As you read this, the New Year is just around the proverbial corner. 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.
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.
However, as we had mentioned previously, many humans seem to have this fixation with overstuffing themselves at this time. 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.
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 recently.
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.
Very often, vets have to leave their favourite chair/recliner to look after a pet which has just developed (to the owner) a “life threatening” malady, which is, in truth, just a reaction (vomiting?) to a piece of chocolate; or plain bellyache from over-engorgement, or some such incorrect bit of feeding.
Of course, since no veterinarian (well, with some few expectations) 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. One 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 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.
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, scratching 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 for a successful 2016.
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. We still have the free spay and neutering programme. Exploit it. 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.