Everyone loved pets and wants to have one with them. But do we know our pets also need an emphatic environment where they enjoy their life. We spoke to Shefali Talwar, MD & Co-Founder, Pet Souk on all issues related to pet care.
Here are the excerpts of our interview with her –
Question-1. How do you define pet parenting?
Answer-1. Well pet parenting is all about you know consciously understanding the needs of the pet and being empathetic towards the animal understanding the behavior of a pet.
Understanding what could be the potential threats to its health, what kind of food to be given what kind of exercises are very important for the pet things to take care of. When you are feeding the pet the way you are grooming the pet. There are certain nutritional essentials which are to be taken care of depending on the breed of the pet. So, every pet is different. I mean when we look at a breed/sub breed every pet is pretty much different in terms of their various needs. And if you’re having a you know, a litter, which is a smaller pet and then it is growing. You have to take care of that animal the way you have to take care of your own baby. That’s what is pet parenting all about.
Question-2. What are the five most important things that one must take care of during the first year of pet parenting?
Answer-2. So, the five most important things that one must take care of during the first year of pet parenting are. As I said –
Rule #1 – Pet parents should condition themselves and understand what it takes to being a pet parent. And they should prepare themselves well to being a bad parent. Yeah, and then adopt a pet, once they’ve adopted, the most important thing is vaccinations.
Rule #2 – Nutrition. When a baby pet is growing, and in many cases, you know, generally people adopt a pet between four to six weeks, which essentially means that the pet has not been feeding on the mother, which typically happens for about close to about, you know, 12 to 16 weeks. In normal case scenario, if the if the mother is around, you know, since they are not being fed, mother’s milk. So, nutrition essentials have to be thought through, they should seek expert advice in terms of what to be given what not to be given.
Rule #3– They need to be groomed pretty well. And the reason why I say they have to be groomed pretty well is because they could be prone to certain diseases there, if they are funny how the furr has to be developed over a period of time, what kind of products they should be using, which are one not harmful on the skin, furr, eyes, etc, of the animal. And even if the animal ingests those particular products, then it shouldn’t be harmful to the to the animal. So one has to understand these nuances.
Rule #4– I would say that training, it’s very, very important that pets are trained, they are trained for their daily routine. Yeah, that’s very critical, they have to be trained on their behavior. So I’m not talking about the fancy training, where they are doing certain actions or activities or stunts, I’m not talking about them, I’m talking about training in terms of how they need to behave, how they should adapt to the lifestyle, which they are going to get in this new home. Because he many times, mostly people are staying in flats or floors, which is confined areas, you know, you don’t have too much of open area within the house to set them free, right. So even the animal has to adapt to those scenarios.
Rule #5– It is very, very important for pet parents to do the documentation necessary documentation, which means getting them registered with the right kind of authorities. So there are very few pet parents who might know who get their pets registered with the municipal corporations, which is which is a compliance though it is not so heavily imposed at this point in time. However, we will very soon see that pets are going to be also monitored. You know, and without having a proper registration. pet parents will not be able to keep and raise pets. Similarly, they should be registered with the KCI. They should be chipped as well. Getting them chipped is definitely very, very critical. Even if, let’s say pet parents have to move around from city to city if they have to take their pet along when they are taking flights whether domestic or international. Getting that chip is one of the most important things.
So, these are five things I believe, which pet parents have to take care of during the first first year of pet parenting.
Question 3. What are your top recommendation for identifying the right pet for your family?
Answer 3. See, I would very strongly recommend for prospective pet parents to seek expert consultation. And that’s why I would say that come to Pet Souk, we will help you identifying the right kind of pet for your family. And I say that with a lot of conviction, because the way we follow the way, you know, the kind of guidelines we follow, the way we approach this entire subject is based on multiple facets.
So one is a scientific analysis. Scientific as well as psychological analysis. So we have our own analysis methodology. And we also actually combined with the astrology, astrology, in case if people believe in astrology, and with the cam combination of these three elements, we would come out with our recommendation as to essentially what kind of breed you should look at what size you should look at, you know, whether you Your pet should be hairy, or should be with, you know, the furr should be with lesser hair, etc. And all of it comes out of this entire analysis.
If I were to take an example, let’s say if it’s a small family staying in two BHK, flat, you know, and then let us say, it’s only husband, wife, and a small kid, which are there. So we would essentially go ahead and do a complete analysis of the family’s lifestyle and medical status. First of all, that’s the first thing to do. Because, I mean, one has to take care of allergies, people are allergic these days on multiple things. So we’ll figure out how, what kind of allergies people carry? How big is the? Or how old is the baby?
Yeah, what is their day to day lifestyle? As in how much time these parents spend at home, or who’s going to look after the pet when the parents are gone, etc. So, and various other parameters are also there. When we do this scientific analysis, then psychologically when I say basically, we are very curious to understand, as I said earlier, as well that what is the objective of bringing, you know, that home? Yeah, and multiple other things are there as part of the objective, you know, and then third is a third third element is astrological. Because it is seen that any kind of alliance and this is an animal to Human Alliance, when we talk about pet and pet parenting, so any kind of alliance brings, there’s a lot of rather, there’s a lot of energy exchange, which happens and if you have done that assessment of energy, provided you believe in this if you have done this analysis of what kind of energy should you bring in, then I have myself seen that it has been of lot of value.
When a pet comes home, there is a different kind of environment. So sometimes environment is positive or negative, etc. depends from case to case. And that’s the reason people after adopting within a short duration of time, they would be very, very keen to give up the pet, you know? Yeah, so. So, to wrap it up, I would just say, Come to Pet Souk, we have the right kind of experts available, whether it is on how to help you adopt a pet, or how to go ahead and go through the entire journey of 13 to 14 years in case if it is a dog or let’s say 15 to 16 years in case if it is cat.
Yeah, it’s a complete journey. And we help you throughout the journey throughout the lifecycle of the pet. Through our expert, you know, opinion through our expert advice, whether it is grooming whether it is nutrition, whether it is upbringing, whether it is medication, whether it is any kind of emergency need which you may have for the pet. So what we say in in a nutshell is that, you know, enjoy your life with your pet and leave the worries to Pet Souk because we will take care of everything.
Question-4 : Do you feel there is a need for expert guidance when it comes to raising a pet at home? Haven’t we all had a dog at home without the involvement of ‘experts’?
Answer -4 : Yeah, so actually, this question has got two parts, and I’ll break it up into two parts, there is definitely an expert guidance required for raising a pet at home these days. Now, I will just translate this, this entire question and related to, you know, being a parent, let’s leave the pet aside for a while. And in today’s time, because these are nuclear families, the couple is not staying with their extended family and they are staying alone out of their base location, you know, the two of them are on their own. And there is very little information which they have about being a parent.
Yeah. So what they do, they do a lot of consultations, they do a lot of online research, they go to their doctors, and seek consultation as to how and what they should do to be prepared to being a parent, and is the same kind of thing which is required. Now, why it is required today. And it was not required yesterday. You know, as you rightly said, we all have had dogs, probably when you were growing up, but also remember, we were staying in joint families you know, that time, the reason why we had dogs was very different.
We genuinely loved their company, we love the dog, we gave them enough value, we took care of them, you know, yeah, all these fancy things, which are available today in terms of accessories in terms of the kind of food this and that wasn’t available, and we used to give them home cooked food, you know, maybe we had lesser knowledge as compared to today in terms of pet behavior or in terms of nutrition needs, but actually talking of nutrition needs, if you look at the nutrition, which even we used to get at that time was something very different as compared to kind of nutrition which you can get, you know, so that’s why we are dependent on supplements and exactly the same thing applies to animals as well because they are also eating the similar kind of food which is mostly engineered, you know, or hybrid.
So, so that’s why you know, it’s very, very important to have an expert advice in terms of how to have a pet, how to adopt a pet, what kind of pet one should adopt depending on their lifestyle, depending on various other factors. And I always say that you know, first any potential pet parent or prospective pet parent should decide what is their objective of having a pet. Why they want a pet. They should ask this question to themselves and if they cannot, if they cannot answer I say come to Petsuk.
Question-5: What are the top trends in pet parenting in urban India?
Answer -5 : So, there are two kinds of pet parents which exist quite prominently in the entire pet parenting demography one is who are genuinely in, in love with the pets and animals and you know, they feel their life is quite empty without the presence of of these pets, either it is cat or dog or a small animal or maybe birds or fishes, or in some sense, even cattle for that matter.
Yeah. The other categories where people take it as a fad, or probably as a companion for their children, or probably at times as a toy for them. So essentially, the first category is the category where I personally feel that those are the genuine pet parents and they would do whatever for their pets and care for them and, you know, be responsible throughout the lifecycle of the pet, where or the second category people are, I would say they are more impulsive in their decisions. So, they might very quickly jump off and bring a pet home and with the same kind of you know, impulsive behavior, they will just give it away as well. And when it comes to give it away, they may just drop it off at a at a, you know, foster home, maybe at the doorstep of the home.
So we have seen a lot of cases, a lot of adoptions keep coming to us, where people brought their pet and they never did a you know, proper analysis in terms of what would they have to do to become a pet parent. And then they don’t prepare themselves mentally. Like, when, even when a couple is supposed to have a kid. Essentially, the couple does a mental programming, they prepare themselves to have a baby in the house. And it’s the same kind of behavior or thought process which pet parents have to bring in, into their, you know, into their everyday lifestyle, they have to understand what they have to give up and what they have to adopt when they’re looking at being a pet parent.
So, I would say fad is something which comes and goes and people should not bring a better home because of some fad. Instead, people should consciously think through whether they are ready for a better adoption. Yeah. And now when we when it comes to the market, how this market is evolving. So you, you see now pet parents are very, very passionately spending a lot of their income on their pet. On an average, I would say let’s say if you’re in Delhi or Gurgaon, I would say averaged out a pet parent shells out about 20 to 25,000 rupees a month at least on their pet pail on their pets. This would involve grooming so if you see there are scores of grooming centers, mobile grooming centers on site grooming centers, which have cropped up in past three years, three to four years I would say every day we see there are new brands and brands are doing tremendous amount of innovation when it comes to pet food or grooming products. etc.
And if you look at clothing and accessories market, I mean it’s mind boggling. The kind of innovation and designs and styles which are coming in pet clothing. That’s that also is you know I mean one wonders at the way the you know pets are being thought about.