Title image: Amalfistonebriar.com
As a person whose home is practically a miniature zoo, it’s come to my attention that many people in Doha are pet owners, or soon-to-be pet owners, and are usually uncertain about how to go about taking care of their pets. Properly taking care of pets requires dedication and commitment. If you’re planning on acquiring a new addition to your household, particularly if it’s a dog or a cat, then you should know that they require a lot of care and attention. Here’s a short quick guide and some tips on how to take care of your fuzzy little friends.
Image source: Sitdropstay.com
Make sure you get your pets vaccinated with the mandatory shots that are required. These include rabies, distemper, hepatitis (dogs), parvovirus (dogs), calicivirus (cats) and herpes (cats). These will have to be constantly up-to-date with booster shots as recommended by your veterinarian. A rule established by the Qatar government is that all pets must also be microchipped. This can also be done at your veterinarian.
Most people should neuter their pets, especially if they can't afford to take care of more than one or two. It also makes your pet less excitable, reduces their desire of wanting to mark their territory and to get into fights with other animals, reduces health risks to their reproductive organs, and of course no offspring. Talk to your local vet about it.
Image source: Beechhill-kennels.com
Dogs and cats with longer hair will have to be properly groomed, particularly when living in this part of the world in extreme heat. Grooming should generally be done every few months. Your pet’s hair will become hard to maintain if it’s too long; they also have a tendency to tangle and become matted. It’s also a hassle when they start shedding their hair in your home, an added chore of constantly having to clean it up or to get it off your clothes. Most grooming services at pet centers in Qatar also include nail trimming and ear cleaning.
>Bathing at home
Apart from grooming their hair professionally, your pets also must be bathed at regular intervals - dogs more so than cats. The frequency of bathing your dog depends on the weather. Cooler months can have longer periods between each bath for your dog, but during the summer it should be more frequent, every five to seven days. Dogs are generally easier to deal with when it comes to bathing than cats. For cats, I’ve been told that bathing them isn’t always essential because they’re very good at cleaning themselves. However if your cat gets itself very dirty, then you should bathe it. Here are some tips:
1. Schedule baths when your cat is at her most mellow. A play session with a cat dancer or other toy of choice can help tire out even the friskiest of felines.
2. For your own protection, we recommend trimming Fluffy’s claws before bathing.
3. Give your cat a good brushing to remove any loose hair and mats.
4. Gently place some cotton in her ears to keep the water out.
5. Place a rubber bath mat in the sink or tub where you’ll be bathing your kitty so she doesn’t slip. Fill with three to four inches of lukewarm (not hot, please!) water.
6. Use a hand-held spray hose to thoroughly wet your pet, taking care not to spray directly in her ears, eyes and nose. If you don’t have a spray hose, a plastic pitcher or unbreakable cup works great.
7. Gently massage your pet with a solution of one part cat shampoo (human shampoo can dry out her skin) to five parts water, working from head to tail, in the direction of hair growth. Take care to avoid the face, ears and eyes.
8. Thoroughly rinse the shampoo off your cat with a spray hose or pitcher; again, be sure the water is lukewarm. Take good care that all residue has been removed, as it can irritate the skin and act as a magnet for dirt.
9. Use a washcloth to carefully wipe your pet’s face. Plain water is fine unless her face is very dirty—in which case, we recommend using an extra-diluted solution of shampoo, being very cautious around her ears and eyes.
10. Wrap your cat in a large towel and dry her with it in a warm place, away from drafts. If your kitty doesn’t mind the noise, you can use a blow dryer—on the lowest heat setting. If your pet has long hair, you may need to carefully untangle her fur with a wide-toothed comb.
11. Reward your cat with endless praise—and her favorite treat—for a successful bathing session.
(Source: ASPCA, Cat Grooming Tips)
Image source: familyhw.com
Your pet will require constant and scheduled feeding. Of course, don’t overfeed them. Two to three times a day, depending on their age. Puppies and kittens require more regular feeding intervals, but adult dogs and cats can make do with being fed twice a day. Depending on the preference of your pet (yes, they have preferences) you can feed them hard or soft food. For younger pets, soft food is usually recommended. You can find pet food at pet centers, vets, and the big name grocery stores in Doha.
Walking:Image source: Petponderosa.com
Dog-owners need to walk their dogs constantly. Usually they require walking at least two or three times a day, depending on its needs. Our dogs at home usually show us signs when they really have to go by barking or whining, even after fulfilling their regular routine of three walks a day. For people who aren’t always home due to work, look into finding a dog walker. If you’re living in a compound filled with expats, it’s likely you’ll find one. Or else you’ll have to train your dog to wait until you’re home. Cat-owners don’t need to worry too much as cats will use a litter box.
To Board or Not to Board:
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At home, we personally care about our pets so much we don’t even travel because it’s difficult to find someone or someplace that will take care of them reliably. In the past we’ve left them with friends, but since then our pet family has grown considerably. It also costs a lot to leave them at pet boarding centers or with vets in Doha, particularly if you own multiple animals. The best solution is to have a friend or two “house-sit”. They can stay at your place until you come back from vacation or travel, it’s much more efficient for everyone and it’s likely your pets will be more comfortable in an environment they know than being left somewhere else.
Image source: Perfectpetcarriers.com
If you're planning on moving out of Doha anytime soon please, please do not abandon your pets. I don't know why people think that's a palpable solution. Do you have any idea the torment both physical and emotional that your "pet" will undergo? I have no tolerance for people who choose to become a pet-owner and then when they have to leave they just abandon them. At least try to take them with you (it is possible, albeit expensive), or find them a proper home, heck even ask pet centers or vets - they can house them until someone else wants to adopt them. For those definitely planning on taking their pets with them, make sure to comply with all the regulations and procedures. It's a bit of a process, but it's worth it if you truly love your pet. This can be found on a relevant government or ministry site, or: http://pawsrescueqatar.com/leaving-qatar.
Constant care and affection:
Image source: Celebrityparentsmag.com
The simplest way to keeping your pet happy is to always show it love. Never neglect your pets as it can actually cause them anxiety or to have depression. Playing with your pet is totally a great way for both of you to have fun. Pets are always a great companion, whether you're watching a movie, or reading a book, if they're in close proximity to you (on your lap/by your feet) they're most likely satisfied. It's not that hard to make them happy.
For those interested I own two dogs, four lovebirds, tortoises and rabbits (live in our backyard, pretty much take care of themselves. We provide them with food and water), and we take care of a bunch of stray cats in our neighborhood (feed them and tend to them when they're ill). We also have a habit of trying to nurse baby, injured, or sick birds back to health. In the end a good deed goes a long way and is most definitely rewarding.
Are you a pet-owner in Doha? How do you take care of your pets? Comment below!
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