April 4th is World Stray Animals Day. This is one cause that we will always champion. Stray animals lead very hard lives. They must struggle to find food, shelter, and water, and are at high risk of illness and injury. A Oshawa, ON vet offers some information on strays—and offers tips on how to help—in this article. “He who feeds a hungry animal feeds his own soul.” – Charlie ChaplanThe Numbers The populations of homeless animals out there fending for themselves are nothing short of staggering. According to the World Health Organization, there are over 200 million stray dogs in the world. CAROcat estimates the number of stray kitties to be at around 480 million. Those numbers are not evenly distributed: countries with warm or moderate climates usually have the highest stray populations. Closer to home, there is both good and bad news. While numbers of stray dogs seem to be on the rise, the number of strays being brought to shelters is declining. According to Humane Canada, there were 102,132 dogs admitted in 1993, 30 percent of which were euthanized. That same year saw 176,185 kitties brought in, 60 percent of which were put down. In 2021, there were 20,974 dogs and 60,677 cats brought in, and just around 11 or 12 percent were euthanized. That’s clear progress, but there’s still a long way to go.Causes To help strays, we have to look at underlying causes behind the issue. Pet overpopulation is a big one. That can be addressed directly, both by having your own furry friend fixed and supporting animal rescues that trap, fix, and release strays. Sadly, many homeless animals are former pets that were lost or abandoned. Taking some safety precautions, such as keeping Fido leashed and keeping Fluffy indoors, can help you keep your pets from joining those numbers. Ways To Help While no single person can save every stray out there, there are ways to help. Supporting local animal rescues and shelters is a great start. This can take many forms: monetary support is always appreciated, but many organizations also welcome donations of food or supplies. You can also volunteer or even foster. Of course, the ultimate way to assist stray animals would be to adopt one! Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? Contact us, your Oshawa, ON animal clinic, today!