Even the most well-intentioned owners might make choices that could hurt their pets. Animal NGOs are now enlisting the help of volunteers who counsel people on responsible pet care. N. S. Pravallika, humane education officer at Blue Cross Hyderabad says the mistake pet-owners make is not vaccinating the animal. “Most of them take the pets to the vet when they are is sick, but not for annual vaccines, deworming and tick/flea treatments,” she observes, adding that neglecting to bathe, groom or brush them also leads to poor health. She finds that neglected pets were often those that were ‘gifted’ to unprepared owners. “Animals are sentient beings that are not to be gifted — having a pet is a responsibility,” she says.
Karthick M, a senior associate with a leading software company, campaigns against the breeding and sale of animals, and volunteers as a certified humane educator in Blue Cross, Chennai. He believes that pet ownership also involves spending quality time with the animal. “Play with your pets everyday,” he says. “Tying dogs or confining them throughout the day increases frustration, boredom and aggression. It is definitely animal cruelty.” He advises the owners he meets to also teach their children about compassionate behaviour to pets. He finds that one of the dangers to pets is brutal training. “Training your dog shouldn’t be a cruel or unpleasant experience. We don’t need to shock or hit them, when we know that positive reinforcement is the key to building a lifelong bond of trust. And basic obedience training is more than sufficient. Don’t approach trainers who use cruel methods.”
He urges owners to be careful about the quality of nutrition provided to their pets. “Avoid toxic foods like onion, garlic, caffeine, chocolate and salty or sugary foods. Most importantly, human medicines are not suitable for animals.”
Pravallika signs off with advice on what not to get as pets — “Wild animals, exotic species and birds should not be got as pets as they suffer in domestic settings,” she says. “It is best to stick to dogs, cats and other domestic animals.”
Take me home (in images):
- Champ is a one-year-old male Chippiparai hound. It went missing near College Road/Haddows Road. Call his worried family at 9789889955 if you find him.
- This three-month-old female fawn puppy is vaccinated, healthy and friendly. Call 9840544848
- This handsome pup and his siblings are ready for their permanent homes. Call 8939449082
- To adopt these cute white mice, call 9176843133
- Lovely Ria is a two-month-old female vaccinated dewormed pup who's inquisitive, affectionate and playful. Call 9677210119
- Midnight is a gorgeous male Indian pup who's vaccinated and friendly. Call 9841036763