keep a first aid kit handy, it should include antiemetic medicines. Get a prescription from a vet in advance
Choose a boarding home or daycare if you’re expecting too many guests. Too many people and loud noises can lead to some pets feeling anxious and uncomfortable so it’s best to check them in at a place where they can be well looked after
Anushka Iyer, Founder and CEO of Wiggles.in suggests- “Apart from keeping your pets away from sweets, try to minimize the sound of firecrackers bursting outdoors by keeping all doors and windows closed, using ear muffs, playing calming music and most importantly spending time with your pets this Diwali!” (IANS)