Crufts is the world’s greatest dog show and this year the prestigious dog show has featured 194 breeds from 45 countries. Dogs at the event enjoyed competing for the coveted ‘Best in Show’ title as well as the many other competitions that take place at the show, from Agility and Flyball to Friends for Life and Scruffts. After four days of patience, the two-year-old standard poodle (Ricky) beat six other best-in-group winners in the final event of the annual competition. Ricky’s handler Jason Lynn, from Preston in Lancashire, spoke of his pride, and said Ricky would now be retired.
A dog’s paws are very sturdy but they still need some tender love and care! Here are a few cares to keep your pooch’s paws healthy.
Paws are a very essential part of a dog’s body as dogs are digitigrade animals, this means that the weight bearing part of their limbs is their paws. The paw consists of the foot pad or paw pad and nails or claws. The paw pads act as an insulator from extremely cold weather, they act as a cushion and prevent the joints and bones from shock as they walk, and also protect the deep tissues within the paw. The paw pad is the toughest region of canine skin and provides friction as the dog walks. Dogs are known to perspire through their paw pads. They also have scent glands located at the bottom of their feet so they can be sensed by other dogs. The claws or nails help the dog to dig and provide stability to the feet. Dogs are constantly running, jumping, walking and playing hence their paws are prone to damage, infection and injuries.
Here are a few measures to ensure you keep your pooches’ paws protected and well-care:
Start early: A lot of dogs are very sensitive when it comes to touching their paws or cutting their nails. It is essential to de-sensitise the paws from the beginning to ensure that they can be well taken care of.
Nail care: It is very important to take proper care of your dog’s nails. Always ensure they are properly trimmed and filed. Do not forget to attend to the dew claw. A dew claw is the 5th digit on a dog’s foot, which does not come in contact with the ground. It is advisable to get the nails trimmed from a professional, as over cutting may lead the quick (bundle of nerve and blood vessel in the nail) to rupture and make the nail bleed.
Hair in and around the paw: It is essential to trim the hair from a dog’s paw pad. While they walk, all the dirt collects in the under pad hair and causes unwanted matting of the hair. Also ticks collect and cause discomfort to the dog. Once the extra hair is trimmed, especially for long haired breeds, it is easy to keep the paw pad clean and pest and matt free.
Moisturise: On a weekly basis ensure you moisturisze your pet’s foot pad in order to repair and restore vitality to foot pads exposed to snow, ice, rough terrains and heat. Many pet foot care balms are available. Do not use human products on your pets.
Bathing tips: While bathing your dog, thoroughly wash the feet, between the digits and between the under pad and digits as well. On completion of the bath, dry the paw completely, and if needed, apply a small quantity of antiseptic powder to keep them infection and bacteria free.
Winter care: The paw pad does act as an insulator, but extremely cold weather and snow can cause the paw pad to crack. To avoid the bitter cold from getting to your dogs paws, get them habituated to booties in the cold.
Summer care: During the summer, the ground gets very hot. Walking your dog on this hot ground can cause the paw pads to get burnt. The dog may suffer severe or minor burns, if so, do consult a vet. To avoid this, avoid walking your pet during the afternoon and walk them during cooler times in the day. Also wash their feet with cool water once they return from a walk and dry them.
Monsoon care: A lot of dogs love playing in the rain; do not stop them, just take a little extra care to ensure their paws stay healthy. Make sure you thoroughly wash their paws once they return from the rain and dry them thoroughly. Don’t forget to clean between the toes as dirt and bacteria lodge themselves in the toe web. Dampness between the toes can cause soreness and infection, hence ensure they are always dry. Rubber booties can be used to prevent dampness in the feet.
Foot pad injuries: Rough concrete surfaces can cause cuts, abrasions, ulcers to the paw pad, resulting in limping, excessive licking, bleeding and soreness. A mild injury can be treated at home by gently rinsing the wound and applying an antiseptic after drying.
Else, consult a vet immediately before it becomes worse.
By following these simple instructions you can keep your pet’s paws healthy and clean, hence ensuring your dog’s well being.
(Lokashi Aggarwal is a certified pet groomer who runs Pawfect – The Pet Salon and Spa in Mumbai).
After every outdoor activity, clean your dog’s paws with a wash cloth, warm water or dip the paw in warm water bowl. This will wash away the dirt, thorns, stones lodged between digits and the hair.
Taking care of the precious paws…
- Check the paws regularly. Check, not just the paw, but each and every digit for foreign bodies as
moisture trapped in between, leads to bacteria and yeast infection.
- The hair should be trimmed in and around the paws.
- Get any injury checked by your vet. Unchecked injury can house bacteria and infection.
- While hiking or trekking on rough terrain, take extra care and keep checking.
- Routine check should be done every evening for foreign objects, ticks, etc.
Careful nail trimming…
Always remember that it takes a bit of skill to trim your doggy’s nails. You should be very careful about ‘the quick’– the blood vessels and nerves inside the nail – which will be very painful and will bleed profusely if you cut it by mistake.
The best decision is to leave this precarious task to vets or trained grooming professionals. Otherwise you should surely take a proper lesson or training from your vet or groomer before you take over to do the nail trimming yourself.
Feel his paws and pads; if he yelps when you squeeze, it means he is hurt. Also pay attention while he is running or walking – is there a limp or just a hint of a limp, check it out. Notice small things about your dog for clues. In extreme weather conditions like peak summer time or icy road condition in winter, take good care.
- Swollen paws could be because of a foreign object lodged between the toes or cuts and laceration. If the swollen pad feels hot, then there is an infection or a broken toe, take him to the vet immediately for treatment.
- Bleeding is the result of spot injury, due to broken nails – mostly the dew claw, or torn paw pads. Bleeding may not be severe but it is a painful condition. It indicates a torn pad, or something is lodged in; do not remove the object yourself, ask the vet to do it.
- Limping or holding one paw up indicates broken bones, muscle tears or soreness.
- Licking the paws is because of irritants in the paw but too much licking can further irritate the paw. A temporary bandage is one solution.
- For dry paws, apply Vaseline until the cracks heal. Discontinue moisturizer after it heals.
- Sometimes their paws crack due to zinc deficiency. This can be determined and treated by a vet.
- Burn and blister on paws can be a result of extreme hot temperatures. Beware of sand/pavements which can become very hot.
- Consult your vet for any issues.
- Chapping, cracking of paws can be seen from bitter cold.
- Clean the paw and apply Vaseline available over the counter at any chemist on the paw and foot pads. This will stop the cracking and chapping of the paw and also reduce the soreness. Apply it before going for walks too.
- If they hate walking in the cold get your dog booties for his paws. It will take him/her time to adjust to the shoes but will form a barrier against the cold. Taking precautions will save you and your dog a lot of pain.
(Source: Dr Avinash Shedge, Vet)
Did you know about paw-natomy?
Paws of a doggy consist of 22 ‘pads’ with at least 16 toenails (commonly known as ‘claws’ if not mentioned the two additional ‘dewclaws’ were removed during puppyhood). Then the anatomy of a paw can be structured as:
- Digital pads, which bear the body weight
- Metacarpal pad, which is the largest pad
- Dewclaws–the vestigial digit on the foot
- Carpal pads, which provide special traction while descending a slop
Like father like son…obese!
Fat mum and fatty dad…no wonder kids are overweight – our pampered pooches in cities. Pets are inheriting the lifestyle sickness with their masters…and most of them are obese and have health problems related to over weight. While obesity invades people because of their busy lifestyle, idleness makes their pets fat. The nuclear family set up and busy working schedule prevents most of the people to give enough physical activity to their pets and themselves. Obesity brings with it ailments like liver problems, complaints of immobility and breathlessness, which can be highly harmful. Here comes the role of dog trainers and dog walkers, who give regular work-outs to pets. Busy pet parents in metros are now availing services of such people for the betterment of their canine kids.
Meet the dog lakhpathies
Our doggies are our love for life, but what after that? Have you ever given it a thought, what will happen to your pets if something happens to you? Well people like Bhawani Dutt Joshi defiantly do. An Utharanchal-based ex-military official, he gave off his entire wealth including retirement benefits to his two sons, Tikaram and Shivaraj. Before brushing aside this news, let me tell you that Tikaram and Shivaraj are his pet dogs! Even though Joshi had two wives, he could not father a child. And so, he showered all his love and affection on his two pet dogs. And now that he is old, he has formed a committee which would look after his pets after he dies. A true example of eternal love.
Bing! Bing…locating doggies!
Next time, when your pet hides himself, don’t worry. You can find him out easily in a high-tech way… like our Hollywood movies. Bing! Bing…locating doggies! A manufacturer of GPS equipment, Garmin, has developed a micro sensor device named Astro to sense motions and other additions to help owners to track their pets. Astro, which weighs two ounces, has two parts. One is a hand held GPS unit for the owner and the other device is meant to be put on the dog’s collar or harness. The unit on the dog’s collar computes the animal’s location from GPS satellites and radios the information to the owner’s hand-held unit. The dog units also have tiny motion-sensing chips that detect whether the dog is running, sitting or on point. Sounds great…well! hold on that’s not all. In Singapore, all the pets are tagged with microchips as well so that parents can trace their dogs easily…now pooch parenting has really become hitech, what say?
Bow! retirement benefits for us too!
The life after retirement might be a nightmare, if we don’t plan for it. Our serving pooches are worst victims of it. In the absence of proper care, old age becomes the sum total of discomfort and sorrows. But now, the dogs in Tamil Nadu Dog Squad will get a sigh of relief as they come under the pension scheme proposed by the state government. The dogs, after retiring from Dog Squad, were generally auctioned to pet lovers. But seeing the pathetic retirement life of these courageous and hardworking dogs, the government decided to give them a peaceful life by providing regular medical check up, diet and total care. Previously, when the dog reached retirement age, they were immediately sent out of the squad. But now, the scheme also allows them to stay in familiar surroundings and carry out routine exercise, so they can avoid the trauma of a sudden change of life style. A smart way for caring our dauntless canines!
Yummy ice creams for us too!
Scorching summer days and yummy ice cream treats…woof! We just love that. When we are slurping on delicious ice candies, our furry angels often pine for these mouth watery attractions. But not anymore as here’s good news for those who want to enjoy the hot summers with their beloved pets with a cup of ice cream. Pooches in Vienna, Austria are already slurping tasty ice creams at Iori, an ice cream parlour near St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Doggy ice creams are available in three flavours-vanilla, vanilla-rice and soy. After several months’ experiments, Anton Mramor-Leonardini, the owner of Iori, has developed these most suitable doggy ice creams. A sure way to pamper your canine’s taste buds!
Dog trafficking foiled in Assam
Every other day, we come across news of heinous activities conducted for making money. More recently, a few young men in Assam were caught for trafficking stray dogs to Nagaland. They paid Rs 50 per dog to the dogcatchers and later handed them over to the Naga traders for Rs 1000 for each dog, who use these dogs for food.
Recently, People for Animals, under the leadership of Sangeeta Goswami, saved the life of 32 such stray dogs from death, after they came to know these canines had been confined and dumped at Uluoni forest by some local youths. A real encroachment to the life of the hapless! Let’s all unite to make this world a better place for our canine friends.
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