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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Chewing bones is a favourite pastime of my dog so much so that he even buries his beloved bone in our yard. Nina Chavan, Pune
Whether it’s a bone, a stinky shoe, their favourite toy, or your human child’s favourite toy (uhoh), our beloved canine companions often find themselves digging knee deep in a hole, stowing away yet another wonderful treasure. Sometimes they even pick your couch cushions or your new duvet cover as a great place to hide pilfered goodies. No matter the location, it appears dogs often find it necessary to store away preferred items from any potential robbers. Including you. But why? To us, this canine behaviour may seem odd, so why do dogs invest so much energy in burying their prized possessions? The reason why a dog buries something is to save it for later. When you don’t know when you’ll find your next meal, it makes sense to hide leftovers. The act of burying bones is a type of “food caching,” that is, storing available food supplies for the purpose of later access. It’s a common behaviour in many species of birds and mammals, including in the canine ancestors of domestic dogs — grey wolves — which is where dogs inherited their burying instincts. While wolves, which are known for their cunning hunting skills, tend to stay in a scavenge area long enough to devour their prey entirely, they will occasionally carry and bury the remains of a kill, according to a 1976 study published in the journal Ethology.
(Wolves and other canids are known as “scatter hoarders,” meaning they stash their leftover food in hideaways located over fairly large areas.) This same study showed that even wolf pups’ cache, and will move their cache to keep it from being discovered by a sibling. So, when dogs exhibit this seemingly unusual behaviour in your backyard, rest assured — they’re simply following their instinctual “inner wolf.” Most dogs today don’t need to store food because they have doting pet parents to feed them, but that doesn’t mean their natural urge to squirrel things away for later doesn’t still exist. Sometimes, the instinct to bury things has nothing to do with storing food or protecting it from scavengers. According to dog behaviourist Cesar Millan, burying can be a dog’s way of savouring cherished objects, so they can be enjoyed again later. It can also be a way for bored dogs to initiate play with their owner, or a method of stress relief for anxious dogs. Meanwhile, some breeds, such as terriers, are simply more prone to digging, whether to bury food or to burrow holes for no specific reason at all. Dogs specifically bred to hunt or chase critters into their dens often like to bury toys, bones and treats. So, it’s not uncommon to see a Dachshund burying a bone under the couch pillows. If a dog doesn’t have a burying instinct, it shouldn’t be cause for concern. In severe cases, a dog may feel the need to hide or guard all types of items they find really valuable, and this can lead to resource guarding, a more serious issue that needs attention from a certified canine behaviour consultant or veterinary behaviourist. To prevent your yard (or your living room) from becoming an excavation site, always offer your dog daily enrichment opportunities that engage both their mind and body. Take them for walks and let them sniff, play games of fetch and tug, and do some fun trick training using positive reinforcement. Schedule time in your day to practice basic skills so your dog gets access to stimulating reinforcement opportunities every single day.
WSAVA nutrition course supports veterinary professionals in creating feeding and monitoring plans
A four-module online nutrition course initiated by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s Continuing Education Committee (CEC) has been launched. Available free of charge to WSAVA members on the WSAVA Academy, the course aims to increase veterinary understanding of the value of nutritional assessments. It also supports veterinary professionals in creating feeding and monitoring plans and in advising clients as to the importance of appropriate nutrition for their dog or cat. While it is aimed at veterinarians, vet techs and nurses and veterinary students, the WSAVA says that individuals with a professional interest in pet food selection criteria and in body conditioning scoring, such as breeders and those working in shelters, will also find the content useful.
The course modules feature narrated and interactive e-learning, with videos, downloadable resources, multiple choice questions and drag and drop activities to help learners test their knowledge. They are currently available in English, Spanish, Russian and Mandarin Chinese and RACE accreditation is underway. The course has been generously supported by WSAVA Diamond Partner, the Purina Institute.
The course has been developed by the WSAVA’s Global Nutrition Committee (GNC), which offers a range of educational resources and tools for veterinary teams in its Global Nutrition Toolkit. The GNC promotes the importance of performing a nutritional assessment on every animal at every visit and advocates the inclusion of nutrition as a component of all veterinary and veterinary nurse/technician curricula. The GNC is supported by the Purina Institute, Hill’s Pet Nutrition and Royal Canin.
Commenting, WSAVA CEC Chair, Dr Jane Armstrong said: “The CEC is delighted to see the GNC’s Global Nutrition Guidelines brought to life in such a user-friendly form. This course is a valuable addition to the online offerings available on the WSAVA Academy. Thanks to the generosity of our Diamond Partner, the Purina Institute, we are pleased that the important foundational nutritional information it contains is freely available to all WSAVA members. As the International Veterinary Students Association is an affiliate member of WSAVA, veterinary students around the world will also enjoy free access to the modules, which is particularly great news.”
GNC Co-Chair Dr Marge Chandler said: “The modules were designed as an engaging and practical way for the practice team to incorporate nutritional assessments into everyday practice around the world, thus bringing added value to their patients and clients.”
Dr Natalia Wagemans, Head of the Purina Institute, said: “The Purina Institute and the WSAVA have a common goal to advance the science of nutrition to help pets live better, longer lives. We are proud to support this WSAVA course.”
The evolution of medicine, technology, and the pet–parent relationship has created an abundance of geriatric pets. As a profession, veterinarians have many opportunities to give our canine companions the medicinal support needed as they navigate the unstable waters of getting old, says Dr Tushar Gupta
The word Geriatrics (Greek greas – old, iatrike – surgery/medicine) refers to the branch of medicine dealing with old age-related problems. Pets are currently surviving longer than they have ever lived before, thanks to increased veterinarian care and dietary habits. As a result, dogs, as well as their pet parents and veterinarians, are confronted with a whole new set of agerelated illnesses. Just like humans, senior dogs also face issues of limited mobility, sleep pattern changes, decreased vision and hearing, and rely on family support to help manage care, safety, health, and mental stimulation. What qualifies a pet for the geriatric, or senior pet, title? Based on the American Veterinary Medical Association, small dogs and cats are generally considered old at the age of seven years. Larger breed dogs have shorter life spans and are classified as geriatric when they reach the age of six years. The majority of pet owners prefer to think of their pet’s age in human terms.
Benefits of Geriatric care in pets
Relief of symptoms and suffering of pets and relieved pain and agony
Prevent deterioration of existing age-related conditions
Improve the quality of life by preventing and treating disease and disability related with aging
Pet parent’s comfort to see their pet continues to live a healthy life as long as possible.
There are multiple changes observed in various body systems in pets due to aging. As a pet parent, you might observe varied signs and symptoms depending on the sickness or problem that your pet is experiencing, and some signs can be seen with many issues. A holistic approach is required to manage the geriatric diseases in pets, including early detection of signs and symptoms, dietary and regular graded exercises coupled with the homeopathic line of treatment.
Geriatric diseases: Homeopathic medicines provide symptom-based holistic coverage for the majority of geriatric diseases diagnosed in pets e.g., diseases affecting the respiratory system, nervous system, musculoskeletal system, endocrine system, urinary system, cardiovascular system, alimentary system, and behavioral disorders.
Arthritis is one of the most frequent diseases occurring in aged dogs.
Homeopathy has some very effective remedies for arthritis, lameness, joint pains etc., where the inflammation, pain, and swelling are reduced significantly, improving the quality of life of the pet. These medicines are gentle on the system of the aging animal and are free of the usual side-effects of strong allopathic medicines. Homeopathic medicines also help in checking the progress of the degenerative disease.
Rocky, eight-year-old Labrador, was examined for symptoms of stiffness, limping and difficulty getting up for a few months. The previously active dog gradually became lethargic and unwilling to move, run or play with its pet parent. As a result, the dog gained weight which further exacerbated the problem. Increased irritability was also being observed by the owner indicating the ill-health of the dog.
The dog was diagnosed as suffering from Osteoarthritis, as confirmed by the veterinarian, based on physical examination and radiology reports. 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 January-March, 2022 BUDDY LIFE 55 a two-pronged approach. One was to provide symptom-based relief to ease the pain and suffering and a long-term plan was prepared to include medicines known to reduce inflammation and delay the progression of further degenerative disease.
Medicines used in this case: Bryonia alba, Rhus Tox, Mag-Phos, Ledum pal, and Medorrhinum (medicines were used based on symptom totality as and when needed, in regular/infrequent doses)
Symptomatic relief was observed in the first few weeks of treatment with reduced limping and the dog showing reduced irritability and more interest in playing as before. The medicines were continued as a long-term therapy over many months, coupled with a good diet and regular graded exercises with other supportive measures to manage the disease and improve the overall quality of life. We still see Rocky off and on for multiple age-related symptoms.
The pet parent is happy and relieved to support Rocky through its journey of life utilising the holistic benefits of homeopathy.
Make life a little easier for the pet in case of degenerative joint disease:
Even with treatment, arthritis makes pets less able to deal with the physical challenges of their world, whether it be slick floors, steep steps, or cold drafts. A few changes around the house can make it easier and more confident for your arthritic pet to move around.
Keep litter boxes and food and water dishes at a comfortable height, easily accessible, and on a non-slip surface.
Supply a padded surface to cushion your pet’s joints while they sit and sleep.
Some pets that are too stiff to use the stairs will try to use them regardless, possibly falling and hurting themselves in the process. Supervise your pet when it is using the stairs.
A little warmth can help a sore animal get through a long night. Consider wrapping a hot water bottle in towels or tucking a microwaveable heating pad into your pet’s bed.
Modify the lifestyle as well. A little exercise can go a long way towards making your pet more comfortable. Light activity helps strengthen muscles, keeps ligaments and tendons flexible, prevents obesity, and helps blood circulate to stiff joints.
Integrate Homeopathic treatment with supportive care for holistic disease management.
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. Stay healthy and stay safe.
It’s often difficult to pinpoint the exact cause, but severe cases can lead to dehydration, organ damage, diabetes, insufficient enzyme production, and even death of pets TEXT: Yung-Tsun Lo, D.V.M., Ph.D, Bioguard Corporation
The pancreas is a gland within the abdomen located along the stomach and the first part of the small intestine. It has many functions, including the production and secretion of digestive enzymes (exocrine) and the production of insulin (endocrine). Digestive enzymes are important for breaking down dietary fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, while insulin aids in the control of the metabolism and blood-sugar levels.
What is pancreatitis?
Pancreatitis is an inflammatory reaction of the pancreas that can make pets extremely ill. Normally, pancreatic enzymes are produced in an inactive state and travel through the pancreatic duct to the intestine. Once they reach the small intestine, they are activated to begin digestion. During inflammation of the pancreas, these enzymes are activated prematurely in the pancreas and cause pain and swelling as the pancreas actually begins to digest itself. Pancreatitis can lead to dehydration, organ damage, diabetes, insufficient enzyme production, and even death of pets.
Are there different types of pancreatitis?
Pancreatitis may be acute or chronic. Acute pancreatitis occurs suddenly, with no previous appearance of the condition before. It can become life threatening if the inflammation spreads to other organs. Chronic pancreatitis happens when inflammation in the pancreas persists over a longer period of time. This condition can result from recurrent acute pancreatitis. These two forms of pancreatitis may be clinically indistinguishable, although clinical signs in acute pancreatitis are usually more severe than those in chronic pancreatitis.
What causes pancreatitis?
The cause of pancreatitis is usually unknown, but some factors have been associated with pancreatitis:
High fat diets /Obesity /Cancer
Inflammation of the liver, stomach, or small intestine
Breed (miniature schnauzers, poodles, cocker spaniels, and yorkshire terriers)
What are the clinical signs of pancreatitis?
The most common clinical signs include:
How is pancreatitis diagnosed?
Pancreatitis is usually suspected based on a dog’s clinical signs and history, but a more definitive diagnosis is achieved through blood tests and abdominal ultrasound. Diagnostics that may be recommended include:
Radiographs: While these images usually cannot establish the diagnosis of pancreatitis, they may be required to rule out other diseases.
Routine blood tests and biochemical profile: They are helpful in ruling out other diseases.
Canine pancreas-specific lipase test (cPL): The cPL test is a highly accurate test in diagnosing pancreatitis, but the presence of an abnormal cPL test does not definitely rule in pancreatitis as the sole cause of the clinical signs.
An abdominal ultrasound to confirm inflammation of the pancreas.
Consequently, the diagnosis of pancreatitis may be tentative or presumptive in some cases and based solely on clinical signs and medical history.
How is pancreatitis treated?
The successful management of pancreatitis will depend on early diagnosis and prompt medical therapy. In some cases, surgery may be required to remove cysts, abscesses, tumors, or dead tissue from the pancreas or to unblock a bile duct. Any or all of the following treatment may be prescribed:
Supportive therapy in very mild cases
Hospitalisation at the veterinary clinic and in more severe cases 24-hour intensive care and monitoring
Intravenous fluid therapy to correct hydration, electrolytes and acid-base disturbances
Anti-vomiting, anti-diarrhoea drugs for recovery
Pain medication for abdominal pain
Antibiotics for concurrent infection
Anti-inflammatory medication, such as steroids for severe cases when dogs are in shock
A low-fat diet during recovery to decrease the chance of recurrence.
What is the prognosis of pancreatitis?
The prognosis depends on the severity of the disease, the degree of pancreatic tissue damage, the duration of illness, and the presence of concurrent disease when diagnosed. Dogs that present with shock and depression have a very guarded prognosis. Most of the mild forms of pancreatitis have a good prognosis with aggressive treatment. Ultimately, the earlier the diagnosis and treatment, the better the outcome.
How can pancreatitis in dogs be avoided?
Sometimes dogs develop pancreatitis and we just don’t know why, but the following steps will help reduce the risk of dogs developing pancreatitis, including:
Avoid high-fat diets.
Avoid giving your dog table scraps, or other fatty foods.
Don’t let your dog become overweight.
Don’t let your dog have access to garbage. If your dog exhibits any signs that are consistent with pancreatitis, call your veterinarian immediately. They are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
Caring for your pet in the winter is a multi-pronged effort that will require some thought and preparation. Here are some tips from veterinarians to keep him happy, safe and comfortable until the buds of spring begin to bloom. Winter is a fabulous time of the year, but it can be challenging if there is a furry friend to look after. The cold weather and shorter days make dog walks and exercise quite a task. Just because our pooches have fur coats, it doesn’t mean they are not hit by cold. Winter nutrition, grooming and hydration are an important part of canine health. Also, pet parents need to pay attention to what the fur baby gets to eat.
Experts like Dr S. P. Chaudhary says, “More than just a change of season, we must also look at managing a change in the dog’s daily diet. While we are aware that we must eat different vegetables and fruits in winter, we don’t seem to do the same for our pet dogs. Most pet parents are unaware of the significance of switching the dog’s nutritional regimen in winters. Just like humans, dogs can start to feel hungrier in the chilly season and they do need to put on some extra fat to combat the cold.”
Some dogs like to laze the winter away, therefore the empty carbs should be reduced and table scraps should be stopped. Focus needs to be on keeping the fur baby’s waist trim. If you can’t reduce or stop treats, look for healthier lowcalorie options instead. Don’t let food be lying around for him to eat as and when he pleases, but measure it up carefully to monitor daily calorie intake.
According to Dr Anisha Khajuria, “During winter our body has to withstand very low temperatures so, it’s very important to take a good quality and proper quantity of energy dense food. But one should keep in mind during winter there is limited walk and exercise, and it may lead to obesity. So, quality and quantity of food should be measured accordingly. Food like chicken, fish, lamb, eggs etc. may be offered which provides the required amount of fats in the food which help form adipose tissue.” Agrees Dr Davender Singh, “Dogs should be fed a nutritionally balanced diet throughout the year so that when winters arrive, their skin is already in the best of health. A diet especially rich in omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids will be of additional help for the maintenance of healthy skin during the winter season. Also make sure the dogs should drink plenty of water.”
Dr Aprajita Chakrobarty stresses, “As temperatures fall and winter sets in, owners are less inclined to exercise their dogs. So, less exercise means less calorie loss. However, continuing to feed the same amount of food will result in winter weight gain which is very unhealthy. Short daylight hours cause other changes in dogs’ metabolism. Shorter days signal to the dog’s brain that winter is coming. This sets off hormonal changes to slow metabolism and conserve calories. These changes also promote the deposition of fat in the body. This phenomenon occurs due to a genetic adaptation called thrifty genes. It prepares the dog for the harsh winters and allows for normal performance in harsh conditions. But for pet dogs staying indoors, this genetic adaptation is unhealthy. A decreased metabolism will mean that they gain weight if fed the same diet as other times of the year. Dogs protected from the harshness of winter need less food to compensate for this hormonal metabolic change.”
As Dr Seema Talokar, product manager with Vetina Healthcare says, “While some of our furry friends love to play in the cold, others may see the cold weather as difficult to handle. Taking a little extra time to train yourself for winter care of your pet will go a long way toward making winters more relaxed and pleasant for both of you! The most important thing to do in winter is watching the weather. You must know how cold is too cold for your pet. There are no hard and fast rules to decide the good time for going out for a walk. But always plan your trip ahead of time. Smaller breeds, seniors, pets with health situations, and young puppies require extra care while going for the walk. Keep the walk short and sweet!”
Dr Talokar adds, “Brush your dog’s hair coat on a regular basis using a soft hair brush. This will help to stimulate the hair follicle and natural oil glands in the skin or dead cells and matted hair. Removing the dead skin cells and loose hair from the coat will allow the skin a chance to repair itself naturally. Limit the number of baths because in winters the skin coat has a tendency to become dry and flaky. For this a good moisturizing shampoo can be used. Feeding your pet a healthy diet can help your dog enter into the winter months with a healthy skin and a nourished coat and can prevent it from skin complications. If your dog has sensitive skin then feeding a sensitive skin diet is very important.” The hair care routine will involve regularly brushing the fur and checking for dryness or scaled skin. It will also include dental cleaning, cleaning of ears, and nail trimming. Also remember, the middle of winter is not the perfect time to shave your pet’s fur.
Grooming is very important during the chilly times and should not be neglected. “It’s not that your pet is not dirty and you don’t need to brush and bathe. Brushing is not season dependent. We need to do this round the year. Hair loss is a common problem in pets in India and hair moulting is a regular process which happens during winter also. Pets shed their summer coat and a thick coat comes in winter. To maintain good health of the skin and to keep a check on conditions like mange, external parasites, allergies etc, one needs to visit a veterinarian during winter too,” explains Dr Anisha Khajuria.
Paws are another sensitive area of our pooches. “Protecting paws from cold is the best practice to make sure your pet’s winter walks are secure. Cold can dry out paws and this will make your pet chill faster. Wearing winter boots will protect the paws. The use of moisturizer after cleaning will control them from drying out. If your pet’s paws continue to crack and there is an open sore, having proper first aid care is necessary,” says Dr Seema Talokar.
So even when we take the fur balls for a walk, we have to take extra care.
a) Cleaning their paws after coming from walks and grooming them regularly. Trim any extra hair growing in the paws. Do not keep their paws wet. Try to dry them immediately with towels or with blowers.
b) Leaving them in the cold for a longer period of time may also lead to frostbite on the paws and also lead to hypothermia.
c) Moisturize their paws regularly to keep them soft and healthy. For this purpose, commercially available paw balm or vitamin E creams can be used,” says Dr Aprajita.
But this is not all for the winter time. Dr S.P. Chaudhary says, “We can’t say this enough! Winter is a time when your pet could need more supplements. It could be something that aids digestion or aid for those painful arthritic joints that swell up in winter. Talk to your vet and decide on the best supplements to help your dog make the transition through winter seamlessly. Also, winter is a dry season and this can increase the chances of dehydration in your dog. Dogs can dehydrate quickly in the winter as in the summer. Therefore, check the water bowl of your dog often .”
And last but not the least, How cold is too cold for puppies? So, the thumb rule is, when we feel cold, they feel too. Dogs can’t retain body heat, hence we often see them shivering when on a cold floor. Puppies need special care when the temperatures start to fall below 17 degrees Celsius, some cold-averse breeds will get uncomfortable and will need protection. For owners of small breeds, puppies, senior dogs, or thin haired breeds, anytime the temperature outside feels at or below 17 degrees Celsius, pull out the sweaters or coats! A soft bed and a thick blanket should provide plenty of warmth for your pup during the winter slumber.
As Dr Mark Hyman, bestselling author and Pritzker Foundation chair in Functional Medicine, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine remarks, “If you optimize your own diet and exercise for wellness and longevity, shouldn’t you provide your dog with the same thoughtful care?”
Restaurateur Rahul Bajaj says hugging his dogs after a long and tiring day at work and playing with them not only makes him feel loved, but also makes the puppers immensely happy TEXT: TEAM BUDDY LIFE
He not only shares his name with one of India’s best-known businessmen, but the young and dynamic Rahul Bajaj is also an entrepreneur. As the Director and conceptualiser of two Mumbai food outlets, Out of the Blue and Deli By The Blue, Bajaj says it was a conscious decision to turn the outlets that promote a healthy lifestyle into pet-friendly restaurants. In a heart-to-heart with Buddy Life, Bajaj says, “As my family and I both are such huge animal lovers, we decided to allocate the outdoor area for pets wherein you can have a meal with your furry friends sitting right beside you,” he explains. Following are excerpts from the interview:
Who was your first furry buddy?
The first dog I got was a mixture of a Great Dane and a black Labrador whom we named Black Phantom. He was super loving and friendly. I also had a Dalmatian named Xerox.
You have three puppers in your life. What are their names and how old are they ?
Doink is a 14-year-old white Pug, Pixie is a brown and white coloured, two-year-old English Cocker Spaniel, and a female black Pug named Jet. We got Jet neutered and adopted after we rescued her.
How did you meet them?
We picked Doink in Pune when he was a two-month-old puppy. I met Pixie at a family function whom we later got home and Jet was rescued.
Were you raised in a family of animal lovers?
Yes! In fact, my whole family is very fond of animals. When I was a kid, we had an African grey parrot who we named Kusuku. He was a lovely soul who used to talk, converse nicely and sing as well! We had several animals like a monkey, two turtles named Pebbles and Bam Bam, and a few dogs too. Basically, my family and I both are animal lovers and we’ve had them in our lives since many years now.
In an industry that doesn’t encourage canine companions on the work premises, do you take them to work with you? Either way how do you handle them if they are at your workplace or if they are left at home?
As my family and I both are such huge animal lovers, we announced Out of The Blue and Deli by The Blue as pet friendly restaurants. The outdoor area is allocated for pets wherein you can have a meal with your furry friends sitting right beside you! We have also organised several pet events and pet parties in the past, like Halloween Dog Party, Dog Valentine’s Day, etc. The restaurants’ staff members and everyone absolutely love my pets and I often get them to the restaurant where they can roam and play around freely. The pets are also quite friendly and love to meet new people.
What is it that makes them special? How much time do you spend with them?
Pets are so loving and adorable and become an integral part of your family. The bonding you share with them, their unconditional love and the ability to make us laugh and cheer up our mood in any situation is what makes them so special. Hugging them after a long tiring day and playing with them not only makes us feel loved, but also makes them immensely happy. Afterwork and on weekends, you will usually find me playing with my pets.
What have you learned most about life from having them?
Pets are such creatures that they teach you to be selfless, giving, caring and loving unconditionally. I am so glad to have them in my life and try to imbibe the qualities of being patient and even more caring every day.
Do you groom/ bathe your fur babies?
Yes, it is an absolute delight while I bathe them. It is like a fun play time for all of them!
What kind of food do they prefer? Do you take them out for walks?
I haven’t taken them out for walks for a few months due to Coronavirus which is why I engage them in several fun activities at home, like playing fetch, etc. But earlier when I took them out, they would love playing with other dogs, meet new people. In terms of food, they really like their dog food.
Any special experiences with the four-legged pals you would like to share with the readers?
There are a few instances that I would like to share with you. There have been times where they have been scared by looking at their own reflection in the mirror. They would just start jumping and running around aimlessly. Also, whenever I would call out someone’s name who’s present in the house, they would run behind them and drag them to me by pulling onto them. It is so funny to watch them do such things.
With most pet parents working from home, dogs across the country have been happily enjoying high levels of ‘humans being at home’. But what happens when we go back to work? TEXT: TEAM BUDDY LIFE
How do you feel about the relaxation of the lockdown restrictions? Relieved? Anxious? If we could ask our furry friends the same question, we’re fairly certain their answers would put them in one of two camps – those who are looking forward to the peace and quiet and those dreading not being with us 24/7. If your pet falls into the first category, they’ll probably resume their daily napping-schedule quite happily. The pets (mostly dogs) who might struggle are those who rely heavily on contact with us in order to feel secure. Young dogs and puppies, who have never been left at home, might also feel anxious when their ‘pack’ (your family) start going back to school and work. Even dogs who previously managed well away from their humans will need considerate training to help them adapt to the ‘new normal’.
Most dogs learn at an early age that when we leave the house, we’ll always return. Knowing this helps them to feel secure when they’re alone. Some dogs take longer than others to learn, and they feel anxious when they spend time away from us. Dogs who are scared of being left alone might express their anxiety by misbehaving. Some become destructive and chew household items or furniture; others become very vocal and bark or whine continuously until we return home – which will be distressing for them, and probably your neighbours too. With research suggesting that as many as 85% of dogs experience some form of separation anxiety, it’s critical that you are able to recognise the signs and help your dog to relax when you aren’t around. Separation anxiety in dogs can manifest itself in a variety of different ways, with varying severity.
High activity levels when you are gone – running between windows and doors.
Very low activity levels when you are gone – laying in their bed but not asleep or relaxed.
Barking or howling.
Destructive behaviours, including scrabbling at the doors or at their crates, chewing or destroying items or furniture, tipping over bins and more.
Urination or defecation, especially if they are already house trained.
Not eating food or treats left for them whilst you are out.
Nervousness as you prepare to leave the house.
There are a few things we can do now to prepare our pets for the end of lockdown. These ideas might also help dogs who struggled with separation anxiety before the lockdown began.
The current situation has rapidly evolved and required all of us to make dramatic changes to our lives. Like us, animals can find unpredictability and dramatic changes to routine stressful. Maintaining a regular schedule can reduce stress by ensuring your pooch has as normal a routine as possible. Keep to a schedule of feeding, exercise, toileting, rest and one-to-one time. If you are working from home, try to start and finish work at the same time each day and schedule breaks into your day. These breaks will allow you to connect with your pet. Scheduling activities into predictable time slots will also help your pet settle when you need to get some work done!
Many family dogs have been on more walks than ever before which is wonderful. However, it is also important to make sure our companion animals get some alone time. We suggest taking some walks without the dog, leaving them at home alone. If you have more than one dog, it may also be a good idea to occasionally walk them separately so that they are comfortable being apart. We can teach our pets to feel secure when we’re out by gradually spending longer periods of time away from them when we’re at home. This is especially important for dogs who like to physically touch or be near to us at all times…. our four-legged shadows!
Spend time in a different room to your dog and gradually increase the length of time you’re apart. Don’t fuss your dog when you leave or when you return. By staying calm, you’re signalling to your dog that it’s no big deal for them to spend time alone.
Encourage your dog to explore your garden, or outside space, alone.
Make sure your dog takes naps in his/ her own bed and not always next to you on the couch.
If you always leave your dog in the same room or area, use these spaces during daily family life. Your dog will be less worried about being left in a familiar space.
Introduce interesting toys (such as food-filled chews) to your dog when you’re at home. Lengthen the time your dog has access to these ‘special’ toys while you gradually move away to other parts of your home. The benefits of this are twofold; your dog’s focus is directed away from you, and the action of chewing is something that relaxes most dogs.
If your dog is particularly attached to one person, it’s a good idea to share the load of their daily care. This helps your dog to feel secure even when their favourite pack member isn’t at home. Ask other family members to become involved with your dog’s feeding, walking, snuggling and playtimes. Your dog will gradually learn to feel safe with whoever they’re spending time with. How else can we help our dogs adapt to life after lockdown?
Studies have shown that the amount of daily exercise your dog gets is the biggest environmental factor impacting whether a dog will suffer from separation anxiety. With this in mind, try taking your pooch out for a walk before you plan to go out and feed them a small meal from their daily allowance when you get back. After their walk and a meal, they’ll generally be more settled and inclined to relax. But if you plan to increase your dog’s daily exercise after the lockdown has ended, make sure you do so gradually. We’ll all be trying to lose our lockdown-pounds and increasing the amount of exercise we do is a great way to achieve this. Make sure you and your dog take things slowly to avoid injuring body parts which haven’t been used for a while!
Your dog’s sense of smell is 40 times greater than yours, so it’s no surprise that comforting smells can make the world of difference. It’s the same reason breeders send a puppy to their new home with a blanket that has the smell of their mother and littermates. If your dog is missing you, try leaving out some of your dirty laundry – they will find the smell comforting and it will help them relax.
Create a safe space
It’s important that your dog has a safe space that they can go to, away from distractions. Make sure they have a comfy bed or covered den that is theirs, and ensure that they are never disturbed whilst they are in there. Encourage them to use it by placing puzzle toys or chews in there, particularly whilst you are busy around the house. This will teach them that it is a safe and rewarding place to be why you are busy or when they are alone.