How to Plan for a Pet
Are you longing to keep a pet at home? Read on for some practical tips in planning space in your new home for your pets, or for revamping your existing home to make space for pets.
The most common pets we rear are dogs and cats. A couple of things you need to keep in mind before bringing a dog home – do you have the space, and if not, what is the solution? Big dogs need exercise, and small flats can be constraining for them. If you live in a flat, go in for a smaller variety of dog like Lhasa Absos, Pomeranians, Pugs or Tibetan Spaniels. However, if you have a larger compound, you can go in for a larger variety like German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Doberman Pinschers, Rajapalayams or even Great Danes. Indian dogs and mongrels can adapt to any environment. If your dog is to be confined outside, make sure to get a kennel for the dog; it will be a shelter for him against the heat, cold and rain. A kennel in a shady area is ideal. Part of caring for your dog is ensuring that it has a safe, secure home. Constructing a proper fence around your property protects both your dog and your neighborhood. Nevertheless, Personally I do not recommend keeping a dog outdoors. Dogs are very affectionate and they are pack animals; they need companionship and a sense of belonging.
If you plan to keep the dog indoors, demarcate a space for the dog to sleep and give it some cozy, comfortable bedding. (Otherwise, chances are it may leap on to your bed or sofa!). Alternatively, provide comfy dog beds in each room or designate one piece of furniture as the dog’s place. Cover this piece with a washable throw and teach the dog that this is the only piece of furniture he can use. Also, demarcate a space where the dog can be fed. You need to always keep a bowl of water in a place that is accessible to the dog. The same principle applies to cats.
Cats are much more independent than dogs and do not need to be taken out for walks. However, if you are staying in a flat, you have two options – letting the cat out at fixed times every day or getting a litter tray. Be warned, however, the tray needs to be cleaned out daily, otherwise the house will stink to high heavens! Unless your flat is large and has a veranda, where the litter tray can be kept, it is not advisable to keep a cat in the house. Abroad, most houses have cat/dog flaps, where there is a flap at the bottom of the door, enabling pets to enter and exit the house as and when they please. This is a good option for people who live in houses, but many are reluctant because they feel it is a security hazard.
You need to think about your furnishings when keeping pets. Having white, cream and pastel shade sofa covers is inviting trouble! A muddy cat or dog can ruin your pristine furnishings in minutes! Go in for sensible shades like brown, red, green – anything dark – which can camouflage paw marks and fur! Carpets are another area fraught with difficulty – unless you can train your pet to keep off the carpets. If not, your carpets/dhurries/rugs will look like they’ve been trampled on by a herd of naughty, mud-spattered children! The sensible option – have no floor coverings! Go in for sensible floors that can be cleaned easily. Otherwise, especially during the monsoons, your floors will be a mess!