Over the past few years, the number of pet owners in India has increased drastically. There are many pet pages, pet blogs and online and offline pet communities that inspire us to become a pet parent.
It’s great to be a pet parent but sometimes we bring home pets without realising that they need a lot more than kisses and cuddles. When they are too tough to manage, many pet owners call it a day and abandon their pets.
A recent report showed that animal shelters are starting to get crowded by Labradors, and Pomeranians.
As a pet parent, we’re sure you met at least one person who said they gave up their pet for various reasons.
There are many reasons why the number of abandoned pets are increasing. Let us look at a few:
1. Lack of Research
Of course, the main reason for the rising number of sad pets in shelters is that people just don’t do their research. Labradors are adorable as puppies but they also grow into energetic dogs. Similarly, Pugs are cute too but you need to take care of their short muzzles or else they may become sick.
Every pet needs care and there is more to it that meets the eye. In fact, having pets is more like having children. The initial months are difficult, you may even have sleepless nights as your pet adjusts to their new house.
If you bring home a puppy you need to train them and help them find positive ways to burn all their energy. Big dogs like Labradors, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds etc are work dogs. They weren’t bred to sit idly in their house and therefore they have a lot of energy even after they become adults.
2. Failing to Plan The Future
Dogs live for 10 – 15 years and cats may live up to 20 years. That’s 10-20 years of commitment from your side. Many things can happen in 10 years. You can shift to a new place, get married, have kids etc.
Your changing lifestyle does not give you the excuse to abandon your pet. They may just be another pet to you but for them, you are their pack, their family. Getting rejected by their own family hurts them in ways you cannot imagine.
3. Old Age Care
Of all the other reasons, this is the one that disheartens us the most. Senior pets need care just like aged people. They often have trouble controlling their bladder, have trouble seeing, deafness, arthritis with age and require extra care.
Many pet parents lack the time and patience to take care of senior dogs and cats and they end up abandoning their pet. It is perhaps one of the most disheartening way to let go of a pet. They need us the most during their old age and we abandon them.
4. Expensive Medical Care
Sometimes, pets develop medical conditions that require surgery, expensive medication and round the clock care. With our busy lives, it becomes difficult for pet owners to tend to an ailing pet.
Perhaps, if you aren’t able to care for their condition financially, the most ethical way to help them would be to find a fitting home where the new pet parent understands their needs and is willing to spend the respected amount.
Unfortunately, it is very difficult to rehome a pet that requires medical attention. Hence, they are usually abandoned or left to die.
5. Behavioural Issues
Sometimes, pets develop behavioural issues because of the lack of exercise and/or poor breeding conditions. An inexperienced pet owner may not be able to handle a reactive pet or one that is aggressive towards people or other animals.
Instead of solving the issue they abandon their pets.
6. Unkind Neighbours
This issue is most common among Indian pet parents. We still live in a society where pet parents and non-pet parents struggle to live in harmony. Many pet owners get a lot of harsh treatment from their neighbours, house owners and committee members.
Since we mostly live in apartments, it seems almost mandatory to maintain cordial relationships with our neighbours. Most Indian pet parents are unaware of the animal cruelty rules that protect them and their pets. They often abandon their pets after getting a few complaints from their neighbours.
7. Death of an Owner
Sometimes the primary caregiver dies or falls severely ill and other members of the family have no other choice but to give up their pet.
So, here are some reasons why the number of abandoned pets keep increasing in India. But all hope is not lost. We can reduce the number of abandoned pets if we make the effort to better educate our friends and family members.
Ethical breeders usually guide you through the process of pet care. Their basic needs – feeding, walking training etc.
Unfortunately, very few owners buy their pets from ethical breeders. Most buy them from backyard breeders or other pet owners who have bred their dogs. These breeders/owners don’t know anything about gene pool and genetic illnesses and behavioural disorders. They never educate potential buyers about pet care and thus the cycle continues.
How Can You Reduce The Number of Pets Abandoned In India?
It is not possible to go to every house and educate pet parents on pet care but there are little things you can do to reduce the number of abandoned pets.
1. Do Not Contribute
Of course, if you are a pet owner and you are reading this article, we know that you care about your pets and you are not thinking of abandoning your own pet. But sometimes we unknowingly contribute to pet abandonment.
Don’t leave your pets outside your house without supervision. There are many dog nappers searching for pedigree dogs. They usually abduct these dogs and breed them in unethical conditions.
Sterilise your dogs to prevent unwanted pregnancies and do not breed your dogs with others to sell puppies. This contributes to an increased number of pets and reduces the chances of shelter dogs from getting adopted.
If anyone shows interest in getting a dog/cat, tell them the responsibilities it takes to get a pet instead of encouraging them to get one. The idea of owning a pet is always nicer than to actually own one. It’s important for every aspiring pet owner to know that.
Lastly, the only way to reverse the damage is by adopting abandoned animals from the shelters. These dogs and cats are usually distraught from being rejected and often abused. It takes a lot of time and patience to gain their trust but if you are willing to work with them, you not only save another life, but you also make room in shelters. You make it possible for them to save another distressed animal.
We hope this article helped understand why there are so many abandoned pets in India and what we can do save them. India is a heavily populated country. This means that if we all start to act responsibly, we can save many pets who do not deserve to be abandoned in shelters.