You & I: Pawsome Twosome!

Love and time is what our furry angels need. This is true for both our pets and our delightfully expressive stray guardians. Do think of the amount of time you actually spend with them- keeping your daily activities/routine in mind. The moments you spend with them- you can see the happiness in their eyes and heart. Sparkle ensures he gets his daily dose of pampering by all- if someone is busy he just goes and keeps his head under their hand- I want and want it now. Same goes for our furry stray angels. Sparkle has a long list of stray friends- who come and say ‘hello’ to him and because of Sparkle we get special privileges- a nudge, a jump, a cold nose on the hand- we sure do feel special when love comes un-announced in the shape of four-legged waggy tails and warm eyes- it sure makes the moment and the day super special!

Recently on a radio chat on pets, I heard Dr Ajay Sud (a veterinarian in Delhi) saying that pet parents are more aware and he notices fewer problems in pets – Kudos to all pet parents who are making this happen by taking complete care of their four-legged friends through responsible parenting. For this, we need to first make our home dog-friendly. In this issue, we are giving an insight into common household products and plants which can be dangerous for our canine members, if ingested. Even a simple thing like a collar/harness needs to be a pawfect match for our pooch – and that’s exactly what our special feature talks about. Pooches touch our lives in more ways than one…read about Muffin, who reminds us that in spite of the short span of life that our pets have- they just give us millions of happy memories and learning.

We have also revamped our website – – do check the ‘Article Library’ – a treasure of doing the RIGHT thing for your pooch, we have shared in the last decade. Also, it will be great to have your inputs in our section- ‘Readers Write In’- pawticipate, express, gain knowledge and have fun!

Summer is approaching…let’s keep our pooches cool and comfortable. Save your pet from heatstrokes… always provide clean drinking water to your furry friends at all time. Do take care of your furry guardians in your respective areas – they too need your love and tender care.

Sparkle and the team wish you happy sunny days ahead!


Complete Care

Pawsome weekend!

Weekends are special – for us and our pooches. We get to spend more time together. Our friends from Mumbai share the pawfect weekends with their pooches!

After a hectic week, we all look forward to the careless weekends – late mornings, late nights, outings, shopping, what not? But pet parents plan their weekends around their pooches, after all, the weekend is for them as well. So, what makes a pawfect weekend?

Anything and everything…

“I love my baby Chloe, so it’s inevitable, I love doing everything with her. For us, every day is a weekend. I Complete careenjoy the time we spend in the auto as she loves to sit on my lap and put her head out, enjoying the breeze on her face. We enjoy our walks along the seaside, sitting on the bench enjoying the view. Other options include playing fetch, holding her and just hugging her. These are the few things we enjoy. Oh! The best part is when she runs with something she is not supposed to take, it becomes an enjoyable dodging game,” shares Anju Jain.

While, Tisha Sudhindra Mannur shares, “I like to play with my pup and the best part on weekends for both of us is to get up late, roll on the bed, cuddle my pup…indeed it’s fun on weekends!” And Ravinder Pal Singh takes his pooch to the shopping mall.

Daily chores become fun…

While, Shrutika Rane takes her pooch Cookie for her shopping sprees as well. “Cookie and me get to spend good time during the weekend only. We share a bond of love, we wake up to sheer joy, play ball in the park or simply run on the beach. It’s so good to see her golden locks shining in the sun. She is my cradle of joy and shopping for veggies couldn’t get more fun with her. We even like going out for street shopping and experiencing Mumbai in the night…our rickshaw rides drive us wild. I think these small things in life make it all worth the while,” she shares.

An outing…

But weekends are happier when you plan a small vacation, isn’t it?. That’s exactly what Rani Boazz (Rohini Boez) thinks. “Preferably a very short and quick weekend in Mahabaleshwar is my idea of a perfect weekend, because that’s what my two pooches Kuppu Boazz and Zaara Boazz would love.” Excitement builds up amongst them right through the week when they see that their knapsack getting loaded with their t-shirts, treats, medication and finally the food. They are convinced they are off to their favourite spot. All you have to ask them periodically is ‘Where’s your bag? Only if it’s ready and packed, will you GO?’ They love the word ‘GO’. Their eyes light up. Early Saturday morning sees them ready to go as early as 4.00 am. They are the souls of obedience and decorum. Why? Just to convince you that you have made the right decision to take them for a trip,” she laughs. “They are boarded into the car at 6.00 am immediately after their walk. They dangle out of the car window, enjoying the cool air that hits their snouts, for some time. After that they are too tired to hold up any longer and rest most of the journey until they reach their favourite hideout in the mountains- Fredrick Hotel. This is one of the few hotels that allow pets along with their pet parents. They love to loll on the bed for some time, dangle out of the cottage front window calling out to all, especially kids, to play with them. Most of the other time, they set off along with us for long walks in and around the hotel gardens, pathways, golf course, etc. They love the food there- as they are indulged in everything sinful – human food which they do not get in Mumbai,” she adds.

At home…

Chaitali prefers to be at home with her doggie Persi. “When I get time from my busy schedule, I prefer to be at home with Persi. He is very cute and he loves to do masti…. So, I call my friends also and then we all play with him a lot. He loves food. And in the evening, I take him out to hangout. We have many pets in our colony, so Persi loves to mingle with them too,” she shares.

Preeti Fernandes is blessed with two Labs named Dexter (two years) and Queenie (three months). “They are sweet, playful and very naughty. I love spending my time with them, they make my worries go away. I like to spend my weekends with my pooches by taking them for a walk or a long drive or just spending the whole day with them at home,” Preeti shares.

While, Rahul Saigal shares that he and his pooch Ryan spend the day at home only. “On weekends we usually have a longer walk together. I recently figured out that there are a few pet hangout joints in Parel, so I am planning to check them out soon,” he adds.

Whatever be the plan, one thing is certain – loads of fun and pampering for our lovable tailwaggers!

(With inputs from Vaishali of Dawgz and Tushar Kulkarni of KPS My Pet Shop, Mumbai).

feacture fun and frolic

Pawsome Valentine’s gifts!

What’s a Valentine’s Day without gifts? Our friends from Ahmedabad share unique gift ideas for your beloved

pooch. Favourite treats, a luxurious spa session, a drive in the car – these are just a few things that pet parents would like their pets to indulge on Valentine’s Day. But there are more ways to express their love…let’s see how.

A pawfect Valentine…feactures fun and frolic

Valentine’s Day is a very special day for the ones who have true love in their lives. “For me, the true and unconditional love of my life is what I see in my pet’s eyes: Frodo,” shares Priyanka Kanhare. “Well on this special day, I cannot give him anything 100 percent in return of the love, care and affection which he showers on me, but what I really wish to do is to groom him, take him out for a long drive in my car (which he loves the most), and get him some dog treats which he shall relish,” she mentions. And pet parents would certainly agree that a way to your pet’s heart goes through his stomach!

Date or a mate…

Valentine’s Day is all about love. Though we are the world for our pooches, they do deserve the company of other tailwaggers. So, how about a date or a mate for your pooch? Like, Priyanka Roy says, “Appie shall always remain the best gift I could ever have on any occasion. But my two-year-old tiny doggie desperately needs a partner to carry forward his lineage. No other better day than this cupid-struck day to make him meet with his lady love. I shall make sure he looks well-groomed to sweep the other Shih-Tzu off her feet…Valentine is in the air for everyone!”

While, Priyanka Kanhare shares that she will make his pet dog Frodo meet other dogs and make him friends with them. “You never know he may find his love this day – his mate,” she adds.

Similar views were shared by Krunal Desai, who says, “I will take Snowy on a date with other Shih Tzu females in a garden where we will give him lots of toys and his favourite food…which is chicken of course!”

Every dog has his day…

Well, how we feel when we are free to do what our heart likes…we would be thrilled to life! Same is with our pets and Sanjana Kapoor is willing to do exactly this for her pooch. ‘‘For Valentine’s Day, I would want to let Caesar be free – free to chew, to run and to play! No telling him what he can and cannot do. I will also treat him to spa, take him for a long walk and give him his favourite food – home-boiled chicken!”

A day to celebrate…

Pet parents do not hesitate is spending the day with their pooches…after all, it is the celebration of love. Saravan Jaikumar has planned to celebrate the day in the manner his pooch likes…if newspaper is what he likes, then let it be his gift! “On Valentine’s Day, Bumble Bee will get his all time favourite toy – tearing the newspaper before we get a chance to read it. This will be followed by a complete day of fun in the park after which the spa, with a special hot tub and bubble bath. Not to forget, a plate full of his favourite treats with a candle on top…just a way to say…we love him,” he shares.

While Manish Mishra says, “I am planning to gift Tozo a new pair of ‘winter jackets’. Also, will send him for a spa session so that he feels refreshed and I am sure my Valentine is going to love this look of his!! I will also dedicate a romantic song for Tozo!” he says.

Unique gift…

We have all heard of giving treats and favourite toys to our pooches, but birds…that too to free them from their confinement…well, one of our pet parents would actually like to do that. “My Kuku likes to make the birds fly. So I would buy as many birds in cages and ask my Kuku to make them free to fly. And lastly I would throw grand Valentine’s party for all the pet dogs to celebrate the eve together, just like it’s shown in the Bollywood movie Kya Super Kool Hain Hum’s Pug wedding’,” shares Arrpita Golia.

Special cake…

Valentine’s Day can be celebrated under a common theme called ‘love’. But gifts could be of anything under the sun. “I would like to start the special day by baking a special heart-shaped cake for my pooches – Taurus (German Shepherd) and Austin (Rottweiler) and will click lots of photographs to compile a special Valentine’s Day album. We will wind up the day by taking them to a pet store to buy lots of gifts and treats, then to car drive which they really enjoy,” says Shivam Sharma.

So what’s your idea of a pawfect Valentine’s gift for your pooch? Come on, let’s make this Valentine’s Day pawfect!

(Inputs from Ashish and Poorvi Anthony who run JUST DOGS Superstore and Spa in Ahmedabad, which is a full-service pet business dedicated to consistently providing high customer satisfaction by rendering excellent service, high-quality pets, quality pet care and furnishing a fun, clean, enjoyable atmosphere at an acceptable cost. Ashish has worked at a high paced, customer service oriented profession at a growing company for 17 years and his wife Poorvi is a groomer and pet services specialist trained in Canada.)

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Breed Profile

Toy Fox Terrier Pawfect Pawsome Pooch

They are true terriers who love to do everything with you; strong, sturdy with enough energy to hike with you all day and with just the right amount of toy dog in them so that they are not hyper and like to cuddle.

Don’t go by the size of the Toy Fox Terrier (TFT), they may look small but they are a terrier in a true sense. You will simply love their smartness and playfulness. He is a big dog in a small package. A TFT is also known as the American Toy Terrier or Amertoy.

Strong n’ elegant…

Eager, intelligent and full of interest – that’s how a TFT looks. His dark-coloured V-shaped eyesBreed Profile are bright and clear while his ears are pointed and set high. He is square in shape with his length approximately equal to height while the females are slightly longer. Their average height is around 10 inches and they weigh around 1.5-3 kg. They are muscular and athletic, with short glossy coat. They are found in four colours – tricolour (white body with black markings, black head with sharply defined tan markings on the cheeks, lips and eye dots), white, chocolate and tan (predominantly chocolate head & body spots are chocolate), white and tan (predominantly tan head with tan body markings) and white and black (predominantly black head and body markings).

Sweet demeanour…

Alert, friendly, intelligent, completely loyal and protective to their pet parents, that’s how a Toy Fox Terrier is! They learn new tasks easily and are eager to please their pet parents. Their special capability is their ability to adapt to almost any situation. In fact, like other terriers, TFTs are self-possessed, spirited, determined and not easily intimidated. He is a highly animated toy dog who is comical, entertaining and playful all his life. They are a very small breed, not really suited for really small children but they will get along with them, if the children are not really rough if they are raised or well socialised with children.

Life a pleasure with them…

They are great dogs to live with and will do well in an apartment. They will do everything that you want to do and then they will not hesitate to curl up in front of the TV for the evening with you.

Exercise is fun…

They will usually get all the exercise they need in the house or yard but they love their walks. They love to play throw, retrieve and tug of war. They are easy to train for obedience, rally and agility.

Groom me little…


They need very little grooming. All they need is brushing 1-2 times a week, daily tooth brushing, nail clipping and a bath 1-3 times a year. Since they are a short-haired breed, they shed but not a lot. Hence, maintaining them is an easy task.

Sturdy breed…

The breed has a few problems like thyroid and patellar luxation that should be tested before the dogs are bred. Also check the lines out for allergies or other health problems, make sure you get a health guarantee from the breeder. Make sure you buy from a reputable breeder who has done the testing and the dogs have tested clear.

On a concluding note…

They are the Terriers with the most pleasant behaviour and a lovely disposition. If you are looking for some fun in your life, bring home a TFT!

(Karl & Sharon Hager of Kilshans Kennels have been breeding and showing West Highland White Terriers for about 30 years when and then we decided to start looking into some smaller terriers who didn’t take so much grooming and Toy Fox Terrier answered everything that we wanted. We are enjoying showing and training these fun dogs in conformation, rally obedience, regular obedience and agility. They are doing very well and we have several titles in both conformation & rally. We have taught three of our TFTs to paint; we do demos occasionally with them).

Dog Training

Pawsome secrets unravelled!

An holistic approach is to look at the underlying cause of a behaviour or training problem by looking at the whole-istic health issues of the dog, physically and mentally. In the last issue, we discussed diet, health, bodywork, relationships and communication. Here are a few more factors that affect the dog on a daily basis.

Exercise – too much, not enough

Too much or too little exercise can create health and behaviour problems with many dogs. It may be

Dog Training

Nicole Mackie

worthwhile visiting a therapist who may be able to create an exercise programme specifically for your dog working with your veterinarian.

We often see dogs who experience an excess of exercise rather than not enough. This can place a lot of strain on young dogs and their growing bones, especially the larger breeds of dogs. It is good to begin the exercise programme when your pup is around four months old. Before this, your dog probably needs very little exercise and is most likely getting enough playing around the home or garden.

When she is around four months old, start with just five minutes of slow calm walking on a soft padded harness or collar and long lead. At five months, increase the walking to 10 minutes daily, at six months increase it to 15 minutes daily and adding five minutes for each month after that up until the dog is walking about 40 minutes daily, give or take five minutes depending on your dog’s needs.

Make sure the dog and you are walking slowly and calmly.

The area should be reasonably quiet with little traffic, activity and excitement. You don’t want a wound-up dog who cannot rest after the walk. Take the dog on a long lead and she should be allowed to sniff and explore while walking. After all, the walk is for the dog. If you want a long fast walk, then it may be best to leave the dog at home. Keep in mind the health of the dog each day. We are not always in the right state of health for walking. Sometimes we don’t feel like it, sometimes we are not feeling well, sometimes we have pain in our body somewhere such as a headache or muscular pain. Our dogs can feel the same way and it is up to us as the pet parents to consider this daily before walking our dog, through regular observation.

Play: a must but in moderation

Ball chase or any chase games are generally more fun for the humans than for the dog. When playing ball and chase games with our dogs, we are encouraging strong hunting instincts such as chase and bite. When these instincts are strengthened, much other unwanted behaviour can develop such as chasing joggers, cyclists, cars and just about anything. In herding breeds, they may want to gather everything in sight.

It may be safer for dogs and humans to keep all balls or chase games to a minimum. I prefer not to play these games with my dogs at all and eliminate them from my programmes. Instead of chase or ball games, I prefer to strengthen other instinctive behaviours such as nose-work or brainwork games. This is putting their energy into using their natural senses. Games such as hiding treats, scent discrimination games, tracking, treat tree games, treat balls, stuffed kongs, hide/retrieve (not to be confused with throw/retrieve) and many more mentally stimulating games.

These games are placing your dog’s energy into more use and development of his/her confidence, senses and brain development. The dog is generally very tired after these games and more able to relax and enjoy a rest or sleep.

Choices to develop confidence

Dogs need choices just like we do. I see many dogs who are not given choices – their whole life is based around being told what to do without a choice. Imagine how we would feel if we were not given any choices in life, if we were told when we could or could not sleep, when we could or could not investigate or explore or read, if we could not choose whether or not we feel like a walk or if we could not tell someone when we were feeling unwell or had an un-noticed skeletal problem and were made to sit or walk in a position that caused us pain. If we think we could not live like that, then why do we expect our dogs to live that way?

Our dogs are often not given the choice. Our dogs look to us as their caretakers to meet their needs, to understand them, to learn what they are trying to communicate to us, they want to trust us and know we will help them out in every area of need and allow them to make some choices in their life. Choices help our dogs to develop confidence, independence, a better relationship with their owners and become a much happier dog. When a dog is happy, she is generally healthier.

Rest: important too

Rest is as important for dogs as it is for us. After exercise, eating or any activity, a dog should be able to relax and rest. If this is not happening after activity, then the dog is probably doing too much. It may be necessary to keep a daily log book of activity and times when the dog is unable to rest or relax. A log book can give a therapist a lot of information in order to help with a programme to help the dog relax.

Sleep – too much, not enough

It is important to understand that an adult dog needs 16–20 hours of sleep daily and a puppy may need more. Many dogs do not get enough, which can cause some behaviour issues.

This sleep should be deep sleep with eyes closed (unless it’s one of those dogs who can sleep with eyes partly open) and not just resting sleep where the dogs’ eyes are open and alert. If a dog is not getting enough hours of sleep each day, then he/she is probably doing too much or has too much stimulation in his/her daily routine.

Environment: in house,
outside air smells, pollution levels

Environment also plays a very important part in your dog’s behaviour. Many air fresheners used in homes today are often irritants to a dog’s nose. Before using any air fresheners in your home, first check if your dog likes it. A dog’s sense of smell is hundred times better than ours. Hold the freshener near the dog. If she takes a sniff then turns away or walks away, or maybe doesn’t even want to smell it, then she most likely does not like it and should not be made to live with the smell. Imagine having to live with a smell we did not like, it would soon affect our own behaviour. This is the same with dogs, smells can affect behaviour.

It is not just indoor smells that affect a dog’s behaviour but some outdoor smells can too, such as traffic pollution, incense, oils, fireworks, chemical smells near factories, food smells near restaurants or bakeries. Farm smells, tyre burning smells, incinerator smells and many more smells that can affect our behaviour and our dog’s behaviour, remembering that the dog’s sense of smell is hundreds of times stronger than ours. You may need to consider the environment for your dog and make whatever possible changes you can to help your dog out. Of course, some things are unavoidable but we can often do something to help our dogs. Keeping a dog indoors as much as possible could be a solution to an outdoor environmental problem we cannot change.

Perfume can also be a problem to dogs, many perfumes are strong for humans, so imagine how strong the smell would be for our dog. Our dogs often don’t get any choice but to live with irritating smells. If your dog keeps away from you when you have perfume on or have used any other strong smelling products then it may be the dog does not like the smell. This is easily solved by only wearing them when you go out without your dog.

Noise levels: keep them in limits

When looking at dogs in an holistic way, we need to consider all areas of the dog’s lifestyle. Noise levels need also to be considered, taking into account that dogs’ hearing is much more superior to our own, if a noise is quite loud or irritating for us, it is probably extremely loud or irritating for a dog.

It may be worth considering the noise levels in the house, the radio and television levels as well as times when there is construction going on in the house or nearby in the street. You may live near an airport, railway or in a busy street. Many of these noises cannot be changed and many of them you and your dog can probably accept living with, but be aware that anything new or overly loud in the house can be expressed in behaviour changes and health issues.

Escape routes: also a must

Dogs need escape routes and so do we. Many dogs who are confined, tied up outdoors or restricted on short leads can become fearful of environmental factors such as other dogs, animals or humans approaching and display their fear by lunging, barking, cowering or hiding.

Can you imagine the fear if you were in a place where you could not escape or had limited movement, when along came a lion, a bear or a bully you did not like from school? What would your feelings and reaction be? I am sure you would not be relaxed but maybe angry or afraid and you may even try to break loose of your restriction, scream, yell, or do whatever you can to escape the situation. Why do we think we can restrict dogs and expect them to cope and not react? Many may even appear to cope well but maybe it’s because there is a bit of shutting down.

Often when we know we cannot do anything about our situation, we shut down as a last coping strategy but that does not necessarily mean we are coping. We need choices and we need an escape route. Maybe we need to look at giving our dogs a few escape routes in order to help them out and make life a little easier to cope with.

(Nicole Mackie has over 14 years of experience in handling, exhibiting, training, observing, studying and sharing her life with dogs, gaining many qualifications, such as canine behaviour, canine psychology, general animal science and experience veterinary nursing. She is a radio speaker and writer for magazines, works with behavioural problems in dogs and runs socialising groups for dogs with social problems).