MANILA, Philippines – Man’s “best friend” should not be eating man’s leftover food.
This was the primary goal of the “Well-Fed, Well-Nurtured” campaign launched Friday by the Pet Food Institute (PFI), a trade association based in the United States, and the Veterinary Practitioners Association of the Philippines (VPAP), to make Filipinos aware that pets deserve more than table scraps.
“We aim to help pet owners understand that pets have different nutritional needs from people, and like people, expert veterinary care will promote long and happy lives,” Kurt Gallagher, PFI Director of Communications and Export Development, said in a statement released at the campaign launch.
VPAP estimates that there are close to nine million households in the Philippines with at least one pet cat or dog. And the figure was steadily increasing every year, it said.
“These pets are more than just animals sharing their homes; they are members of the family,” they said in the statement.
However, 99 percent of pet owners still feed leftovers and table scraps to their pets, “which are not balanced meals for pets and are deficient in nutrients,” Regina Jacaria, Account Director of Strategic Edge Inc., PFI’s partner in the Philippines, said.
“Feeding pets with table scraps remains a common practice in the Philippines – more prevalent in provincial and rural areas – due to the limited disposable income of most Filipinos,” she said.
Through the campaign, PFI and VPAP aims to create awareness among pet owners on the importance of proper nutrition and regular veterinary care, “which are widely recognized as the two key elements in responsible pet ownership.”
They plan to “produce informational materials for the public – such as pamphlets on proper pet care – and mounting education workshops for pet owners throughout the year.”
PFI highlighted several “Pillars of Responsible Pet Ownership:” regular veterinary care, proper nutrition and diet for pets, exercise, grooming, and training.
Gabrial Paz, President of VPAP said in the statement that they “look forward to [their] partnership with PFI to help pet owners realize that pet welfare is not just the absence of animal abuse, but rather the presence of a nurturing environment to raise and care for pets properly.”
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