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Precious paw care…

Just like our feet need care, our dog’s paws also need to be clean and well. Paws can get cut, scratched, ticks, etc and have foreign objects embedded in them. Here’s how to keep a check…

After every outdoor activity, clean your dog’s paws with a wash cloth, warm water or dip the paw in warm water bowl. This will wash away the dirt, thorns, stones lodged between digits and the hair.

Taking care of the precious paws…

  • Check the paws regularly. Check, not just the paw, but each and every digit for foreign bodies as
    grooming

    Precious paw care…

    moisture trapped in between, leads to bacteria and yeast infection.

  • The hair should be trimmed in and around the paws.
  • Get any injury checked by your vet. Unchecked injury can house bacteria and infection.
  • While hiking or trekking on rough terrain, take extra care and keep checking.
  • Routine check should be done every evening for foreign objects, ticks, etc.

Careful nail trimming…

Always remember that it takes a bit of skill to trim your doggy’s nails. You should be very careful about ‘the quick’– the blood vessels and nerves inside the nail – which will be very painful and will bleed profusely if you cut it by mistake.

The best decision is to leave this precarious task to vets or trained grooming professionals. Otherwise you should surely take a proper lesson or training from your vet or groomer before you take over to do the nail trimming yourself.

Paw problems…

Feel his paws and pads; if he yelps when you squeeze, it means he is hurt. Also pay attention while he is running or walking – is there a limp or just a hint of a limp, check it out. Notice small things about your dog for clues. In extreme weather conditions like peak summer time or icy road condition in winter, take good care.

  • Swollen paws could be because of a foreign object lodged between the toes or cuts and laceration. If the swollen pad feels hot, then there is an infection or a broken toe, take him to the vet immediately for treatment.
  • Bleeding is the result of spot injury, due to broken nails – mostly the dew claw, or torn paw pads. Bleeding may not be severe but it is a painful condition. It indicates a torn pad, or something is lodged in; do not remove the object yourself, ask the vet to do it.
  • Limping or holding one paw up indicates broken bones, muscle tears or soreness.
  • Licking the paws is because of irritants in the paw but too much licking can further irritate the paw. A temporary bandage is one solution.
  • For dry paws, apply Vaseline until the cracks heal. Discontinue moisturizer after it heals.
  • Sometimes their paws crack due to zinc deficiency. This can be determined and treated by a vet.
  • Burn and blister on paws can be a result of extreme hot temperatures. Beware of sand/pavements which can become very hot.
  • Consult your vet for any issues.

Winter care

  • Chapping, cracking of paws can be seen from bitter cold.
  • Clean the paw and apply Vaseline available over the counter at any chemist on the paw and foot pads. This will stop the cracking and chapping of the paw and also reduce the soreness. Apply it before going for walks too.
  • If they hate walking in the cold get your dog booties for his paws. It will take him/her time to adjust to the shoes but will form a barrier against the cold. Taking precautions will save you and your dog a lot of pain.

(Source: Dr Avinash Shedge, Vet)


Did you know about paw-natomy?

Paws of a doggy consist of 22 ‘pads’ with at least 16 toenails (commonly known as ‘claws’ if not mentioned the two additional ‘dewclaws’ were removed during puppyhood). Then the anatomy of a paw can be structured as:

  1. Claws
  2. Digital pads, which bear the body weight
  3. Metacarpal pad, which is the largest pad
  4. Dewclaws–the vestigial digit on the foot
  5. Carpal pads, which provide special traction while descending a slop

Let’s save our precious pooches

001We turn four! And we take this opportunity to thank all our readers for their love and support to make Dogs & Pups the most cherished magazine of dog-lovers. As we celebrate the fourth anniversary of this wonderful magazine on the world’s most wonderful creatures – our darling pooches, we will continue to bring many more pages of joy, love and care for our sweet doggies.

For us the best way to celebrate is to do good deeds for our pooches and make this planet a better place for them. It would come as a surprise for most of you that one of the world’s rarest dog species – the Bakerwal dog- is reared in India by the Gujjars and the Bakerwals in Hindukush and Himalayan belt of the Indian subcontinent. These rugged and courageous shepherd dogs were bred to protect livestocks of the nomadic Bakerwals and are capable of protecting large herds of sheeps and goats. But, it will be shocking to know that this rare species of dogs will soon become extinct.

The Bakerwals are trying to relinquish their nomadic ways and in an attempt to climb higher altitudes, their dogs are being killed near the Line of Control (LoC). Also, a number of dogs succumb to throat, rabies and other infections due to devoid of proper vaccines and medical care. As a result, there are just a few hundred dogs of this breed left. Isn’t it a big setback for the Indian sub-continent to lose this precious breed? They are our country’s heritage and we need to protect these sturdy pooches from extinction.

Sparkle nods his head in approval and wishes that some NGO takes the matter forward and preserves this rare species, of which all Indians will be proud of.

– Shweta

Life is Precious

It’s an alarming situation for many pet owners to hear their pet is affected with cancer. Seeing a lump or mass on the body of their pet, some of the pet owners neglect, some of them panic while a few even get rid of the pet. But many genuine pet lovers like to treat and manage the disease so as to improve their pet’s condition and lengthen their lifetime. Here’s a brief info on the basics of cancer and its management in dogs. Cancer is one of the major causes of non- accidental death in dogs. Prevalence of all cancer is estimated as 10% in dog’s population. Increased incidence of cancer in dogs in recent years could be due to increased life span of pets (incidence of cancer is high in old dogs). Before going into actuals of cancer, here are a few commonly used terms for better understanding of the disease?:

  • Tumour means a swelling – cancer is one cause of tumour.
  • Neoplasm is a type of tumour in which particular type of tissues/cells of the body multiply abnormally in uncontrolled manner.
  • Tumour/neoplasm are classified into benign and malignant.
  • Benign tumour is a slow growing mass which does not spreads to other parts of body.
  • Malignant tumour grows fast, invade adjacent tissues and spreads (metastasis) to other parts of body through blood and lymphatic flow. Malignant tumours are sometimes called cancer. Forty percent of a particular tumour has the chance to become malignant.

Cause of tumour

Normal genetic pattern in a cell is changed (mutated) by varied cancer causing agents (carcinogen) and become cancer cell. The cancer cell multiplies rapidly in uncontrollable manner to develop into cancer mass. The effect of some of the following carcinogenic agents accumulates over a long period and cause cancer in dogs.

  • Chemicals – pesticides, some medicine.
  • Radiation – X-rays, ultraviolet rays.
  • Virus – Feline leukaemia virus in cat.
  • Hormones – Estrogen in female dog predisposes to mammary tumour and testosterones in male dog predispose testicular tumour and prostrate tumour.
  • Genetic – inherited mutated genes.
  • Age – incidence is high in old dogs and in rare case, young dogs and pups also get affected.
  • Breed – Some breeds are prone to cancer e.g. Golden Retriever, Boxer, GSD etc.
  • Size – large and giant breed dogs are at a higher risk for bone tumour.

Symptoms of cancer

Many or a few of the following symptoms are seen in dogs affected with cancer?:

  • Abnormal swelling that persists or continues to grow.
  • Sores that do not heal.
  • Progressive weight loss.
  • Chronic loss of appetite.
  • Recurrent/prolonged bleeding or discharge from any natural orifice.
  • Offensive odour of secretions/exudates.
  • Difficulty in eating or swallowing.
  • Loss of stamina or reluctant to exercise.
  • Persistent/increasing lameness.
  • Laboured breathing.
  • Difficulty in urination/defecation.
  • Prolonged fever, anaemia, excess water/food consumption may occur in some types of cancer.

Most dogs in the early stages of cancer often appear normal without exhibiting any of the clinical signs of the disease. But, pet owners can observe their pet aging more rapidly or slowing down and less willing to engage in normal activity. Blood tests at this stage will indicate an increase in lactate and insulin levels in some types of cancer.

Interestingly, cancers of the ovaries and uterus are rare in dogs. This could be because most dogs do not reach the age at which these cancers become more common. Dogs do not have much lung cancer either, presumably because they do not smoke and have fewer occupational exposures to known carcinogens.

Colon and rectal cancer, the third most common tumour in humans, is extremely rare in dogs. This could be due to more rapid transit time of food through dog’s relatively short intestinal tract, more exercise than humans, and diet.

Cancer treatment

Goal of cancer treatment is to achieve a cure or at least remission of cancer mass and to improve the quality of life and increase survival time. Cancer is being treated by one or more combination of different following procedures:

  • Surgery is most common and effective treatment for localized or regional. It is usually combined with other treatment like chemotherapy for malignant tumour.
  • Chemotherapy (treating with drug) used for cancer distributed throughout the body and for metastatic tumour.
  • Radiation therapy for local or regional malignant tumour.
  • Other therapy like immunotherapy,?cryosurgery, radioisotope therapy, hyperthermia etc.

Nutritional management of cancer patient

Cancer cells in the body act differently to get their energy to grow. Tumour cells use glucose without using oxygen and get less energy and convert glucose into a byproduct called lactic acid, which is toxic to the body. The body has to convert the lactic acid back into glucose by using more energy. By doing so, the body uses a lot of energy for tumour cells to grow and get depleted. Tumour cell also use protein for its energy and make the animal lose weight. The only source of nutrition, the animal gets for its energy is fat, which is not used by the tumour cell. It is appropriate to add more of fat and less of carbohydrate in their ration, so as to starve the tumour cells and help the body to maintain its condition. The diet of the dog should contain 40% of fat, 40% of protein and 20% of carbohydrate. Apart from that, the food containing more than 2% omega3 fatty acid will help in slowing down the growth of tumour and to improve the health condition of the cancer patient.

Preventive measures for reducing the occurrence of cancer in dogs

  • Spaying before the first heat cycle. The greatest protection from spaying occurs if the dog is spayed before her first heat. The protective value of spaying drops steadily until age 2.5. If the female dog is spayed at or after age 2.5, the risk of getting mammary tumour is statistically not different from a female who was never spayed.
  • Neutering dogs with undescended testicles. Dogs with undescended testicles (i.e., the testicles do not properly migrate to the scrotum but remain in the body cavity) have a markedly higher risk than other dogs to develop this type of cancer. Dogs with inguinal hernias are also at increased risk. Obviously, neutering of dogs prevents the development of this type of cancer.
  • Limiting your dog’s exposure to flea and tick dips, asbestos, and tobacco smoke. The risk for getting nose cancer in long-nosed breeds increased with increasing number of packs of cigarettes smoked in the home.
  • Keeping dogs away from lawns, which have recently been sprayed with herbicide.
  • Do not spend a great deal of time in areas with high levels of electromagnetic fields.

(Dr R Jayaprakash, MVSc (Surgery), PhD, is the General Secretary of Small Animal Practitioners Association of Chennai (SAPAC) and the President – Federation of Small Animal Practitioners Association of India (FSAPAI). He can be contacted at JP Pet Specialty Hospital, Adyar, Chennai – 600 020, Phone: 044 24411909, Mobile: 09444385393.)

My precious Pug

If you are looking for a cute and small dog, who will love and adore you, then Pug is the breed for you. Her dark melting eyes will make you forget your worries and her happy disposition will spread happiness all around.

Remember the popular Hutch advertisement, which had people gushing, of a small boy and his little four-legged buddy. The jingle ‘You and I, in this beautiful world…’ totally portrayed their love, adventure and the fun they were having in complete togetherness. The little dog and the boy stole a million hearts, the dog also was called, ‘The Hutch dog.’ That little sweet dog is a Pug, who follows everywhere with loyalty and love.

The Pug loves to please her master and is anxious to learn and love. All she needs is love and you will have a friend who will stay by your side even in your testing times.

The name comes from the Latin word ‘pugnus’, which means fist, a reference to the shape of the dog’s face. In order to communicate with humans, she makes a grunting nasal noise, similar to a pig. She will love to snuggle with you and will do anything to be close to you, thus loving you all the more.

Their charming looks, small manageable size, ease of care and their friendly and affectionate nature, make them a perfect family dog. Their square muscular body gives the impression of strength and Pug is the dog for all occasions.

General appearance

A Pug is decidedly square and cobby which means short bodied, thick and square. This muscular dog has a short, shiny coat. “Pug should give a strong impression of squareness when viewed from any angle. All the parts must fit together to form a harmonious unit. The most important concept to remember is square,” tells Mustafa Hussiani of Indane Kennels, Hyderabad.

The Pug head is one of their most important features. The head is large, massive, round and impressive. Her eyes are dark in colour, very large, bold and prominent, globular shape, soft and solicitous in expression. The ears are thin, small and soft like black velvet. The wrinkles on the Pug’s face around the eyes and nose contribute, along with its round deep brown eyes, to the Pug’s characteristic expression. And her tail is curled as tightly as possible over the hip. The tight and double curl tail is perfect.

They are available in a variety of colours such as black, apricot fawn or silver. The average height of these dogs is 12-14 inches while that of females is 10-12 inches. The average weight of dogs is 6-9 kg while that of females is 6-8 kg. Their life span is 12-15 years.

“They are ‘Multum in parvo,’ a lot of dog in a small space. They are the largest among the toy group. An ideal Pug must have a nice, round head with correct ear placement, good wrinkles on forehead, nice level topline, clear coat, tight double curbed tail, good front and hind angulations,” summarises Dr Ravi T of Aareltee Pugs, Karnataka.

Temperament

Pugs are happy go lucky, full of life and energy. They are little clowns with a terrific sense of humour. And by nature, Pugs love human company. They are loyal, affectionate and docile.

“They are little bundles of joy that fill your lives with immense amusement, fun, happiness and satisfaction,” says Dr. Ravi.

She is a very social dog and an excellent family pet. Though she will certainly become attached to her main caretaker, Pug is not a one-person dog and will befriend equally all the people in her family. She is playful and loving with children and gets along well with other pets in the family. “Pugs love being in the company of children as they are child like at heart themselves,” adds Dr. Ravi. But she requires a lot of love and attention and can become jealous if the owner ignores her. Since they are short-nosed dogs, they are prone to snoring. A Pug is not an outdoor dog. She doesn’t like dirty places.’“Pugs usually don’t like to sit or sleep in dirty place,” adds Hussiani. Also, they are very inquisitive and are wary of strangers.

Grooming

Brush your Pug regularly to remove shedding hair. One must clean the eyes and ears daily. Also, daily cleaning of facial wrinkles is a must. This breed is seasonally heavy shedder. “Fawn Pugs shed lot of hair because they have an undercoat of soft, downy hair, thus they tend to shed more than blacks. In addition to controlling shedding, regular brushing stimulates the dog’s skin to produce the natural oils that keep the Pug’s coat healthy and shiny,” says Hussiani.

Upkeep

She needs special care during hot humid weather due to the short nose. She should never be left out in the sun. Also, she cannot withstand hot or cold weather and should be kept indoors at comfortable temperatures. “Pugs need to be kept in a suitable temperature. They cannot tolerate extremes of temperature. The ideal temperature for them is between 20–25oC,” adds Dr. Ravi. One thing Pugs hate is to be put on a diet, food for her is the greatest pleasure in life, after being with her family. “But you must be careful to monitor your Pug’s diet, as she will generally eat whatever is in front of her and then go looking for more. For this reason, Pugs with indulgent owners can easily become obese — a condition that is not only unattractive but also extremely unhealthy,” tells Hussiani.

Bringing home a Pug puppy

“Before you bring home a Pug puppy, find a good veterinarian, who would help you take care of your pup. You will also need a few supplies: a crate and some soft bedding, food and water dishes and a supply of the food she was being fed in her previous home. Try to have these on hand before you bring your Pug puppy home so you can settle straight into enjoying her without having to run to the store. When you bring your Pug puppy home, she would want to wander and explore her new surroundings, and take frequent naps. The experience of moving to a new place with new people is stressful for your Pug puppy, so it is very important to let her have as much sleep as she needs and take her time adjusting. Keep visitors to a minimum first few days. Let your Pug puppy become secure in her relationship,” tells Hussiani. Hussiani further says that it is very important to follow her vaccination and deworming schedules. The puppy should not be given a bath or taken out for a walk before the vaccination schedule is complete. Body of the Pug puppy should be wiped and cleaned with a wet towel. “Puppies grow very rapidly and get hungry frequently. Hence, they should be properly fed,” he adds.

Exercise

A sensible exercise routine must be set for a Pug. “It is a good idea to walk your Pug 2-3 km daily,” says Dr. Ravi. Pugs like to play with children. “They also enjoy playing with other Pugs. And during that play, they want to catch the tail of front dog by chasing her,” tells Hussiani with a twinkle in his eyes. However, Dr. Ravi says that Pugs love to follow their owners. “Hence the Hutch ad is very apt (wherever you go our network follows),” he adds. Hussiani however gives a note of caution, “Since Pugs are short-nosed, you must be careful not to exercise them in the extreme heat as they can become overheated quickly. Set exercise time in the early morning.”

Health

Their major hereditary problems are eye, skin and hip related. They are prone to eye injuries and infections. They catch cold easily and are stressed by hot and cold weather. They are also prone to allergies and the short muzzle contributes to chronic breathing problems. Once you own a Pug, you can’t resist the temptation to have more. “My love for Pugs started as a passion and now they are my obsession,” says Dr. Ravi.

(With inputs from Dr. Ravi T, Ph?: 9845252010 and Mustafa Hussiani, Ph: 9849415894.)