Wish it was that easy to tell our pooches that all is well and we’ll be right back! Their depressed face and destructive ways make going away all the more difficult. Here’s how to deal with separation anxiety in dogs.Malaika Fernandes
One of the most common problems that pet parents complain of is that their dog is destructive when left alone. Their dog generally howls, digs, chews, barks, urinates, defecates or tries to escape from the house. Although these signs indicate that the dog has not been trained in a constructive way to be alone at home, they can also be signs of distress. When a dog displays the signs and is accompanied by other distress behaviours such as drooling and showing anxiety when the pet parents are about to leave the house, it shows that the dog has separation anxiety.
Why does separation anxiety develop?
A dog can develop separation anxiety issues because of either being abandoned or handed over to a shelter, abrupt change in schedule, not being trained systematically to be left alone at home, etc.
Common symptoms of separation anxiety…
Urinating and defecating: Dogs suffering from separation anxiety either urinate or defecate when left alone but if this happens in the presence of the pet parent then he’s probably not toilet-trained well. Also get your dog checked for incontinence by a veterinarian.
Barking and howling: It is often triggered in a dog when he gets upset because people he’s attached to are about to leave.
Chewing, digging and destruction: Dogs with separation anxiety issues often chew and destroy household items and can injure themselves.
Escaping: A dog with separation anxiety issues may try to escape when he is left alone and also cause injury to his teeth, paws, etc in the process.
Pacing: Some dogs walk or trot in a specific pattern when left alone. Some move in circular patterns, while others walk back and forth in straight lines.
Dealing with separation anxiety…
- Counter conditioning: If your dog has a case of separation anxiety, counter conditioning might reduce or resolve the situation. Counter conditioning is a treatment process that changes a dog’s fearful, anxious or aggressive reaction to a pleasant one instead. It is done by associating the sight or presence of the undesired situation with a situation that the dog loves. For instance, every time before you leave the dog alone you could give him a puzzle toy stuffed with treats that will take him some time to finish.
- Tire him out: Another trick is to exercise him just before you leave so he is too tired and will just sleep before being left alone.
- No predeparture cues: Also predeparture cues like getting ready to leave like dressing up, etc can make a dog anxious causing him to pace, pant or whine. One solution to this approach is to teach your dog that when you get ready to leave, doesn’t always indicate that you are going to leave. This will reduce your dog’s anxiety because these cues won’t always lead to your departure.
- Mentally exhaust him: Also exhausting him mentally before you leave with an activity such as ‘treasure hunt’ where you either hide his food treats or favourite toys would also be a good exercise.
- Safe place: Crate training is also a good tool for dogs if they are taught that the crate is their safe place to be in when left alone.
- Take professional help: However in some extreme cases of separation anxiety, it is always best to get in touch with a certified canine behaviourist who will help you modify your dog’s separation anxiety behaviour.
(Malaika Fernandes is a certified canine behaviourist & trainer (Northern Centre of Behaviour, UK) and is the director of Walk Romeo – Canine Training, Behaviour Modification, Grooming & Pet Sitting Services in Mumbai).
The right treatment…
“Separation anxiety among pets is commonly seen but not correctly understood. It is generally known that a pet parent tries to resolve such problems by hiring a dog trainer, assuming a fix lies in teaching the pet a new habit. But one also needs to consider the possibility of distress. To understand how one needs to deal with separation anxiety, it’s important to focus on underlying problems especially when an emotional reaction is triggered.
Treatment instead of teaching a new trick is a good way to start. For example – doing things that make a pet feel better rather than trying to teach him a different command. Techniques such as counterconditioning and desensitisation are known to be used by psychologists to treat separation anxiety. Here one tries to eliminate underlying issues or re-teaching things which require time and patience. One also needs to rule out any medical problems or medicines as a cause of the same.”
– Sonya Kochhar, director, Canine Elite, New Delhi
What’s a shampoo?
Shampoo is an aqueous or semisolid preparation containing various ingredients like surfactants, cleansing agents and various other therapeutic and/or cosmetic agents used to remove surface grease, dirt and skin debris from the hair shaft and scalp without adversely affecting the hair, scalp or health of the user. Shampooing is one of the widely used methods in keeping the dog clean and healthy.
Principles of shampooing
Objective of shampooing is to cleanse the skin and hair coat. Soil or dirt basically consists of soluble, oily and insoluble particulate components. Surfactant (sodium lauryl sulfate) present in the shampoo reduces the surface tension of the water and thereby allows full contact between water and soluble soil. This facilitates the removal of soluble soils by aqueous medium. Detergent present in the shampoo displaces oily soil by a process known as roll up and thereby removes them from skin and haircoat. Surfactant molecules get adsorbed onto the hair fibre and thereby create an electrostatic repulsion force between insoluble soil particles and hair fibre. This electrostatic repulsion force removes insoluble soil particles from skin and haircoat.
Characteristics of a shampoo
- It should be able to remove sebum and atmospheric pollutants from the hair and scalp.
- It should be able to remove the residues of previously applied hair treatments, for example, hair sprays.
- It should be able to deliver an optimum level of foam to satisfy the expectation of the user.
- It should be able to provide the conditioning effect to the hair coat.
- It should be able to perform as a vehicle for the deposition of beneficial materials onto the hair and scalp.
- It should be able to be non-toxic and non-irritating to the hair and the scalp.
- It should be able to be non-damaging to the tissues of the eye if inadvertently splashed.
Classification of shampoos
Shampoos are usually classified according to their purpose of usage, for example, conditioning shampoo, cosmetic shampoo, antifungal shampoo, antibacterial shampoo, anti-dandruff shampoo, etc.
Ingredients of shampoo
Various ingredients like surfactants, cleansing agents, emollients, emulsifiers, antimicrobials are included in the shampoo and their incorporation depends on the purpose of use. For example, antimicrobials, antiseborrheic agents are included in medicated shampoos. Whereas humectants, emollients, emulsifiers are principle ingredients of cosmetic shampoos. The table on page 30 will help in understanding incorpation of certain ingredients and their use in different conditions.
General guidelines for the selection of shampoo
- In general, human shampoo or conditioners are not recommended for use in dogs.
- Examine your dog before bathing and determine if there are special needs. It will make the shampoo selection process much easier.
- Use only dog-specific shampoo that caters exclusively to your dog’s skin and fur needs.
- l Ideally, a shampoo possessing both cleansing and therapeutical properties should be applied twice.
- Don’t shampoo sick and ailing animals.
Shampoos for different dermatological disorders
Shampooing is one of the most popular and effective ways of treating dermatological affections.
- Pyoderma: Shampooing plays an important supportive role in the treatment of pyoderma. Chlorhexidine, povidone-iodine, benzoyl peroxide and ethyl lactate are the principle ingredients of antibacterial shampoos. Shampooing plays its role by decreasing cutaneous bacterial population and removing the surface tissue debris and thereby allowing the direct contact of the active ingredient with the organism and promoting the drainage. Usually shampooing is used along with systemic antibiotics in the treatment of pyoderma. But certain cases of surface pyoderma will respond to the topical antibacterial shampoos alone. In cases of deep pyoderma clipping of hair facilitates the contact of the product to the lesions. Frequency of shampooing depends on the severity of the lesions. Severe the lesions, more frequent will be the application.
- Keratoseborrhoeic disorders: Shampoos containing keratomodulating agents (salicylic acid, coal tar, selenium disulphide, ethyl lactate) and antiseborrhoeic agents (sulphur, benzoyl peroxide) are used. Initially shampooing will be done 2 to 3 times weekly; with improvement in condition frequency of application can be reduced gradually. Long-haired dogs should be clipped. Clipping leads to more effective application and better distribution of the active ingredient. Efficacy of treatment should be monitored frequently.
- Fungal diseases: Shampoos containing miconazole, ketaconazole and chlorhexidine are used to treat fungal skin disorders. Antimycotic shampoos are used as an adjunctive therapy for dermatophytosis and Malassezia dermatitis. They limit contagiosity in case of dermatophytosis but are not effective in treating it when used alone. They are often used with systemic antifungals. Keratomodulating shampoos are beneficial in removing infected scales and crusts. They are used along with topical antifungals when there is keratoseborrhoeic disorder. Topical antifungal shampoos or lotions are preferable for extensive lesions.
- Allergic diseases: Shampoos containing antipruritic agents like 1 percent hydrocortisone, 0.01 percent fluocinolone, 2 percent diphenhydramine, 1 percent pramoxine or colloidal oatmeal are used in allergic dermatitis. Antipruritic shampoos exert their beneficial effect by washing out the allergens from the skin and rehydrating the dry skin. Antipruritic shampoos should be used more frequently at least twice a week in the beginning of therapy. As antipruritic shampoos are rarely effective as sole therapy they are generally considered as adjunctive treatments to canine atopic dermatitis.
- Parasitic diseases: Shampoos containing organochlorines, natural pyrethrins or synthetic pyrethroids are used as antiparasitic shampoos. As antiparasitic shampoos are rinsed off quickly and cannot act during a sufficient time, they are considered to be not efficacious as other formulations like sprays, pump-sprays, powders, spot-ons and line-ons.
Shampoos containing benzoyl peroxide are recommended in the treatment of demodicosis because of their degreasing and follicular flushing effect. Many parasitic diseases like scabies, cheyletiellosis and flea allergy dermatitis will cause a keratoseborrhoeic disorder and the affected animals will benefit from application of keratomodulating shampoos.
Once you know your dog’s coat condition, use an appropriate shampoo for him.
Tips for shampooing your pooch
- Having another person with you to hold the dog should make the job easier.
- Use of a shower head will help removal of surface debris and dirt, as well as thoroughly wetting the coat and skin. A sponge may also be useful for harder-to-reach areas (such as between the toes).
- If using a bath tub, do not leave the plug in, as this may lead to dilution of the shampoo when your dog is standing in the water.
- Ensure that the water is lukewarm. If the water is too cold, your dog may be uncomfortable and reluctant to bathe in future. If the water is too hot, it can increase the dog’s desire to scratch.
- l The optimum skin contact time for shampoo is 10 minutes. Timing should start as soon as the dog has been lathered. Be careful of the eyes, if shampoo gets into the eyes, bathe them with large amounts of clean, lukewarm water.
- After rinsing him properly with water, hand dry with a towel. Do not use a hairdrye, as heating of the skin surface may lead to itching and can damage the hair and upper skin layers.
- Do not allow the animal to lick himself during the shampooing and rinsing or before the dog is dried.
- Take care to avoid the animal inhaling the product or getting it into the nose, mouth or eyes during shampooing.
(Dr Priyanka is Assistant Professor, Department of Teaching Veterinary Clinical Complex, Veterinary College, Hassan, Karnataka while Dr Vijay Kumar M is Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology Veterinary College, KVAFSU, Bidar, Karnataka).
Traditional concept of nutrition, i.e. developing, sustaining and providing energy to the body, now has a preventive and, in certain conditions, a curative dimension. This new dimension marks the birth of health/nutrition. Read more about the objectives of Nutrition and the Commandments for feeding your pooch, just the right way.
Nutrition aids in body development and maintenance, provides energy, contributes in prevention (renal infections or digestive disorders), helps in curing (certain nutrients added to food, support the therapeutic or convalescence process).
- It is estimated that the life expectancy of dogs, for instance, has increased by three years in the last fifteen years.
- Scientists and the major pet food manufacturers now acknowledge that dogs should be fed differently depending on whether they are puppies, full-grown or old, and on whether their size is small, medium, large or giant!
- The size and shape of a carnivore’s organs are very different from ours. Even nearly 10,000 years of domestication have not changed these carnivores (our pooches) into omnivores!
- Making a balanced food is like making a complex jigsaw including about 50 pieces, each piece containing a nutrient indispensable to the animal, all the ingredients being formulated in adequate proportions and complementing one another to contribute to a small or larger piece of the jigsaw.Cheap foods only contain 15 nutrients.
Whether you have decided to bring home a mongrel or a pedigree dog, few things should be kept in mind. Yashodhara Hemchandra of Yashbans Kennels gives tips on getting your best friend.
There is no better joy or happiness (other than your kids, of course) like having a pet at home. You can laugh your stress out with his antics; your pressure levels subside by just petting him. You can have a great listener to your woes, a loyal companion for your walks. You can even train him to do small chores for you, which he will oblige most willingly. The entire experience of having a dog makes you in turn, one extremely good, caring and responsible human being.
There are many basic and important aspects that a person should look into, before venturing to bring home a puppy. If you are ready to take care of him, just like your own baby, then there’s no reason why you should not bring a puppy home. The next step is to analyse what type of breed is best suited to your temperament, lifestyle, family and surroundings. Decision needs to be taken whether you would prefer to have a lovable, adorable, intelligent, non-pedigree mongrel or a pedigree counterpart. Both can form lovable and affectionate companions.
If you wish to share your life with a pedigree dog, then beware of unscrupulous self-styled breeders. It should also be kept in mind that it takes a lot of time, money, effort, patience and hardwork to own a perfect specimen. And then comes the question, do you want your dog to be a super show dog, an obedience Champion, an excellent breeding dog or a pampered pet. At all times, remember, your pet is going to reflect your personality, temperament and behaviour. If a top class pedigree dog is what you want, then, do not compromise on the quality.
After you have analysed yourself and feel you are an ideal person to own a pedigreed dog, then you must make sure of the following:
- You must buy your dog from a reputed, established breeder. Make sure that the breeder is totally committed to breeding top, pedigree dogs. Always visit his place and make sure that the kennel you are buying your puppy from is a hygienic, clean place and that all the dogs are well cared for and loved. Once you have come across such a breeder, learn to trust him implicitly and take his advice on the pup, which will be best suited for you.
- A reputed breeder would have definitely registered the pups with the Kennel Club of India, which is the only one recognised worldwide. Above all, make sure the pup conforms to the breed standards and looks healthy and active.
- Never, ever buy a puppy because the breeder says that the parents of the puppy are Champions, etc. This is not a necessary criteria at all, for a puppy to become a Champion as well. Instead make sure that the parents (the Dam and the Sire) of the puppy are healthy dogs, conforming to the breed standards, with no visible defects or deformities. Make sure that the puppies shown to you are the offsprings of the Dam and Sire shown to you as parents.
- Always buy the puppy by seeing the puppy or by the reputation of the breeder. If the pup is healthy, conforming to the breed standards, then definitely he must be having a good lineage. You don’t have to worry about the pedigree at all. However, if you are buying a puppy by looking at his pedigree alone, then you are in trouble. An awesome pedigree need not necessarily mean that the puppy is a top quality one. A pedigree just gives us an idea of the pups’ lineage.
- Ask the breeder to furnish you a feeding and a vaccination chart.
- Make sure that the breeder will give you tips on handling your new puppy.
- Ask for health guarantees.
- Make sure that the pups are microchipped or tattooed as a means of recognition that he is bred by that particular breeder.
- Make sure that the breeder gives you the name and address of his or her veterinarian. Also enquire from them if there is any reputable veterinarian in and around your area. In case you opt for a mongrel, then contact animal shelters or animal welfare organisations in your area, from where you could adopt a puppy or dog and give him a life he so aptly deserves.
Once you have brought the puppy home, then following things should be kept in mind:
- The puppy would have had his initial puppy vaccination at the breeder’s place, in all probability. Find out about his deworming and vaccination schedule. He must be immunised against rabies when he is about six months of age. Make sure he has his yearly shots to give him complete immunisation against various diseases.
- You must also make sure that you buy your pet’s requirements of food, toys etc from a reputed pet shop. They will be able to advise you correctly and not sell you expired or sub-standard products. They will ensure that all pet products are puppy safe.
Once you have analysed yourself as a capable dog owner, then just go ahead and bring home the new puppy. Make sure you live up to your commitment, not just as the puppy’s new owner, but as a responsible, loving human being. Make sure your puppy feels proud of you. And that you have risen above many, as a caring, loving human being and that you are the chosen one.
(Yashodhra Hemchandra has devoted herself for over two decades in establishing one of India’s most reputed kennel – Yashbans Kennels. Yashbans is not only a top breeding kennel but also has boarding facility, a grooming parlour, a pet shop and also is a shelter to abandoned and ill-treated animals. She can be contacted at: Yashbans Kennels, Yashbans Farm, Kyalasanahalli, (Off. Hennur Road) Bangalore – 560 077, Ph: 57639548 , 28465321, 9844058080 . Her website is: www.yashbans.com)
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