Pet-care woes in super-anxious times

From lack of walks outside to shortage of dog food, city's pet parents raise many concerns
Last Updated 24 March 2020, 13:50 IST

With the city under lockdown, life has become quite challenging for everyone. Pet parents are trying to overcome varied challenges.

Not being able to walk their pet for long periods and the fear of shortage of supply of pet food are their top concerns.

Fashion designer Shiny Alexxander lives in an independent house. This allows her family’s 15-year-old dog, Jerry, to work out inside.

She says, “He’s used to our four cats and playing with them inside. We used to take him out for walks at intervals but that number has come down drastically, as we are practising caution,” she says.

Since there aren’t many children playing on the roads, Jerry is taken out when necessary. “Now, he spends most of his time inside the house though.”

Sneha James, a communications professional, has been working from home for two weeks now.

When she is not able to take her 10-year-old German Shepherd, Spike, outside, she makes him walk up and down the stairs. She also plays with him inside the house.

“He loves chasing my sister and me, so we take turns and run around the house. This keeps him on his toes. Spike loves oranges, so we hid some around the house. He goes on a treasure hunt looking for the fruits,” she says.

Sneha is worried that she could run out of food and medicines for Spike.

“He needs external vitamins and regular visits to the doctor. Large dogs like German shepherds deal with arthritis issues, especially in the hind legs, so we have scheduled visits for him,” she says.

Sneha adds that unexpected rains and heat add to these concerns as Spike develops ear infections and heat boils during this season. Medical baths are the solution, which is not possible at present.

Vivek Ram and Pooja Sampath, independent filmmakers, live with five pet dogs, namely, Maya, Tara, Rani, Raavan, and Ritchie.

The couple live in an apartment with a garden and don’t need to walk the dogs every day.

Vivek says, “There is a scheduled playtime for each day. Generally, we take the dogs out to socialise at parks and for swimming at least once a month. One of our main concerns is that we aren’t able to go out with the pets for these activities now. We hope that this will not have any side effects in the long run.”

Food is another worry. “Our pets’ food is always sourced from outside, every 10 days. It is tough rationing for five dogs, so we hope that there will be no problem getting their meals."

Rohini BS, an IT professional, used to walk her husky, Cupid, twice a day before the lockdown. “Making him workout now is a challenge, as the long walks have come to a halt. He plays with my son. We have bought him some chew toys and play fetch with them so he is able to spend his energy. And we cuddle him a lot to comfort him,” she says.

She had to feed Cupid curd rice when she ran out of food recently. “All the meat shops were short of meat that day. He needs his nutrients and feeding him eggs or curd rice every day is not an option,” she adds.

How to have fun with furry friends

Organise a treasure hunt for your pet and do it with treats. This will make your pet feel appreciated and loved.

Create a space for your pet, where he or she can run around.

If you have a garden space, compensate for walks by playing Fetch or running around.

Play brain games like ‘Hide and seek’ and ‘Which hand has the treat?’

Extra cuddles and talking to your furry buddy regularly will make him/her understand that the lockdown is not a punishment.

(Published 24 March 2020, 13:29 IST)

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