What not to do to pets during the post festive season

As you read this, the New Year celebrations are just around the proverbial corner. A week from now, actually. Therefore, today we will again take a pause from the ‘science’ associated with pet care. Instead we will advise on what not to do to pets during the post-Festive Season.

Underfeeding

Actually, there are many who see Christmas and the immediate post-Christmas period as a bacchanalian rite and a heathen splurge that have nothing to do with the birth of Christ; such persons feel that prayer and meditation should be the order of the day. Their pets consequently fall on lean times during this period. Please, if you are convinced that your religious position is right, do not pass this philosophy on to the dog/cat. Just feed them the same healthy way you have been doing for the past year.

Overfeeding

However, as we had mentioned previously, many humans seem to have this fixation with overstuffing themselves during pre-, peri- and post-festive seasons. Consequently, they feel the pets must also gorge themselves full with all the junk food (or residues therefrom).

Well, that is wrong. Dogs and cats couldn’t care less if there is no boxing on Boxing Day and no garlic pork/beef on Christmas Day.

A wistful look from a male dog who is hoping someone will give him a Christmas present by adopting him (he has been neutered)

They would be just as happy, if they received their usual bland fare.

I’ll share with you something of interest that I was taught at a Refresher Course/Further Education Series at which I participated, and which I mentioned before. The lecturers from the largest pet food manufacturers in the world and who worked at the foremost companion animal nutrition research institute on the planet, advised us that over 50% of all ailments among pets stem from incorrect nutrition. Well, that figure must be 80% around the Christmas period. The problem is that the vet has to prise himself/herself from a favourite chair/recliner to look after a pet which has just developed a (to the owner) “life threatening” malady, which is, in truth, just a reaction (vomiting?) to a piece of chocolate; or is simply a bellyache from over-engorgement, or a reaction to some such incorrect bit of feeding.

Of course, since no veterinarian (well, with some few exceptions) can tell the flustered client to go to hell on New Year’s Eve, he/she has to deal with the product of the owner’s careless feeding of the pet(s).

Scaring pets with explosives

I know that it won’t be a good Old Year’s/New Year’s celebration, if we don’t throw squibs at each other to see the scared reaction! Christmas (not elections) is the true silly season.
When I was young – in Jurassic times – we used a piece of carbon and an Ovaltine tin to produce a loud noise at Christmas. There were no squibs in those days. Or, if there were, we either had no money to buy them or, simply, we found more fun creating the bang with spat-upon carbon.

Well, whether it is a firecracker or a squib or any noise-making explosive, it hurts animals. Dogs and cats have sensitive ears. The noise from the explosions disorients and traumatizes them. They don’t know what to do. They run indoors and try to hide in secluded places where they think there is security (bathrooms, under beds, in cupboards, etc). They hurt themselves. They run away from home (you can see them wandering around our roads lost and with anxious looks). They are struck down by uncaring motorists. Last year, a German Shepherd from Kitty was picked up by a good Samaritan in South Ruimveldt.
The tying of firecrackers to dogs’ tails is an unpardonable act of cruelty and an offence under the law. One can be charged and, if the GSPCA gets involved, the offender could be incarcerated. Terrorizing dogs and cats is not a joke. If a friend wants to commit such acts of barbarism, distance yourself from him or her. He/she must not be a friend. Such a person might need psychiatric help.

Simply put, exposing pets to squibs, firecrackers and to any type of explosive is one of the greatest cruelties one can administer to an animal.

Festive Season

Dogs should not be bathed often. Cats (who groom themselves constantly) hardly ever need baths. I’ll deal with this theme in more detail on another occasion. It seems that pet owners, having cleaned up their houses totally for Christmas, feel compelled to remain in the cleaning mood. The cleaning frenzy is on. ‘Rover,’ the dog and ‘Felix,’ the cat, get dunked in the big basin of water, or are shoved, kicking, screaming and biting, under the standpipe. Of course, getting the dog/cat dry might pose a problem – especially during the December rains. The animal might then be placed in a draught – and a ‘cold’ results. If you feel that something must be done to your animal’s coat during Christmas, just brush it.

Please accept from all of us at the Pet Corner best wishes during this Festive Season.

Please implement disease preventative measures (vaccinations, routine dewormings, monthly anti-heartworm medication, etc) and adopt-a-pet from the GSPCA’s Animal Clinic and Shelter at Robb Street and Orange Walk, if you have the wherewithal to care well for the animals.  Do not stray your unwanted pets, take them to the GSPCA’s Clinic and Shelter instead. If you do not wish your pet to have puppies or kittens, you may exploit the GSPCA’s free spay and neutering programme. If you see anyone being cruel to an animal, or if you need any technical information, please get in touch with the Clinic and Shelter by calling 226-4237.

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