ABC of Dog Training

How pooches learn?
It is very important to understand how animals learn. The acronym used by behaviourists is A, B, C, which refers to Antecedent, Behaviour and Consequence. Antecedent is a command or cue. For example, you saying the word SIT is an ‘antecedent’ which is followed by the physical act of the dog sitting down, called the ‘behaviour’ and you giving a treat to your dog is a ‘consequence’. The most fundamental law of conduct states that Consequences drive Behaviours. This needs to be thoroughly understood and internalised by every person who wants to work with their dogs. The Antecedent has little or no effect on driving behaviour.
This means that your dog sits down because of what happened to him when he sat the previous 100 times, and not because you asked him to SIT! The dog SITs because of the history of rewards he received for sitting before. You saying the word SIT just tells the dog that this is a good opportunity for him to exhibit that behaviour and possibly earn a reward. Whether we like it or not, this is how dogs learn.
Aversive training – NEVER!
Aversive (Escape/Avoidance) training causes a depressed and stressed dog who does not want to work with you. Punishment achieves just one thing, it stops the learning process. Consequences can also be aversive. Physical pain, physical pressure, social pressure, denial of rewards are some examples of aversive consequences. A situation when a dog is made to SIT while causing physical pressure/pain on his neck with a choke chain and the dog sits to escape the pressure he feels. Now the consequence to the behaviour of sitting is escaping the pain.
Dogs trained with Escape/Avoidance methods retain the negative emotional baggage associated with the training cue even after the aversive is removed, i.e. if I have caused pain to my dog’s neck every time I pull on the choke chain while saying the word SIT, for say 50 times, the 51st time when I utter the word SIT, the dog experiences the same unpleasantness even if I am not pulling on the choke chain anymore, for the rest of his life. So, dogs trained with Escape/Avoidance methods continue to feel the discomfort even after the aversive is removed. Understandably, this makes the dog passive, slow and unreliable in following commands.
The worst side effect aversive training has is actually on the human who uses these methods. It has been scientifically proven that anger and violence are self reinforcing for the perpetrator, i.e. the person who is getting angry and violent is tricked by his own brain into believing that his anger had an effect on altering the behaviour of the ‘other’. So, he is more likely to continue and amplify the aggressive and violent behaviour, which he carries with him all the time. So, if not for your dog, train with positive methods at least for your own sake.
Positive training – key to well-behaved, happy and active dog
Dogs trained with positive consequences and rewards on the other hand are active dogs. They are enthusiastic and want to learn new things. They are reliable and fast in learned behaviours because just like how the Escape/Avoidance trained dogs carry the pain long after the pain causing agent is removed, the positively trained dogs too carry the good emotional baggage of the training cues for which they got rewarded 100s of  times even after the rewarding has stopped.
How to use positive training?
How does one go about training a dog using positive methods? This is the method used to train almost all the guide dogs, service dogs, military working dogs, sniffer dogs, dolphins, sea lions, horses, elephants, etc in all advanced countries. The holy grail of positive training is called ‘Marker Training’ or ‘Clicker Training’. Marker Training is the most effective way to teach any animal any behaviour and the mechanics of it can be easily learnt by any person, of any age. Marker Training needs NO physical pressure or violence and therefore enables even a six years old to train a 40 kg Doberman. You do not have to be stronger or faster or more dominant than your dog. With Marker Training,
you are training the dog’s mind, not his body. It is a training method based on working with your dog as a partner, based on respect and ethical standards.
Most of all, it is a fun, relaxing and a beautiful experience to connect and work with your pet at a level of mutual respect and understanding. Try it, I promise you will love it!
(Ramachandran Subramanian is an IT professional who has been training dogs for the past 15 years. He currently lives in Chennai.)

The Dog Who Healed a Family

Written by Jo Coudert, The Dog Who Healed a Family revolves around the story of three adopted children who wreak havoc in their new home until an exceptional dog brings the family together. This is a charming collection of 19 stories you can’t help but fall in love with the unlucky fawn who is saved by a nursing home, the troublesome rabbit who warms her way into a new family and the good German Shepherd who comforts the sick. These are stories of hope, humour, triumph, loyalty, compassion, life and even death—but most of all, these are stories of love and extraordinary animals who make our lives the richer for it.
For more info, e-mail at:

Let your dog have a holiday too!

A concern for most people when deciding to get a dog is what they will do when they travel. Bengaluru-based Waggle has addressed this issue by finding dog lovers to look after your dog in their homes. It’s a win-win situation – dogs and their pet parents get a holiday and the hosts get to enjoy having dogs!

Samira Abraham and Arjun Mathai

Samira Abraham and Arjun Mathai

Having a dog is one of the best experiences ever. What all rewarding to a dog is his loyalty,intelligence, devotion and affection. There’s nothing better than coming back home and being greeted by a happily wagging tail and wet sloppy licks.
Waggle is an online platform where pet parents can find safe and loving homes to leave their dogs, while they are away. Dogs get individual attention, care and an environment just like their home. Pet parents can travel in peace and their dog gets a barking holiday too!
The brains…
Waggle was launched in February 2013 by Arjun Mathai and Samira Abraham. “When we had to travel in October 2012, we had no option, but to leave our dog Zoe, our Golden Retriever, with one of the boarding facilities in the city. We never liked the idea of a kennel as Zoe was not used to being caged. The idea for Waggle came about as we wanted to find a better home for Zoe when we travelled,” says Samira, co-founder of Waggle.
The workflow…
Waggle provides a platform for dog lovers to sign up as hosts and enjoy the company of ‘Man’s Best Friend’ while their pet parents travel. Hosts are verified by Waggle to ensure that they are competent to take care of dogs and have had prior experience in taking care of dogs.
Pet parents, who are travelling, can search on Waggle to find their perfect host. They can send requests to hosts mentioning all the details about their dogs, travel dates, etc. Customers and hosts can message each other through Waggle if they have any clarifications or queries. The hosts have the convenience of accepting or declining a request based on their availability. If required, a meeting is scheduled prior to the actual hosting to ensure that both dogs and hosts are comfortable with each other. Once the host accepts a request, the customer can confirm the request and pay online.

The experience…

Varun and Simba

Varun and Simba

“The experience has been good…,” tells Varun Vikramann, “Finding a caretaker who will love and care for your pet as much as you is way too much to ask, but here on Waggle you find many more of the kinds ‘Someone like you’. Boarding my Simba on a short notice, Waggle was very handy by being responsive and finding me a host in less than 30 minutes. Apart from the lovely hosts, Simba had two of his kind as well to play,” he adds. Similar views were shared by Surabhi Ganguly, “I have used the service a couple of times. I love the idea that

Surabhi and Sultan

Surabhi and Sultan

I can travel worry-free, with the reassurance that my dog is individually being taken care of by dog lovers in a home, with the same comfort and conveniences that I try to provide him.” While, Vidhu Agarwal says she is overwhelmed by this god-sent concept as well as the wonderful people associated with it.

Sujal Kamath

Sujal Kamath

This way, Waggle also enables dog lovers who can’t keep a dog full time to enjoy the company of dogs for a few days while their pet parents travel. Says Sujal Kamath, a dog lover to the core, “Waggle is a true paradise for dog lovers…giving opportunities to host different breeds of dogs without the actual responsibilities of owning one. Over the past few months we have hosted three different breeds of dogs, each with their unique personality.”

Rona and Ginger

Rona and Ginger

Sometimes, the host’s dogs also love the company of other dogs. “When I learnt about Waggle, I was so excited about the concept that I signed on to be a host right away. Hosting has been a wonderful and enjoyable experience and I love that my dog Ginger gets to have his doggy friends over,” adds Rona Pinto.

Safety measures…
Waggle also has a Customer Support Helpdesk which helps customers find a host who will be the best fit for their dog. “Waggle provides 24×7 support to all our hosts, in order to provide a hassle free hosting experience to our hosts. Our team of trained dog experts guides them through any issues during a hosting,” says Samira as a matter of fact.
“While, our review system allows customer and hosts to rate and review the host and the visiting dog respectively. This benefits other customers in making a decision quickly,” she adds.
Future plans…
“Currently in Bengaluru, we are working on providing this service all through India at the earliest. We have had enquiries coming in the past from various cities. We are in the process of recruiting and verifying hosts in other cities. Our primary concern is to ensure that in every city we are present in, we have sufficient knowledgeable and dog crazy hosts to address the growing number of requests,” concludes Samira.
For more info, call the 24×7 customer support team at +919686677364 or log on to:

Breed Profile

Anatolian Shepherd: The Guardian Dog

Magnificent ancient working dog who presents an impression of functional utility without exaggerated features!

Tall and handsome…

Uma (Owned by Maria Marrero)

Anatolian Shepherd, originated from the region of Turkey, is a large working dog used primarily as a livestock guardian. Large, rugged and impressive, they possess great endurance and agility. These dogs are tall and powerful, yet not massive in build. They have a large, broad head with a slight centerline furrow. The eyes are medium sized, almond shaped and are seen in shades of brown or amber colours. The tail is long and carried low with a gentle curve or is impressively curled over the back when the dog is at attention. When walking, the topline becomes quite level, giving a smooth impression of a powerful, stalking lion.
Anatolians have a dense double coat that is thicker and slightly longer about the neck. Most Anatolians have a short or medium long coat that is easy to care for. Hard textured enough to shed dirt, it does not tend to matt or tangle. Short and rough coats as well as a wide variety of coat colours can be found among pups of the same litter.
Males are 29-32 inch tall and weigh 50-65 kg. Females are 27-31 inch and weigh 40-55 kg, though many may be larger boned or slightly racier in appearance and do not fit within these averages.

Colour variations…Untitled-2
All colours of the Anatolian Guradian are acceptable and some colour variations have been given special names. The classic and most frequently occurring colouration is fawn with black ears and black mask, sometimes called karabash (meaning ‘blackhead’). Kangal, another name for that colour variation of the Anatolian, has been used to describe some black masked dogs who can be found in the Sivas region of Turkey. The solid white or cream dogs are sometimes called Akbash. Other colours frequently seen are pinto, brindle, grey, even black.

Extremely agile…
They are long-legged with a definite tuck up at the loins. This conformation permits them to be fleet and extremely agile, capable of overtaking and bringing down a predator with awesome efficiency. Clocked by visitors driving alongside fenced property containing a herd guard, Anatolians have been observed running at speeds over 35 miles per hour. They can leap into the air, turn and come down in front of, or on, the shoulders of the animal behind them, which ever they choose.

Loyal and possessive…
Anatolian Shepherd is first and foremost a guardian dog. He is a hard-working breed whose function is to guard his flock. Thus, an Anatolian is a loyal guard and can be fiercely possessive and protective of his family, stock and territory. They are steady and bold, without aggression. They have a naturally independent and very intelligent personality. Young males in particular can be pushy during adolescence while they are figuring out their rank and status in the household. Anatolians will be aloof when off their property and may be leery of strangers both off and on their property. They do need to be socialised from a very early age and that training and socialisation need to be maintained throughout the dog’s lifetime.


Hannah, Zoran and Babe (Owned by Audrey Chalfen)

Living with them…
Independence is a primary characteristic of the livestock guardian breeds. They have varying degrees of territoriality, but most will expand their territories if they are not fenced in. They are generally wonderful and tolerant with children, but may be aggressive, unless well socialised. Anatolians are fairly dominant dogs, generally best suited for people who have not let other dogs take over their families. Obedience training is a requirement for responsible ownership of this breed. Anatolians are highly intelligent and very quick to learn new ideas, but are not particularly keen on repetitive exercises. This breed has a strong inclination towards independent thinking and may seem stubborn. Responsible owners have been successful with these dogs in directed work such as obedience trials; however, they must keep the training motivational and interesting to get the best out of these dogs.
Anatolians can be very good house dogs, but they are very large, shed with enthusiasm, and may knock things over with their large tails. If you are a finicky house cleaner, this breed would be a challenge for you.
Anatolian Shepherd seems to adore children and think of them as their own ‘kids’. A child does, of course, need to learn how to behave respectfully when around any animal and should be supervised when with any type of dog. It is imperative not to let the child play as a ‘littermate’ would play (inviting nipping and roughhousing), due to the large size of the breed.

He will need lots of exercise, as any large breed does, so, even though he seems lazy, exercise him with long walks, as well as with running and playing in a fenced, supervised area. A fenced yard is mandatory,
to prevent an Anatolian from expanding his territory, and to keep the dog away from traffic.

Pup care…

Breed Profile

Kiowa and Brittany (Owned by Linda Raeber)

As a puppy, an Anatolian should be fed a premium puppy food for the first year. A young pup needs to be fed small amounts of food at least two to three times a day. An adult should be fed once or twice a day. A measured serving is better than free feeding (the all-you-can-eat method) as this can lead to an overweight Anatolian Shepherd. No growth supplements should be fed to puppies, as this can cause nutritional imbalances and skeletal or joint problems.

Anatolian Shepherd will shed small amounts all the time and ‘blow out their coats’ twice a year. Also, females tend to blow out their coats after a heat cycle. They need to be brushed out when they are ‘blowing coat’ and that will minimise your mess somewhat. Also, bathing in warm water seems to make some difference in shedding and may lessen the amount of work as it will encourage the fur to loosen and you can brush off more of it at once.

As this is a breed close to his working origins and most breeders prefer to outcross different lines to make the best use of the available gene pool, the breed seems to have few serious health problems. Anatolians can be sensitive to anaesthesia, and this may be of concern if some veterinary procedures are performed. Like most large breeds, hip dysplasia is a concern. Generally, a healthy, well-bred Anatolian will live into his teens in a safe, optimal environment.

On a concluding note…
This is not the breed for everyone, and should not become ‘the breed of the month’, as has happened to some breeds. This breed is, first and foremost, a guarding dog, with strong independence and dominance drives, and he requires a responsible approach to successful management. If you are looking for a dog who will obey at the drop of a command, then this is not the dog for you.
(Source: Anatolian Shepherd Dogs International, Inc., A Florida Non-Profit 501C4 Corporation under The Provisional Parent Club of the United Kennel Club).

Dog health

Why does your dog eat grass?

There is hardly any dog who has not eaten grass in his life time. Grass eating in dogs is a general complaint by the pet parents. Some believe dogs eat grass to correct their upset stomach while others believe that they eat when they want to vomit. Here are few myths and facts surrounding dogs eating grass.

Common myths surrounding dogs eating grass

Myth 1: Dogs eat grass as a natural remedy to ease upset stomach.

Fact: Grass eating in dogs is not always associated with illness, despite the common beliefs that the dog eats grass to treat upset stomach. It has not been proved that upset stomach would induce the desire for grass eating.

Myth 2: Dogs eat grass to vomit.

Fact: Many times grass may contain faecal residue from other dogs having parasitic infestation. Ingestion of such infested grass may cause active infection and illness, or they may vomit.

Myth 3: Dogs eat grass when they are sick.

Fact: Ingestion of grass sprayed with pesticide or herbicide may cause illness.

Myth 4: Dogs eat grass to improve digestion.

Fact: Unlike cats, dogs are neither true carnivores nor garden-variety omnivores. They had been opportunistic scavenger eating anything and everything to fulfill their dietary requirements. With the passage of time owing to evolutionary process and domestication, the scenario has changed and today’s dog is different from his ancestors in eating habits. Instead, dogs today eat plants or grass as an alternative food source.

Why do dogs eat grass?

A number of theories, ranging from physical to psychological to natural instinct, have been put forward as to why dogs eat grass. Different dogs eating grass may have different reasons.

Theory of natural instinct: As a matter of fact, dogs are not natural carnivores but are omnivores of certain type. Before their domestication they thrive naturally on prey items. i.e. meat, bones, organs and stomach or intestine contents. Today the situation is different and dogs do not depend on prey for their food needs. But some dogs may still possess the natural scavenging instinct. It appears that for domestic dogs, grass eating is to satisfy their hidden natural instinct.

Theory of psychological imbalance: Another school of thought speculates that grass eating may be a sign of psychological imbalance. There is no concrete proof to endorse this view. There may be some instances in which dogs having anxiety problems turn to grass eating as a compulsive behaviour. If a dog shows an evidence of extreme anxiety around the time of his grass eating, this may be a probable explanation as to cope up anxiety, many different forms of activities may be taken up by dogs. But all dogs showing grass eating behaviour may not be psychologically stressed.

Theory of food craving: Dogs may eat grass to satisfy their strange non-food cravings. In humans, pica can derive peoples to eat non-edible items. Mineral deficiency is accredited for such behaviour. Many veterinarians think that dogs turn out to grass eating for similar reasons. It appears that dogs try to supplement their dietary requirements specially fibre by turning to grass eating.

Theory of boredom: According to some people, dogs may chew on grass when they are bored. Actually the exact reason that prompts dogs to eat grass is not known–and it may even vary from dog to dog. Dog is simply taking part in the forbidden behaviour as a means to seek attention. Dogs not provided with enough interaction and exercise may try to gain the attention and interaction with the pet parent through engaging with forbidden behaviour. If a dog eats safe grass and shows no other signs of illness, there is little cause for concern. In such cases, involve the dog in physical and mental exercises with more interaction.

Theory of relieving gastric discomfort: One of the most common theory behind dog’s grass eating is that it is a means to vomit. But majority of researches have not substantiated that all dogs eating grass do vomit. It has been observed that the dogs who eat grass slowly and rarely vomit afterwards, however dogs eating grass more rapidly may vomit. This has given speculations that it is being done to relieve stomach discomfort. Researches done on canine digestive physiology have revealed that dogs lack an enzyme to break down beta bond of the cellulose, hence there is irritation of gastric mucosa that might lead to vomit when the grass is eaten too rapidly.

Theory of enjoyable change: Another theory says that dogs eat grass because they enjoy it. Actually there is no way to confirm this theory except ruling out other possibilities. If it is true, grass eating will seldom, if ever, will cause vomiting.

Tips to follow

  • Feed a nutritionally balanced diet and offer toys and activities to cope up boredom.
  • Grass eating along with other signs of illness warrants a visit to veterinarian. Simply eating grass is not a cause for concern in every dog.
  • Prevent grass eating at all costs when the grass has been treated with any type of chemical. Pesticides and herbicides are the known leading cause of pet poisonings.
  • When grass eating is the result of natural instinct, dog can easily be trained by the pet parent with treat rewards. When a dog is taken out for a walk or natural call, he is tempted towards grass. Distract him by giving treat rewards for not eating grass. Some dogs prefer positive verbalisations and petting as a reward in place of food treats for desired behaviour.
  • When a dog eats grass and vomits quickly, profusely and repeatedly, it is a cause of concern and needs thorough investigation by a veterinarian.

(Prof Dr JP Varshney, MVSc, PhD (Medicine), Retired Professor, is currently engaged as Senior Consultant (Medicine) at Nandini Veterinary Hospital, Surat).

children and dog

Dos and Don’ts for avoiding dog bites

We tend to forget that dogs do not communicate in the same way as humans. Training is the key to preventing dog bites. By that we mean that dogs, children and adults need to be trained in how to approach and communicate effectively.

Humans make eye contact when communicating and make contact through an open handshake. Both of these behaviours may be seen as a threat to dogs.

Sleeping dogs: Teach children not to approach a sleeping dog. If you need to wake the dog up, call him from a distance to allow him time to become oriented. Provide the dog with a bed that is separated from noisy high activity areas. This will minimise the risk of unintentionally waking the dog in fright.

Feeding dogs: Children should be taught not to approach a dog who’s eating or gnawing on a bone. Dogs may become protective of their food or bones. Dogs can be conditioned to accept interference with their food from the time they enter the house as a puppy. This training should continue throughout the dog’s life, especially if there is a possibility of children entering the property.

When approaching a dog:

  • Children should be taught to leave strange dogs alone and to report stray dogs to an adult who may be able to deal with the dog appropriately.
  • If a dog is in the company of his pet parent, it is essential to ask the pet parent’s permission to approach the dog.
  • The pet parent of the dog must initiate the introduction of a new person to the dog. The dog should be approached on an angle, not from the front or rear.
  • Once closer to the dog, slowly extend the back of the hand and allow the dog to sniff the hand before tickling under the chin or the side of the chest.
  • Dogs should not be patted on the top of the head or the shoulders.
  • An open palm facing the dog may be seen as a threat by the dog and may cause the dog to act defensively.
  • If the dog doesn’t sniff or back away, do not attempt to pat him.
  • Establishing eye contact with a dog can send a strong message of domination which can be perceived as a threat to the dog.

Supervising children around dogs: Young children can be rough and unrelenting. They may be unaware that their behaviour is annoying for the dog. Discourage rough, inappropriate play, as this may overexcite the dog. Adults should initially control the child’s movements when they are learning to interact with dogs. One good way to start is by holding and guiding a young child’s hand to pat the dog gently. Young children need constant supervision when in contact with dogs.

When approached by a strange dog: Children are easily excited. A common reaction in their excitement is to run and squeal. This behaviour can frighten a dog who may only be curious, or want to join in the fun. It is useful to teach children to stand straight and still (like a tree trunk!) and not raise their hands above their heads.

Important dog behaviour to recognise: As with other animals, dogs have a special way of communicating with each other and humans. Most people recognise the wagging tail as a sign of a happy dog, but fewer people really know or understand other signs of dog’s body language. A dog’s body language gives us clues about how a dog may be feeling.

A dog should be left alone if he:

  • Lifts his lips.
  • Growls.
  • Backs off.
  • Raises the hair on his back.

Neutering your dog may be a wise choice

Dog Health

Dehydration in dog

The dog days of summer are back. It is imperative to take extra care of our pooches in this weather. Dehydration is one of the most common problems… Here’s how to prevent and take care of dehydration in our pooches.

Many cases of pets suffering from dehydration are being regularly presented to vets during summer season. A female Labrador Retriever, aged four years was suffering of dehydration due to persistent diarrhoea and vomiting. The dehydration was corrected by injecting Ringer’s lactate daily as slow intravenous infusion along with a course of antibiotic, antiemetic and multi-vitamins and liver extract. The dog showed uneventful recovery within five days.

Dehydration: causes & effects

Dehydration is the deficiency of water or fluid in the animal’s body ultimately leading to low circulating bloodCare 24 * 7 volume. This condition is frequently encountered in pets especially during some specific disease conditions which lead to decreased intake of water or excessive loss of fluid or water due to some specific disease conditions. The decreased fluid intake and excessive fluid loss leading to dehydration is common in pets especially during summer season when there is high rise of environmental temperature. In general, fluid loss from either urinary tract or digestive system is responsible for dehydration.

Some common disease conditions of digestive and urinary tract in pets like diarrhoea, vomiting, inflammation, infection and ulcers of gastrointestinal tract, excessive salivation, panting, kidney disorders, gastrointestinal obstruction, failure of endocrinological system and ingestion of toxic substances are also responsible for dehydration. In diarrhoea the waste products of digestion are excreted so rapidly and, therefore, there is inadequate time for absorption of fluids and this subsequently leads to excessive fluid loss and dehydration.

“Fluid loss can be due to strenuous exercise in hot humid weather and being confined without shade and fresh water in hot weather. Those suffering from cancer and infectious diseases are at risk and elderly dogs, pregnant and nursing dogs, diabetic dogs may also be prone,” adds Dr Thyagaraju and Dr Amritha Sanjay.

Dehydration leads to decreased volume of blood and low total intracellular fluid. Blood is responsible for carrying oxygen to different body tissues and, therefore, low blood volume will lead to decreased oxygen supply to body tissue and it also impairs the process of waste removal from the body.

Symptoms of dehydration in pets

  • Dull & lethargic: The first noticeable sign of dehydration is the appearance of lethargy and dullness in otherwise alert and active pets.
  • Pinch test: There is loss of elasticity of skin of the animal. The skin of the animal will appear wrinkled due to loss of fluid and dryness. If you pick a pinch of skin over the neck or back of a healthy pet and release, it will immediately be restored into its normal position. But in dehydrated animals, it will take time for the fold of skin to return to its normal position.
  • No intake: The pet will go off food and will refuse food and water. The heart and pulse rate will be increased.
  • Dry mouth: The gum and mouth of the animal will appear dry and sticky against its normal appearance of wet and slippery. If you press on the gum with your finger, the pink mucous membrane of the gum will become white for sometime and will resume its pink colour as soon as the pressure is released. In case of dehydrated dogs this time for return to normalcy (i.e. pink colour appearance) will increase. This is called slow capillary refill time.

Prevention and treatment of dehydrated pets

  • Pets should not be allowed exposure to extreme hot climate as this may cause severe dehydration and heat stroke.
  • The dehydrated dog should be kept indoors at cool location and should have access to cool drinking water but the dog should not quickly drink a lot of water as it may induce vomiting and further dehydration. It should be given in small quantity and at regular and frequent intervals.
  • If the dog refuses to drink water, pieces of meat should be added to it to make it more tempting for the dog.
  • Ice cubes should be offered during hot climate.
  • The pet should be given electrolyte solution orally 1/4th cup every half an hour and at least 6-7 cups every 12 hours. Various electrolyte preparations are available in the market in powder form which should be freshly prepared after dissolving in palatable drinking water. Odourless preparations should be preferred as the dog may refuse if the electrolyte contains marked odour/flavour.
  • If the dog is suffering from diarrhoea or vomiting or any other systemic disease, veterinarian should be immediately consulted for proper diagnosis and treatment of the disorder.
  • In severely dehydrated pets, vets normally treat it by intravenous injection of electrolytes and fluids. The fluid should be administered slowly over a period of 24-48 hours. This is called dehydration replacement volume rate. The patient’s heart rate, blood pressure, pulse, blood urea nitrogen and serum creatinine should be regularly monitored.

Main causes of dehydration

“The main causes of dehydration are gastroenteritis – vomiting and diarrhoea; water deprivation; inability to drink water due to painful condition of mouth and fluid loss can be due to overheating in hot weather. Dehydration is a serious problem; take him to a veterinarian immediately. Most of the cases I receive are Gastroenteritis and loss of appetite and I prefer administering intravenous fluids like normal saline and Ringer’s solution.”
–Dr Rajendra Borole

Tips for preventing dehydration in pooches

  • Water is essential to all living beings that depend on proper daily fluid intake to maintain appropriate health. 80 percent of the dog’s body is made up of water. It dissolves natural and unnatural substances and serves as the root of all biological processes like circulation, digestion and waste removal.
  • Provide clean fresh water at all times and also do not forget to clean his water bowl every day.
  • Monitor your dog’s water intake. If he is not drinking enough water, consult your vet.
  • Ensure that you buy a heavy bottom water bowl so that he doesn’t topple it over. Or you could even use a top up bowl.
  • While travelling or exercising with your pet, ensure that he drinks sufficient water.
  • Keep your pet’s walks short. Try to avoid letting your dog out to ‘do their business’ during the hottest part of the days.
  • Since our dogs do not wear running shoes, their paws can get burnt on the hot pavement and the body fluids would get depleted quickly. It’s best to take them out early in the morning or late in the evening.
  • Never chain or leave the dog outside in the hot sun.
  • Never leave your pet in the car in hot weather conditions. This could lead to yet another complicated heat stroke.

–Dr Thyagaraju and Dr Amritha Sanjay

Dehydration: treat immediately

“We sweat from top to bottom. But do you know our companion has to rely on his nose, feet and open mouth panting to regulate the body temperature? So, their body cools much slower than ours, thus get dehydrated faster. A depressed canine with loss of appetite, sunken eyes, diarrhoea, dry mouth, nose and gums and even vomiting can be signs of dehydration. Contact your veterinarian immediately if the pinch test or any other signs of dehydration is suspected. Remember every minute counts in dehydration.”
–Dr Shajahan Waheed

Dehydration: not season-specific

“In puppies, viruses like parvovirus, distemper and corona virus cause fatal gastrointestinal upsets like vomiting and diarrhoea which lead to loss of essential electrolytes and body fluids causing dehydration. In adults, kidney and liver failure, if untreated, leads to dehydration. Also pyrexia (high body temperature) due to infection or heat stroke leads to dehydration.

Pets can even be dehydrated in winter too, especially due to parvovirus in unvaccinated pups. I once encountered a patient wherein a stray dog had a huge wound on the thigh which got dehydrated solely because of fluid oozing out of the wound profusely.

Dehydration can be prevented by preventing all factors that can lead to pet getting exposed to causes of dehydration. Regular vaccination, cool environment, regular blood profiles of pets above eight years of age and round the clock access to fresh drinking water are some of the ways to beat it. In case of dehydration, immediate steps would be to replace lost fluids orally. If the pet is not vomiting, then electrolytes rich solution like Electral should be fed orally until the pet gets medical help. If the pet is showing disorientation, he needs to be put on drips immediately.”

–Dr Tina S Giri

(Dr Manish Kumar Shukla is Assistant Professor, Animal Reproduction, Gynaecology and Obstetrics, College of Veterinary Science & AH Kuthulia, Rewa and with inputs from Dr Shajahan Waheed, BVSc & AH, Calicut; Dr Thyagaraju and Dr Amritha Sanjay, Animal Care Trust, Bengaluru; Dr Tina S Giri, MVSc (Medicine), Pet Set Go, Ahmedabad; and Dr Rajendra Borole, Veterinary Surgeon, Sudha Pet’s Clinic, Pune.)

Cute Hush Puppy dog!

Small, short-legged, scent hound…the Basset Hound is known for both his sense of smell and long hanging ears that sweep the ground!

Hush-Puppy-lWhat’s in a name: The name Basset is derived from French word bas which means ‘low.’ Bassets do have very short legs that keep them low to the ground. Originally bred for tracking hare and rabbit.

Historical connections: Basset Hounds came into the limelight as a popular dog breed during the time of Emperor Napoleon III in France. Famous French sculptor Emmanuel Fremiet, who is known widely for his sculpture of Joan of Arc in Paris, exhibited the emperor’s Basset Hounds at Paris Salon in the year 1853. After a decade, the breed gained global recognition.

For once, wrinkles are cool: Their hanging skin structure gives them a wrinkled and sad but cute look.

Ears… not just for listening: The long trailing ears of Basset Hounds are more than the hearing purpose. This breed with powerful nose uses his floppy ears, which usher on the floor while sniffing, to trap the scent of the thing or object he is tracking after.

Nose… best in the town: Being a breed bred for hunting, Basset Hounds boast of their strong scent power. Even in the indoors, these hound dogs are famous for their ability to detect any eatable items abandoned recklessly somewhere around. Hunters take the advantage of this breed’s sniffing competence to lead them to the direction where lie the objects of their interest.

Don’t go by their size: These dwarf dogs are extremely tall for their stature. They can reach things on tables which other dogs of their size cannot.

United colours of Bassets: Coat colours of Basset Hounds are varied from one country to another. But their common and usual colour is a tricolour of black, tan and white or bicolour of tan and white. Popular tan coloured coat of the breed can have colour variations from reddish brown and red to lemon. But the combination of lemon and white is quite a rare colour.

Excellent pets: They love people and are extremely good with children. They are loyal to their pet parents and hate to be alone.

Love to talk: They love to talk…howl, bark, whine…they use different sounds to express.

Take care of the ears: Their ears need to be clean and dry to avoid infections and ear mites. Their long ears can also fall into the food bowl; puppies can trip over them and bite their ears. Hence, give special attention to their ears while grooming.

Give attention to the eyes: Bassets have droopy eyes and can collect dirt and mucous. Wipe them with a clean damp cloth every day.

Sitting pretty on a logo: The logo of Hush Puppies brand of shoes features a Basset Hound named Jason.

Popular Bassets: Right from Emperor Napoleon and Queen Alexandra upto US President George Washington were blessed with Basset Hounds. The US President was gifted a Basset Hound for his hunting expeditions.

As they were bred to hunt in packs they are very social and gentle.

Famous Bassets

Be it in TV series, music videos, advertisements, magazines… Basset Hounds have made widely acclaimed global reputation. Elvis Presley’s famous song Hound Dog was dedicated to a Basset Hound named Sherlock. The classic TV series Lassie featured a Basset named Pokey who was a close friend of Lassie, a long-haired Collie. Time magazine in 1928 carried a Basset Hound on its front cover on the occasion of the 52nd Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show held at Madison Square Garden, Manhattan. Some of the famous Basset Hounds in movies are Lafayette in The Aristocrats; Toby in Great Mouse Detective; Buster in Toy Story 2 & 3, to name a few!