No matter how much we'd want, every animal doesn't get a home.
According to a 2016 report by The Washington Post, there were at least 30 million stray dogs in India, and the numbers have only increased in two years.
Now, many people volunteer as a part of an organization, or on a personal level to feed the stray animals and take care of them.
But in order to ensure that the help is proper, it's important to know some basic Dos and Don'ts of feeding strays. Here, we have compiled some, after talking to caregivers and people who work for them.
1. Avoid giving sweets, especially chocolates, to dogs.
Chocolate has theobromine, which dogs process much more slowly than humans and it leads to formation of toxins in their bodies. Additionally, stray dogs have a lower immunity than pets and you don't want to put their health on risk.
2. Try giving them boiled food and strictly avoid anything that has spices, or is heavily fried.
A lot of times, we tend to feed stray animals the leftovers from our own meals. It is not a good idea because our bodies and digestive systems work differently. While we have very high tolerance for spices and oil, same is not the case with animals, especially strays.
3. Build trust with the animals as you know nothing about their past, and might enrage them intentionally.
Also, they might not be vaccinated, in case of which you can go ahead and get that done. In any case, don't try to be too physically close to them, lest you freak them out.
4. Choose a spot and feed them at the same place, every day.
Let the spot not be closer to your house, especially if you have a pet and this might lead to fights between them. This will also help the stray animals to know where they need to be, which will develop discipline in them.
5. Don't feed stray animals food that you know, they can easily be allergic to.
This includes dry fruits and fish etc. Another reason to not feed fish is bones, that they obviously won't be able to remove while eating. Same with chicken; its stronger and sharper bones can get stuck in their food pipes, and cause choking.
6. Avoid feeding them in crowded areas, especially where children play and/or old people come for walks.
Needless to say that the place should be hygienic, as well.
7. Learn about their dietary needs and don't overfeed or underfeed them.
Different animals have different food needs, educate yourself about that and act accordingly.
8. Give them water.
After they have had the food, it would be great if you can provide them with water. This will save them trouble of finding water to drink.
9. Don't feed two packs of dogs at the same time and same place.
They can get really violent for food and you will end up doing more bad than good.
10. Be careful while giving milk to animals as it might cause some major health problems.
Milk can lead to worms in their stomachs, and intestinal distress like gas, diarrhea or vomiting. If you are going to give them milk, be very observant of these
11. Never throw food from a moving vehicle.
Make sure you get down and feed them properly because otherwise, they will start chasing other vehicles, too, and put their lives at risk.
12. If you start feeding stray animals, be consistent about it.
Or don't start at all. When you quit feeding them all of a sudden, the animals don't know how to get food because they have been dependent on you all this while.