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5 things India can do to make pet parents’ life easier

It was a Monday morning and as I headed out of the lift to walk to my work space, an Instagram post caught my attention. It was a post by Sherry Shroff, the populaaa infleuncaa, who was petitioning for pet-friendly cabs.

Sherry being an avid dog lover (and who also loves taking a cab), detests the way cab drivers (in India) cancel rides. Especially when they learn that there will be a pet on the ride. It’s pretty stressful for pet owners to take their pets to the vet (in emergencies) or the hospital, since they have to struggle to reach there on time with a cab or depend on a private vehicle. Even otherwise, taking them out can be an issue, since cabs aren’t really pet-friendly.

As I scrolled through the comments of people who supported the campaign, this comment stood out:

An interesting comment on the post. Photo: IG

Isn’t that a striking difference? A small tick on an app makes a difference in the lifestyle of the dog. What’s also sad is that Uber has a ‘pet’ option in the US, but for some reason, not in India. Ola also commented on this post, saying that it is considering this topic as a feedback. Even in May 2022.

Well, it looks like having a pet in the US is much better than having one in India.

Here are more such differences in facilities between India and other countries, which may seem small and insignificant, but actually make a big difference to lives of animals.

1. PET PARKS

You may have seen many dog ​​parents walk their dog down the street every day. But doing so in a concrete jungle in India is a real task. Too much pollution, moving vehicles and a lack of space may actually add to a dog’s stress levels than reduce it.

3_050922043103.jpgPhoto: Getty Images

So, how do people manage this abroad? Well, the US, UK (and even South Africa) implement the concept of ‘dog parks’ or animal parks which are exclusively created for animals to have fun! These countries have even created the world’s largest dog parks. Sounds like being a dog in London would be awesome, right?

But does this exist in India? India’s first ever dog park opened in Hyderabad in 2018, while the second one opened in Chandigarh in January 2020. But that’s about it. Though the concept of dog parks is catching up, it is slow.

2. ENTRY TO HOTELS, RESTAURANTS & MALLS

Have you ever gone to a hotel room and seen a pet in the neighboring room? If you are in India, you might not really have seen one since most hotels are pet-free. But many countries do not have a pet-free rule.

Also, in many countries, you unfortunately cannot walk your pet in a mall.

But letting your pets stay in your hotel is normal in France. Most hotels in France allow customers to bring in their pets. But there is an extra charge for cleaning your room since pets can be messy. In Switzerland, almost all restaurants accommodate people with dogs. The best part: The dog is also offered dog water!

Still better than Indian rules where your pet is not allowed in at all right?

3. MEDICAL SERVICES

You have heard of hospitals like Apollo, Wockhardt and Fortis Care, haven’t you? But do you know of any top-notch, famous hospitals in India for animals?

In case your pets in India go through any rare and unknown disease, there is not much awareness about any specialized hospitals which provide specialized medical services at a reasonable cost. As per Statista, in 2019 there existed only about 12,000 vet hospitals in India. Isn’t that a miniscule number when compared to the number of animals that exist in an agro-based country like ours?

Though India doesn’t have any big specialized animal hospitals like Netherlands, Brazil and USA, there is an increasing growth in mobile vet hospitals which are run by NGOs. Still, the lack of awareness, legislations and medical care facilities definitely needs more attention.

4. PET CREMATORY

Pets deserve dignity in death, irrespective of where and how they die.

2_050922042900.jpgPet Crematorium. Photo: Getty Images

Even though Mumbai is considered to be a developed metro city, it really isn’t when it comes to cremating animals. In 2017, Mumbai had just ONE government-run electric, crematorium for pets by Dinshaw Petit Hospital. In February 2022, the Brihan Mumbai Corporation (BMC) decided to set up one more crematorium for animals, due to a ”long standing” demand.

Without government-run cremation services, pet owners in India are often left to themselves to bury the carcass as private organizations charge heavily to cremate the pets. If not cremated, dead stray animals are usually dumped in garbage bins and their bodies are left to rot.

It’s not the same abroad. Pet cremation is a growing industry in the USA and the UK and there are documented lists of cremation centers in each state.

1-1_050922043010.jpgPhoto: Getty Images

5. PET INSURANCE

Tending to your pets when they are unwell and injured is the job of a pet parent and having access to a vet at odd times becomes necessary. Although insurance may cost you money, it’s definitely better than paying more to a vet. Thus, pet parents definitely end up needing an insurance policy for their pets.

But the number of insurance companies in India who provide insurance policies for pets, are lesser than the fingers in your hand, that is one hand. Developed countries, like the US and UK however, have more than three times the number of insurance companies, than that in India. Netherlands, which tops the list of the most animal friendly countries in the world, even provides discounted insurance policies for vegans and vegetarians.

This definitely impacts the life of both the pet parents and the pets themselves.

So, what changes would you want in the pet policies in India?

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