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Smart dogs for smart kids

Your dog is good for your kid for more reasons than you can think. Let’s see how.

Ever seen the twinkle in your child’s eyes when he sees a pup or a dog he likes? He wants to go close to him

Children and Dog

Smart dogs for smart kids

pet him and more often than not, would like to take him home. A pooch will give him a wealth of knowledge for day-to-day life.

We all know dog teaches our children emotions like compassion, responsibility and community awareness towards strays, besides giving them emotional support in times of need. They help children in more ways than we think.

Let’s see how our pooches help our kids have a more enriching life…

The tiny tots (0-2 years): Babies learn through senses – by seeing, hearing and touching. Their cognitive development improves when they are living with a pooch. They associate with them as friends and love to play with them, looking for them when they sit under the table or bed. Their motor skills improve as the pooches keep them on their toes.

The preschoolers (2-3 years): This is the age of learning – kids learn that they are responsible for their pet’s needs and start empathising with them.

The school-goers (3-14 years): When a child starts going to school, he faces the real world – classmates, teachers, etc. Sometimes, they are not able to tell everything to their parents – they start confiding in their pets as they are aware of their unconditional love and care. They become responsible towards their pets – taking care of their daily needs. Sometimes, even the loss of a pet can teach them the hard facts of life.

Few scientific facts…

Even science has proved that pooches enrich children’s lives. Let’s see how:

Dogs encourage reading habits in children: A lot of children are not comfortable reading aloud. By having a canine as an audience, children learn to read. They know that dogs will not judge them for their reading skills and they feel they are teaching it to the pooch, thus building their confidence in the long run. This concept was first used by a nurse named Martin, who is now a board member of Utah’s nonprofit Intermountain Therapy Animals, which runs the R.E.A.D. (Reading Education Assistance Dogs) programme.

Dogs make children active and hence less obese: According to a research from St. Geroge’s University of London, children who have dogs at home are more active than those without dogs, thus helping them fight obesity, a rising issue of concern for parents.

Dogs help children with special needs: According to a new Université de Montreal study, specifically trained service dogs can help reduce anxiety and enhance socialisation skills of children suffering with Autism Syndrome Disorders (ASDs).

Health benefits: The researchers in Stanford University and the University of California, United States have found that pets can significantly reduce the risk of cancer, improve cardiovascular function, and enhance human immunity.

Towards safe dog-child interactions…

But it is important to teach children how to interact with dogs to prevent mishaps like dog bites, etc. Always have kids and dogs in supervision. Don’t let your child reach for an unknown dog. Teach them not to bother them while they are eating or sleeping. Never let your child bully them – teach them where your dog likes to be touched and when he needs to be left alone. Also, teach them the basic body language of a dog.

Teaching kids the importance of Hygiene and washing hands is a must. Most importantly, teach your child to respect the family pooch.

Let’s help our kids have a more fulfilling life with the love of a pooch!

Smart boy Ninja!

I was young once, twice actually – once when I was young like all of us and second the day my golf set arrived. I was excited to the core and carefully unfolded my prized possession. As soon as I was about to hit the ball with my club, the bulbous head of Driver #1 hit the stationary blade of the ceiling fan. Ninja, our Labrador, suddenly charged forward with loud clamour and leaped up, intent on taking a snap at the offending fan blade.

In that commotion, we returned the golf clubs to their bag and decided to give golf a try some other time. Later, we found Ninja reposing on his paws and surrounded by some suspicious-looking yellow chips. Obviously he had spent his time biting into something fascinating enough to be minced into bits and fragments but not meritorious enough to be swallowed. I picked up a few of those pieces, which smelt and felt like vinyl rubber. It was then that I realised that my darling doggy had found the brand new canary yellow top flight XL golf ball with 475 dimples.

I think Ninja had heard the myth that at the core of every golf ball, there is half-an-ounce of honey, which gives the ball its stability during the flight after being hit by the sweet spot of the club. Probably, he had gone for that honey. But till date, Ninja has not told me whether he had found the honey and had licked it clean or whether he had succeeded in debunking the honey myth. Smart boy, Ninja!

dog grooming

GROOMING: A smart way to a healthy life

Grooming is the time to care and bond with your pooch. Most important, it is the first step towards a healthy canine.

For most of us, grooming refers to external beauty care of pets. But, as we say ‘beauty is only skin deep’ and gr1while grooming, we actually check out for health problems in our pets. A wellgroomed dog will remain free from some of the most commonly encountered problems viz., skin affections, ear and dental problems. Grooming also improves bonding between pet and owner since it gives a closer feel of each other.

Start early

Pet owners often complain that their pet resists grooming sessions. This mostly happens if they are not accustomed to grooming. So, start grooming your pet from an early age (for e.g. a month’s age) and make it a regular practice. This would make grooming a pleasant experience for you as well as your pet.

7 Steps to healthy grooming

  1. Brushing and combing  
    • Choose a suitable brush or comb as per the fur of your pet (long coat – pin brush, medium coat – steel comb and short coat – hard brush).  
    • Brush and comb daily or at least on alternate days.  
    • Ensure that hair coat throughout the body is combed and brushed properly.  
    • In long hair dogs, carefully remove the matts from hair.  
    • Brushing removes dirt and debris from the hair coat, making it cleaner and healthier.  
  2. Massage  
    • Dogs should be properly massaged at least twice a week to keep their skin and fur in good shape.  
    • Massage can be done with fingertips or massage gloves.  
    • Massage should be done with enough pressure over the skin.  
    • Dry massage is preferred in dogs except for any specific skin condition wherein oil massage is to be given.  
    • A proper massage will increase the blood circulation to provide vitality to the skin.  
    • Massage will also open all the pores of the skin to assist the secretion of natural oil from the glands situated beneath the skin.  
    • The oil secreted keeps the skin lustrous and fights infection due to antimicrobial property.  
  3. Bathing  
    • Dogs should not be frequently bathed. An alternative to bathing is massage and brushing.  
    • Preferably a month’s gap should be given between baths.  
    • Selection of soap and shampoo is very important for each bath as it will depend on the condition of the skin and hair at that point of time. As a general rule, mild dog soaps and shampoos (without any chemical agents) should be used if the skin is free from any infection. In case of infection or ectoparasite infestation, specific soaps and shampoos can be used as per the vet’s advice.  
    • Never use human soaps and shampoos since they may cause irritation to dog’s skin as they differ in pH and may have certain chemical agents not suitable to dogs’ skin.  
    • Excess quantity of soap and shampoo should not be used since it will be difficult to rinse. Shampoo should always be used after mixing in water.  
    • Rinse your dog properly with water after application of soap and shampoo so as to remove the froth completely since the left over soap and shampoo will create irritation, itching and dryness.  
    • Following bath, the dog’s fur and skin should be dried with a towel or drier. Avoid excessive heat while using drier. Drying is very important as the presence of moisture trapped in fur is a very good medium for growth of infectious agents.  
  4. Trimming and cutting 
    • This is required to remove hair matting, lighten the pet’s coat mainly during summer or to give a smart look to your pooch.  
    • Never cut the hair too short since it may increase the chance of skin affections as the hair coat serves as the barrier to infectious agents, dirt and debris.  
    • A competent groomer can give specialized cutting suitable as per the breed’s requirement.  
    • In long hair breed, hair around the eyes should be regularly trimmed to avoid irritation and injury to the eyes.  
  5. Ear cleaning  
    • Clean your dog’s ears every 15 days to one month.  
    • Also clean the ears after every bath to remove moisture, soap or shampoo.  
    • Use plain cotton for ear cleaning.  
    • Wax dissolving agents can be used to remove excess wax.  
    • For any ear problem, consult your vet.  
  6. Dental cleaning  
    • Dental cleaning is done for cleaning of teeth, removal of plaque or tartar.  
    • It is required to prevent dental problems like bad smell, pyorrhoea and dental decay.  
    • Consult your vet for proper dental cleaning.  
  7. Nail cutting  
    • Nail cutting is essential to facilitate proper walking since due to overgrown nails, the dog’s gait may become faulty and undue pressure may be applied on his legs.  
    • Long nails can entangle with any object that may cause injury. Sometimes the overgrown nails take round shape and get engorged in the skin, causing injury.  
    • Nail cutting is a very specialized procedure and should be done only by a pet practitioner.  
    • Only the dead part of the nail should be cut. Any injury to the live part of nail will lead to severe bleeding.  
    • Most of the dogs resist to nail cutting hence it is important to get them accustomed to this procedure since early age.  
    • Give your pooch a soft pad massage to improve circulation and cure cracked pads.  
    • Remove soiled hair around the soft pads as your dog may lick it, which can cause injury and infection.  

A well-groomed dog is a smart, happy and healthy dog. So, what are you waiting for…pick up your dog’s grooming kit and transform your pooch into a beautiful companion. (Dr. Aradhana Pandey is a vet and owner of Doggy World, an exclusive set up for dogs catering to all needs, including specialized grooming. She can be contacted at 09811299059.)

Health check

Regular grooming can help avoid following health problems :

  • Tick, lice and flea infestation : These problems can be timely identified and solved.  
  • Bacterial, fungal and non-specific dermatitis : Proper grooming leads to secretion of sebum that has an antimicrobial property. By regular grooming, the lesions are timely identified and treated. 
  • Fall of hair : Grooming removes the dead hair and vitalize the hair.  
  • Dull and coarse hair coat : Grooming will secrete the natural hair oil.  
  • Ear infections : Regular ear cleaning will remove excess wax that is a good medium for infectious agent growth. Besides, the oils used for aural hygiene have wax dissolving and antimicrobial property.  
  • Dental problems : Regular dental cleaning will remove the plaque.