Thursday, 27 January, 2022
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A pet parent’s guide to pet grooming and boarding and why it’s a two-way street

Can you change your lifestyle to ensure your pet receives the best possible care & put in the hard work that goes into guaranteeing your pet is healthy? Expert Pooja Advani answers all the questions you've always wanted answers to

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Being a pet parent is like “committing to parenting a toddler for 15 years”, says Pooja Advani, certified groomer, canine behaviourist, trainer and hydrotherapist for small animals. An animal communicator and founder of Mumbai-based luxury pet wellness centre Doggiie Dog World (DDW), it’s a perfect summing up of the roller coaster ride that is taking care of a furry baby.

A lot has been written and spoken about the unadulterated love you feel and receive as a pet parent, but the flip-side of the coin is barely ever addressed – changing your lifestyle to ensure your pet receives the best possible care, the hard work that goes into guaranteeing that your pet is healthy, and the effort one has to put in to educate themselves about their pet’s needs and wants.

Another aspect that is not addressed, more often than not, is identifying and narrowing down on professionals who contribute to your pet’s well being. “Picking the right grooming facility, and knowing how to identify a good boarding facility for times when you have to travel without your pet, are situations that pet parents often find hard to navigate,” says Pooja. 

If you find yourself agreeing with Pooja, then, now is when your struggle ends. Scroll down for answers to all the questions you have ever had about pet grooming and boarding.

Pet grooming 101

“Step one is to understand that you will have to delegate for your pet’s sake,” explains Pooja. “No one might love your pet as much as you do, but it is important to recognise that some things are better left to professionals,” she adds.

Pooja does point out that grooming pets with short coats is something that can be done at home, but pets with longer coats need professional care. The same holds true for other aspects of pet grooming, such as clipping nails, cleaning ears, and other hygiene-related processes. “Trained professionals are more informed about and sensitive towards a pet’s needs. Needs that an untrained eye might not be able to identify,” she explains.

Here are some things to keep in mind when picking a grooming facility for your pet:

  • The most important thing to keep an eye out for is how transparent the facility is with you. Ideally, you should be present for the pet’s first visit to see how the staff handles the animal. If the facility is apprehensive about letting you in, then it is a red flag. “ I won’t deny that some pets act more difficult when their pet parents are present. But there are ways around it. At DDW, we have glass doors and CCTV cameras that allow pet parents to view their pets being groomed without causing any inconvenience,” says Pooja.
  • Figure out whether the facility prioritises the task at hand or your pet’s comfort. “A true professional will always put the pet’s comfort at the forefront. At DDW, if the pet is too anxious or seems stressed out, we take multiple breaks or sometimes even do an otherwise simple task over multiple visits. Simply put, if the staff prioritises your pet’s comfort, they are more empathetic, and will be more caring towards your pet,” explains Pooja.
  • Ask the right questions. Ask questions about the staff’s qualifications, about the hygiene levels, and about anything and everything you might want to know to feel confident in handing over your pet to the facility. “How open and receptive the facility is to the questions you pose, and how efficiently and transparently they answer your questions determines how professional they are. The more open they are towards putting your mind at ease, the more reliable and professional they will be,” adds Pooja.

How to pick the right boarding facility for your furry friend

Leaving your pet behind, when you have to travel is hard enough, but the added stress of not knowing if they are well taken care of is not something a pet parent ever wants to experience. We asked Pooja to help us better navigate selecting the perfect boarding facility for your pets.

According to Pooja, the first thing you need to do is pay a visit to the facility, and inspect. “When talking about hygiene, the easiest way to gauge how clean the facility is, is by paying a visit to their kitchen,” she suggests. 

It’s imperative to ask the right questions. Here are some things you should enquire about when narrowing down on a boarding facility:

  • How well is the staff trained to handle emergencies? (Ask them about how they’ve handled emergencies in the past, and maybe even ask for references you can contact to double-check).
  • Is the staff trained in first-aid?
  • Who are their emergency contacts? (Go over the list of veterinary doctors they regularly consult with).
  • Ask to see the boarding facility and note whether the pets are kept individually or in groups. “Pets with high anxiety must always be allowed to board separately,” explains Pooja.
  • What food are the pets given? 
  • What is the schedule they follow?

Once you’ve narrowed down on the facility, Pooja recommends you do a trial run. “At DDW, we always encourage pet parents to send their pets in for daycare a few times. This way the pet can get acquainted with the facility and staff, and we can understand the pet’s needs, which helps us provide the best possible care,” explains Pooja.

These trial runs help you assess how your pet is responding to the facility. Them coming back home, feeling normal or excited is a good sign. If they come home acting timid or depressed, enquire about why that might be. 

Pooja also emphasises how ensuring that your pet has a good boarding experience is a two-way street. You need to understand that the facility has multiple pets to tend to, and should be patient. Also, while the pet parent needs to expect the facility to be transparent, they need to be transparent with the staff as well. “If your pet has behavioural issues or other problems, be honest about it. It helps the staff to provide your pet with the best possible care,” she explains.

“The biggest red flag is if the facility stops responding to you or stops giving you regular updates about the pet,” she adds.

Visit DDW’s website to avail a range of services from boarding, grooming, training and consultations to Back therapy and hydrotherapy for animals. “At DDW we try our best to create a home away from home for pets,” signs off Pooja. 

(ThePrint ValueAd Initiative content is a paid-for, sponsored article. Journalists of ThePrint are not involved in reporting or writing it.) 



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