Pet Food Institute Goes to Summer Camp
On a recent Friday afternoon, nearly a dozen youngsters ended their participation in the Bahamas Humane Society’s summer camp with an educational session on what foods are safe for their four-legged friends to eat. In a meeting led by a representative of the U.S.-based Pet Food Institute, Olivia Dorsett quizzed campers on what of their favourite foods could be dangerous for pets.
“Name a food you love that may be bad for your pet,” asked Dorsett on behalf of PFI, an association whose members make 98 percent of all U.S. dog and cat food products, and is committed to education and awareness of the importance of pet nutrition and wellness.
Hands shot up and answers bellowed. “Chocolate! Grapes! Nuts!”
“You all are correct,” Dorsett exclaimed. “It can only take a handful of grapes to harm a dog. We love our pets so much that we give them whatever they beg for. We fall for the big bright eyes or the sad look, but, while sharing food with your puppy may seem like a well-deserved treat, you could be risking your dog’s life. In fact, many of the foods in your house can trigger toxic reactions in pets.”
Dorsett continued the lesson by passing around actual food items – raisins, avocados, chocolate, grapes and macadamia nuts to reinforce the idea that the same foods that people enjoy daily can cause pets to experience symptoms of appetite loss and vomiting.
The visit to the Bahamas Humane Society is one of the many annual outreach initiatives undertaken by the Bahamas arm of PFI Caribbean. PFI strives to improve pets’ lives through wellness and education outreach among pet owners. This was the second year that Dorsett visited the Society and spoke to the children. She was amazed at the high level of recall the children had.
“Many of the children who attended last year’s camp session where I shared remembered so much of the information,” she said. “I was equally impressed when some shared how they were able to educate the adults in their lives on the poor pet feeding practices they unknowingly participate in.”
According to Shelley Hardman, Education Coordinator, Bahamas Humane Society, who agrees that educating the local population on the proper way to care for their animals is critical in helping lower the number of pets who eventually find themselves in the care of the Humane Society or local vet office. She also expressed her gratitude to the volunteers who do a yeoman’s task in caring for the animals.
“We have over 400 animals that need to be cared for daily, so any interested volunteers age 14 and over are more than welcome to join.” said Hardman. “Our wonderful volunteers come out each day and we would love to see that number grow and the wider community gets involved and lends a helping hand.”
Besides keeping pets away from potential toxic human foods, pet lovers can also support their dog or cat’s health by feeding them commercial pet food which provides the nutrition they need. Pet Food Institute provides factual information about pet food safety, nutrition and health to pet lovers, and acts as advocates for a science-based regulatory environment. Its members collectively produce 98 percent of all U.S. pet food and treat products.
For more information about PFI and pet food products, visit www.petfoodinstitute.org.