Students get valuable lessons in pet care

More than 1,600 students from 12 schools across New Providence are now more equipped to take care of their pets and determine which foods can be detrimental to the lives of their four-legged companions. The students participated in a series of virtual and in-person presentations by local representatives on behalf of Pet Food Institute (PFI).

The presentation covered common foods that are harmful for pets including chocolate, onions, avocados, grapes, raisins, nutmeg, macadamia nuts, alcohol and cooked bones.

“The biggest misconception and one we always try to correct is that it is OK to give your dog a bone – any bone. But cooked bones in particular can be extremely dangerous for dogs,” said Hope Sealey, PFI local representative.

“We show images of what a cooked bone can do, how it can damage the spleen or cause digestive problems, even splinter and cause internal bleeding – and, in the worst-case scenarios, surgery may be needed,” said Sealey.

PFI also stresses the danger of feeding pets table scraps. “Commercially available dog and cat food is specifically made to contain special nutrition that pets need. If your pet is like family, treat them like family and give them only safe foods made for pets. That is our best advice.”

The Washington, DC-based trade association’s Bahamian representatives hosted several virtual sessions and in-person presentations over recent months, sharing information with students from both government and private schools across New Providence.

“During a normal year, we visit schools in person accompanied by a dog or cat, and the kids love it. With the pandemic, there were no dog shows or other public events, learning was virtual and we had to get creative. We realized we could do our pets a favor by sharing the information about what is safe or unsafe in a virtual world.”

Geraldine Romer, St. John’s College Preparatory Department principal, described the presentation as inspiring to their students.

“The students were engaged and entertained by the special guest Marshmallow. They learned new things about what not to feed their pets.”

Romer said Sealey’s cat Cuddlebutt has become the topic of discussion among students during the day.

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