Even Pets Need Love Too At Christ­mas

The Star (St. Lucia) - - CHRISTMAS ISSUE - By

SCat Foster ome pam­pered pets will have presents wait­ing for them un­der the Christ­mas tree but for those of us who 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: - choco­late - candy, gum, sug­ary foods and drinks - al­co­hol - cof­fee - grapes and raisins - onions and garlic - raw eggs - bread/yeast dough - fatty foods - moldy/spoiled foods - bones - 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 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 lead/chain, make sure that it is long enough for them to move around a lit­tle 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 neigh­bor 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 won­der­ful 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 fa­vor 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”.

The St. Lu­cia An­i­mal Pro­tec­tion So­ci­ety 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 Fran­cois on 384 9696.

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