‘Fudge is a big foodie; I think he’s inspired by his dog mom’: Ananya Panday on her pets, who are like her ‘children’

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Ananya Panday is not just an actor; the Gehraiyaan star is also a pet-parent who loves her ‘children’ to bits. While she has received rave reviews from audiences and critics alike for her portrayal of Tia in the high-intensity emotional drama, Ananya appreciates some down time with her furry family and believes they have to be truly “taken care of like babies.”

In an exclusive interview with indianexpress.com, the actor shared her relationship with her two pets Fudge (13) and Astro (3), how she spends time with them, and how to really take care of pets.

Edited excerpts:

Have you always been fond of animals?

Growing up, I remember where we used to live, not in the house I’m staying in right now, we used to have a garden and we would have these injured birds that fell into our backyard and I would nurse them back to health. As long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted a pet dog, and I love cats, too. I love dogs and somehow all my favorite vacations involve animals! I recently went to Ranthambore for New Year, and I just love observing animals in their natural habitat.

What sets your pets apart? Any interesting quirks we can know about them?

Fudge is a big foodie and I think he’s inspired by his dog mom. He’s very picky about his food, but Drools is his first choice, always. My dad has this bad habit of feeding him off the table but with drools, Fudge has stopped begging him for food and enjoys his meals by himself. Astro, on the other hand, is super energetic and playful. Every time someone visits me, he wants to play with them. I think that helps him keep his energy levels up, which don’t necessarily need to be kept up all the time!

How would you describe a day in your life with your pets?

Astro sleeps in my room at night or my sister’s, depending on who gave him more belly rubs during the day. I’m up by 7 if he’s around in my room and let him out for him to have his breakfast and walk downstairs. Honestly, if I’m having a bad day, just hugging my dogs makes me feel better instantly. And I know every pet parent out there will relate to that. My days with them involve a lot of playtime, lazing around and fun! Astro actually likes using some of his strength to find cool spots in the house. Whenever it’s sunny out and he senses that the AC is switched on in my room, he’ll come in and be there.

Which one of your pets are you closer to?

You can’t ask a parent to choose between their children! Fudge has been a part of my family for 13 years now, he’s grown up in that sense. Astro, however, is three and still behaves like a puppy. I can’t choose between my children, you can’t ask me this!

Do you have inputs about their diet, health and fitness?

Honestly, every parent will be able to explain the importance of timely check-ups, to make sure they’ve gotten all their vaccinations, to keep their health and physical fitness check. Just like human beings, animals too need a routine that works for them. It’s important to take care of what goes inside their bodies too.

What do your pets do to get your attention usually?

I don’t know if it’s just a thing with golden retrievers but Astro has this habit that whenever he wants cuddles, he goes under your feet and then proceeds to do a somersault! You can’t help but give him attention when he does that. And every time he wants to be let in inside my room he begins to whine and that somehow always turns into a song! He just knows how to get his way around the house and he’s so cute when he waddles about like a little puppy, although he’s 13 years old. He’s just as famous though, he doesn’t even need to do much and every time he goes to the parlorhe comes back with a little bow on his head!

Any important takeaway that you have learned while taking care of your pets?

I think it’s very important to set a routine for them from a very young age. They have to be treated like children and taught everything for the first time. This may seem like too much information, but you have to be ready to give them designated spots when nature calls and their meal times have to be set prior too. They really do function like babies, and in that sense, I think setting a routine is extremely important and that is what I learned with my dogs.

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