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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.

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Do The Dew!

Why do dogs have dewclaws? I’m talking to a breeder about a puppy, and he says the dewclaws will be removed. Is it better to remove them or keep them?
Rashmi Seth, Mumbai

All dogs are born with a toenail on the inside of their front legs called the dewclaw. When looking at a dog’s foot the toes that make contact with the ground are essentially the pinky, ring, middle, and index fingers – the dewclaws are like the thumb. Feeling the nail you should be able to move the dewclaw a little (forwards and backwards) and you’ll probably be able to feel the tendons that connect the nail to the leg. The presence of these tendons suggests that the front dewclaw has a function and that removal of the front dewclaw may have lifelong consequences for our dogs.

The dewclaws are often referred to as vestigial appendages, meaning they no longer serve a purpose, but many dog owners would beg to differ on that subject. Dogs haven’t taken to texting yet (give them time), but they use their dewclaws to grasp and manipulate items such as bones and toys, grip ice or other surfaces to pull themselves out of water, and gently scratch an itchy eye. Dogs doing agility may grasp the sides of the teeter with their dewclaws to steady themselves. And canine speedsters such as whippets and border collies use their dewclaws to corner like race cars.

Now some breeders remove the dewclaws because they don’t see any use for them, and because it can be a painful, bloody mess if your dog tears his dewclaw. Dewclaws that stick out, instead of being tight to the paw, can get caught in carpeting or brush or when dogs go after prey such as lizards in rock piles. Usually, the dewclaws are removed when puppies are only a few days old. While painful, it’s not an especially traumatic event, as it would be later in life. When standing, the front dewclaw may not appear to be functional because it doesn’t come in contact with the ground but observing the dewclaw when the dog is in motion tells a different story. Five tendons attach to the dewclaw and play an important role when the dog is in motion. For example: When a dog’s lead leg is on the ground during the gallop or canter, the dewclaw is on the ground to stabilize the carpus. When a dog turns, the dewclaw digs into the ground to support the structures of the limb and prevent torque. Some dogs also use their dewclaws to help them climb trees and out of water, or hold items as they chew. If a dog does not have dewclaws, there is a higher potential for the carpal ligaments to stretch and tear which could result in laxity and arthritis over time (OUCH!). This can then result in more stress being generated through the dog’s carpus, elbow, shoulder, and spine as it tries to compensate for the lack of digit. There are a number of reasons why someone may choose to remove front dewclaws from their dog. So what are some of the reasons behind removal?

Belief that fronts dewclaws are a non-functional digit. For many years, people believed that because the nail of the dewclaw doesn’t touch the ground in standing that it must not have a real purpose and therefore removal of the nail wouldn’t impact the dog in any way. Rear dewclaws, on the other hand, do not have any associated tendons and are considered non-functional (though they may be required for some breed standards to be present).

Breeders fear pet owners won’t cut dewclaws or will miss them. Some breeders fear that pet owners will miss the dewclaw when trimming their dogs nails and risk the nail becoming embedded or ripping.

Cleaner front look. In the conformation ring some breeders and owners feel that the dewclaw detracts from the dog’s overall appearance.

Risk of injury and fear of the dog ripping their dewclaw. Some feel that the dewclaw is an unnecessary risk and remove the nail to prevent potential injury. Keeping the nail short is key to avoiding injury with dewclaws! Like other toenails the nail of dewclaw needs to be trimmed regularly but due to the location of the dewclaw the nail will not make contact with the ground and will not wear down naturally like other toenails. Left untrimmed, the nail can curve down and become ingrown, risking infection. Untrimmed, the nail will also develop a longer quick making it difficult to maintain proper length. Long dewclaws also have a greater risk of catching on things and risk injury. Speaking with vets, you may be surprised at how few dewclaw injuries they see in dogs with well managed nails.

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A Peek into 143rd Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

 

Yogi, a soft coated wheaten Terrier, is seen during masters agility preliminaries at the 143rd  Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

 

Hairy beauty Nadia , Lowchen, is seen wandering during the meet the breed.

 

An old sheepdog during the meet the breeds. 

Siberian husky is seen during meet the breeds in 143rd  Annual Westminster Kennel club Dog show, reported by USA Today.

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Grooming is a pleasurable social activity among wild dogs

Primates engage in intense bouts of hair care and flea picking and horses love to nibble each other’s manes and backs.

Primates engage in intense bouts of hair care and flea picking and horses love to nibble each other’s manes and backs. Grooming is, therefore, an important behavioural interaction between man and dog. It also establishes us as the dominant one. The dog recognises this dominance when it “grooms” us by licking our hands and exposed skin, if we allow it. Start grooming as early as possible. Check and handle the ears, eyes, teeth, and nails. All dogs need grooming, some more than others. Generally, the longer the hair, the more frequently the grooming will be required. Introduce the brush and comb as a pleasant experience for short but frequent periods while the dog is still a puppy. Do not wait until your dog becomes knotted and tangled or its fur is clogged with dried mud before you think of grooming it. This is the surest way to make your dog hate grooming. Badly knotted fur should only be dealt with by experts. Consult your vet or a grooming specialist. Don´t forget that when nails are very long, cutting should be carried out by a vet because it is easy to cut into a vein in the nail, which causes bleeding as well as being painful. A vet will be able to cauterise it at once should this happen. The best way to keep your dog’s nails in trim is to take lots of walks on hard surfaces. If you do buy a special cutter from a vet or pet shop, only cut the very end of the nail. If the dog is nervous, handle its paws daily until it gets used to this, and then cut the claws on one foot a day.

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This dog groomer turns pups into perfectly manicured fluff balls — and the photos will make you so happy

It’s not every day that you come across a dog that looks like a sheep.

It’s not every day that you come across a dog that looks like a sheep. But for dog groomer Yoriko Hamachiyo, it’s not all that unusual. Hamachiyo owns a dog salon called Yorikokoro in Japan that produces delightfully fluffy pooches.

The work this groomer does is astounding. In fact, it’ll make you want to travel all the way to Japan just so Hamachiyo can do your hair. If you don’t believe us now, you will after scrolling through the below photos of perfectly manicured pups.

Often, the dogs come out of the salon unrecognizable from their former selves. We’re not sure how Hamachiyo managed to make this look cool, but he did.

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Professional grooming is very important for your pets health

The heat and humidity lately have pet owners rushing to see their groomer, because if you’re sweating or uncomfortable in this weather, your pet probably is too.

The heat and humidity lately have pet owners rushing to see their groomer, because if you’re sweating or uncomfortable in this weather, your pet probably is too.

La Crescent Animal Care has professional groomers and they say it’s not just about the haircut.

A day at the pet spa includes grooming of all sorts, such as a nice haircut with a little off the top, or a good shampooing to get that fur velvety soft again. All that special treatment should be provided by someone who does it daily. Kimberly Cook, a nationally certified master groomer at La Crescent Animal Care says, “I started certifying in 1997 and finished up in 2006. I was a competitive groomer from 2009 to 2011.”

Kimberly has the awards and recognition from her national and international competitions to back that up. Now she likes teaching her clients about proper grooming and how often it should be done. Kimberly, with over two decades of experience added, “I try to educate my clients in that it is part of their health care. So we would like you to be on a four to six week schedule.”

Tory Macejik, another pet stylist at La Crescent Animal Care, says that keeping up with grooming could pay off in the long run for your pets health. “For groomers, we pretty much check everything on the dogs body because we give them hair cuts, we give them baths, trim their nails, so we see everything. If a dog has something wrong with its’ paw or an ear infection, or ticks, or fleas, or a growth or something. We always inform the customer.”

But what about the heat and humidity? Should your pet change its’ haircut just because of the warmer season? Kimberly says no and for good reason. She explains by saying, “You don’t have to shave a dog to make it more comfortable. This can actually cause problems with sunshine, UV, and stuff like that. The most important thing is to make sure they have water and keep those paws off the hot pavement. Other than that they can have their same haircut all year long.”

After the grooming, not only will your pet be happier and healthier, but you will be just as happy knowing that it was professionally done and you don’t have to deal with the clean up of all that fur.

An interesting note from the groomers, Tory and Kimberly; they say playing soothing music and having essential oils filling the room really helps to calm the animals nerves. They even have special essential oils for cats. La Crescent Animal Care are busy and currently booking for two weeks out.

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Grooming isn’t a luxury!

I have recently adopted a Chow Chow puppy as its owners, who were shifting to the US with family said they couldn’t afford to take him along. I simply adore the pup, but I’m concerned with his grooming. A lot of people told me it’s sheer luxury and not more than a fashion statement. Is it true? –Rhea Mirchandani, Mumbai

Contrary to what many people think, dog grooming is not a luxury, but a necessity for your dog’s comfort and health, with the added benefit of looking great of course. Cleaning and grooming your dog regularly makes it easier to identify health problems before they get out of hand and leaves your pet feeling comfortable and happy. How important is grooming to your pet’s comfort and health? Have you ever had your hair in a ponytail that was just a little too tight? Maybe your hair was just bunched up or stuck together? A mat can feel the same way to your dog — a constant pull on the skin. Try to imagine those all over your body, and you have an idea how uncomfortable an ungroomed coat can be. Your dog doesn’t need to know what a mat feels like if you keep him brushed and combed, but that’s just the start of the health benefits. Regular grooming allows you to look for lumps, bumps and injuries, all the while clearing mats and ticks from his coat. Follow up with your veterinarian on any questionable masses you find, and you may detect cancer early enough to save your pet’s life. For shorthaired breeds, keeping skin and coat in good shape is easy. Run your hands over him daily and brush weekly — that’s it. For other breeds, grooming is a little more involved. Breeds such as Pomeranians, St Bernards, Golden Retrievers, Corgis, Akitas, Chows and Huskies are “double-coated,” which means they have a downy undercoat underneath a harsher layer of long hair. The down can mat like a layer of felt against the skin if left untended. In the spring and fall — the big shedding times — you’ll end up with enough fluffy undercoat to make a whole new dog. Keep brushing and think of the benefits: The fur you pull out with a brush won’t end up on the furniture. Plus, removing the old stuff keeps your pet cooler in the summer and allows new insulation come in for the winter.

Silky-coated dogs such as Afghan Hounds, Cockers and Maltese also need constant brushing to keep tangles from forming. Coats of this type require so much attention that having a groomer keep the dogs trimmed to a medium length is often more practical. In fact, experts say that the pets, who shed the least are longhaired dogs kept short-trimmed by a groomer. Curly and wiry coats, such as those on Poodles and Terriers, need to be brushed weekly, working against the grain and then with it. Curly coats need to be clipped every six weeks; wiry ones, two or three times a year (though clipping every six weeks will keep your Terrier looking sharper). Good grooming also provides benefits for both of you. Regular grooming relaxes the dog who’s used to it, and it becomes a special time that you can both share. A coat free of mats, burrs and tangles and skin free of fleas and ticks are as comfortable to your dog as fresh, clean clothes are to you. It makes you feel good, and the effect is the same for your pet. And, for allergy sufferers, keeping your pooch clean may make having a dog possible. Some added benefit for you: Giving your dog a tummy rub after every session is sure to relax you (and your dog, of course) and ease the stress of your day.

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This Tangled Life

My Shih Tzu, Toto, has two main purposes in life: to provide unconditional love and to be the little cute thing that makes me happy. The fluffy ball of fur, however, turns into a monster when I try to brush his hair. What can I do about my dog’s matted coat? Please help. – Rekha Pandey, Mumbai

First of all, don’t panic—even with daily brushing, some dogs manage to get their hair tied up in knots, but removing them may be easier than you think. Rather than the occasional brushing that a short haired dog requires, owners with dogs such as poodles, Shih Tzu, Lhasa, Maltese, Yorkies, Bichons, Pekingese, Poms and many others have coats that require daily brushing. If such a breed goes too long without a thorough brush and comb out, mats are going to take over. Do not, however, yank on the mat or pull roughly. Dogs will remember something that is painful and will not be so eager to have their mats pulled out in the future. Keep everything positive and stop at the first signs of stress. Dogs seem to have a keen memory of distressful situations and will avoid them in the future. So, if your dog is really matted, it is better to shave him down or have the groomer do this rather than subjecting him to any painful de-matting. You might get the job done, but if it meant hurting the dog, you will have lost the dog’s confidence in you as a D.I.Y. Groomer and protest the next time you try to groom him. Finish off any grooming session on a positive note with a hug, praise and a treat if you like.

Shih Tzu Mat

All mats are not alike. Small matted dog hair can occur daily because your long haired dog is continually shedding dead hairs. This shedding process is not like those breeds that leave hair all over your house. Rather, the long haired dog sheds its hair into the coat causing small mats to form. As new hairs grow in, mats can occur very close to the skin. Shih Tzu dogs have very thick coats made up of two layers: A dense outer coat and a soft cottony inner coat. Brushing the outer coat will make the dog look good, but may not get at all the mats. Sometimes the only way to assure that the dog has been brushed thoroughly is to go over the entire body with a metal comb.
Matted hair not only make the coat look disheveled, they actually add to a dog’s distress and cause skin irritation. When this happens, the dog bites at its skin or tries to scratch causing the mat to grow in size and the hair to get even more tangled. A severely matted dog is not a happy dog. Small mats or knots are easy to remove if the dog is brushed daily or several times a week. Larger knots form when a part of the dog’s coat has been neglected for some time. Even with proper training and socialization to the grooming process, some long haired dog dogs do not like parts of their body brushed. Under the front legs, the legs themselves, behind the ears and at the base of the tail are areas that often knot if not brushed frequently. These are also areas that are very sensitive to the dog so the dog protests when these areas are being brushed.

Tangles Tips

  • Always brush your dog before you give him a bath. The bath water tends to set the mats making them even harder to remove. Use a good quality dog shampoo followed by a conditioning rinse.
  • Use a blow dryer after a bath. Blow the dog’s hair as you brush. You can brush in the direction the hair grows as well as in the opposite direction. Brush or comb a section of hair as you are drying the hair. Hand held dryers that have stands work really well if you need an extra hand. If you are using a dryer without a stand, you can create a temporary stand by rolling up a small towel and placing the dryer on it. Use a low, cool setting and monitor the dryer carefully so that the air intake is never blocked by the towel.
  • Never brush a dog without first spraying it with a styling product such as a de-tangling spray or a diluted conditioning spray. Brushing and combing dry hair will tend to split it and you are likely to be fighting against static electricity.
  • Use a pin brush and part the hair with a rat tail comb so that you are brushing small sections at a time. Begin at the lowest portion of the dog (paws) and work up the sides and then to the back and head.
  • After brushing the entire dog, go back with a steel comb and comb the hair completely. You are likely to find some mats that were missed with the pin brush. Use a slicker brush for styling and making the coat look sleek and beautiful.
  • Never brush the same area more than 10 strokes at a time. Go onto another section and come back if necessary. Brushing in one area, even if you know that knots are present, only tends to irritate the skin (and the dog).

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