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Navigating Bali’s Stray Dogs: Safety Tips and Insights


Bali, with its stunning coastlines, lush landscapes, and warm culture, is a traveller’s paradise. However, beneath the postcard-perfect scenes lies a less idyllic reality: the presence of stray dogs. These dogs are an integral part of Balinese life, and understanding their role can help visitors coexist harmoniously. In this article, we delve into the ins and outs of Bali’s canine companions, share safety tips, and shed light on how to help these animals.

Why So Many Stray Dogs in Bali?

To comprehend Bali’s stray dog situation, we must recognize that the Balinese view dogs differently from Western cultures. While many dogs roam freely, they aren’t necessarily homeless. In fact, approximately 90% of these dogs belong to specific compounds. These furry guardians protect their families from various threats, including unwanted visitors and even poisonous snakes. Unfortunately, low sterilisation rates contribute to the growing dog population.

The Role of Dogs in Balinese Culture

  1. Protectors and Communicators: Bali Dogs serve as early warning systems. They alert their families when spirits enter the compound or when other threats are present. Each type of threat has a distinct bark, allowing family members to differentiate them.
  2. Snake Detectors: Snakes pose a significant danger to Balinese families, especially when they attack chickens and consume their eggs (a vital food source). Dogs play a crucial role in warning against snake presence.
  3. Waste Management: Bali Dogs help reduce food waste on the island. They scavenge food scraps from trash piles and consume offerings left during Balinese ceremonies. This minimises rotting food waste and prevents rats and snakes from infiltrating compounds.

Safety Tips Around Bali Dogs

  1. Announce Your Presence: Before entering a gate, call out to the people inside. Dogs are more comfortable when they know someone is approaching.
  2. Move Calmly: Avoid sudden movements or loud noises. Keep your voice low and calm.
  3. Let Them Sniff You: Allow dogs to approach and sniff you. This establishes trust.
  4. Be Aware of Surroundings: Dogs may move behind you. Avoid turning your back to them.
  5. Avoid Stepping Over Dogs: Never step over a dog in a driveway or doorway.

How You Can Help

  1. Support Sterilisation Efforts: Organisations are working to make sterilisation accessible. By controlling the dog population, we can improve their quality of life.
  2. Advocate for Responsible Pet Ownership: Educate locals about responsible pet care and encourage vaccination against rabies.
  3. Fight Against the Dog Meat Trade: Encourage local regulations against this trade and associated cruelty.

Remember, Bali’s dogs are more than just strays—they’re an essential part of the island’s fabric. By understanding their role and following safety guidelines, we can coexist respectfully with these loyal companions. 🐾

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