General Care – Feeding, Grooming and Bath

General Care

Introduction

Owning a dog is a big responsibility and giving your dog the best care and attention can help to improve the quality and length of your dog’s life. Feeding your dog a well balanced diet is clearly necessary to keep him fit and healthy, but other activities such as exercise, training, grooming and regular visits to the veterinarian are equally as important.

Regular grooming is essential in order to keep your dog looking and feeling his best, but it is also a good opportunity to check the condition of your dog’s coat and skin, as well as looking for any abnormalities such as swellings, wounds or evidence of parasites. If you notice anything which is out of the ordinary, contact your veterinarian for further advice.

When grooming your dog, you should also check that your dog’s eyes and ears are clean, clear and free from excessive discharge. If the eyes are not clean, they can be gently cleaned with moist cotton wool; use a different swab for each eye. If the eyes are red or there is a lot of discharge, seek veterinary advice. The ears, if soiled, can be wiped with a small pad of dry cotton wool, but don’t delve beyond the area you can see or poke anything solid inside, as the ear is very delicate and easily damaged. Dogs with long ears are more likely to suffer from ear complaints, so be extra vigilant with these breeds. A lot of dark wax or discharge in the ear could indicate the presence of ear mites or an infection, and you should ask your veterinarian for advice.

Also check your dog’s mouth regularly. His teeth should be clean and free from deposits, and the gums should be a healthy pink colour. As he ages, deposits may develop around the base of the teeth near the gums which can lead to bad breath, mouth pain, gum disease, and infections and could eventually cause the teeth to fall out. Your veterinarian can scale the teeth to remove the tartar, remove any loose teeth, and polish them to slow down recurrence, but this usually requires a general anaesthetic. Brushing your dog’s teeth regularly (daily) will help to prevent this, using either a special canine or a child’s toothbrush and toothpaste designed for use in dogs. Do not use human toothpaste in dogs, as it can cause gastrointestinal upsets and is usually quite unpalatable. It is best to start brushing your dog’s teeth from an early age, so that he becomes used to the routine. Specially designed dog biscuits, which help reduce the build-up of plaque and tartar are also available and can help to maintain your dog’s oral health and hygiene as part of your dog’s daily diet.

It is also important to keep an eye on your dog’s nails. Dogs who are regularly exercised on hard surfaces are less likely to need any attention as their nails wear down to about the correct length. If your dog is exercised mostly on grass, his nails may grow longer and may need trimming. Pay particular attention to the dew claws, if any are present, since they are not in contact with the ground and are not worn down. They tend to grow round in a circle and may pierce the pad, which can be painful and is likely to cause lameness. You can trim the nails yourself, but it is important that this is done correctly with suitable clippers. If you are not familiar with the procedure, ask your veterinarian or a professional dog groomer for help.

It is also important to control your dog’s body weight and keep him in optimum condition. Feel your dog’s body, particularly over the ribs to check that he is the correct weight; you should be able to feel the individual ribs under a cover of body tissue, and there should be a definite `waist’ behind his ribcage. Alternatively, your veterinarian may be able to do this for you during routine visits. Any deviation from this could mean that the diet should be modified, please ask you veterinarian for advice.

Feeding

We all know that dogs are omnivorous, meaning they are capable of digesting and absorbing nutrients from plants as well as animals source. The most important is the diet you feed your dog should be complete and balanced. A nutritionally balanced diet is crucial for the healthy growth and development of a dog in order to prepare him for an active, long, and healthy life.

In emerging markets like India, where manufactured petfood penetration is very low , feeding home-prepared diets is so prevalent because of a variety of factors, including; cultural attitudes, owner compliance, poor education, economics and lack of availability of complete manufactured diets. However, there have been concerns that many home-prepared diets are deficient, excessive or unbalanced in essential nutrients . This is because the recipes have not been subjected to feeding trials or chemical analysis, and may be further modified by owner’s poor compliance. Furthermore, there are questions regarding digestibility, safety and palatability of home-prepared diets.

No single ingredient/ source of diet will provide all the nutrients and energy requirement of a dog. For eg., Cereals are rich in some vitamins but lack many nutrients required for a dog or puppy. Meat is rich source of proteins but low in Calcium and Vitamin A.   Like wise Milk is low in iron and Vitamin D. Therefore a combination of ingredients from plant and/or animal sources is required to meet the requirements of a dog. Our research indicated that most home made diets/ foods fed to dogs in our country are inadequate and growth, development and body/skin condition may not be optimum. It is difficult even for an experienced breeder to prepare balanced diet for puppies or dogs at home. Therefore Do not feed any supplements or home diet while he is feeding on Pet food

The amount of time taken for a growing puppy to achieve adult bodyweight varies considerably, with larger breeds having a longer growth period than smaller breeds. Toy, small and medium breeds reached 99% of their adult weight at around 9-10 months, whilst large and giant breeds reached this point at approximately 11-15 months. Puppies nutritional requirements are almost twice that of an adult dog and are different to human. For example, Puppies’s not only need significantly more protein than adult dogs and babies (approximately 6 times each day) but also requires highly digestible proteins and energy dense food for optimum growth. Puppies grow almost 12 times faster than babies. Lastly puppies are fed 2-4 small meals per day to accommodate in their tiny stomachs. A nutritionally balanced diet is crucial for the healthy growth and development of a dog in order to prepare him for an active, long, and healthy life. Therefore, Accurate feeding and the provision of all nutrients at optimal level is essential to maximise puppies genetic potential to grow.

How to feed puppy food to your pet :

  • Any dietary change should be made slowly to avoid any upsets to your pets’s digestion
  • Gradually introduce the Pet food over a 5-10 day period by mixing very small amounts of the puppy food with old diet.
  • Remember that too quickly a change over may upset your pet’s metabolic balance and they may also lose interest in food
  • Mix the puppy food into the food by adding a spoonful at a time, until the whole meal consists of Puppy food
  • Feed the required quantity three to four times a day
  • Please follow feeding instructions provided on the food label or consult us.
  • Make sure that fresh water is available at all times .

Feeding pregnant bitch

The average duration of   pregnancy in   the bitch is 63 days, but her energy requirements do not increase appreciably until   the last third of gestation when most foetal   weight gain occurs. It is important, therefore,   to avoid overfeeding in early pregnancy, since this will lead to the deposition of unwanted fat and may predispose the   bitch to problems at whelping. A gradual increase in food allowance over the second half of gestation is all that  is required and a satisfactory regimen would be to increase the amount of food by 15% of the bitch’s maintenance ration each week   from the fifth week onwards. At the   of   whelping the bitch then will be eating   60%   more than when she was mated. However, in late pregnancy and particularly if the litter is large, the space occupied by the   gravid uterus may be so great that the physical capacity for food intake is limited and appetite is reduced. In   this case, feeding a concentrated diet, such as one designed for puppy growth, can help to ensure an adequate intake and offering smaller, more frequent meals can also be beneficial.   This is more palatable and energy dense food which should able to take her requirements during this pregnancy period.

Lactation represents the most nutritionally demanding life stage for the bitch and at peak lactation (three to four weeks after whelping), she may need to eat anything up to four times normal maintenance allowance. Failure to the diet to meet these demands means that the bitch will nurse her young at the expense for her own body reserves, with a resultant   loss of weight and condition. If the bitch is unable to produce enough   milk or to eat the   amount of food she needs, then early supplementary   feeding of the puppies may   be necessary if both the bitch and puppies are to   thrive.

Do not fed any supplements/ calcium tonics while he is on Prepared pet food

Dalmatian breed (adult) typical to our country (25 -30 kilos) would require 430 – 500 Grams per day of Pet food active. Please continue to feed this quantity until 5th week of pregnancy and increase the quantity by 15% per week from 6th week of pregnancy until delivery and then during peak lactation, feed her 3 times the adult maintenance. Split the required quantity of Pet food in 2 to 4 meals per day.

Please follow feeding instructions provided on Pet food active food label or consult your nearest vet.

Feeding in summer  or Not eating in Summer

There are number of reasons for your pets to behave like this. For eg., New place, stress and fear from new environment or people etc. or could be change in climate which he is yet to adapt. Some dogs may refuse food / skip meals, when they have consumed more energy then they would require ( which is common in our experience when they receive some snacks and home food along with Pet food). Dogs tend to eat less in hot and humid climates as well. Therefore give him some time to get used to new place and environment. Please follow the guidelines below that may help to manage his feeding in hot and humid climate. If the problem persists, please take him to vet rule out any medical causes.

  • A well balanced nutritionally complete diet confers some protection against the effects of heat stress. Do not feed any home food including rice while he is fed on recommended quantity of pet food
  • Despite reduced intakes there may be increased energy expenditure in an effort to lower the body temperature for example during periods of increased panting in dogs. Energy requirement increases with increase in ambient temperature. This means they may need to eat more during hot summer
  • Natural antioxidants present in pet food may help to prevent oxidative stress and cope up with heat stress
  • Feed during cooler part of the day, if possible OR increase frequency of feeding — increase number of meals to accommodate requirements per day. Make sure that you feed total recommended quantity of Pet food for your pet.
  • Try different variety in Pet food range — chicken and veg, Meat and rice and Pet food active
  • Weekly monitoring of body weight and body condition help to increase or decrease the Pet food quantity to fed.
  • Remember to give them plenty of water so they don’t become dehydrated in the warm weather.
  • Avoid exercising your pet in the midday heat and stick to early morning or late afternoon when temperatures are cooler.

Fussy eater

There are number of reasons for your pet to behave like this. For eg., . it may have fear for new food, previous bad experience with the food, poor palatability or simply ,she may be a fussy eater. Some dogs may refuse food / skip meals, when they have consumed more energy then they would require ( which is common in our experience). Small breeds are generally fussy eaters.

Please make sure that you are not overfeeding her and monitor her body weight at least every two weeks. we suggest to try different variety in Pet food range ( eg., Meat and rice)

If you pet is small breed, then   I would suggest to feed her “Pet food small breed” designed specifically for small breeds and has high palatability.

If he continue to refuse, the most effective way to get your dog to eat his Pet food food is to follow these steps

  • Offer a small amount of yours dog normal food
  • leave it down for a maximum of 20 min and leave the dog alone
  • If the food is not eaten after 20 minutes, pick the food up and let the dog see you throw it away
  • Do not talk or fuss the dog, just ignore him. This is really important
  • If you do make a fuss of your dog at this stage, he will start associate not eating with getting attention
  • Do not offer any snacks or tit bits
  • A couple of hours later, repeat this steps, don’t give him       any attention or alternatives
  • Keep repeating this process every couple of hours throughout the day
  • If by the bed time, your dog still hasn’t eaten, let him go to bed on empty stomach- -no sympathy
  • The following morning, repeat the same steps
  • By the end of 2nd day, he will probably hungry and when you offer the food , he should eat it
  • Don’t forget to make a fuss of your dog when he does eat

This method of training should help to show your dog that he needs to eat when you offer him the food, otherwise he will go hungry

If he continues to refuse food, i suggest to contact your vet and discuss whether there may be medical cause/s for this and in some instances, blood work may be required to find underlying cause.

Overweight/Obesity

What you have to remember is that ,the diet you feed your dog should be complete and balanced. This means, the balanced diet will meet all his required nutrients and energy demand, regardless of its life stage or life style.Home made diets depending on the sources, vary with respect to quality, digestibility, nutrient content and therefore is not balanced and complete.

If your dog is overweight it will affect his life in many ways. He will be less likely to want to go out for a walk and exercise. Obese dogs are also prone to develop health problems like arthritis, heart problems diabetes etc. As with people, any diet should ensure that any weight loss is one in a steady manner, ensuring that dog does not become deficient in any nutrients and is not hungry. The best person to speak to is your vet, who will advise appropriate food and amount. A target weight should be set for your dog and in order for your dog to reach his ultimate target weight, he must be initially targeted to lose 15% of his current body weight. If more weight needs to be lost then next target should be further 15% reduction and so on until his ideal weight has been achieved.

Your dog will also need to increase his exercise. Please contact your vet for further details including correct diet.

 

Bath and Grooming

Regular grooming is essential in order to keep your dog looking and feeling his best. Grooming is also a good way of spending time with your dog and should be an enjoyable experience for both of you. Grooming is a good time to take the opportunity to check the condition of your dog’s coat and skin as well as looking for any abnormalities such as swellings, wounds or evidence of parasites. If you notice anything which is out of the ordinary, contact your veterinarian for further advice.

Dogs only need bathing when they are dirty or on the advice of your veterinarian. Make sure that you only bath your dog in fine weather or indoors to avoid chills. Only use shampoos and conditioners, which have been designed for use on dogs; your veterinarian may recommend a special type of product. Always read the instructions carefully before use and never use domestic detergent or disinfectants.

It is advisable to get everything prepared before you start to bath your dog because he may try to get away from you during bathing! You will need to prepare the area where you will wash the dog, where you will dry him, including all the equipment you will need, such as combs and brushes. When you bath your dog, you should also air and wash his bedding at the same time, which, of course, should also be done at regular intervals between baths.

Bathing outdoors in warm weather may be the best place, because it can be a messy job. Have a tub or other container half filled with warm water (not too hot!), and make sure you have a ready supply of warm water for rinsing the dog. Gently lift the dog into the container of tepid water. Use a clean bottle or jug to pour the warm water over the dog, from the back of the neck downwards, doing the head last. Use a mild canine shampoo and start by applying it to the body and legs. Rub the shampoo well into the coat to give a good lather and make sure all the coat has been shampooed. The dog’s head should be shampooed last, paying particular care to ensure that no shampoo gets into his eyes. Rinse the shampoo from your dog by pouring warm water onto his coat. It will take quite a lot of water to rinse the shampoo out of the coat thoroughly. Your dog will probably shake himself vigorously and this will remove most of the water from his coat. Dry your dog with a clean towel. Depending on the breed and the length of hair, you may want to use a hair dryer on a low temperature setting. By using a brush with the hair dryer you can speed up the drying process considerably.

Always pay attention to areas which matt easily, for example, behind the ears. It is much easier to prevent these mats from forming than it is to remove them once they have formed. Dogs tend to moult all year round if they are kept indoors, but they shed hairs more profusely in the spring and autumn. Brushing your dog every day during this period will help the process, and will reduce the amount of hair shed over your carpets and furniture.

Long-haired dogs may need to be groomed several times a week, short-haired maybe once a week, depending on the condition of the coat. It is better to spend a short time every 2 or 3 days than to leave the coat ungroomed and encourage matted hairs. You will need a comb and brush, which you should keep especially for your dog. Large dogs are probably best groomed standing on a table, small dogs sitting on your lap. Groom the dog from the head downwards, running the brush or the comb in the direction of the dog’s hair. You may need to lift the upper hair if the dog has a thick undercoat. Brush from under the coat outwards, removing dead hair and mats. If you can put the comb through the hair without catching knots, you know that you have thoroughly groomed your dog.

We generally do not advise bath for young puppies particularly in winter. We suggest to him give him sponge bath with plain Luke warm water when required. When he grows up to an adult, you can use shampoo for regular bath , generally twice a month. Never use human shampoo and use dog shampoo specific to your dog’s skin condition. Ask your vet to recommend a good quality brand tearless shampoo.

  • Start by wetting the dog all over, leaving his head, face, and ears for later.
  • Shampoo his hind legs, tail and be sure to wash the “you-know-where” parts.
  • Continue by shampooing the body, chest, and front legs.
  • With extra-care wet the head, face, and ears. Cup your hands over his ears to prevent water from entering the canal. Lather these areas with care because even tearless shampoo is uncomfortable in the eyes.
  • Rinse thoroughly, and when you think you’ve done a good rinse job
  • Rinse and rinse again.
  • Quickly wrap the dog in a towel and to keep your dog from getting a chill quickly wrap in a blanket and towel dry each and every part of your dog.

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