Happy feet Because it’s PAWsome!

Paw care is important, here’s how to ensure happy feet.

 

Common paw problems
It is advisable to check your dog’s paws at regular intervals. The most common paw problems are dry or cracked pads, cuts, itching, swelling, redness, pain, sores or blisters. Moreover, overgrown nails also cause problem.
Season-specific: Different seasons affect the paws in different ways; while winters can be harsh on dog paws making them dry and cracked, during summers walking on hot pavement can cause burnt paws and in rainy season wet and muddy paws lead to various allergies and fungal or bacterial infections. Dogs need special care and attention throughout the year to protect their feet from extreme temperature conditions.

 

Healing cracked paws
A cracked or dry paw is the most common problem during winters. Keeping the paw pads well moisturised is the key solution to this problem. There are special paw creams and balms available at leading pet stores. Application of Vaseline or coconut oil can also help soothe and soften the dry skin.27

 

Pawdicure
While many pet spas have the facility of pawdicure which takes care of cleaning and taking extra care of the paws, it can also be done at home on regular basis. Check between the paws for dirt, ticks or any other debris and wipe it gently with damp cloth or cotton. Hair under the paws should also be trimmed regularly; not only it makes the feet look tidy but also provides the dog good grip while walking.
Even after regular cleaning and moisturising in case the cracks reopen, then extra moisturising is required. After gently cleaning the paws and drying it completely, apply the moisturiser or the ointment suggested by the vet. Ensure the dog doesn’t lick it.

 

Other paw problems…
Dogs chew or bite their paws due to various reasons like boredom, anxiety or any sort of injury. Constant licking, biting or chewing can also lead to redness at a particular area which can further become sore. Any sort of bacterial infection could also be one of the reasons. During winters when the paws become dry, dogs continuously lick them to keep them wet.
Common paw injuries are burns, cuts or wounds and the symptoms are bleeding, swelling, limping or licking in that particular area. Find out the first aid from your vet and rush him for medical care. Pad injuries are very common during summer season. The pads may get burnt due to walking on hot pavement. Take him for a walk only in the cooler part of the day.
In a nutshell, pawdicure should form a very important part of our beloved pet’s regular grooming and should not be neglected at all.

(Poorvi Anthony runs JUST DOGS pet shop cum spa in Ahmedabad).

Making Toenail Trimming Easy!

When you hear the clicking of your dog’s nails along the hard floor of your house, you know it is time to trim his toenails. Your dog may hate his nails being trimmed, but it is important that you do it and take care of him. Nails, if left to grow too long, can start to curl under and cause problems for little paws.

 

Finding the right toenail trimmer

Avoid using human nail clippers on a dog’s nails. They compress the nail flat, which causes pain and leaves the dog with a poorly angled cut. Instead, look for one of these options, which are ideal for tiny toenails.

  • Guillotine style: This style is recommended for smaller dogs because the design makes it easy to insert the nail. Essentially, the nail is passed through a metal hoop at the end of the trimmer. As the handles close, a metal trimmer slides across the metal loop and trims the nail. Some people find this squeeze-type closure easier to use than scissor-type handles. If you use this type of trimmer, make sure you change the blades frequently.
  • Millers Forge trimmers: These trimmers look similar to scissors with blades that have semi-circular indentations. When the blades are opened, the semicircles make a circular opening into which the nail is placed. With the nail in position, the handles are closed and the nail is trimmed. Millers Forge trimmers are stronger than the guillotine style and they do not have blades that need to be replaced. However, the handles are far apart and can be difficult to operate for people with small hands.

Toenail trimming tips

Here are a few ways to make the process as painless as possible for you and your dog:

  • Start young. The earlier you start clipping your dog’s nails, the more used to it he’ll be.
  • Watch a professional first. If you’ve never cut a dog’s toenails before, get a lesson from your vet, vet’s assistant or a professional groomer.
  • Avoid cutting the nails too short. You never want to cut into ‘The Quick’ (the pink nail bed area seen in colourless nails). Cutting this area causes pain and bleeding.
  • Clip toenails when your dog is tired. After a workout or vigorous play session is a good time to clip his nails. Try to avoid clipping when he’s most energetic, such as in the morning.
  • Try different positions. Some dogs are comfortable lying on their sides, while others feel less vulnerable sitting up or even standing. You can even try cutting your small dog’s toes on a tabletop or with his back towards you in your lap.
  • If your dog has hairy feet, pull the hair aside or trim it away from the nails. This will make it much easier to see what you’re doing. If your dog is squirmy, you might need the help of a handler.

Your dog may hate his nails being trimmed or you touching his paw. So, try making it fun and not a struggle. If your pet is not used to having his nails trimmed, start slowly and work up to it gradually. In time, your dog may grow to enjoy his pedicures.

Why early grooming is the right start?

A well-groomed pooch is a pet parent’s delight. It takes time, love and attention to give your pooch a pawfect look. Here’s how to make your pet a showstopper every day.

 

Sitara with Whisky

Sitara with Whisky

Start early: Accustom your puppy to brushing and physical examination (ears, nails, paw pads, teeth, etc) so that they get used to the process of grooming.
Dry bath: Dry bath is recommended for young puppies.
Tooth care: Accustom your dog to brushing teeth. Take half teaspoon dog toothpaste in your finger and move your finger alongside their teeth. Once they get used to this use a toothbrush.
Nail care: Clip the nails with care as dog’s nails have ‘the quick’ which has a nerve. If you clip ‘the quick’ the nail will bleed and the dog will experience pain. So, get it safely done by a vet or a groomer.
Ear care: Dog’s ears can get infected easily, especially the droopy ears as there is less room for air to enter their ear canal. Regular checking is recommended to avoid complications.
Brushing – a must: Brushing is recommended regularly for long-coated dogs to avoid matt or tangles and at least twice a week for small/medium-coated breeds.
Don’t be hard on his skin: Ensure that you do not press the brush too hard on the skin that could scrape the skin.
Removing mats: Mat is painful for your dog. Work on small portions at a time while de-matting. Hold the skin with one hand and insert the end of the comb into the mat with your other hand and slowly try to remove the mat. After de-matting, comb thoroughly. If mat is too close to the skin, try cutting it out with a scissor.
Ready for grooming: If your dog gets restless, it might be wise to take him for a walk or exercise before brushing, bathing, trimming or nail clipping. It will lessen any excess energy and make it easier to accomplish the task.
Hair clipping: Take your dog to a groomer for the pawfect look. Untitled-11
Get ready for bath: Prevent water from entering the ear canal.
Warm bath: Bathe your dog with luke warm water, always check the warmth on the back of your palm.
Bathing tips: Use only dog shampoo to bathe your dog. First bathe the body and shampoo the head at last with a tearless shampoo. Rinse well to avoid skin irritation.
Drying dos: Towel dry the head and ears first. Then towel dry the body. Take dry cotton and dry clean the ears. Use a pet dryer to dry the coat. Be careful of the ears. Keep a check of the temperature of the dryer.
Paw care: Clipping off hair from the under paw pads will prevent unwanted plants, twigs, etc from getting stuck.
It’s always wise to start grooming and nail clipping when your dog is a puppy. It will get him accustomed to the process and make it easier on everyone in ensuing years. Introducing grown up dogs to home grooming is usually a greater challenge.

 

(Sitara Samnotra runs Barkers Den, a boutique, spa and escape for pooches in Jammu.)

Steps to make your pooch matt-free

Grooming

Secret revealed: Your dog loves massage too!

If you’ve ever experienced a really good massage and felt wonderful about it, then it’s no surprise that your dog is going to love it too!

 

Pet massage is much more than petting. It manipulates skin and muscles by using specific techniques to promote healing, increase blood flow and oxygen to tissues, reduce pain and swelling and create overall well being for our canine companions.

 

Shweta Munjal

Shweta Munjal

Benefits of massage

  • Promotes healthy skin and coat.
  • Eases and calms a nervous, restless and anxious dog.
  • Improves overall blood circulation.
  • Helps with identification of any health problems including soreness, swelling or other pain in the body.
  • Helps in improving and building stronger immune system.
  • Improves performance for an athletic canine.
  • Helps in building stronger and toned muscles.
  • Acts as a great warm up and prevents any injury.
  • Relieves tension, pain and discomfort.
  • Extremely helpful in relieving pain caused by arthritis and hip dysplasia.
  • Opens blood vessels, which allow blood to flow freely carrying oxygen to the cells and disposing of waste and by-products.
  • Enhances focus, concentration and alertness.
  • Relieves age-related problems.
  • Acts as a passive form of exercise for inactive dogs, dogs recovering from any illness and older dogs.

When to do a massage?
Massage should always be a relaxing and gentle activity. Before beginning, make sure your dog is in a comfortable and quiet place. A table, the floor or even on the couch are good places. The area should be clean and must have plenty of fresh water available.
Your TV viewing time can be a great time to give your pet a massage. Not only is this relaxing and calming for you and your pet, but it’s also an easy way to get to grooming your pet including brushing, combing, teeth cleaning as well as giving your pet an all over health check.

 

Massage techniques
Effleurage – Effleurage includes gliding your hands over the dog’s body more like gentle petting, but with the intention of identifying any oddities. This type of massage is beneficial in warming up tissues and increasing blood flow. While stroking, check for areas of heat, cold, inflammation, restricted movement and resistance.
Petrissage – This type of massage is similar to kneading the dough. It involves twisting, rolling, kneading and squeezing the skin improving blood circulation, stimulating the removal of toxins and
releasing spasms.
Laying on of hands – This technique is more like light gentle petting and stroking without applying any kind of pressure. It can also be described as a gentle touch with intention of comforting the dog. The dog suffering from hip dysplasia and arthritis require an extremely gentle and careful touch. We must refrain from any techniques that involve any kind of pressure. The best way to conform would be to gently ‘lay on hands’ or in other words, stroke or pet the dog gently on affected area.
Scratching – Scratching is something that all dogs do naturally. It helps in stimulating the overall systems of the dog’s body including circulatory, cardiovascular, neurological and autoimmune systems. It is especially wonderful for older dogs.

 

Word of caution

  • Do not press too hard while massaging your dog. The purpose of the massage is relaxation and not therapy, so avoid going too deep into the tissues as you may end up hurting your pet. Try and keep the massage as gentle and relaxing as possible.
  • Make a note of any spots where you feel soreness, swelling or anything odd to be addressed accordingly. Massage these areas with extreme care.
  • If you feel your pet shows discomfort or even slight aggression at any point, stop the process immediately. Instead investigate the reason and consult the vet at the earliest.

 

Teach your fingertips to know your pet
Teaching yourself to know your pet’s body is a great way to check for any abnormalities that she may be experiencing. This can be achieved by giving a gentle massage to your pet.
Run your fingers through your pet’s body and help her relax first. Then, begin massaging the head to the shoulders, back, abdomen, and all over your pet’s body. While doing so, check for any sores, lumps, ticks or any muscle strain. Seek the help of a vet at the earliest to address these issues.

 

Is your pet resisting?

Be patient with your pet as introducing the process of massage may take some time. Your pet may resist initially if she’s never had a massage before but will soon give in to the wonders and joys of a relaxing massage. If the pet seems to be extremely uneasy, stop the process immediately. You can resume the process another day and see if your dog relaxes a little more under your hands. Learn to identify the signs of discomfort which include:

  • Growling or snarling.
  • Flinching or yelping.
  • Nipping.
  • Flattened ears.
  • Tensing or holding of breath.
  • Rolling eyes.
  • If there are signs of an open wound, do not massage the area.
  • If your dog has had a recent surgery, consult your veterinarian first and watch your dog for signs of pain or discomfort.
  • If there are bites and skin infections, stop the massage.
  • If your dog has skin problems like ringworms, massage could cause it to spread.

Massaging your dog is an excellent way to spend time with her, also it gives you and your dog abundant bonding time.
(Shweta Munjal is professional pet groomer at Prince of Tails – Pet Grooming Salon, Bengaluru).

Step-by-step guide to brush your pooch’s teeth

Brushing your pooch’s teeth everyday is ideal, but even three days a week is sufficient.  Make it a routine and brush his teeth when he is calm and relaxed.

Step 1: Take a dual end toothbrush. Untitled-6
Step 2: Use dog toothpaste and put a small quantity on the brush.
Step 3: Sit in front or beside your dog  for better reach.
Step 4: Lift his upper lip and approach his teeth with the brush at a 45 degree angle.
Step 5: Use a circular motion to brush his premolars and molars.
Step 6: Repeat the procedure with incisors and canine teeth.
Step 7: Assure him during the process and give him a treat once the brushing is over.

(Aneesha Rai runs DAWGZ Grooming & More, a one-stop shop for toys, treats and spa treatments for dogs, at Mumbai)         

BOW-WOW! shampoo me right

Dr Munmun De

Dr Munmun De

Every dog needs a good bath at regular intervals. Be it for grooming purposes or for health, the right shampoo is the key to a beautiful, healthy coat of fur.
Just as humans have shampoos that target different scalp and hair problems, your pooch also needs the right shampoo. But remember, never use a human shampoo on your dog’s coat as it contains chemicals that can be harsh on dog’s skin and may increase irritation of the already affected areas. The anatomy of the skin of dogs is different hence the chemicals which are soothing to us in our human shampoo may not be comfortable/suiting the dogs.

Handling dandruff…
One of the common problems faced by dogs is dandruff. Similar to human dandruff, it is dead skin that flakes off and stays on the coat. This dead skin results in itching, which can start a vicious cycle of more dandruff and thus, increased itching. Fortunately, anti-dandruff pet shampoos are widely available. But the first step is to rule out any other medical conditions that may be causing the dandruff – such as fleas, allergies, or eczema – because these require specific medication.
Why it occurs? Dandruff is usually experienced by young adults and continues into middle age. Dry skin is a frequent reason for itching and flaking skin. This can lead to dandruff. Another common cause is seborrheic dermatitis or oily scalp with skin irritation. The condition can be associated with oily skin that is covered with white or yellowish coating. Seborrheic dermatitis also affects parts of the body that contain several oil glands, including the nose, behind the ears, below the testes, the paws, and even the armpits.
Right nutrition: A diet that lacks adequate amounts of iron, zinc and vitamin B, encourages the formation of dandruff. So, pet parents should ensure that their dogs eat enough lean red meat, greens or the correct readymade pet food that gives the best possible nutrition.
Shampoo – how often? How often you shampoo your dog can also affect the formation of dandruff. Also a daily bath may lead to fungal problem as dogs don’t have sweat glands and unlike humans or horse or cattle, dogs should not undergo daily bath. Thus, it is advisable to ask your vet how often is just right. In most cases, vets recommend a three week to one month’s interval between baths. If there are medical conditions, then depending on the kind of skin problem, long-haired breed or short-haired breed and climatic condition the frequency of bath should be decided or the coat gets excessively dirty, the shampoo may be required sooner.
Other scalp problems…
In addition to dandruff woes, pet parents may face malassezia fungus. Malasseziapachydermatis is yeast found on the skin and ears of dogs. The yeast is actually a normal feature of these areas, but an abnormal overgrowth may cause dermatitis, or inflammation of the skin. The growth cannot be controlled as this fungus gets its food from the oil that comes out of hair follicles. This irritates the coat and makes skin cells grow. As a result, the excess dead skin cells begin to fall off, combined with oil from the hair (fur).
The exact causes behind this disease are not known, but it has been linked to allergy, seborrhoea, congenital and hormonal factors. Although malassezia fungus can affect any dog, certain breeds are predisposed to it. These include Poodles, Basset Hounds, West Highland White Terriers, Cocker Spaniels and Dachshunds.
Types of shampoos…
Pet shampoos can be identified according to its contents.

  • Pyrithione zinc shampoo: This shampoo contains zinc pyrithione, which consists of antibacterial and antifungal agents. Shampoo in this category is suited for the coat containing fungus that can lead to dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis formation.
  • Tar-based shampoo: These shampoos contain coal tar. Coal tar comes from the coal manufacturing process and can help overcome dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis, and psoriasis by slowing down cell death and the exfoliation of skin.
  • Shampoo containing salicylic acid: This kind of shampoo helps remove layers of dandruff, but can dry the coat. Using a conditioner for dogs after the shampoo is advisable.
  • Ketoconazole shampoo: Ketoconazole is a broad-spectrum antifungal agent that may work when other shampoos have failed.

Check with your vet to make sure you’re using a suitable shampoo for your dog. If the condition of your pet’s coat doesn’t change for the better after a couple of shampoo sessions, contact your vet. If you see the condition suddenly getting worse after one shampoo, call your vet immediately. In short, shampoo them right.
(With inputs from Dr Munmun De, BVSc and AH (Gold Medalist), MVSc, PhD Scholar-Surgery and Radiology, West Bengal University of Animal and Fishery Sciences, Kolkata.)

Bath me Beautiful!

Here’s step by step guide to bath you pooch…

 

Aneesha Rai & Vaishali

 

7 Steps for the perfect groomed look

Grooming your dog is one of the best ways to strengthen the bond of love that you share with your pet. There are certain things that should be kept in mind before you begin with such sessions so that it becomes a pleasurable experience for both of you.

Simple at home tips for grooming your pooch

 

1 Planning…

Divyang Adawadkar
  • Maintain a grooming schedule for your pet so that you can plan out your time in advance and make all the necessary arrangements needed prior to grooming.
  • Select a proper range of accessories (viz. hair brush/comb, nail clippers, shampoo, etc.) for grooming your dog and this will depend upon the kind of breed.
  • If you are beginner with grooming sessions, start with shorter duration i.e. 10 – 15 min. Grooming particularly includes brushing/combing and bathing, one can first beginwith combing sessions and then slowly switch tobathing sessions for your pet.

2 Brushing…

  • Different breeds have different grooming needs. For healthy skin and coat, dogs should be brushed at least thrice a week to remove the dead hair, tangles and mats. A slicker-style brush is best suited for this.
  • A slicker brush should not be pressed too hard else it will scrape the skin and hurt your dog.
  • Brush or comb your dog against the lay of the coat, this will give the coat a fluffy look.
  • Olive oil can be used on matted hair for easy combing.

3 Paw care…

  • You can train your dog for nail clipping by giving him a gentle massage on the paws and then accustom him to the nail clipper. Be careful that you don’t clip off ‘the quick’ that is present in the nail as it has a nerve inside it and if cut, it can cause bleeding and pain.
  • ‘The quick’ is easily visible in pink nails but difficult in dark nails so dark coloured nails should be given several small cuts to reduce the chance of cutting into ‘the quick’.
  • A small piece of sand paper can be used to file the nails of your dog.
  • The hair between the paws should be trimmed to prevent insertion of ticks and fleas or fungal growth due to moist environment.

4 Bathing…

  • Your dog can be bathed once a fortnight to once in a month depending upon his daily activities and his exposure to dirt and dust and the season.
  • If you are using a bath tub, place a bath mat made of rubber in the tub to keep your pooch from slipping and sliding.
  • Select a proper dog shampoo depending upon the nature of the coat and skin condition of your dog; in general, a mild shampoo should be used to bath your dog. Make sure that the shampoo does not enter the eyes, ears or nose.
  • Before bathing, brush your dog to remove any dead hair or mats.
  • For drying your dog, keep the blow dryer on cool setting so that there will be less of a chance for your dog’s hair and skin to dry out.
  • Keep your dog indoor for few hours till he is completely dry after a bath, else he may go and roll in dirt to get his scent back.
  • If your dog is naughty or resist from taking a bath, make sure you take him for a long walk before you give him a bath to drain out the energy and reduce his stress level.

5 Ear care…

  • To clean your dog’s ears, apply some ear cleaning solution to a cotton ball and simply wipe dirt and wax away from the inner ear. Be very gentle while cleaning the ears and do not insert the cotton ball too deep inside the ears.
  • Dogs with droopy ears or long hair should be checked weekly as they are more susceptible to fungus, waxy ears and ear mites.

6 Coat care…

  • For German Shepherd, Cocker Spaniel and other such breeds with thick coat, the coat can be trimmed in different lengths to give them a relief in summer. This also avoids the growth of ticks and fleas.
  • A healthy coat is a sign of good health for your dog. Excessive shedding or bald patches could be signs of ill health. Regular grooming helps you to look for early signs of diseases.
  • Never use hair colours or dyes on your dog, they are meant for human use as they can cause skin irritation which can lead to serious health problems in dogs.

7 Extra care…

  • For breeds like Pugs who have facial wrinkles or folds, in order to prevent bacterial growth in the areas inside these folds, use damp cotton to clean off the dirt.
  • Dogs with very long hair, like St Bernard and Golden Retriever, need trimming of hair in between the legs known as hock.
  • Puppies and at times even adult dogs tend to become playful during grooming, to keep them engaged keep their favourite toys and treats handy.

Last but not the least, give your pet lot of love (hugs and kisses) for being patient once you have given him an enjoyable grooming experience!
(Divyang Adawadkar runs PET INN, a one-stop destination for all your pet’s needs (especially for dogs and cats), be it grooming, hostel facilities, veterinary advice or pet food and accessories in Ahmedabad).

Dog Grooming

Why do Dogs drool?

Dogs drool, certain breeds of dogs drool more. What causes excessive drooling? How can it be controlled? Let’s see how.

Kritika Manchanda

Kritika Manchanda

Why dogs drool?
Dog’s salivary glands form saliva in the mouth. The saliva keeps getting collected in their cheek pools and when they shake their head, we all know the consequences. This aids in digestion and lubricates the dog’s food as well. Other than this, the saliva also helps your pooch cool down and keeps oral tissues and teeth under protection. Till a limit, drooling is normal and as pet parents you should accept it, but the problem is when that drooling goes beyond control. Excessive drooling is also known as hyper-salivation. Another thing that needs to be highlighted is that drooling is not just about too much saliva; it is also the inability of the canine to hold it in the mouth or to swallow it.
Drool‘y’ breeds: There are certain breeds who drool more than the others – the reason being the face structure. The common breeds who drool excessively are:

  • St Bernard
  • Bloodhounds
  • Basset Hounds
  • Newfoundland
  • Mastiffs
  • Great Dane
  • Boxer
  • Bulldog
  • Shar Pei
  • Bull Mastiff

It is quite normal for these breeds to drool, all you need to do as a responsible pet parent is to keep their towel handy. One must realise that dealing with drool is a part of being parents to these breeds and not much can be done.
What causes excessive drool?
There can be various causes for hyper-salivation in dogs.
Psychological trigger: Saliva production increases when the nervous system is triggered. A psychological trigger like fear, anxiety and stress may lead to excessive drooling. After drinking or rather lapping water, your pet might drool, which is completely normal. Don’t be surprised if your pet is drooling too much even when he is happy because happiness is also considered a trigger. The sight of treats or their favourite food and motion sickness are some other major causes. It is also possible that hyper-salivation is a reaction to an abscess, periodontal diseases, nausea or mouth pain.
Foreign objects: Another strong reason at which a dog may drool excessively is the presence of a foreign object. There might be a possibility that a foreign object like piece of plastic, fabric or a wrapper may be embedded in your pet’s gums, stuck in between his teeth or the roof of the mouth. It can cause irritation that can lead to excessive drooling and in serious cases, the dog may also get injured.
Infections or injuries: The salivary glands can be injured during a fight and as a result, the damaged gland would keep leaking saliva and other fluid in the neighbouring tissues. Other cause can be bacterial infection. But keep in mind that there is always some foul odour in an infection. The best way to keep a tab on this is to regularly brush your pet’s teeth with pet toothpaste.
Summer time: Harsh summers can be painful for our furry companions. Sudden excessive drooling during summers can be a sign of heat stroke. In addition to hyper-salivation, the dog might look tired and would be panting. In such case, you should take your pet to a cooler place and give some cool water. Consult your vet as well.
Irritants: There is a possibility that your pet could have chewed something that was not supposed to be chewed and this can result in mouth irritation. Chewing some plant, wire, piece of toxic plastic, etc. can be dangerous; thus always keep an eye on what your pet is taking into his mouth. You can also get your pet some chewy bones. This would help in two ways. One, it would control plaque, tartar build up and keep dental problems away and two, they would be occupied and would not look for things here and there.
How to control excessive drooling?
Prevention is always better than cure. With regular care and keeping a watch on the symptoms, you can avoid the problem of excessive drooling. If your pet has been drooling excessively and is acting in an irritable manner, it can be a symptom of rabies. The other two diseases associated closely with excessive drooling are pseudo rabies and distemper. Get in touch with your vet immediately if you suspect anything unusual in your dog’s behaviour.
There can be chances that the hyper-salivation may be the result of a neurological problem – the nerves of the mouth not functioning properly or blockage in the oesophagus. The vet would be the best judge to enlighten you with the correct diagnosis and the remedy.