Animals can ‘feel it’ too

2010-06-28 13:58

Fans should not involve animals in World Cup festivities.

Chris Kuch, spokesperson for the National Council of SPCAs, said people should think about the message it sends out.

“At the Glen shopping centre’s competition for Fifa flag bearers, one person arrived with a spray-painted Pekingese dog. Please be compassionate, sensitive and caring,” said Kuch.

He said paint could be toxic for animals. “What is safe for humans may not be safe for animals.”

Vuvuzela noise could also harm animals. Kuch said: “People allow children to blow vuvuzelas at home or in the garden close to animals. The hearing of animals is far more sensitive than ours.”

Animal welfare organisations have also warned against the effects of the cold snap on pets after a dog froze to death last weekend in Port Elizabeth.

Hilary Truscott from the Port Elizabeth Animal Care Hospital, a branch of the Animal Anti-Cruelty League, said: “Our head fieldworker saw the dog while she was in Helenvale, a very poor area in our northern suburbs. It was very thin and had only a makeshift shelter. She promised the owner that she would be back with a kennel. When she returned early the following morning, the dog had frozen to death.”

Truscott said: “Heaven only knows how many others suffered this dreadful fate.”

Temperatures in Port Elizabeth have been higher than the rest of the country.

The National Council of SPCAs has encouraged pet owners to keep pets inside or provide them with a blanket, basket or shelter outside during the winter season. They’ve also urged people to donate spare or old blankets to animal shelters.

Tracey Phillips, marketing and communications manager for the South African Veterinary Association, said: “There is a general misconception that dogs cope fine with being outside in winter, but the truth of the matter is that all pets require shelter from the elements and insulation against the cold. Animals can suffer from hypothermia, and puppies and old dogs are most susceptible.”

Phillips suggests the following:

»Insulate kennels by raising them off the ground and placing thick layers of newspaper or other insulating material between the blankets and the floor of the kennel. Face kennels away from wind or rain, and plug any gaps between the kennel roof and its sides.

»Allow dogs to sleep inside a garage or outbuilding that is insulated against the elements, but the bedding must still be raised off the cold cement floor.

»If you are going to provide your pets with bedding, make sure that they will not chew it. Use chew-resistant bedding if required. Be aware that if you are using any heating devices to warm the kennels or the bedding, they must be approved for use in animals. These devices can be a fire hazard. Always allow space for animals to move away from a heater when they get too warm.

»Veterinarians and vet shops stock a range of jackets – from tiny ones for the littlest dog to outdoor versions for your guard dog.

»Don’t forget that even if it is cold, fresh water must be provided at all times. Outdoor animals will require extra food for energy and to maintain body heat.

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