How to responsibly feed stray animals

Helping your furry friends is important, but it is imperative to help them the right way
Last Updated 04 June 2021, 18:05 IST

Like us, the lives of stray animals have also been affected during the pandemic.

Most animals on the streets depend on humans around them for sustenance. While many people volunteer as part of organisations or on a personal level to feed stray animals and take care of them, it’s important to know the basic dos and don’ts before choosing to feed strays.

If you start feeding stray animals, remain consistent

If you don’t plan to be consistent, it is better to not start at all. When you quit feeding them all of a sudden, the animals, especially younger puppies and kittens become clueless about how to get food as they grow dependent on you.

Choose a spot and feed them at the same place every day

This not only helps the animals know where they’ll be getting food every day but also builds a sense of discipline in them as they begin to form a routine. If you have pets at home, make sure to pick a spot a little further away from home to avoid any commotion between the animals.

Always leave a bowl of water

You can leave a bowl of water either outside your house or on the streets for the stray animals. Alternatively, you can also carry a bowl and a water bottle with you and pour them some after feeding.

Avoid giving them ice-cold or hot water. Ensure you clean and maintain the water bowl, to avoid moss or mosquitoes due to stagnant water.

Avoid chocolate and other sweetened treats

Artificial sweeteners found in treats like candies, biscuits and chewing gums can cause life-threatening complications among animals. Theobromine, a chemical found in chocolates is especially harmful to our canine friends. It can dramatically escalate the blood pressure in the dog’s body, which could result in the failure in the functioning of various vital organs and the nervous system.

Stick to boiled food

Masala-filled, oily food can often be harmful to animals. This is why you need to be careful before feeding them leftovers. Stick to simple boiled foods like rice, potatoes and eggs. A mix of soft-boiled rice mixed with small portions of boiled potatoes and a little bit of ghee is a simple meal perfect for stray dogs. You can add some boiled fish to the mixture while feeding cats.

Be wary of dairy

Most animals have a digestive system that is not designed to break down the fat associated with dairy products. This often makes them lactose intolerant, so avoid feeding milk and cheesy goodies as it could lead to complications such as vomiting and diarrhoea.

Meat for older animals

Providing meals filled with meat can be expensive. Instead, you can get throwaway meat parts like lungs and chicken feet from the butcher at a much cheaper rate. Make sure to cook it properly and to only feed this to older cats and dogs, as the younger animals will still be teething and do not yet have a fully developed digestive system.

The cuts can be mixed in the rice and served as a great source of protein.

(Published 04 June 2021, 17:57 IST)

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