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Care in their grey years

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HEALTHY LIFE Dogs too need exercise as they age
HEALTHY LIFE Dogs too need exercise as they age

Here are some tips on how to take care of aged dogs

Thanks to advances in nutrition and veterinary care, dogs these days are living longer and are healthier. Some simple strategies will ensure that your pet lives a quality life in its golden years: * Feed a balanced diet making sure the animal is not putting on more weight than he should as it could lead to problems such as arthritis or diabetes. This is the time when the exercise pattern is not as brisk as before and mineral supplements and additives will help ensure a healthier pet.* More emphasis on filtered water (than when he was young with higher immunity levels) will ensure that your pet doesn't get dehydrated, leading to kidney disease or a dry coat. Clean water at accessible places will encourage frequent drinking.* More attention to dental health. Having his teeth professionally cleaned once in six months will prevent advanced periodontal disease. The circulating bacteria can affect the kidneys, liver and heart. Chew bones will also help keep his gums free of halitosis and tartar.* Ensuring that he doesn't stay too long on cold or wet floors. It will reduce the chances of arthritic pain. Slippery floors or smooth surfaces may affect his gait making him splay and aggravate existing conditions or cause painful muscle injuries. Having old sacks or carpets for him to move about his regular area will help.* Dry coats can be avoided by supplementing nutrients and regular brushing will avoid matting, which will have to be painfully removed later. Trim his toe-nails regularly since the exercise he gets now will not be enough to trim it naturally. * Sudden phobias or anxiety will develop in older dogs and over-the-counter products such as pheromones will help reduce the pangs, or as prescribed by your vet. Keeping a watch over unusual behaviour will help identify the problem at the earliest.* A visit by the vet can work wonders to help your dog tide over the senior years. Regular visits will help prevent or identify problems in the bud instead of waiting for symptoms to be full blown leading to long drawn treatments.Well Dog Show, a contest for mongrel dogs during the Animal Welfare Fortnight will be held at the Old Abacus School Grounds, Besant Nagar, on January 29. The `anything goes' show, into its seventh year, promotes mongrel dog owners to win prizes for such categories as curliest tail, loudest bark, most disobedient dog, unusual body patterns and tallest dog, and regular categories such as shiniest coat and oldest dog. The concept being to showcase your pet just the way he or she is. There's a new category this year for abandoned pedigree dogs. For details, contact 98400-21656 or 22300655. Pet's Choice Winner of the month is Ananya Ashok, who has adopted three grown-up pedigree dogs in the past few years, all through Blue Cross. Adopting a grown-up animal calls for a lot of love and patience more so since the animal is being re-homed due to some traumatic disturbance and needs to be reassured that all is well from now on. A Doberman and two Great Danes were lucky enough to find love with the new owners. Do read more about her from our website at www.bluecross.org.in Keep mailing us sharp pictures and cute stories at bci@bluecross.org.in or MetroPlus Column, Blue Cross of India, 72, Velachery Road, Chennai-32.

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