5 Reasons Why the Tata Hexa is Great for Traveling With Your Dog: My Tata Hexa Review
Cars and dogs are a hit combination but not every car is comfortable to travel in with your dog. We are a family of seven, 5 of whom are dogs, so I have very specific requirements of a car. And the Tata Hexa pleasantly surprised me by meeting almost all of them!
Over the last 7 years we’ve travelled with the dogs in a variety of cars and each trip was a learning experience on dogs and cars; what works for them and what doesn’t. The most important lesson I learned when travelling with dogs – make sure your dogs are comfortable, it’s more important than you think.
Almost all dogs love cars but that doesn’t mean they are comfortable. The amount of cabin space, the roll of the car, the smoothness of the drive, the temperature control inside the car, these are some of the things that can make journeys fun for your dog and you.
It was some of these things I was looking at when I checked out and drove the Tata Hexa over the weekend. I wanted to evaluate how well it would work for me and my dogs, and with this in mind I build a checklist. Here’s 5 reasons why I think the Tata Hexa is great for traveling with my dogs.
A Spacious Cabin that Allows Movement
Just like we cramp after sitting in one position for a long time, dogs cramp too. In small or restricted spaces dogs get fidgety and restless. Dogs need space to move and stretch.
With my pack I’ve noticed they like to rotate between windows, taking turns at each one. The Hexa which is a six seater has a lot of space and windows which makes it a car I think my dogs will enjoying riding in and looking out of.
Of course it won’t fit all 5 of my dogs, very few cars can, but it can definitely accommodate 4 of my dogs – 1 big dog, 1 medium dog and 2 small dogs – with ease.
Soft Edges and Smooth Contours for Safety
Many people use seat belts for their dogs in cars, I prefer to let them move about and make themselves comfortable. It’s an arguable point but it’s what seems to work for my dogs.
However allowing free movement requires that the cabin be a safe space in which the dog does not get hurt. There should be no sharp edges and protrusions that can cause injury.
The Hexa has soft touch interiors, all the surfaces feel soft to the touch. They aren’t cushioned or squishy but neither are they plasticky. All edges are well rounded and there are no sharp edges.
Smooth Both in Acceleration and Braking
I don’t like jerky drives, I hate being thrown forward and back. The dogs don’t like it either. Sudden acceleration and braking throws them off balance and disorients them.
It’s this jerky movement that is one of the main reasons dogs have motion sickness and may dislike cars. But jerky driving isn’t just about driver skill, it’s also about the car and its built.
Over the weekend I got to experience both the manual and the automatic variants of the Hexa. In both versions I found the drive to be smooth. The car accelerated and braked with minimum jerk, and there was barely any body roll too. Even in the off road test, the car controlled sudden braking well with its EBP (electronic brake prefill) technology.
Uniform Cooling Across the Car with Climate Control
Cars can easily become ovens for dogs. Without the constant movement of cool air dogs can over heat quickly inside a car and even suffer a heat stroke.
Keeping windows open when driving is one solution, but this is a dangerous thing to do. Dogs have been known to impulsively jump out of cars, get their heads stuck in windows and even get hit by high-speed insects and debris when they stick their heads out.
The safest and best option is to keep your windows closed and the air-conditioning running. However in most cars, it’s only the front row or first two rows that have air vents, and this makes for bad air flow.
In the Tata Hexa though, each row and seat has its own air vent and the fans for the passengers in the front and the back can be controlled independently, so there are no extreme temperature pockets and there is uniform cooling across the car. The air-conditioning also has climate control for cooling relative to the outside temperature.
A Silent Cabin and Surround Sound Music System
Dogs startle and get agitated at sudden loud sounds, so a noisy truck coming too close or a loud honk next to the car makes dogs jump out of their skin.
White noise or music reduces the effect of the loud noises outside but in most cars the music across the car isn’t balanced and its louder at the back than in front. Now take into consideration that a dog hears 10 times what we do, can you imagine how loud the music would be to them.
The Tata Hexa however wins on both counts. The cabin is super silent, so silent in fact that, the person sitting right at the back can hear clearly the driver speak in a normal voice in the front. And the music system is top-notch with JBL speakers spread all around the car to give surround sound so you can keep the volume low and yet hear each note clearly. Together they make for a comforting atmosphere inside the car.
All the Little Bells and Whistles
Apart from these features of the Hexa, the Tata Motors team has paid attention to a lot of other little things that make traveling in the Tata Hexa an enjoyable experience.
There’s a chiller above the glove box where you can keep food and water cool with the help of the ac. So, you can have chilled water even on a hot day! And the windows have built-in sunscreens you can deploy easily to keep the harsh sun out.
Another add-on that wow’ed me was the carrier that can be added to the roof to make for more storage space. With the dogs taking up all the cabin room, the roof storage is critical.
This is an excellent safety feature but just like with little children, airbags are not safe for dogs and can hurt them badly when they deploy. This feature was and is one of my biggest concerns but it seems like they will not be a danger to the dogs based on the image above, actually they might be great for the safety of the dogs.
Summary and Parting Words
This was my first ever automatic SUV experience and what an experience it was. I enjoyed driving the car and was surprised by the control and ease of driving. It felt like a big car and yet didn’t feel like it.
The steering wheel gives lots of feedback and is very responsive. Not having to worry about gears on bad roads and traffic was such a blessing. I’m completely convinced about the automatic version except that it does not have all the driving modes and 4×4 option of a manual drive.
If you are a family with dogs, this is a car you should definitely consider.
Shoutout and thanks to Tata motors and Indiblogger for inviting me to test the all new Tata Hexa in Hyderabad. The Hexa will launch in January 2017 but bookings open in November 2016. Please check the Tata Motors website for more details.
October 27, 2016 4 Comments
One of the biggest lesson’s I have learned from the dogs is to find happiness in small silly things. To let go and just go with the flow. Don’t let it get to you, what it is, depends on how you see it.
There are so many things the dogs do that completely flips my mind. Like waking up day after day to a puddle of pee, or Buddha digging holes in my garden just after I’ve loosened and levelled the soil.
On bad days the dogs have it from me when things like this happen. But on good days (and there are more of those each day) I can see though it and smile.
One of those rare days when Senti managed to hold the bladder through the night. And then was in such a hurry to pee that he aimed at his spot though Buddha’s legs.
On good days I can understand that Senti couldn’t hold his bladder for another hour. He needs to pee around 3 or 4 in the morning and a lot of times I’m too tired to wake up for him. Picking up pee first thing in the morning doesn’t see so bad those days. I find myself smiling indulgently.
Buddha in his pit, while Elu contemplates joining in.
That indulgence also shows up these days when I catch Buddha covered in soil inside a pit of his making. Or when I find Cuckoo and William comfortably settled is soil they have just disturbed to bring out it’s coolness.
A favourite spot of the dogs. First they dig, then they settle.
They may not be the best thing for the garden, but the garden is the best thing for them. The same applies to me too I think. They are the best thing that has happened to me and on bad days, it’s what I have to remind myself the most. It’s also one of those things that helps me though bad days.
It’s difficult but I’m trying to chuck the pains and the bad days, the issues and troubles, and remember that it’s the small joys that bring happiness. Live in the moment, move on quickly in the bad ones and linger and enjoy the good ones.
That seems to be one of the secrets to happiness.
June 8, 2015 No Comments
Disclaimer: this article is shit, is about shit and everything shit, so if you are not into shit or eating at the moment, don’t read further.
For 29 years of my life the only poop I knew intimately was my own, then the dogs came along. Now I am a professional Poop Inspector and Investigator along with being an expert Poop Hunter and Collector. That’s a lot of titles so let me explain them.
Each of the dogs have their poop zones, their favourite spots, but sometimes I think the pressure comes on suddenly or they decide to set up a treasure hunt and then the shit could be anywhere. Even in the middle of the hall!
Having six dogs means somewhere between 6 to 12 piles of shit. As a well experienced, researched and studied Inspector I can tell whose shit is whose at a distance mostly. By close-up inspection my guess would be right 95% of the time. 😀
Identifying poop is just half the battle, the second half involves observing, identifying and tabulating what the turd indicates. Special points are given on finding bone shards, coloured nylon chewie shavings, balls of hair, fur and grass. Thankfully I’ve not found anything else, yet.
Poop comes in various states – dry and crumbling, dry and firm, wet and sticky, soft and gooey, liquid gel. The dry and firm variety is the simplest and easiest to pick up. It comes clean of the ground. All the others need a little ingenuity, experience and skill before the art is perfected.
Why is Shit so Important?
Shit holds a lot of secrets. I’m not kidding, it’s true you know. Your poop can tell you a lot about your body and health. It’s colour, consistency, ease of passing and smell are indicators of many a thing. Looking at poop can tell you about excess vitamins, malnourishment, bleeding, infections, and much more.
I started out a novice, but in the last six years of picking up poop, it’s amazing how much I have learned about and from SHIT!
P.S. – Day Twenty-One of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge.
May 25, 2015 2 Comments
Most people want dogs with a breed. Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Cockers, Boxers and such are hot favourites but few understand the history of breeds and its side effects.
Dogs were quite like mongrel-wolves until man interfered. Man started to tweak the mongrel to create dogs that looked and did specific things. Each breed had a purpose. Some were retrievers, others hounds, some herders, others sniffers, and so on.
Over the years the purpose of breeds has been lost. Today breeds matter only in terms of looks and behaviour. And breeding or inbreeding has caused trouble.
Let me explain, quite like humans, dogs are a large group made up of many family trees. Each breed is a family. When you mate repeatedly inside the family, there are health issues and defects seen over generations.
It’s the side effects of breeding and we are seeing now. For example hip displacia is now very common in labradors and retrievers. And at the rate we are going, it will soon be a breed characteristic, and a very painful incurable one at that.
Anyway… My angst about breeds and breeding is a story for another day. For now, here’s Adam of College Humour who explains breeding and why mutts are better.
What do you think? Are you a breed fan?
P.S. – Day Sixteen of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge.
May 20, 2015 No Comments
Over the six years that we’ve had dogs, we’ve moved their and our sleeping quarters quite a bit. Sometimes they sleep with us, sometimes by themselves and other times we sleep with them.
Confused? Well, we have clearly demarcated spaces for sleeping at home. The bedroom is our sleeping space and the hall is the dogs sleeping space but we shuffle around. 😀
Every so often we get tired of sharing bed space and the dogs get unceremoniously evicted from the bedroom. Oh the crying we have to deal with for a couple of days. But these bouts of sleeping without the dogs rarely lasts long.
Before we know it we are back to opening the doors to the dogs and cuddling up for the night. Don’t know why we do it considering that that makes eight of us in that room; its not a bedroom, it’s a dorm.
Every night is a new layout, a new pattern. The dogs have their favourite spots and we find space for ourselves in between them all. And then there is Cuckoo who gets up at every sound and when she returns from an inspection expects you to lift the sheet and make space for her. If you don’t, you get punched until you do.
It the reason for the evictions, after waking up a couple of days in a row sore due to weird sleeping positions and sleepless because of Cuckoo’s punching, we’ll tolerate even Buddha whine through the night just for some bed space. So out go the dogs.
There are many advantages to not having the dogs in the room at night. You get the whole bed. You don’t have to doggy proof the bedroom. You don’t have to worry about things lying around. You bedroom doesn’t have a coating of fur. You don’t wake up in the middle of the night to a nasty fart. And so on…
But nothing beats have them around you snuggled and warm at night. I sleep so much better with them around. And I wake up better too, who wouldn’t when you wake up to a doggie face.
Photo Credit: Chenthil Mohan
P.S. – Day Fourteen of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge.
May 18, 2015 1 Comment
Ever since the heat set in, the mongrels have been fussing about their food. They don’t like most meat pieces, have specific requirements and the requirements change so fast that I can’t keep up with them.
Especially Elu who has been turning up her nose a lot. The amount she has been doing that has had me worried and I switched to chicken for a bit to ease her appetite. But even chicken she is fussy about. She isn’t eating with gusto.
For this reason and the desire to get the dogs used to more types of food, we tried kibble. Drools Focus seems the reasonable best in the market right, so Focus it was. The first attempt seemed a hit with all except William.
The dogs seemed to like the change in their menu. I’d thought they wouldn’t take to kibble easily after meat but no such thing happened. They pounced up on it, happy about the variety and enjoying the crunch of the pellets.
William the first time we tried kibble did funny things as he ate it. His eyes started to water and he looked dopey for a while after eating. By second day he wasn’t bounding up to eat, had had loose stools and he even threw up. At this point we switched back to meat.
It took a week for systems to settle back down and poop to come back to normal. Then this week I decided to try again. One of the mistakes I made last time was to split the meal into two like I do with meat.
When you switch between types of food, or you introduce a new food/meat, you introduce it slowly and gradually. Instead of doing two meals, I should have done 4 or 5 meals in a day. Small amounts of a new food would be easier on the stomach then a big quantity. That might explain Williams reaction.
Anyway, this time round I went at it slow and did 4 to 5 meals spread through the day. And the dogs seemed to have transitioned better. Tummy’s seemed to have settled, poop is soft but well formed pellets and appetites seem good too.
It’s been a bit more work, feeding six dogs multiple times a day, but the upside is that they and I have had a chance to practice patience. All dogs have had to sit patiently outside the kitchen while one is eating inside. They come one at a time and only when called. They then have to sit and wait for food to be served.
Sounds like a process but when I started out, I was chasing dogs in and out, and doing a lot of other drama too. But doing something 4 times day for one whole week, makes for practice, rhythm, tweaking and good understanding.
It’s amazing to watch Max get better and better each day with his impulse control. Eli is still struggling to figure our the kitchen laxman-rekha but she’s getting better at it. It’s also been fun doing it all with the dogs as the food isn’t messy and icky like meat. 😀
But a week of kibble hasn’t been all good, there are some things that I’m just not content about. Drools Focus doesn’t have corn and hence is the better of the packaged foods in the market. That said, the poop quality though better than other kibble, is still not as good as meat. It’s not hard, compact and only mildly smelly like meat poop, this is poop you’ll remember for a while after cleaning up.
And it’s just the poop that is smelly, even the pee is off. No, it’s not smelly in the stinking sense, but rather smelly in the rich sense. As if it’s filled with nutrients. It’s an overwhelming smell and you can’t escape it. After a week it feels like my whole house smells of kibble pee.
Even the dogs smell different, I think. Over the past couple of days I’ve been feeling the dogs have started to smell kibbley. Dogs should smell I dogs and I’m fine with dog smell but this is body odour.
This week I switch the dogs back to meat and chicken and I’m looking forward to all the smells changing back to before. I wonder how long it will take.
Now that their systems have settled I’m unlikely to ever do kibble for so long here on. I’m going to be switching between kibble, chicken and meats often. Have you done kibble in-between meat cycles? Noticed any of the stuff I was mentioning? What kibble do you feed?
Gawd that was a lot of talk about food, poop and pee. 😛 In other news Max’s ear wax culture reports have come and the Vet suggests a ear canal flushing. One of these days soon we’re going to have to put him under and clean out his ear. I’m hoping the procedure goes off well.
All else is fine on the Pawsible front. See you next week.
P.S. – Day Seven of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge.
May 11, 2015 No Comments
I started Video Wednesday to share videos I come across. These are usually videos what made me sit up and think, left me in splits or changed life itself.
I came across this video a couple of days ago and watching it left me in tears. Having dogs and loving them made me want to shake up the father and mother in the video.
I believe everyone should be allowed to bring up their child or dog as they see fit. But dumping your dog because – he does not fit the bill, does not meet your expectations, is a lot of work, is unmanageable, is sick or simply isn’t what you had thought he would be – is unacceptable.
Would you dump your child because he or she is inconvenient? A dog is not different from a child. Your dog is a part of your family. Don’t dump him or her.
Makes you want to hug your dogs tight, doesn’t it? 😕 Did you like this Video Wednesday’s find?
P.S. – Day Two of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge.
May 6, 2015 No Comments
It’s been a while since I’ve done regular posts on the blog. It’s good to be back to the mundane but yet I’ll miss the AtoZ Challenge what kept me on my toes.
I planned to write A to Z Things I’ve Learned from the Dogs but I only partially succeeded, as I was lost many a time about what to write. What I did manage though was to have the dogs in every post. It was all about them, oh well, there was always something about them. 😀
Before I get to a quick update on all the dogs have been up to in April. Here’s a quick list of my A to Z posts.
Now for the updates…
Summer here in it’s full glory and the dogs are showing the effects of the heat too. They prefer to be indoors where the granite floors our cold most of the day. You should see the speed with with they troop in after we have cleaned the house. Wet floors and flooded porches are a particular favourite.
Our bedroom is coooler than the rest of the house me thinks, so they dogs line up at bed time and charge into the room even before we can make it there. Our bedroom’s a dorm in the nights with 8 people sprawled out!
The heat is also showing effects in food. The mongrels both prefer chicken to beef. There is a fair bit of fuss when it comes to red meat, so I’m doing T-bone steaks which the dogs enjoy on some days and chicken in the rest. We’re also experimenting with kibble.
All seem to be taking to kibble well, except for William whose tummy seems to be taking time to get accustomed to it. Last time we tried a three day kibble drill, William acted all funny why eating, his eyes would droop and he’d look dopey as soon as he started eating and the look lasted for a while after. Two days in his appetite dropped.
I’m going to try another cycle of kibble this week. Smaller portions for William with more frequency in feeding. Let’s see how he takes to it this time. One option is to give up on kibble, but I’d like the dogs tummies to flex so this time I’m going to push it slow and steady until William’s tummy settles. Will keep you posted.
Max’s one ear has been bad for a while now. We first tried ACV for a while and it definitely made it better but the issue didn’t completely go away, so we took him to CUPA and started him on a course of antibiotic ear drops. The course also showed some improvement but now the course is over, it seems like he’s sliding back. There’s more goo coming out the ear everyday. Not smelling but sticky dark brown gunk. Time for another Vet visit.
All else is good at Pawsible… As always the pack is making everything possible at Pawsible! 😛
What have you and your fur friends been up to?
May 4, 2015 No Comments
It’s been over a month since I first talked about Cuckoo getting tick fever. Che was traveling at that time and it was a extremely stressful week. I had read up on tick fever like a student before exams, cleaned house like a maniac and watched the dogs like a stalker.
After ten days of doxycycline as medication Cuckoo was due for another round of blood tests. Che had returned by then so it was possible to take Cuckoo across to Cessna while he handled the howlers. After another maddening trip to Cessna where Cuckoo peed in the car, slipped her collar and harness at the sight of the needle and generally went out of her way to give the Docs a hard time, we got the blood work results.
Her platelet count had gone up but not as much as the Doctor would have liked. Recovery was taking too long he said and things needed to be speeded up. They gave her one shot of prednisolone and put her on a 10 day course of it along with the doxycycline.
While discussing the treatment plan I asked the Doc about how we would confirm at the end of treatment that Cuckoo was not a carrier of the Ehrlichia canis organism any more. With six dogs that’s a concern because if she is a carrier all the other five will always be at risk. The Doc said that to do that we would extend her treatment plan to 6-8 weeks and also run the 4Dx Snap test on her blood to confirm that she isn’t a carrier any more.
4Dx Snap test… There was a test for tick fever? I promptly asked the Doc how much the test costs and why we hadn’t tested her until now. The test he said was Rs.1000 and was not needed now as he was 100% sure it was tick fever.
Armed with this information I left the clinic and updated Che with all that had happened. He asked the same question, why hadn’t we tested Cuckoo until now. The only difference was he wasn’t satisfied with the Doc’s answer, he insisted on the test being done. However the same blood sample could not be used as this test required blood serum and hence a fresh blood sample was needed.
Since we had already left the clinic there was no point in going back to take another sample, especially considering how much Cuckoo was freaking out. Two days later we got another Vet to come home and take a sample that we could personally take to Cessna for testing. This Vet saw Cuckoo for the first time that day and he had a diagonally opposite diagnosis that startled me.
He checked out Cuckoo, asked a few questions and declared that she didn’t have tick fever. And I was like ‘what?!’ He explained that considering her activity levels, physical signs and appetite were good, the possibility of tick fever was minimal. The spots I was seeing on her neck and stomach was most likely to be auto-immune disease.
Auto-immune disease was not that simple though and didn’t have a straight forward cure. Our best treatment option was steroids for about ten days in a tapered dosage he said. After that we could do a repeat test for platelet count, but the main thing was that we had to just watch and wait and hope it sorted out. There was no perfect cure.
He changed the daily dosage amount prescribed and wrote out the same prednisolone prescription. Dr. Morton didn’t think a snap test was required but we insisted he take a blood sample. After he left Che and I sat down to wait out the one hour it would take the blood to completely clot before we could transport it.
The test itself is simple and quick, not unlike a pregnancy test. And just like with pregnancy tests we were pacing to see the results of this one. The result was negative. Cuckoo did not have tick fever. We had given her doxycycline for ten days for no reason. Even Dr. Ramesh now told Che it was auto-immune and that that was why he had prescribed prednisolone two days ago.
At that point of time with all this news I wasn’t sure which was better and whether we had gone from the frying pan into the fire. What we did do though was watch Cuckoo like a hawk for the next ten days and gave her her medications like clockwork. The medication was a pain though as I not only had to make halves and quarters but also 1/8ths. 😀
It’s been a couple of weeks now and between steroids and homeopathy, Cuckoo has gotten better. The spots have gone away and have stopped showing up. After all that panic and palpitation, I may be breathing easier now but through it all Cuckoo has been herself, completely cuckoo!
Special thanks to Devisri who helped chauffeur Cuckoo to Cessna and manage her there (with a bitch like Cuckoo that is a lot!).
October 6, 2014 1 Comment