Annapurna Circuit: Street Dogs


Nepal has an interesting view to animals, especially dogs. The city of Kathmandu, Nepal is home to more than 22,500 street dogs. The Kathmandu city government used to poison more than 10,000 street dogs each year with strychnine, in an attempt to control the street dog population but now the government no longer poisons stray dogs in the areas where KAT (Kathmandu Animal Treatment) works. Now, intervention programs, such as Animal Birth Control and rescue programmes, have an impact on these numbers and helps keep the street dog population at a manageable level.
Outside of Kathmandu it is estimated there is near 500,000 street dogs all over Nepal. In villages, they guard tea houses and livestock.
Nepal is one of the few Asian countries without proper animal welfare legislation.

Puppies are commonly seen, this puppy (and the one in the featured image) was at the Monkey Temple in Kathmandu. Their cute appearance was attracting them a lot of attention and food; mum was close by.


Street dogs in Nepal don’t get the same grooming treatment that western dogs do, so it was common to see dogs with ‘dreads’ in their hair. In some cases they were all over the fur.


Street dogs would lie down where ever they wanted. They’d usually be up all night and slept heavily during the day- we saw them in doorways, alleyways and even lying down in the road – the Nepalese just walk/drive around them.


In a busy bus station this dog was sleeping peacefully considering the movement of buses and people around him/her.


Many medical issues a dog might have will often go undiagnosed and treated as treatment can be expensive, so charities are vital to help them. This dog had a ‘head tilt’ and was fearful near humans.


Some street dogs have scars from the fights they’ve been involved with…


Territory for some is important, especially in towns where competition for food and mating is high due to a high dog population.


Street dogs come in all different shape and sizes yet all we met had lovely temperaments.


Several nights on the trek we heard dogs barking in the night alerting others to their presence.


We’d heard stories of dogs biting humans and catching rabies – every year about 200 people a year die from catching rabies through dog bites and it is reported 16,000 people are bitten by dogs each year – but all the dogs we encountered were friendly and had no fear of humans.


This dog was my favourite. A young male, just coming out of his puppy years, followed us at the last guest house. I let him into the dining room and he stayed all night. In the morning I found him sleeping outside our rooms.
I wish I could have taken him home. I hope he leads a good life.


Dogs are honoured at a festival each year: Tihar is a five-day-long Hindu festival celebrated in Nepal and on the second day (called Kukur Tihar), people offer garlands, tika and delicious food to dogs and acknowledge the cherished relationship between humans and dogs.
Dogs occupy a special place in Hindu mythology, watching over the gates of Naraka, the Hindu concept of Hell.
But, it shouldn’t be once a year when these animals are honoured and thanked – it should be continual everyday – “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” ― Josh Billings


As mentioned, there are various charities and programmes to help these wonderful creatures. They accept donations, adoptions, sponsorship and volunteering to help street dogs. A couple of charities are:
KAT Centre | Humane Treatment for Stray Dogs in Kathmandu, Nepal
Street Dog Care
Snehas Care

Please, consider sending a donation to a Nepalese street dog charity, lets help these wonderful animals.

Just Joanne.

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