Common food myths busted!

There is no room for improvisation in feeding your dog or cat. Pet health requires daily care with a balanced diet that provides all the essential nutrients (the elements of food that are essential for the organism to function: proteins, carbohydrates, fat, fibre, vitamins, minerals and trace elements).

Production of nutritional food is like completing a complex jigsaw puzzle with more than 50 pieces, each nutritionrepresenting an essential nutrient. Cheap food contains only about 15 nutrients. For 40 years, Royal Canin has been placing the animal at the centre of its research process. Every nutritional innovation is a real improvement for your dog or cat’s health.

Common misconceptions about digestion and nutrition

“My dog eats what I do.”

False. Dogs do not have the same eating habits as humans. Their digestive system works in a totally different way, so, unlike humans, they can digest larger quantities of fat (provided it is good quality fat!). They cannot digest starch (for example, rice) unless it is perfectly cooked. “Kibbles cause calcium stones in urine.” False. In fact, some kibbles are actually formulated to prevent the formation of calculus. Remember to leave a dish of water constantly accessible for your pet.

“My dog needs variety in its diet.”

False. Ideally, your dog should have the same food in the same dish, in the same place, at the same time every day! Dogs are perfectly happy eating the same complete, balanced food and do not get fed up! We sometimes imagine such things by putting ourselves in their place, but remember that any sudden change in their diet can cause digestive disorders….

Common misconceptions on the choice of food

“Homemade food is more balanced than kibbles.”

False. What does your dog or cat actually need in terms of nutrients? How much energy does he need every day? How much protein is in the food you give? To provide a truly balanced diet, you need to know the answers to these questions and many others! Pet food manufacturers have these answers. “Homemade food is cheaper!” False. If you want to prepare a balanced meal for your pet, you would need about fifty ingredients, making it far more expensive than top quality industrial food.

“Dry food is not enough.”
False. Kibbles are manufactured from carefully selected ingredients and developed to produce a perfectly balanced diet. “My pet might break his teeth on kibbles.” False. Dogs and cats do not chew their food; they tear or crunch it. The shape and texture of kibbles are carefully designed to suit each breed, age and morphological particularities… every difference counts!

(Royal Canin products are available exclusively in pet shops & veterinary clinics. Visit: or email at: to know more.)

Play with Royal Canin !!


How the right diet can get life off to a good start….

How-the-right-diet-can-get-life-off-to-a-good-start…We’re having puppies…

The arrival of a litter of puppies is always an exciting experience, and to make sure everything goes well you can rely on your vet’s experience, as well as that of Royal Canin, the brand – the professionals trust for over 40 years. Dogs and cats are at the heart of every Royal Canin innovation, because new foods are made for them and them alone, taking account of their real needs, based on proven scientific facts.

From the 6th week of pregnancy, the mother’s energy, protein and mineral requirements rise significantly in line with her puppies’ rapid growth and in preparation for lactation. A very rich, highly digestible, easy to rehydrate and very palatable food meets the needs of the mother and her little ones perfectly right up until weaning. Royal Canin STARTER Mini, Medium, Maxi or Giant, according to the mother’s ideal weight fits the bill.

Don’t forget the mother!

You need to provide the mother, and the litter she is carrying, with a range of nutrients essential for development. They must be found in her diet because if not – your dog’s body will draw on her own reserves! Two-thirds of the way through gestation, at around 6-7 weeks, is when foetal development really begins, because this is when they gain weight, increase in size, and their skeletons harden. Both the mother and the puppies’ needs increase and she can gain around 25 percent of her weight in the week before delivery.

Once they are born, the puppies will feed every three hours; lactation is an incredibly demanding time for the mother, and her energy needs multiply three times in order to produce her very rich milk and rebuild her bodily reserves. Let her eat as much STARTER as she likes, always with a big bowl of fresh water alongside.

She will also need to escape from time to time to stretch her legs – this is a good opportunity to make sure she is in good form and not losing weight.

From milk to solid food

Gradually, driven by curiosity, the puppies will taste their mother’s food, and wean themselves by imitating her. STARTER food is easy to rehydrate with a little warm water or a special dog milk (BABYDOG MILK). From three weeks of age to around seven or eight weeks, this will be the ideal transition from mother’s milk. It is ideal food with all the nutritional qualities your puppies need and very palatable. It is ultra-digestible and meets their very high needs for energy, fats, proteins, vitamins, essential fatty acids, and carefully controlled amounts of minerals and starch. The size of the kibble is specially adapted to the size of the puppies’ jaws, making it easy for them to eat.

Growing up safely

Growth is a significant step in a puppy’s life: depending on his size or breed, growth is quicker or slower, and takes place in successive stage. The Junior Breed Health Nutrition provides him with everything he needs – concentrated energy and digestive security – help him grow harmoniously and reinforce his own natural defences while taking the specificities of his breed into account.

(With inputs from Dr Sarita Gulavane, Assistant Professor, Department of Gynecology, Bombay Veterinary College, Mumbai. She has been practicing specialisation in small animal reproduction and ultrasonography over the last 20 years).


Watch out for food allergies…

Almost all pet parents must have seen cases of allergies exhibited as a rash and/or scratching by the dog, without any obvious reason or change in immediate environment. Most of these cases respond poorly or temporarily to medications and warrants an investigation targeted towards identifying the causative allergen.

All dogs showing allergic symptoms should be suspected for food allergy. Although, there is no difference in nutritionthe susceptibility of food allergies in male or female dogs, some breeds such as Terriers, Dalmatians, Collies, Labradors, Dachshunds and Boxers, seem to be more prone. Food allergy can appear at any age and physiological stage but cases seems to occur more during periods of active growth, with almost 40 percent of all cases are of dogs less than one year old.

What is food allergy?

A food allergy is an abnormal immune response to an individual food or additive. Animals eat a variety of processed food proteins, fillers, and colourings, which are further processed inside their bodies. Proteins in food may be combined or changed into substances recognised by the immune system as foreign invaders to be attacked. The resulting inflammation may target the GI tract or other organ systems but, in dogs, it is the skin that most often suffers from this immunologic activity.

Symptoms of food allergy: The symptoms of food allergies are similar to those of other allergies affecting skin in dogs. The most common areas of involvement include the ears, feet, inguinal region, proximal anterior forelegs, periorbital region, and muzzle. Symptoms typically include rashes and hair loss. Ear canal diseases that manifest as severe itching and complicated by secondary infection are common and may be the only presenting complaint. All the symptoms may vary from moderate to severe. Suffering dogs show inconsistent response to antibiotics and injectible steroids. In 10-15 percent cases, digestive disturbances can also occur in combination with skin lesions.

Myths and facts about food allergy

Food allergy is not about diet change: It is often assumed that food allergy is due to diet change of some sort in recent past. However, in fact, food allergy requires time to develop and in many cases animals may become allergic to foods, they have been eating.

Food allergy can increase sensitivity: Another interesting fact about food allergy is that it can increase the sensitivity of the dog towards other types of allergies such as flea and parasitic allergy. Another aspect of food allergy is its appearance year-round as compared to other allergies (such as flea allergy dermatitis), which may be seasonal.

Food allergy is not food intolerance: Often food allergy is confused with food intolerance, which results from the inability of the pet to digest a particular food (such as lactose intolerance). Food intolerances are far more common in dogs than food allergies. Food intolerances, primarily affect digestive system without affecting skin or ear. Moreover, food intolerances do not respond at all to steroids or antibiotics.

Common food culprits

Most common allergens in dogs are meat protein, milk proteins, albumin from eggs, gluten from wheat and soybean protein, all of which are also the most common ingredients. The potential allergenicity of a food does not depend on the amount of protein or proportion of amino acids in the food; however, it mostly depends on the structure and size of the glycoprotein in the food. Beef and soybean have been reported to be the most common food allergens. Preservatives and flavorings are often confused as a source of food allergies, but studies have shown that they are not the causes, and while we may not have justifiable health concerns about preservatives, food allergies is not one of them.

Allergy woes: As allergy is just extra-responsive immune system, body of the animal may become responsive to many allergens at same time, thereby giving rise to multiple allergies. Therefore, animals having food allergy may also show signs of other allergies, and therefore, will also respond, if treated for other allergies. This makes it further difficult to conclusively diagnose the food allergy and to pinpoint the causative allergen.

Atopy, flea bite allergies, intestinal parasite hypersensitivities, sarcoptic mange, and yeast or bacterial infections can all cause similar symptoms as food allergies. Once all other causes have been ruled out or treated, then it is time to perform a specific investigation for food-allergy known as ‘hypo-allergic diet trial’ or ‘restricted antigen dietary trial’ needs to be done.

The hypo-allergenic diet trial: The basic principle of this trial is to feed a “hypo-allergenic diet” to the animal for a set period of time, which is mostly three months. Regardless of the diet used, it must be the only thing the animal eats during this period. Although some dogs having food allergy positively responds to hypo-allergenic food in two to three weeks, many of the pets may take 12 weeks to respond. 80 percent of food allergic dogs will have responded to diet trial at least partially by six weeks. The Labrador Retriever and Cocker Spaniel appear to require up to 10 weeks of trial diet before showing a response.

If the animal recovers, the animal is further ‘Provocatively challenged’ by feeding original diet again for up to two weeks to see if there is relapse of the symptoms. This is essential for confirmatory diagnosis. Food allergy is confirmed if there is recovery with the test diet and allergy with the original diet. Usually the relapse does not take more than two weeks of feeding in cases of food allergy. However, it appears that the duration between the challenge and relapse of symptoms may differ depending on the offending ingredient. The animal is then returned to an appropriate commercial hypo-allergenic food indefinitely.

In some cases, a second food trial with a different novel protein may be required to confirm the diagnosis.

Most crucial and cumbersome part of conducting this trial is to formulate a hypo-allergenic diet. The traditional method is to use a “novel” protein and carbohydrate source, which is actually something the animal has never eaten before. For many years, mutton was a preferred ingredient for formulating hypo-allergenic food across European and American continent as the dog-food available at these places is primarily beef based. However, under Indian conditions, dogs are mainly fed food based on chicken/mutton/chevon, eggs and milk as principal protein sources; therefore, using beef or some irregular vegetable protein source seems to be a feasible option for formulating such diets. Some of the commercial pet food brands are preparing such diets.

Treatment of food allergies: There is no absolute treatment for food allergies and animal has to be kept on food completely free of the identified allergen. Administration of antibiotics and steroids along with antihistamines can help in providing symptomatic relief.

(Dr Yasir Bashir, Dr Ankur Rastogi, Dr RK Sharma, Dr Pratiksha Raghuwanshi belong to FVSc & AH, SKUAST, Jammu and Dr Nazam Khan belongs to NDRI, Karnal).

Benefits of Mixing Dry and Wet feeding in pets

You need to feed your pet the Right Balance of Nutrition, manufactured foods like Pedigree guarantee excellent nutrition for your dog. A study has been performed which shows that a typical home prepared food for adult dogs in India was deficient in calcium, potassium, vitamin D and vitamin E, according to NRC guidelines. Feeding dry and wet food provides variety, good oral health and much more.

Home cooked diet

Too much energy in the home-made diet can cause pets to become overweight and have loose stools. Meat can cause all meat syndrome if fed alone, causing bone problems in addition to unacceptable smell of stools. Cooking or preparing mutton/lamb meat or chicken for your dog requires right temperature balancing safety and nutrition. Meat is either overcooked or undercooked in our traditional cooking practices in India.

Finding the right balance

Your dog loves the taste of meat, but you want to make sure he’s getting the nutritional balance he needs. Each nutrient is in the correct ratio to the energy content of the diet. Each nutrient is in the correct ratio to other nutrients. Each nutrient is in a form which is useable by the dog for which the diet is made.

Your dog needs a diet which delivers all his daily iron requirement. You could give him half a kilo of spinach every day: alternatively feeding him quality food diets like Pedigree pouch ensures he gets all the iron he needs.

Wet food is more like real meat, same mouth feel, looks like human food. More varieties in terms of flavours, textures and formats and also right nutrients in correct level!

You worry whether your dog is digesting his food properly, especially when you notice that his stools are soft. It contains prebiotics and dietary fibre, which aids digestion and ensures your dog absorbs all nutrients from his food. You can see result in smaller and firmer stools.

Advantages of feeding dry and wet food – mixed to your pooch

  • Provides all the key nutrients needed to meet the daily needs of a dog with the quantity of energy required to sustain the animal’s lifestage and helps dogs become more accepting to different formats.
  • Is beneficial to dogs who like variety in terms of format, texture and flavour.
  • Benefits urinary tract health in small breed dogs. Feeding 25 percent of the daily calories as wet food may reduce the risk of calcium oxalate stone formation.
  • Volume is larger so it looks like the dog is getting more to eat.
  • Wet food can be warmed up on a cold day/if the dog is ill/for a change.
  • It is easier to administer capsules/supplements to wet food than dry. Wet food is seen as a traditional pet food.
  • Potentially reduced risk of over feeding and hence one can avoid surplus calories.
  • Can help weight gain to include some dry with wet.
  • Increase the water content of dry food.
  • Mixed food may encourage dog to eat more slowly.

Yes! They are harmful

Before you toss that delicious chocolate or table scrap to your pet, just think whether it is safe for him. Here are a few foods which should be avoided in your pet’s diet.

Some foods, which are edible for humans, are hazardous to dogs because of their different metabolism. Some may cause only mild digestive upsets, whereas, others can cause severe illness, and even death. There are some foods that are bad for both dogs and cats as shown in figure. It’s the responsibility of every pet parent not just to provide them nutritionally balanced, wholesome and adequate food, but also to see that they do not eat anything harmful.

Onions and garlic: highly toxic

We must remember that what is great and tasty for us can be extremely harmful to our pets. Onions contain an ingredient called thiosulphate which is toxic to cats and dogs. Onions and garlic are very common seasonings and even major ingredients in common household recipes. Onion in any form – either cooked, raw, powdered, etc can be harmful to pets.

Onion toxicity can cause rupture of the red blood cells circulating through your pet’s body. Symptoms of this condition include animal going off feed, breathlessness, lethargy, diarrhoea and vomiting. It may take up to two to four days after your pet eats the onion for symptoms to appear. Consumption of as little as five g/kg of onions in cats or 15 to 30 g/kg in dogs has resulted in clinically important haematologic changes. Onion toxicosis is consistently noted in animals who ingest more than 0.5 percent of their body weight in onions at one time. About 600 to 800 gm of onions can cause acute toxicity in large dogs. Your pet can also become poisoned by eating extremely small amounts of onions over a period of time.

Garlic is the partner of onion because of its incrementing factor allyl sulfide, which is harmful to dogs. Over time, garlic and onions in a pet’s diet can lead to severe stomach and intestinal damage. Acutely it causes a haemolytic anaemia (destroys the blood cells) and animals can suffer or perish from the lack of oxygen to the brain, as well as develop problems that affect clotting, and they can bleed excessively.

Grapes or raisins: bad for kidneys

Grapes and raisins can be toxic to dogs when ingested in large quantities. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ (ASPCA) Animal Poison Control Center, grapes and raisins have been known to cause acute renal (kidney) failure in dogs who have ingested large amounts. With kidney failure, a pet’s ability to produce urine decreases, which means they are unable to filter toxins out of their system. Depending on the size of the dog, as little as four grapes/raisins can have an adverse effect on your furry friend.

Though it’s still unclear what makes grapes/raisins dangerous to pets, bacteria or fungi that grow on grapes and the pesticides or fertilizers used in the growing process have been named as culprits for the onset of renal failure. Most affected dogs who have ingested grapes have various symptoms, including lethargy, decreased appetite, muscle weakness, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and shivers.

Raisins are dried grapes. Though not all dogs seem to suffer the effects of eating grapes and raisins, those who do, will suffer severe and possible permanent kidney damage if not treated immediately. For this reason, it’s unwise to feed these to your pet, even if small amounts are tolerated.

Mushroom: fatal to pets

Mushroom toxicity does occur in dogs and it can be fatal if certain species of mushrooms are eaten. They can cause severe liver disease and neurological disorders. Various species of mushrooms are toxic to dogs, and can cause shock and death. Mushrooms contain toxins that trigger numerous organ systems, including the kidneys, liver and brain. Nervous system abnormalities, seizure, coma, vomiting, and death can result when a dog ingests mushrooms.

Chocolate: sweet toxin

There are several compounds in chocolate which are toxic to pets and all seem to affect the heart and gastrointestinal tract. Theobromine is the toxic ingredient in chocolate, a xanthine compound, theobromine and other xanthine compounds are caffeine and theophylline. Theobromine serves to stimulate the central nervous system, resulting in rapid heart rate, seizures, tremors, vomiting, diarrhoea, drooling, panting and extremely fast pulse.

This is a ‘dose-dependent’ poisoning, meaning the more pure chocolate that is ingested, the more serious the toxicity, though a toxic dose will vary depending on factors like whether the dog ate the chocolate on an empty stomach, if the dog is particularly sensitive to chocolate and type of chocolate (dark chocolate is more toxic whereas milk chocolate less so, and white chocolate are dangerous when consumed in very large quantity).

Coffee: toxic too

Because of xanthine compound, the same compound found in chocolate (theobromine), coffee is toxic in sufficient quantities for dogs. It contains caffeine which is also toxic.

Poultry and fish bones: bad for pets

Poultry meat (chicken) is one of the delicacies for many non-vegetarians and fish adds to taste, be aware of feeding poultry bones which can splinter and puncture the stomach or intestines of your pet. Poultry bones are particularly dangerous, as they become brittle when cooked. Chicken bones though not toxic, get stuck in the roof of the mouth, throat and intestines, and should be avoided; splinters of chicken bones can also become lodged internally. Fish bones are very spiny and may lead to glossities (inflammation of tongue); they can also pierce through stomach and rupture the intestines.

Xylitol: lethal for dogs

This is a sugar substitute found in many types of candy, chewable vitamins, sugarless baked goods, and in sugarless gums. As little as three grams (for example, about five pieces of gum) can kill a 25-30 kg dog, with smaller dogs succumbing to just one or two sticks. Within 15-30 minutes of ingesting xylitol, a dog’s insulin levels will surge and blood sugar levels will drop, resulting in lethargy, seizures and loss of balance. Permanent brain damage can occur and without treatment, liver failure will result in death within 24 hours.

Raw fish: life threatening

Eating raw fish may lead to salmon poisoning, a life threatening syndrome that can cause diarrhoea, dehydration, and depression in your dog. Salmon is the common name for several species of fish of the family Salmonidae. Salmon poisoning disease (SPD) is a fatal disease of dogs and other canids caused by infection with a type of rickettsia, Neorickettsia helminthoeca. The disease is caused from a deadly bacteria carried by some free swimming-parasites called flukes. If your dog eats raw fish that carry fluke, the parasites can attach to the walls of your dog’s intestine, releasing the bacteria. The bacteria can enter the blood stream and spread to other organs. It is preventable by cooking all fish before feeding your dog. Eating raw fish can also result in thiamine (a type of Vitamin B) deficiency leading to loss of appetite, seizures, and in severe cases, death. It is more common if raw fish is fed regularly.

Alcohol toxicity: bad for pets too

Dogs cannot tolerate alcohol, even in small amounts. Alcohol ingestion by dogs can result in intoxication, liver failure, coma, seizures and death.

Miscellaneous food toxic to pets

Other miscellaneous foods that are toxic to dogs include: raw eggs and egg whites (contains antivitamin avidin which destroys Biotin), nutmeg, tobacco, trash items, persimmons, yeast and dough containing yeast, excessive liver (Vitamin A toxicity), human iron supplements, chewing gum and candies (contains xylitol). Also, avoid the seeds and pits from apricots, cherries, peaches and plums. These pits contain a natural form of cyanide.

Provide your dog with nutritionally balanced food, specially formulated for him. Speak to your veterinarian who will advice you about the various options available.

(The authors belong to College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry, Navsari Agricultural University, Navsari).


The Pug – A little bundle of fun

The Pug – A little bundle of fun……with very specific features
Despite the dignified, even anxious molossoid appearance, the Pug can’t hide his happy, affectionate, totally loyal – even exclusive – nature for long! As a result of discussions with breeders keen to support a charming breed, and the benefit of scientific advances in terms of nutrition, Royal Canin launches a new food dedicated to the breed: PUG 25.

A charmer

The Pug is undoubtedly the oldest of the small molossoid breeds, with historians reporting its existence fornutrition two or three thousand years. Originally from China and sharing the same origins as the Mastiff or Tibetan Mastiff, the Pug arrived in Europe via Holland in the 16th century. The breed quickly became a favourite in the royal courts, before it was supplanted by the Pekinese and terriers. It was not until the 1960s that the Duke and Duchess of Windsor restored the breed to royal favour.

A delicate skin which needs care…

The Pug’s short hair clearly displays his skin, which is folded around the face. These folds can retain natural humidity in the skin and encourage the appearance of cutaneous irritation. Regular cleaning is necessary for good hygiene, and food can also contribute to good health: A patented complex of four B vitamins and an amino acid help reinforce the effectiveness of the cutaneous barrier. Omega 3 fatty acids, EPA-DHA from fish oil and vitamin A have supportive anti-inflammatory action.

A face with no comparison…

Carried on a large, round head, the short muzzle is completely square and not turned up. The jaw is characteristically brachycephalic, with slight lower prognathism, and the incisors are implanted almost in a straight line. In fact, picking up an object or food that is too flat is very difficult, and the Pug has a tendency to swallow his food without crunching.

A characteristic physique

The Pug’s compact form shows off crisp, firm muscles. Regular, gentle walks, avoiding strong heat and intense effort, are enough to keep him in shape when combined with the right food, served in the right amount, and not too many treats. Regular, gentle exercise is also good for the digestive system.

The complete food…

This little dog has relatively long life expectancy, and regular veterinary checks and a specially adapted diet can help make this long life a comfortable one. Royal Canin offers a complete diet for Pugs – PUG 25, which is based on ultradigestible (90 percent) proteins and a combination of fibres to stimulate transite and protect the intestinal flora. It is enriched with antioxidants which are effective against free radicals: vitamins E and C, taurine, active plant extracts such as luteine and grape polyphenols.


Is salt really bad for dogs?

It is assumed that salt products are bad for dogs, causing problems such as high blood pressure or kidney failure or even skin diseases and hair fall. But, is salt really bad for dogs?

The facts…

  • Salt is present in our pet products to ensure the essential nutrients sodium and chloride are present at nutritionthe required levels.
  • It is not a flavour enhancer for dogs and is not added to increase palatability.
  • It provides the essential nutrients – sodium and chloride. The sodium requirement of dogs has been defined by the National Research Council (NRC), which sets a safe lower and upper limit.
  • Dogs are semi-carnivores. This means that they evolved to eat meaty diets that are naturally rich in sodium. Because of this they have not developed taste systems that respond to sodium, hence it is not a flavour enhancer as it is for humans.
  • There is no evidence of a link between high salt (sodium) diets and risk of high blood pressure, heart disease or kidney or skin or hair coat disease in healthy dogs.

Why do dogs need salt?

Salt has two constituents – namely sodium and chloride – both of which are crucial for the maintenance of body’s fluid balance and blood volume, as well the functioning of nervous tissues. Deficiencies in sodium and chloride result in problems with nervous signal transmission, low blood pressure, restlessness, increased heart rate and pasty or thick mucus.

Research has indicated a diet low in sodium can induce reductions in blood pressure regulating hormones during prolonged sodium deficiency, fatigue , exhaustion , inability to maintain water balance, decreased water intake, retarded growth, and dryness of skin and loss of hair.

How much salt do dogs need?

Adult dogs require a daily sodium intake of around 13 mg/kg body weight, which corresponds to a minimum dietary level of 0.2 g/1000 kcal. Requirements are 2-3 times higher in puppies and during pregnancy and lactation, and five times higher in very highly active dogs such as greyhounds or sled dogs.

How much salt is there in dog foods?

The sodium content of dog foods is in fact similar to that of prey consumed by dogs in the wild, including small deer, rabbits and chickens, which contain between 2.5 and 10 g/kg of dry matter. By contrast, cereals, fruits and vegetables are low in sodium and typically contain less than 1g/kg DM (around 200mg/1000 kcal). Thus dogs as semi-carnivores have evolved to tolerate high levels of dietary sodium. Likewise they show limited ability to detect dietary sodium levels and do not use salt as a driver of food selection and consumption. Omnivores such as man respond to dietary sodium, presumably to enable selection of foods with adequate sodium levels for health.

Commercially available dog foods provide intakes of sodium that are comfortably in excess of minimum requirements and typically have between 0.5 and 2.5 g/1000 kcal or 2-10 g/kg of dry matter. Studies on the sodium requirements of dogs have shown a wide range of tolerance. The minimum requirement for health in adult dogs is 200 mg/1000 kcal and the maximum is approximately 4 g/1000 kcal. Mars pet-foods (Pedigree) are formulated within the Waltham guidelines, which define an even safer range of 0.5 to 3 g/1000 kcal. Dry foods tend to contain less sodium than wet formats, including canned, tray and pouch products, because they contain fewer meat products that are naturally rich in sodium. Sodium levels are similar across brands, with no significant differences between mainstream and premium products in either wet or dry formats.

Processed human foods that are frequently offered to dogs in the form of table scraps – such as bacon, sausages and cheese – have sodium levels well in excess of those of dog foods and hence should be avoided.

Is dietary sodium harmful to dogs?

Healthy dogs are perfectly tolerant to large amounts of dietary sodium and adapt well to substantial fluctuations in intake. Adverse signs are seen only once intakes are more than twice those found in even the most sodium-rich of dog foods. The recommended upper limit, which includes a margin of safety, is currently set at 15 g/kg dry matter.

There is no evidence that sustained high levels of salt intake in dogs are linked with high blood pressure, renal failure or coronary heart disease in dogs, whereas high salt intakes are implicated in the aetiology of all these diseases in humans. Furthermore, excessive salt intakes do not contribute to disease progression in dogs with either kidney or heart failure.

In fact, increasing dietary salt levels within the NRC range, may have benefits including the risk of calcium oxalate stone formation. Studies have shown that the increased dietary sodium promotes the formation of dilute urine with no net increase in calcium concentrations.

(This article is contributed by Mars India International, with inputs from Dr Tim Watson BVM&S, PhD, MRCVS, Townhead of Aber, Gartocharn, Dunbartonshire, G83 8NQ)

Royal Canin launches specialised food for Golden..

Royal Canin launches specialised  food for Golden Retriever and Rottweiler

Premium dog food manufacturer, Royal Canin, has made an India-wide launch of dog food, tailor-made for Golden Retreiver and Rottweiler.

Golden Retriever 29 (Junior) is a high-quality food for Golden Retrievers, which helps in osteo-articular reinforcement, targeted digestive safety and strong natural defences. Golden Retriever 25 (Adult) provides weight management, cardiac tone, and enhanced cell defences.

Rottweiler 31 (Junior) helps in joint development support, targeted digestive safety and strong natural defences. Rottweiler 26 (Adult) provides muscle dynamism, joint support and a kibble which encourages him to chew.

They are available at veterinary clinics and pet shops.

Seminar on Biocan vaccine and new dog food

Lal Pet Products, an authorised distributor of Czech Republic-based Bioveta’s products in India, organised ‘The Technical Seminar’ on December 19, 2009 at Hotel Western Court, Chandigarh. Attended by around 100 veterinarians from Chandigarh and its satellite towns of Mohali and Panchkula, special guests at the event were Dr Kochar, CSAVA (Chandigarh Small Animal Veterinary Association) and Dr C B Singh, SACA (Small Animal Clinician Association), Chandigarh.

A panel of speakers comprising Anil Kumar from Bioveta; Dr Zaffer and Deepak from Lal Pet Products, Gurgaon discussed at length the benefits of Biocan Vaccine during the seminar. The event was concluded with Lal Pet Products’ announcement of the launch of SUMMIT 10, a super premium dog food imported from Spain, in near future.

Meet the Industry Seminar

Pet Practitioners Association of Mumbai (PPAM) recently organised the members only ‘Meet the Industry Seminar’ at Thane. The seminar focussed on latest developments in the fields of pharmaceutical, food and other allied industries. There were four lectures on various topics of diverse interests interspersed with dialogue of veterinarians with the industry. The programme included lectures by Dr A P Nambi, Dr Lalit Kapoor and Mr Nitin Kulkarni.

A K9 carnival…

Crazy Campers is organizing Kelve K9 Carnival at Kelve Beach Resort from January 23-24, 2010. There would be interactive games for pets and pet parents; pirates of the Arabian – fancy dress for pets; dog and the bone game; and doggy treasure hunt. Special attraction to the carnival would be an agility demo featuring the pets and pet parent participants of their first agility course.

For registration and other details contact: Pooja Sathe Gawande at 098205 96903 or,

‘Dog Guru’ Amrut Sridhar Hiranya

Amrut, aptly called ‘Dog guru’ by his clients is a professional ‘Canine Behaviourist’ educated and trained in New Zealand.

A lot of dog owners raise their puppies thinking they would have a ‘perfect’ friend who would listen and to their every tune. But alas, far from ‘perfect’, dogs like people have their own special habits. “An untrained dog is like any other over active child,” says Amrut, “He needs to be disciplined, needs to be shown what is right and wrong and with a bit of training, he can be disciplined the same way we discipline kids. And like all kids dogs also need constant guidance and instruction,” he adds.

For more info, log on to or email at, Mob.: 9964222211 (BLR)

Dog A’Fair – a carnival for dogs…

A dog carnival…bow vow…seems an interesting event! Leading wine and dine magazine UpperCrust is organizing Dog A’Fair, carnival for dogs in India from January 29-31, 2009 at Radio Club, Colaba in Mumbai. The show is promoted by Farzana Behram Contractor, pet parent of two adorable Lhasa Apsos – Inshy and Tasha.

The show is aimed at making Mumbai to be a more dog-friendly city. “We want young parents to understand that with pets at home, kids grow up to be more balanced and have better value system. We also wish to educate children on how to love and take care of their pets,” told Farzana.

The show will bring together all pet parents under one roof. There would be talks by well-respected vets. To make it more fun for the dogs and their pet parent, there would be grooming and spa sessions, cookery demos for dog treats, beauty pageant, photo exhibition, photo shoots, play activities, shopping bonanza, medical camp and free counseling. What’s more? You can even shake a leg with your paw friend at the dance floor! Besides, there would be wine, BBQ and an UpperCrust Food Court for pet parents and visitors.

Grooming and more… at DAWGZ

DAWGZ is an attempt to provide dog parents with all the information & help to care for your pet…right from choosing a dog, to understanding your dog’s body language & behaviour, to health care, feeding, exercise & training. DAWGZ is the brainchild of Aneesha Rai, a certified professional groomer from Dog Care Grooming Academy, USA.

Bubbles & Bath section of DAWGZ has various services & packages to offer. Understanding that every dog is unique and special, DAWGZ works around your dog ensuring he lives happily and looks great!

For further details, contact: Aneesha Rai, DAWGZ at +91 9930924028

Newbies from Tailwaggers

Pets and their pet parents can rejoice as there are new products available now to pamper your pets. Tailwaggers now offers relaxing aromatherapy baths and deep conditioning spa treatment. A moisturizing shampoo, containing aloe vera gel and Vitamin E, will leave your pets’ coat looking and smelling fabulous.

While, the deep conditioning spa treatment is an ultra rich conditioning treatment using Isle of Dogs 2 Heal Conditioner- it is a deep penetrating conditioner specifically formulated to moisturize, protect and prevent breakage and add shine.

For more info email at:

Grooming at your doorstep

If your pets don’t like to go to a grooming parlour, you can get it done in the comforts of your home. Janhavi Daftary offers home grooming services for dogs and cats and her services include ear cleaning, hair removal from the ear to avoid odour and infection, nail clipping, anal sac expression, bath + blowdry, under paw-pads, under carriage, haircut according to breed style, teeth clean up, etc.

For further details, contact Janhavi-9820888331/25150885 (Mumbai).

VETport launched

VETport, the internet-based veterinary practice and hospital management solution engineered in India, has now been launched. VETport gives the pet owner the rights to view their pet’s medical records, vaccination and plan reminders, certificates, order refills and improves the communication between pet owner and veterinarian.

VETport is a veterinary ERP system was started in 2003, has been extensively used in the US and Canada.

For more details, contact Nitin Kedia at or Ish Chowdhary at or – 9821121046.

Avail everything from Nails 2 Tails

Nails 2 Tails is a new pet shop full of what it takes to fulfil your pooch’s needs and demands. In addition to all kinds of pet products and accessories, this one-stop shop operates as grooming parlour offering high-quality service for the furry buddies.

For more details, contact: Dr Hitesh Swali, Nails 2 Tails, No-3, Adelphy, Shastri Nagar, Near Lokhandwala Comp Circle, Andheri (W), Mumbai-400053. Mob-9821120058

Seminar for vets

Sanjay Marketings and PetAg Inc recently conducted a Veterinarian Seminar and Sharing Session at Sheraton Chola – Chennai. The welcome address was given by Dr Julies Daniel while Dr Lewis M Sutton, Vice President, PetAg Inc, USA gave a presentation on PetAg products. The vote of thanks was given by Selvarani Gopalakrishnan.

Dog-friendly info at the click of the mouse

If you are sniffing for some dog-elated info, log on to The website has information about all you need to know about dogs, the various breeds, the care needed for dogs in various stages of life, grooming, health, neutering, etc. Besides, you can get information about the latest events and offers from Pedigree.

Diet for the moms-to-be and new moms

Diet during pregnancy…

The average duration of pregnancy in the she-dog is 63 days, but her energy requirements do not increase appreciably until the last third of gestation when most foetal weight gain occurs. It is important, therefore, to avoid overfeeding in early pregnancy, since this will lead to the deposition of unwanted fat and may predispose her to problems at whelping. A gradual increase in food allowance over the second half of gestation is all that is required and a satisfactory regimen would be to increase the amount of food by 15 percent of the dog’s maintenance ration each week from the fifth week onwards. At the time of whelping, she will be eating 60 percent more than when she was mated.

Because the additional requirements imposed by pregnancy are relatively small, they can usually be met by simply increasing the amount of her normal food, provided that is nutritionally complete and balanced. However, in late pregnancy and particularly if the litter is large, the space occupied by the gravid uterus may be so great that the physical capacity for food intake is limited and appetite is reduced. In this case, feeding a concentrated diet, such as one designed for puppy growth or active dogs, can help to ensure an adequate intake and offering smaller, more frequent meals can also be beneficial.

Calcium and Vitamin D supplements are sometimes given to she-dogs in late pregnancy and lactation as an ‘insurance policy’, however, these do not prevent eclampsia and may, in fact, increase the risk of eclampsia or calcinosis in her and produce developmental abnormalities in the puppies.

Diet during lactation…

Lactation represents the most nutritionally demanding life stage for the she-dog and at peak lactation (three to four weeks after whelping), she may need to eat anything up to four times normal maintenance allowance. Failure to the diet to meet these demands means that she will nurse her young at the expense of her own body reserves, with a resultant loss of weight and condition. If she is unable to produce enough milk or eat the amount of food she needs, then early supplementary feeding of the puppies may be necessary if both the mother and puppies are to thrive.

Consider a Labrador of 28 Kg with a litter of six 4-week-old puppies of 2.5 Kg each. At this stage each puppy will require an energy intake of about 500Kcal/day which is obtained from the mother’s milk. She therefore has to supply 3000 Kcal as milk each day. Her milk contains about 1300 Kcal/litre and so the amount of milk needed is at least 2.3 litres

There are obviously some losses of energy in the production of milk but if it is assumed that the process has an efficiency of 75 percent then in order to produce 3000 Kcal as milk, she must obtain 4000 Kcal from her food. In addition, to maintain her own body weight and condition, she will need her usual 1339 Kcal/day. Her total energy requirement is therefore 5339 Kcal or nearly four times her maintenance requirement. Obviously, it is strongly recommended to feed such an amount of food several small meals of a highly digestible diet, or alternatively, offer the food constantly over 24 hours. Ideally the food should be placed close to her bed, so that she does not have to leave her puppies in order to eat. This will also encourage the puppies to try their mother’s milk.

If the mother is unable to produce enough milk or to eat the amount of food she needs, then early supplementary feeding of puppies may be necessary if they are to do as well as they should. This is initially best done with a milk replacer which has nutritional profile close to the mother’s milk. From about four weeks of age onwards, the puppies can also be encouraged to eat small amounts of their mother’s food.

An unlimited supply of drinking water should also be provided to cater for the large volumes that may be involved in milk production.

Milk production is affected by protein (quantity and quality) in the diet and it is important that the extra food supplied is of good quality. It is not appropriate to simply increase the dietary energy content by adding fat or carbohydrate sources.