Pet care in the time of lockdown

Let’s face it, the lockdown has been bad for our pets. The hungry howls of the strays at night, even the stray cattle that scavenge for food at the vegetable vendor and the garbage trucks are truly heart wrenching. As the COVID-19 crisis looms over us, so does the gloom of uncertainty give rise to confusion, miscommunication and lesser access to resources. In these challenging times, every life has been affected in some way or another by the continuing lockdown. It is truly challenging to have a pet home who happens to be unwell especially when you are uncertain about timely treatments. Understandably a barrage of emotions will course through in hopelessness from being completely let down and one will rightly question the humanity left in the world. Such was the anguish of one such pet parent recently when she lost her loving pet due to lack of medical assistance during the lockdown. It was like losing a part of her herself. This was just one case that was reported , yet so many cases go unreported where pet parents feel that all hope has been lost. While there were reports where heartfelt acts of compassionate people feeding strays have been manhandled violently by authorities without empathy. Likewise there has been increased abandonment due to fear, panic and rumours about pets transmitting COVID-19 even though the World Health Organisation has clearly mentioned that there is no evidence to show that pets can transmit this disease to humans. The necessity is more than ever to adopt a more humane approach in such a pandemic situation.
Most pet healthcare companies are trying to work out ways to make sure the required licenses and permits are taken to ensure that no pet parent is left in the lurch when it comes to pet food, pet medicines and other supplies. A few pet clinics and vets are trying their best to help. Pet start-ups have gone above and beyond to ensure that as many strays are fed as possible and even appealing to pet lovers for donations. A lot of NGOs have taken up this cause and helplines have been flooded with food donations, shelter for strays and foster parents who have taken it upon themselves to care for the strays till the lockdown is lifted and they can be released in their own familiar territory. A lot of stray feeders have gone viral on social media appealing to people for donations. The videos shared are absolutely overwhelming because you really get to know the actual plight of these animals who convey unconditional love and gratitude through their eyes.

Quick tips:
- Firstly, always have a First-Aid Kit handy inclusive of thermometer, Savlon/ Betadine, wound healing spray, cotton gauze and bandage,an antibiotic ointment, antacid, anti-diarrheal medicine, pain-killer and parasite treatment products. It’s advisable to keep these medicines handy for emergency situations, but to not give them without consulting with your veterinarian first. - If you are a seasoned pet parent you will be able to understand what your pet may be experiencing better and explain it to your vet. If you are a new pet parent, you should call your vet and explain your pet’s behavior, symptoms & eating habits etc. Note the signs or symptoms, avoid giving medicines and vaccinations on your own without consulting your vet. Be sure to check expiry dates on medication. Call your vet and explain the situation over a phone call. Take pictures and videos of anything you feel is not normal.
- Keep your pet’s vitals such as breed, weight, age, any allergies handy when speaking with your veterinarian. Also stay updated about your pet’s deworming and vaccination schedules as this helps your veterinarian make better decisions when it comes to identifying the underlying ailment. Moreover, ensure your pet is hydrated, is engaged, provided adequate daily activity and exercise along with well balanced and nutritious food.
- Veterinary assistance is an essential service during lockdown and some clinics and doctors are working. Online vet consultations for humans as well as pets are on the rise, ensuring you can still connect with experienced vets through video call and get the right advice for your furry companions, backed by medicine delivery.
- In case of serious emergencies like seizures, accidents or injury, bleeding, tick-fever, burns, shock or breathing difficulty, toxication etc, call your vet immediately and get your pet to a clinic as quickly as possible. During the curfew, if at all there is any emergency with your pet and you need to travel, please register yourself and get an E-PASS. If you were ever looking for the right time to adopt a pet, now is the time. So many abandoned pets are starving & longing for a home in your hearts.
- These times of uncertainty have been truly confusing and challenging. But through it there is also a realization to be thankful for the things that we already have and that includes our pets who share their unconditional love with us at all times. In the words of George Bernard Shaw 'The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them but to be indifferent to them. That is the essence of inhumanity.

Inputs by Anushka Iyer, CEO and Founder, Wiggles

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