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As a traveller or tourist or even long timer coming to Koh Phangan it can be really heartbreaking to see puppies especially but also dogs, looking abandoned at the sides of the street, road, jungle or beach etc.
But what should you do if you come across puppies or dogs?
What a lot of new people coming to Koh Phangan do not realise is that those 7/11 dogs hanging around outside and to be fair most of the stray dogs are in fact taken care of.
In a different way to the west of course where a dog becomes a family member, is spoilt (sometimes), taken on walks and relies on its owner for food.
Phangan Animal Care have done a lot for the stray dog (and cat, and other) population on Koh Phangan over the years. You can find out more on their website.
The thing is that the volunteers and workers of PACs know most of the stray dogs of the island, they regularly check on them and give them treatment if needed.
Also a lot of business owners will not own one specific dog but will keep an eye on the strays that hang around the area.
For example, there are two or three dogs that regularly sit outside 7/11 in Ban Tai across from Fisherman’s restaurant.
They will give you those dowey eyes whilst you’re eating your ham and cheese toastie and you will feel for them of course.
But these dogs are fed, watered and kept an eye on by the owners of Baan Tai Backpackers next door where if you sometimes look, they will be happily chilling on the bar floor.
Especially with cute looking puppies, it may be tempting to take them with you, but remember, you’re not here forever.
The dogs on Koh Phangan need to be able to use that natural survival instinct if they have not got an owner.
Here is some advice from Helen at Phangan Animal Care -
Hungry looking dogs? Feed them where you see them….
Encouraging dogs away from their territory usually puts them right into the territory of another pack – can cause aggression towards the dog from territorial packs. Don’t encourage them to move by bringing them back with you and feeding them there.
Taking a dog away from its area means it does not have the protection of its pack, it gets moved away from the food and water sources it knows and can put it at a real disadvantage
Dogs here get poisoned, often, when people leave dogs behind that they brought from elsewhere, they can be poisoned as they are not wanted at your resort or bungalow area. When you leave, the strychnine comes out and it’s an horrific way to go.
Feed intermittently only
Regular feeding means they stop looking for their own food. And can forget these vital street skills. Feed only every few days and make it different times of day so they don’t rely on you and keep those instincts alive
There is a more in depth article on their website which you can find here.
So please, think about these animals, what will they do when you leave and they have become reliant on you and have forgotten how to get food themselves?
PACs are always there to help though so if you think a puppy or dog is in need of some medical attention then you can always call them on 089 875 7513.