Coronavirus lockdown: Worried about not finding readymade pet food?

Anugraha Rao
Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Pet owners are unable to find readymade food for their furry babies. Why not switch to nutrient-rich homemade food?

Coronavirus is a threat to humans, and there have been sporadic reports of animals getting infected. The study of how different animals could be affected by COVID-19 is still underway. But there’s no need to panic.

Several pet owners have a different kind of worry; they are unable to find readymade food for their furry babies. Why not switch to nutrient-rich homemade food? 

Kailash Paste, a veterinarian at Pet Doc Vet Clinic, says that tapping the right sources or making the right choices can help fight the scarcity. “Pets have different needs depending on their breed, category, allergies, medical needs etc. This period could also lead to obesity; hence, it becomes crucial to keep the carb intake in check,” he says.

Apart from regular walks, Paste suggests playing with your pet at home. Play fetch, run around or play hide-and-seek. Physical movement is a must.

Giving a few options on how you can replace readymade food items with regular items available in your pantry, he says, “Curd rice and mashed paneer with steamed rice can be easy to digest. These are not very high in calories, yet, provide the right amount of energy. Two medium size boiled potatoes, sweet potato with paneer are also good options to go for.”

For the non-vegetarian options, he suggests buying chicken and other meat from the right sources. Paste says, “You can give boiled egg rice or chicken rice to your pet. To add some extra nutrition to the food, garnish it with carrot and boiled beetroot. Do not give your pet roti made with wheatflour unless he is tolerant of it. Many pets have skin allergy due to chapati. Instead, give them bhakri made with bajra or jowar. Skimmed milk, curd whey, or lentil like moong dal are good sources of protein.”

A businessman, Pawan Kumar, has a seven-year-old dog. The lockdown didn’t make it difficult for him to source food for his dog because he prefers giving his pet fresh food.

“I have him since he was two-month-old. At first, we started feeding him only milk. After a few months, when he could chew, we started adding steamed rice to his milk. Rice is a good source of carbs, and milk provides protein. We wanted him to grow strong and healthy; hence we made it a priority to feed him fresh food,” he says. However, he feeds him pet food and offers treats once in a while.

Pets enjoy raw fruits and vegetables like mangoes, watermelons, apples, potatoes, carrots, cucumbers. However, it is important to give them boiled vegetables to ease digestion.

“Nowadays, it is tough to get chicken and eggs, so as an alternative, we are feeding him homemade paneer, and curd in a moderate amount. Unlike many pets, he has no wheat intolerance. On alternate days, we feed him milk mixed with roti,” Kumar says before adding that it’s not a good idea to give dogs salt. It makes them lose hair. He gives his dog boiled lentils, including toor, moong and masoor dal, along with boiled chicken.

No matter how light the food, your pet will feel sick if you cannot walk him. “If I cannot play with him, I make it a point to unleash him in the garden so that he can loosen up,” concludes Kumar.

In the present times, when finding pet food from stores has become difficult, Wiggles, a startup, is offering support to pet parents by providing online consultation and food delivery (veg and non-veg). Launched a year back, the company started with call consultation and grooming services. A pet lover and a pet-parent herself, Wiggles founder, Anushka Iyer, tells us more. 

“Every company presents its products with the idea that every pet has the same issues because they can’t speak. However, it is high time we understood and considered their individual issues. Each pet is unique, and we must celebrate its uniqueness,” says Iyer, adding that as a healthcare company, pet health is their priority.

The sudden lockdown didn’t allow people to buy pet food, hence helping them out in this situation, Wiggles started a food delivery service for pet parents. “We have veg and non-veg food. We only add locally grown, super-fresh ingredients. The team maintains complete hygiene. They wear a mask, gloves, and caps. The menu is designed by the nutritionist, making sure that the pets eat healthily. Also, we are offering probiotics and enzymes with the meal to boost the nutritional value of the food,” she informs.

Giving fruits like apples, and watermelons can be great. Hydration is crucial during summer. Also, giving them cold-pressed coconut oil along with their treats can work wonders.

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