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Interesting facts

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Care and prevention

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Psychology and behavior

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Feeding

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Interesting facts

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Wagging the tail is the most characteristic and universal behaviour among dogs. It does not always mean satisfaction; it also is an indication of its mood or rank. The higher the tail is lifted, the more confident the dog feels; the lower the tail the more submissiveness it shows.
Tail wagging:
• relaxed tail, enthusiastic movements – friendly attitude, satisfaction;
• intense movements, including the hindquarters – submission;
• stiff tail held at the back line, slow movements – anger;
• lowered tail, stiff movements – restlessness, desire to gain the favour of another individual;
• tail tucked between hind legs – fear;
• tail held 45 degrees below the back line or slightly above – interest and attention.

Dogs not only can see colours, but colours also affect their behaviour. However, the palette of colours seen by the human eye and the dog eye is different – dogs see less of them. It is the very structure of the dog eye that proves that dogs see in colour.
The basic colours in which dogs perceive the world include yellow (also oranges and greens are perceived as yellows by dogs) and blue. Red is a colour completely unrecognizable for dogs – they sees it as a dark grey or black.y above – interest and attention.

In the dog language, barking is an alarm signal. Barking is one of the few signals that are not necessarily directed to a specific recipient, even when the distance between animals is small. Barking which expresses a true threat is a very low tone, taking the form of a rapid series of three individual barks. The sound sometimes described as „woof” is subdued barking which is a warning sound.

Normal body temperature in dogs is 38.0 °C to 38.9 °C. Panting (i.e. quickened breathing through the nose and mouth) is the main cooling down mechanism. This ability is the result of the structure of dog skin. Unlike in humans, in dogs most of the skin does not perspire. Dogs’ sweat glands are located between the fingers, which are not involved in thermoregulation.

Why do dogs bury bones?
The habit of burying the bones by domestic dogs is a natural behaviour inherited from their wild ancestors which did not always have enough food around. After successful hunting, the dog would hide some food from scavengers and even from other members of the herd. When it got hungry again and could not hunt anything, it would go back to its "stash" and eat the leftovers. Sometimes, hunting was so successful that there was too much food to eat it at once. Dogs buried food to save it for a period of starvation. Sand protected it from direct sunlight and kept it fresh.

 

Large dog

Medium dog

Small dog

     Dog’s age

Human age

Dog’s age

Human age

Dog’s age

Human age

1

16

1

18

1

20

2

22

2

27

2

28

3

31

3

33

3

32

4

40

4

39

4

36

5

49

5

45

5

40

6

58

6

51

6

44

7

67

7

57

7

48

8

76

8

63

8

52

9

85

9

69

9

56

10

96

10

75

10

60

11

105

11

80

11

64

12

112

12

85

12

68

13

120

13

90

13

72

 

 

14

96

14

76

 

 

15

102

15

80

 

 

16

110

16

84

 

 

 

 

17

88

 

 

 

 

18

94

 

 

 

 

19

100

 

 

 

 

20

110

 

 

* Approximate figures in years






Care and prevention



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Ear hygiene
Regular ear inspections and cleaning will protect your cat against the development of inflammation of the external auditory canal. The basic principle of proper ear cleaning is to avoid the use of cotton buds. They should not be inserted deeply, because it may result in pushing ear discharges deeper into the ear.
If there is a lot of discharge, put a few drops of liquid ear cleaner into the cat's ear canal and massage the base of the ear. When the cat shakes its head, the discharge will dissolve and escape. Then gently clean the ears of the lingering secretions. If the ears are hot, red and the cat shows signs of pain when you touch them, consult your veterinarian.
A veterinarian should have a look at any kind of secretion appearing in the cat's ears. Cats often have black and dry discharge in the external ear canal. If it is accompanied by strong and persistent itching, the cat may have ear mites.

Corners of the eyes should be cleaned with a fresh gauze using liquid eye cleaner or a physiological fluid. You should perform the treatment with a damp gauze, cleansing the eye from the outer to the inner corner.

At the age of 5-6 months, puppies lose milk teeth which are replaced with more impressive permanent teeth. At the age of 7 months, they already have their adult teeth. It is a good idea to allow the dog to get used to regular dental care treatments by the owner in the first months. You will need a toothbrush and toothpaste for animals. You can also buy liquids, ointments, and gels for teeth cleaning. Daily oral and dental hygiene will protect the dog against plaque and, consequently, against tartar and periodontal disease and gingivitis. Total lack of prevention may result in progressing development of periodontitis and tooth loss. Possible signs of an ongoing inflammation include mouth odour and gradual loss of appetite. Plaque is a source of dangerous bacteria that can cause a number of systemic diseases such as gastrointestinal disorders or diseases of the heart muscle.

 

It is a good idea to monitor the length and condition of the dog's claws every once in a while. If they are too long, it will make it difficult to walk or even cause loss of balance, for example on slippery surfaces, which could lead to bone and joint injuries or strained tendons and ligaments. The nails are cut using special clippers. If you are not able to do this yourself, visit a veterinarian. Cutting the claws too short will cause heavy bleeding.
Checking the condition of the finger pads and the area between them is also an important element of dog care. Dogs do not wear shoes like we do, therefore their pads are in constant contact with the ground. There may be cuts or other wounds that need the veterinarian's attention. In the winter, rub the pads with special protective balms, petroleum jelly or greasy creams. After a walk, wash the dog's paws with water to rinse off salt, sand or gravel. Apply protective preparations to the pads to avoid frostbite and irritation of these sensitive areas.

 

Dogs should get a bath whenever their skin and hair coat condition requires it. Use only dog shampoo, as shampoo for people has an acidic pH which causes skin irritation. After the bath, dry the hair thoroughly. Do not use a dryer. Wipe the dog for example with a towel. During the bath, make sure that no water gets in its ears and remember not to go out with the dog after a bath when it is cold, because it could get sick. 

 


Throughout the year, dogs moult. This process intensifies especially in spring and autumn. Dogs produce a significant amount of dead hair. For the coat to be beautiful and shiny, ensure a healthy diet, prophylaxis against parasites and comb out dead hair. With daily combing, fallen out dead hair will be replaced with healthy hair.





Psychology and behavior



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Barking and tail wagging is the dogs' body language. Using its tail, a dog expresses its emotions, mood, fears, stress and signals that it is ready to attack. We often see dogs vigorously and frivolously brandishing their tails – fully satisfied and eager to play. However, when the tail is tucked underneath, it is a sign that the dog is cautious and scared. If the tail is held horizontally, the dog is happy. Barking is normal dog behaviour. However, the loudness and manner are different for each dog. The owner will know best in what circumstances it is a signal of fear, play or boredom. Also the movements of ears, eyes and mouth are a form of contact with the humans. When the dog is lying on its back, it is telling you that it trusts you completely and knows that you are in charge.


Aggression among dogs may have various causes. Errors during mental development of puppies are irreversible. Problems in proper contact with humans and other animals stem from too early separation from mother, aggression towards the dog or not showing it any affection. Aggression may also be a result of health problems. Degenerative processes in the bones and joints, gastrointestinal disorders, infestation or the presence of fleas cause irritation in the animal and if someone gets too close or strokes it, it can cause aggression. If a dog is aggressive, its owner should show dissatisfaction with such attitude, saying NO loudly and clearly. Verbal punishment should take place immediately after the bout of aggression so that the dog knows that it was its bad behaviour that caused it. It is always better to reward good behaviour than punish the animal.


Digging pits and burrowing in the ground can be a symptom of boredom, too much energy or the need to cool in warmer weather. This may also be a sign of frustration, if the owner forces the dog to stay in the garden for a long time. The tendency to dig is also a feature of certain breeds. Sled dogs love to dig holes in order to cool down in them. Dachshunds and other hunting dogs are more prone to digging. Dogs that dig calm down when they undergo training, or become involved in family life.


The reason dogs jump and bark at household members and guests when they visit is because they want to show dominance. To deal with this behaviour, when you get up in the morning, first, do not pay any attention to the dog and do your own things. The same applies to the guests. You should ask visitors not to greet the dog at first and not to pay any attention to it. These rules should be applied consistently.






Feeding



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Proper nutrition of small and miniature breed puppies from the first weeks of life is crucial for a healthy and harmonious development of the skeletal system, strong and elastic muscles, efficient internal organs and well-functioning digestive, respiratory, circulatory and immune systems. The time when a small body grows is a time of an increased demand for proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals. This is also the time when the character of the dog is formed, which is positively influenced by a healthy and well-balanced diet.

Puppies are divided based on their size and weight they will reach in adulthood. Puppies of small dog breeds, as adults, will weigh from 1 to 10 kg, and the period of their growth ends at around 10 months of age. Within the group of small breeds, there is also an additional category — puppies of miniature breeds that as adults weigh up to 4 kg.

Small is beautiful. An owner of a small breed puppy should remember that it is a dog with a cheerful, energetic disposition, enormous life energy, that, in this respect, is very different from its larger friends. Therefore, the food which it gets should contain significantly more calories than food for puppies of larger breeds.

What distinguishes a young york, dachshund, poodle or miniature schnauzer? They are dogs with sensitive and delicate digestive tracts, small teeth, small-sized upper and lower jaws, and relatively short, but intense, period of growth lasting up to 10 months. This requires feeding with food adjusted to the growth rate in terms of nutrition and calories, easy to digest, light and stabilizing the bacterial flora of the young, growing digestive system. Some owners overfeed their puppies, feeding them table scraps, treats or poorly balanced food prepared at home, which is a big mistake. The sensitive digestive tract in contact with this type of food will respond by vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation and even poisoning.

Puppies of small breeds are known for highly sophisticated taste and being picky, hence feeding unhealthy food will make it impossible to change the bad habits later, when trying to introduce healthy and nutritional food.

For the first three weeks of life, the young puppy gets nourishment from the mother. When you notice that the puppy is irritated, crying and is not gaining weight, then from 4-5 weeks of age, you can gradually start introducing solid foods.

Slowly, they should be switched to ready feeds for puppies of small breeds: dry or wet. Dry feeds can be soaked with a little bit of water, until they become a slurry. Such a meal should be served in a flat bowl or on a plate. To encourage the puppy, you can gently make its face touch the food. If the dog eats it willingly, gradually reduce the amount of water added and start feeding it dry kibbles. Puppies aged 2-3 months should be fed 4-5 times per day, 4-6 months — 3 times a day, and 7 to 10 months — twice a day. 

In the case of puppies of medium breeds, which in adulthood weigh between 11 and 25 kg, it is important to provide them with properly balanced diet in terms of both energy and building material.

The development of medium breed puppy is divided into two stages:

  • The first stage is a period of intense growth; from birth to 6 months of age. It is characterised by rapid development of the osteoarticular system. A young organism uses the provided proteins to build the entire bone skeleton.

 

  • The second stage is the period between 7 and 12 months during which the development gradually slows down. The muscles surrounding the bones and joints are formed and strengthened, and the silhouette of a dog starts to resemble an adult specimen. At this time, the process of replacing milk teeth with permanent teeth ends. Its teeth are already much bigger and stronger than brittle and sharp milk counterparts.

Puppies of medium breeds require feeding three times a day in the first six months of life, and then twice a day for further six months, until the end of the growth period at 12 months of age.

Puppies should be given food at fixed times of the day and in the second bowl they should always have fresh water, boiled and cooled to room temperature.

In the case of feeding puppies with ready-made foods, both wet and dry, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and adhere to the daily dose. Improperly selected daily amount, overfeeding the dog, feeding it with home-cooked food, and feeding “at will”, will consequently lead to weight gain and consequently to irreversible changes in the skeletal system and problems in adult life.

The purpose of feeding puppies of large and giant breeds, that as adult individuals reach a weight of, respectively, over 25 kg and 45 kg, is to provide a complete feed, with a balanced content of nutrients: proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, which are easily absorbed and do not cause disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. Properly balanced food will ensure healthy development of the skeletal system, and highly digestible proteins, prebiotics in the form of mannan-oligosaccharides and fructo-oligosaccharides and fish oil as a source of Omega 3 acids will protect the sensitive digestive tract of a young, energetic and growing puppy.

To ensure optimal growth, development and the prophylaxis for the skeletal system, puppy diets are enriched with the so-called chondroprotectors.  These include:

  • Chondroitin, which slows down the degeneration processes of articular cartilage. It is responsible for the proper construction of the articular cartilage and synovial fluid, as it affects its elasticity.
  • Glucosamine, which aids the treatment of joints and rebuilding of articular cartilage exposed to destruction.
  • Hyaluronic acid, which is a building material of the synovial fluid and cartilage, and increases its viscosity facilitating the glide within the joints.
  • An important component of a puppy’s diet are the Omega 3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammatory reactions in joints.

Among the many breeds of large and giant dogs there are those that are genetically conditioned to rapid growth and weight gain. If the dog receives food rich in calories that far exceed the current demand for energy and nutrients, it will gain weight and develop obesity. This will result in problems with the growth, bone deformity, pathological changes in the joints, gastrointestinal disorders and the development of heart failure. That is why, it is so important to feed the dogs a diet with reduced fat content and the average content of calcium and phosphorus.

The period of growth in puppies of large breeds lasts up to the 15th month of age. It is a time of long and intense growth, during which there is an increased risk of digestive disorders if the feed is not properly adjusted to the size of the dog.

In the case of giant breeds, it is a two-stage development. In the first stage, the skeleton and joints are developed and in the second — the muscles.

Puppies of large and giant breeds should be fed 3 times a day until 6 months of age, whereas from 6 to 15 months in the case of large breeds, and from 18 to 24 months, in the case of giant breeds — twice.

You should also remember the cardinal rule of feeding puppies and dogs of large and giant breeds — after a meal, never play with them or force them to run. The “little one” should rest after a meal to avoid developing twisted stomach which is a typical disorder in large dogs. If a dog is given professional, commercial food specifically prepared for large breeds, it will not need additional vitamin and mineral preparations with calcium and phosphorus. The excess of these components will have a negative effect on the balance of minerals and vitamins.

Adulthood is the time when the dog is already fully developed — physically and mentally. It is the time when we change their feed from the one intended for puppies to a feed for adult dogs of small, medium or large and giant breeds. To avoid problems with digestive tract, such as diarrhoea and/or vomiting associated with changing the feed too rapidly, introduce a seven-day transition period. During this time, mix the feed used thus far and the new feed, gradually increasing the amount of the latter, so that on the seventh day the bowl is full of the new feed only.

Proper nutrition means a daily dose of food, which will be a source of energy from carbohydrates, fats and proteins, as well as building material — proteins and fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. 

Most of our pets are adult animals living in temperate climate. Usually, they are not pregnant, they do not feed their puppies and do not have to work hard. They are typical companion dogs. Therefore, these dogs obtain the daily amount of nutrients necessary for the proper functioning in one or a maximum of two meals per day.

You should avoid feeding them late in the evening, because then they will need to go for a walk later in the evening or at night to take care of their physiological needs. Meal time is also an important part of the dogs’ daily life. Your pet should get used to a permanent feeding time.

The stomach of an adult dog compared to that of a puppy is larger and more flexible. Dogs’ anatomical features determine the appropriate diet for them. Healthy food should have high nutritional value, be easily digestible and ensure an amount of energy suitable to the size of the dog. The method of feeding, the amount of feed served and the daily dose of the feed depend on the breed of the adult dog.

We distinguish between adult dogs of small breeds that weigh up to 10 kg; adult dogs of medium breeds that weigh between 11 and 25 kg; adult dogs of large breeds, whose weight exceeds 25 kg; and dogs of giant breeds which weigh more than 45 kg.

SMALL AND MEDIUM DOG BREEDS

When providing nutrition for small and medium-sized dog breeds, remember about their increased predisposition to dental problems. It is caused by the small size of the mandible and jaw which leads to the distribution of teeth on a small surface. That is why, it is very important to ensure that their teeth are cleaned by chewing on appropriately sized dry food kibbles and to brush their teeth daily.

LARGE DOG BREEDS

In the case of large and giant breeds, important elements of the diet are the added glucosamine, chondroitin sulphate and fatty acids. These components reinforce the functioning of articular cartilage within the bone connections, and reduce inflammatory reactions. The essence of nutrition for adult dogs of large breeds is to provide a feed with a high energy content, in order to be able to reduce the volume of the meal and thus protect the animal against overloading of the gastrointestinal tract and twisted stomach. For proper functioning of the nervous and immune systems, healthy skin and coat, the food should contain the essential fatty acids.

The size of the dry food kibbles should be adjusted to the size of the dog so that an adult York does not have to struggle with a large kibble, and a German Shepherd does not swallow feed with small kibbles without chewing.

Optimal nutrition of adult dogs is a guarantee of health, vitality and physical activity of dogs. Through conscious and proper selection of daily dose of the feed, the owner will prevent the dog’s weight gain and obesity as well as the consequences of these disorders.

Rapid progress of medicine, including veterinary medicine and nutrition contributed to significantly increased life expectancy of dogs. It is assumed that the average life expectancy of dogs is about 14 years. The general rule is also that small dogs live longer than medium and large ones.

Proper nutrition of adult dogs should be conditional on the current state of their health. If medical exams confirm that the dog is healthy and shows no signs of chronic diseases, it should receive maintenance formula designed for seniors.

But when the results of medical exams indicate any chronic disease, it is necessary to administer special medicated feeds. The 7th year of life is the average time when dogs begins to age. A mature individual has different nutritional needs.

The factors influencing the rate of aging include race, size of the dog, feeding and environmental factors. Dogs of small breeds reach adulthood in the 8th year of life, medium breeds — in the 7th, and large and giant breeds — in the fifth.

SPECIAL FEATURES OF FEED FOR SENIORS

  • The feed is rich in high-quality ingredients. Dogs are given food that is easily digestible and easily absorbed, with reduced fat content and relatively lower energy value to maintain a healthy weight.
  • The content of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids has anti-inflammatory effects and improves the appearance of dog skin and hair.
  • Glucosamine, chondroitin and hyaluronic acid positively affects the bones and joints.
  • Antioxidants, vitamin E and selenium boost the immune system, which weakens as dogs grow older. Limited functioning of the immune system would result in premature aging of the body, that is why the added vitamin E and selenium are so important.
  • The protein content is lower than in products for adult dogs. This is due to the need to reduce the development of chronic renal failure, which is diagnosed in most older dogs. However the amount of highly digestible protein is large enough not to cause any decrease in muscle mass, a characteristic element of the aging process, and at the same time to ensure proper functioning of the immune system.
  • Nutritionally valuable food for senior dogs should be relatively low in phosphorus to ensure proper functioning of the kidneys.

As in the case of adult dogs, the feed should be served up to twice a day, while providing unlimited access to fresh and good drinking water. The essence of healthy nutrition of dogs is to provide the appropriate amount of nutrients and energy to maintain their mobility, normal weight and to prevent the aging process for as long as possible. To maintain the dog’s body weight, control the amount of daily servings of food, do not feed your dog table scraps and reduce the amount of treats.

Remember also about the need for daily dental prophylaxis. Daily brushing and the use of preparations against tartar will have a positive effect on the whole body.




© 2014 Butcher's Pet Care.
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