Rescue, rehabilitation, re-homing and education
It’s the question we hear the most… “I have found an injured/abandoned/sick dog/cat on the street, what can I do to help?” Below we’ll break it down and give advice based on our own experiences and knowledge, and if you need further assistance please feel free to contact us directly and we can try to connect you to the right people who can help.
An animal that is injured or sick requires the attention of a veterinarian. There is usually more than one vet in even the smallest towns and most of them speak excellent English. With small animals and animals that are incapacitated, it is easy to take them to the nearest vet in a taxi or tuktuk. Vet fees in Thailand are unbelievably cheap, so do not be afraid of losing too much of your holiday budget helping your new friend in need.
Unless you have experience, please do not try to administer any medications or treatment yourself. If you are unable to get the animal to a vet, you can try to contact one of the many small shelters around Thailand. A quick google search of “dog rescue (local town)” should give you a good idea of what is nearby and we are currently working on a list of shelters to make it easier!
When capturing a sick or injured animal, your safety must come first. Do not corner a scared animal, or try to catch an aggressive animal without experience doing so. The Thais are animal lovers and will help if you ask! Rabies is present in Thailand, so you should exercise extreme caution at all times.
First of all, it is essential to be certain that the animal is indeed abandoned, that its mother is not hiding nearby or out looking for food. Any animal that is found cold, dehydrated and with an empty stomach can be assumed to have been abandoned and in need of immediate care.
Warm the kitten/puppy up using skin to skin contact or a covered hot water bottle – they cannot digest food unless they are warm. An animal that is severely malnutritioned or dehydrated will need vet care. A quick google of “vet in (local city)” should show you the nearest veterinary clinics to your location.
If the eyes are open and the puppy/kitten has their first set of teeth, you can try offering wet food and water. Never give milk or human food as they cannot digest it and it is likely to make them sicker!
It is important to remove any parasites you find, using rubbing alcohol to drown them after removal. Mange is a painful condition characterized by fur loss and itching, and it requires treatment as soon as possible to prevent it becoming a chronic affliction. You will be surprised how quickly your terrified rescue relaxes with some love and TLC!
The fact that these animals are able to roam freely in your guesthouse means that on some level, they have protection from the streets. The guesthouse owners will typically at least provide a rice/kibble mix for the dogs, and fresh water on site. If any of the animals look sick or injured, always talk to the guesthouse owner before acting to ensure the animal is not already receiving treatment.
You can always donate a large bag of dog/cat food to them which is always appreciated and costs very little!
Ultimately, if the street dog and cat populations continue to grow, then more and more animals will be destined to suffer on the streets. Spay and neuter campaigns are becoming more widespread in Thailand and are making an impact, especially on the Thai islands. We believe these campaigns to be the best solution to the crisis looming over the stray animals of Thailand.
If you are a qualified Vet or Vet Nurse, then your skills are priceless to the organisations. Some shelters are even able to offer a small wage to cover your living costs, and almost all will include accommodation for your efforts. While larger organisations will give you access to more extensive variety of clinical cases, smaller rescues and projects should not be overlooked for the level of autonomy offered to qualified staff.
If you are not qualified and just love animals and want to help, then there is a never-ending demand for helpers at the growing number of Rescue Shelters around Thailand. We are currently building a list of rescues who need volunteers, which can be found here. Please let us know of any first-hand experience you have, and we can include your experiences to help promote that shelter!
The great news is it is much easier than you may think! Please see our associated blog post for more information on adopting a street dog/cat and taking them home.
Author: Natasha Jones
We are an all star team of animal lovers from around the world who all have one thing in common - wanting to help street animals of the world!
If you have a skill to contribute to this project, please contact us and help us grow and save more dogs and cats from a life on the street!