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Dog Health

Vaccination wonders

‘Prevention is better than cure’ is an age-old saying, which holds true even today. Vaccination can protect our canines from several life-threatening diseases. Here are a few viral diseases which can be ably prevented by proper vaccines:

Canine Parvoviral Enteritis : Present worldwide, this disease mostly occurs in breeding kennels, animal shelters, and pet stores or wherever pups are reared and dogs congregate. Certain breeds like Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, and English Springer Spaniels are reported to be at exceptional risk of severe disease. While the infection generally has no age predilection, the severest form of the disease occurs in pups aged 6-12 weeks of age, who may collapse in a “shock-like” state and die suddenly without enteric signs, after only a brief period of malaise.

Prevention : Although maternal antibodies confer protection to the new born pup, subsequent vaccination at 45 days of age is a must. A booster 21 days after primary vaccination is advisable followed by yearly vaccinations. However, control of parvoviral infections requires strict hygiene, isolation of affected pups and efficacious vaccines.

Canine Distemper (CD) : A dog contracts the disease by airborne and droplet exposure. The disease is Dog Healthworldwide in distribution and has no breed or sex predilection, though young animals are more susceptible. The disease is usually present in certain areas of India, especially the south. Contact with non-vaccinated carnivores increases the risk of the disease.

Prevention : Vaccination at 45 days of age with booster after 21 days and yearly vaccination subsequently can prevent CD. Also, avoid contact of your dog with stray animals.

Rabies : Unarguably the most talked about disease, the name comes to ones’ mind synonymously with dogs. And why not, it is extremely dangerous and transmissible to humans in whom, as in the case of dogs, it is 100% fatal. Although present worldwide certain countries like the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Japan and parts of Scandinavia are free from rabies. In developing countries like ours, it is quite prevalent.

Prevention : Vaccination is a must!! Vaccinate at 12-14 weeks of age (and not before 3 months) followed by yearly vaccinations. Keep your dog on a tight leash if the stray dog population in your area is high. Even bites by animals such as cats, monkeys and rats are potentially hazardous. If bitten, consult your vet immediately.

Infectious Canine Hepatitis : This disease usually affects dogs under one year of age and has no breed or sex predilection. The virus primarily causes the inflammation of the liver and may also affect the eyes.

Prevention : Vaccination at 45 days of age with a booster 21 days later followed by yearly vaccinations.

7 GROOMING WONDERS for your Lhasa Apso

Spruce up your Pooch………

The cuddly look of these ancient Tibetan dogs belies an independent and bold temperament. Here are a few tips to make your Lhasa look pretty and his mane beautiful:

  • Lhasa Apsos have a thick double coat and beneath a long coarse overcoat lies a soft undercoat. Their dense coat requires regular, almost daily grooming to prevent matting.
  • Begin the grooming session by gently coaxing your dog to lie down on his side. Remove any matts that you find using a pin brush and be careful not to break any hair as you do so. Using the same pin brush, brush the coat out gently in the direction that it grows. Once you have pinbrushed the entire coat, go over it again using a soft bristle brush.
  • Bathe your dog after you have brushed him thoroughly. Squeeze the shampoo gently through the coat to prevent tangling. Great care should be taken to rinse thoroughly as shampoo left in the coat can cause skin irritation that will lead to scratching and a tangled matted coat in no time.
  • The coat usually require a light conditioner as well, so use a shampoo with conditioner or you can also apply a cream rinse available at some pet shops.
  • When you towel your dog dry, squeeze the excess water from his coat with the towel and if you want the correct look for his breed, blow dry him with cool air rather than letting the coat dry naturally.
  • Lhasa Apsos have very sensitive eyes and great care should be taken to make sure that the area around the eyes is kept clear and clean.
  • If you find it difficult to follow a regular grooming routine at home, you can seek the help of a professional groomer and trim your Lhasa Apso’s coat, keeping it at a length that is manageable for you and comfortable for him as well.

(Gauri and Urmila, at TailWaggers Pet Salon have been providing the latest and best grooming facilities for the past 5 years. To make your pet look stylish, call at 9820127572.)

 

6 Tips for that perfect body stats…

Before

Before

 

grooming2

After

A healthy body has a healthy mind and who wants to be obese? Besides spoiling the entire look, obesity causes a multitude of health problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, respiratory problems and joint or skeletal disorders in our canine as well. But don’t worry, here are a few tips to make your dog get back into shape:

  • Correct amount of food : Reduce the size of meal and keep each serving consistent. Feed your dog according to his breed and age.
  • Overfeeding : You may have an irresistible tendency to feed your animal companion whenever you are eating something. Don’t give in to their temptations and regulate their food intake.
  • Low calorie treats : In case, you use treats to train your pets, make sure they are low in calories.
  • Exercise : A little extra walk or playtime will help your dog to reduce fat.
  • Genetic predisposition : Hormonal disorders like thyroid or pituitary gland dysfunction also contribute to obesity. Consult your vet for the same.
  • Consistency : In order to achieve the desired weight, he would need to be kept on a weight reduction programme for at least 8 – 10 months. But consult your vet before beginning any such programmes.

Nutrition works wonders

The quality of food makes a lot of difference to your pet’s health. The strength of your pet’s immune system, his resistance to disease and his quality of life all depend on the food that he eats.

Commonly home-made diet of meat and carbohydrate may be deficient of certain nutrients required for growth, good health, lustrous coat, strong bones and teeth. The simplest method of meeting nutritional requirement of dogs is to feed a fixed formula, complete and balanced commercial diet, designed and appropriately tested for dogs. Contrarily, a balanced home-made food may also be formulated.
Start early
Normal birth weight of pups depends on breed and ranges from 120-500 g. The growth rate is rapid in the first few months at an average of 2-4 g/day/kg of their anticipated adult weight. The puppies should be allowed to suckle mother’s milk within 10-12 hours of birth at least till age of four weeks. Early mother’s milk (Colostrum) has necessary antibodies and nutrients which protect the puppy initially. The puppies can be weaned from the mother by 4-6 weeks when they start eating food on their own. If the mother is not providing milk or mother’s milk is insufficient, puppies can be fed with commercially available pre-weaning food.
Feeding puppies
After weaning, small breed puppies should be fed 4-5 times and large breed puppies 3-4 times a day if they are fed with home-made food and 3-4 times for small breeds and 2-3 times for large breeds if they are fed with dry food. Dry puppy feed can be initially moistened with hot water
or milk for a  few weeks, if required. As the pup grows, he can be fed 3 times per day till 1 year and 2 times after 1 year.
Count the calories
Dogs require sufficient energy for optimal body weight, maintenance, pregnancy and lactation. Out of the six nutrients, carbohydrates, proteins and fats provide energy while vitamins, minerals and water do not. Caloric requirement of the growing puppy per kg weight is more compared to adult dog. Energy requirement of dogs is ~40 kcal/kg body weight for adults, ~120kcal/kg for puppies and ~200kcal/kg for lactating females.
More protein for pups
Healthy adult dogs need protein ~3g of high biological value per kg body wt/day. Egg and meat have protein of
high biological value and digestibility compared to vegetable protein. Optimal diet should contain 22-25% protein for growing puppies and
8-15% for adult dogs. Most of the commercial foods contain protein of both cereal and meat source of 75-90% digestibility.
Fat essentials
Apart from providing calories, fat also improves the palatability of the food. Fats serve as carrier for fat soluble Vitamins A, D, E and K. Dogs have a dietary requirement of lenoleic acid (Omega 6), an essential fatty acid which is richly found in corn, safflower, sunflower, soya and evening primrose oil. Deficiency of linoleic acid may cause scaly, lusterless coat and reproductive disorders. Omega 3 fatty acids like linolenic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) play a vital role in development of cardiovascular system, nervous system and retinal function. Linolenic acid is rich in flaxseed oil, soya oil etc, where as EPA and DHA are found in a variety of fish, especially fatty sea fish. Dogs’ diet should contain 5-15% fat for adults and 8-20% for pups.
Minerals in right ratio
Apart from calories, a dog’s diet should be supplemented with essential mineral nutrients. Major minerals required are calcium and phosphorus and these minerals are interrelated. Too less or too much of these minerals lead to bone abnormalities. Calcium and phosphorus deficiency along with low levels of Vitamin D3 results in rickets, soft bones and bend in the bones of the forelimbs due to the weight of the dog. Calcium and phosphorus in right balance is essential for formation of strong bones and teeth and Vitamin D3 is essential for absorption of Ca and P into the bones and teeth.
Minerals like Zn, Fe, Mg, Mn, Se, Na and Cl etc are essential in dogs’ diet in minor levels. Zinc improves growth rate and metabolism, maintains integrity of skin and hair, assist bone and cartilage development. Selenium, as an antioxidant, support protective action of Vitamin E by detoxifying peroxides and improves fertility and immunity. Iron prevents iron deficient anemia and Sodium and Chlorine helps in maintaining electrolyte balance. Usage of organic mineral supplements is advisable as they are more bio-available.
Vitamins are important
Apart from these nutrients, dogs’ diet may be supplemented with fat soluble vitamins  (Vitamins D and E) and B complex vitamins for normal health and growth.
Taking care of the elderly and obese dogs
Large breeds, especially aged and fat dogs, may require supplementation of Gluco-samine and Chondratin sulphate which helps in nursing of joint and bone problems. The dog food may be supplemented with yeast derivative mannan oligo-saccharides to promote healthy intestinal micro flora and to reduce pathogenic organisms in gut and these mannans are also a rich source of protein and B-Complex vitamins.
Thus keeping all these nutrients in mind, ensure that you feed a proper balanced diet to your pet.

Tips for feeding  

  • Dry foods are available with different kibble size for different growth stages which help in jaw development, maintaining healthy gums and teeth and also satisfies the puppy’s chewing needs.
  • Water is most important nutrient and at any given time, the dog should have access to adequate clean and fresh drinking water.
  • There is precise impact of environmental temperature on food intake which is more in winter as compared to summer.
  • Control the calories so that the dog is not malnourished and  he is slim and healthy. Excessive calories leads to more weight which causes shorter life span and joint problems in older dogs.

(Dr. Nagesh Reddy, M.V.Sc, is a full-time practitioner at J.P. Nagar, Bangalore and he can be contacted at +91 9886799989 or e-mail at nbreddy2003@yahoo.com)

Wonders of Training

Training can transform an aggressive and possessive dog into a friendly and loving companion. Here’s a real life case file of a dog named Swami who was trained by Rajesh Bhat to become a more suitable companion.

Case history

Ritika and Rajat, on their way to work, spotted a lil’ pup on the road. They stopped their car to put him aside, but the pup came running back to them. Ritika immediately loved him for his big eyes. They started looking for a new home for him but eventually decided to keep him at their home and named him Swami. Rajat was little scared of introducing Swami to his two Dalmatians – Joey and Cheery but all went well. All the three dogs became our family members but over a period of time, Swami started behaving negatively. He became very aggressive, dominating and possessive about his toys and chew sticks. While eating or playing with his toy, if anyone came near him, he would suddenly snap. It first started with growling and then he started biting as well. It became difficult to even put a collar around his neck. They consulted a few doctors, family, and friends but the repeated advice that they got was to put him down or abandon him. They got him neutered but that also did not help. Then, they read about Rajesh Bhat, a trainer, who was very positive about Swami and felt that he could solve the problem.

Rajesh’s viewpoint

Swami was ferocious towards strangers and would try to attack them. It was difficult to control him. He was very aggressive and did not let even his owners pet him. It started by growling and then went to biting. He overtly wanted to be at control of everything. It became difficult to take him out too. Abandoning the dog will not solve the problem. If puppy is taught discipline from the very first day, he grows up to be a lovely trained dog.

Involvement of the owner

Swami’s parents were very positive and really wanted Swami to change for the best. They had full commitment towards him. They followed what Rajesh told them and hence there were behavioural changes in him since day 1. Lots of people never get involved in training sessions and the dogs end up taking training from the trainer and refuse to listen to the owner.

Solution

Swami’s training commenced under Rajesh’s supervision and Ritika’s full involvement. First month: Rajesh first had to gain trust as a stranger and then correct his behaviour. This was done by initially playing with Swami. Then the next few weeks were marked with teaching him few basic commands. Swami needed to be taught behaviour since he was very possessive and would not listen to anyone. For the first month, he was taught basic commands. There was progress in his day-to-day behaviour. Second month: Swami now started accepting Rajesh as his leader. Training helped in building a bond of trust. It also helped in strengthening communication, understanding and respect between the two. That’s when Rajesh handed him over to Ritika. Now, it was the time to train Swami to accept Ritika also as his leader. By now, Swami was almost a completely changed dog and Ritika was also gaining confidence in him and started taking him out. With her increasing involvement, Swami finally accepted Ritika as his pack leader.

Swami’s reformation

Today, Swami is a complete turnaround. He is not aggressive about his toys at all though he is still little possessive about his food. Whenever they give him food, they leave him on his own. All the three dogs get along fine. Joye is perfect with Swami but Cherry is still keeping her distance cause once during their meal time, Swami snapped at Cheery. Perhaps Cheery is just taking her time to get along with him. The training is still going on and they are aiming much better behaviour with time. (Rajesh Bhat has been training dogs for almost two decades. Right from childhood, he was fascinated with dogs and this made him take dog training as his profession. In cases where the owner was ready to abandon the pet due to behavioural problems, Rajesh solved the problem, giving a new lease of life to the pet & the family. He has worked with trainers in Germany. He is best at training dogs for security purpose and solving aggression symptoms. He can be contacted at Ph: 9810964472 (Kennel 1).)