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Is it ok to have pets in Hinduism and if so, what pets are ok and which are not ok?

Moreover, is there a proper protocol for raising pets? In general, views from Shastras would be very helpful.

  • Cows,horses,oxes etc,dogs cats,rabbits & different kinds of birds are usually accepted pets.Cats are often depicted in scriptures as having a sinful nature.However,it is mentioned in one shastra that every house shud have one black cat .Pigeons ,owls are considered inauspicious as they are related to the goddess of misfortune.I have not found anything about a tortoise though.In any case i don't think too many have that as a pet. – Rickross Oct 31 '16 at 4:38
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    @Rickross, dogs are not accepted as pets. One gets ashoucha if they touch a dog. and food seen by dogs should not be eaten. – ram Aug 20 '17 at 3:27
  • Food smelt by Cows should not be eaten either.. So does that mean Cows are not accepted as pets as well? @ram – Rickross Aug 20 '17 at 5:27
  • @ram Is it because they are inherently related to chandalas. – Yogi Aug 20 '17 at 10:25
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    @Yogi, i think it is the other way round. dogs (and lizards and couple other animals) are impure by nature, and shvpaka (chandala) is one who eats dogs, so they're also impure. – ram Aug 20 '17 at 23:35
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Some pets like dogs, cats, birds are usually kept in houses.

But certain animals are not allowed according to the Shastras. A verse in the Skanda Purana says people who keep pets like cats, cocks, hens, dogs and birds fall to a river called Vaitarani river which is situated into a hell.

One who keeps cats, cocks and hens, dogs and birds, one who sets fire to the houses of the deaf and blind as well as grasses and grains and other things in the fields and one who sustains himself by means of stagecraft and stellar calculations(astrology) - all these men go to Vaitarani. [19-20]

Above verse occurs in the Skanda Purana, Kaumarika Khanda, Chapter 39 as a part of conversation between Arjuna and Narada. The above verse is said by Sage Narada.

So, According to Skanda Purana, keeping above animals as pets leads to hell.

Also from the Mahabharata, Indra says to Yudhishtira when he reached heaven. In this chapter of Mahaprasthanika Parva

"Indra said, ‘There is no place in Heaven for persons with dogs. Besides, the (deities called) Krodhavasas take away all the merits of such persons. Reflecting on this, act, O king Yudhishthira the just. Do thou abandon this dog. There is no cruelty in this.’

Having said that, Hinduism is not against animals or loving them. Perhaps Devarshi Narada's words suggest that we should let the animals and birds free and not cage them for our own entertainment.

In the former verse to the above verse, Narada says..

One who harasses animals on false pretexts falls into viśasana; on who makes weapons illegally falls into Adhomukha. One who sides with and supports evil men and things and takes food in isolation, falls into pūyavāhaka. [18]

So, it should be noted that we should not harass or punish animals or beings lesser to us.

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam further says that we should treat some animals like own children.

One should treat animals such as deer, camels, asses, monkeys, mice, snakes, birds and flies exactly like one’s own son. How little difference there actually is between children and these innocent animals. [SB 7.14.19 ]

  • Can you please mention exact shloka of skanda purana also in regards of your given info instead of just giving chapter and kanada number. I tried to search but couldn't find any online shlokas of this purana. No authentic source online I am aware for it. That's why asking if you can give exact shloka of both conversation and add in your answer if possible. Thanks :) – Vishvam Dec 13 '19 at 4:44
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    @Vishvam I added 19-20 in brackets for a shloka. 18 for another. These are shloka numbers. – Sarvabhouma Dec 13 '19 at 4:47
  • Yes, but what I am asking that I couldn't find shlokas online. I just found information in paragraphs or in article form. Not shloka. I want to see shloka, do you know any online link where I can see exact shloka also? – Vishvam Dec 13 '19 at 4:49
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As per the following verse each household should have at least a black (!) cat and a goat.

  1. One should keep in his house the following things : the wood for striking out a sacrificial fire, a black cat, sandal-wood, a precious stone, ghee, sesamum seed, a black skin, and a goat.

ParAshara Smriti, Chapter 12, Verse 47.

So, those animals should be allowed as pets.

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    A better translation for "KrishnAjina" would be a skin of a deer rather than black skin. Because ascetics use it while doing meditation. It;s skin is used in some sacrifices. As the verses were talking about sacrifice, I feel that would be an accurate translation. The remaining animals mentioned would also have some importance in a yajna. – Sarvabhouma Sep 8 '17 at 8:44

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