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Healthy petting

It is a matter of enchantment to own healthy pets. With every pet, comes a responsibility. Sometimes pets may not get the care they ought to have because their pet parents are too busy.

Wellness issues involve good food and dietary supplements. Pets also need multi-vitamins and minerals supplements which help them in achieving a perfect balanced diet. These supplements correct deficiencies, improve diet, enhance pet’s immune system and give them a long healthy life.

Food supplements: for all agesComplete Care
Puppies: Puppies need special care during weaning and entry into a new environment. They need increased levels of fats, proteins, calcium and phosphorus in their diet in order to sustain vital growth for a healthy immune system.

Young adults: Pets should have regular assessments by veterinarians who can guide on the right supplements in reference to their breed and age. Aged pets: Older pets also require nutritional supplements. Aged pets experience degenerative organ changes, these changes frequently have an effect on the muscles, bones, ligaments, hearing and vision. With age their dietary requirements alter during the geriatric years. It is thus imperative to nourish them.

Essential vitamins
Ingestion of Vitamin B1, B2, B6 and B12 is often suggested as a pet supplement to assist counter fatigue and better appetite. Vitamin C is also recommended for its antioxidant effects and its potential role in enhancing immune function. Vitamin E is compulsory for pets with inflammatory skin disorders. Intake of fatty acid chiefly omega fatty acids not only improves skin and hair coat health but has also proven advantageous for the cure and control of allergies, arthritis, yeast infections, eye disorders, heart diseases and cancer.

Choose with consultation
Vitamins and minerals come in varied forms: powder, syrups and chewable tablets. Pet parents should always consult their veterinarians.

Different health requirements
Pet parents should be acquainted with the fundamental thing that different pets have different health requirements. Perfect health can be accomplished only with a perfect diet. These days many people dote on their pets to an unhealthy extent. Love with responsibility and care.

(Mandeep Katari, CEO, all4pets.)

puppy care

Happy ‘n’ healthy

When we bring home a pup… we are bringing home a friend, a companion, a reliable and trustworthy member of the family. Hence, finding a healthy pup is important. Here are a few insights for adopting a healthy puppy.

Case files…

It’s been years since young Scamp died on a gloomy day, but the memory of the Spaniel Cocker pup withpuppy care Sharmila and her family is still fresh. Scamp was just two months, in a few days, the young pup suffered from a kind of fever which subsided immediately after medication. But his ailment continued as it was detected as canine parvovirus. Scamp succumbed to the dreaded disease, leaving everyone including Sharmila’s daughter Shaynaya who was just seven years old then, into unbearable grief. “I couldn’t bear the sorrow that my daughter was into when Scamp passed away so untimely,” shared Sharmila. After one year, two new tiny balls of fur came into Sharmila’s family, today the duo have become full grown adults named Jack (Golden Retriever) and Cody (Spaniel Cocker).

Similar views are shared by Anjali Kumar from Faridabad who never believed that their Spaniel Cocker would succumb to illness. “It was sad and I still feel the pain of losing my little angel who was so adorable,” said Anjali. The little one developed a kind of cold for a few days. The vet tried his best to save him, but destiny had predestined something else! “I was totally dumfounded,” recalled Anjali. She has just adopted another Spaniel Cocker and hopes everything will be fine.

Many pet parents, who have gone through these phases, know how painful it is to see the poor pup wilt away. What went wrong? Why did not these puppies bloom? It is either because the pup was too young for adoption or he was not healthy? Are these puppies from a puppy mill? Are their parents not vaccinated?…etc.


The right age to adopt puppies is around 6-12 weeks, as this is the period opuppy caref socialisation of the puppy. The best way to win the puppies or adult dog’s confidence is by brushing their coat regularly. Their emotional quotient and bonding with the pet parent increase with brushing.

Information from the breeder/pet shop…

  • The foremost thing will be to have a look at the parents as this will help you to know the temperament and size your pup may attain. You must ask for the parents’ pedigree and health card. The pedigree will help you to rule out some common genetic problems like hip dysplasia, dumbness and blindness. The growth of a puppy is a triangle with Genetics, Nutrition and Environment.
  • If the mother is vaccinated regularly, the pups will be protected against major diseases at least till eight weeks through maternal anti-bodies transferred to them transplacentally and through milk.
  • You should ask if the puppies were on mother’s milk which transfers a lot of anti-bodies to them.
  • The diet of the puppy is a must as it is recommended to continue the same diet and schedule for few days. The puppies need at least 3-7 days to adjust to a new diet. The changeover has to be in phased manner.
  • The date of birth will help you to decide the course of treatment, vaccination and training.
  • Do collect the pedigree certificate of the puppy.

Puppy is in good health…

  • The best indicator of good health will be his body weight, coat condition which are the mirror of health.

Puppy care at home…

  • Before you buy a puppy consult a vet to know the type of dog who suits your requirement. There are breeds specific for a particular purpose like watch dogs, friendly dogs, guide dogs…select the breed accordingly.
  • Make a list of things your puppy needs like food, bedding, bowl, comb, etc and buy them before hand.
  • Try to create an environment which is similar to the one which he was staying. This will reduce the separation anxiety.
  • You can pick a towel smeared with the mother odour which will boost the puppy.
  • Try to be at home for at least 4-7 days till the puppy adjusts to the change in routine.
  • If you have picked up a pup less than three weeks, you need to bottle feed and then stroke the private area to defecate and pass urine.

Meet the vet…

  • Please take an appointment before you pick up the pup.
  • He will check up if the pup is carrying any diseases mainly ecto and endo parasites.
  • He can check if he has any congenital problems viz. bite problems, cleft palate, undescended testicle, patellar luxation, cardiac murmurs, eye sight, hearing or any other breed predisposing diseases so that you can inform the breeder.

Health signs to look out for…

Fever, reluctant to eat, diarrhea, vomiting, nasal discharge, lethargic, not playing or responding to your call, frequent urination, constipation, abnormal coloured stools (black, mucus). Any of these or in combination can be an indicator of minor or major illness and needs a vet to check the puppy. Some puppies start retching if they have choked themselves. They start salivating profusely if they are bitten by insects or have licked some poison (especially after a medicated bath for ectoparasites). If they have chewed on a live wire they will be in a state of shock. The history is very important as the vet can diagnose at the earliest rather than depending on tests.

Canine parvo virus…

It’s basically a virus which targets and multiplies in fast multiplying cells which is the gastrointestinal tract. If the puppy is very young (less than three months), it can also target the heart as it is also a developing organ. As the mortality is very high it is best to prevent them by vaccinating the mother. The symptoms vary from high fever, dull, inappetance, vomiting, salivating, diarrhea which is foul smelling (rotten egg) with mucus and blood. One needs to take him to the vet as some bacterial infection can also cause same symptoms. Here history of mother’s vaccination will help in differential diagnosis. Now a days, we have kits to diagnose easily and quickly.
–Dr BV Srikanth,
Prakruthi Veterinary Hospital, Bengaluru


Before bringing the pup home…

Ensure the breeder should be genuine. It should not be puppy mill. The breeder should be able to tell you both the pros and cons of the breed. Right age for puppy to adopt is after 60 days of birth that is 8 weeks…till that they should get mother’s milk to increase immunity. Ask for vaccination of both parents and their overall health (if they have any problem like hip dysplasia or heart problem or any genetic disease), their deworming status and breed papers from the breeder or pet shop. When you approach puppy, he should be active and bright eyed. In male pup, see both testicles are there or not. A good breeder or rescue group will have no issue if you wish to have your vet to examine the animal before bringing him home.

At home…

The first two weeks of pup adoption are crucial. Common diseases in this period include gastroenteritis caused by virus, fever and skin problems like puppy mange. Sudden food change can trigger stomach upset; besides separation anxiety can also be seen.

The vaccine schedule for puppies is usually 6, 9 and 12 weeks with the first rabies booster being at 16 weeks. We can deworm regularly to avoid internal parasite infestation and dusting with mild medicated powder to help them getting rid of ticks, fleas and lice.

Till their vaccination course is complete, do not take them out for a stroll on road. There are test kits available to detect parvovirus and distemper virus infections which are non-invasive–your vet can advice you about the same.

–Dr Geeta Parab, MVSc,
Pluto Pet Clinic, Mumbai


Here’s how you can ensure that you are adopting a healthy puppy

–by Dr SP Gautam

The right age…

The right age of puppy for adoption is 30 to 45 days, however in exceptional cases, this can be extended up to 90 days.

First things first….

It is very important that the puppy is adopted from a reputed breeder or pet shop. Here’s a checklist for what to ask them:

  • Before adopting/buying a puppy from breeder/pet shop, see that the place from where we are picking up the puppy is genuine, reputed and reliable. Don’t buy from a stranger. It is better to buy a puppy from a registered kennel.
  • Insist on seeing the parents.
  • It is better if the puppy is registered with Kennel Club of India (KCI) or with any other reputed kennel club.
  • Obtain registration certificate from the seller. If he promises to supply it in a few days or week, then wait for the certificate.
  • If the age of puppy is more than 30 days, then ensure that he has been given the Parvo Vaccine shot. Ask for a certificate from a registered vet.
  • Enquire about the eating habits of the puppy, what kind of food is being given to the puppy and its frequency.
  • Also ensure that the puppy has been dewormed at the age of 15 to 20 days.
  • All vaccination and deworming records should be available.
  • Also ask about illness, if any.

Ensuring puppy is healthy…

Once you know the breeder or pet shop is genuine, look at the pups. Here’s how to find a healthy one:

  • A healthy pup will look attractive and active.
  • Ribs and pelvic point should not be prominent and skinny.
  • The buccal cavity/ oral cavity/mouth cavity of the pup should be pink.
  • There should not be any natural discharge from nostrils or eyes.
  • The ears should be clean pinkish in appearance from inside. There should be no discharge.
  • If possible, see the consistency of the stool, it should not be loose or watery.
  • The joints of legs should not be enlarged or swollen and legs should be almost straight.
  • Hair coat should give a lustrous look. Move your hand in the opposite direction of hair coat and look for any ectoparasites like ticks, etc.
  • Check if the puppy walks in a normal way… check for lameness or any other defect.
  • Put a little food before him, see if he eats or not.

Meet the parents…

Whether the puppy is registered or not, you must insist to see the parents of the puppy, as puppy will always acquire the characters from his parents. After seeing the parents, you become sure that the puppy which you are adopting shall grow as per his parents. If the mother is real, then definitely she will like to lick her puppy and simultaneously the puppy will also try to suck the nipples. In this way, you will be doubly sure about the genuineness of your puppy.

Meet the vet…

Once you have selected your bundle of joy, it is time to meet the vet.

  • Before taking a puppy home you must visit your nearest known vet.
  • Show him the puppy first and ask whether the puppy in question is true to his breed, healthy and is disease free.
  • Show him the papers you have collected from the breeder/shop, including the registration certificate, vaccination and deworming records.
  • Feeding schedule should be collected from the vet for that particular breed.
  • Ask about the tonics/medicines which are to be given.
  • Enquire about his bedding and clothing, especially if the weather is cool.
  • Your vet will advise you about vaccination and deworming schedule, follow it strictly.
  • Ask for the bathing and brushing/combing schedule as well.
  • Ask for the habits of natural calls and how to house-train him.

The first two weeks of adoption…

As expected, the first two weeks of adoption are crucial for you and the pup. Here are the common diseases/complications faced by young puppies during this time:

  • If the puppy is from a vaccinated mother, then the puppy generally does not get any contagious disease up to the age of four weeks.
  • If the mother is unvaccinated, then there are chances of getting Canine Parvo virus infection which is most common and fatal in puppy.
  • Digestive disorder due to infected food or over-feeding is also very common.
  • If the weather is cool and the puppy is not kept well protected, he may develop cold/temperature which decreases the immunity and further causes complications.
  • If the weather is warm and humid and puppy is not kept in a clean environment, he may develop tick infestation and skin infection on the body which may prove fatal.
  • Eating of foreign particles like chappal, clothes, papers, terracotta items, sand from lawn, etc are common problems if proper feeding and medicines are not given in time.
  • If your puppy starts vomiting or develops loose motions, consult your vet immediately.

Taking care…

We can protect the puppies from the common diseases in the early age by simple ways like:

  • Regular vaccination and deworming as per advise of your vet.
  • Regular and balanced food.
  • Protection from weather.
  • Maintenance of good hygiene.
  • Unless the vaccination schedule is completed, don’t let him mix with other puppies and keep away from stray dogs.

Health signs to look out for…

Here are some basic symptoms that show that puppy is suffering from something:

  • The pup is not eating
  • Loose/ watery/ bloody motion.
  • Vomiting.
  • Excessive salivation, dullness, laziness,
  • Not responding to your call.
  • Thickening of joints especially of legs, bending of leg bones.
  • Some discharge from eyes and ears.
  • Hair coat becomes rough.

If all these factors are kept in mind, puppy adoption will become easy and you would be blessed with a healthy and happy pup. Happy puppy parenting!

(Dr SP Gautam of Enn Kay Pet Clinic, Gurgaon is president of SPCA Gurgaon and member (Co-Opted) Animal Welfare Board of India).


“The right age for puppy adoption is 45 days after birth. It is very important to take the certificate and health status of the male and female dogs from the breeder or the pet shop. It is better to take your veterinarian along so that he can examine the puppy and help you select a healthy pup. Once the pup is home, rear him with affection and provide him hygienic food and water. Some of the common diseases faced by young puppies in the first two weeks of adoption include worm infestation, parvo, distemper and leptospirosis, etc but we can prevent these by vaccination and deworming. Watch out for poor appetite, vomiting, foul smelling diarrhea and the puppy being dull. For canine parvo virus, vet will examine the fecal material and do ELISA test. ”
–Dr M Chandrasekar,
Madras Veterinary College, Chennai

nutrition

Antioxidants: key to a healthy immune system

At birth, the puppy’s immune system is not fully developed. Rather, it matures during the first few months of life. The immune system is important for protecting puppies from disease and infection. A mature immune system is necessary for an effective response to vaccination. The immune system can be divided into two major components:

Cell-mediated Immunity: Cells (T- and B-lymphocytes and macrophages) that recognise foreign agents (antigens) and initiate a rapid defense.

Humoral Immunity: Antibodies that circulate throughout the body binding to and thereby neutralising—toxins and microorganisms.

What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants are important, naturally occurring nutrients that help maintain health by slowing the destructive aging process of cellular molecules. They can also be important in improving immune responses and vaccine recognition in dogs and cats. They can reverse decreases in immune-cell function for senior dogs and cats. A blend of several antioxidants in moderate amounts may be more effective than high levels of one antioxidant. Antioxidants are nutrients found naturally in the body and in plants such as fruits and vegetables.

Why do puppies need antioxidants?nutrition

Antioxidants, such as vitamin E, beta-carotene, and lutein, have been shown to boost both cell-mediated and humoral immune function in dogs. Lutein and beta-carotene have also been shown to optimise vaccine antigen recognition, an effect that is very important for puppies undergoing their initial vaccination series.

The study: A group of 40, six-week-old puppies were randomly allotted into two subgroups. For 120 days, puppies were fed either a control puppy diet or the same diet formulated with added vitamin E, beta-carotene, and lutein. During the study, all the puppies received their normal vaccinations. At the end of the 120-day feeding period, all the puppies were vaccinated against distemper and parvovirus, and antibody responses were measured. Following that, all the puppies received an injection of a novel antigen and the antibody responses were measured.

Findings: Compared with puppies fed the control diet, puppies fed the diet with the antioxidant combination had enhanced responses to vaccination (see chart below). There were more antibodies present following injection with a novel antigen, indicating that the immune systems of puppies fed antioxidants may be better able to respond to challenges from infectious agents. There was greater cell-mediated immune response, indicating that feeding antioxidants to puppies increases both T- and B-cell activity.

How antioxidants work?

As cells function normally in the body, they produce damaged molecules—called free radicals. These free radicals are highly unstable and steal components from other cellular molecules, such as fat, protein, or DNA, thereby spreading the damage. This damage continues in a chain reaction, and entire cells soon become damaged and die. This process is called peroxidation.

Peroxidation is useful because it helps the body destroy cells that have outlived their usefulness and kills germs and parasites. However, peroxidation, when left unchecked, also destroys or damages healthy cells. Antioxidants help prevent widespread cellular destruction by willingly donating components to stabilise free radicals. More importantly, antioxidants return to the surface of the cell to stabilise rather than damage other cellular components. When there are not enough antioxidants to hold peroxidation in check, free radicals begin damaging healthy cells, which, in turn, can lead to problems. For example, free radical damage to immune cells can lead to an increased risk of infections.

Because antioxidants play a key role in minimizing damage to cells, their addition to high-quality puppy diet can help maintain good health and protect against viruses, bacteria and parasites.

Antioxidants and aging

Recent research also examined the effect of aging on immune responses. The findings indicate that as dogs and cats age, immune cell responses may decline. Including antioxidants in the diet can reverse the age related decrease in immune cell function.

The solution

All Eukanuba and IAMS dog and cat foods and Eukanuba Veterinary Diets contain added antioxidants to help support a healthy immune system.

nutrtion

Keeping your Rottweiler healthy and active

Brave, charming, active and powerful…that’s how a Rottweiler is and hence his special dietary needs, which are ably met by Royal Canin’s Rottweiler 31 (Junior) & Rottweiler 26 (Adult).

The genesis…

The Rottweiler is one of the oldest breeds. His German origins go back to the time when he was both a guard nutritionand herding dog. During the Middle Ages, in the town of Rottweil in the Bade-Wurtemberg region, the Rottweiler was used to look after the flocks and defend livestock sellers against bandits. Since the 20th century, these dogs, whose power and strength make them ideal for work, have been widely used by the police and rescue services.

The attributes…

A dog blessed with natural strength. Robust, enduring, calm and quiet but with a strong temperament, the Rottweiler is the king of the guard dogs. By nature, the Rottweiler is a very active, sporty dog who needs lots of exercise. He cannot bear being shut in and has an independent nature.

Unbeatable muscle…

Naturally athletic, his strongly muscled silhouette needs a high level of protein. Nevertheless, without exercise, the Rottweiler can easily gain weight. In order to maintain a constant ideal weight, it is important to monitor his food intake.

Osteo-articular health…

Whether working or just on a walk with his owners, the Rottweiler is always active and enthusiastic, and puts his joints under strain. Problems such as arthrosis, dysplasia and osteochondrosis can affect the breed.

Cardiac muscle & ageing effects…

Helping prevent the effects of ageing is important from the onset of adulthood, particularly in large breed dogs, who have a much shorter life expectancy than small ones. Over and above that, it is essential to take good care of the Rottweiler’s cardiac health. The breed can be predisposed to a problem known as a heart murmur.

Growing up in 18 months!

Growth is an essential phase for the puppy, because this period is responsible for his future health. During the first weeks of life, the puppy benefits from maternally transmitted antibodies, but this protection reduces gradually between the 4th and 12th week of age. As a result, the puppy is very sensitive to the risk of infection, because his own immune system is still immature. However, the right food can help him cross this “immunity gap” by helping reinforce his natural defences.

The Rottweiler puppy is a small molossoid… in order to reach his adult size; first of all he has to develop his skeleton, which requires considerable energy, with exactly the right amount of calcium and phosphorus – neither too much nor too little. Muscular development follows next… weight gain slows down considerable while the bone structure solidifies itself. During this period, it is essential that the daily ration is monitored carefully, because if over-fed the puppy will develop fat (adipose cells) rather than muscle.

Adult dog…

Over 18 months, the Rottweiler puppy increases his birth weight by a factor of 80 to 100! His food during growth must take account of his digestive sensitivity and energy needs.

Rottweiler 31…

To keep your Rottweiler healthy, Royal Canin offers Rottweiler 31 which provides controlled levels of energy and calcium for optimal growth and the development of the skeleton. Strong, healthy muscles are laid down as a result of the choice of very high quality LIP proteins in combination with L-Carnitine.

It also helps the joints develop properly, thanks to increased levels of EPA, DHA, chondroïtine and glucosamine. Besides, prebiotics, psyllium and the use of LIP proteins ensure optimum digestive tolerance. It also helps strengthen the puppy’s natural defences due to a patented synergic complex of antioxidants.

Rottweiler 26…

The food also helps support this athletic dog’s cardiac functions thanks to beneficial nutrients EPA & DHA, and taurine to encourage good heart contraction, L-Carnitine for the cells’ energy supply, and Vitamins E & C to help maintain vitality. Its special molossoid jaw Kibble is exclusively adapted to the Rottweiler’s jaw, to encourage him to chew. It also takes care of muscle dynamism and joint support.

So, if you have a Rottweiler at home, do take care of his special dietary needs.

Pomeranian-Tips for keeping pets warm and healthy during winters

Groom your pooch, make him shine with health and beauty. Here are a few tips to make grooming sessions enjoyable for you both:

  • Establish and adhere to a regular schedule of grooming sessions.
  • Schedule these at a convenient time for both; a good time to do this is after the dog has been walked, while he is relieved and calm.
  • Select a time when you will not be interrupted and have ample time to do a proper grooming; longhaired dogs should be groomed daily, while shorthaired breeds may require grooming only twice a week.
  • For puppies, set a time when the puppy is less energetic and begin with short grooming sessions, say for five minutes.
  • Constantly talk to the puppy in a gentle, reassuring tone while grooming to make him feel comfortable.
  • Put the hair aside and examine the skin closely for signs of fleas, ticks or skin irritations.
  • Look for any unusual problems with his coat, viz matts, tangles, dandruff, etc.
  • Let the dog sniff the brush and comb before you begin grooming, and then talk to the pet in a reassuring tone while grooming; if the grooming procedure is made comfortable for the dog, he will begin to look forward to regular grooming sessions.
  • Do regular combing and brushing, which will keep his coat clean and healthy and stimulate skin.
  • Comb in the direction of hair growth, combing small sections at a time, until the coat is tangle free.
  • Use anti-tangle comb for troublesome knots and tangles; and if the coat has a particularly stubborn knot or tangle, trim it off with scissors.
  • Use a dematting comb, slicker or rake to remove matts.
  • Begin with the widely spaced teeth and follow with the finer teeth, using a combination comb.
  • Start brushing at the head, working towards the tail and down the legs.
  • Pay particular attention to the legs and flanks, and areas that easily matt.
  • Use a pin brush to fluff the coat.
  • Check areas for hair loss, inflammation, unusual tenderness or lumps under the skin; constant scratching in a particular area may also be an indication of a problem.
  • Consult your vet in case you find any unusual roblems.
  • Learn where the pet likes to be combed and brushed and where he doesn’t because all dogs have sensitive areas that need to be groomed a little more gently and carefully than others; by doing so, one will help the pet to make him more comfortable.
  • Be sure to check the puppy’s ears, paws, teeth, and underside during the grooming procedure for making him accustomed to being handled and examined.
  • Trim his nails regularly.
  • Never use ordinary scissors to trim the dog’s nails. Use trimmers that are specially designed for dogs.
  • During nail trimming, hold the dog’s paw firmly, and cut off the tip of the nail with a single stroke; also be very careful to stop short of the quick, the blood vessel inside the nail.
  • Use conditioned shampoo (properly balanced pH) specially made for dog’s bath.
  • After proper rinsing, ensure adequate drying of coat, especially for longhaired breeds, so that no excess moisture under hair coat is retained.
  • In case of ectoparasitic infestation, adhere strictly to the advice of vet, regarding dilution of drug, technique of application and follow up.
  • Be more careful about puppies; until and unless heavy dirt or any medical requirement, generally puppies are not given bath up to three months of age.

Making your pet Pretty ‘n’ healthy

Groom your pooch, make him shine with health and beauty. Here are a few tips to make grooming sessions enjoyable for you both:

  • Establish and adhere to a regular schedule of grooming sessions.
  • Schedule these at a convenient time for both; a good time to do this is after the dog has been walked, while he is relieved and calm.
  • Select a time when you will not be interrupted and have ample time to do a proper grooming; longhaired dogs should be groomed daily, while shorthaired breeds may require grooming only twice a week.
  • For puppies, set a time when the puppy is less energetic and begin with short grooming sessions, say for five minutes.
  • Constantly talk to the puppy in a gentle, reassuring tone while grooming to make him feel comfortable.
  • Put the hair aside and examine the skin closely for signs of fleas, ticks or skin irritations.
  • Look for any unusual problems with his coat, viz matts, tangles, dandruff, etc.
  • Let the dog sniff the brush and comb before you begin grooming, and then talk to the pet in a reassuring tone while grooming; if the grooming procedure is made comfortable for the dog, he will begin to look forward to regular grooming sessions.
  • Do regular combing and brushing, which will keep his coat clean and healthy and stimulate skin.
  • Comb in the direction of hair growth, combing small sections at a time, until the coat is tangle free.
  • Use anti-tangle comb for troublesome knots and tangles; and if the coat has a particularly stubborn knot or tangle, trim it off with scissors.
  • Use a dematting comb, slicker or rake to remove matts.
  • Begin with the widely spaced teeth and follow with the finer teeth, using a combination comb.
  • Start brushing at the head, working towards the tail and down the legs.
  • Pay particular attention to the legs and flanks, and areas that easily matt.
  • Use a pin brush to fluff the coat.
  • Check areas for hair loss, inflammation, unusual tenderness or lumps under the skin; constant scratching in a particular area may also be an indication of a problem.
  • Consult your vet in case you find any unusual roblems.
  • Learn where the pet likes to be combed and brushed and where he doesn’t because all dogs have sensitive areas that need to be groomed a little more gently and carefully than others; by doing so, one will help the pet to make him more comfortable.
  • Be sure to check the puppy’s ears, paws, teeth, and underside during the grooming procedure for making him accustomed to being handled and examined.
  • Trim his nails regularly.
  • Never use ordinary scissors to trim the dog’s nails. Use trimmers that are specially designed for dogs.
  • During nail trimming, hold the dog’s paw firmly, and cut off the tip of the nail with a single stroke; also be very careful to stop short of the quick, the blood vessel inside the nail.
  • Use conditioned shampoo (properly balanced pH) specially made for dog’s bath.
  • After proper rinsing, ensure adequate drying of coat, especially for longhaired breeds, so that no excess moisture under hair coat is retained.
  • In case of ectoparasitic infestation, adhere strictly to the advice of vet, regarding dilution of drug, technique of application and follow up.
  • Be more careful about puppies; until and unless heavy dirt or any medical requirement, generally puppies are not given bath up to three months of age.

Healthy Diet

Your puppy depends on a number of different nutrients for his health. This article discusses what they are and how they work

Your puppy depends on a number of different nutrients in order to be healthy. Each nutrient fulfils certain needs, so the body has to get them in a specific quantity and in the right ratio. The need for energy suppliers or minerals will differ enormously according to your dog’s age and activity level. This is why it’s nearly impossible to get the “right mixture” of nutrients with home-made food. So a commercially prepared puppy or dog food is best.

Here’s a list of the important nutrients your dog needs for a long and healthy life:

Water

Water is the most important nutrient for your dog. His body consists of 70% water, and each day he loses liquid, which must be replaced. Water is indispensable for many processes of metabolism. A dish of fresh water should always be available to your dog. Milk, on the other hand, may cause diarrhoea.

Proteins

Proteins are the basic components of cells. The body needs protein, especially to build muscles. Meat and fish contain a lot of protein; however, some plants such as soybeans are also rich in protein. By the way, a dog’s need for protein is only half as much as that of a cat. This is why cats and dogs should not eat each other’s commercially prepared foods.

Fat

Fat is an important supplier of energy. Certain vitamins are “fat-soluble”, which means the body can only absorb them in conjunction with fat. Special fatty acids are important for the health of your dog’s skin and coat. But be careful; too much fat means extra pounds for dogs as well as humans.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are important fuels. They are found in such starchy foods as rice, grain and pasta, and in sugar. Carbohydrates supply the body with energy, which is then very quickly converted to output. Vegetable carbohydrates have to be cooked to enable your dog to digest them and thus to use them.

Minerals

Minerals are substances that are present in different body structures. Calcium, for instance, is an important component of bones and teeth, phosphorus can be found in muscles, iron in the red blood cells. Many deficiencies are caused by a lack of certain minerals. The right calcium-phosphorus ratio plays an important role in growing puppies.

Vitamins

Vitamins maintain the functions of metabolism. Vitamin A is important for sight, Vitamin B for nerves, Vitamin D for bones, Vitamin E protects the skin, and Vitamin K supports blood coagulation. Only Vitamin C doesn’t have to be supplied in food for dogs and cats, as they are able to synthesize it.

Dietary fibre

Dietary fibre is the term for those components of food that are excreted undigested. It supports a healthy digestion, and can be found mainly in vegetables. A lack of dietary fibre leads to constipation.

dog grooming

GROOMING: A smart way to a healthy life

Grooming is the time to care and bond with your pooch. Most important, it is the first step towards a healthy canine.

For most of us, grooming refers to external beauty care of pets. But, as we say ‘beauty is only skin deep’ and gr1while grooming, we actually check out for health problems in our pets. A wellgroomed dog will remain free from some of the most commonly encountered problems viz., skin affections, ear and dental problems. Grooming also improves bonding between pet and owner since it gives a closer feel of each other.

Start early

Pet owners often complain that their pet resists grooming sessions. This mostly happens if they are not accustomed to grooming. So, start grooming your pet from an early age (for e.g. a month’s age) and make it a regular practice. This would make grooming a pleasant experience for you as well as your pet.

7 Steps to healthy grooming

  1. Brushing and combing  
    • Choose a suitable brush or comb as per the fur of your pet (long coat – pin brush, medium coat – steel comb and short coat – hard brush).  
    • Brush and comb daily or at least on alternate days.  
    • Ensure that hair coat throughout the body is combed and brushed properly.  
    • In long hair dogs, carefully remove the matts from hair.  
    • Brushing removes dirt and debris from the hair coat, making it cleaner and healthier.  
  2. Massage  
    • Dogs should be properly massaged at least twice a week to keep their skin and fur in good shape.  
    • Massage can be done with fingertips or massage gloves.  
    • Massage should be done with enough pressure over the skin.  
    • Dry massage is preferred in dogs except for any specific skin condition wherein oil massage is to be given.  
    • A proper massage will increase the blood circulation to provide vitality to the skin.  
    • Massage will also open all the pores of the skin to assist the secretion of natural oil from the glands situated beneath the skin.  
    • The oil secreted keeps the skin lustrous and fights infection due to antimicrobial property.  
  3. Bathing  
    • Dogs should not be frequently bathed. An alternative to bathing is massage and brushing.  
    • Preferably a month’s gap should be given between baths.  
    • Selection of soap and shampoo is very important for each bath as it will depend on the condition of the skin and hair at that point of time. As a general rule, mild dog soaps and shampoos (without any chemical agents) should be used if the skin is free from any infection. In case of infection or ectoparasite infestation, specific soaps and shampoos can be used as per the vet’s advice.  
    • Never use human soaps and shampoos since they may cause irritation to dog’s skin as they differ in pH and may have certain chemical agents not suitable to dogs’ skin.  
    • Excess quantity of soap and shampoo should not be used since it will be difficult to rinse. Shampoo should always be used after mixing in water.  
    • Rinse your dog properly with water after application of soap and shampoo so as to remove the froth completely since the left over soap and shampoo will create irritation, itching and dryness.  
    • Following bath, the dog’s fur and skin should be dried with a towel or drier. Avoid excessive heat while using drier. Drying is very important as the presence of moisture trapped in fur is a very good medium for growth of infectious agents.  
  4. Trimming and cutting 
    • This is required to remove hair matting, lighten the pet’s coat mainly during summer or to give a smart look to your pooch.  
    • Never cut the hair too short since it may increase the chance of skin affections as the hair coat serves as the barrier to infectious agents, dirt and debris.  
    • A competent groomer can give specialized cutting suitable as per the breed’s requirement.  
    • In long hair breed, hair around the eyes should be regularly trimmed to avoid irritation and injury to the eyes.  
  5. Ear cleaning  
    • Clean your dog’s ears every 15 days to one month.  
    • Also clean the ears after every bath to remove moisture, soap or shampoo.  
    • Use plain cotton for ear cleaning.  
    • Wax dissolving agents can be used to remove excess wax.  
    • For any ear problem, consult your vet.  
  6. Dental cleaning  
    • Dental cleaning is done for cleaning of teeth, removal of plaque or tartar.  
    • It is required to prevent dental problems like bad smell, pyorrhoea and dental decay.  
    • Consult your vet for proper dental cleaning.  
  7. Nail cutting  
    • Nail cutting is essential to facilitate proper walking since due to overgrown nails, the dog’s gait may become faulty and undue pressure may be applied on his legs.  
    • Long nails can entangle with any object that may cause injury. Sometimes the overgrown nails take round shape and get engorged in the skin, causing injury.  
    • Nail cutting is a very specialized procedure and should be done only by a pet practitioner.  
    • Only the dead part of the nail should be cut. Any injury to the live part of nail will lead to severe bleeding.  
    • Most of the dogs resist to nail cutting hence it is important to get them accustomed to this procedure since early age.  
    • Give your pooch a soft pad massage to improve circulation and cure cracked pads.  
    • Remove soiled hair around the soft pads as your dog may lick it, which can cause injury and infection.  

A well-groomed dog is a smart, happy and healthy dog. So, what are you waiting for…pick up your dog’s grooming kit and transform your pooch into a beautiful companion. (Dr. Aradhana Pandey is a vet and owner of Doggy World, an exclusive set up for dogs catering to all needs, including specialized grooming. She can be contacted at 09811299059.)

Health check

Regular grooming can help avoid following health problems :

  • Tick, lice and flea infestation : These problems can be timely identified and solved.  
  • Bacterial, fungal and non-specific dermatitis : Proper grooming leads to secretion of sebum that has an antimicrobial property. By regular grooming, the lesions are timely identified and treated. 
  • Fall of hair : Grooming removes the dead hair and vitalize the hair.  
  • Dull and coarse hair coat : Grooming will secrete the natural hair oil.  
  • Ear infections : Regular ear cleaning will remove excess wax that is a good medium for infectious agent growth. Besides, the oils used for aural hygiene have wax dissolving and antimicrobial property.  
  • Dental problems : Regular dental cleaning will remove the plaque.

A healthy New Year

January is traditionally a time to make resolutions for the coming year. For many people, one of those resolutions is to exercise regularly. We all know how important exercise is to our health, physically and emotionally. This is true not only for us, but for our dogs as well. However, finding time to exercise may be a challenge – family, friends, work and spending time with your dog may already keep you so busy that fitting in time for anything else is difficult. One solution is to combine exercise with the time you already spend with your dog. By doing so, you can get a lot done at once: improving your overall health, strengthening your bond with your dog, and improving your dog’s health. Perfect!

Why is exercise important for dogs?

Many dogs are overweight and exercise can help these dogs to shed the extra pounds. If you’re not sure if your dog is overweight, try this simple test. Run your hands over your dog’s ribs. You should be able to feel them without pressing hard. If you can’t feel your dog’s ribs without pressing down on them, chances are he is overweight. Excess weight can shorten your dog’s life and make him more susceptible to diabetes, osteoarthritis, heart disease and other health problems. Your veterinarian can help you determine a healthy weight for your dog based on his breed, size and age. Exercise can help your dog achieve and maintain that healthy weight.

Should all dogs exercise?

Yes, all dogs need exercise; however, the type and amount of exercise they need depends on the dog. For example, Retrievers will need more exercise than lap dogs. Your dog’s exercise requirements depend on his breed, size, age and activity level.

Exercise for puppies?

Don’t make the mistake of over-exercising your dog if he’s still growing, because his bones aren’t yet strong enough to cope with the extra stress this puts on him. Little and often is the rule until your dog grows to full strength. Remember that large breeds mature later than small breeds. Ask the breeder or your vet for their advice. Regular and varied walks are not just essential to keep your dog fit, but they also give him the chance to explore and to experience new stimuli, including meeting other dogs. This will help him develop into a contented and well-adjusted dog, without behavioral problems.

Exercise for senior dogs?

As your dog ages into a senior dog, he will tire more easily. His joints may stiffen and he’ll become more susceptible to the same sort of muscular aches and pains that humans experience as we age. Although he may be less active, it’s still good for your senior dog to maintain a moderate level of exercise. This helps to improve his circulation, keep his joints moving, and ensure he receives plenty of fresh air. It also gives him enough chances to relieve himself, avoiding accidents in the house, as he may not be able to control his bladder and bowels efficiently. Take your dog for shorter, more frequent walks, but never force him to go beyond his capabilities.

Getting started

Ease in: If your dog is not used to regular exercise, it’s important he start with daily, moderately paced walks. Set a pace you can both enjoy. Gradually, the length of the walks can be increased. Once your dog has built up his endurance, he may be ready for more fitness challenges, such as becoming your jogging partner.

Have fun: Walking, jogging, playing fetch or tossing a Frisbee – whatever the exercise you choose – it should be fun for both.

Stick to a routine: It’s the best way to ensure both get the exercise.

Safety first

  • Keep your dog leashed during outdoor exercise.
  • Watch for signs of fatigue or troubled breathing, then stop exercising.
  • Supervise your dog’s exercise. Leaving your dog alone, even in a fenced yard, leaves him susceptible to weather and other animals.
  • Training allows you and your dog to communicate. If your dog knows what to do when he hears the sit, down, stay or heel command it will make outdoor exercise safer and more enjoyable.
  • If it’s very cold outside, don’t cancel your exercise, change it. Shorten the time spent outside and get your dog indoors immediately if he starts to shiver. Or, play an indoor game that provides exercise.
  • In hot weather, exercise during the coolest parts of the day and make sure your dog has a shady area to cool down in.
  • Don’t feed your dog immediately before or after exercise and always ensure your dog has plenty of fresh, clean water to drink.

Don’t give up

Finding the time to exercise with your dog may be a challenge at first, but it is much easier once it becomes part of your daily routine. Your dog won’t let you easily break routine – you’ll likely find him ready for his exercise at the appointed time each day. His wagging tail, trusting eyes and excitement about the upcoming walk, jog or game is enough of a reason to exercise with him, even without the numerous other benefits!

Healthy skin from deep within

An easy, regular routine can ensure that your dog has a beautiful coat and a healthy skin. The most common complaint that veterinarians face in their daily practice is skin trouble! Dry, itchy skin, redness, sores, little bumps, pustules, falling hair, typical ‘doggy’ odour are some of the usual signs. Owners tend to give a lot of importance to their pets’ skin and coat condition mainly because skin rashes and falling hair affect the appearance of the dog. What few people realise is that the skin often shows the first signs of ill-health. This, the first article of this series, will focus on internal problems that manifest as skin disorders.

Diet for good health:

Your dog’s diet affects every aspect of his health including alertness, skeletal and muscular development and general vitality, but the first and most common sign of nutritional deficiency is a dry, itchy skin. Unfortunately, Indian dog owners are yet to wake up to the fact that feeding a good commercial pre-formulated dog food is best for the dogs. Only when your dog is on a 100% diet of a good pre-formulated dog food (without any addition of home-cooked food) can you be certain that he is getting all his nutritional requirements in the correct amount and proportion. It is important to understand that feeding an imbalanced diet will lead to serious health problems, some of which may become evident much later in the dog’s life, and are often difficult to treat, like joint disease. Consult your vet on a regular basis to determine the most suitable dog food formulation according to his growth and life stage. How does diet affect the dog’s skin and coat? Simply put, certain nutrients in the daily diet are essential for maintaining a healthy skin and coat, mainly essential fatty acids (e.g. linoleic acid), vitamin E, B vitamins, zinc, calcium and biotin. Certain amino acids, the basic ‘building blocks’ of proteins, also play an important role in skin health.

Your next question may be that if your dog is on dog food alone, does he need additional supplementation? I usually do not recommend popularly prescribed supplementation of calcium + phosphorous + vitamin D. There is always a tendency to over supplement these minerals, resulting in some very serious, irreversible bone and joint defects. If you are feeding your dog on 100% dog food, your dog’s coat may still benefit from correct supplementation. Research done at the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, UK, concluded that even dogs fed with 100% dog food show further improvement in skin and coat health when their diet is supplemented with certain nutrients. A good supplement enhances the coat softness and feel, increases coat gloss and helps in better coat scale.

Apart from diet, other internal factors also affect the condition of the dog’s skin and coat, which have been summarised in the form of a table.

Deworming do’s and don’ts:

A dog who is not dewormed regularly also suffers the same problems as a dog with nutritional deficiencies. Internal parasites ‘eat away’ certain nutrients from the dog’s digestive system. The deworming schedule that I recommend is once a month for pups up to the age of 7 months, every two months for pups between 7?and?12 months and thereafter, every three months. Dogs fed home-cooked food, especially meat, will need to be dewormed more frequently. It is best that you consult your vet for a deworming schedule specifically designed for your dog.

The ‘itch-scratch’ cycle:

The reason why skin conditions take so painfully long to treat, is because of the ‘itch-scratch’ cycle. Any of these conditions can make a dog feel ‘itchy’ dry skin, allergy, the presence of loose hair, ectoparasites (ticks, fleas, mange, etc). Every time the dog scratches, he causes mild to severe abrasions or scratches on his skin and also introduces infection-causing organisms into the layers of the skin. As these abrasions and scratches on the skin begin to heal by the process of granulation, it causes an intense itching sensation, which starts the whole vicious cycle all over again. Therefore, when treating any such skin condition, it often becomes essential to give the dog a good anti-histamine for a few days, only to break the ‘itch-scratch’ cycle and give the treatment enough time to start acting. It may become necessary to give an antibiotic. Your vet will be able to advise you on the best course of action for your dog. A beautiful skin and healthy coat starts from inside. No amount of external applications with the best products can give a healthy lustre to an unhealthy dog.

Next issue: Maintaining the lustre, which focuses on bathing and grooming the correct way.

(Dr. Freya Javeri, BVSc & AH (Bombay Veterinary College), MVS (University of Melbourne, Australia) is a member of the prestigious Dog Writers’ Association of America. She was the former editor of Canine Review, the official publication of the Indian National Kennel Club. She is a qualified judge, with a diploma in dog judging from the Animal Care College, UK. She has been judging all-breed championship dog shows since ’98. She is currently practicing as a veterinary surgeon and animal behaviour consultant, specialising in small animals (dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets) with two clinics of her own in Ahmedabad. She can be contacted at 9824433227, email: dr.freyajaveri@yahoo.com)