Lockdown Poses Challenge For Pets, Stray Animals

As the nation goes into a 21-day lockdown, pet owners in Odisha are raising concerns about the availability of animal food as most pet stores in the state have shut shop. A majority of these shops have also claimed that their staff strength is not sufficient to facilitate doorstep delivery of pet food.

These concerns have been raised as the state government has not listed pet shops as ‘essential service.’ Amidst this confusion, animal dieticians have urged pet owners to provide home-cooked food to animals.

“You can add nutritional supplements along with home-cooked vegetarian food to the diet of dogs or cats. Give them paneer, ‘chenna’, kidney beans and peas. Feed them pureed vegetables so that it is easy for them to digest the cellulose,” said pet nutritionist, Aakarschika Narayan Mishra.

Meanwhile, stray animals, who mostly feed on food waste generated in and around crowded areas such as tourist sites, restaurants, temples are also struggling for survival. Although volunteers are trying hard to provide basic food items to the strays, a collective effort is required to feed such a large population.

Members of ‘Speak for Animals’ foundation launched a ‘hunger-free Bhubaneswar’ campaign on March 23. “We received permissions for movement of five vehicles from the State Government to feed stray animals. We are going to the nearby villages to procure food. It’s a time-taking task and also people don’t understand the importance of feeding animals,” said Kushal Biswas, a volunteer from ‘Speak for Animals’.