Learn about common mistakes which are better best avoided.
Health and wellness is always top priority. Read on and find out about advices on Health, Training and Grooming – some common mistakes which are must watch out for.
Common ‘HEALTH’ mistakes to watch out for
Wrong food: “Sometimes adult food is fed to puppies, which leads to indigestion and they suffer from vomiting and diarrhoea,” advices Dr Sarkar.
Wrong quantity: Quantity matters! “If they are fed lesser than the normal quantity or in big gaps/intervals, they are bound to remain hungry all the time and gorge on any dirt lying around,” tells Dr Sarkar. “Most dogs are over fed and sometimes eat as much as the pet parents, sometimes adult dogs are fed 4-5 meals a day. Adult dogs should be ideally fed just twice a day with a well balanced diet. Also make it a habit to feed your pet well before your meals to discourage your dog from begging at the table for table scraps,” adds Dr Natasha Couto.
Feeding vegetarian food to dogs: Some people who are vegetarian themselves start feeding vegetarian food to their dogs. “They have the feeling that if they start feeding vegetarian food to their dogs at an early stage their dog will become a vegetarian ignoring the fact that dog is a carnivorous animal,” tells Dr Sarkar.
Feeding sweets, chocolates and table scraps to dogs: “This kind of mistakes are usually made to miniature breeds – who most of the time are sitting on children’s lap and eat whatever the child eats. These prohibited food on later stages cause kidney failure, haemorrhagic gastroenteritis and food poisoning,” warns Dr Sarkar. “Chocolates can cause chocolate toxicity and could be fatal,” adds Dr Natasha. She further mentions that feeding the dogs sweets, chocolates and buffalo milk, which is rich in fat, makes the pets overweight and leading them to suffer from severe obesity. Obese dogs are at high risk for arthritis and other orthopedic issues and cardiac problems. Let your vet recommend a specific food schedule.
Treats are not foods: Using treats as food, some households over feed dogs with treats. “Overeating leads to various health problems in the long run,” warns Dr Natasha.
Soft food worries: “Gum disease is more common in dogs on soft food diet. Teeth and gum diseases can eventually lead to various organ diseases,” shares Dr Natasha.
Diet chart: “If your vet recommends a specific food, there’s usually a valid reason behind this. Always follow his advice,” tells Dr Natasha.
Vaccination and deworming
Inaccurate vaccination: “Not following vaccination, deworming schedules leads to health issues,” tells Dr Sarkar. “Pets who are not vaccinated regularly on time could succumb to fatal diseases like gastroenteritis, leptospirosis and distemper. Also regular deworming can prevent anaemia, diarrhoea and other problems. Please follow the vaccination schedules as provided by your veterinarian,” adds Dr Natasha.
Over the counter medicines: “Medicating your pet without consulting your vet can cause severe adverse reactions. For example: Crocin given to cats for fever/pain can be fatal while Brufen/Combiflam in dogs can cause severe gastritis,” shares Dr Natasha.
Vet care: “Any minor deviation from routine pattern should be noted and consulted with the veterinarian,” tells Dr Natasha.
Lack of proper exercise: “Most dogs are not walked and are at home all day leading to overgrown nails, obesity and unsocial behaviour owing to being locked up all day indoors. Dogs need to be walked at least twice- thrice a day for a min of 15-30 minutes,” tells Dr Natasha.
Neutering: Not neutering/spaying your pet can lead to incidence of pyometra/mammary tumours in females and prostrate enlargement in males later in life. “Neutering your pet also prevents indiscriminate breeding, makes your pet more controllable and will also curb the progression of genetically transmitted diseases, such as hip dysplasia, cryptochidism, etc,” advises Dr Natasha.
Common training mistakes to watch out for
Inappropriate techniques or methods while training their pets, inconsistency, tone of voice and indulgence are to be avoided, advices Sonya Kochhar.
Being regular: “The mistakes we make here are being inconsistent with the training. Regularity in training is important. Pet parents have to be very patient while training and practice as much as possible,” tells Sonya.
Treats: not always good: Treats are a good way to start training but once your dog starts to get the hang of the command we must start cutting down the treats before it become a habit, according to Sonya.
Emotion and tone check: Sonya says “Another very common mistake pet parents make is to not keep their emotions in check while training. Being focused and having the correct tone is important during a training session. Training in anger and frustration will leave a negative impact on your pet. One must have a calm mindset while training. Keep the right tone as much as possible.” The right ambience and duration: Sonya advices, “The duration of the training session is also very important. Parents must ensure the pet is being trained in the right weather conditions, keeping the general well being of the pet in mind. Keep the training session short and enjoyable for both your pet and you.”
Common grooming mistakes to watch out for
Brushing not a routine: “The most basic and common thing in Grooming is ‘BRUSHING’. Regular brushing is must, regardless of the length of your dog’s coat, because it removes dead hair, distributes the natural oils for a clean and healthy coat, stimulates the surface of the skin and helps you become very familiar with your dog’s body. No brushing means unhealthy skin and coat and it also leads to matting (tangling of hair) of your pets,” shares Savita.
Choice of combs and brushes: There is a huge range of pet grooming equipment available now days. “Each comb or brush is designed for specific purpose. Pet parents need to know which equipment does what and use it accordingly. There are de-matting combs, rack combs, slicker brushes, long combs, etc… all having their specific function,” tells Nipun Biyani.
Cutting mats: The common mistake that follows because of no brushing would be cutting the mats using a scissor, one must be careful doing this, so as not to nip the skin. “In that case, a pet will always end up having a negative association with scissors. Every time he sees the scissors, he will respond in a very negative and aggressive manner. Also, watch out for cutting the fur in an uneven manner. So, if your pet has thick matting then you should seek help from a professional pet groomer,” advises Savita.
Getting shampoo and conditioner in your pet’s eyes: “Sometimes it goes unnoticed as the pet parent is busy scrubbing the pet. Always shampoo with utmost care,” tells Savita.
Using human shampoos on pets: Never use human shampoo on pets. “Shampoos and soaps made for humans have much higher pH levels and that will be (in most cases) very harmful for your pets’ coat and skin,” tells Nipun. “Human shampoo can be too harsh for your pet’s skin and coat. So make sure you buy pet products available,” adds Savita.
Not rinsing your pet thoroughly after bath: “During the bath if shampoo or conditioner is not washed properly, it will leave a dull residue on the pet’s fur and can lead to skin diseases and infections,” tells Savita.
Letting your dogs dry up naturally: “During rainy or winter season, as the pet may take a lot of time to dry up, this may increase chances of skin infections and redness,” tells Nipun.
Using personal hair dryers to dry your pet: “This is also not advisable since personal hair dryers emit heat that may affect the coat and skin of your pet. Professional hair dryers are ideal for using for drying pets and are used at most pet grooming salons,” shares Nipun.
Using human perfumes and deodorants on pets: This should never be done. “Use products designed specifically for pets and look out for natural products rather than those with high chemical concentration,” adds Nipun.
Using human shaving clippers: “Not only they are of no help but can result in burning and damaging the pet’s skin,” warns Savita.
Bathing your pet too frequently: “Bathing your pet too frequently will dry out her skin and strip the natural oils from her coat, making the skin flaky and itchy,” tells Savita. “This may also lead into excessive hair fall and irritation,” adds Nipun.
Cutting ‘The Quick’: “This is very painful, that is cutting The Quick (which is a nerve in the nail) while cutting your pet’s nails,” tells Savita. Always get this done at your groomer veterinarian’s place.
(With inputs from Sonya Kochhar, Canine Elite, New Delhi; Amrut Sridhara Hiranya, Dog Guru, Bengaluru; Dr Natasha Couto, Cuddle Pet Shop & Clinic, Mumbai; Dr Sarkar, Dog Care, Ranchi; Savita Raghuvanshi, Scoopy Scrub, Indrapuram, Ghaziabad; Nipun Biyani, Paws 2 Think – Premium Pet Products and Pet Salon, Jaipur; and Priti Chauhan, canine behaviourist and trainer, Pune).