Caring for pets at home

Dogs getting their hair trimmed at a grooming centre in Penang prior to the pandemic . —Filepic

STAYING at home with your pooch can be a fun therapeutic experience but making sure they are cared for can be quite challenging.

Groomer Sylvester Liew, 34, said many pet owners rushed to get their dogs groomed before the nationwide lockdown on June 1.

“With a full grooming session, it will last about a month if they can do basic care at home.

“I do teach them when they reach out to me as I understand that grooming pets on their own could be new to them.

“Dogs with longer coats need to be combed twice a day to maintain soft tangle-free coats.

“Proper products and care need to be taken when grooming dogs with longer coats while basic grooming for all dogs does help them feel better in general,” he said.

Liew said many of his clients reached out to him and he usually helped them over the phone by explaining the things that needed to be done to upkeep the dogs.

“I teach them the proper way to bathe the dogs and comb their coat.

“Some of them have learnt how to clip nails as well. This is better for them during the pandemic.

“I understand some may have less income now and are unable to visit us just to have their dogs’ nails clipped,” he said, adding that he usually groomed up to 400 dogs a month prior to the lockdown.

For now, under Phase One of the National Recovery Plan, dog groomers are still not allowed to open for business.

Groomer Penny Ong, 35, who has been in the pet care line for over a decade, said many pet owners struggle to carry out pet grooming at home, especially those living in high-rise units.

“Their pets’ hair will fly everywhere and even once you think you are done grooming them, they will still shed.

“It is difficult as there will be a lot of cleaning up to do after grooming your pet.

“Dogs usually need to be groomed once a month.

“And, families with pets have started grooming their pets on their own as dogs with longer coats can get tangled hair and this might lead to skin issues,” she said.

Penang Dog Agility Association vice-president K.K. Chuah said pet owners who usually reach out to him were those with puppies who wanted to train them.

“For now, I offer advice over the phone on how to train their dogs.

“It is usually more toward handling the different behaviours as the puppy grows. It is a common issue,” he said.

Chuah said his style of training is mainly to teach the pet owners proper training of their dogs.

“They call me and we work on it together, whether it is basic obedience, behavioural problem, or puppy training,” he said.

Dog trainer Steven Tan said many owners reached out to him about training puppies.

“With puppies, the owners usually want to stop them from biting.

“Sometimes, the owners want to know how much to feed a puppy or how to handle them with children who are afraid of dogs.

“Some do have dogs that misbehave but once I talk to the owners, it is usually a case of the dog lacking attention,” he said.

Tan said as he is trained in ‘communicating’ with dogs, it was difficult to do so without being physically present with the pets.

“I ask the owners to take videos of their dogs to better understand their expressions.

“The dogs’ faces display emotions and that helps me understand the issue better.

“Sometimes, owners say that their dog is biting them but cannot describe whether it is a playful bite or aggression.

“I make them take videos as we must differentiate the bite before I help them train the dog.

“It is difficult to teach the owners on how much strength is needed when training the dog, as it differs among dogs and a face-to-face demonstration would be better.”

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