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7 Steps for the perfect groomed look

Grooming your dog is one of the best ways to strengthen the bond of love that you share with your pet. There are certain things that should be kept in mind before you begin with such sessions so that it becomes a pleasurable experience for both of you.

Simple at home tips for grooming your pooch

 

1 Planning…

Divyang Adawadkar
  • Maintain a grooming schedule for your pet so that you can plan out your time in advance and make all the necessary arrangements needed prior to grooming.
  • Select a proper range of accessories (viz. hair brush/comb, nail clippers, shampoo, etc.) for grooming your dog and this will depend upon the kind of breed.
  • If you are beginner with grooming sessions, start with shorter duration i.e. 10 – 15 min. Grooming particularly includes brushing/combing and bathing, one can first beginwith combing sessions and then slowly switch tobathing sessions for your pet.

2 Brushing…

  • Different breeds have different grooming needs. For healthy skin and coat, dogs should be brushed at least thrice a week to remove the dead hair, tangles and mats. A slicker-style brush is best suited for this.
  • A slicker brush should not be pressed too hard else it will scrape the skin and hurt your dog.
  • Brush or comb your dog against the lay of the coat, this will give the coat a fluffy look.
  • Olive oil can be used on matted hair for easy combing.

3 Paw care…

  • You can train your dog for nail clipping by giving him a gentle massage on the paws and then accustom him to the nail clipper. Be careful that you don’t clip off ‘the quick’ that is present in the nail as it has a nerve inside it and if cut, it can cause bleeding and pain.
  • ‘The quick’ is easily visible in pink nails but difficult in dark nails so dark coloured nails should be given several small cuts to reduce the chance of cutting into ‘the quick’.
  • A small piece of sand paper can be used to file the nails of your dog.
  • The hair between the paws should be trimmed to prevent insertion of ticks and fleas or fungal growth due to moist environment.

4 Bathing…

  • Your dog can be bathed once a fortnight to once in a month depending upon his daily activities and his exposure to dirt and dust and the season.
  • If you are using a bath tub, place a bath mat made of rubber in the tub to keep your pooch from slipping and sliding.
  • Select a proper dog shampoo depending upon the nature of the coat and skin condition of your dog; in general, a mild shampoo should be used to bath your dog. Make sure that the shampoo does not enter the eyes, ears or nose.
  • Before bathing, brush your dog to remove any dead hair or mats.
  • For drying your dog, keep the blow dryer on cool setting so that there will be less of a chance for your dog’s hair and skin to dry out.
  • Keep your dog indoor for few hours till he is completely dry after a bath, else he may go and roll in dirt to get his scent back.
  • If your dog is naughty or resist from taking a bath, make sure you take him for a long walk before you give him a bath to drain out the energy and reduce his stress level.

5 Ear care…

  • To clean your dog’s ears, apply some ear cleaning solution to a cotton ball and simply wipe dirt and wax away from the inner ear. Be very gentle while cleaning the ears and do not insert the cotton ball too deep inside the ears.
  • Dogs with droopy ears or long hair should be checked weekly as they are more susceptible to fungus, waxy ears and ear mites.

6 Coat care…

  • For German Shepherd, Cocker Spaniel and other such breeds with thick coat, the coat can be trimmed in different lengths to give them a relief in summer. This also avoids the growth of ticks and fleas.
  • A healthy coat is a sign of good health for your dog. Excessive shedding or bald patches could be signs of ill health. Regular grooming helps you to look for early signs of diseases.
  • Never use hair colours or dyes on your dog, they are meant for human use as they can cause skin irritation which can lead to serious health problems in dogs.

7 Extra care…

  • For breeds like Pugs who have facial wrinkles or folds, in order to prevent bacterial growth in the areas inside these folds, use damp cotton to clean off the dirt.
  • Dogs with very long hair, like St Bernard and Golden Retriever, need trimming of hair in between the legs known as hock.
  • Puppies and at times even adult dogs tend to become playful during grooming, to keep them engaged keep their favourite toys and treats handy.

Last but not the least, give your pet lot of love (hugs and kisses) for being patient once you have given him an enjoyable grooming experience!
(Divyang Adawadkar runs PET INN, a one-stop destination for all your pet’s needs (especially for dogs and cats), be it grooming, hostel facilities, veterinary advice or pet food and accessories in Ahmedabad).

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Perfect match: Choose the right Leashes & Bowls

As pet parents, we get bowled over by the variety of leashes and food bowls available for our pooches. But your pooch is special and he needs the right accessories, suitable to his age, breed and size. Here’s a guide to select the right leash and food bowl for your precious pooch.

Preeti Agarwal

Preeti Agarwal

Selecting the right leash…
It’s best to walk with your dog by your side as it’s good for the bonding between you and the furry baby. For pups to senior dogs, there is a leash for every dog for every walk. Make sure you choose the right one for a fuss free walk. If you have just got a pup home, make sure you consult your veterinary doctor before you take your furry baby out for his first walk. Before visiting a pet store to buy a leash, it’s important to take the following points into consideration.
If your dog loves to pull: It is advisable to go for a harness set that comprises a leash and a harness. It helps you to take control of the walk and doesn’t let your dog pull much. Harness is comfortable for dogs as it exerts no pressure on their neck.
If the dog is a chewer: Chain leashes are the best if your dog is chewing off all the leashes that you have bought in the past. Chain dog leashes come in different gauges from smaller chain links to larger/heavier chain. Chains with leather or padded handle is also available.
Rope leash for the large breeds: Walking and training large to giant breed dogs can be quite a task, you would often end up breaking your leash if they are thin or with a small hook. Rope leashes are designed especially for large sturdy dogs.
Leads or short leashes: Such types of leashes are used for walking through crowded public places.
Simple leash: Any plain leash, made of nylon or cotton, can be good for your well-trained dog.
Retractable leash: It gives the freedom to your dog to explore the surroundings during the walk while the control button on the handle helps you in restricting the cord.

Selecting the right bowl…
Dog food served in a clean bowl makes our little tailwaggers drool for more. I remember once a customer told me that her pet doesn’t eat food until and unless the bowl is cleaned properly. Various feeding bowls for various sizes of dogs are available and if you are confused about the size and material of the bowl, here are some tips that will help you understand more about the right bowl.
Size of the bowl: Your small little pup won’t be comfortable eating in a bowl as big as him. Small skid-free bowl would be the best option for them. Different sizes of dog bowls are available in the market. Make sure you choose the right bowl for your furry friend, taking the breed and the size into consideration before finalising the bowl.
Material of the bowl: Various bowls made of ceramic, plastic and steel are readily available. Plastic bowls are inexpensive and some of them come with good grip that makes them skid free. Ceramic bowls come in attractive colours and fun designs and ceramic being a heavy material makes them skid free. It lasts long if handled with care. While, stainless steel ones are more durable and these bowls are sometimes made with a non-skid rim on the bottom to prevent spilling. Whatever material you choose for your pet, you need to take the hygiene into consideration. Feeding bowl should be washed after every meal.
Elevated dog bowl: Elevated dog bowls are nothing but feeding bowl with a stand. The bowl can be of any material – plastic/ceramic or steel. Eating from the elevated bowl is not only quite comfortable for the dogs but it also helps in preventing gastrointestinal problem. You might find the prices of such bowls towards the higher side; however, it’s worth the price.
Automatic dog bowls: They are usually attached to a reservoir. It keeps the bowl full as long as there is food and water in the reservoir. It would be better if one uses such type of bowls for water rather than food. Dogs should not eat more than the required amount of dog food and if the reservoir is full of dog food, it will become difficult for you to track the amount of dog food your pooch has consumed.
Traveling bowls: Every now and then, we travel with our pets, to carry a bowl other than the traveling bowl can consume space in the car and it will also make it messy. Travel bowls are usually made up of polyester or similar fabric and it can easily be folded.
(Preeti Agarwal is proprietor at Petville, Pune which not only guides pet parents to do the right things for their pets but also promotes pet adoption).

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Choosing the right breeder: a key to bring home the perfect pooch

While the decision of adopting a dog and pledging responsibility of his wellbeing for the rest of his life is quite a testing matter; what can be equally challenging is the entire process of fi guring out just where to adopt one from. During the course of adopting a puppy from a breeder, one must not, in any way, encourage or give support to a cruel, illegal and inhuman breeding system which treats dogs as nothing more than mere money making products and produce them by the dozens for maximum profi t. Not only does the physical health of dogs suffer severely in these ‘puppy mills’, but also their psychological health in addition gets bruised and dented.

So, if you’ve decided its time to bring home a pooch and welcome a new member into your family, here are 10 guidelines to help you head toward the right place for adoption:

Know a puppy-mill when you see one

Puppy-mills are places where female dogs are bred repeatedly without any concern for their pups’ health and overall wellbeing. The dogs and pups in these areas look neglected and unhealthy and will commonly carry a lazy, depressed and tired physical demeanor.

Count on recommendations

Do your homework beforehand, when you take recommendations of a reliable veterinarian, a pet shop of repute or a kennel club.

Always ask to see the mother

An ethical and caring breeder will happily and readily have you meet the mother of the puppies. According to veterinary experts, a mother dog should be at least 18 – 20 months old before she is made to deliver her fi rst litter. It is therefore important to ask the breeder the age of the mother before deciding to take one of her cute little pups. If the mother is old enough to be bred, check to see if she looks healthy, happy and active. If you doubt whether the dog shown to you is in fact the mother and not some random healthy dog that is made to pose as the mother, observing the interaction between the pups and the dog should help you out.

Take a tour of the breeding facility

At visiting a dog kennel or individual breeder, always ask to see the breeding area and facility and check for hygienic surroundings, proper housing, adequate food and clean water as well as suffi cient free space for the dogs and pups to play and move about. Unless you are satisfi ed with the conditions in which the dogs and pups are kept and bred, do not adopt from that breeder.

Check for signs of physical health

At your own level, you can check that the dogs and pups have clear skin, a tidy coat and clear eyes and ears. Additionally, make sure that they are out-going and playful, since a dejected, lazy, unhappy and worn-out conduct can be signs of various forms of physical illnesses. Reputed and caring breeders in fact will usually have the pups duly vaccinated and de-wormed before their sale and will readily present their medical records before you. A good breeder if asked will also tell you of the veterinarian doctor looking into these pups’ medical check-ups and will readily give you his or her contact information for further cross-examination.

Check for signs of mental health

Try to gauge the behavioral traits and temperament of the dogs as well as the pups housed in a breeding centre. While some of them might be lively and energetic, others might be reserved or shy. But in general, all of them will show clear signs of a distinct personality trait which will help you to judge their mental soundness and emotional stability. If in case the dogs show signs of being extra aggressive or abnormally timid, there is reason for you to doubt the quality of care being given to them. This, since in the absence of basic social, emotional and health needs being fulfi lled, dogs tend to demonstrate abnormal behavioural traits and a disturbed psyche.

Ask the breeder a lot of questions

A good breeder will be able to aptly answer all your questions regarding the breed, its healthcare needs as well as its social and emotional needs. Reactions and responses to such questions would help you distinguish between a cold hearted businessman and a genuine dog lover. A good breeder would also, in addition, be willing to openly discuss with you details of the breeding facility run by him or her. Amongst the questions you must ask breeders, the more important ones include: How many different breeds of dogs do they breed? How many litters of each breed do they have each year? And at what age do they breed their dogs?

Trust a questioning and probing breeder

If you come across a breeder who is hesitant in giving away a pup to you for adoption and shows signs of doubting your abilities as a responsible pet owner; you can be confident about being at the right place. A genuine breeder will always be sure about the parenting skills of a prospective owner and will throw at you question after question about your general lifestyle, previously owned pets, members in the family, your knowledge of pet care as well as your opinions on pet adoption. Such breeders would hang on to the litter for as long as they cannot fi nd a loving and caring home for the puppies. So, don’t be surprised even if the breeder tries to talk you out of taking one of the pups.

Consider the age of the pup before adopting one

Ideally, a pup should not be adopted before he is 7 to 8 weeks old. There are in fact some states in the world where it is illegal to sell pups before they are at least 8 weeks old. It is during this time that the pup goes through one of his most important stages of socialization, wherein he learns a lot about behaviour and communication from his parents and siblings. A good breeder therefore will never separate a pup from his family before he is at least 7 weeks old.

Observe the breeder’s relationship with his dogs

The way a breeder interacts with his dogs and similarly, the manner in which the dogs respond to their owner, can speak volumes about the genuineness of the breeder. If a breeder is in fact emotionally attached to the animals and concerned about their well being, it will come across well through his or her interaction with the mothers and the pups while he or she introduces them to you. In the same way, dogs will openly show their affection and fondness when approached by the breeder by ways of wagging their tails, playing or licking the breeder’s hands. All these signs only point out to a healthy relationship between the breeder and his dogs, wherein all the basic needs of the dogs are being taken good care of by the breeder.

If however on the other hand, the dogs look unusually scared and try to avoid contact or interaction with humans, there is all the reason for you to be suspicious about the breeder’s actions towards the dogs as well as the care taking facilities of the breeding centre. On the whole, a responsible and genuine dog breeder will take upon himself: (a) the provision of quality health care to the dogs and their pups, (b) the moral obligation of not breeding dogs too often, and (c) the search of a loving home for all of their pups. And it is these values and qualities that you must go out looking for in a breeder. And when during your course of adoption you do come across those careless, insensitive and money-minded breeders who are more concerned about their profi t than the well being of their dogs, as a responsible animal welfare supporter, make sure to report such unhealthy and sloppy breeding centers to the local SPCA (Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals) or to a reliable animal welfare NGO.

– by Manta Sidhu

Tips for that perfect doggy bath

Bathing your dog is a challenge – both for you and your dog. But we all know how bathing improves their look and how important it is to maintain their health. Here are a few tips to make bathing a fun and bonding time with your bathing beauties:

  • Brush your pooch to make her coat tangle- and matt-free, especially if she is a longhaired pooch.dog grooming
  • Put cotton balls in her ears to prevent water from getting inside her ears.
  • Place a rubber mat on which your dog can stand so that she does not slip while bathing.
  • Wet your pooch completely with warm water (never cold).
  • Use a pet shampoo specially formulated for the pH of your dog’s skin. Longhaired dog requires more shampoo than a short-haired one.
  • Start bathing from her head and work towards her tail.
  • Use shampoo on hard-to-reach places like belly, armpits and the rear end.
  • Use a conditioner to keep her coat tanglefree.
  • Rinse her thoroughly with warm water.
  • Dry her with a towel before taking her out.
  • You can even use a dryer to dry her coat, but fi rst ensure that she is not scared of the noise.
  • Keep her indoors until she is completely dry.

All love and little discipline…makes Lab a perfect boy

All love and little discipline…makes Lab a perfect boy

Intelligent, energetic, lovable…Labs are a pleasure to be with. But these active dogs need to be trained to make them behave in a desired manner. We all love Labs…and why not? Labradors are adorable, extremely affectionate, good observers and fast learners. These versatile dogs can perform variety of jobs, are capable of working under harsh conditions and have one of the friendliest personalities and last, but not the least, they love to be with you and please you. Their friendly nature can be an added advantage during their growing up stages. A Lab owner should take maximum advantage of it by socialising their puppy/dog to various people, other dogs and also to different environments. But, do not let your dog to be over-friendly or over-socialised as he can become uncontrollable. Teaching your Lab basic manners can be a great aid while socialising him.

Every Lab owner will agree, that they believed Lab is the easiest breed to have at home and to get trained, before they got one. But soon they realised that their cute puppy is a hard nut. The “Oh! So sweet” words turn into “Oh! My God…look what you did??” If the energy of these dogs is not used productively, then these hyper-active dogs turn into verocious eaters, pull on the leash, jump on people, and become a chewer.

No one loves food more than a Lab and they can go on eating even when they are not hungry. So, feeding the right type of food in right quantity is important. Do not encourage wrong food habits for your dog. Besides, excessive chewing is a result of boredom. Labs are a high-energy breed and you have to keep them occupied mentally and physically, otherwise they can take their energy out in unacceptable ways. It’s always a good idea to give them regular exercises and enjoyable play sessions. You can also provide various chews and food dispenser toys like kong toys to keep them occupied and happy. Besides, with a little training like leash training and teaching him sit on command can work wonders to his temperament.

Labs are smart dogs and very quick to pick up commands. But we need to understand when and how to use these commands. For example, a simple command like “Sit” can be used to make our spoilt Lab a sweetheart. Just use the ‘Sit’ command to make him sit, while you can do a couple of things, like:

  • Your Lab is a foodie and he just can’t wait for his bowl to be filled up. Make him sit and prepare his food and fill the food bowl and then release him to eat it.
  • It’s walk time and your Lab is over-excited to go out and is not letting you put on his leash. Make him sit and put it on and both of you are now ready to go for your daily exercise.
  • While walking, your Lab spots other dogs and becomes highly charged with energy and starts pulling on the leash, calm him down by making him sit for a while.
  • Ask your dog to sit everytime he meets someone during his walks. Praise and treat him for good behaviour and then let the person pat him.
  • You have to open the front door as you wish to go out or somebody is waiting at the door and so is your sweet Lab, all the more excited to go out, just make him sit and you can open the front door.
  • Both you and your Lab love car rides but the only problem you face is that he is too excited to let you open the car door while getting in and taking him out. Don’t worry! Just make him sit while you open the car door.
  • The door bell rings and your Lab is in his full bouncing stage, ready to jump on the person who is at the door. Just make him sit, while you get up and see who is there.
  • Your Lab loves a particular treat and seeing it in your hand, makes him all the more excited. He wants to jump on you to take that treat. Make him sit while you give it to him and then release him to let him eat it.

Like these, each one can think of loads of situations where they wish their dog to sit. This way, you can avoid many unfriendly situations. Once your dog knows the command ‘Sit,’ you can use it at various occasions, but initially you will have to practice it and reward the dog accordingly. Labs are not meant to be couch potatoes, so get up and have a great time with your Lovely Lab!!!!!!!!!

(Pooja Sathe is trained under Northern Centre for Canine Behaviour and Training, UK. She can be contacted at: poojasathe11@hotmail.com, Ph: 9820596903, 022-24165358 – Mumbai.)