There are many dangers that face animals, whether they are on the streets or in the house. You can protect them from some of these by taking simple precautions and warning other people to do the same:
Always dispose of pet food cans by crushing them tightly to prevent cats or dogs sticking their heads in the cans, sometimes right up to their ears. There have been many instances of a cat or a dog getting its head trapped in the can and running around in sheer panic. It may not always be possible to catch the animal, and what then faces it is a certain and very painful death.
We see plastic bottles of various sizes cut and used to put water in for the animals. If these are not large enough dogs get their heads caught in them with horrible results. Please ensure that only plastic containers with large bases and not too deep are used for this purpose.
Another terrible danger to animals is plastic shopping bags. It is often the case that animals smell some residual food item in these bags and put their heads in them, and before they know what is happening their heads get caught in one or both handles of these bags. Again, panic sets in and the animals just run around wildly to get rid of the bag, sadly often getting knocked down by a passing car.
Cooked chicken bones and large fish heads and bones are given to animals with kind thoughts of feeding them, but in fact there lies a grave danger. The bones when broken can get stuck in their palate, throat or stomach and intestines. Large and hard fish bones similarly get stuck in their internal organs or gums and can lead to life-threatening injuries.
Right at the top of best things to help an animal comes neutering. We tell you more about this on our page on neutering. Could we remind you here that stray animals (and pets allowed to go outside) that have been neutered should have one of their ears clipped so that there is a visible sign indicating that the animal has been neutered? If there is no such marking it is always possible that the animal could be taken to a veterinary clinic by someone else to be neutered. By insisting that the vet marks the ear of the animal you have had neutered, there won’t be the possibility of anyone else trying to have the animal neutered again.
In cold weather please remember that there may be a cat which, desperate for some warmth, has taken shelter in the engine part of a car climbing there from underneath the car. Knocking on the bonnet of the car several times before you start the engine you can prevent a tragic incident. By remembering this simple precaution and reminding your friends and neighbours of this danger you will be saving lives.
It is not only the strays that face danger; our pets are also confronted with many dangers in the house. Over the years THKD has witnessed many easily avoidable accidents involving pets at home.
Pins and needles, paper clips and similar small items dropped on the floor can be picked up by a dog and sometimes by a cat. Dogs also can swallow metal coins. By the time you realize what has happened you will be faced with a medical emergency. Pick these objects up as soon as you realize they are about.
Do not allow your dog to play with foam pads, silver wrapping paper, small ornamental items on parcels and such like. Best is to make sure you clear away all such items off the floors.
Cats and dogs are curious animals, they love poking their noses in all sorts of things to see what they are. Some household cleaning items top the list; we have come across cats who wanted to find out what bleach tastes like!
We love our pets and sometimes can’t resist feeding them what we may be eating: chocolates, cakes, sweets, salami… please don’t - remember these are not the treats your pet should have.
And try not to forget that an overweight pet is not a healthy pet, but one which will have health problems in later years.
Windows and balcony doors left open are like traps laid for our pets: a bird flying by, a butterfly fluttering around is a magnet that draws the animal to it; it can’t resist the urge to jump at it. A cat which has fallen from a third floor, fifth floor window could have its face smashed, its limbs broken or could end up dead. No, a cat does not always fall on its four legs. Please make sure that you put strong wire netting on windows that you are likely to leave open.
In warm weather you should never leave a cat or a dog alone in the car, even just for popping into a shop briefly. Leaving the windows slightly open won’t be of any help. Dogs are even more susceptible, and death can come to them very quickly in such a situation.
If you are taking your cat or dog on holiday with you in the car do not take the animals out of the vehicle without a lead. Do not let your dog off the lead to roam around. Don’t say “It will be all right, he won’t run away, he’ll come back and find us”. They do run away and quite often get lost, or they may even be stolen. We have so many cases reported to us…
Always use a cat box when taking your cat anywhere like going to the vet. Never think that your docile pet will be more comfortable in your arms. The animal can take a sudden fright and jump off or you may stumble and inadvertently let go of it.
Always make sure that an animal you care for is wormed and treated for fleas at regular intervals as directed by your veterinarian.
Please remember that these warnings can be a matter of life and death and are a summary of the incidents THKD has witnessed innumerable times. We don’t want you to go through the heartache of saying “If only I knew, if only someone had told me…”.
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