Petting Your Furry Babies

It’s sooo cool to have them. Pat them, prank with them, take them for walks. Meowww…or did we hear a bow-wowww…How about keeping them in the pink of health, fit and fine? Come rain, chill or shine. Caring for your canine and feline babies goes beyond hair styling them, indulging them in aroma therapies and feeding them crunchy delights. Pet parents have a lot on the cards, considering the harsh climates down South, even in the once-so-pleasant Bengaluru. It’s winter now, but your purring and barking little ones need your active care and support all year round. They are babies after all, no matter how big they balloon out to be! RITZ chats with well-known cat and dog experts in Bengaluru for their take on providing the best pet care.

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OWNER – Vivek Prabhakar, Founder and CEO, Chumbak

PET – Hugo

Hugo turned 2 years on Christmas Day. He comes to the Chumbak office everyday and sits on all the chairs and goes around saying ‘hello’ to all his favourite people

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OWNERSPhirooza Rustumji and her daughters Zenea and Sahar. Phirooza is a well-known cat expert and cat lover, while Zenea is a certified All Breed Professional Groomer who runs Zeenu’s Pet Spa, and Sahar is training to be a pet groomer.

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PETS – The Rustumjis have 3 cats and 3 dogs. Honeybun is a blue point Himalayan cat, Monty is a Persian cat and Armani a Persian Tabby. Their two Pekingese dogs are Peggy and Fudge, while 9 year old Peppy is a field cocker spaniel.

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Fudge is the youngest but he is a bully. Everyone is afraid of him. He doesn’t bite, none of them bite. The cats of course are very gentle and they sit around like beauties. If there are strangers, they feel shy. They all play together, my dogs and cats. We groom them regularly and that’s why they look so fabulous.

You may be a new pet parent, or a veteran who has nurtured a dozen cats and dogs. But the climate change is contributing towards an environment not very conducive for your little friends. Pet parents nowadays are always on their toes, doing their best for their babies who’ve got to confront increased noise, extreme winters and summers and have very little green space to walk and breathe.

Whether you’re parenting a dog or cat, a pup or a kitten, your schedule can get jam-packed with vet visits and salon treatments. It’s crucial to get your pet examined regularly by the vet, say experts.

“The idea is to make them confortable all year round,” says Shobhana Jayashankar, from the Muddy Pawz pet salon.

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OWNER – Alicia Souza, illustrator

PET – Charlie

My Charlie is a 5-year-old, very talkative and interactive Indie. He just loves cookies and biscuits, and he doesn’t really like to go out and play. He is like an old man in a dog’s body.

PET CARE

With the onset of winters, you’ve got to keep your pet warm, by creating cosy bedding. Sindhoor Pangal, Owner, Bangalore Hundeskole says it is imperative to ensure the pet gets a good dose of sunlight. “So in addition to walking your dog in the morning, you could step out in the afternoons as well in winters,” says Pangal.

Experts say that just like humans, dogs too can develop dry skin during winters, “making them itchy.” “Therefore use a good conditioner post shampoo and give them a good (coconut) oil massage,” says Jayashankar.

Conversely in summers, keep your pet constantly hydrated. “Remember; do not shave off your dog completely. Their coat allows them to remain cool in summers by creating an insulation layer of air,” says Pangal, who is a canine behaviour consultant.

And with cats, never sheer them as the fur is “like a thermostat, keeping it warm in winters as the cat starts growing an undercoat, while in summers the undercoat is shed to keep it cool,” says cat lover and expert Phirooza Rustumji.

Pet parents often have to confront with fleas and ticks. Experts say spraying some eucalyptus oil and lemon oil around your dog’s bedding area can work towards controlling the menace. “You could also use neem oil or citronella oil to give your dog a massage and then wash it off. Also, give your dog a pod of garlic a day,” says Pangal.  

Equally important is feeding your pet with a nourishing, wholesome diet. For cats, Rustumji suggests “wet home-cooked food consisting of oats, chicken mince (only breast) with a pinch of salt, one teaspoon of virgin olive oil and grated carrot with plenty of chicken stock. Milk is a definite no as they have a hard time digesting it. You can even feed them cooked veggies like broccoli or corn.”

According to Pangal, give dogs home-cooked food, “with the right amount of meat, vegetables, oil and unrefined carbohydrates. And allow them enough play time and some good exercise.”

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OWNER – Wanitha Ashok, Fitness Expert

PET – Copper (Shih Tzu)

GROOMED AT: Ruff Pet Services Bengaluru

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Copper is very health-conscious. He likes eating all things healthy, be it broccoli, carrots, chicken or brown rice. Just like human beings, he is very possessive about his things, like his toys, etc. and he won’t allow anyone to touch those. Copper is now 4 and half years, but will forever remain our baby.

GROOMING

All pets should be groomed professionally often, say experts. “For cats, nails are to be cut once in 15 days, while brushing of teeth and ear cleaning should be done by a professional. Grooming is essential as it removes dead hair, prevents hair balls and stimulates blood flow,” says Rustumji.

Regular trimming for dogs, giving them a good thorough brushing and keeping them de-matted is important, says Pangal.

Apart from nail cutting, nail filing, hair trimming and bathing, salon menus are today brimming with some exotic spas and treatments for your pets.

Sahaya Kunte, proprietor of Poochezz in Bengaluru is known for indulging dogs in her blueberry facial. “It’s specially recommended for summers as it gives a cooling and hydrating effect, making the pet feel relaxed after the facial, apart from leaving it clean and bright. We also have aromatherapy baths where we add essential oils such as say lavender or lemon grass while bathing the pet. This provides a soothing impact,” says Kunte.

A mud spa, with dead sea mud and salts, is another exotic treatment for dogs. Ruff Pet Services provides this treatment that removes dead skin cells, leaving the pet feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.

So… shower your babies with loads of hugs and kisses!

Basic grooming costs approximately Rs 1,500 to Rs 2, 500, while add-ons such as facials cost about Rs 300 to Rs 500.