What you need to know:
Various people appreciate the presence and joy pets bring to a home. Yet, even when many would consider getting one, they are not aware of the dos and don’ts.
Varying reasons are put forward by people for keeping pets at home. Motives ranging from companionship, beauty and stress relief to tasks including guarding homes.
Given the changing nature of homes today, maintaining pets without encroaching on their rights as well as them not causing inconvenience seems a hefty task.
Isma Muwonge a veterinary doctor at Kent Animal Clinic, Kigogwa says just like humans, animals ought to be respected.
They are emotional and ought to be given the required attention including health care, proper shelter as well as nutrition to create a harmonious and joyful living at home.
“Once the above or more is not considered, that pet will cause a lot of inconvenience,” Muwonge warns.
Muwonge adds that for each and every pet one opts for, he or she has to accommodate it appropriately.
For birds such as parrots, a cage with perching facilities is needed, if its fish, make sure the water is changed not forgetting dogs and cats which also require decent habitats.
These drive to the various cautions one should consider before getting a pet at home.
In an era where people have limited space and others are tenants whose neighbours and landlords may not tolerate outdoor pets such as dogs and cats, Muwonge says it is advisable to go for less aggressive and easy to maintain pets such as fish and caged birds among others.
Kittens and puppies will sneak into home spaces like open dryers, cupboards among other dangerous places and can as well cause inconvenience to neighbours.
“A hazard-free zone, with a cosy bed in a basket, a water source, and safe toys are all needed by your pet. However if you have limited space, this can never happen,” Muwonge cautions.
Commitment and hygiene
Sulaina Naluwuge, a resident of Nsangi, has had cats and dogs as pets for over 20 years.
According to her, taking in a pet is a long time commitment because common pets such as cats and dogs can last more than 10 years. Since pets are friendly, sometimes there is no way you can prevent them getting into the house and in this case, you need to keep them thoroughly clean to avoid spread of diseases and parasites.
“Pets with fur, especially dogs ought to be bathed using shampoo and plenty of water to keep away parasites such as ticks and fleas,” she advises.
However cats are not water friendly hence you can only clean inside their ears, trim their nails as well as brushing them regularly for those with long hair according to Naluwuge.
“For a quick clean up, pass strips of packing tape or a wet plastic kitchen glove over clothing and surfaces to pick up stray hairs of which some people are allergic to,” Naluwuge advises.
Male and female pets become aggressive when vying for the attention of a mate. Gerald Kakuru whose unsterilized dog used to conceive had thrown away the puppies as his only option before he was advised by a veterinary doctor to sterilise it.
According to Muwonge, throwing away young animals in ditches, rivers and even in rubbish pits is an abuse of animal rights.
He says it is good to sterilise your female pet at around 18 months which provides protection against pregnancy.
Pet health and nutrition
Allocate clean utensils for your pets and always wash and dry them after use to protect against diseases arising from poor hygiene. Keep animal utensils away and separate from those used by people at home.
Naluwuge says it is not good to just drop food anywhere for your pet as it may lead to food contamination.
Dry animal food has to be stored in its original bag and then covered properly to keep away unwanted insects and rodents.
“Dry pet foods are more nutritious and less liable to contamination than wet foods are,” Muwonge says.
Pet-unfriendly plants including lilies, tulips among others can cause health hazards once chewed hence a need to keep them far from your compound.
“Consider organic farming and be critical when it comes to gardening as some insecticides and fertilizers may be harmful to your pets,” Muwonge advises.
Pets should also be immunised so that they do not spread rabies and other diseases in case they scratch or bite a person.
Save for cleaning and feeding, dogs and cats require attention. You ought to play and interact with them constantly. Loneliness can lead to serious behavioural problems according to Muwonge.
Training and protection
Pet training in terms of obedience and behaviour is what every pet owner should put into consideration because maintaining unruly pets is so tedious. Among the basic is potty training if you do not want your pets to leave wastes everywhere for you to clean up. Overtime pets should know their utensils, where they dispose their wastes and self-control among strangers especially during the day.
For unruly and stubborn pets especially dogs, muzzles and chains should be used to protect people from their aggressiveness.
Muwonge advises that it is necessary to find out the cause of unruliness among your pets because most of them can be solved.