The responsibility of owning a pet is not limited to feeding and giving it a place to stay. There are many other aspects of pet care that must be taken into consideration to ensure that your safety and that of the people around and your pet is not compromised.
Urban Health speaks to Dr Premnita Kalananthan, Veterinarian at Healing Rooms, Subang Jaya about keeping yourself and your pets safe.
1. HOW CAN I ‘PET-PROOF’ MY HOME?
Dr Premnita: Pet proofing your home is essential to ensure the safety of your pet. Owners must be careful of fragile objects such as vases that may fall if your pet is running around freely at home. Electricity wiring should be out of reach because animals such as rabbits and cats may nibble or chew on them. Animals may also squeeze themselves through metal gates or windows. If your house has an area which your pet is able to squeeze itself through, line up a wire fencing to avoid it from being injured or getting stuck in between. Be cautious when you drive your car out of your driveway because your dogs, cats or rabbits enjoy lying under the car and may even crawl into the engine! Confirm the whereabouts of your pet before driving.
2. HOW CAN I ‘POISON-PROOF’ MY HOME?
Dr Premnita: Everything too much is poisonous. Hazardous items such as rubber padding, rubber stoppers, polystyrene packaging and polymer beads are common items found in a household that are toxic to animals who may see them as chew toys. Human medications should also be kept out of reach. If your pet is outdoors, be cautious of toxins such as car grease, plant fertilizers and pesticides which are deadly for your pet if consumed.
3. WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY PET IS POISONED?
Dr Premnita: If detected within four hours, feed your pet charcoal tablets or liquid. Depending on the severity, look out for other symptoms of poisoning such as vomiting or wobbly walking. Bring the pet to the vet immediately if you suspect poisoning after four hours or if your pet shows any symptoms.
4. HOW DO I KEEP MY FAMILY SAFE AND HEALTHY?
Dr Premnita: Cleanliness is essential when owning a pet. Intestinal worms from animals may be harmful to humans especially the young and old. Be sure to wash your hands with anti-bacterial soap after handling an animal and make a habit to de-worm your pet when necessary. Owning a clean animal leads to a happy and healthy pet and owner!
5. WHAT CAN PARENTS DO TO PREVENT ANIMAL ATTACK ON CHILDREN?
Dr Premnita: From a young age, parents should teach their children on the dangers of approaching an animal. The key is to prevent an attack. An animal that may seem playful at first may harm a child if the animal was not treated with respect. Pulling the tail, sitting on the animal or playing rough may lead to an animal attack. Parents must remember that it is their responsibility to ensure that their child and animal are both safe.
The secret to prevent an animal attack is simple: DO NOT AGGRAVATE. Some animals are territorial and it is important to approach the animal slowly. If an animal is charging your way, you should act immediately and remember not to make eye contact. Pets are also protective over their owners and it is vital not to trigger an attack. Pet owners should also be responsible of ensuring the safety of others.
- Walk your pet with a leash.
- Be respectful of others – Pick up your animal’s faeces.
- If in a car, your pet should be confined within it.
- If you own a small animal such as a hamster or guinea pig, do not let it run free.
Certain types of human food can be hazardous to animals. They include:
- Grape seeds