Committed to love, committed to your pooch!!!

January 2011

New Year resolutions

This new year (and all those that will follow), let’s resolve to be as committed to our pooches as they are to us. Since they depend on us for all their needs, it is our responsibility to take care of them in the best possible way. Well, it’s a small price we pay for their unconditional love and care!!!

February 2011

Valentine pooch

Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate all your loved ones and pooches definitely need to be pampered and loved on this special day. Make the day special for him – take him to a garden – let him romp and play, buy him a gift he loves (a treat or a toy), take him out for a ride – in fact, do whatever you think will raise his spirits high!

March 2011

Colourful ‘Holi’ pooch

Holi is the festival of colours but we all know, colours can be harmful to our pooches. So, how can we celebrate this festival? Well, you can add colours to the life of a pooch in need– that little dog on your street who keeps looking for food in the garbage cans or the big dog that sleeps under your car. Get them vaccinated and sterilized, give them food and clean water – simply bring out the compassion in you!

April 2011

Begin anew

With April comes Baisakhi, beginning of a new solar year, and new harvest season…a day to rejoice! If you wish to bring home a pooch, why not do it now! If you already are blessed with a pooch, spend some quality time with him, pamper him or simply love him.

May 2011

Vacation pooch

Since May marks the beginning of the summer vacations for kids, it is the best time to plan a vacation from the busy and sometimes mundane life. Look for a pet-friendly place and bring home beautiful memories of the precious family time spent together!

June 2011

Summer ‘n’ shine pooch

Summers can be too harsh on the pooches. Take good care of them, give them plenty of water to drink, provide them a cool place to stay, do not exercise them in sunny hours, watch out for symptoms of heat stroke…our responsible pet parents do know how to take care of our pooches!!!

July 2011

Tick-free pooch

With rains come the dreadful ticks and fleas problems. Keep your pooch dry, groom him regularly, remove any ticks you find, consult your veterinarian for an effective ticks and fleas treatments.

August 2011

Best bro pooch

Raksha Bandhan is the festival of siblings. Encourage your children to develop a loving bond with your pooch. Let them treat their pets as their siblings. This love and compassion will go a long way in building your kids as responsible and loving individuals.

September 2011

Canine heroes

The world cannot forget the tragedy of 9/11 (2001) and the role our canine heroes played in rescuing the victims.

Yes, dogs are our best friends and time and again, they prove it all along. Love your dog and cherish the bond you share.

October 2011

Festive pooch

October is the festive month – songs & dance at the famous Navratras & Diwali. Have a dancing twosome pair – you and your pooch and enjoy the festival of lights with care.

November 2011

Celebrating pooch

The last two months of the calendar are filled with a lot of occasions to celebrate – Id, Christmas, New Year, etc. Let your buddy enjoy to his fill, just take care of what he’s eating and pet proof your home at this time as well. Do not leave anything harmful in their reach – the decorations, lights, candles – all need to be put at a safe distance. Enjoy the festivals together, let the spirits be high!

December 2011

Cold but comfy pooch

Your pooches need a lot of care in winter season. Keep them warm, use a dog coat if required. Give them a nice cozy place to sit and sleep. Take care of their food and keep them safe away from chilly winds. Play some indoor games with him, chill out inside homes when the temperature dips!

dog health

Taking care of your diabetic pooch

Diabetes in dogs? Yes, they acquire it too…. Diabetes is an endocrine disorder, and like humans, dogs too can acquire diabetes. Once your pet is diagnosed, the pet parent should take complete care.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes occurs due to malfunction of the endocrine glands. Once the pancreas fails to secrete the right level

dog health

(Pic courtesy:

of insulin needed by the dog to utilise all of the glucose produced by the body, the problem occurs. The causes include heredity, obesity and the administering of certain medication. Also older and bigger dogs are more susceptible to dog diabetes than smaller breeds. Obese female dogs are even more prone to diabetes.

Types of diabetes

There are two types of diabetes: diabetes insipidus and diabetes mellitus. Lack of vasopressin, which is an anti-diuretic hormone that controls the kidney’s absorption of water, leads to diabetes insipidus. Insulin deficiency leads to diabetes mellitus or ‘sugar diabetes’ wherein the dog’s body cannot metabolise sugar well. It strikes approximately 1 in 500 dogs and is more common and dangerous.

Diabetes mellitus has two groups: Type I and Type II diabetes.

Type I diabetes: It is also referred to as juvenile dog diabetes as it happens in the early age of the dog’s life.

Type II diabetes: It happens with middle and senior aged dogs.

Symptoms of diabetes

Symptoms include high blood sugar levels because the animal’s body is unable to break down and use glucose properly. This inability causes sugar to appear in the urine which causes an excessive amount of urination. The dog thus drinks excessive amount of water. Diabetes mellitus may lead to weight loss in a dog, even after a good diet.

Dogs can also show symptoms of poor coat, liver disease, vomiting, weakness in the rear legs, secondary bacterial infections and dehydration. A life threatening condition known as ketoacidosis can be developed. A diabetic dog can also be inflicted by kidney problems and is prone to blindness.

Diagnosis of diabetes

Blood tests and urine tests help in diagnosing diabetes. The normal levels of blood sugar in dogs are 70 – 150 mg/dl but a diabetic dog’s blood sugar will be more than 200 mg/dl. Your veterinarian will be checking your dog’s urine for glucose.

Treatment of diabetes

The treatment will include right diet and insulin therapy. Your dog might be given a diet, which is high in fibre and complex carbohydrates. This will avoid glucose from increasing after meals and help in regulating blood glucose.

Insulin therapy is done through injections. Your veterinarian will advise on the type of food, amount, times of the day, to give it. Food will be given at least in two feeds. The morning one will be given with the insulin dose and the second one will be given during the peak blood glucose times as determined by your veterinarian.

With regular visit to the veterinarians, monitor the dog’s weight and general health. Providing your pet with the right amount of care will totally be depended on the veterinarian and pet parents.

(The author is CEO/MD of Provimi Animal Nutrition India)

A-Z of pooch love and care


A mentally-stimulating dog sport in which a dog handler directs a dog through an obstacle course. A perfectfeactures fun and frolic showcase of man-canine co-ordination through voice, body and movement!


Your pooch’s bed is his personal space – get him a warm, cosy bed according to his size with washable covers. Keep his bed clean and put it in sunlight from time to time to deodorise it. Gift him a comfy lil’ space of his own!


Pups love to chew to explore new tastes. They sometimes chew to relieve pain and discomfort due to teething. At times, they just chew out of boredom, anxiety or stress. Poor nutrition can also make him chew. So, give him a well-balanced diet and invest in some good chew toys for him.


It is very important to deworm your pooch from time to time, not just for puppies but also for adult dogs as well. Puppies should be dewormed at the age of three weeks. Consult your vet and get a deworming schedule designed for your beloved pooch. A must for dog care!

Eating habits

Develop healthy eating habits in your pooch right from the start. Feed him a well-balanced nutritious diet as prescribed by your vet. Feed him dog food only; do not give him table scraps. Let him eat right – today and all tomorrows!

Food bowl

Choose a food bowl according to your pooch’s size, breed and health condition. Metallic bowls are preferred over plastic bowl as plastic bowls can harbour bacteria. An elevated bowl will be a good idea for large dogs and those suffering from back problems. And you thought your pooch’s food bowl is just a bowl!


We all know the benefits of grooming – it makes them look good and keeps them healthy. The ideal grooming routine should include brushing, bathing, conditioning the coat, drying, nail clipping, cleaning eyes and ears, etc. The frequency of bath would depend on your pooch’s breed and his living conditions. So, spruce up your pooch today!


Dog proof your home to avoid dangerous situations for your pooch. Stack away all medicines, keep poisonous plants at bay and all those electrical cords far away. Give your pooch a nice cosy place to rest and never leave him alone outside. Your home is his haven – make it one for him!

Inflammations and infections

Dog ear inflammations and infections are common ear problems to watch out for.


This is one of the common problems pet parents face. Discourage your dog when he jumps to welcome you. Fold your arms and look away. Do not look at him, touch him or talk to him. Simply ignore him. He will get the message that you do not like his behaviour. Next time, when he welcomes you without jumping on you, reward him with treat or praise.


Dry dog food or kibble is balanced and complete with all nutrients good for feeding your dog daily.

Leash walking

Whenever you take your dog out, put him on a leash as this curious boy can wander around, chasing things which may or may not be within his reach. So, walk him on a leash! Make sure his leash is long, so he can sniff to his heart’s content.

Mental stimulation

A pooch needs to be mentally stimulated to be happy. Give him toys to play, take him out for walks, let him exercise or romp in the garden. Love him, pamper him, and keep boredom at bay!


Your pooch is very sensitive to noise; keep him away from loud noise.


Like us, pooches too can become obese, which in turn can cause various health problems. Consult your pet and get a proper diet and exercise plan for him. Keep him in shape!!!

Play time

Pooches love to play games like fetch, hide and seek Frisbee, etc. A wonderful way for you to exercise and bond with him too!

Quality time

You are the centre of the world for your pooch, spend good quality time with him – groom him, take him out for walks, play with him or just be with him….

Routine vet check-up

Prevention is always better than cure. Take your pet for routine vet check-ups to diagnose any problems beforehand.


Spay/neuter your pet unless you wish to breed from him/her. It not only prevents from unwanted pregnancies but also is good for their health and behaviour.


A well-trained pooch is a delight for all. Training should start right when the pup enters your home. Obedience training is a must for all pet pooches. U

Unconditional love

When you have a pooch or more in life, you are blessed with their unconditional love, they are there with you, no matter when and what happens. Bask in this love as this is precious!


The wonders of vaccination cannot be undermined. It can protect our pooches from several life-threatening diseases like canine distemper, hepatitis, rabies, etc. Consult your vet for the proper vaccination schedule for your pet.


One of the ways for our pooches to express themselves is through their woofs. But you can tell the difference between a woof and incessant barking. In case your pooch barks non-stop, consult his vet to find the underlying problem.

Xtreme loyalty

Dogs are loyal beings; their loyalty has been tried and tested over the time. It’s time we need to reciprocate their loyalty too – never ever think of abandoning your pet, try to figure out a solution for your problem. Love him and be loyal to him!

Yummy treats

Use delicious mouth-watering treats as a reward for your pooch; but never overdo them. They should not be a substitute for food and should be accounted for the total calorie intake of your pooch to avoid excess calories.

Zest of life

Pooches are your best friends; they add value to your life…making it more meaningful and putting a zest in your life. Woof! Welcome to another year with the love(s) of your life!!!

Keeping your pooch in shape

Exercise for your pooch will vary according to his age, breed and health. But it must be fun for him and you as well. Taking your pet out for a good outing, where he can play in a good open ground or swim in a swimming pool, is a very good way of mixing fun with exercise. Taking him to a beach is also a good option, where he can play with Frisbees, balls and also run and swim at the same time.

Exercise for pups: Daily exercise is essential, a routine should be followed religiously everyday. Young dogs, especially large breeds, should be exercised cautiously to prevent damage to their joints.

Exercise for adult dogs: Inadequate or no exercise leads to several diseases which can be prevented, as in the case of human beings. Adequate exercise means a 30 to 40-minute brisk walk every day. Dogs enjoy playing with each other and also with human beings so that they should be encouraged, as playing is also an exercise that depletes their energy. If your dog is not adequately exercised, he may develop destructive habits to use up his excess energy.

Exercise for elder dogs: For elder dogs, a lot of care and walks are a must. Each and every dog has a different way of responding to the schedule of exercise which should be chalked out by your veterinarian by understanding the breed, sex, age, temperament, environment, etc. But long walk is much ideal for all the dogs as sniffing around gives them a great stress buster.

Your dog will love

Walking: Dogs should be taken for a long walk at least twice a day. The exact length of the walk depends upon the breed of the dog. Your best bet is to choose a park that requires some walking distance. You’ll know when you have walked him enough by noticing his body language. Always keep his bowl full with water. Take care of the season in which you are walking. While walking, talk to our dog. Enjoy the walk at his pace, let him sniff to his heart’s content.

Swimming: Dogs are natural swimmers, if you get an opportunity to watch him swim in a pond or river or pool, just grab it.

Fetching: Teach him fetch and reward him with treats when he gets the object back to you.

Gym workout: With more and more city dwellers, pet parents are catching the wave of having their dogs walking on treadmill. There are specially designed treadmills for canines.

Stairs climbing: This is also another good exercise, be it outdoor or indoor. Any activity, make it fun and show your love and enthusiasm in the tone of your voice.

Agility training: Your dog may become more willing to exercise if you add variety to his fitness routine. Agility dog training classes are good for him, both mentally and physically. These classes will help turn the most unfit, unwilling dogs into a superb athlete who loves to crawl and jump. Some dogs have such competitive spirits that they will do anything to win.

Exercise keeps dogs much healthier an obviously they have a better life span but one needs to keep in mind that it has to be a combined workout of physical as well as mental exercise.

Weekend hangouts with your pooch

Just like us, pets like to feel loved and cared for. Moreover, studies indicate that spending time with pets helps reduce stress, fight depression, control blood pressure and provide a number of other physical and mental benefits. Here are a few simple ways for you to bond with your dog.

  • Get some exercise: Take your pet to the park for a game of Frisbee or just to run around and have some fun. You’ll get some good exercise in the process too! Figure out a time when the park is not too crowded- so that you can take them off the leash (if they are controllable!). During your walk- take notice of your surroundings and the little things we often overlook!
  • Go for a drive with music: Most dogs love the feel of wind on their face!
  • Set up a doggie play date: If your dog gets along with other dogs, call a friend who also has a dog and let the two of them socialise. Doggies like to make new friends too!
  • Take a dog friendly vacation: This requires substantial planning, so plan ahead of time.
  • Curl up with a book or watch a movie: Let your dog sit close to you or in your lap. The human touch is very comforting to them!
  • Teach an old dog a new trick: Yes, this is possible! Start by trying to teach him something simple. Show your dog a treat and guide him with it.
  • Dog therapy: Pet therapy is not for all dogs but if your dog is exceptionally well behaved and socialised, it is a very rewarding experience. I recently took my dog Sara to a children’s NGO- and spoke with them about dogs, and how to treat them on the road. It was a great time for the kids and Sara had a lovely time too!
  • Groom your pet yourself: Dog grooming is one of your dog’s basic needs and an important part of pet parenting. More often than not, many owners leave this task to household help. It’s imperative that you groom your pet occasionally yourself to check for rashes and skin infections. Also give your pet a nice scrubby bath!
  • Play an indoor game such as hide and seek. All dogs enjoy this! Hide somewhere easy in your home and call out to your dog. Make a huge fuss when he finds you, and soon there’ll be lots of excitement, wags and barks. Your dog will learn the game very quick and it’s a lot of fun!
  • Take some photos with your pet that will make for wonderful memories.
  • Take them along for errands: If you’re running simple errands such as picking up your kids from school, or taking a short drive to pick up groceries- take your pet along in the car. Your mundane errands will suddenly become a lot more fun and your dog will love the chance to be your companion. In case you need to step out of the car for a few minutes, do not leave your dog inside the car, especially in summer.
  • Go for a family picnic with your dog: We recently took Sara- our Lab to Delhi’s Lodhi Garden for a lovely early morning picnic. While we enjoyed our music and chat with family and friends- Sara sat right in the midst of all of us and loved all the attention and her own packed picnic breakfast!
  • Spend time at a dog spa together. Lavish your pet with therapies to make her relax.

So, you don’t have to actually take time out for bonding…anytime is good time!!!

(Heads Up For Tails is a pet corner for a huge collection of luxury accessories to pamper your furry babies from head to tail. To schedule a ‘Pawtrait’, please contact:

Festive care tips for your pooch

It’s festive time again…lots of fun, loads of delicacies, beautiful decorations, many guests, loads of gifts…the time is to let your hair down and enjoy. Somehow, the pooches too get into the festive spirit and dance all around…only to be disrupted by noisy crackers, too many treats, too many guests…oh, we need to take care of our pets. Let’s see how.

The last months of the year are always brimming with festivities all keeping us busy and happy at the same time. While all responsible pet parents out there must have thought of all the care they need to give their pets, here’s a checklist, just in case you forgot one.

Decorations at bay: All those attractive tinsels, strings, glass ornaments, etc that liven up the room are equally appealing to our pooches. But they may like to ‘taste’ them as well. So, keep all the decorations at a height where your pooch cannot reach.

Lightings at arm’s length: Similarly, all the lightings used to liven up the room or the beautiful Christmas tree should be installed where your pooch can’t reach them. He may chew up the wire and get hurt.

Candles – of course away from them: Keep the candles and other lighted stuffs like diyas, agarbattis, etc, where you pet cannot reach and injure himself.

Chocolates – a strict ‘no’: Chocolates can be poisonous for your pooch. Even a small bite can be toxic. So, however hard your pooch may try, do not give in to his soulful pleading eyes.

Avoid table leftovers and delicacies: Do not feed your pooch the table leftovers as they may be loaded with fats and other ingredients not fit for pets. Do not feed them delicacies. Instead, give them a balanced healthy meal and give them doggy treats.

Maintain his schedule: Try to keep your pooch happy and unstressed by maintaining his schedule – take time out for his routine walks and don’t forget his mealtimes.

No pets as gifts: Do not give a pet as a gift to your near and dear ones until they really want one. In that case, let them choose a pup for themselves.

Pet-safe gifts: While buying a present for your pooch, keep in mind that it is safe for him. It can be a toy or a chew bone – something that your pooch enjoys.

Crackers-safe: Dogs get alarmed with loud noises. Keep them safe indoors when people are burning crackers outside. Request your neighbours to use noiseless crackers. Put cotton swabs in his ears. Give him a toy to play. Calm him and do not shout at him.

Guests ‘n’ pooch: Festivals are the time for guests. Too many strangers can make your pet excited. Keep him indoors in a safe place where he is away from the hustle-bustle in the house.

Love – at all times: Festive time is a busy time, but do not forget to give quality time to your pet. Pat him, take him for a walk, play with him – show him how much you love him. After all, festivals are all about spreading love and cheer!!!

Bichon à Poil Frisé The little fluffy pooch

breed002White as snow with contrasting black eyes and black pigmented nose, Bichon a Poil Frise will steal your heart with his happy, lively, playful and friendly attitude. Come fall in love with these tiny bundles of joy.

The Bichon Frise is a playful, lively and gay little dog. His pure white, fine, silky and loose curly coat makes you want to keep him close. With a friendly and outgoing temperament, Bichon Frise is one of the most adorable pets. A Bichon Frise performs very well in the show ring, obedience, agility or as a therapy dog.

The family tree

The Bichon Frise belongs to the Bichon family (along with the Havanese, the Maltese, the Bolognese and the Lowchen or Petit Chien Lion. Sometimes the Coton de Tuléar is also included in this family), and he probably originates from the Barbet family in the Mediterranean. Formerly known as Bichon Teneriffe (from the Spanish Canary Islands), the Bichon Frise is a charming breed, appearing to have been known long time ago although his origin as a breed cannot be documented up to the decade of 1920s.

It was by 1920 that a group of French and Belgian fanciers imported several dogs from the Canary Islands and started an intense breeding programme in order to recover the breed. Then, the Bichon Frise arrived in the USA in the year 1956 (imported from France), being taken then from there to the United Kingdom in 1973, from where the breed was spread to Australia, Sweden, Norway and Canada. Today, the Bichon Frise is a very popular breed all over the world.

White ‘n’ beautiful

The eyes are alert and lively, the ears are drooping, well covered with fine wavy hair and carried forward when the dog is attentive. His tail is well plumed, set on level with the topline, which is lifted and gracefully curved, not curled. His feet are tight and round, having black pads and black nails (preferably). The females weigh 4-5 kg while males weigh 6-7 kg.

Pawfect companion

Being a lapdog, Bichon Frise is a perfect companion for you and your family… because he was born to be your shadow and doesn’t like to be left alone. He is a very clever and gentle-mannered dog.

This is a very advantageous breed as he fits perfectly to a big house or a small town apartment, he doesn’t shed and he’s an hypoallergenic dog, adores children and very gentle. Both males and females are affectionate, intelligent and easy to train.

Active ‘n’ playful

A Bichon Frise is a very active dog who needs exercise and likes to play either with humans or other dogs. They especially like to chase a ball, blitzing or just walking on their rear legs, approaching you while they wave their front paws to you, just greeting you.

Grooming tresses is vital

Grooming a Bichon Frise is not as easy as grooming other breeds, but once you have acquired the day-to-day care routine, you will be delighted in doing so. It is true that most people cannot develop the required skills for scissoring and shaping their bichons, so that a professional groomer should be necessary. But it is also true that you can bathe, dry, brush and comb your Bichon without any problems, as he is a very clean breed who likes to look good. As a general rule, brushing and combing must be done every day, bathing when necessary and trimming, once a month, including the nail trimming.

Daily brushing is essential as this practice will avoid a matted coat. All that you need is a soft slicker brush and a medium size rounded teeth metallic comb.

When bathing your Bichon, run softly your hands from the head to the tail or from the back to the flanks, always following a straight line, never in circles, otherwise his hair will become a mess. You can use a domestic hair dryer for drying your Bichon but please do it using the lowest heat intensity. Try to comb the coat while drying to avoid mats. Apart from this, you might clean your Bichon’s eyes daily. Don’t forget to clean his ears and to brush his teeth too, a practice of absolute need for keeping your Bichon healthy.

Pup care

Bichon Frise females can deliver 3 to 6 pups; however, they can also give birth up to 9 tiny babies who will be perfectly cared from the very first minute as they are very loving mothers. The Bichon Frise puppy care is not different from other breeds, he has no special requirements. You can take your puppy home at 10 weeks but always, please, be sure of acquiring him from a reputable breeder.

Once at home, your puppy needs to learn a routine as soon as possible, so don’t think he is a just a toy to play with all the time. The sooner you teach and train him, the sooner you will be rewarded. Basic commands to be taught immediately are, for example, his name (it must be short, loud and easy to recognise), ‘come here’, ‘stop’, ‘stay’, etc. (an obedient dog is a life insured dog), a loud ‘no’ (avoid to add his name after the word ‘No’) will teach him what is forbidden to do. On the contrary, when he does what you wish, repeat his name while you praise and pet him (you can also give him a treat!!), thus you will reinforce his positive behaviour.

Healthy ‘n’ sturdy

A Bichon Frise is a natural healthy dog; they can easily live up to 16-17 years. Nevertheless, the breed shows some typical diseases that must be treated as soon as their symptoms appear. Bladder Stones result from an accumulation of minerals and deposits in the urine. A bloody urine is the main symptom and females are more affected than males. A prescribed diet is necessary in order to break the stones, unless they are bigger enough so they should be removed surgically.

Bichons are also prone to suffer from hot spots and skin allergies. When that occurs, they can lick and scratch their skins, causing themselves a patch of red and raised skin, which requires immediate veterinary attention, otherwise the skin will ulcerate and the hair loss will be extensive.

Typical hereditary diseases include: Patella Luxation or Slipping Stiffle (causes extreme pain, requiring an immediate surgery) and Progressive Retinal Atrophy or PRA (causes progressive vision loss that culminates in blindness).

In short, living with a Bichon is a continuous source of fun, joy and happiness, in fact you are not the owner to your Bichon … it always happens that your Bichon owns you forever.

(Maria-Jose Bernal is a dog show professional based in France. She is a breeder as well as handler of Bichon Frise dogs;


Pawfect nutrient mix for your pooch

Everyone desires of a well built, healthy and good looking dog. The primary requirement to achieve this is good nutrition. Often the nutritional demands of dogs are explained in a very complicated way, making things difficult to understand. Through this article an attempt is being made to simplify the subject of dog nutrition so that pet parents can make a right regimen of food to keep their dogs healthy and happy.

Let us understand what are the nutritional requirements to keep a dog healthy.

Important nutrients in dog’s diet

Nutrient Function
Protein Protein has many functions in the body, but is best known for supplying amino acids to build hair, skin, nails, muscles, tendons, ligaments and cartilage
Carbohydrates Carbohydrate is the source of energy required for various functions of the body
Fats Fats also provide energy. Fats are important for maintaining skin and coat condition, supports healthy brain cells, helps absorption of fat soluble vitamins
Minerals Calcium and Phosphorus are required for bone development. Minerals are required for various metabolic and physiological functions
Vitamins Vitamins are required for metabolic functions, skin and coat health, enzymatic functions and oxidative processes.
Water Water forms liquid medium required for all the body functions. Water functions as a solvent that facilitates cellular reactions and as a transport medium for nutrients. Water maintains body temperature.


Nutrient sources

Protein: Various non-vegetarian and vegetarian sources are available and can be chosen as per convenience.


Angel and Chubby

Boiled meat, boiled egg, milk, curd, cottage cheese, cereals and grains can make a good choice.

Carbohydrates: Rice, wheat, oat, barley and sorghum in any form can make a good choice. A provision should be made to add fiber in diet that is important for intestinal health. Wheat flour, vegetables, beetroot are also good fiber sources.

Fats: Chicken fat, Fish, egg yolk and vegetable fats (flax seed, borage seed, evening primerose) are sources of good fats. A spoon of refined oil (sunflower, mustard) or ghee can also help.

Minerals: All the sources of protein and carbohydrates described above will also provide varied minerals. Fruits and vegetables are also good source of minerals. Milk and meat are good sources of Calcium & Phosphorous that is required by growing dogs in high amounts.

Vitamins: Vitamins can be derived from vegetables and non-vegetarian sources described above along with fruits.

Water: Fresh clean water available all the time can fulfil the water requirement

Additional supplementation of minerals, vitamins and fats, however, are recommended as per the life stage and life style. Do contact your veterinarians for the same.

Maintaining the right balance

The question often posed is how to provide a balance of all the above nutrients. However, certain general rules are to be followed for growth and maintenance phase.

Growth phase: The maximum requirement is of protein followed by the other nutrients. Carbohydrates and fats will fulfil the energy requirement. Minerals and vitamins will be required in a greater quantity during this phase. The entire requirement will be met if the listed ingredients are included in diet in a right proportion.

Maintenance phase: All the above ingredients are required in a smaller quantity since the demand of the growth is reduced.

Pet parents should focus on providing a good mix of all the nutrients.

Gap in the nutrients fed and utilized by the body

This is a common problem encountered in pet animals. Inspite of providing a good nutrition, the dog does not take shape, or suffer from various disorders like poor skin and coat condition, bony weakness, digestive disturbances etc. The nutrients fed to the dog are digested in the digestive tract by the help of several enzymes (Protease, Lipase, Amylase, etc). Due to some intrinsic factors the enzymes may not be secreted in the right concentration. This leads to improper digestion of nutrients. Not only this, at times the dog suffers from malabsorption syndrome. Even after proper digestion, the nutrients are not absorbed by the intestine because its absorptive surface is not in a healthy state. Improper digestion and absorption will lead to less bioavailability of various nutrients and the dog will lose health inspite of best nutrition. It is hence needed to assess if the dietary nutrients are being properly digested and absorbed in the body. In case of any gap in digestion and absorption, advice of a vet is a must who may recommend a change in diet, addition of extrinsic enzymes etc.

Practical tips to formulate a dog’s diet

  • Puppy diet should contain highly digestible food like cerelac, curd, porridge. Especially formulated puppy diets should be preferred during this critical stage.
  • Milk should not be given in case of lactose intolerance (such dogs suffers from diarrhoea after milk intake).
  • Not all listed ingredients are to be given in same meal but need to be divided in different meals as per the requirement of the dog.
  • The quantity of the diet will vary according to the age, body weight and activity level.
  • The food should be offered at fixed time and in a fixed place.
  • The frequency of food should be maintained as follows: Small pups – at a gap of 4-5 hours, Growing pups – 3-4 times and Adult – 1-2 times.
  • Dogshould finish the food in one go and it should not be left for long if the dog does not take it. Fresh food should be offered next time.
  • Fresh water should be made available all the times.
  • Vitamin and mineral supplements should be given as per the vet’s advice.

(Dr S K Pandey of Vamso Pet Health, India is a post graduate in Veterinary Medicine with an experience of over 20 years in pet health, nutrition and behaviour.)

dog health

Pooch vaccination Key to good health

The age-old adage goes, ‘Prevention is better than cure.’ Periodic vaccinations in dogs help them create immunity against a range of infectious diseases. Let’s be aware of the various vaccines available for our pooches

What is vaccination?

Vaccination is the process of preventing diseases by creating immunity in the animal. It also reduces the dog healthamount of pharmaceutical treatments (such as antibiotics) used to control established diseases and, in many instances, has prevented long-term suffering and death.

What are vaccines?

Vaccines are the health products that trigger protective immune responses (defence cells in the body) in pets and prepare them to fight future infections from disease causing agents, such as bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi.

What are the types of vaccines?

Modified Live Vaccines (MLV): Modified live vaccines contain a weakened strain of the disease causing agent. Weakening of the agent is typically accomplished by chemical means or by genetic engineering. These vaccines replicate within the host, thus increasing the amount of material available for provoking an immune response without inducing clinical illness. This provocation primes the immune system to mount a vigorous response, if the disease-causing agent is ever introduced to the animal. Further, the immunity provided by a modified-live vaccine develops rather swiftly and since they mimic infection with the actual disease agent, it provides the best immune response.

Inactivated Vaccines (Killed): Inactivated vaccines contain killed disease causing agents. Since the agent is killed, it is much more stable and has a longer shelf life, there is no possibility that they will revert to a virulent form, and they never spread from the vaccinated host to other animals. They are also safe for use in pregnant animals (a developing fetus may be susceptible to damage by some of the disease agents, even though attenuated, present in modified live vaccines (MLV)). Although more than a single dose of vaccine is always required and the duration of immunity is generally shorter.

Why is vaccination important?

Vaccination is the most effective method of preventing infectious diseases, in particular viral infections which can lead to serious illness and even death. Vaccines stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies against a number of diseases so that the dog or cat is protected from various organisms in the environment. Even though some diseases have become uncommon, vaccination is still highly recommended because serious disease-causing agents continue to be present in the environment. By vaccinating, we are not only protecting our pets’ health but also our family’s health as well. Today, no one should ever overlook the potential of zoonotic diseases (that is, those diseases transmissible from animals to humans) such as rabies. So, pets should be vaccinated to protect them from many highly contagious and deadly diseases.

What is the age of vaccination?

Puppies receive antibodies and important nutrients from their mothers’ milk when they are still nursing. They ingest the maternal antibodies contained in the mothers’ milk as early as during the first few hours of birth. The antibodies help protect them from infectious diseases until they are able to produce their own antibodies or their own immune system is more mature. This means that once they are weaned, this passive form of protection is lost. And it is at this point in their life that a vaccination programme should be started. Puppies and kittens require a series of vaccinations during their first four months of life. At approximately six (6) to eight (8) weeks of age, puppies need to receive their first vaccination. Approximately four weeks later, that is, at ten (10) weeks to three months old, a second vaccination should be given. These first two vaccinations will provide protection for a while (short term) from many life threatening diseases that your pet may come into contact with. They are therefore referred to as temporary vaccinations. A third and final vaccination, which lasts longer (a year), is given at fourteen (14) weeks to four months of age. In most cases, a vaccination protocol of three inoculations will suffice, but a vaccination schedule of four inoculations, starting at 6 weeks and ending at 16 weeks, does work better. Vaccination for rabies is administered from three months when maternal immunity has disappeared completely. Annual re-vaccinations (boosters) are then recommended to keep your pet healthy.

Vaccination Schedule
Disease agent
Puppy doses < 16 weeks
Adult doses > 16 weeks
1 dose at 6-8 weeks, 9-11 weeks & 12-14 weeks of age
1 dose
1 dose at 6-8 weeks, 9-11 weeks & 12-14 weeks of age
2 doses 3-4 weeks apart
1 dose at 6-8 weeks, 9-11 weeks & 12-14 weeks of age
1 dose if MLV 2 doses 2-4 weeks apart if KV (Killed Vaccine)
1 dose at 6-8 weeks, 9-11 weeks & 12-14 weeks of age
1 dose
1 dose as early as 3 months of age
1 dose
1-3 years or as required by your state law
Leptospira (Not recommended in small dogs)
1 dose at 12 weeks & second dose at 14-16 weeks of age
2 doses, 2-4 weeks apart
Annually as needed
Bordetella Bronchiseptica (Kennel Cough)
1 dose at 6-8 weeks & 10-12 weeks *Also can give 1 dose intranasal at 3 weeks of age
2 doses, 2-4 weeks apart
Annually as needed
1 dose at 6 weeks of age, then every 2-4 weeks until 12 weeks of age
1 dose if MLV 2 doses, 2 weeks apart if KV or use only if needed
Annually as needed

Which are the diseases for which vaccination is recommended?

  1. DHLPPi/C: This is a combo vaccination that covers numerous diseases with one injection.D-Distemper: An airborne viral disease of the lungs, intestines and brain. Distemper is a nasty virus that is highly contagious, occurs worldwide, and at one time was the leading cause of death in puppies. Young puppies are more susceptible to the virus than adult dogs. You may see signs of an upper respiratory infection with high fever, the dog may also have neurological signs. This disease is often fatal.H-Hepatitis or Adenovirus-A viral disease of the liver, which is spread by contact with the urine and faeces of infected animals. The virus causes liver and kidney damage, animals who survive may have chronic illness. Symptoms include but are not limited to: fever, lethargy, anorexia, abdominal pain, and bloody diarrhoea.L-Leptospirosis: A bacterial disease of the urinary tract. This disease affects the liver and kidneys and is deadly. Animals with this disease are contagious to other animals and humans. A positive dog should be isolated and the caregiver should wear protective clothing and gloves. The disease is spread through contact with urine of infected animals. Dogs with leptospirosis may show signs of lethargy, dehydration, jaundice, and fever.P-Parvovirus: A viral disease of the intestines. This virus attacks the intestinal tract and causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea. Parvo is highly contagious, dogs contract the virus through contact with infected animals stool. Without treatment, dogs become dehydrated and weak and often die. This virus is very common and puppies who are not properly vaccinated are often afflicted. Rottweilers and Doberman Pinschers seem to be at greater risk from parvo.

    Pi-Parainfluenza: It is a viral infectious bronchitis. This is a virus that causes an upper respiratory infection. Dogs usually contract the disease through contact with nasal secretions of infected dogs.

    C-Corona virus: a viral disease of the intestines. This virus attacks the intestinal system similar to parvovirus. Infected dogs suffer from vomiting and diarrhoea and dehydration. Keep your pet vaccinated and your yard clean to protect your pet from this viral disease.

  2. Rabies: A viral disease fatal to humans and other animals. Rabies is a virus that affects the nervous system. There is no known cure for rabies, to confirm a case the brain tissue must be examined. Symptoms generally include behaviour change, difficulty swallowing, hypersalivation, depression – stupor, and hind limb paralysis. The disease is spread through the saliva of infected animals and can be transmitted through a bite or an open wound. Vaccinated pets who are exposed to rabies should be re-vaccinated and observed for 90 days; un-vaccinated pets exposed to rabies should be given post bite vaccination course and kept isolated for six months.
  3. Bordetella: This is an upper respiratory infection also known as kennel cough. This infection is usually not fatal but is a pain to get rid of. The infection can spread quickly through boarding and grooming facilities and any place dogs congregate. The vaccination can be in the form of a nasal spray or injection. The injection form will need a booster in one month. Your veterinarian can help you decide if this vaccination is necessary for your dog.
  4. Lyme Disease: This is a tick borne illness. If you live in a wooded area and have a large number of positive Lyme disease cases in your area, you should consider this vaccine for your dogs. Symptoms include fever, swollen lymph nodes, and loss of appetite. The deer tick must stay attached to your dog for one to two days in order to transmit the illness, so checking your dog daily for ticks will help prevent Lyme disease. Also use a good tick preventative like Tick Collars, sprays, tick bath and anthelmintic shampoos.
  5. Giardia: Giardia is a parasite that lives in the intestines and can be passed into the environment through the stools of infected animals. Dogs become infected with giardia by drinking contaminated water. Humans can also be infected. At risk dogs would be those who live primarily outdoors, hunting dogs, or dogs who may come in contact with ponds or creeks. This vaccine needs to be boosted three weeks after the initial dose and then given annually.

If you are a responsible pet parent, do get your pet vaccinated at required intervals.

(Dr. S.S. Patil is Ph.D. Scholar at Centre of Advanced Studies in Animal Nutrition, K.B. Korel is a Ph.D. Scholar at Division of Animal Nutrition while P.P. Mirajkar is M.V.Sc Scholar at Division of LES at Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar)

Don’ts of vaccination

  • Don’t vaccinate when your pooch is under stress as corticosteriods that release during stress inhibit lymphocyte metabolism and cell growth.
  • Don’t vaccinate your pooch within 2 weeks of surgery as anesthetics are immunosuppressive.
  • Don’t vaccinate your pup before 6 weeks of age. MLV vaccine can cause encephalitis in pups less than 4 weeks.
  • Don’t administer multiple virus vaccines to dogs in multiple animal households. Virus shedding can create increased virus particles in the environment.
  • Don’t vaccinate sick animals or those who have been exposed to disease.
  • Don’t vaccinate if your pooch is undergoing glucocorticoid therapy.
  • Don’t administer drugs, flea preventive, heartworm preventive or wormers.
  • Don’t give any vaccines to a female dog who is “in season”, pregnant or lactating.
  • Don’t vaccinate if your dog is suffering from tumors, heart or kidney disease.

(Dr. S.S. Patil is Ph.D. Scholar at Centre of Advanced Studies in Animal Nutrition, K.B. Korel is a Ph.D. Scholar at Division of Animal Nutrition while P.P. Mirajkar is M.V.Sc Scholar at Division of LES at Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar)

puppy care

Bring home the right pooch, the right friend

Abandonment and re-homing have become very common. Imagine the stress, tension and trauma a poor dog goes through when the family whom he considers his own abandons him..

puppy care

Rashi Raghav and Rio


They say that adopting a dog is no lesser than a process of self-discovery, whereby you get to realize and identify traits and attributes of your lifestyle and personality that perhaps you would have never thought before. This is because choosing a dog is known to be a lot about getting home a pet whose personality and breed characteristics are compatible with your own personality and everyday routine. Any clash in the same leads to unhappiness of both the pooch and pet parent. Choosing a dog whose social personality is the kind that matches yours will make things a lot easier, a lot more comfortable and defi nitely a lot more fun. While a Beagle, Golden Retriever, Bearded Collie, German Shepherd, Brittany Spaniel or a Labrador would make for an ideal socially active and friendly pet to have, a Chihuahua, Toy Poodle, Giant Schnauzer and Pekingese are more socially reserved.

Suitable to family: If you have children at home, you can choose from children-friendly gentle and lovable breeds like Pug, English Cocker Spaniel, Boxer, Beagle, Basset Hound, Labrador, German Shepherd and Golden Retriever amongst others.


Be aware of maintenance costs: When you’ve set your heart on a particular breed, do spare a few thoughts to consider whether you’d be able to afford the upbringing costs of that breed. Keeping the purchase cost aside, every dog has his own needs of food, grooming and health care.

Choosing a breed whose monthly maintenance costs can meet your budget will keep you worry-free and ensure quality upbringing for your pet. Compatibility with multiple pets: If your household has more than one pet, adopt a breed who is known to enjoy company and get along well with other animals.

Bulldog, Retriever, Poodle, German Shepherd or a Doberman are some breeds who are known for their adaptive intelligence and therefore can make for a good choice in cases of multiple-pet household.

How active you are: Exercise or other forms of physical activity being an extremely important need of every dog, this is one responsibility that you as an owner cannot avoid.

However, what you can do is to make a choice between a breed who requires intense exercise on a daily basis and one who can do with a few rounds of leisure walking 3 to 4 times a day; depending on your lifestyle regime, personal levels of preference for activity and the amount of exercise you are willing to give your dog on a daily basis.

Size up your house: While this is one aspect that is not given as much signifi cance as it should be, the size of your house is an important factor in deciding what kind of dog you should get home. While small dogs can adjust well in both big houses as well as apartments, in case of larger breeds on the other hand, it is a must to provide them with open spaces to play and move about freely without feeling restrained and suffocated.

Adaptability to climate: A fact unknown to many is that the pure breeds who are largely popular amongst dog owners are of foreign origin and hence made by nature to feel suited and comfortable in a particular climate, which might be alien to Indian conditions. Densely coated dogs such as a St Bernard, Golden Retriever or Cocker Spaniel therefore, if not kept in an air conditioned environment for most of the day, will tend to produce symptoms of illness, depression and dullness.

E1K1 (Each one keep one): Give our great Indian dogs a home as they are best suited for our climatic conditions – do open your heart and home to them.

What is unfortunate is that hundreds of pet dogs worldwide are abandoned on roads and animal shelters with the excuse of them being ‘problem dogs.’ The truth however is that, while one dog might seem troublesome and uncompromising in one household, in the other he could get appreciated and rewarded for his ‘adorable’ behaviour and become everyone’s favourite pal. What come into play in both these situations are compatibility issues. Also it is important to remember theirs is never a bad dog but a pet parent who has been unable to understand the need of his dog and match them to his own.

So, when you do go out looking for that perfect, lovable pooch to bring home, don’t just go by the angelic looks, the majestic gait or the furry coat of the puppy. Or for that matter, not even by the wants of your child who insists on buying the same dog that his or her best friend has. Bring home a dog who matches your personality and your lifestyle and you’ll rejoice your decision for a long time.

Details on various aspects you need to consider for a few breeds available in India: