Love him as your child

All dogs require a lot of exercise and a good diet. Regular visits to the
vet are also necessary, says Ajay Khullar

IT might wag its tail and wolf down its food, but if the dog or puppy you have kept in your city home could talk, you might not hear a happy tale. Not all dogs are suited for life in metros. Extreme climate, space constraints and specific dog nature are major factors that determine which dog comes into your home.

Pets need a place in your heart and a corner in your house
Pets need a place in your heart
and a corner in your house

Delhi-based veterinary surgeon Vivek Arora told IANS: "Space and time are factors which should be looked at before adopting a pet. Our family life is also very important in deciding what pet you adopt." Former banker Sanjeev Kumar, who ended up opening a chain of pet stores called Pet Bytes, lists a few factors to keep in mind while selecting a puppy.

The most important factor is climatic conditions. The nature of the dog should ideally be friendly. Your requirements. Do you want a lap dog, family dog, or guard dog? Space constraints. If the other factors fit the bill, ignore these.

So now, which are the five breeds best suited for life in Delhi and other metros? Number one on the list is the commonly found street dog. As Mark Twain once said: "If you pick up a starving dog, and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man."

Kumar said: "Street dogs are sturdy, donít fall ill, are used to the climatic conditions, make good family and guard dogs. Adopting a street dog is also a good thing." The price? Free. The second on the list is the Labrador Retriever. "Even though not the best guard dogs, they make excellent family dogs. Lab puppies and dogs are very friendly, good companions and are extremely intelligent," he said. They cost anything between Rs 5,000 and Rs 15,000.

Tenzing Wangchuk, originally a resident of Darjeeling, who has been in Delhi for the last 18 years and owns a Labrador, told IANS: "They are good family dogs and playful with children. When you come home from work and play with the Labrador, it is a great stress buster."

The next on the list comes the Beagle. Puppies of this breed fall in the hound category, and require a lot of exercise. But the advantage is they can adapt to the climate, and are quite small (approx 14 inches). They do not require much space.

Beagles also make good family and guard dogs. They come for anything between Rs 15,000 and Rs 25,000.

Then comes the Dalmatian. Again, a friendly dog with a short coat and very adaptable to city life. The price ranges from Rs 7,000 and Rs 13,000. The next on the list of dogs to keep in metros is the Boxer. Contrary to the name and reputation, Boxers make good family dogs, are very protective of children, and also make excellent guard dogs. They come for Rs 7,000 to Rs 15,000.

Does size matter? Depends. There might be just enough space for you and the Saint Bernard in your two-room apartment. If it is a pair of German Shepherds, then the question doesnít arise.

As Kumar said: "It is about a place in your heart and a corner in your house." 

"All dogs require a lot of exercise, a good diet, but the hunter breeds and guard dogs do require some more space," Kumar said. If you have a dog in your city home, seeking advice on it from a vet from time to time is a must.

"You need to groom your dog and take him for walks twice a day. Make sure you bathe the dog once a fortnight, and regular visits to the vet and vaccination are necessary. You also have to take care of his daily ration needs," Arora said. There are, however, some dogs which are rather unsuitable for the average metro home. These are the Saint Bernard, Siberian Huskies, German Shepherds, Pit Bull and Rottweiler. Some of these dogs are basically suited for cooler climes, and in some cases, well, their bite is much worse than their bark. ó IANS