News Feature by Fay Al Saeed
KUWAIT, Dec 18 (KUNA) -- Acquiring pets by young people in Kuwait to raise and take them out in public has become a trend that has been spreading fast recently, thus contributing to a record increase in the commercial activity associated with this trend.
Accordingly, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry issued a decree that included new 60 licenses, one of them stipulating establishment a pets welfare house, in May 2018.
Meanwhile, animal trade in Kuwait has boomed, amid mushrooming dog and cat accessories stores, private hospitals, pet care centers, even hotel services and coffee shops.
"The country witnessed a significant increase in the number of dogs and cats imported from abroad during the past five years," said Waleed Al-Oud, Monitor of Epidemic at the Department of Animal Health in the Public Authority for Agriculture Affairs and Fish resources.
Al-Oud told KUNA that the number of dogs imported from abroad rose from 478 in 2012 to 1,515 un the end of 2017, while the figure of cats increased from 475 to 574 during the same period.
He added that carrying out therapeutic services for these animals was assigned to the private sector only, as the Authority does not provide this kind of therapy, unless in cases of spreading epidemics and infectious diseases that threaten the community.
He stressed that the Authority has a clear plan to combat the "phenomenon of stray dogs," especially that it receives daily more than 20 complaints, making this issue as one of the challenges facing it.
The Kuwaiti official pointed out to the existence of a law on animal welfare, with its Executive Regulations approved in 2015, which criminalize the abuse of animals through the application of financial fine, and could even reach a verdict to send people to prison, adding that the Environmental Police is working on implementing this law.
For his part, Vet Dr. Obeid Al-Azmi told KUNA that the country has witnessed a significant increase in the number of veterinary clinics specializing in dogs and cats during the past few years due to the increasing number of its owners.
He added that the diseases of these animals spread during periods of change of weather, specifically in the months of March, April, September and October, pointing out that the most prevalent diseases at present time is the Parvo Virus, Ticks Virus for dogs, and the calic Virus for cats.
Dr. Al-Azmi provided many advices to the owners of pets, the most important of which are to give them four vaccinations to immunize against a number of diseases and viruses such as Parvo Virus and Distemper Virus for dogs and three vaccinations for cats such as Herpes Virus and Calic Virus, in addition to conducting a periodic examination against Fungi.
Petty activities have also spawned to the adoption of stray dogs and cats, where Nathalie Veys, a German National, runs a dog shelter in Kuwait, where she collects stray dogs after receiving at least 50 calls a day.
She said she was gathering dogs and initially sterilizes, vaccinates and trains them to be able to live with a family again after completing their assessment. The shelter (adopt a street princess) was opened in 2015.
Most of the adoptions are carried out with families outside the country. The dogs are sent after training and rehabilitation to Germany, indicating that the process of sending them abroad takes about four months.
In a special care center, Samantha Portocarrero, an expert in creative grooming for dogs and cats, said that the center provided a new service for the first time in Kuwait, in addition to other services such as nail care and creative grooming per the Asian style.
The expert from Nicaragua in Latin America said her passion for pets has prompted her to work with experts groomers on dogs and cats over the past three years, including Costa Rican Nicole Rodin, Japan's Keiko Sasaki, Chinese Laili Ashhadi, and Brazil's Felippe Correa.
The most common breeds of dogs treated by the center are the Yorkshire, the Pomeranian from the small dog categories, as well as the Shepherd, the Labrador and the Golden Retriever from the big dog categories.
Portocarrero provided a number of tips for dog and cat owners, the most important of which is that the center should be visited twice a month for long-haired dogs and once for the short hair, as well as brushing twice a day to avoid the accumulation of fur masses to have satisfactory effects on them, while cats must be cleaned every 15 days.
The International Veterinary Hospital in Kuwait, which opened in 2002, is specialized in dogs and cats. It provides veterinary services, retail services for their supplies, as well as a photography studio and a care center.
The hospital includes intensive care rooms, X-rays, four rooms dedicated to their laundry and care, as well as a comprehensive medical laboratory and seven specialized doctors from around the world. The hotel services provided by the center include daily, weekly and monthly care services, 165 rooms for dogs and 65 other rooms for cats.
Pet supplies stores have also recently been opened, including Pet Zone, which opened in 2010 as a specialized store selling dog, cat, bird and fish supplies.
The increase in demand for these items has contributed to the expansion of the store since 2016, with several branches opening in the country, as well as outside Kuwait in the Gulf countries.
Coffee shops specializing in dogs and cats are one of the most important activities in this area. Luna & Beau, which opened in September 2018, is one of the best examples of a cafe, a bakery, a convenience store and a private dog park.
The coffee shop, with the name inspired by the owner's dogs Luna and Beau, offers daycare services, consultations and training by specialists and experts.
With all that, it becomes common in Kuwait to see many people walking with their dogs on the Arabian Gulf Marina Walk. (End) fs.rg