Pet dogs in vegetarian families never had it so good. Biryani, mutton with rice and chicken soup are among the items on the menu of a special catering service for dogs in Bhopal.
Launched recently by dog caretaker Prakash Verma, the Tiffin Centre has come as a boon for vegetarian families that were worried about providing proper non-vegetarian nutrition to their pets.
"I belong to a Brahmin family. We cannot cook non-vegetarian food at our house. I heard about the services offered by Prakash and asked him to bring tiffins for my dogs," said R.K. Tiwari. "This has brought a remarkable improvement in the health of my pet," he added.
Beef rice and mutton soup are among the other items offered by the Tiffin Centre. The home delivery meals are gradually gaining popularity. In particular, vegetarian dog owners who realise that non-vegetarian food is essential for the proper growth and health of their canines are relieved.
Said Dhruvdev Singh: "The home cooked vegetarian food that we used to feed our dogs was not a balanced diet. But since the time our dogs began eating the meals brought by Prakash, they have become more energetic and active."
"We always knew that we were doing injustice to our pet by not giving him non-vegetarian food but we were helpless since our family is vegetarian. We provided our dog milk, `roti' and a few vegetables prescribed for canines. Now we have got the solution. We can feed him readymade food as per his requirement," said Laxmi Sharma, a dog owner.
"Though a range of commercial foods are available in the market we preferred not to give them to our pet because of reports that canines consuming such food develop allergy," she said.
Verma's business is flourishing.
"More owners seem to be returning to natural fresh food and bone diets for their dogs, despite the availability of a range of commercial foods. Perhaps the increasing incidents of allergies has led many owners back to fresh food for their pet dogs," said Verma.
"I provide all-natural dog food. Keeping in mind their dietary needs, I only use fresh ingredients with no preservatives, fillers, artificial colouring, sodium, sugar or added fat," he said.
Verma also runs a mobile beauty parlour for dogs.
"Several customers, whom I used to visit to groom their dogs, asked me to get someone who could deliver readymade non-vegetarian food. What prompted me to start a dog tiffin service was the poor health of these pet dogs due to lack of proper diet", Verma said.
He claims this tiffin service is first of its kind in India. He cooks the food and gets fresh meat from the market every day. He charges Rs.50 to Rs.200 per tiffin.
Apart from proper food, another aspect necessary for the proper upkeep of dogs is their hygiene, says Verma. These include a body massage followed by a medicated bath, cleaning of ears, haircut, shampoo and cutting of nails.
Verma suggests that the pet owners should give their dog a bath at least once a week with a dog shampoo, comb them once a week to prevent the formation of hair lumps, sprinkle deodorant powder twice a week and apply dental paste 2-3 times a week.