By Lt Col BM Thapa (Retd)
I have a great liking for dogs since childhood as my father kept many dogs in our village at Pithoragarh. Since the day I joined the Army in 1963, I was very lucky to have various breeds of dogs in our house and today, also, I have a dozen Lhasa Apsos at my residence in Dehradun. They are well taken care by our trained family members like Raju and Bipin.
I am here to tell you that teaching Lhasa Apsos or any other breed to ensure good behaviour as well as various tricks and concepts of integrity doesn’t have many complications. Dr Dhiraj Bhatia, a good veterinarian, takes care of the dogs very well in all respects.
As regards caring for dogs doesn’t have to be a chore but brushing, haircuts, pedicures, shampooing and drying is very important. Many small dogs are very active and need plenty of exercise which is very essential. Dogs can be taught where they are permitted and where they are not. Signs of a healthy dog include healthy skin and coat and the importance of grooming, brushing, bathing and good nutrition for a healthy dog is very important. Every puppy should get a healthy check up at 6 months by a veterinarian to make sure that it is healthy.
We are probably familiar with traveling with a dog in a car – their big smiles and tongues flapping in the wind, but what about flying by airlines? If you have a small dog then there is a good chance of the airline allowing it in the cabin as long as the ventilated pet carrier is approved.
Once, in 1985, I was posted in the Field Area with the Border Roads Organisation (BRO). I took my pair of Lhasa Apsos by air, declaring dogs in the basket, which they allowed but, at Calcutta airport, due to delay in connecting flights we were sent to five star Hotel Grand, where dogs also could enjoy the hospitality, which I experienced for the first time in my life.
Big dogs need to travel by air in a crate. Remember, keeping dogs happy and healthy means maintaining their coat and skin with a balanced diet and good grooming regimen. Always plan vaccination for dogs in consultation with vets.
Feeding dogs and pups should be as under:-
6 to 12 weeks–4 meals per day; 3 to 6 months–3 meals per day; 6 to 12 months –2 meals per day. Continue to use preventive medicines. Talk to your veterinarian if you have a problem or if lifestyle has changed to make sure you are using the product best suited for your dogs. The amount to feed your dog depends on their age, size and activity level. Always ensure they have clean fresh water available at all times.
If the dog has gained unhealthy weight, make sure to cut down on fats along while increasing regular exercise. Dogs are creatures of habit and usually are happy with just one type of food. Dogs generally eat to meet their energy or nutritional needs.
One should never feed dogs candy, gum, chocolates, limes, onions or grapes. They can harm the dog’s digestive tract and cause infections as well.