Pet owners today have many options in terms of products available for pets. There are stores selling everything from food to apparel and toys. Knowing the best thing to buy can be difficult.
Do your homework on the brand, products and company before buying grooming items. Avoid using products with harsh chemicals, synthetic perfumes, colours or preservatives since these might cause allergic responses and skin irritation. Consult your veterinarian to determine potential trigger substances if your pet has any known allergies.
Consider your pet’s coat type and length when choosing grooming products. For instance, while short-haired dogs benefit from a rubber curry brush, long-haired breeds need a slicker brush.
Choose food and water bowls that are appropriate for the pet’s size and breed. Compared to plastic, stainless steel and ceramic bowls are sturdier, easier to clean and less likely to harbour bacteria. Opt for bowls with non-slip, rubber bases so that they won’t slide about or topple over. Avoid dishes that have protruding or detachable pieces that could lead to choking. Larger dogs benefit from elevated feeders. One can also use slow feeder bowls if the pet tends to eat too quickly. This will improve digestion and reduce the chance of bloating or discomfort. For cats, use flat dishes—they do not like their whiskers touching the bowl’s edges.
Leashes, harnesses and collars are necessary accessories, especially for dogs. For proper collar size, measure the diameter of the pet’s neck. It should be snug but not overly constricting. Two fingers should fit between the collar and the neck. Look for collars made of supple, long-lasting material like leather or nylon. Metal collars have the potential to harm your pet. Pick a collar that closes securely with a buckle. It should be simple to secure and unfasten while still being durable enough to prevent your pet from escaping.
Most dogs can wear back-clip harnesses, whereas dogs that yank on the leash may benefit from front-clip harnesses. To keep your pet from getting hurt, look for a harness with adjustable and padded straps.
Choose a leash made of robust material like leather or nylon. Six feet is the typical length that gives your pet room to roam while still being under control. It should be sturdy enough to withstand the pulling power of your pet. Retractable leashes are unreliable and are not recommended. For improved control and comfort, get a leash with a soft handle grip.
To keep your pet happy and cognitively stimulated, toys and enrichment supplies are crucial. Make sure the toys are devoid of tiny pieces that could be ingested or present a choking danger. Also, the toy should be larger than your pet’s head so that there is no danger of ingestion. Avoid toys with protruding sharp edges, loose strings or fragile parts. Pick interactive or chewable toys made from non-toxic material.
Use bedding that is simple to care for and clean. Look for beds with removable, machine-washable covers or waterproof liners. The bed should be big enough for your pet to both sprawl out completely and snuggle up peacefully.
For your cat, choose a litter box that will allow it to move around freely. Open litter boxes are easier to access, whereas covered litter boxes might offer privacy. Pick a litter tray that is easy to clean and made of sturdy, non-porous material like plastic. Steer clear of trays with nooks and crannies where garbage or litter can get caught.
If you dress up pets, ensure the clothes aren't too tight or loose, since both could hinder movement. Choose breathable material like cotton. Look for clothing with changeable closures, like Velcro or snap buttons. This will ensure dressing them up isn’t a stressful experience. Avoid clothing with tiny buttons, ribbons that dangle, or any other embellishments that are easy to chew off and swallow. Make sure the clothing won’t limit your pet’s mobility, impair vision or affect their instinctual behaviours, like going to the toilet.
Safety ought to come first always when it comes to pet supplies and accessories. Make sure the products you buy adhere to safety regulations and are made of non-toxic materials. As always, consult your veterinarian if you are unsure.
Nameeta Nadkarni is a practising veterinary soft tissue surgeon and pet blogger from Mumbai.