Did you know that an indie breed has a genetic predisposition towards immunodeficiency and worms? Or that a Labrador and German Shepherd can develop joint problems if not given the right kind of nutrition? To avoid these conditions, one needs to customise the diet specific to the pet in one’s family. In India, the biggest hitch lies in the lack of awareness about nutritional needs based on body weight, age and breeds. As a result, we often end up feeding a common diet to all the pet canines in the house. But now there are startups that are simplifying pet parenting by putting together all the information specific to the lifestyle needs of your furry companions.
One such e-commerce venture is A Petter Life, which offers nutritional guidance and responsible products for your pets. “We work on the premise that every pet is an individual and has specific needs. Among other things, we offer a calorie calculator for the ideal daily food intake of your dog, breed-specific products and holistic remedies,” says Anjali Kalachand, cofounder, A Petter Life. The idea came to her when she brought home an indie puppy, who was already low on immunity and had skin ailments. “We tried a lot of medicines. Compounding the problem was the fact that he was a fussy eater. And when he turned seven months old, he just stopped eating,” she says. Even though she was consulting a vet, Kalachand was unsure about the quantities of food and ways to balance his diet. That’s when she realised there was a gap in awareness about nutritional needs.
Kalachand enrolled for online courses on pet nutrition and embarked on months of research. “Any bag of commercially manufactured pet food doesn’t contain actual pieces of meat. It might have chicken meal instead of chicken, and hence will be less nutritious,” she says. There is also a need to include functional ingredients in the meal, and also understand how products that we use on a daily basis, such as floor cleaners, are harming a pet’s overall wellbeing. “Dogs, being so close to the ground, end up ingesting a lot of chemicals from toxic cleaning products. So, we look at the overall environment that your pet lives within, and suggest products for the same,” says Kalachand. She recommends that pet parents go through the sections on ailments, breeds and nutrition to understand the products that might work for your pet companion.
“Focus on the life stage of the dog, predispositions of the breed, and more. For instance, Labradors, golden retrievers have weak hips. If you get a Labrador puppy, incorporate functional ingredients that help with mobility at an early stage. This will delay onset of joint issues. One needs a proactive approach to nutrition,” she adds.