Posted on

Summer Safety Tips for Keeping Your Dog Cool

Summer safety tips for keeping your dog cool
The intense heat and humidity is hard
not only for people but for dogs as
well. Our vets provide practical tips for
how to keep your furbaby cool and safe
during the blistering months
Text: Team Buddy Life

It has been a long-drawn summer this time. With soaring temperatures, the heat is unbearable for all, especially for our pooches. Summer can mean lots of fun outdoors with your beloved pets. But there are some precautions that we need to take to protect our pet. Whether it’s a walk outdoors, or a car ride or just to play in the park, it is important to keep our furry friend safe and healthy. “Although pets have their own way of physiological adaptation to overcome this problem, at the same time we can also help them to rise over this heat stress problem by providing a suitable diet,” says Dr Aditya Pratap Soni, Department of Veterinary Medicine, College of Veterinary Science, Jabalpur.

Just as our diets change during the hot weather, our canine companions should also be offered food that has a cooling effect on their bodies. According to Dr Pradyut Kr Sarmah, Director, Pet & Vet, Guwahati, “The ideal diet for your furry friends during this summer season will be normal food what you provide in daily basis but you can add lots of watermelons, cucumber, coconut water and mangoes since these foods contains more water.”

Agrees Dr Seema Talokar, product manager (Companion Animal), Vetina Healthcare LLP. According to Dr Talokar, “The ideal summer diet for canines is lighter and fresh meals. One must select foods that have a cooling effect on the body. For convenience, you can opt for processed wet or dry food.” She mentions three points to take care of in summer meals for our fur babies:

1. While choosing dry food, select the one which provides a balanced diet of nutrients, minerals, and vitamins. Avoid feeding them anything too fatty.

2. Neutral food options such as salmon, quail, and turkey can be added to a dog’s bowl in moderation.

3. Go for dog food that contains prebiotics, salmon oil, and a mix of fruits and vegetables. A high fibre and low protein diet with lots of vitamins, minerals and plenty of water which increases the process of digestion and absorption also helps maintain the hydration of the pets.

In general, a healthy dog should drink approximately 30-50 ml of water per kg body weight per day. However, breed, age, body condition, and medications also influence how much water your dog needs, explains Dr Aditya Pratap Soni. However, Dr Pratik R Chavelikar, a private practitioner at Vihaan Pet Clinic, Gandhinagar, says, “There is no formula to know how much water your pet should drink each day. This depends on many factors, including pet size, diet, age, activity level and exercise, temperature, health conditions or medications that cause dehydration and weight. Most dogs should consume at least 30 ml of water per kg body weight daily. This can be monitored depending on whether the pet eats wet food (which is mostly water). If the pet is very active, we should encourage him or her to drink more water to stay hydrated.”

Water is one of the essential nutrients our dogs need to live happy and healthy. Our dog’s health and wellness depends on their ability to get the proper amount of water each day. Water has a wide range of positive effects like hydrating brain and blood, lubricating and cushioning joints, body temperature regulation aiding in waste removal, and helping the digestion process. Dr Pradyut Kumar Sarmah adds, “Usually, a dog needs approximately 60-80 ml of water per day per kg of body weight over a period of 24 hrs, but during summer if the dog is going for a walk or playing outside, they would need more water. Some symptoms of dehydration include:

1. Dry sticky gums

2. Excessive panting

3. Sunken or dry looking eyes

4. Foaming, loss of appetite, depression

A common problem faced by several pet parents is their fur babies refrain from drinking water frequently. Keeping your dog hydrated is needed to keep them sound and healthy. Calculating the required water intake depends on several aspects, such as their breed size, activity level, and type of food they eat. “On an average, dogs require around 1 ounce of water per 1 pound of body weight. Your dog’s exercise level and time spent in the sun may call for increased daily water intake. The essential thing is to keep their water bowl filled with fresh, clean water and have plenty of cold water available. If you feel your dog is not drinking enough water, try adding a flavour enhancement (like low-sodium chicken broth), says Dr Talokar.

Other important points to be taken care of, as Dr Rahul Sankhe, Livestock Development Officer Palghar, Maharashtra, says, “Make sure that your pet is protected from ticks, fleas and lice. Ticks are most active from the months of March to mid-May and from mid-August to November. Ticks are active any time the temperature is above freezing point. It is advisable to keep an anti-tick spray handy as it helps to kill ticks and rid your pet from the scratching nightmare. Try to keep your house cool. At home if the pet is alone, make sure they remain in a cool room. Leave the air conditioner on, and close the drapes. If there is no AC , open the windows and turn on a fan. You may want to see if a cooling vest or mat can help.”

Some pro tips for easy summers!

  • Do not leave your dog’s dinner out for too long.
  • Change up mealtimes to the cooler times of the day.
  • Never leave them in a parked car on a hot day.

Make sure you have enough shady areas available for them to relax. Refrain from keeping your pet in a closed car as it can lead to heatstroke and suffocation. On a normal day the temperature inside a car can reach up to 40 degrees Celsius within 10 minutes and up to 120 degrees Celsius if left in direct sunlight. So even if you think it will only take a few minutes, it is a strict no-no. If you’re driving around with your furball in the car, carry water and a bowl with you. Take your pet along when you leave the car. Also, older dogs and obese dogs can’t tolerate heat as well as other dogs can, meaning that they may need more frequent breaks to cool off and rehydrate. Additionally, certain breeds are more susceptible to overheating because of their build. Certain dogs are particularly vulnerable due to their short muzzles. If you have questions about sun exposure, flea prevention or heat exposure, call your vet. The best part of taking care of your pet is one day your baby will tell you with her energy, her vitality, her health and the sparkle in her eyes that you gave her the incredible gift of life and longevity.

Posted on

Parvo: Dangers, Risks & How to Protect Your Puppy

What every puppy owner needs to know is that Canine Parvovirus is one of the most serious viruses that dogs can get. Thankfully, it is very preventable with proper vaccination.
TEXT: Yung-Tsun Lo, D.V.M., Ph.D, Bioguard Corporation

The last thing any puppy owner or dog breeder wants to hear is a diagnosis of parvovirus infection. Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious viral disease of dogs that commonly causes acute gastrointestinal illness in puppies.

What causes parvovirus infection?

Parvo, or canine parvovirus type 2 (CPV) infection appeared for the first time among dogs in Europe around 1976. CPV had spread unchecked by 1978, causing a worldwide epidemic. The virus that causes this disease is very similar to feline panleukopenia (feline distemper) and the two diseases are almost identical. CPV probably arose as the result of 2 or 3 genetic mutations in feline panleukopenia virus (FPV) that allowed it to expand its host range to infect dogs.

How does a dog become infected with parvovirus?

The main source of the virus is from the feces of infected dogs. Susceptible dogs become infected by direct dog-to-dog contact or contact with contaminated feces, environments, or people. Even trace amounts of feces from an infected dog may harbour the virus and infect other dogs that come into the infected environment.

What are the clinical signs of CPV?

A dog infected with canine parvovirus will start to show symptoms within three to seven days of infection. The most common clinical signs associated with CPV include:

  •  Lethargy 
  •  Depression
  •  Loss or lack of appetite
  •  Fever
  •  Vomiting
  •  Diarrhea (often bloody)
  •  Dehydration

“The virus can contaminate kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes, and the hands and clothing of people who handle infected dogs”

The severity of CPV cases varies. The stress of weaning can lead to a more severe case of CPV in puppies as stress weakens the immune system. A combination of CPV and a secondary infection or a parasite can also lead to a more severe case in puppies. Most deaths from parvovirus occur within 48 to 72 hours following the onset of clinical signs. If your puppy or dog shows any of these signs, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.

How is CPV diagnosed?

Parvovirus infection is often suspected based on the dog’s history, physical examination, and laboratory tests. Fecal testing can confirm the diagnosis. Currently, the most common and most convenient method of testing for the presence of CPV is the fecal rapid tests or ELISA tests in a clinical setting. The test requires a fecal swab and takes about 10 minutes. While this test is accurate, a negative result does not necessarily rule out parvovirus in a

symptomatic dog, as they may not be shedding the viral antigen at the time of testing. Further testing, such as PCR, may be needed in these cases.

A simple measure of white blood cell count is often the clincher for a CPV diagnosis. Because one of the first things the parvovirus infects is the bone marrow, a low white blood cell count can be suggestive of CPV infection. If a dog has both a positive rapid test reading and a low white blood cell count, a fairly confident diagnosis of CPV may be made.

What are the treatment options for CPV infection?

There is no treatment to kill the virus once it infects the dog. Treatment options for dogs suffering from CPV involve supportive care and management of symptoms. Treatment options will vary, depending on how sick the dog is, but certain aspects are considered vital for all patients.

  •  Fluid therapy- counteract dehydration and electrolyte loss
  •  Antibiotic treatment- prevent potentially fatal body-wide bacterial infection if intestinal bacteria have entered the bloodstream
  •  Antiemetic treatmentcontrol vomiting
  •  Nutritional support
  •  Others- antiviral treatments, pain management, or blood transfusion

“The main source of the virus is from the feces of infected dogs. Susceptible dogs become infected by direct dog-todog contact or contact with contaminated feces, environments, or people.”

Can CPV be prevented?

Young puppies are very susceptible to infection, particularly because the natural immunity provided in their mothers’ milk may wear off before the puppies’ own immune systems are mature enough to fight off infection. The best method of protecting dogs against CPV infection is proper vaccination. Puppies receive a parvovirus vaccination as part of their multiple agent vaccine series. These shots are given every 3 to 4 weeks from the time a puppy is between 6 to 8 weeks old until he is at least 16 weeks of age. A booster vaccination is recommended one year later, and then at one to three year intervals thereafter.

How can I kill the virus in the environment?

The virus can contaminate kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes, and the hands and clothing of people who handle infected dogs. It is resistant to heat, cold, humidity, and drying, and can survive in the environment for long periods of time. The stability of the CPV in the environment makes it important to properly disinfect contaminated areas. CPV can be inactivated by bleach. Cleaning with a solution of one part bleach mixed with approximately 30 parts water is an acceptable method for disinfecting any indoor area (including bedding, food/water bowls, and all surfaces) that once housed an infected dog.

Yung-Tsun Lo D.V.M., Ph.D Bioguard Corporation

Posted on

Beating A Bulging Belly

Dog bloat is a common condition that can be dangerous, even deadly. Know the signs so you can recognize when your pup needs help, say the vets
TEXT: TEAM BUDDY LIFE

As pet parents we have all undergone the horrifying incident of our fur babies experiencing bloat. And it is unbearable both for the pet parent and the pooch. Bloat is a condition in which food or gas stretches your dog’s stomach, causing immense abdominal pain. Bloat can also put pressure on the diaphragm, a thin muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen, leading to troubled breathing. “Bloating is a common issue in pet dogs. The main cause of bloating is taking a large meal, especially carbohydrate rich, in one go and excess running and playing afterwards,” explains Dr Kumar Ravi of Indirapuram Pet Clinic in Ghaziabad.

When bloat occurs, the dog’s stomach becomes distended and cuts off blood flow to the abdomen as well as the stomach itself. This may cause injury to the stomach wall and without treatment, may damage other organs as well. “German Shepherd, Great Dane, Saint Bernard, Boxer, Doberman, Akita, Irish Setter and Basset Hound are some of the breeds that are prone to bloat,” says Dr RK Mawai, director of NLPC Veterinary Pharmaceuticals, Newlife Pet Clinic & Pet Shop in Gwalior.

All vets would agree that bloats require immediate medical attention to determine the severity. If bloat is treated immediately, it is usually curable. If it is a simple bloat, where the dog’s stomach has not twisted, then it can be managed without medication, but may need fluids and other treatments.

As Dr GD Bhatti, veterinary officer at the Govt Veterinary Hospital, New Delhi, says, “Dogs are voracious eaters and can eat anything ranging from polythene, wood, mud, sand and chalk. After they eat such things which are not digestible, it goes into the stomach and causes indigestion, vomiting and loose motions accompanied by stomach ache as well. But the dog can’t tell the problem. So, we have to judge. With my personal experience, I tap on the stomach on the left side of the animal. If there is a drum-like sound, I know that there is bloating.”

Bloat is an uncomfortable and painful health emergency for dogs. As Dr Kumar Ravi and Dr Girish Kalra both diagnose and explain, a dog with bloat may:

  1. Dry-heave (also called retching) without vomiting any food. Sometimes a dog might spit out white foam when trying to vomit, which is usually mucus from the oesophagus or stomach.
  2. Have abdominal distention (this might not be visible in the early stages of bloat).
  3. Experience sudden anxiety, pacing, an inability to get comfortable or constantly moving around the room/house.
  4. Looking back at their belly.
  5. Position themselves in downward facing dog pose, where the dog’s back half is up and upper half is down.
  6. Pant and drool.
  7. Collapse.

Have a racing heartbeat (tachycardia). Have pale gums. Bloat is not really a disease as such but can be easily prevented. At times it is indicative of some underlying health issue as well. Says Dr Mukesh Kumar, who is working with the Uttar Pradesh Government as a Veterinary Medical Officer, “Puppies of furry breeds are seen to be more prone to bloating although it’s not really a hard and fast rule. Sometimes, bloat happens due to stomach worms and consumption of gas making food like milk. So, please avoid this type of food and get deworming in time.”

Other degrees of bloat, including GDV, can also be curable if diagnosed in the early stages. These conditions are usually treated with immediate surgery. “Having too much carbohydrates, exercise just after having food along with too much fruit may result in bloat. But the pet parents can prevent the bloat by not using a raised bowl unless your vet says your dog needs one, train your dog to have rest after having food.

Feed them a few small meals throughout the day instead of one or two large ones. Make sure they drink a normal amount of water,” says Dr Kunal Chakraborty, a veterinary surgeon from Hooghly in West Bengal.

Adds Dr Kumar Ravi, “Effective way to prevent bloating is to give three-four small meals instead of a single large meal and avoid strenuous activities like running after meals.” Says Dr Girish Kalra: “Other than above points, we must abstain from giving the fur babies any kind of human or stale food.” Adds Dr RK Mawai, “There are times when even dry food can cause bloat if it is eaten in large quantities.”

Vets suggest that bloat can be dangerous, even deadly. It could result in Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus Syndrome. Dogs having bloat, need to consult with the nearest vet with multi-speciality facilities. After proper diagnosis, dogs with simple bloat tend to bounce back into their normal lives and routines 1 to 2 days after receiving fluids and taking frequent walks.

Following GDV surgery, a dog will remain in the hospital until pain is controlled, blood tests indicate normal enzyme levels, and the dog is eating and drinking well on his own. Length of time in the hospital depends on the dog’s health history and severity of bloat, and may be anywhere from one to, two days, to up to a week or more.

Posted on

Homeopathic Bronchitis Treatment

Homeopathy has very effective remedies for canine bronchitis, a disease characterised by inflammation in the bronchi and bronchioles, the parts of the lungs through which oxygen-rich air travels, says
Dr. Tushar Gupta, B.H.M.S.

The highest ideal of cure is the rapid, gentle, and permanent restoration of health…in the shortest, most reliable and most harmless way.” _ Samuel Hahnemann, M.D. (1755-1843), founder of Homeopathy Bronchitis in dogs is a common illness that affects the upper airways and causes coughing. To understand the disease, it’s first important to know about the basic anatomy that’s involved. Air enters the body through the mouth or nose and flows through the trachea, also known as the windpipe. The air then travels into smaller air passages called bronchi before reaching the smaller bronchioles and, finally, the tiny alveoli, where oxygen enters the bloodstream.

What Is Bronchitis?

Bronchitis is a disease characterised by inflammation in the bronchi and bronchioles — the parts of the lungs through which oxygen-rich air travels. The inflammation of the epithelium of bronchi and bronchioles is known as bronchitis. The inflammation extends to various depths of the mucosa of the bronchial tubes. Inflammation of the trachea and bronchi leads to a condition known as trachea-bronchitis. It may extend to lung parenchyma causing a condition known as broncho-pneumonia.

Types of Bronchitis

1. Acute bronchitis

2. Chronic bronchitis

A cough that is present most days for a minimum of two months without signs of other underlying conditions that may cause cough is described as Canine Chronic Bronchitis.

Predisposing factors

  1. Inhalation of irritants e.g., dirt, dust, gases, toxic
  2. fumes, chemicals, smoke etc.
  3. Sudden changes in environmental temperature
  4. Exposure to cold and damp weather
  5. Keeping the pet in a poor ventilated house
  6. Too much washing of pets with cold water

Exciting factors

  1. Bacteria like B. bronchiseptica, Streptococcus,
  2. Staphylococcus, Klebsiella
  3. Virus like influenza, canine distemper,
  4. canine adenovirus
  5. Parasites like migration of Ascaris larva

Clinical Findings

  1. Productive dry, harsh cough
  2. Cough is spasmodic in nature and noticed
  3. predominantly in the morning hours.
  4. Expectoration of a large volume of mucus
  5. and coughing.
  6. Elevation of body temperature.
  7. Increased Respiratory rate.
  8. Mucoid, mucopurulent, or purulent nasal discharge.
  9. In a severe attack, dyspnoea and mouth breathing.
  10. In chronic cases, plenty of rhonchi and crepitation all over the chest.

Environmental Modifications and Supportive

Treatment

  1. Prevent bronchitis coughing in dogs by avoiding
  2. environmental triggers and allergens.
  3. Avoid smoking around the dog
  4. Avoid spraying perfumes, scented products, or aerosols
  5. Ensure that the dog has a well-ventilated environment when possible
  6. Humidifiers, air purifiers, or diffusers might help

Obesity can worsen symptoms and exacerbate breathing difficulties in pets, so keep them at a healthy weight. Exercise is necessary to help mobilise secretions and clear airways. However, do not overexert the pet as it may trigger a coughing episode.

Homeopathic Treatment

Homeopathic medicines provide symptom-based holistic coverage for the treatment of bronchitis in pets.

Homeopathy has very effective remedies for bronchitis where the inflammation of the mucosa of the bronchi and bronchioles is reduced significantly, improving the signs and symptoms of the pet. These medicines are gentle on the system of the animal and are free of the usual side effects of strong allopathic medicines.

Homeopathic medicines also help in checking the overproduction or secretion of mucus by stabilising the activity of mucus-secreting cells.

Also, in the case of chronic bronchitis, homeopathic medicines help in reducing the oedema of the bronchial mucosa, reducing the secretion of mucus, and reducing the bronchial muscle spasm.

A case of Canine Chronic bronchitis managed with the holistic Homoeopathic line of treatment: Loki, 9 y/o Beagle, was examined for recurring symptoms of spasmodic, harsh and productive cough with increased mucus production. The dog had similar episodes of intermittent respiratory symptoms for the last one year and had gradually become lethargic and unwell. A detailed case history including history, signs, and symptoms was taken from the pet parent to formulate the holistic homeopathic line of treatment. The case was analysed utilising the latest homeopathic software and the line of treatment was formulated to cover a two-pronged approach. One was to provide symptombased relief for the acute symptoms and a long-term plan was prepared to include medicines known to reduce inflammation of bronchial mucosa and reduce mucus formation to delay the progression of chronic disease. Medicines used in this case: Bryonia alba, Arsenic album, Kali Mur, Drosera, Blatta orientalism (medicines were used based on symptom totality as and when needed, in regular/infrequent doses)

Symptomatic relief for the acute respiratory symptoms was observed in the first few days of treatment. The pet parent confirmed the reduction of cough and mucus with ease of breathing. Long-term homeopathic treatment was continued for Loki to control the clinical symptoms of chronic bronchitis and slow down the progressive lung damage. As a result, Loki is able to live a normal and better quality of life with reduced frequency and intensity of clinical symptoms.

As always, let us build a symbiotic relationship as a pet parent and caretaker to collaboratively spread the goodness and benefits of homeopathy amongst our pets.

Posted on

Let’s Ear it for the Dog

It’s pretty adorable when my lil’ buddy tilts his head to the side and looks up at me with those puppy dog eyes. But lately I’ve noticed that he persists with head-tilting and also keeps shaking his head. He also rubs his ear against hard objects. Could it be a sign that my pup is suffering from a dog ear infection?
Prerna Gauri, Gandhinagar

Among the most common signs of dog ear infections are whining, shaking the head, and pawing at the ears. After all, those ears hurt and your dog is trying to stop the pain. As you inspect the ears, however, you may find they smell or have a discharge. That’s common with ear infections. As a proud pet parent to a lovable pooch, you should be prepared to one day help your canine companion fight off an ear infection. Why? For one thing, your pal’s ear canal is mostly vertical unlike yours, which is mostly horizontal. This vertical orientation makes it easier for dirt, debris, and moisture to get trapped inside the ear and lead to infection. There are a lot of reasons why dogs get ear infections, which are one of the most common health problems dogs faces. The medical term for an ear infection is otitis, or an inflammation of the ear. Your doggie could get one of three types, depending on
what part of their ear is affected?

  1. Otitis Externa develops when the outer ear canal becomes inflamed
  2. Otitis Media refers to inflammation of the middle ear
  3. Otitis Interna is a serious condition affecting the inner ear that can lead to permanent damage

Otitis Externa is the most common, but it’s important that you always take your pup to the veterinarian if you suspect an ear infection, even if their symptoms are mild. Ear infections can spread deeper into the ear canal, causing nerve damage, equilibrium issues, and hearing loss.

There are a lot of factors that can contribute to your pooch developing an ear infection. Some common ones include excess hair in the ear canal, earwax build-up, or too much moisture. However, these factors are only contributors.

Ear conditions are very unlikely to clear up on their own and the longer it remains untreated the harder it is to clear up the problem. It’s true that some breeds of dogs – ones with long dangly ears such as Springer Spaniels – are more prone to ear problems than others. Dogs which spend a lot of time in water may also suffer from regular ear problems, as well as dogs with allergies. If your dog is the kind of breed that is susceptible to ear problems or has long ears, make it a part of your grooming routine to check their ears regularly. Keep the ears clean and if you spot a problem contact your vet to see if they think further investigation is needed.

Posted on

Fixing A Velcro Dog

Why is my dog so clingy? How can I get him to leave my side and be more independent? I can’t take a shower, or sit on the couch with a loved one without my pooch demanding attention and following my every move.
Ritika Chopra, Noida

You may have what’s called a “Velcro dog.” Let’s find out what this means and whether you should be worried about your dog’s clingy behaviour. Although clingy dog behaviour can be endearing, it can also be frustrating, especially when your dog just won’t leave you alone—even for a minute! There are some strategies that you can try to help your dog detach from you and build self-confidence. Showing your dog that other humans are just as nice as you will help them detach from you. Let your dog bond with other people in your home by having another person feed, play with, train, or walk your dog. If you live alone, you can still have friends come over and interact with your dog. Velcro dogs want to keep an eye on you everywhere you go, so it’s important to show your dog that the world won’t end if you’re out of their sight. You can do this by setting boundaries. For example, shutting the door when you use the bathroom or go to another room, and then come back within a few minutes. This training may take a while, but your dog will learn that just because they can’t see you doesn’t mean you’ve abandoned them. Anxious dogs will do anything from whining, to inappropriate elimination in the house to get your attention. A way to correct this is to not reward your dog for needy behaviors. For example, if you leave a room, and your dog starts to cry, don’t reward the behavior by consoling him. Rewarding negative behaviors will only enforce attention-seeking behaviors. It’s OK if you don’t talk to your dog all the time, or constantly give him attention and cuddling. You can teach your dog to occupy himself while you’re at home by encouraging independent activities like offering chew toys or doggy puzzles. This way, your dog can learn to entertain himself with these same activities while you’re gone. If you have a “Velcro dog,” they may know what getting your briefcase, or jingling your car keys means, and this can cause anxiety. Helping to desensitise your dog to these actions can make leaving your home less stressful for both you and your dog. You can help relieve your dog’s anxiety by not making leaving a big deal, and to practice those rituals often without leaving. For example, grab your car keys, put on your coat and grab your bag several times each day without leaving. Soon your dog will eventually learn to stop associating these tasks with you leaving. If you have done everything under the sun to try to get your dog from following you everywhere, and experiencing anxiety if you leave the home, call a behaviorist. Veterinarians specializing in animal behavior can give you tools and counseling to help you and your “Velcro dog.”

Posted on

DOGS FEEL THE PAIN, TOO

When people are in pain, it’s pretty hard to miss most of the time. We complain about our aching back. We yell out because we’ve stepped on something pointy. We limp because it hurts to put pressure on a leg. But how do I tell if my dog is in pain? _ Prarthana Kaushik, Pune

If you’ve ever stepped on your pet’s foot by accident, or taken them to the vet so their doctor can inject them with medication, you might have heard them cry out or try to get away quickly. This obviously means they have the same pain receptors that we have. Just like humans, some dogs have a higher pain tolerance, which means that they’re more stoic. It doesn’t mean that if somebody hits them it doesn’t hurt. They just push through it. Dogs feel pain the same way we do, but they don’t always show it in the same way. A dog’s pain can become evident through physical symptoms, behavioural changes and/or mobility issues. These might be subtle, so stay vigilant and never be afraid to ask your vet about anything that might signal that your dog is in pain. If your dog never seems to show indications of pain, it’s not that he doesn’t feel it, it’s that he’s opting not to make his discomfort obvious to others. This behaviour is an innate relic from their forefathers. If a wild canine makes it clear that he feels weak, he becomes an easy target for fights and predators. If he behaves tough and healthy, he is no more a focus than anyone else, and therefore might be able to stay out of physical confrontations. Although dogs often try to keep their pain confidential, it sometimes becomes too much to bear. If your poor pooch is suffering, you might pick up on a host of signs. Signs Your Dog Feels Pain: Since there are many different injuries that can happen to a pup, there are going to be plenty of different signs to look out for. With this, there may be some signs that are not always there. In general, the following signs are the ones to look out for the most. These include crying, moaning, hesitation with regard to movement, antsy behaviour, widened pupils, frequent panting, decreased grooming, crouching down, shivering, atypically fierce behaviour, dull coat, aversion to physical contact, unusually silent or antisocial behaviour, hiding, inordinate chewing or biting of body parts, hobbling, excessive sleeping, bodily rigidness, loss of appetite and pressed down ears. If your pet’s temperament just seems off in general, pain might be the culprit. Take your cutie to the veterinarian as soon as you notice a single sign of pain. If his pain is outwardly apparent, it might mean that he’s been dealing with it for a while. When your pupper is dealing with pain, it is your job to know how to handle it, which means you will need to train yourself on how to best help your pup and then train them on how to know you are helping. Firstly, after you have had your four-legged friend for a while, you will more than likely pick up on their different personality traits and even understand how they are feeling most of the time. If they are acting strange or your head is telling you that there is something wrong, you should probably listen to it. When you are checking out your pup, you will want to make sure they know you are helping them out. This is where the training comes in. You will want to train your dog to let you check on their different body parts. You can do this by using repetition and treats as positive reinforcement. What this will do is let them know it is a good and safe thing to allow you to check their body out for any harm. This will also make sure that they become used to you doing this type of thing. That way, in case of an emergency, they will not have any issue with you checking their body. With that being said, as long as your dog is given a stress-free and happy environment, your dog will feel safe coming to you when they are in pain. This does not mean, however, that you should not be as gentle as possible. Until you know where the injury is located and the extent of the damage, be extra-careful as you check over each body part.

Posted on

Take Fido on a Sniff

When you walk your dog, should you keep a straight line without stops or do you let the dog stop and sniff? My dog is thrilled to get outside and exercise, but if I don’t try to keep us moving, he’ll stop and sniff every-thing he can find, and he’ll spend a good amount of time doing it. _ Nisha Jagtiani, Gandhinagar

Your pup is not alone in his love for all things odorous. Dogs need to sniff. It’s the primary way they experience the world around them and make sense of everything. They have 50 times as many scent receptors in their noses as humans, and they even have an additional organ above the roof of their mouths called the vomeronasal organ that helps trap scents.

So, asking a dog to go on a walk without sniffing is like asking a human to go for a walk without looking at anything except for what is exactly in front of them. That might be good exercise, but it would be pretty boring, right? To us it can be boring, pointless and at times even frustrating that our dogs are obsessively sniffing everything on their path. However: It is really important that we let them use their noses and the calming effects that come with sniffing.

Some breeds that are more likely to obsessively sniff than others (Border Terriers, Bloodhounds or Beagles are big sniffers). Nervous and anxious dogs also tend to sniff especially intensely. Let’s look at sniffing and the benefits that come with it! It’s not easy to appreciate just how much information dogs can absorb through sniffing. Unfortunately, this is not something we will ever be able to experience ourselves, so abstract knowledge of their superior ability to smell is all we have. Dogs can smell 10,000 – 100,000 times better than we can. They can detect some scents in parts per trillion. In numbers, that means they can notice 1 particle in 1,000,000,000,000 other particles. We utilise the incredible power of our dogs’ noses in many ways. From Search and Rescue dogs that save victims that otherwise would have been lost over drug detection dogs to service dogs that can alert their owners by smelling stuff in advance. But sniffing is not just our dog’s greatest talent. It also is one of their most universally enjoyed past-times. Different breeds of dogs like or dislike different activities. A Saint Bernard may not be thrilled about daily sessions of playing frisbee and an Italian Greyhound may not like to come swimming with you. An Anatolian Shepherd probably doesn’t need to go to the farmers market and greet dozens of people every weekend and a Belgian Malinois is not a lap dog. (This is why it is so important to make sure your dog fits your lifestyle before you acquire him, whether through a rescue or from a breeder. Picking a dog that similar ideas of fun as you have will make your life together so much easier and more joyful.) All breeds however, no matter how big, active or aloof, have one thing in common: They love to sniff.

Posted on

How far should I walk my dog?

How long should I walk my dog? How can I be sure my dog is getting enough exercise, how much is enough, and what happens if he doesn’t get it?
_ Amit Tewari, Lucknow

This is a frequently asked question, especially by new dog owners. The answer to this is not a one-response-fits-all solution, as it depends on many factors. For example, the size and age of the dog and even its fitness level will help you to determine how long to walk your dog. Let’s start with what happens if your dog doesn’t get enough exercise. Just like people, dogs can become overweight without physical activity. But it can create other problems for our furry friends and you, including:

the house, getting into the trash, destroying items in the household, or increased aggression toward people or other pets can be caused by lack of exercise. However, there are other things that can also cause this type of behaviour.

Some dogs will become withdrawn when they’re not getting enough physical stimulation. If your dog was very social, and no longer runs to the door in anticipation of a walk or acts disinterested when you enter the room, they could be depressed. Again, there are other things that can cause this behaviour.

Hyperactivity when they are on a walk. If your dog gets over-excited when you take out their leash or when you’re about to head out the door, it may be a sign of restlessness and a need for more physical activity. Excessive leash pulling can also mean that your dog needs to burn more energy. That being said, leash pulling can be caused by other things, so consult a trainer.

Your dog may bark and whine a lot if they aren’t getting enough exercise. Coming to your original question, how do you know how long a walk your dog needs. Every dog, just like every person, is unique, but what breed (or breeds, in the case of mixed breeds), age, size and overall health can tell you a lot. Also, a general rule of thumb is that your dog should spend between 30 minutes and two hours being active every day.

A general guide for exercise per breed size is:

Small breeds. This group includes dogs from the Chihuahua to the Bichon or Shih Tzu. They have moderate exercise needs with a daily walk of 20 to 30 minutes. The exception would be the toy and miniature poodle which are more active and also intelligent, so require a little more physical activity and plenty of mental stimulation.

Giant Breeds. The Giant breeds include the Great Dane and Saint Bernard. They have moderate exercise needs because they have to move such a large frame. However, it is important to still be moderately active to keep their joints and bones strong and for weight management. A 30-to-45-minute walk is sufficient. Also, many of the giant breed dogs are keen swimmers, so swimming is a great exercise for them because it’s low weight-bearing.

The dogs who need the most exercise – 60-to-120 minutes daily – are:
Sporting breeds, like Retrievers and Springer Spaniels, Standard Poodles.
Working breeds, such as Dobermans, Huskies and Rottweilers.
Herding breeds, like Sheepdogs, Collies, Shepherds, Cattle Dogs, and Corgis.

Others need 60-to-90 minutes per day:

Terrier and Vermin Breeds, which include Bull Terriers, Airedale Terriers and smaller terriers such as Jack Russel, Yorkshire Terriers and Westies.

Scent Hounds, like Beagles and Basset Hounds.

Dogs that need little exercise are brachycephalic dogs – those with a squashed face like Bulldogs and Pugs.

Because they have pushed-in faces, they are prone to overheating. They require a 20-to-30 minute walk a day.

The Bottom Line: All dogs need daily exercise to stay happy and healthy. If you’re just starting a walking routine with your dog, start slowly. Observe their responses, and add longer walks as they get stronger. Your dog should be happily tired and not exhausted. And remember that increased activity doesn’t mean they need more food! If you have any concerns about whether your dog can handle a long walk or whether you should implement a dog exercise plan for her, talk to your vet and get expert advice. Keeping up with routine veterinary care visits is arguably the most important part of responsible pet ownership. Routine veterinary check-ups can provide insight into any changes in your pet’s health, and give you an opportunity to ask any questions you may have about your dog and their current life stage.

Posted on

Goodbye, Dog Smell

Why do dogs smell the way they do, plus how to get rid of dog smell in the house?
_ Anuradha Mittal, New Delhi

The infamous ‘doggie smell’ can be unpleasant for your family and embarrassing when you have visitors. Here are some practical tips for reducing or eliminating those nasty odours. While us owners can become accustomed to dog smells, the same isn’t true for visitors. Bad smells can also be a sign of an unclean house, which could

expose your family or dog to harmful bacteria. Regular cleaning is essential if you want to keep bad odours away. It’s not just the frequency of cleaning that makes the difference though – it’s also where and how you clean. The good news is that there are plenty of simple tips you can use to get rid of dog smells. Here are some of our favourites to keep your house smelling as fresh and odour-free as possible. A lingering doggie smell can either come from the dog themselves, or from odors embedded into soft furnishings and flooring. In many cases, it’ll be a combination of the two. All dogs have a natural odour that’s secreted from glands across their body. The bulk of these are in paws, around the anus, and in footpads. Some dogs have stronger odors than others though.

These include:

Breeds with oily coats. Oily coats often have a stronger scent. Coats with water-resistant properties, like those found on a Labrador Retriever, are prime examples.

Breeds that drool more than others. Dogs that are prone to excessive drooling can be smellier, particularly around their mouth, neck and chest.

Dogs with health conditions. Some health conditions, like allergies or skin infections, can cause your dog to be more smelly than normal. It’s important to seek veterinary advice if you notice any changes to your dog’s skin, behaviour, or odours.

Dogs who are dirt magnets. Dogs who love outdoor adventures, swimming, or rolling in smelly things are all likely to be whiffler.

While it’s often easy to notice when your dog smells bad, odours can also become embedded in soft furnishings and flooring around the house. This is due to drool, hair, dander, coat oils and saliva becoming absorbed into fabrics and crevices. These odours are often more difficult to pinpoint and remove. Over time, they start to

permeate the home, which is why doggie smells can remain even after bathing your dog. Of course, if you have a puppy, elderly dog, or a pet who isn’t house trained, indoor accidents are also a major source of bad odours. Urine can be tricky to remove, and if you don’t tackle the clean-up thoroughly, overpowering smells can begin to emanate from those spots. These smells also encourage your dog to return to the same spot.

Air Out Your Home

It’s amazing how much of a difference simply opening the windows in your home can make to the odours inside. This is especially true if you live in a house with lots of family members, poor ventilation, or in a humid climate. Opening the windows in more than one room will help to circulate the air more effectively. Admittedly, this isn’t going to be a magic cure. For deeply embedded odors, you’ll need to take more proactive measures. But, when the weather is mild enough, this can be enough to give the house a pleasant freshen up.

Wash Dog Bedding Regularly

A dog’s bed is often the strongest source of doggie odours. This isn’t surprising, as beds are constantly exposed to hair, dander, oils and even urine. When combined with a damp post-walk dog, beds become the perfect environment for bacteria and mould. For this reason, it’s a good idea to wash your dog’s bed at least once every two weeks. If your dog sheds a lot, goes on muddy walks, or is highly active, then you may want to wash the bed

weekly. Soft beds tend to absorb odours faster than other types. Many have foam mattresses which can’t easily be cleaned, so it’s vital that these are protected. Look for soft beds with durable and waterproof covers that can be machine-washed, as this makes it easier to keep the bed clean.

Clean Your Dog’s Toys

A 2011 study found that pet toys are among the top 10 dirtiest things in the average household. Saliva, food and general muck can build up on toys over time. As well as being a reservoir for pungent odors, the resulting bacteria can be a health hazard. Getting into a habit of cleaning toys each week is recommended. Hard toys can be cleaned with hot soapy water or a white distilled vinegar solution, before being thoroughly rinsed. Soft toys

can usually be machine washed, and you can add a little baking soda to absorb stinky odours.

Vacuum Carpets

If you have carpets or rugs in your home, vacuuming at least twice a week will help to keep odors at bay. Dust, dirt, dander and dog hairs get caught in carpet fibres, making them start to smell much more quickly than hard floors or tiles. Don’t forget to vacuum sofas, carpeted stairs, curtains and other soft furnishings. Any fabric in the home can harbour doggie smells, although the worst offenders are those your pet has direct contact with. If you have a patch of carpet with a noticeable smell, then vacuuming isn’t going to remove the odor. Instead, you can use baking soda to neutralise the odour.

Buy an Air Purifier

Air purifiers are designed to remove dust, bacteria and other particles from the air. They can be effective for helping tackle doggy odours too.