Pet Talk
Columns, Pet Talk

Pet Talk

May 6, 2020

In this week’s Pet Talk, Maneka explains the procedure for adoption of a dog and also tells why dogs try to eat their puppies’ navel off when they are born…

By Maneka Gandhi

 What breed of dog is the best for depression?

All dogs help us to fight depression, anxiety and other mental disorders as well. A dog’s love is consistent no matter what kind of dog you own.

More than any other animal, dogs have evolved to become extremely attuned to humans and our behaviour and emotions.

While dogs can understand many of the words we use, they are even better at interpreting our tone of voice, body language, and gestures.

Petting a dog releases the feel-good hormones like serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin, and lowers the stress hormone cortisol. According to Harvard Medical School, just petting a dog also reduces heart rate.

Dogs also encourage more exercise, which helps decrease blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease. A lower blood pressure and heart rate are associated with better mental health.

The companionship of a pet can also ease loneliness, and most dogs are a great stimulus for healthy exercise, which can substantially boost your mood and ease depression.

Rather than purchasing a dog, think about adopting one from a shelter. This will make you feel happier to help an abandoned dog and get a great companion as well.

Many of these dogs are traumatised from abandonment issues or have suffered from abuse. By adopting these dogs both you and your dog can begin your journey towards healing together and be each other’s support.

What is the procedure for adoption of a dog? Can I just take a dog from the street and keep it as a pet?

Yes, you can, and you should. The average life of a dog on the street is 3 years and 80% of all puppies die before they are 3 months old from cold, starvation or being run over. Get the dog vaccinated.

If you are adopting a dog from the shelter then you will interact with an adoption team who will try and match you to the dog .Sometimes they try to match pets and homes as well so that the dog is not returned. Interested families undergo a house check which includes address verification and an assessment of the interaction of the dog with the family. After adoption, the team stays in touch to counsel and assist them with hiccups regarding adoption, if any.

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Are there regular checks after adoption of a dog?

Yes. There are house checks post adoption to ensure that the pet is safe and comfortable. Some organisations ask you to click pictures of the pet every month and send it to them.

Can the adopted pet be returned?

Yes. If you are that small minded that you cannot give the dog time to adjust to new surroundings, or certain members of your family are vicious to the dog, then it is best to return him/ her to the shelter. If you throw the dog out of the house, he/she will die. The dog should not be abandoned in any way.

Why did my dog try to eat her puppies’ navel off when they were born?

When the puppies are born, they are attached to the placenta by the umbilical cord. Usually the pup is born, the mother chews off the cord, and between 5 – 15 minutes later, the placenta is delivered. In a few situations, in which the pup would have bled to death, the mother may sever the cord too close to the body of the pup. She is acting on instinct at this point and has no intention of harming her pup but feels compelled to chew that cord.

In some situations, the pup is born, and the mother may be busy with littermates that preceded that pup. The cord is still attached to the puppy, which is attached to the placenta, which is still inside the mother. It is normal for the mother to eat the placenta which is packed full of nutrients. In some situations, in which mom is eating the placenta and moves up the cord to the pup.

Newborn pups are wet, basically inactive, silent little things attached to the placenta. They smell like placenta, and, until they are cleaned up and dried off, look like placenta. Mom is being absolutely flooded with hormones and instinctively wants to tidy up all indicators of birthing puppies because, in the wild, there are predators that would certainly take advantage of unattended neonate pups.

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My pet seems to be in pain and isn’t as active as he should be. What should I do?

First, talk to your veterinarian and have him examine your pet. Your pet might have arthritis. Older pets, especially large dogs, are vulnerable to arthritis and other joint diseases, and the signs you see can vary. This chart provides the basic signs you might see if your pet has arthritis; you might see one or more of these signs in your pet.

Signs of arthritis in pets: Favouring a limb; Difficulty in sitting or standing; Sleeping more; Seeming to have stiff or sore joints; Hesitancy to jump, run or climb stairs; Weight gain; Decreased activity or interest in play; Attitude or behaviour changes (including increased irritability); Being less alert.

Signs of arthritis often are similar to signs of normal aging, so if your pet seems to have any of these symptoms for more than two weeks, the best thing to do is to have your veterinarian examine them, and then advise you as to what treatment plan would be best to help your pet deal with the pain. Arthritis treatments for pets are similar to those for humans, and may include:

Healthy diet and exercise to help maintain proper weight.

Working with your veterinarian to find a drug treatment that helps relieve the pain.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS): The most common treatment for arthritis in dogs. These drugs are similar to ibuprofen, aspirin, and other human pain relievers. However, never give an NSAID for people (over-the-counter or prescription) to your pet unless instructed to do so by your veterinarian; some of these drugs (such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen) can be toxic for pets.

Over-the-counter pet treatments, such as pills or food containing either glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate or Omega fatty acids. Both may help relieve the symptoms of arthritis in dogs.

A veterinarian-prescribed NSAID and an over-the-counter treatment that together may help decrease pain and disease progression. Diets with special supplements may also help decrease the discomfort and increase the joint mobility.

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