Dog Care

Are you ready for a dog?

It is a very big responsibility to keep a dog. They can live up to 12 years or even longer.

Think ahead what will you be doing in 12 years time, will you still have the time to look after a dog and care for him/her in his old age or will you be busy studying for exams or wanting to go out with friends or in a relationship?

Think twice before getting a dog. You and your family should understand these things about living with a dog:

  • Will you spend a large amount on your dog when he/she fell ill.
  • Do you dare to pick up their “mess” after walking or at home?
  • Will you be able to train them?
  • They can get ticks, fleas and worms.
  • Some day your dog will die.
  • Some shed a lot of fur.
  • Friends or family might be allergic to dogs.
  • They need to go for walks frequently.
  • Worried about them when you are overseas.
  • Need to find a reliable pet sitter to take care of your dog while you are away.
  • They can chew anything like your furniture or even your mobile phone.
  • Dogs need things like leashes, collars, and toys that cost money.
  • They need regular grooming especially for long coat dog.
  • Some dogs bark alot.
  • They smelled. People might "irritated face" because of your dog's odour.
  • They CANNOT be bath everyday.

You and your family should sit down and discuss these points of dog ownership. If any of these things bother you or your family, maybe a dog is not the best pet for you. Making the right decision now will help a dog live happier. If you change your mind after getting a dog or your family decided that getting a dog wasn't a good idea after all, it will be the dog who suffer the most.


When to call a vet?

You should alert your veterinarian if your dog exhibits any unusual behavior, including the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive urination for more than twelve hours.
  • Fainting.
  • Loss of balance, staggering, falling.
  • Constipation or straining to urinate.
  • Runny eyes or nose.
  • Persistent scratching at eyes or ears.
  • Thick discharge from eyes, ears, nose, or sores.
  • Coughing or sneezing.
  • Difficulty breathing, prolonged panting.
  • Shivering.
  • Whining for no apparent reason.
  • Loss of appetite for 24 hours or more.
  • Weight loss.
  • Dramatic increase in appetite for 24 hours or more.
  • Increased restlessness.
  • Excessive sleeping or unusual lack of activity.
  • Limping, holding, or protecting part of the body.
  • Excessive drinking of water.



Critical periods of socialization

Knowledge of the early growth periods of dogs helps to understand canine aggression. Puppies have a critical need for socialization from three weeks of age, when they can see and hear, until 14 weeks of age. Puppies should best be purchased between seven and eight weeks of age for proper socialization in the new home. Eight to 10 weeks is a fearful period, during which the puppy must not be harshly disciplined and must be handled gently by adults and children.

Fourteen weeks starts the juvenile period -- the dreaded adolescence -- that ends when the pup achieves sexual maturity, usually at about 14-15 months of age. If a puppy has not been socialized by the time he is 14 weeks old, he may never be trustworthy around people or other dogs.

Puppies raised in kennels where they receive very little human handling will often remain shy of people, particularly if they are not sold prior to 14 weeks of age. They may always be fearful, especially under stressful conditions.

Dogs reach sexual maturity at six to 14 months of age. During this period, they usually begin to bark at strangers and become more protective, and males begin lifting a leg to urinate. Introduction to strangers (adults, children, and other dogs) on the home property during this period is important as well, especially if the pup has missed out on early socialization.



Skin Problems in Pet

Dogs and cats suffer from many problems, which affect their skin. It is important to understand that the skin is an organ, just as the liver and kidneys are organs. The skin functions as a barrier to protect the body from infection, caustic substances, ultra violet light and dehydration. Good health and proper function of the skin is dependent on the health and function of the other organs which make up our pets bodies.

Diseases which effect the skin can be placed into one of two categories: primary and secondary skin disease. Primary skin diseases are those which effect the skin directly, such as mange or flea and tick hypersensitivities. Secondary diseases are those which initially involve other organs and thereby effect the skin, such as hypothyroidism.

The diagnosis and treatment of skin diseases can be difficult and time consuming. The following are some of the common diseases and conditions effecting the skin and a brief description of their diagnosis and treatments.

Allergies: Humans with allergies usually react by sneezing, but your pet reacts by scratching. Both you and your pet are reacting to an allergen, which is a substance that causes sensitivity. Most allergens are inhaled, but a few are the contact type, such as an allergy to wool. Some allergens are found in food, most commonly corn, wheat, soy, beef, and dairy products. The first signs of allergic reactions are scratching, licking, biting, or rubbing the skin. This can lead to infection characterized by red bumps and pimples. Because of the discomfort, it is important to get professional help as soon as possible.

Bacterial Infection: A bacterial infection is common, but is usually secondary to another underlying disease such as an allergy. Treatment for bacterial infections may include antibiotics— either given orally or topically. It is important to seek professional help to treat the bacterial infection while searching for the underlying disease.

Hot Spots or Acute Moist Dermatitis: Hot spots are usually a result of self trauma and resulting infection that occurs as your pet tries to relieve itself from some pain or itch. Treatment includes thorough cleaning, topical and systemic antibiotics, and anti- inflammatory agents.

Pyoderma: Pyodermas include a wide range of infections which result in the formation of pus. Pyodermas vary in severity. Treatment is similar to that for hot spots, but typically is longer term. Shampoos and rinses are also helpful.

Atopy or Allergic Inhalant Dermatitis: Atopy is a very itchy skin disease which is the result of allergies to microscopic particles in the air. Diagnosis is based on clinical presentation and absence of other causes such as ectoparasites. Treatment includes dietary supplements, antihistamines and steroids, and is often long term. In very refractory cases skin allergin testing and hyposensitization may be helpful. Shampoos and rinses are also often helpful.

Ectoparasites (external parasites) include mites, fleas, and ticks. These parasites break the barrier formed by the skin and allow bacterial infections to occur. They also may lead to allergic conditions. Diagnosis is achieved with gross observation and microscopic examination of skin scrapings. Treatment depends on the parasites present and include antiparasitic drugs and antiparasitic shampoos and rinses.

Fungal Infections include Malassezia sp., Dermatophytosis (Ring Worm), and Dermal Coccidioidomycosis. Diagnosis is achieved via culture of the organisms, microscopic examination of skin scrapings and blood tests which identify antibodies to Coccidioides immitis. Treatment includes topical and systemic antifungal drugs and antifungal shampoos and rinses.

Food allergies: Food allergies often manifest themselves as skin problems. Food allergies are usually diagnosed by ruling out other possible conditions. Treatment is trial feeding of hypoallergenic diets for a minimum of six weeks.

Irritant Contact Dermatitis: Contact allergies are diagnosed based on history of contact and clinical presentation. Treatment includes washing the exposed areas to remove the irritant. Patients that are itchy are given steroids for a short period of time. It is important to prevent re-exposure.

Autoimmune Skin Diseases: There are several autoimmune skin diseases and the foundation of diagnosis is surgical biopsy. Treatment includes combinations of dietary supplementation, steroids, and immune modulation drugs.

Secondary Skin Disease: Secondary skin diseases such as hypothyroidism are diagnosed via clinical testing for the underlying disease. Diagnosis often requires blood tests, biopsies, and X-rays. Treatment of the underlying condition usually results in improvement of the skin problems.

Diagnosis and Treatment Your pet's skin problems very often combine two or more of the above diseases. For example, flea infestation hypersensitivity can lead to pyoderma. Because of the complicated interactions between the skin and other organs within the body and due to skin's varied response to insult, diagnosis and treatment of skin disease may be difficult and time consuming.

The skin scrape is the mainstay of diagnosis. Several small areas of your pets skin are shaved to remove hair. A scalpel blade is used to scrape up the top layers of skin. The resulting material is viewed under a high-powered microscope. In addition to skin scrapes, blood tests and surgical biopsies are necessary to diagnose some skin diseases.

Treatment of skin disease may include steroids, antibiotics, antihistamines, topical drugs, antifungal drugs, shampoos and rinses and dietary supplementation or modification and surgical removal of masses. In some cases, therapy must be continued for months and even for life.