The festive season is a time to show our love to those who occupy a special place in our lives. For a growing number of families, this means pets as well as people. Some pampered pets will have presents waiting for them under the Christmas tree but even if we cannot afford gifts, we still want to treat our furry friends. One of the easiest ways to do this is by giving dogs and cats titbits and scraps from our meals. Rover and Kitty will love a piece of cooked ham or turkey but do bear in mind that some human foods are not suitable for animals as they can cause serious illness that may be fatal.
Dogs and cats should not consume:
– candy, gum, sugary foods and drinks
– grapes and raisins
– onions and garlic
– raw eggs
– bread/yeast dough
– fatty foods
– mouldy/spoiled foods
– bones – as there is a risk of choking; also the bone may splinter and the shards can cause obstructions and lacerate internal organs.
– Dogs should not eat avocado, guacamole or macadamia nuts.
If you are contemplating giving a gift of a puppy or a kitten, do please remember that an animal is for life, not just for Christmas. Any new arrival in the home will need to be given attention and made to feel welcome. He/she will require food, water, training and care. Someone will have to clean the litter tray or the area where the pet “does its business”. If you want to give a pet to a child, make sure that they are old and responsible enough to provide the time and attention necessary.
The St. Lucia Animal Protection Society (SLAPS)has dogs, cats, puppies and kittens in its care that are looking to find “forever” homes with nurturing owners. If you would like to provide a home, please contact SLAPS on 457 5277 or member Francine on 721 1976 or member Doretta on 384 9696. The festive season is a time for visiting family and friends so Fido and Sheba may be left home alone for long periods. If you leave pets unattended, make sure that they have:
– sufficient fresh drinking water
– an adequate supply of food
– access to shade/shelter
– a clean litter tray or somewhere to relieve themselves.
If you have to leave an animal on a leash/chain, make sure that it is long enough for them to move around and to reach their water, food and shelter. If you have a problem with ants invading food bowls, place the bowl on a plate/tray of water as this presents a barrier to the ants. If you are going away for more than a day, ask a friend or neighbour to check on your pet and ensure that it is comfortable with fresh supplies of clean water and food.
The fireworks on Old Year’s night are an amazing spectacle for we humans but can scare animals and cause them to panic. If your dog/cat is allowed indoors, that is the best place for them at such a time as it is a familiar environment and they no doubt have ‘safe’ places to take refuge. If your pets live outdoors, ensure that they have access to a spot where they can hide and shelter if they become alarmed. Cardboard boxes, placed on their side for easy entry by the animal, can prove very useful in this situation.
Animals surrounded the baby Jesus when he was in the manger, watching over him. Pets can bring us so much comfort and happiness so let us return the favour by looking after them with kindness and compassion, not just during the festive season but every day. As Gandhi said, “The greatness of a nation . . . can be judged by the way its animals are treated”.