In an effort to encourage dog adoptions, Hsinchu City’s Animal Protection and Education Campus is next month to start offering free pet insurance for a year, Hsinchu Mayor Lin Chih-chien (林智堅) said on Wednesday.
The insurance would cover part of the expenses for veterinary clinic visits, hospitalizations, surgeries and medicines, as well as pet-related legal liabilities and advertising should the dog get lost, he said.
The shelter houses 180 stray dogs, most of which were taken there by local residents or caught by animal control.
Photo courtesy of the Hsinchu County Government
The shelter deworms, vaccinates and neuters the animals before they are put up for adoption, he said.
Shelter volunteers walk and hand-feed the dogs, as this prepares them for living with humans, he said.
Many Hsinchu residents live in apartment units and work in offices, and some of those interested in adopting a pet might not be able to spare the time to walk a dog, the shelter said.
As the adoption rates for cats are higher than for dogs, the new initiative is specifically targeted at dog adoptions, it added.
The shelter accepts applications from people older than 20, and requires them to take classes on the duties of a pet owner and sit for an interview, it said, adding that successful applicants would have to wait for one week until they can take their pet home.
The shelter was renovated last year and received its current name upon reopening, Hsinchu City Animal Protection and Health Inspection Office Director Yang Chia-min (楊家民) said.
The shelter has an educational museum with interactive puzzles that helps prospective pet owners learn about animal care, he said, urging people to be kind to animals and not abandon their pets.
In related news, the New Taipei City Animal Protection and Health Inspection Office warned that cow milk should not be utilized to feed kittens or puppies.
The digestive system of young cats and dogs does not have the enzymes needed to metabolize the lactose in cow milk, it said.
If given milk, they might develop lactose intolerance, the most common symptoms of which are bloating, flatulence, diarrhea and vomiting, it said.
Milk products specifically produced for dogs and cats contain less lactose, but more protein, fats and natural antibiotics that the young animals need to grow, it said.
Cat or dog milk formula are available in pet supply stores, and pet owners should use a small bottle specifically for kittens and puppies to feed them milk, it said.
Cats and dogs younger than one week old should be fed every two hours, while those between one and two weeks old should be fed every three to four hours, it said.
Adult cats and dogs have little need of milk or dairy and their nutritional requirements for proteins, fats, carbs, minerals and vitamins can be met by meat, grains, fruits and beans, said Lin Tzu-yun (林子筠), a veterinarian working at the office.
Owners who want to supplement their animals’ diet with milk should use skim, preserved or goat milk, but no flavored milk products, Lin said.
Milk should not replace proper meals for cats and dogs, she said, adding that owners should be aware of lactose intolerance and take their pets to a clinic when symptoms occur.
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