CARE, CAUTIONS + COMMUNITY CUDDLES
Pets can make a wonderful addition to any family: full of love, companionship, and happiness. And as pet owners, we usually aim to give our furry friends the best life possible. Here in Bangalore however, the pet industry is very underdeveloped when compared to more developed nations. In the past and much today, dogs and cats are seen as a nuisance, given their ‘street status.’ But if you are importing your pet here, plan on adopting during your time, or simply curious, here are a few insights to owning a pet while in Bangalore.
This article does not go into the details of importing/exporting your animals to/from India, as every case is unique depending on a multitude of variables. It is recommended though to use the help of established and professional companies specializing in these services, such as:
There are several modern veterinary hospitals and care centers around Bangalore. It is recommended to go to a facility that is more formal and structured because it will make your exportation much easier when you are planning to leave. These clinics have worked with animal import/exports consultants, and understand the necessity of very detailed medical records.
Some of these clinics are:
Of course, there are plenty of small clinics, usually owned and operated independently. These are wonderful if you need a quick deworming tablet, a medical opinion, or even in emergencies if you are unable to reach one of the larger clinics. With any independently operated business In Bangalore, they usually follow opening hours fitting to their schedule, so it is recommended to learn of a few within your neighbourhood and keep their information up to date.
As mentioned, the pet industry is underdeveloped here and therefore, it can be difficult (and expensive) to find quality food items. In recent days, there has been an increase of smaller pet-oriented start-ups producing food and treats that are organic and healthy for your pets. Often though, it is more convenient to buy your food and supplies for a larger, reliable retailer, such as Heads Up For Tails. They carry most everything you need, from locally produced Pedigree food to imported brands such as Acana and Orijen. These imported brands come with a hefty mark-up because of the duty tax imposed. This has led some families to cook their own food for the pets. Believe it or not, it can be cheaper, and possibly healthier, to whip up a blend of whole wheat rice, minced chicken, and pumpkin for your pup. But before you decide to try the home-cooked food for your pets, please consult with their doctor.
There are not many pet-friendly places in Bangalore, although more and more places are moving in that direction. Most neighbourhood parks will not allow dogs inside, with the exception of Bangalore’s Central Park ‘Cubbon Park’. On Sundays, there is a designated area in Cubbon Park where you can take your pup off-leash. It is usually over-crowded and chaotic as this is one of the few places that allows for this. However, it’s such a lovely treat for your pet to get out there, make new friends, and run to their heart’s content.
Another option is the Domlur Dog Park, a dog park paid for and created by Domlur residents. This well-planned park includes tire tunnels and other obstacles for dogs to run around, kennel, as well as separate toilets and a ‘poop pit.’ The Dog Park at The Elephant Pond is a little bit further away from the city in Ragihalli, Banerghatta but worth the drive. This is Bangalore’s first private off-leash dog park with over 10 acres of trails and a 1 acre cordoned off no-leash open space. There is even a natural pond for pups to swim in!
There are very few restaurants and cafes that allow pets, too, although never inside (as of now). These locations are always changing, so go ahead and ask your local establishments if it is permitted.
Odds are, you’ll be traveling and exploring your new place of living, and you’ll find yourself needing to board your animals. Based on experience, boarding kennels are hit and miss. So please take the time to do your research and visit the facilities and meet the people who would be taking care of your furry family member while you are away. Again, with only a recent increase in animal facilities, they may not be what you are used to back home. So, go in with an open mind and make sure you are comfortable leaving them.
Some of the more modern and mindful kennels are:
It is ideal to use your own vehicle when taking your pets around town. If you are at the mercy of a company vehicle, times can be restricting, or even forbidden to have pets inside. Several companies have started pet-friendly cab services that you can schedule to take you and your pet to your destination.
Some auto-rickshaws allow pets inside, but it is rare. Trying to hail an auto while standing with an animal can prove difficult. When you do find one though, you will most likely be quoted a higher price for the ride, and the meter won’t be used. Just be sure to hang on tight to your pet!
Looking to connect with fellow dog owners for some doggy playdates? Anj thought it might be nice to start a group in order to share info for our pooches (vets, groomers, trainers, etc.) and to meet up for dog walks around Bangalore. Get in touch with the Dog Group by joining the Whatsapp Group here.
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India is known for its street dogs, and often, they are very territorial. This can make it difficult and frustrating to walk your animals, especially if they are more on the timid side. Mostly though, these ‘streeties’ as they are called, are harmless if you keep to your own business. It is easier, in fact, to insist your dog get acclimated to these streeties and to not be afraid, because it is nearly guaranteed you will encounter at least one on your walking route. And please ensure that they are vaccinated for rabies, just in case!
For protection, you’ll see some people carrying around a stick for protection. Although this may seem smart and safe, it usually tends to make the street dogs more nervous, and consequently aggressive. Keeping about your business and ignoring them is often the best policy, but if you feel unsafe, please do what you need to do for you and your dog’s protection.
Although more places are becoming pet-friendly, there are still many people that are hesitant around animals: from being slightly nervous around them, all the way to anxiety-inducing reactions. Perhaps this stems from the lack of education, and the common thought taught to children that animals are dangerous. Either way, it is best to be respectful of others and their emotions, in order to keep the peace. Do this by simply asking if you can sit next to someone at a pet-friendly restaurant, or ask anyone coming into your house if they are ok with pets.
Walking your pets to do their business is usually a global practice. But in Bangalore, this can pose as a problem. When your dog takes his poo, it is recommended to pick it up, even if the streets themselves are covered in garbage and other unpleasant material. Although this seems like common sense to clean up after your pet, you will get odd looks from people sometimes, because some people in Bangalore go to the bathroom on the side of the streets themselves! So simply mind your business and be responsible for your pet while out in public.
One caveat to this that some have experienced is the opposite opinion of ‘creating trash.’ If you are using a plastic bag to pick up their waste, some may criticize you for contributing to the overwhelming garbage problem. This is more on the rare side, but again, be mindful of this, and consider using biodegradable products.
As pet owners, cuddles are often the greatest thing we get from our pets. With a younger generation progressively pushing a pet-friendly agenda here, we are benefiting from a more accepting and tolerant community for pets in public. However, there are still plenty of stigmas around pets, mainly canines, that can lead to unsavory situations.
Rescue centers lift up animal’s rights here in India and are a wonderful contribution to society. A few notable and professional rescue centers are:
They are wonderful organizations doing great things for unwanted and injured animals of Bangalore, and therefore, for the people of Bangalore itself. Please take down these numbers because there may come a time when you encounter an injured animal. You can give these centers a call, and they will try to help given their capacity. If you are passionate about animal’s rights, you can donate monetary contributions, with your time, or by attending some of their events that aim at educating the public about animals.