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Why Brush Dogs’ Teeth and How Often?

Problems Caused by Insufficient Dental Care

Proper dental hygiene will help prevent your pet from developing a wide range of dental health complications, such as periodontal disease caused by mouth bacteria accumulation. These bacteria produce a film over the teeth called plaque. They become calcified by the calcium in the saliva as the bacteria die. Tartar is considered as the calcified plaque, and it can ultimately lead to gingivitis, which can lead to an inflammation of the tooth’s root. The tissues around the tooth are damaged in the late stages of periodontal disease, and the socket that keeps the tooth in place erodes, which makes the tooth loss. Broken teeth are another common dental concern. It can break your dog’s teeth by chewing on rough toys and bones. A broken tooth, which is very painful for your pet, can expose the tooth’s nerve. In addition, the exposed nerve can become infected and cause your pet even more problems. The tooth will need to be removed at this stage.

The Right Choice For Your Pets

As veterinary dentistry can dissolve built-up plaque, which is why pets must go in for periodic dental cleanings. There are a few things you can do at home, however, to help keep the teeth and gums of your pet safe as well. Brushing their teeth is the best thing you can do with your pet’s oral health. Tartar and plaque build-up can be avoided by frequent brushing.
You can start brushing your pet’s teeth slowly by buying pet-specific toothpaste and either a normal or finger toothbrush. You’ll want to continue in a way that makes it easier for your dog to get used to brushing. Enable your pet to lick off the brush with some of the toothpaste. This helps them get used to the toothpaste’s taste and the brush’s feel. Only brush the fronts for the first few days. As time passes, you can start brushing all their teeth if your pet feels more relaxed. For a little reward, follow the brushing with a treat.
You can also buy oral products with liquid and foam that help kill some of the bacteria in your dog’s mouth. There are also toys and treats that can help clear the build-up of plaque and tartar from the teeth of your pet, but not all of them. Dental treats and dental toys also work. Thus, dental care will definitely improve your dog’s overall health in the following ways by preventing:
– Tooth loss
– Bad breath
– Oral pain
– Organ damage
– Worsening dental disease
Get your pet the best treatment and secure their health for a lifetime!

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Spaying & Neutering – How Essential is it For Dogs?

What is spaying and neutering:

One of the most important health choices you can make is to spay or neuter your dog, whether you’ve just adopted a pet or you’re considering it. Spaying is the removal of a female dog’s reproductive organs- ovaries and uterus. It’s a veterinary operation that needs limited hospitalization and provides health benefits for a lifetime. Neutering is removing your male dog’s testicles that will significantly enhance your pet’s behaviour and keep him within boundaries. Many states and counties have built low-cost neuter/spay services that make surgery readily available and affordable. 

Here’s a list of reasons to spay/neuter your dog if you haven’t already:

  • Health benefits: In addition to eliminating unnecessary litter, testicular cancer is avoided by neutering your male dog.
  • No heat: Although cycles can vary, during the breeding season, female dogs typically go into heat four to five days every three weeks. They’ll yowl and urinate more often in an attempt to mate, often all over the place!
  • Longer and healthier lives: In about 50 per cent of dogs, spaying helps avoid uterine infections and breast cancer, which is lethal. The best protection from these diseases is given by spaying your pet before her first heat.
  • No roaming far away from home: To find a mate, an intact male can cross limits. That involves digging his way under the fence and letting himself escape from the house. Plus, he risks injury in traffic and battles with other males until he’s free to roam.
  • Better behaviour: Cats and dogs that are neutered focus their attention on their human families. On the other hand, unneutered dogs can cause a havoc by spraying strong-smelling urine all over the house. By early neutering, many aggression problems can be prevented.
  • Fit pets: Spaying or neutering does not make your pet fat. A deficit of exercise and letting your pet binge-eat will cause your pet to pack on the extra pounds. As long as you continue to provide exercise and track food intake, your pet will remain fit and trim.
  • Pocket-friendly: The cost of spay/neuter surgery for your pet is much less than the cost of having and taking care of a litter. In cases when your unneutered dog escapes and gets into fights with the neighbourhood stray, it also beats the price of treatment!
  • Benefits the community: In many parts of the country, stray animals pose a real problem. They can prey on wildlife, cause car accidents, harm local wildlife and scare children. In reducing the number of animals on the streets, spaying and neutering is a real boon.
  • Reduces overpopulation: Millions of cats and dogs of all ages and breeds are euthanized or suffer like strays every year. The peeking stats are due to a poorly estimated litter that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering.

Get your dog neutered now! One of the most important choices you make to affect your long-term health and your wallet could be the option to spay or neuter your pet!

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One Bad Day Isn’t The End

It’s funny how me and my rehabilitated stray, Mishka, work. She’s not really a pet, but rather a friend of mine. Sometimes not even a friend when she becomes afraid, instinctively acting on impulse to flee from humans. At times, Mishka loves me. Other times, she seems to forget me. One minute she’ll be there for me. Other times, she resorts back to her past ways. It’s slow progress and Mishka tends to bounce off of my moods. When I’m down, lacking patience and understanding with her, the results are terrible. Yet things always work out, we muddle through and try again another day. There’s always tomorrow.

Mishka is a gentle soul, but her past makes her difficult to understand and she occasionally makes sporadic bad decisions. I see these as a direct result from her traumatic past, which has left behind bad memories and fears. Often, she will run when approached by one dog, yet play eagerly with another. She might bark fearfully at an approaching stranger, yet want all the fuss in the world from another. She is fine with fireworks, something many dogs fear, yet petrified by the sound of a gun being fired. Her reactions are bewildering to decipher! Cows she barks at, horses she runs from, sheep she herds, some cats she’ll chase, while others she adores.

I guess it’s fair to say that all dogs have their quirks, faults and fears. However, some dogs can seem human-like, with their fear behaviours almost overriding their canine instincts. In a way, we can see this in a positive light, as while it’s not always a good thing to see our dog as another human in the family, looking at how we conquer our fears can help us understand what our canine pal needs from us to guide them away from their unwanted safety behaviours, and towards a happier way of living. Imagine being faced with your biggest fear. Say it’s heights and you’re being asked to climb up a tall tower. You’re scared, but the more you fight going up, the more you get yelled at for not moving. Nobody is helping you, you feel anxious and eventually, the need to get away takes over and you try to flee the situation. Now imagine being called up the tower with gentle words of encouragement, a reward on offer and perhaps someone nearby to climb alongside you. Feels better, huh? You might not achieve the goal of climbing to the top entirely, but you’d certainly feel more comfortable trying, right? It’s the same for dogs. Mishka works well with force-free training and it can be a great way of bonding with a fearful dog. There are many ways in which we can take force-free action to help our dogs, but all require understanding and often, unfortunately, a great deal of patience! Fears can develop quickly and take a lot longer to overcome. One bad experience can scar a dog’s mind for life. Slow, steady introduction of a fear into a dog’s life, known as exposure training, can be extremely beneficial in improving a dog’s quality of life and will, as a result, lead to a happier dog and a happier owner. For example, a dog afraid of people needs a staged introduction to a wide range of people, beginning with who they find least scary, say children, to the most scary, perhaps a very tall or large adult. This training, of course, must be taken out with precautions as a scared dog can be an aggressive dog. There is a high risk of injury if safety is not regulated throughout the entirety of exposure training sessions. All work should be planned and carried out with the support of a professional and every session should be adjusted according to the dog’s current mood and needs. Much like humans, dogs will have good and bad mood days, and those bad days could make for detrimental results if training should go ahead.

As well as exposure training, a method that works well with some dogs is reward based training. Dogs just love to please, and for a reward, even better. Rewards lead to a positive association with a subject or an event, encouraging them to respond in the same manner on the next encounter. Eventually, a dog may completely overcome the fear of something just from repetitively learning that the subject or event was nothing to be afraid of. In fact, it also meant being given a nice treat.

A dog may become unruly and excited if expecting a treat every time, and though we want the dog unafraid, we also want to see normal behaviour, rather than too much excitement. Random reward, on occasions that the dog behaves well during exposure to a fear, will leave the dog eager to act similarly in its presence at all times as he will learn that a reward may be on the cards. Mix up the treats too, as it all adds to the lottery of excitement in our dog’s mind. Dogs, after all, love a good game.

An important aspect to consider, and one which I mention time and time again, is patience. It is so important that we consider our own situation before trying to work with a dog in need. Feeling well rested, optimistic and confident before training will ensure that we stand the best chance of a successful session. Never begin a session if feeling tense, stressed, angry or negative, as the dog will no doubt pick up on this and the session could end badly for both of you. Always end a session with a big reward, such as treats, favourite toys, cuddles, whatever your dog loves most, to thank them for trying so hard.

Helping your dog through bad behaviours born of fear can be extremely challenging. However, in the long run, it will be totally rewarding and will see you and your dog building an unbreakable bond. Many people struggle and often, heartbreakingly, have to re-home troubled hounds. This is not the end of the world should it happen to you, as rescue dogs can and do find new forever homes. However, please don’t feel you are incapable of helping your troubled hound before trying your very best to work through their difficult behaviours. Don’t give up hope, as one bad day isn’t the end. Stop, take a step back, understand your dog and try again another day. Maybe tomorrow. Tomorrow is a new day.

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Homemade Food for your Paw Baby – the Puppers

An all-round meal for your puppy:

It takes a certain amount of effort on your part when you want to feed your puppy home-prepared food. Make sure you have the time to prepare the food on a regular basis. Dogs have unique caloric needs, much like humans, and need some vitamins and minerals to remain healthy. In order to grow at a reasonable pace and thrive, puppies have much more unique needs. It must be full and compatible with the food you feed your puppy and support their development.

Prepare a healthy platter:

Puppies usually require about twice as many calories a day as their adult counterparts. Make sure their meal has a proper balance of:

  • Proteins like fish, chicken, turkey, and lean beef
  • Carbohydrates like pasta, rice, potatoes
  • Vegetables like green beans, peas, carrots
  • Fats like vegetable oil
  • Vitamins and mineral supplements

Use your best ingredients and prepare a wholesome meal for your pup. Set up a regular weekly schedule, allowing them some treats every now and then. Don’t forget to increase portions as your puppy grows, and their appetite increases.

Try out these innovative homemade recipes:

When it comes to creativity, there are plenty of dog food recipes available! Some of them are:

  1. A tasty salmon meal for your puppers along with some cooked and crunchy salmon skin make a delicious dish. Add broccoli stem, peeled carrots, and squash to make a bite-size meal on the go!
  2. An easy and inclusive meal made of brown rice, turkey/chicken, and veggies like baby spinach, carrots, and zucchini
  3. Turn the above dish into a delicious stew for a soupy treat
  4. Meat and veggie mash 
  5. Meatballs for a fun and interesting meal. Add a portion of pumpkin puree and the oat bran to ensure effective digestion
  6. Food cakes made with a combination of ingredients above, including a dash of peaches, plums, and pears
  7. Meat cakes and meatloaf
  8. Homemade crunchy kibbles made with whole wheat or oat
  9. Scrambled spinach and salmon- the perfect mix of health and taste for your puppy
  10. Veggie bowl- mix up some mashed sweet potatoes, black beans, brown rice, and spinach stems
  11. Chicken rice balls- all of your pup’s favourites: meat, sweet potatoes, and eggs
  12. Mini omelettes
  13. Chicken casseroles

To ensure that your puppy maintains good health, make sure you weigh your dog regularly. Before beginning the homemade diet, take your dog to the vet so that your doctor may decide their optimal weight. Customize the diet of your puppy, appease picky eaters, combat problems of food allergies, and embrace just the bond-building enjoyment of preparing your pup a home-cooked meal.

Whichever approach you prefer, remember that every pup is different and ensure to attend to the customized needs of your puppy!

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All In The Family

We came across the svelte and sophisticated Soesanti Oeij while surfing the internet one day for our daily fun diet, which almost always means rib-tickling dog videos. We saw this young and petite woman trying to feed not one, but seven Alaskan Malamutes and getting overpowered by the furry giants in the process. It was scary and funny at the same time. No wonder the video featuring the textile tycoon from Bandung, capital of West Java province in Indonesia, who also dabbles in villa rentals, amassed nearly 60,000 views online in no time. Oeij says, “It’s always a struggle giving them snacks or food at the same time. They always show the same level of energy every time I feed them. A lot of time they jump up and can push me real hard.” In the video you can see the bunch of excited dogs jumping around their feeder as if she’s one of the pack. Although it seems like quite a struggle for Oeij to keep up with them, it’s clear they don’t mean any harm to her. She says most people love to watch her feed the pack of, hold your breath, 13 Malamutes, and they get shocked by the scene as well! It’s no different when she takes them out for a walk with the giant puppers literally blocking the entire width of the street. “People are really amazed to see so many huge dogs together. When I walk them, I have to make sure the area is safe enough for everyone and there are no dogs or stray cats around,” she says, adding, “Nowadays because of Covid-19, many people come walking near our area, so it’s pretty hard to take them for a walk myself. I can only do it after work and I know many people come walking with their dogs too in the afternoon. It’s not safe enough. So I ask my caretakers to walk them at 5.30am everyday.”

Talking about her youtube video where she can be seen taking seven-eight of them together for a walk, Oeij says her caretakers help her in clearing the area first. “Only when it is safe, then I walk them out. They usually pull during the first 10 minutes of the walk, afterwards they are fine and relaxed walking with me,” she explains. Ask her how she manages the high-energy dogs on a daily basis, particularly all 13 of them in one house, and she says, “I keep them in three separate houses and I’ve also hired four dog caretakers to help me take care of them as I’m very busy during weekdays. But I still feed them myself. I spend a lot of time with them as well, especially on the weekend.” Oeij says all her houses are pretty spacious, so there’s never a crunch for more room. “One house is about 5,000 sqm, while another one is 1,700 sqm. The third is about 1,000 sqm and all of them have big garden areas as we stay in a hilly area,” she informs. “The weather is pleasant throughout the year between 18-28 degrees, so the dogs also feel comfortable and adjust well,” she adds. Oeij says as a kid, she always wanted a dog of her own but never planned to have so many. “I just had the first one named Puffy. That’s why I named my Instagram account as puffywolfpack. It was actually my daughter who insisted on getting a Malamute. So we got Puffy from a petshop downtown, Then I got another one and another until they were six in all. Then I started breeding, so finally I have 13 altogether. We used to have 14, but unfortunately one died due to blood parasites a year ago,” she says. But why only Alaskan Malamutes? “I really love their fluffy hair and cute faces and their characters as well. They are really friendly to people,” she informs, adding, she grew up in a multi-dog household full of different breeds, like collies, mini pinscher, and toy poodle. Since Mals are pack animals, Oeij says Hugo is the leader at one house, while Puffy is the leader at another house. Talking about their food, she says Malamutes should do well on high-quality dog food. “I feed them a mix of both dog food and home prepared food such as rice, meat, chicken, vegetables, eggs etc. I also give them milk, some snacks, vegetables such as carrot and long beans,” she says. But is there any time they leave her alone to do her own thing? “Yes, they stay in the garden, while I stay inside the house. Sometimes, I do let them play inside, but for just a while because their fur is flying everywhere,” she chuckles. Oeij says there are conflicts of interest among the packs and all isn’t well in the Peaceable Paws kingdom. “It’s mainly among the males. Like Hugo always growls at Goyard and Alfa, and Puffy can’t get along with any other male at all. That’s a big headache for me. So I’m forced to keep Truffle in the front garden, while Puffy is sent at the back, which he doesn’t like and feels left out and jealous and starts growling at everyone at home. So I talk to him, hug him, kiss him, play with him, spend time with him, and he is fine again,” she says. “He is very softhearted and needs more attention than the other dogs. Basically, I can say I give more attention to some who have behavioral challenges.” They also need to keep an eye on every male while they are playing in the garden. “I can say there’s a lot of drama among them actually. When a female is in heat, the drama only gets worse. Thank God, all the three houses are located in the same area, so I can arrange and rearrange their stay during such times,” she says. Oeij is happy that no dog has ever mutineed. “No, they are all fine. Except that the males have a bad habit to pee wherever they like. It’s annoying. I get angry with them. They seem to understand, they are afraid when I’m angry. But they repeat again,” she laughs. 

Any tips on running a multi-dog household harmoniously? “Basically, they are just like humans…they want you to hug, kiss, talk to them, spend time with them. You also need to understand their characters, each of them. So you will learn how to handle them,” she says. “I always make sure that every one of them is happy. That’s why I let them play in the garden from morning until 7. I keep them at the kennel for about 15 minutes during mealtime only. Then in the evening during bedtime. So the whole day they meet people, play and run around. They are happy.”

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7 Ways to Train a Dog With a Feisty Temper

Is your pet often showing these signs of aggression?

Occasional aggression in your pets is expected, however, needs to be checked if it’s getting out of control. A feisty temper usually begins on a passive note, but can ultimately lead to attacks, causing everyone to stay yards away from you and your pet. Here are some signs that your dog is aggressive:

  • Constant growling
  • Rigid posture
  • Snarling and showing teeth
  • Threatening barks
  • Jumping at every human insight
  • Light or repetitive biting
  • Snapping without leaving a mark
  • Bruising

Why your dog gets aggressive

There are multiple reasons for your dog to lose temper, which include environmental, territorial, possessive, protective, and defensive factors. An exception to these reasons may be pain or abuse, which calls for a visit to the vet as soon as possible. Irrespective of external factors, identifying the reason for your dog’s temper and bringing in gradual changes in their environment is the key to improvement. Once you cross that hurdle, you can customize their training and personalize it.

Here are 7 steps to bring your dog’s feisty temper under control:

  1. Identify the reason for aggression:

Once you’re aware of what triggers your dog and who he is abusive towards, it’s time to consult with a licensed dog trainer. Always, consult your veterinarian for a recommendation if you’re not sure who to employ.

  1. Don’t ignore symptoms of aggression:

A bad temper is always undesirable. When your own dog shows these characteristics, it’s best to take it seriously as soon as possible. Pet parents often overlook these initial signs, and may end up unintentionally encouraging these paw babies. 

  1. Never punish your dog:

Dogs do not understand discipline naturally, and when punishment is used, they are more likely to act out or act more aggressively. The easiest way to train violent behaviour is to encourage good behavior with incentives. Often your dog will need a little reminder that you are in control, but eventually, through reward-based training, he will react best to reconditioning.

  1. Teach them to impulse control:

It is important to train a dog’s impulse control and develop their tolerance of frustration. Here are some tips and tricks to change the way your dog reacts. Teach them to:

  • Wait at the door instead, and let them be patient before bolting out
  • Sit and wait for a command to enter the car
  • Wait for the food bowl to come to them
  • Whining and barking won’t get them attention
  • Reward split seconds of calm behaviour
  1. Change little patterns that can make a big difference:

Stop your dog from chasing cars, chewing, eating stool, excessive digging, excessive guarding, jumping, and leash pulling.

  1. Use hacks to calm them down:

Give a brisk shake to the fur under their ear, called a ‘scruff shake’. You can also gently push them over to their side and lean over them, to remind them of who the boss is.

  1. Say no:

This helps as ignoring your dogs can make them conscious of their actions.

Above all, remember, do not handle aggression with aggression. Treat your baby with love & care while being firm instead of just plain strict. 

Try these tips and let us know the changes you witness in your dog?

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Why Brush Dogs’ Teeth and How Often?

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Purrfect Pawtraits

Pet lovers everywhere know that paying tribute to your furry friends can be the ultimate way to show how much you love your four-legged companions. No wonder some of Instagram and Facebook’s most-followed accounts actually belong to animals. Meet Mumbaikar Meghna Amonkar, who helps you take your love for your four-legged to a different level altogether. She   works with you to capture your pet’s personality to deliver a completely bespoke work of art! The pet-traits, as she prefers to call her work, start at Rs 8,000 and come in three sizes (8×11 in, 16×24 in, and 25×36 in). They are based on photographs of your pet and lovingly created into stunning artworks. “Pet-traits was born out of a passion for drawing and a love for animals,” says Meghna. “I’ve grown up in a family of dog lovers and got my first dog, a small Lhasa (who I believed was a lion) when I was 8.” When it was time to choose a career, however, she took up the science stream because she wanted to become a vet. “When I was in Class XI, I visited the animal hospital and could not bear to see the plight of so many sick animals. I cried for days and felt that I was not strong enough to handle it as a career. I completed my 12th, but decided to switch to Fine Arts as nothing else interested me. In 1996, I graduated from Sophia Polytechnic, Mumbai, after completing a Diploma in Applied Art.” Talking of her professional journey, she says right after college, she landed her first job with Tata Interactive Systems (an eLearing company that was a part of the Tata group) as a visualiser.

“I found the idea of working in a digital medium very exciting. My journey in the corporate world began there and continued for 22 years till I reached the position of VP Communication Design,” she informs, adding, “I loved every minute of my long and satisfying career, but felt that I needed a new challenge. By then Taco, a rescued Indie, had entered into my life. We adopted Taco when he was five months old. He has challenged me and taught me so much; not just how to be a pet parent, but also how to slow down and be more patient in general.” She says Taco does not trust humans easily (with good reason) but gets along extremely well with other dogs, especially other Indies. “Because of him I started spending a lot of time with the community dogs around our place, observing them, understanding their unique personalities, their pack dynamics, their body language and just how much they communicate without saying a word,” Meghna tells us. “My love for animals had grown greatly because of him. I took a week off from work to figure out what to do next. My family was not in town so I had a lot of time to analyse and reflect. With some SWOT analysis techniques and a lot of soul searching, I decided that I had to do something that combined my two passions and that’s how Pet-traits was born.” She credits her husband, Nikhil, for always standing rock solid behind her for everything she decided to do. She says, “He supported me completely even when I was having second thoughts. I was going to give up a well paying job to go into a completely uncharted territory with no real preparation. I had graduated with illustration as my major subject in college, but that was decades ago and I had never worked as an illustrator in my professional life.” Meghna submitted her resignation with nothing other than an idea and the domain name ‘pet-traitsonline’. “One week after my resignation, while I was serving my notice period, I spent a Saturday afternoon painting a watercolour of my muse Taco. That was my first pet portrait and it gave me the assurance that I still had it in me,” she informs. Now, she’s close to the half-century mark. “Each one is unique and close to my heart,” she says. “Each portrait, or pet-trait as I like to call them, has given me the opportunity to get to know a new animal… look deep into their soul. I don’t feel satisfied till I capture its personality, that special look in the eyes that is unique only to that animal. I feel privileged.” Her claim to fame, however, remains the pet-raits of the Bombay House dogs. “In August 2018, when I read an article about the kennel especially created for the dogs sheltered at Bombay House, I did something impulsive and wrote a heartfelt letter to Mr Ratan Tata thanking him for everything he did for the streeties. I had also heard about the animal care hospital that the Tata Group was building and expressed my desire to be associated with the initiative if they felt that my skills could be of any use,” she recollects.

“I never expected a reply, but got one saying that they would reach out to me if there was an opportunity. A few months after I launched Pet-traits, I reached out to them again and got a chance to meet with Shantanu Naidu, who was managing the animal care hospital project. That’s when the idea of the Dogs of Bombay House series came up.” Meghna says she felt that the Bombay House dogs, especially Goa (who was already a poster boy in his own right) would be perfect to spread the message of ‘adopt, don’t shop’. “I spent a few hours taking pictures of and getting to know the Bombay House pack. Shantanu and his colleagues also spent time patiently answering my questions about each of the dogs which helped me decide on how to compose the portraits,” she says. “The highlight of this was when Mr Tata agreed to visit Starbucks to see my series! That was a dream come true and a memory that I will treasure for the rest of my life. He even signed my portrait of Goa. Someday, I hope to auction it and donate all the proceeds to an animal NGO.”

Prior to lockdown, we often took life’s simple pleasures for granted and forgot to take time out to appreciate such matters. Since lockdown, many of us have experienced anxiety, fear and also, negative thoughts of ourselves, lacking the confidence and motivation it takes to rebuild our previous lives back to their normal state. Our canine companions, however, see the world as ‘a glass half full’, optimistic and ever ready for new adventures. Maybe it’s naivete…They do not, after all, understand the current crisis and did not see the widespread panic we witnessed, the numbers of fatalities as a direct result of the 2020 pandemic. Much in the same way as infants, the minds of our pets have been, though not consciously as with children, shielded from the bad news which has had such a big impact on the minds of adults. They do though sense the change I’m sure. Mishka began showing signs of anxiety at the peak of lockdown as our routine had changed entirely and also, with the unsettling living arrangements during the moving process. She did, however, as dogs often easily do, adapt quickly to the new routine and surroundings. This is perhaps how we must become too, during such unpredictable times, to best cope with situations. I have indeed taken this onboard as a learning curve, trying to remain optimistic and positive even in the most difficult times. I watch dogs often when out and their behaviour and communication with other canines is a whole world away from ours and we really should consider adapting this into our own ways of perceiving the world around us. I’m not saying let’s play chase in the park and bark with our friends…Just learn from our dogs…Appreciate the simple pleasures that life has to offer. Positive mental attitude towards your outlook on life as it is…For now and for the future…And with our dogs forever by our sides.

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A Full House

I am Deeya Choudhary, 22, born and raised in Bhopal. I am a filmmaker, artist, and entrepreneur. I manage two agencies of my own – Soch Films and Publicity, where we produce films and ads, and Deeya Solutions which is engaged in digital marketing and website development work. I am also the president of an NGO, Ayaan Welfare Society, where we actively engage in animal welfare and women empowerment initiatives. Apart from that I have recently started my online store where I sell my designs printed on a variety of products. 

I live with my parents, my grand-mother who travels to and fro between India and the US every six months, my fiancé Shasham, along with three house helps, and of course our nine fur babies. We have a split-storey house, which means every half floor has a room or a hall, which now seems to be a bummer because there is only one big hall on the ground floor, and then stairs and rooms. There is enough space in our driveway and on the terrace for the dogs to move around and play freely. Three out of the nine are labradors – mother, father and daughter. The father, Yuvraj, suffers from hip dysplasia, which means he should not be climbing stairs a lot. For that we have a dog door on the ground floor, so that none of them climb the stairs., since I’m also concerned about the daughter, Miha, who could get it from her father genetically, although she is almost four years old now and shows no red signals, but better safe than sorry. So yes, there is enough space, but of course, any amount seems less when you have nine furries on the move.

We have always had dogs in our house, my parents and their parents, all of them are pet lovers. There has been no time in my life when there wasn’t a  dog in our house. Having said that, we always have one or two, and even though my parents are dog lovers themselves, nine dogs can get on their nerves sometimes. We work hard to manage things in a way where both the dogs and the humans are happy. 

It all started in 2013, when I gifted my boyfriend, who’s now my fiancé, an adopted lab puppy who we named Rihana. She was our baby and she travelled everywhere with us. Shasham also rented a new apartment because his previous place was not dog-friendly. Then one day while I was going somewhere, I saw two huge stray dogs fighting and tugging over a small puppy. I pulled over and saved her from them and took her to the doctor. She had a wound, which was the size of almost her entire body, and she was weak and unwell. I took her to Shasham’s place and we placed her in an empty room with food, water and a bed. She didn’t sleep and kept crying, so Shasham took her to his room and comforted her and massaged her to sleep. She sleeps in his lap, or near his neck ever since. Rihana and Miley became best friends. When we took them for their vaccination, we saw a lab puppy being shown to some customers in that pet shop and we fell in love with him. We sat there for almost an hour and played with him, which meant us massaging and rubbing him because he was so lazy. We came back home, but we could not get him out of our heads. We kept reminding each other the practical reasons for not getting him, but we just could not hold ourselves. Four hours after we first saw him, we went back and got him. And that is how in three months, we went from zero to three dogs, no fixed income, and not so friendly landlord. The first few months were manageable. The problem started when we were not able to take them for proper walks, and the flat was on the 5th floor, which gave them no place to pee and poop when we were out. Me and Shasham washed the entire house every evening. The area was such that we could not find a house help, and with them growing up, the neighbors became an issue. So Shasham decided to shift. We found a house very close to my house, which has a small garden, a driveway and was overall really huge. Life became a little better. Then again, the neighbours. We were handling them but they became a bigger trouble everyday. One of Shasham’s friends fell in love with Rihana and took her with him. It was really difficult for her but we figured it was for her own good since his house has a huge huge garden which Rihana loved. Shasham eventually had to move out of that house, so Yuvraj and Miley shifted to my place. We had a Lhasa-Apso and a Persian cat. They adjusted quickly and were way more happier than before with humans being around 24/7, and since Shasham also came by everyday, they were not missing him either. We always kept in touch with Rihana and visited her often, and almost every other day saw her pictures which the friend sent. After a few months, the friend started ghosting on us, was not sending pictures, and kept ignoring Shasham’s call. We tried for two weeks after which Shasham lost his cool and confronted him. Turns out he had given her away to someone in Indore. We forced him to get her back and the next day she came back by bus with a dirty jute rope around her and she was weak and scared. We got her home. My father saw her and said let’s just keep her and she should not go through more trauma. It took us a month to get her fear out, and to get her skin infections treated. We pampered her so much that she is now a brat. Then Rihana gave birth to her first litter, all adorable and healthy puppies, except one who had a skin infection on her back, which the doctor said was due to the deep-rooted skin infections that Rihana had earlier. So that baby got extra love and care since we were constantly cleaning her, applying meds and taking her out in the sun. At seven weeks old, it was time for them to go. I tried my best to find them homes, but failed and ultimately gave them to a trusted pet store who had agreed to take them all. A few hours after I left  them at the store, however, I got a call from the owner who  said that one of them was not eating and seemed ill. I rushed back and it was her, the one that had the infection. They were trying to feed her all sorts of things, and she rejected everything. As soon as I reached, she was jumping on me. I picked her up and she grabbed my neck with her paws and just did not let go. I sat there, tried to feed her, play with her, but she just did not let go of me. I brought her home, and four years later, she is still with us. And to tell you, she was not ill at all. As soon as she reached home, she was running and jumping and eating like no one’s business. So for three years, this was our family – Candy (the Apso), Miley, Yuvraj and Rihana. Last year in September, one of my friends saw a puppy stuck in a hole. He jumped in to get her out and gave her to me. I went to Shasham with a puppy face and he said okay. My plan was to keep her in our other house which is just a few houses away from our house, where all of our help and their families live. But she got attached to me and more than that I got attached to her. I was going through a bad phase myself and she just became my healer. So then there were six. And then in March this year, Miley gave birth to three fur balls. She is an Indie and she should have been spayed, but because of some medical conditions, we could not. The three babies were obviously very cute and adorable, because of which I kept away from them. I knew I would fall in love with them. My grandmother had already found homes for them, her relatives who live in a nearby city. They were supposed to leave when they were six weeks old, and then 2020 happened. We could not travel because of the lockdown for weeks, and during those weeks, I started spending time with them. As they grew up, they started moving around more parts of the house and my self-control failed. So yeah, they ended up not going either.

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Beware! Ticks Can Make Your Dog Sick

New Delhi, February 18, 2020: Tick bites in dogs are a common problem but a serious one. For they can irritate your pet and transmit disease, it’s important to give your dogs flea and tick preventative medications, check them for ticks after they’ve been outdoors and remove any ticks that have become attached.

Types of ticks
Blacklegged deer tick. This tick species is well-known for carrying Lyme disease, which can be transmitted to both dogs and humans. However, it can also cause canine anaplasmosis.

Lone star tick. The lone start tick, along with the American dog tick, carries a pathogen that causes tularemia. This tick species can also transmit Ehrlichiosis in humans and dogs and, in humans, southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI), which has symptoms similar to Lyme disease.

Brown dog tick. The brown dog tick has been known to transmit the organism that causes canine babesia — a mild infection of a dog’s red blood cells that can be more severe in young animals.

All tick bites. Tick bites can cause irritation and sometimes become infected.

Checking for ticks
Tick prefer to attach themselves in areas that are warm, protected and have thinner skin, but they can be found anywhere on your dog’s body.

Common attachment locations include:
Between back legs (groin)
Under front legs
Around eyes
In and around ears, including the small pocket on your dog’s ear flap
Under collar
Between toes
Around tail
In between any skin folds
How to remove a tick from your dog
Once you find a tick on your dog, remove it immediately to prevent the spread of disease. Follow these steps:

Use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the pest and pull upwards with firm, consistent pressure. Be careful not to squeeze the tick too hard when removing it as it could regurgitate potential pathogens into your dog through the bite site. Additionally, don’t apply anything to the tick before removal, including oils, petroleum jelly, heat or fire, paint or nail polish remover.

After the tick is removed, double-check the bite site on your dog to make sure you didn’t leave part of its mouth behind, which could cause infection. Completely sterilize the wound left behind at the bite site. Use a match to burn the tick, smother it with mayonnaise or freeze it.

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Signs Your Dog is Jealous of Your Partner

London, February 16, 2020: Introducing a new person to your home can set off all kinds of alarm bells for your dog. Like us, dogs can be a bit anxious about change, and the sudden attention you’re paying to another human, rather than them, can cause jealousy. Dogs love hard. Think about how excited they get when you come home after an hour gone.

According to Ben Cunningham, behavioural specialist and education manager at GroomArts, if your normally neat and gentle dog starts destroying your home, something’s clearly wrong. Ben says: ‘We know that cats will scratch and claw your furniture but if this is something your dog adopts in situations where your attention and affection are not solely focused on them, then this can become a problem.

‘Whether it’s biting chunks out of the sofa, clawing at the carpets or simply jumping on surfaces they know they’re not allowed on, wilfully disobedient or destructive behaviour in dogs demonstrates that they’re feeling neglected.After all, if they’re lacking attention, destroying household items is a bold statement that’s bound to get them some, whether that is positive or negative.’

‘Picture the scene,’ says Ben. ‘It’s Valentine’s evening. You’ve lit some candles, cooked an exquisite steak dinner and got the latest Oscar-winning movie all ready to go on the TV. You’re expecting the dog to maybe curl up at your feet, or take a position on the end of the sofa next to the two of you.

Just as you sit down and cuddle up with a glass of wine, your dog jumps on the sofa and pushes between the two of you, making it very clear that either the three of you are having a romantic night in, or no one is.‘If your dog can’t let anyone else get near you without barging into their way, this is a sure sign that your attention isn’t being divided equally enough.’ If your dog seems desperate for attention, they’re probably acting out of jealousy. Pushy behaviour such as constant whining and shoving their way on to your lap is a way for dogs to express their sadness and assert their importance in your lives.

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