Lockdown Grooming

Hi, I am Joyita Sethi! Some of you might have met me at Fur Ball Story, Gurugram since I manage the place and take care of all the dogs present there. What you don’t know is that I am also a professional groomer by education and practice. I have done a Grooming Course from California academy of animal aesthetics in association with Dog Care Singapore. Before joining Fur Ball Story, I also ran a grooming parlour of my own for over 3 years! I believe that important knowledge must always be parted to others so here I am giving you some tips on dog grooming at home.

Grooming tips for your dog during lockdown

Covid-19 came as a surprise for us, especially the part where we were told that due to lockdown, the possibility of going out is next to impossible. The month was March, the time when most of us get our dogs groomed and prepared for the coming summers but unfortunately the groomers were also now shut due to lockdown. Today it has been more than 50 days since lockdown, and most of the groomers are still shut. So here I am, trying to help you find the best ways to get your dog well-groomed at home!

Regular grooming keeps your dog clean, healthy, and comfortable. Many people prefer professional groomers; they can make dogs look great while using their professional expertise to keep them safe. However, during this lockdown when you can’t go anywhere, here are some tips to keep your dog feeling and looking great.


For Long coat dogs (such as Shih-tzu, Lhasa Apso, Golden Retrievers)
Combing your dog’s coat daily or every other day will keep most mats at bay. Simply brushing, as most literature instructs, is not enough for dogs that can mat up: the brush will easily pass over at angles that a comb will get stuck on. A thorough combing should always be the first step of the grooming process.
Comb gently, be it with a brush or with a comb, as rough combing may result into unnecessary hair pulling which might hurt the dog.

Begin on the head and move down the body. Be careful under the belly, as it is a sensitive area, and don’t forget to comb the tail.

While you are combing, if you find a tangle, use a brush, and try to work out the tangle. Be mindful not to brush burn your dog from brushing for too long in the same spot. You can check by looking under the fur to see if the skin becomes red with irritation.
Avoid combing all together in case the dog has skin infection or allergy.

Short Coat Dogs

You can brush short-haired dogs with a brush or gloves.
Comb and brush medium- to long-coated dogs with more specialized tools like a steel comb, slicker, a pin brush.
Whatever you use, it must remove loose hair and distribute oils from the skin throughout the coat.


Breeds like (Pekingese, Pugs, Pomeranians, Shihtzus, Lhasa Apso, etc.) those with large eyes that water a lot may need more maintenance in this area than others.
Depending on your dog, this step may be a simple matter of wiping or pulling eye debris away from the corners of the eyes.
Long-haired dogs may need special attention to make sure that all gunk is out of the coat, as they may get tear stains.
Use a cotton wool damped in warm water, to first moisten the gunk and then it can be gently pulled out using your fingers or even a steel comb with small teeth. You can also buy products made for removing “tear stains” from a pet supply store
A healthy eye should be clear and should not show any signs of irritation or unusual discharge.
Don’t try to trim hair away from the eyes yourself, as you might injure your pet. Ask your vet or groomer to do it for you.


It’s normal for a clean ear to have some wax in it, but there shouldn’t be any smell to it, or any kind of itching If there is, a vet visit is recommended.
To clean your dog’s ears, apply some ear cleaning solution or just clean water, to a cotton round. (Not too much or it will drip into the ear while wiping, which may be harmful for the dog)
Wipe dirt and wax away from the inner ear, but don’t rub vigorously, as this might cause sores. Don’t push too far into the ear, either.
If your dog has drop ears like a cocker spaniel, wipe the inside of the ear flag as dirt collects there as well. The groomers rule of thumb is to clean only what you can see.


Trimming a dog’s nails is something that shouldn’t be done at home because there are very high chances of cutting the blood vessels and this can lead to excessive bleeding which cannot be stopped easily.

Please do visit your vet or groomer if you feel that your dog’s nails need clipping. However, if you feel they have sharpened, you can certainly file them using a normal filer.


Bathing is a must for your dog in this season since the temperature is rising by the days, but there are certain things to be followed while doing it. You can bathe your dog at home once in 10-12 days in the summers.
In tick season, you can use an anti-tick shampoo, otherwise you can use a good quality shampoo available at your nearest pet store. Frequent use of tick shampoo can make your dog’s fur dull and coarse, so it’s best to alternate it with a normal shampoo.

Make sure to clean the abdomen part of your dog as well as pits of the front and hind legs. These areas are where the ticks hide the most. Also, cleaning the paws is a must while giving a bath since this is the part where the ticks climb from. But be careful while doing it as it may hurt the dog if not done gently with a soft brush or cloth. In some cases, dogs just don’t like their paws to be touched, so what you can do is use a water hose and apply fast running water under the paws.

When temperatures cross 40 degrees, you can keep your dog cool by sponging them with a wet towel once a day. Make sure the dog is fully dry post bath or else it can develop skin allergies if the skin is left moist. It is advisable that the dog doesn’t enter an air-conditioned room immediately after sponging or till still damp. Keep your dog well hydrated in the summers. Lots of water and curd once a day is a must and keeps the stomach cool.

Important Note: If you follow these tips, you may need not go out to a professional groomer unless the matting is too much to be sorted at home, or if you wish to have a proper hair cut for your dog. Please do not attempt to trim your dog’s hair at home as it might hurt the dog. Please don’t use scissors or human trimmers as well! You can use the above tips for basic care, but things such as hair cutting, matters should be left for the experts.

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A Therapy Dog

As the founder of Fur Ball Story, people often ask me what exactly do we do, what are therapy dogs, and what is this Animal Assisted Therapy? Before I tell them what it is, I felt a need to tell them what it’s not, by giving a real-life example of course. So, after I started Fur Ball Story and started making a name for ourselves, a couple of other people started following the same road. In one of the instances, I saw one organization which was conducting a program for increasing sensitivity towards animals in a school with various sort of animals such as birds, dogs, guinea pigs, and rabbits, only one problem with this – students were made to stand in a line and the interaction was a bit transactional as the animals were in their respective crates.

Some people’s opinion is that this is a good concept, no harm in making kids look at animals in crates but makes no mistake that this is not an Animal Assisted Activity.
What Fur Ball Story does is different from this is many ways but allow me to highlight two important aspects that of the above example which we should be wary of.

  1. The animals in the cage were being tortured because a therapy animal needs to be trained and socialized. They also need to be desensitized towards touch, loud noises, big crowds, new spaces, other animals. A trained therapy animal would not need to be caged.
  2. Allowing kids to interact with caged animals will lead to normalization of such a trend hence leading to more animal cruelty cases in the future. Kids being of impressionable age should stay away from such activities; on the other hand, legitimate Animal Assisted Therapy will help them understand empathy, responsibility and promotes sensitivity towards animals.

Now, the dogs at Fur Ball Story, have been raised to work as therapy animals. They love humans as well as fellow dogs. They love it when people pet them and give them belly rubs. How, you ask? This is because when we choose a puppy, we conduct thorough background checks of the breeders/family, genetic history –to ensure his previous generations were absolutely and blindly loved by humans, and their temperament towards other animals is neutral. By doing this, we make sure that our dogs will always have full trust on everyone they meet. Thereafter, we train abiding by the basics of socialization and desensitize them towards various stimuli which might throw off an untrained dog. As the owner of FBS, I am personally responsible for the wellbeing of all my dogs and my staff is handpicked for their skills in training and their love for dogs.

To put it in simple words, if my dogs did not like what they’re doing, then my work would make no sense. If you are interested, I am appending links to some articles corroborating the points I have made above.

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Animal Assisted Interventions: An insight.

While working with animals in the field of mental and physical wellness, the knowledge of both AAT as well as AAI are important, doesn’t matter which specific field one wants to pursue in future.

AAT and AAA fundamentally are different from each other bust some of the aspects complement each other as well. AAT, i.e., Animal Assisted Therapy primarily focuses on improving quality of life in terms of social, mental and cognitive aspects whereas AAA, i.e, Animal Assisted Activities focuses on improvement of physical and lifestyle expenses where mental health and well-being are added benefits. The 2 most important factor differentiating between AAA or AAT are:

  • Health being a holistic matter
  • The method of therapy

It is important to note that the no animal is specifically labelled as AAT animal or AAA animal. AAT has the following attributes:

  • Goal directed process.
  • Animals draw out specific response
  • Nature of role more important than specific training of animal
  • There are different types of trained therapists and therapies AAA has the following attributes:

a. Specifically trained animal
b. Helps improve mood of the person and spread positivity
c. Offers physical support and along with natural and emotional support
d. Promotes socialization

Example: An animal with a handler may visit a residence where a tragedy has happened to calm down the family without the presence of a therapist will be considered as AAA, whereas an animal with a trained therapist when visits a home of an autistic children to improve cognitive functions, will be considered as AAI.

From the above understanding of AAA and AAT, what we understand is, that in both the scenarios, it’s our emotional state which ends up getting affected as well, in a positive way. As per layman’s definition, an emotion simply means ‘a strong feeling such as love, anger, fear, etc.’, but it is a lot more complex than that. Emotions are an indication of our feeling and often drives our physical actions as well. There are a lot of famous theories on emotions but the 2 most important are by Paul Eckman and Robert Putchik. Emotions can be understood the best by its subjective, physiological and emotional responses.

The amount of influence pets have on our emotional state is way off the charts. Only once we have a pet, we realize how they drive our emotions in day to day life. From something very basic like coming home to a happy dog with wagging tail or something complicated like brushing a horse, it all affects an emotional state, rather improves it, by giving us a sense of unconditional love as well as personal achievement. Get Healthy, Get a Dog, a brand-new Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School and the Angell Animal Medical Center, delves into the many ways that dogs can improve the lives of humans. This report also covers the pet adoption process, canine nutrition, and ways to benefit from canine contact even if you’re not a pet owner. With the guidance offered in this Special Health Report, owning a dog can be one of the most physically and emotionally rewarding relationships you’ll ever experience. It can be concluded that animals, despite their physical assistance role, do always provide emotional support and other health benefit such as low BP, low stress levels, lower depression, lower cholesterol, etc.

Coming from a country where there is hardly any focus on stress and mental wellness, which if not treated on time, develops in depression, my area of Animal Assisted Intervention is AAA which focuses on improvement of mood, offer friendship, help in socialization, natural emotional support, fight daily pressure, in stressful environments, such as the IT sector of India. We have dogs going to IT companies for stress reduction activities and employee engagement activities of the software-based employees who often don’t have fixed working hours and deal with high level of work stress. I believe that a presence of a happy dog in such environment can make a lot of difference in the lives of these people by improving their mental state. What I found most interesting about this course is the use of different animals in different types of therapies and specially the last module which emphasizes on how it is equally important to make sure that the animal’s mental and physical health is also not compromised during AAT & AAA. Most of the volunteers need to be aware about the signs of stress in animals when working on field. Because at the end, the animal and the human both should win from the activity.

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The Laws of Pet Parenting

Hello human beings,
Hope you all are good, and all your pets are wagging their tails with joy.
As an advocate fighting for the legal rights of animals, I come across many people having misconceptions and misled views about pet ownership legality and the legal rights of care givers of stray dogs. Today I’d like to share a legal opinion to shed some light on these topics and hopefully clear such misconceptions.

As the number of people keeping dogs as household companions is increasing and as animal lovers are increasingly showing compassion for street dogs by feeding them and providing veterinary and other support, conflicts may sometimes occur between the care givers of dogs and Resident Welfare Association.

Our country endorses the virtues of ahimsa and non-violence. These doctrines have always enabled people to peacefully co-exist with animals. Moreover, the duty to show compassion to all living creatures is a Fundamental Duty cast by Article 51A of the constitution upon all citizens of this country; and the law of land protects the rights of non-humans.

All points of view deserve consideration, and everybody is equal in the eyes of law. The solution therefore lies in recognizing that, and teaching differing points of view, and differing lifestyles with respect. The guidelines issued by Animal Welfare Board of India aims at achieving the same.

As per the guidelines, pet owners rightly consider their pets as family members. A pet is akin to a perennial toddler and therefore deserves the same attention throughout its life as that reserved for a human toddler during infancy. However, pet owners are advised to ensure that their pets are not a source of nuisance to others. In doing so, they may, however, distinguish between reasonable and unreasonable, lawful and unlawful claims as to their pets being a source of nuisance; and no amount of pressure should lead to abandonment of a pet animal. Doing so, is a violation of law. Imagine the plight of a pet who has always lived inside a house and was dependent on its owner for food and shelter. And now, roaming on busy roads, alone, and in fear of being bitten or mauled by other stray dogs.

In our society most of the people (non-dog lovers) consider barking as a nuisance. However, barking is a natural form of expression for a dog and must and has to be tolerated in a society. However, continuous barking can disturb neighbours. Hence, in the AWBI guidelines, pet owners are advised to make every effort to keep their dogs quiet, particularly during night hours. But that doesn’t mean neighbours can force or pressure dog owners in any way to abandon the pets.

As per the guidelines, pet owners are also advised to ensure that their pets are healthy, vaccinated, and clean. Adequate healthcare and regular vaccinations need to be ensured. Sterilization is advised as our country has excessive dog population.

Leashing of pets in public places is also advisable. Leashing of dogs assures passer-by that they are safe and makes them more comfortable when walking in the vicinity of an owner with his pet dog on a leash. Leashing also ensures the safety of the pet from being run over by vehicles on streets, or worse shall, being the cause of accidents. Nowadays, people get their dogs trained for walking on leash and the dogs do so on the streets, but other passer-by may not feel comfortable and don’t know about the fact that the dog is trained to do so. Hence, conflicts arise. Even the canines used and trained by police and bomb squad never walk unleashed. However, RWA and other associations cannot insist on the use of muzzle. Please do remember, the law already provides for penalties for negligent pet owners, which the aggrieved party can avail of.

I come across multiple complaints against RWAs or other associations that dogs and their owners get debarred from using elevators etc. whereas as per the guidelines you cannot be debarred by these associations from the use of lifts or elevators for your dogs, pet owners are also advised to use alternate lifts or elevators if there is more than one working lifts in a building. Please bear in mind that even by obtaining consensus, or even if most of the residences and occupiers want it, RWA and other association cannot legally introduce any sort of ban on the keeping of pet dogs. They cannot insist that small sized dogs are acceptable and large sized dogs are not. They cannot cite dog barking as a valid and compelling reason for any proposed ban or restriction.

Further, in the guidelines it is also advised that pet owners either clean up when the pet defecates in public premises or participate in other solution for maintaining cleanliness. Such civic sense is the need of the hour in our country, and it is also courtesy to other users of public spaces. Pet owners are also advised to take the initiative to discuss with their RWA’s ways and means to dispose of pet excreta. For example, pet corners can be designated, in which pets can be trained or encouraged to relieve themselves; and a corner of the complex/park can be designated as area where pet excreta can be collected and deposited and composted, using sawdust, etc. Such behaviour may generate positivity and greater acceptability of pet dogs and even street dogs. However, it is clarified that it is for each residential community and complex to decide which method works best for them, and solutions cannot be imposed on anybody. I get multiple cases in which RWA imposed fines on pet owners and care givers for pet defecation in public premises, I want to make it very clear that it is illegal. There should be co-operation between RWA and pet owners.

If the residence or occupiers that have pets are not violating any municipal or other laws, it is not permissible for RWA or other association to object to their having pets as companions. The general body cannot frame bye laws or amend them in a manner that is at variance with the laws of the country. Even by complete majority, a general majority cannot adopt an illegality.

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