When I first traveled abroad, I noticed the abundance of dogs in the streets. I happened to take my first out-of-country experience to India, and at first, felt deeply saddened for all of the homeless street pups I saw. Throughout the week however, I noticed that these dogs weren’t homeless after all. Their home was the busy streets of Delhi. Passerbys stopped to feed them, pet them and give them water. They camped out on cool dirt streets under the awnings of local shops or hotels. We even “adopted” a dog for the week and named her Indy (as we were travelling students from Indianapolis). At the end of our stay, we packed up food from our hotel breakfast and tried to feed the dogs. To our astonishment, they wanted nothing to do with the freshly made chicken sausage or breakfast rotis! These dogs were already full! Then I began to wonder, how are dogs treated around the world? I have compiled bits of information from around the globe, to hopefully gain more insight on how dogs live around the world.
Image via Life With Lulu
We must start with the motherland: The United States of America. (Well, my motherland at least. ;P) According to Priceonomics, “Americans own over 86.4 million cats and 78.2 million dogs. The number of households that have pets even tops the number that has children.”
In 2014, Americans spent nearly $58.5 billion on pet expenditures, according to the American Pet Products Association. That’s a lot of cash!
Pups are welcomed into homes as family. They go on vacations with us, receive shelter from the cold and are snuggled into bed with us at night. However, in stark contrast to our compassion for our pets, Americans euthanize 2.7 million dogs and cats in shelters each year according to The Humane Society of The United States. This is in part due to puppy mills, breeding/overbreeding, lack of sterilization in pets and not knowing the responsibility it takes to raise a pet. In efforts to improve the quality of life for pets, the United States is pushing sterilization programs in offering free or reduced spay and neuter opportunities for pet owners.
2. Latin America
Image via @franklin_birdworth
Ever wondered how man’s best amigos are viewed in Latin America? According to The Economist, things have gotten a lot better for Latino pups, thanks to the pet care boom in emerging markets. More people are bringing dogs into their lives for companions, rather than security. In the past five years, spending on pet food and knick-knacks has risen by 44%, to $11 billion. Euromonitor estimates that Chile has more pet dogs per person than any other country. This is because of rising incomes and the fact that young people are putting off marriage and families and replacing them with a pupanion! However, there is still room for growth. The lack of proper nutrition for dogs in Latin America has caused more billboards to rise in efforts to urge owners to properly feed their pets dog food. Many Latin American families still feed their pooches table scraps and pet superstores barely exist south of the Rio Grande.
Image via @ericvernon
A simple Google search of how dogs are treated in China prompted a whole list of not-so-nice stories and reports. A lot of controversy surrounds China in relation to its treatment of dogs and the fact that they have no animal welfare laws. However, because of increased interest in animal rights groups and the push for humane treatment of dogs, three quarters of China’s population have indicated a desire for improved animal welfare protections. In addition, due to China’s growing economy, pet ownership rates have increased dramatically, and more and more families are bringing pups into their homes!
Image via NY Daily News
As mentioned previously on my accounts of India, most of India’s dogs are street dogs. Millions of street dogs coexist with people in the center of the country’s booming cities. Because of this, thirty-six percent of the world’s rabies deaths occur in India. However, thanks to the Humane Society International, and a program called Capture, Neuter, Vaccinate & Return (CNVR), rabies related incidents have decreased dramatically. Where there are people, there are dogs. And India’s large population, although often frightened of being bitten by dogs, have a great tolerance and often compassion for street pups. The pooches are cared for by local communities despite fear of rabies. The Humane Society International has helped train and educate local veterinarians on protocol in sterilization techniques that are quick, effective and safe. In Jaipur, a northern India state, the incidence of dog bites has been cut by two-thirds and human rabies cases have fallen to zero. Pups win again!
5. Saudi Arabia
Image via @sus122
In Islamic culture, such as Saudi Arabia, doggies are considered “unclean.” Saudi nationals are often uncomfortable and afraid around animals. Only recently have attitudes started to change, with more affluent families keeping mongrels at home, often pedigree breeds as a symbol of status. All dogs have to be classified as a working dog, such as a guard dog or hunting dog, otherwise they cannot be kept as pets. However, Saudis are fond of cats and often play or pet the cats that roam free in the streets. One fun fact is an Islamic tradition holds that the Prophet Muhammed loved cats, and even let a cat drink from his ablutions water before prayer. There is very little inhumane treatment of dogs, and many of the stray dogs in Saudi Arabia, and around the Middle East, roam the streets untouched. Ah, the life of a gypsy pup!
Featured image via Examiner