How can you care for the street dogs in your neighbourhood?
Caring for your local community dogs is easier when you team up with other dog lovers in your area, but these are the basics to help our furry friends: - Vaccinate. At the bare minimum, you should arrange for your community street dogs to be vaccinated against rabies. This should take place every year or every 3 years depending on the type of vaccine used. If your budget extends, please get all your street dogs vaccinated for distemper and parvo virus also, ideally when puppies.
- Spay & Neuter. This is the only way to humanely control the street dog population, and prevent problems caused by having too many dogs in one area. If dogs are not sterilised, problems quickly emerge such as dogs fighting over scarce territory and food, not to mention the painful deaths suffered by most puppies out of every litter. When dogs are not sterilised, humans sometimes take matters into their own hands and kill dogs with poison or beatings. Team up with a local NGO to get your community dogs fixed.
- Reflective Collars. This is a simple low-cost intervention to reduce the risk of traffic accidents at night. Collars are available from as low as 50Rs each from organisations such as Pawsitivity. Do not collar puppies. If the collar is the right fit it starts to hurt as the puppies grow in girth and if it's loose it comes off anyway.
- If you Feed, Feed Responsibly. Street dogs live by scavenging and begging, and usually have numerous sources of food such as roadside food stalls, garbage dumps, and kind persons who feed them. If you start feeding dogs, be careful that you do not make them dependent on you for their only source of food, and keep the amount of food within your budget. Have a back up plan for if you go away or if you move area. Dispose of any waste properly (like biscuit wrappers, newspaper). Never throw plastic food jars or cans, animals including wildlife can get stuck, and die of suffocation or lack of food and water. Feed away from shops and residences so that dogs will not create a nuisance to others as they can become territorial of the area where they are being fed.
- De-worm. De-worming is one of the cheapest and fastest ways to improve a street dog’s welfare! Dogs can get hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms and whipworms, leading to discomfort, disease, and even death! De-worm dogs once every three months using deworming tablets available at your local vet or pharmacy.
- Flea and tick control. External parasites cause discomfort, lower immunity, and can cause secondary bacterial and fungal infections when the dog bites and scratches his skin.
Fleas and ticks can be eliminated in several ways: Apply either a ‘spot-on’ pipette, a spray containing Fipronil, or a powder containing Propoxur such as ‘Bolfo’.
For puppies over 2 months old you can use flea powder but not spray or spot-on.
You can learn first aid for minor wounds, but be cautious about medicating animals without proper knowledge or veterinary consultation as it can be counterproductive.
If you do all these steps, you will truly be a Saint for our Streeties!!