Category Archives: Pet Care

Selecting a Dog

Once you have decided to take on the responsibility of a pet dog, the next is to decide how old a dog you want—a six-weeks-old puppy or a grown The ideal is a newly weaned puppy about six weeks old. At this age puppy is dependent on its owner for feeding, companionship and protection, and your fulfilling of these requirements will build a strong bond between the puppy and you. If there are young children in the family an especially strong bond will be formed between puppy and children, mainly :ecause of the long periods each day they will spend in each other’s corn- :any. If possible, defer getting a pup until your family is complete, as some as become very jealous of a new baby..
There are, of course, some disadvantages to purchasing a pup. Toilet raining, for example, can be quite time-consuming (and frequently frustrating). Also, for the first eight to twelve months, during their teething phase. Puppies have a habit of chewing toys, socks, shoes and sometimes furniture.
One way to overcome these annoyances is to choose an older dog, but then ou may be getting somebody else’s problems. The dog may have irritating traits which will take considerable re-education. Tender loving care, however, will win. the hearts of most pups (and adult dogs).
Before you purchase a dog, ask yourself why you are buying it. Is it to be a watchdog, a companion or a sporting dog? How much time will you have 😮 exercise and care for it? Will it live in an urban community, or in a country area where there is plenty of territory for the dog to run free? When you have considered these factors, together with the characteristics described earlier, you will be able to select a breed of dog that will suit your particular purpose and set of circumstances.


In general, light-colored animals have weaker skin and are more susceptible to skin infections than darker-colored animals. In hot climates, they are more susceptible to sunburn and ‘hot spots’ or dermatitis.


A female desexed will make the best pet. Desexing takes place at five to six months before the bitch has her first season. Desexing makes the bitch less Likely to wander; and it eliminates the problems caused by the bitch coming :n season every six months and attracting hordes of male dogs to the house. It is an offense to allow a bitch ‘on heat’ to enter a public place, even on lead.) Desexing prevents unwanted litters and it reduces the possibility of mammary tumors and an infected womb.
Contrary to popular belief, desexing does not alter the personality of the dog, The only disadvantage is that some dogs become fat—invariably this is because the owner has not thought to reduce the dog’s diet since it reached maturity.
A male dog should be desexed if breeding is not contemplated. Domestication and confinement to urban territorial limits are completely unnatural to the male dog’s natural needs; dogs are naturally pack animals and undersexed male dogs tend to roam, gathering in public places such as schools and shopping centers where they frequently become involved in fights with other male dogs over bitches on heat in the area. A frequent consequence of this is that the dog finishes up in the pound, where it may contract diseases requiring expensive veterinary treatment. If the dog is not collected within a stipulated time, it may be destroyed at the pound.
Male dogs away from home are not fulfilling the requirement for which they were acquired—namely as a pet or as a guard dog. In addition to roaming, sexually frustrated male dogs may begin ‘riding’ children or the outstretched legs of visitors (very embarrassing to some). In order to reduce the stray dog population, it is therefore important to desex male dogs as well as female. Unfortunately, there is considerable (and illogical) reluctance on the part of dog owners to have male dogs desexed. Perhaps they should take a tip from horse owners: any male horse not wanted for breeding is always desexed (gelded) at the earliest opportunity.


It is important for a prospective owner to consider the size of the territory that will be available to the dog . Small dogs will be satisfied by urban blocks of land. while large dogs require much more territorial space. Small dogs require less food; they therefore excrete less feces. which are becoming g. a problem in inner-urban areas. They also require less medication, because it is administered on a per-weight basis. In most cases the small pet will satisfy the companionship and watch-dog needs of the average urban family.


Most dogs were bred for specific purposes, and it is only recently that many have been chosen as pets. Some breeds were developed to be aggressive hunting or work dogs. It is important to understand the temperament of a particular breed. Some breeds are prone to biting, such as Dobermans, Cocker Spaniels, Terriers, Dachshunds, Corgis, Border Collies and Cattle Dogs. It is rare for a dog to bite its owner, but it is the owner’s responsibility to ensure that the dog doesn’t bite visitors.

Selecting from Litter

Your own veterinary examination of your prospective purchase, particularly a puppy, is most important.
The type of care the mother received while carrying the pups—that is. vaccinations, worming and nutrition—will determine the health of her pups She should have had a vaccination booster midway through the pregnant, to confer a good immunity on the newborn pups and should have been wormed during the pregnancy to eliminate the possibility of worms in the new-born pups. A well-balanced diet—with particular attention to calcium— is important. Check the number of litters the bitch has had in the preceding couple of years. Bitches should not have more than one litter per year, as too many litters deplete the mother’s bones of essential vitamins and minerals and the puppies will therefore be weak.
At the kennels, check the surrounding area for hygiene. Check the other animals in the breeder’s establishment to ensure that they are all healthy with glossy coats.
Once you are satisfied that the breeder’s credentials are up to standard, examine the pups. Ask the breeder about their diet and the worming and vaccination program. Examine the pups at first from a distance and don’t be fooled into taking the weakest pup out of sympathy. Always select the strongest looking pup—the one with the glossy coat and bright eyes. ,Check around the anal area to ensure there is no evidence of diarrhea. If you are selecting a dog for showing, take along someone familiar with the ideal characteristics of the particular breed. Don’t select a sleepy pup. Once you have selected the pup at a distance, pick it up and feel its weight in the palm of your hand. Pick up the other puppies in the litter and compare their weight. The pup should feel firm and heavy.
Examine it for abnormalities such as a cleft palate, overshot or undershot jaw. An overshot jaw is particularly common in Collies and Whippets, and undershot jaws are common in the short-snouted dogs, such as Boxers. Maltese Terriers, and Pekinese. Check the puppy’s abdomen at the umbilicus for hernia. Count the number of digits on the toes. There should be four main digits, with a dew claw in some breeds. If the dew claw is missing, don’t be concerned as in most breeds these are snipped off when the pup is one to two days old. The puppy’s gums should be pink in color, not pale. Examine the internal area of the ear and smell this area. Some puppies have ear mites which they have contracted from their mother. Ear mites cause a smelly inflammation of the ear. In most cases this condition can be cured by the vet.
Puppies under six weeks of age should not be taken from their mother. Before taking the pup get a written copy of the diet the puppy is on. Do not change this diet for about a week to ten days, as the stresses of a change in environment are enough to upset the pup without a change of diet at the same time. Also get from the breeder the puppy’s worming history and find out when the pup should next be wormed. Collect any vaccination cards that indicate what vaccinations have been done and when the next ones are due.
If possible, obtain from the breeder a piece of cloth or blanket that has been used in the puppy’s bedding, so that on the first few nights the puppy will at least have a familiar smell around it. Make the first night comfortable for the puppy. A hot water bottle should be placed in the bed clothing, a ticking clock in his box, plus something of a smelly nature, either the piece of bedding from the breeder or perhaps a pair of used socks. And remember. nothing makes a puppy happier than a full tummy before it goes to bed.

Why to Train Your Dog

Many people do get bitten, some even fatally, by dogs which have not been taught to behave properly. Children are particularly at risk, and can be scarred for life from a serious encounter. In Britain alone, it has been calculated that about 200,000 people may be bitten by dogs each year. Even more alarming is that over a third of the victims are not directly touching :he dog in any way at the time of the attack, according to US studies.
A second major area of concern are the dogs which stray from home, or run off when they are being exercised and cause road accidents. A detailed study revealed that in Britain approximately 1,600 accidents caused by dogs result in human injury, with about 17 people dying each year as a direct consequence of such incidents.

Most of these accidents occur in urban areas, but in the countryside untrained dogs can be equally dangerous. They may kill 10,000 domestic animals, ranging from poultry and sheep to cattle and horses, each year. Some of these dogs will be strays, abandoned by their owners because of difficulties with them in the home. Since three out of every four owners report behavioral problems with their dogs at some stage, it is clear that probably most strays are discarded for this reason, rather than because of other factors such as family break-ups or emigration.

The law in most countries places clear responsibilities on dog owners to ensure that their pets are properly trained, and not a menace to other people or animals. Civil claims for damages are not uncommon, and in the case of a serious road accident caused by a dog, the damages awarded can be very high.

It is always advisable to take out a public liability policy on your pet, as protection if you are ever involved in a dispute of this type. Specialist animal insurance companies usually offer such cover at little cost, either separately or built into a health protection policy for your pet, or it may even be incorporated into your household insurance. Ask an insurance broker for details, or look for advertisements in the canine press. You should make sure that you are adequately covered from the start, because the likelihood of a dog running away from home is probably greatest during the first few months of ownership.

Apart from the risk of causing injury, dogs also need to be trained for social purposes. No one likes streets covered in dog excrement, or being bowled over by a powerful dog pulling on its leash. Within the home environment too, training is important to prevent damage to furniture and soiling of carpets, for example.

Some dogs have a stronger territorial sense than others. Should you fail to appreciate this, and simply ignore them, there is a real likelihood that you could be bitten.

Always approach any stray dog with caution — it might be injured and could resent your attention. In areas where rabies occurs, there is the added risk that it could be rabid, and might inflict a deadly bite.

Dog Obedience Training

Lying down

A variation of the ‘sit and stay’ routine is to encourage your dog to lie down, and remain in this position until called. It is usually learnt quite quickly once the initial response has been mastered. At first, though, you may well have to encourage your dog to alter its posture from a sitting to a lying position. You can do this quite simply by lifting the forelimbs together and gently pressing down on the top of the shoulders.

When the dog is lying down, stay nearby and give the command ‘down’. If this is carried out after a period of exercise your dog may readily remain in this position since it may be relatively tired. Alternatively, it may simply attempt to stand up or sit. If it does, simply repeat the procedure until it is lying down. Obviously, do not expect your pet to settle down readily on a wet or uncomfortable surface. You can reinforce the message by holding the leash close to the ground which will make it harder for the dog to stand up if it persistently tries to do so. This is possibly more effective than having to reposition the dog repeatedly in the ‘down’ position.

Again, as with the sit and stay command, you can gradually back away, leaving the dog lying on the ground. Having learnt this routine previously, then dogs soon adapt to the new version. It is important for a dog to sit and stay when instructed, once you allow it to run free off a leash; while it must also be prepared to lie down, both in the home and when waiting with you out of doors.

In an emergency this may prevent a dog from straying into a potentially dangerous situation, for example if you should suddenly encounter riders on horseback when you are out for a walk along a narrow path. If the dog drops down as commanded then it will be unlikely to disturb the horses, which may otherwise be unnerved and could even attempt to bolt off.

Another situation where the command ‘down’ is essential is within the home itself. While it may be pleasant to have a young exuberant puppy bounding out to greet you with great enthusiasm, you do not want a large adult dog behaving in a similar fashion, leaping up and bowling people onto the floor.

This again requires consistency in training from the outset. It is unfair to expect an adult dog to appreciate that such actions are no longer welcomed if you have allowed them since it was a puppy. Try to provide just a welcome pat when you return home or first thing in the morning, rather than a more exuberant greeting. If your dog does try to jump up, simply encourage it to lie down by using the technique described previously. Be calm and firm throughout so that there is no question of the dog interpreting your anger as excitement, and striving to obtain more attention by this means.

Excitable children can have a similar effect, and so they may also have to be shown how to behave towards a puppy. This applies especially with larger breeds, such as the Great Dane, because they will grow up rapidly, and may bowl over young children. Similarly, when you have visitors, your dog must not be allowed to jump up on them. It is a good idea to let the dog remain with you, however, preferably lying down at your feet. Once this routine has been established in puppyhood you should have no difficulty with your pet when visitors call.

The only alternative is to shut your dog in a separate room when there are guests, but this could result in other problems including whining and destructive behavior. Again, these problems are most likely to arise in puppyhood. It is usual for young puppies to whine to attract their mother’s attention. This in turn becomes easily transposed onto their owner, and can become a major problem in later life.

If a dog wants food, for example when you are preparing a meal, then it may well start to whine until you give it some scraps. Unfortunately, your dog will soon come to associate its whining with an immediate and affirmative response on your part. It is therefore folly to give in to behavior of this kind, and you should try to prevent it by being aware of the situation when it may arise and not responding as the dog demands.

The command ‘down’ is especially important for larger dogs. so that they do not cause problems in the home. From a sitting position, the dog’s front legs will need to be lowered as shown here.

The dog should then be reasonably comfortable. It is best to carry out this exercise in the home, or on a dry patch of grass. so that the dog can rest happily.

Using a hand signal to show that you want the dog to stay in position, you can give further encouragement by holding on to the leash in the early stages of teaching this command.

The Command ‘Sit’

Leash training should also be linked with other basic commands which will be essential when the dog is walking along the streets. For example, it must learn to sit, rather than straining to rush across a road. You can begin this aspect of training right from the outset, encouraging the puppy to sit in advance of every meal.

Apply gentle pressure to the dog’s hindquarters to encourage it to sit. This can be repeated at the start of every session of leash training: hold the leash in your right hand and then apply a light touch with your left hand. Do not allow the leash to slacken at this point, but try to keep it taut as this will help to ensure the puppy adopts the required position rather than jumping up.

If you encounter problems, you may want to kneel down alongside the dog, keeping your hand in place over the hindquarters and the leash in an upright position. Do not be too keen to give praise in this instance, but allow the dog to settle down first for a few moments. You will soon find that the dog will sit of its own accord, before you place the food bowl in front of it, as this is a natural posture for dogs to adopt.

Having started on the leash from the sitting position, you should also break the walk with the command ‘sit’, as will be necessary when you are opening the car door, for example, or when you come to a road. You can also encourage your dog to sit when it is playing in the garden. Such behavior is essential when you are training your dog to run free outside as you will want to put it back on the leash at the end of the period of exercise. Sitting is a relatively straightforward command to teach, and because it is such an important part of many other routines you should concentrate on this command during the early stages of training.

By the time your young dog is about six months old you should be developing other commands which will form part of its outdoor training requirements, in preparation for allowing the dog off its leash. These sessions should not be too long, just five minutes or so, two or three times every day. Continuity is important, and the dog is likely to respond best to one person, especially when learning new routines.

Once these routines have been mastered, then other members of the family can encourage the dog to behave in the required fashion. As an example, whoever feeds the dog should always insist that it sits before placing the bowl down on the ground. Make sure that the same commands are given, however, to prevent confusion and a likely lack of response on the dog’s part. The word `sit’, for example, should be used at all times rather than simply saying ‘food’ in this instance, and hoping that the dog will respond accordingly.

You should be able to kneel down, keeping the leash held high, without upsetting your dog. When you are carrying out any training procedure, especially outside, it is important to select a quiet locality. This applies especially when teaching a dog to sit, because this is quite a relaxed posture, and any distractions will upset the dog’s concentration. Patience is important when persuading a young puppy to walk on the leash. They may turn round to you for reassurance in the early stages. Once the young dog has grown in confidence, then it is more likely to try to pull ahead, as shown here. A check chain can be particularly useful at this stage, before a powerful dog grows out of control. Sitting is a natural posture for dogs, and they should feel quite happy in this position.
With the dog standing still, give the command ‘sit’. Gentle pressure over the hindquarters as shown may first be necessary to evoke the required response.


Concentrate on giving straightforward instructions, remembering the significance of the tone of voice. Use an encouraging, clear tone and avoid repeating the command immediately if the dog fails to respond at once. Otherwise, the repetition on your part will not motivate the dog to react at first, and soon this can become an habitual problem.

Training sessions should be fun, and the dog must be encouraged as an active participant. Once it is sitting on command, you can develop this into staying as well. This is sometimes surprisingly difficult to master, especially with more exuberant individuals, simply because they will run after you.

Start with the dog on the leash, commanding it to sit before stepping back. Repeat the word ‘sit’ to reinforce the dog’s posture. If the dog tries to follow you wait until it has readopted a sitting posture. This can be accomplished either by placing your hand back over its hindquarters, or if this fails by using a choke chain. If the dog tries to follow you wait until it has readopted a sitting posture. This can be accomplished either by placing your hand back over its hindquarters or this fails by using a choke chain. If the dog moves, your grip will pull the lead vertically and tighten the chain as the dog moves towards you.

Once the dog responds as required then offer plenty of encouragement. The next stage is to persuade it to remain in position while you move away, with the leash lying on the ground. This will be much harder to achieve if you start with the leash held vertically because the act of lowering it will be distracting for the dog. Instead, hold the leash so that it is close to the ground from the start, before the dog sits. Then you can simply release your grip and back slowly away over a few paces. If you move fast, then the dog is more likely to follow you. An extendable leash may be helpful at this stage. Repeating the exercise regularly will soon pay off.

Obviously once you are in a position where the dog remains still as you move away the basics of the command have been mastered. You can either call the dog to you or else leave it sitting and return to it. Avoid confusion, however, by adopting a standard approach at
first. It is probably better to return to the dog until the ‘sit and stay’ command is well established. Otherwise, by calling the dog, you may encourage it to simply stand up and then race across the ground.

It is important to choose a place away from roads when you are encouraging your dog to stay. Neither should there be dogs or other animals in the vicinity.

Once the dog is sitting, you can !hen extend the leash on the ground. Hand signals are an important part of the trainer’s repertoire, the raised hand here indicating ‘stay’.

There is no need to let your dog off the leash at first when you are teaching the ‘stay’ command. Here it is simply trailed on the ground to the trainer.

Training is a sequence of lessons, and at this stage, you can move back towards the dog and slip off its leash. Always leave the collar on under these circumstances so that you can restrain the dog more easily, if it attempts to run off.

Dog Vaccination

The six major infectious diseases of dogs are distemper, hepatitis, parvo disease, rabies, para influenza (kennel cough), bordatella and leptospirosis. Distemper. hepatitis, parvo disease and rabies are all caused by viruses, and all four can kill. Canine distemper can affect dogs of any age. It produces a range of symptoms varying from loss of appetite and high temperature, to fits and death.
The few dogs that do not die from distemper usually suffer long-lasting side effects, including paralysis, nervous twitches and deformed pads.
Canine hepatitis can also affect dogs of any age. It is less common than distemper but just as dangerous. The virus affects the liver; animals that survive an attack usually suffer from permanent liver damage. The virus of canine hepatitis does not cause human hepatitis.
Parvo disease is a new viral disease which can affect any dog. It is particularly fatal in young and very old dogs. The virus attacks the heart muscle and the intestinal tract, causing a fatal bloody diarrhea.
Rabies is a viral disease affecting the brain and making the animal aggressive towards other animals and humans. There are two types: furious rabies, and dumb or paralytic rabies. In both the animals become very excited and aggressive, but in the dumb or paralytic form this phase is very short and the disease progresses rapidly to paralysis and finally death. It is almost impossible to eradicate rabies once it exists in a country, hence the strict quarantine laws by rabies-free countries such as the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Para Influenza (Kennel Cough)

Leptospirosis is caused by an organism that can penetrate the skin or mucous membrane, multiply rapidly in the blood and cause fatal anaemia. There is no effective treatment for any of these diseases. Antiserums are available, but by the time an animal is seen to be sick the diseases have often progressed to the point where treatment is ineffective. Antibiotics are useless against viruses. The only safeguard is prevention by vaccination.
Because these diseases are transmitted by infected dogs through contact with their urine, saliva and feces, or through contact with the dogs themselves, you can protect your dog by keeping it in isolation. This is essential for the pup too young to be vaccinated, but is obviously impractical for the older dog, whether it is a working dog, a sporting dog, a show dog or just :he family pet. The only practical and effective way to protect your dog is have it vaccinated by your veterinary surgeon.
Modern-day vaccines do not generally have any after-effects and most can be given from six weeks on. Because various vaccination program are available, it is best to consult your veterinary surgeon about the best time – start the vaccinations and the frequency of booster shots. Pups under elven weeks of age require a special course of vaccinations. Vaccination causes the production of antibodies which circulate in the blood and protect :he dog against infection.
A whelping bitch passes antibodies to her pups in the first milk (colostrum) within twenty-four hours of whelping. This is why it is so important :hat pups suckle immediately after birth. The antibodies the pups receive from their mother disappear gradually over a twelve-week period, leaving :hem unprotected unless immediately vaccinated. Some breeders have them injected with gamma-globulin at three weeks of age as a temporary protection against distemper and hepatitis. This is not vaccination. It pro- :tots the pups against infection for two to three weeks only.
When purchasing a pup it is always important to find out what immunization it has had and, if possible, obtain its vaccination card so your own vet an determine which of the several different varieties of vaccine it has been given and when it needs the first booster.
As vaccinations do not work immediately, but take from three to seven days to build up adequate protection, keep your dog away from other dogs for a couple of weeks after vaccination.

Pet Canaries

Canaries are seed-eaters and are known as hardbills, with the typical short, pointed beak of the predominantly seed-eating bird. They have four claws, the first pointing backwards, and the second, third and fourth forwards. They weigh about 16 grams and normal body temperature is 43.3°C.

An older canary has more ragged feathers. A well-groomed young canary.

Canaries can be mated at one year of age and used for breeding for two tree years. Some have been known to breed for as long as twelve years. They can live for between six and twenty years. It is very difficult to age birds once they are over twelve months of age, except by their appearance: macula birds are well groomed, with feet and legs smooth, while the older become ragged. Leg rings give some guide to age.


When breeding time the lower portion of the abdomen and vent of the male becomes prominent and protrudes downwards. In the female the vent is is in line with the contours of the abdomen. At five weeks of cock may make feeble attempts to sing and his throat will begin to . Cocks generally sing but hens only cheep. Males have a stronger, thickly set, masculine head. When sexing birds it is easier to compare with other birds in the cage than to make decisions on single birds. Hybrids between canaries and finches (for example, the goldfinch-canary) ire known as mules. Mules are usually infertile, particularly the male.


Nests (round tins, or wooden, metal or earthenware containers) should be long in the upper half of the cage. Nesting materials that should be placed the cage include cow hair, meadow hay, grass, pieces of cotton-wool, felt moss. The incubating period is thirteen to fourteen days.

When hatching commences, give egg food or proprietary nestling food three times a day. Egg food is arrowroot biscuit and hard-boiled egg yolk. At hatching, the young are blind, and have little down. Eyes open at seven days and the nestling is completely feathered at three to four weeks of age. The young birds moult at six to eight weeks. Adult birds moult annually at the end of the breeding season. A canary under one year old that has not had an adult moult is said to be `unflighted’ and the wing feathers are paler than those of a full adult.


In the breeding season, feed plain canary seed 14 parts, rape seed 2 parts, whole oats 2 parts, linseed 1/2 part, white millet 1 1/2 parts. In addition, give them daily small quantities of fresh green feed such as thistle or lettuce. While the young are being reared, continue feeding the egg food described above (a crumbled mixture of milk arrowroot biscuits and hardboiled egg yolk); it may also be fed to breeding birds with poor mating. Grit and cuttlefish should be made available.

Dog Exercise

Under normal circumstances when they are being exercised together, the dogs will probably remain quite close to each other, especially if they are naturally pack hounds. It can sometimes be difficult to train the newcomer without threatening the established routine which you have built up with your first dog. In the early stages therefore, you may prefer to exercise the dogs separately so there is no risk of conflict. Certainly, the newcomer should never be let off the leash before the basic commands have been mastered in the hope that it will simply follow the example of the older dog. While this may occur to some extent, there is also a strong possibility that the dogs will head off and go their separate ways. The newcomer may disappear into the distance
and prove almost impossible to catch up, if it has not had a sound basic training.

If you are taking the dogs out for a walk on the leash, it is still advisable to keep them both on your left-hand side, rather than holding a leash in each hand. This emphasizes a consistency of approach, and with larger dogs, prevents you from being pulled in two possible directions, blocking the pavement as a result. It may be helpful to fit the bigger breeds with harness-type leashes, which can give you more control over their movements. Do not underestimate the power of these larger dogs if they choose to pull while on the leash. You could find it a major struggle to restrain both dogs effectively.

Exercising the dogs on neutral territory is a good way for them to become acquainted with each other without friction. Even dogs which have never met each other before will frequently walk happily together without any signs of conflict when they are outside their domestic environments. Problems may arise if you decide subsequently to play a game with them, and there is only one ball, for example. Always encourage the dominant dog to chase
after it first, and then allow the other dog to participate in the game. While it is possible for two dogs to chase the same ball without conflict. there is a real possibility that this could lead to fighting, especially if the normally dominant individual is slower to reach the scene of the action.

Dog Care

Grooming and Washing

Your nose will generally tell you when a dog should be washed—as a rule, about every three weeks or whenever the dog becomes smelly. Choose a warm day and a warm draught-free location. A small dog may be washed in the laundry tub or the bath.

Pour warm water over the animal to wet the hair, being careful not to get water in its ears, then apply an insecticidal shampoo, or a bland soap if the dog suffers from any allergic dermatitis. Wash any gross dirt from the coat and re-lather, leaving the shampoo on for about ten to fifteen minutes to allow the insecticide to work.

Rinse the dog, using warm water, and then apply an insecticidal rinse to the coat. Insecticidal rinses, used to protect the dog against fleas and mites, are also partially effective against ticks. Remember that insecticidal rinses are poisons; the manufacturers’ instructions must be followed carefully.

Towel the dog down and leave it in the sun to dry. Dogs naturally roll to dry themselves, so tie up your dog on a surface where it will not get dirty. Dogs that have a lot of hair around the ear canal should have their ears plucked with a small pair of tweezers. Cleaning the ear lobes is done with a piece of cotton wool soaked in diluted methylated spirits to dissolve any wax. Cotton buds can safely be used to clean the ear canal, as the ear canal in the dog has a right-angled bend before it reaches the ear drum, making penetration of the drum almost impossible.

Adult dogs change their coats once a year, usually in spring. The process takes about six weeks. To groom, use a fine-toothed metal comb or pluck the hair out with fingers and thumb when it is loose enough to do so without hurting the animal. Occasionally the dog will scratch as if troubled by skin cisease or insects, but this is just nature’s way of hastening removal of the old coat. Dogs also shed their coats during serious illness or after whelping. The first (or puppy) coat is soft and woolly and is different from the second and subsequent coats. It is usually much darker. Pups generally change their coats for the first time at nine or ten months, but if born in winter they will change their coats in spring.

For those owners wishing to enter their dogs in dog shows, good grooming is imperative. Grooming tools include: Brushes Always use a bristle brush, soft, medium or stiff on short-haired dogs, and a pin brush .on long-haired breeds to remove the loose undercoat. Combs A regular size, coarse steel comb should be used on long-haired breeds and a fine comb on smooth-coated dogs.

Nail clippers. Nails need cutting if they touch the ground when the dog is standing upright, as the pressure can cause a painful condition in the joints of the toes. Outdoor dogs, particularly those running on concrete or other hard surfaces, rarely need their nails cut. Indoor dogs, or those kept on soft around, should have their nails checked regularly and cut when necessary. Long nails, particularly dew claws which do not touch the ground, can grow too long, and curl and embed themselves painfully in the footpads. Ordinary scissors should not be used. Use proper nail clippers of the guillotine type. The flat surface of the guillotine blade should be parallel with the bottom of the pad. If the pink quick is visible, cut the nails to within 3 millimeters of the end of the pink.

Scissors. A sharp pair of scissors will be suitable for grooming most breeds, but in the case of poodles, or other breeds which need a curved effect on their coats, used curved scissors.

Fine stripping knife. This is a tool that should be used instead of a brush on the sensitive areas of the body such as the ears and head.

Tweezers. Use tweezers regularly to pluck hair from inside the ears to stop dirt and debris collecting and thus protect the dog from ear infections by allowing proper air circulation to dry out the ear canal.

Velvet pad or soft handkerchief. Essential for rubbing the coat of white short-haired breeds to give a gloss. A velvet pad rubbed over the coat of other short-haired breeds such as Boxer or Dachshund gives a good sheen. Tooth scraper Teeth should be kept fairly white by using a tooth scraper to remove excess tartar. If the teeth are bad, take the dog to your vet. No-tangle shampoo Knotted hair can largely be prevented by using a no-tangle shampoo. If knots occur, you may have to cut them out. Use blunt scissors. You may have to go right to skin level and leave the dog with various bare patches, but this is better than subjecting the dog to a very painful experience if you comb the knots out.


Before dogs were domesticated they used to catch their prey and eat the hole of it. It supplied them with a balanced, nutritious diet of bones, muscles and internal organs such as the heart, kidneys, liver and lungs. It also provided various vitamins and minerals from the vegetative matter in the gut of the animal eaten. Dogs had to be fit and slim enough to chase and catch their prey. After eating a large meal they would lie down and sleep it off. If they became obese they would not be fit enough to chase and kill more prey.

Dogs are very adaptable in terms of diet and because of this they have thrived in a wide variety of environments and on a wide range of diets. As result, they are probably less subject to serious dietary disease than most other animals. In the past decade, dogs have benefited from our increasing knowledge of their nutritional requirements and the application of that knowledge to prepared, commercial dog foods. Dog feeding is now much less haphazard than it was in the past, when the dog was dependent on its owner’s variable and often rudimentary understanding of nutrition.


Excess food intake with resultant obesity is becoming an ever-increasing problem for dogs in urban areas. The dog is often hand-fed two or three mes a day, at the owner’s meal-times. Dogs only need to be fed once a day.

Urban restrictions on the animal’s territorial horizons mean the dog leads rather sedentary life, not using up a great deal of energy and therefore going to fat. Obese animals have an increased susceptibility to various diseases including osteoarthritis, sugar diabetes, skin disease and impairment f body-heat regulation, pulmonary, cardiovascular, hepatic and reproductive functions. Recent scientific evidence indicates that chronic under feeding of a complete diet is the only means known for increasing the length f life of laboratory animals beyond the limits characteristic with the species. On the other extreme, chronic overfeeding or other dietary excesses or imbalances curtail the animals’ life span.

Inadequate Feeding

Inadequate food intake is not uncommon, particularly among breeders trying to get their animals into show condition. The animals are thin but healthy, yet won’t put on weight. This can be a complex and difficult problem, although more often it can be rectified easily.

If the animal is otherwise healthy there are two possibilities: lack of opportunity and lack of motivation. Lack of opportunity may simply be that another dog is taking the larger share, or that the dog is unable to eat enough f the food with which it is fed to attain a satisfactory body weight. Where his occurs and the food is too bulky for the animal to accommodate its energy requirements at one meal, it may be necessary to feed the dog three or four times per day instead of once a day. This situation is particularly relevant to a bitch losing weight with a large litter of puppies.

Boredom may be another cause of reduced food intake. While dogs and cats can subsist more or less indefinitely on one type of food (providing it is nutritionally complete), most animals will show some boredom with the same diet after a period of about a week. If increased palatability and food intake is desired, it is advisable to vary the type of food that is fed to the animal. This should be done slowly, avoiding abrupt and major changes to the diet. Food that is fed cold is also of low palatability.


Bones are important for several reasons. The first is that they prevent boredom. Chewing on bones also exercises the dog’s jaws and keeps the teeth clean and free of dental caries and tartar build-up. They are a rich source of nutrients—particularly calcium and phosphorus—and contain proteins and minerals essential for the dog’s development and general maintenance.

However, bones can cause two problems. They can form obstructions or pierce the food pipe. And if fed in large quantities, they can cause constipation. Their high concentration of calcium carbonate can create rock-like masses when water is resorbed in the large intestine.

Bones should form only about 10 per cent of the dog’s diet. Fish, chicken • and chop bones should never be given to your pet, as they can splinter or fracture easily and lodge in the food pipe. The best bones are shin of beef or soft crumbly bones such as knuckles or boiled breast of mutton. Whichever bone is given, ensure that your dog is nibbling small crumbs from the end of the bone, not shattering it into large fragments.


Milk is an essential part of the pup’s diet but can still be fed to older , dogs without harm. It is a rich source of protein, fat and minerals, as well as having a pleasant taste.

Milk can either be given as the raw product, slightly warmed, or reconstituted from either tinned or dehydrated milk. If the dog or pup is not accustomed to straight cow’s milk, it is advisable to commence by using watered-down milk (50 per cent water, 50 per cent milk).

The concentration of milk should gradually be increased over a period of five to six days. Some puppies are allergic to cow’s milk and this will induce diarrhea. It is a fallacy that milk transmits worms.

General Exercise

Young puppies up to six months of age should be allowed to exercise themselves. This is particularly important in the larger breeds, which are those that reach 15 kilograms by the age of three months. Forced exercise during the early growing phase can do damage to the hip joints and promote hip dysplasia. It is just as important, however, not to confine dogs for long periods. The dog in its natural environment is a roaming animal and requires plenty of territory.

The amount of exercise is also dependent on the breed. Sporting an _ hunting dogs require much more exercise and territory than smaller breeds or lap dogs. These factors should be taken into consideration before purchasing the dog. A large number of domestic dogs get very little organize.

exercise and not only keep happy and healthy but even reach a ripe old age. Hard exercise, such as following a jogger or a bicycle, is not good for a dog and may be injurious to its health. A dog is a very loyal companion any will do its utmost to keep in contact with its master in these situations. But in doing so it may become liable to injury. If you can, take the dog for a walk each day; the dog will exercise itself running three or four times the distance that you walk, and by doing this will exercise within its own limits

Tans and Dew Claws

These can be removed to breed requirements by the vet when the pup is four to five days old, before it becomes old enough to suffer too greatly from the procedure. The dewclaw is equivalent to the thumb in humans and in the adult dog is approximately 2 1/2 centimeters above the ground on the inside of the front legs. Some dogs may have them on the hind legs as well.

Caring for the Sick Dog

Signs of disease present in two ways: a general disease condition where the dog is off-color and won’t eat; and the local problem, for example, a tooth decay, local abscess or fracture of a limb. With local problems it is usually very obvious what is wrong and how extensive it is.

In the general disease situation, the dog is usually lethargic, in many cases because of a fever although it might be because of a subnormal temperature. Lethargy is usually accompanied by decreased appetite, and subsequent loss of weight. Loss of weight can also occur while a dog is taking its normal diet, in cases of diarrhea, kidney disease, sugar diabetes or bleeding into the intestinal tract.

Variation in the thirst of the animal can indicate a problem. Increased thirst can accompany a fever, or may be present in a dog with a normal temperature which is suffering from sugar diabetes or a kidney complaint. A lack of thirst can produce dehydration, particularly in small animals. Sometimes an increased respiratory rate is a sign of disease. Frequently, the coat looks harsh and dry and the third eyelids may slip across, making the dog look as though it has a skin growing over the eyes.

A thermometer is indispensable when treating a sick dog; thick-bulb-end; thermometers are the best type. Normal temperature for a dog is 38.5°C, considerably higher than that of a human. The rectum is the best place to’ take the temperature because the dog can’t bite the thermometer. Shake the thermometer down to below 38°C, lift up the dog’s tail, slide the thermometer in about 4 or 5 centimeters and leave it against the wall of the’ rectum for about one minute. A slight temperature is 39°C, a high temperature is 40°C. With a high temperature, the dog will usually be off its food The rectum is the best place to and showing signs of lethargy. It should be taken to a vet.

Nursing a Sick Dog

When a dog is not well, the following points are important. The dog requires a dry, draught-free place to rest, one that has a fairly constant temperature The kennel or living area must be kept clean at all times and all things use: for the dog’s treatment must be kept clean. It must be left undisturbed except for feeding, treatment and cleaning. Children should be allowed visit their dog only at prescribed intervals; they must be quiet and able to handle the dog.

Treatment must be carried out thoroughly, regularly and at the correct time. Fresh, clean water must always be available. Select food you know the dog likes, preferably barbecued chicken meat and red meats. Dressings. given slowly bandages and so on should only be reused if boiled. Dressings that have been soiled by a wound or discharge must never be reused. Bed sores are caused by the dog lying on hard surfaces; the skin over bon.: prominences begins to die which allows surface bacteria to invade and caul sores. Bed sores can be prevented by lying the dog on a mattress of foam rubber. Bed sores should be treated with astringent agents such a mercurochrome, triple dye, or acriflavin.

It is most important that the dog, no matter how sick, gets fluids on a daily basis. The fluid requirement of the dog is approximately 20 milliliters per kilogram body-weight daily. If the dog is not taking this orally, veterinary advice should be sought so that it can be given the fluids intravenously Failure to take in this amount of fluid per day will result in kidney shutdown and permanent kidney damage.


A puppy is born without teeth, but by five to eight weeks it will have twentyeight puppy or ‘milk’ teeth, which seldom give trouble while being cut. At about four months—sometimes a little sooner—puppies other than toy dogs begin to change their teeth. The forty-two or forty-four permanent teeth are usually through by five months.

Toy dogs change their teeth a little later. It is generally the toy breeds that have trouble at this time; sometimes they appear unable to cast their milk teeth, which should be extracted when the permanent teeth come through. Overcrowding can be a problem, particularly in dogs with short muzzles. Discoloration of teeth can be caused by the administration of certain antibiotics to the puppy or the mother before the teeth erupt.

Teeth troubles have become more common since the introduction of soft commercial foods, which allow accumulation of food debris (plaque) between the teeth and between the tooth and gum margin. Plaque in turn allows tartar to build up, causing discoloration and decay of the tooth. Sometimes gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and bad breath follow. Dry biscuits, fed at least once a day as part of the ration, will help keep the dog’s teeth in good order. A large shank bone with some tissue and tendon sheaths attached will help, as the time spent tearing and gnawing the bone will exercise and clean the teeth.

Check your dog’s teeth annually by pulling back the lips to expose the teeth at the rear of the mouth. Any accumulation of tartar (a yellow substance) should be removed. If this is impossible, or if the dog is uncooperative, visit the vet.

The only teeth that regularly cause a problem are the carnassial teeth, situated on either side of the upper jaw, towards the rear. They are massive teeth with triple roots which are subject to decay in aging dogs. The first sign of trouble is usually a swelling in the cheek, beneath the eye. The dog will show signs of discomfort and may go off its food; sometimes the eye will be inflamed. If the offending tooth is not removed, a sinus may break out over the swelling, discharging a foul-smelling pus.

Housing dogs can be accommodated in a number of ways. In temperate climates, a kennel is not essential, provided the dog has access to the house, a garage, underneath the house, or some other suitable shelter which protects it from direct sunlight, wind and rain. In cooler climates, a kennel is essential. The kennel should just exceed the size of the dog so that body heat can warm Obesity is becoming an ever increasing health problem.

The surrounding air. The kennel should be located in the shade and should well-ventilated, warm in winter and cool in summer. It should be weather-proof, draught-free and elevated from the ground, with a wooden po o)0r.r. Bedding should be disposable, for example, sawdust, shavings or newspapers, as this helps eliminate a breeding site for fleas and mites. Rinse the kennel once a month with an insecticidal preparation, put in new, bedding and burn the old. All feeding utensils should be washed daily, and :lean water provided daily in a shady spot.

Long hair

In most cases long-haired dogs were bred in cooler climates, but during the past hundred years or so they have been transported to all parts of the world. including some very hot climates. In these areas fleas and ticks are much more prevalent and they can be a severe problem for long-haired dogs. In countries where ticks are a problem (especially the paralysis tick, which can kill a dog in a matter of days) the long hair makes it particularly difficult to search the dog. in some cases the dog may have to be clipped all over, which can be quite expensive and ruins the appearance.

Unhealthy skin conditions are also much more prevalent in long-haired dogs. Fleas, which cause an allergic reaction, are better protected under the long hair. Grass seeds, burrs, sticks and other irritating objects are more easily held within long hair to irritate the skin. Skin problems in long-haired dogs are usually at a serious stage before the owner spots them.

In general, long-haired dogs require much more grooming, care and maintenance than short-haired dogs. Matted hair around the anal area frequently prevents the dog from passing feces, and this calls for the hair to be clipped. Long-haired dogs usually have an abundance of hair in the ear canal and this, together with long, floppy ears, will predispose the animal to poor circulation in the ear canal. A moist environment ensues, allowing bugs to breed and causing ‘canker’ or infection of the ear.

Dog First Aid

Whenever dogs have bandages, plaster casts or any other restrictive material placed on the limbs, it is important to ensure that circulation is r ing the toes. This can be tested by feeling the toes to make sure the:. warm rather than cold. Sensation can be determined by pinching the to make the dog withdraw the foot.


Wherever possible, try to handle the dog by peaceful means. Where fails, the following methods may have to be employed. When treating savage or difficult dog, place medication inside something the dog such as sweets, meat or chicken cubes. If this fails, starve the dog for one or two days or as long as is necessary to get the tablets down. the tablets in very small quantities of food and keep the dog’s appetite

To restrain the dog from biting, place a commercial leather muzzle around its nose. If you do not have a leather muzzle, use the lead attached to far collar. Pull the lead tight from the collar, wrap it two or three times around the front of the dog’s snout and hold the loose end together with the collar in one hand with your other hand keeping the rest of the lead intact around the closed muzzle. The dog can then be held so that a second person can do whatever is necessary.

Alternatively, use a cord or tape bandage. Make a loop as if doing the part of a bow, put the loop around the dog’s muzzle and pull tight so the twist is on top. Take the cord or tape below the muzzle and tie, then F – tight again. Take the two ends up and tie tightly behind the dog’s ears. To catch a savage dog, make a dog catcher with a piece of hollow pipe 2 meters long, with a noose through the pipe.

A dog can be restrained from licking at wounds and bandages by placing an Elizabethan collar around its neck. Another device is a plastic bucket with a hole in the bucket just big enough to fit over the head. Make six to eight small holes around the cut to allow tapes or shoelaces to be threader through and around the collar to keep the bucket firmly attached. Pull the lead tight and wrap it around the muzzle.

Artificial Respiration

When a drowned dog stops breathing, hold it up by the hind legs with th: head hanging down, to allow the water to escape from the lungs. Speed essential. As soon as the water has ceased to run out of its mouth, lie th: dog on its side with the tongue out as far as possible and commence artificial respiration.

complete Pet Care Dogs — Sick dogs — First aid This means placing the palms of both hands over tire chest surface, and rhythmically and slowly pressing and releasing so that the air is driven in and out of the lungs. This cycle should be repeated about thirty times a minute for small dogs and about twenty times a minute for large dogs. If this is going to be effective, the heart beat will resume within a few seconds. It does not always work, but is well worth a try.


Major bleeding from an artery is seen as a squirting, pulsating blood stream which should be cut off by tourniquet application between the wound and the heart. Tourniquets should be gently released for a few seconds every three to four minutes if they are kept in place for any length of time. Small areas of bleeding can usually be stopped by pressure-bandaging the area.

Motor vehicle accident

Be very careful handling any dog, even your own. after a car accident. If the dog is badly injured, move it on to a blanket by approaching it from the rear, taking the scruff of the neck between the ears in one hand and the loose skin over the back in the other, and pull it on to the blanket. Take the dog to a vet.


In this condition the dog is usually in a state of collapse, and the mucous membranes (in the mouth) are very pale. Place the dog in a head down position (the head at an angle of 30 degrees). Keep the animal warm and administer warm fluids if it will drink. Take the dog to a vet immediately.


Domestic animals that are unused to traveling should be tranquilized or sedated for journeys, as they can get very upset. To prevent travel sickness, do not feed the animal within four hours of traveling and allow the dog adequate ventilation away from exhaust fumes. Keep your dog on the floor of the car so it cannot see moving objects outside. Travel sickness in dogs is usually demonstrated by salivation and vomiting. Specific anti-sickness tablets are available for dogs.


Dogs to be boarded should be fully vaccinated and wormed fourteen days beforehand. Once a satisfactory establishment has been found, continue to patronize it because it and the staff will become familiar to the dog. The dog should be re-wormed four weeks after returning home.

Visits to the Vet

Visits to the vet Dogs can’t talk, so the vet depends heavily on the owner’s observations. If it is a non-urgent problem, watch the dog for twenty-four hours and make a list of any abnormal signs. Check its eating habits and toilet activities (take samples of urine and feces). Is the dog vomiting or doing anything else unusual? Do not attend to minor discharging wounds or skin lesions for at least twenty-four hours before the visit, so that the type and color of the discharge is obvious.

If possible, make an appointment, as this will reduce the length, of time your pet is confined in a waiting room with other animals and will thus reduce the risk of fights. Take the dog for a walk outside first and let it sniff the local smells to stimulate it to go to the toilet—this lessens the likelihood that the smells of other dogs in the waiting room will cause an ‘accident’.

Make sure that the dog’s collar is a firm fit and cannot slip over its head if the dog pulls back, and use a strong secure lead. Don’t let a child hold it—you are taking the dog into a strange place with strange smells, some of which may be offensive to it; there will be other animals present, and the vet’s surgery is no doubt alongside a busy road.

Horse Pregnancy

The period of pregnancy in the mare is about eleven months. Determination of pregnancy can be made in three ways:

  1. Conformation. The conformation of a horse is the key to its progression. Conformation is basically the way the horse has been put together. The body should be in pleasing balance with the limbs and should be well-proportioned. The horse is a working animal and its working ability is determined by the condition of its limbs and feet. Poor conformation of limbs may contribute to lameness.
  2. Laboratory Testing. There are two types of tests: blood tests which are done between sixty and ninety days after service, and a urine test which is done between two hundred and two hundred and seventy-five days after service.
  3. Manual Testing. This is done by a veterinarian who examines the mare internally via the rectum. This requires considerable experience and dexterity if it is to be carried out with any degree of accuracy. An early indication can be given at twenty-one days, although a final legal decision is not possible till six weeks into the pregnancy. This is called a 42-day pregnancy test, on which a certificate may be issued.

Ultra Sound Scanning

This is a non-invasive technique which is harmless to the operator and the mare. An electronic probe sweeps the area under examination. Echoes, produced as the beam scans the various organs, provide a clear, moving image on a display screen. Accurate diagnosis of pregnancy can be made as early as 14 days after ovulation.
Manual and ultra-sound testing gives a much quicker result and allows time for rebreeding if the mare is not in foal; the other tests are used if there is any danger to the vet, the mare or the fetus in manual testing (for example, very highly strung mares, or mares that abort easily).

The Hours Before Birth

Between six and forty-eight hours before foaling, a small amount of clear thick, serum-like material oozes from each teat canal (there are two can alsper teat in the mare). This serum hardens to a wax-like material, and once this appears most mares will foal within the following twelve to twenty-four hours. But some mares show little or no wax. A particular mare will usually be constant in her foaling procedure and any unusual behavior should be recorded, especially where the mare is not seen to wax at all.
Vulvas of sutured mares should be cut at least a week before the foal is due, to prevent tearing.
In most mares the pelvic ligaments show slackening twelve to eighteen hours before foaling. A hollow appears on either side of the root of the tail and the tail loses its power to hug down over the perineal region. Unfortunately, however, mares do not always follow rules. A mare can appear days off foaling when examined at midnight, and yet have a foal several hours old at her side at dawn.


During the first stage of labour the mare may paw the ground, look at her flank, kick at her belly, crouch, catch her breath or wander uneasily around—and then resume feeding. This may be repeated in ten to fifteen minutes. From this point on, the mare should be kept under supervision. It is preferable to keep out of sight and not to interfere unless there is an obvious emergency.
There are no fixed rules for the act of foaling. Most mares lie on their side to foal, raising the upper hind leg at each contraction. At this stage the labour pains, which have been intermittent and of short duration, become intensified and succeed each other at shorter intervals.
When the cervix has relaxed sufficiently, the contractions will force the fluid-filled membranes through the vulval lips of the mare. About five minutes after the appearance of the water bag, the first leg appears and the bag bursts, discharging about 4 liters of placental fluid. After a short rest the second leg appears 8-10 centimeters behind the first. Never pull on the less-advanced leg in an attempt to level it with the first, as this invariably results in fractured ribs for the foal. Both feet should appear with the soles facing the mare’s hooves, and the foal’s muzzle between the knees. Any other combination of the above, such as head only, or soles up, requires a vet immediately, as the foal is probably presenting abnormally.
One of the most important conditions to prevent is the recto-vaginal fistula, where the foal’s foot ruptures the roof of the vagina and tears it longitudinally as the mare strains. This will be evidenced by a leg being caught in the roof of the vagina, and possibly even the appearance of a hoof through the anus. In this case a sterilized, lubricated hand should be placed in the vagina around the offending leg and the leg pushed towards the mare’s head and redirected into the vaginal cavity. This should be done immediately the problem is noticed. This condition is most common in young mares foaling for the first time but may also occur in older broodmares with deep bellies. Repair of the tear is a complicated surgical procedure requiring skilled veterinary attention.
Occasionally the mare will expel her foal until its hips become wedged in her pelvis. In this event she needs help, and delivery must be made quickly or the foal will be lost.
the foal slowly from side to side. If this is not successful. the attendant should pass a sterilized, lubricated hand into the birth canal, over the rump of the foal and grasp the tail. A hard pull on it as the mare strains almost always brings the foal.
Allow the umbilical cord to tear of its own accord about 3-5 centimeters from the navel.
If the mare has not passed her entire afterbirth within three hours of foaling it should be considered retained placental membrane. A vet can apply medication to help the mare pass all of the membrane and contract the uterus.

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Don’t hurry the mare or hover over her.
  • Don’t touch the mare or foal while the labour is progressing normally—that is, let the mare foal as decreed by nature.
  • Don’t hesitate to call your vet if the mare is in trouble. Trouble is indicated by the mare straining for more than one hour without the appearance of the foal; the appearance of the head and no feet, or the head and one foot, or the feet and no head. Once normal foaling begins the foal is born within 15 minutes of the appearance of the feet. if waiting for help, keep the mare walking, provided the foal is not hanging out.
  • Make sure the membranes over the foal’s nostrils are torn; if this does not happen by the time the head is out, quickly tear them away with your fingers.

‘Foaling heat’

According to most data, the average gestation period for thoroughbreds is about 340 days. Data indicate that colts are generally carried longer than fillies. Disease can influence the length of gestation. Normally, the mare has a ‘foaling heat’ soon after the birth of the foal, usually on or about the ninth day. This is usually a short estrus, but the mare will accept the stallion and, under favorable conditions, will conceive. If the mare has had a rough foaling with evidence of bruising and hematomas of the birth canal, it is advisable not to breed at this time, nor should a mare that has foaled for the first time be rebred at foal heat, as she is more likely to have suffered damage.
Some breeders hesitate to breed on the ninth day for several reasons:

  • The mare showing signs of estrus may not be near ovulation.
  • There is a possibility of uterine infection.
  • Traumatic injury to the birth canal often goes unnoticed.
  • The womb of a mare kept in a box for nine days after foaling has rarely contracted properly, and while there may not be infection the presence of secretions and retained debris is unfavorable for conception.
    For these reasons, routine genital examinations at the seventh or eighth day after foaling are indicated. If the mare is not mated on foal heat she will normally cycle again eighteen to twenty-one days later. Failing this, it will be fifty to sixty days.

After Foaling

Always spread the membranes out on the ground and make sure both uterine horn tips are present. Many mares who retain the afterbirth for more than three hours will have difficulty conceiving at the next foaling heat. Never pull the membranes out manually, unless under veterinary supervision. Keep the membranes for your veterinary surgeon to examine.
The following should be carried out after foaling:

  • Enema for foal (100 milliliters of warm soapy water).
  • Navel swab of tincture of iodine.
  • Shot of wide-range antibiotic to both mare and foal, especially if there is a history of infection.
  • Tetanus anti-toxin or toxoid, to both mare and foal.
  • Drench of 4.5 liters of mineral oil for the mare to prevent post-partum colic. Repair of episiotomy (cut vulva) or tears.
  • Wash mare’s hindquarters with disinfectant.

If the mare fails to lick the foal and show it affection, a little table salt rubbed on the foal’s neck and shoulders may help. A little of the dam’s milk rubbed on the foal’s muzzle and face may overcome resentment. A mare should be supervised until she thoroughly accepts the foal and allows it to suckle. On rare occasions this may take as long as a week, in which case tranquilization may be used to allow the foal to suckle. Very rarely a mare may reject the foal so savagely that it is best to bring the foal up by hand,if a suitable foster-mare cannot be found. Consideration should be given to culling such a mare from the breeding program.

Horse Weaning

Weaning can take place between four and seven months. The guiding factor should really be the dam’s condition. For instance, a fat mare with plenty of milk can suckle her foal for six months or longer, particularly if she is empty (not in foal again) and therefore does not need to nourish a fetuses well. A day or two before separation, accustom the mare to having her udder and teats gently handled and milked.
On the morning selected for weaning, the mare should be walked to her new paddock leaving her foal behind in its usual box with both upper and lower doors shut. It is important that the foal is strictly confined in a safe enclosure, which must have solid high walls. The mare should be placed in a sturdy yard well out of earshot of the foal’s cries. The mare’s udder should be inspected twice a day and she will need to be milked to relieve the pressure. Do not strip her out completely as this only stimulates further milk secretion and production.

Hamster Care

Like the guinea pig, the hamster is a small rodent. Their care and problems are similar but here are some differences. The hamster is a nocturnal and solitary animal with a life-span of 1-2 years. Two or more will always fight, regardless of sex. The most common is the golden hamster originating in Syria.
The young begin eating solid food when 7-9 days old and drinking at 10 days. Coprophagia in the adult is normal. Estrus occurs every four days. Mating occurs at night and male and female should only be together when the female is in heat or they will fight. The gestation period is only 15-18 days. Litter size 4-7. The young are naked and develop hair by 7 days and are weaned at 20-25 days. Eyes are open at 5 days.


A female hamster with newborn young may conceal an entire litter in her cheek pouches when disturbed. If sufficiently upset she may eat her young. They should not therefore be handled for the first 10 days. Fostering of orphan litters is rarely successful and both the adopted and natural litters may be cannibalized. Hand rearing is usually unsuccessful


Usually occurs at 10-15 days of age in hamsters still suckling. Affected hamsters have a large swollen abdomen with a bulging anus. Prompt veterinary attention is required.


Below 40°F (5°C) body temperature drops to 2° to 5°F (1° to 2°C) above the ambient temperature and pulse and respiration fall.

Impacted Cheek Pouches

Empty and flush with water.

Overgrown Teeth

Teeth grow continuously and clipping is necessary if the diet provides insufficient wear.

Sleeper disease

If the environmental temperature reaches 72°-77°F (22°-25°C) the hamster may become stiff and lifeless and if disturbed moves the head from side to side. It will return to normal after 5 minutes. `Apparently dead’ hamsters should be warmed and stimulated prior to disposal.

`Wet tail’ (Diarrhea)

There is severe diarrhea with moistening and inflammation of the anal area leading to death in 2-7 days. Usually occurs in recently weaned animals of 3-5 weeks of age. Prompt veterinary attention requiring electrolytes, antibiotics, and anti-spasmolytics is necessary.


Tapeworm and pinworm are the most common and respond to appropriate veterinary treatment.

Pet Safety

Pets can give a lot of pleasure. They make good companions for all ages and are an excellent way for children to learn about responsibility and caring for others. Being a deterrent to burglars and an intruder alarm, a family dog also helps to safeguard the home.

Keeping pets involves a lot of responsibility, however, and they can cause accidents and spread disease if not properly looked after. Make sure you know how to care for any animal you own and that whichever member of the family takes on the routine tasks will have enough time and commitment to do the job properly. Bear these points in mind when deciding what sort of pet to bring into the home.

Living with dogs

Dogs interact with humans so well that they soon become a member of the household, demanding their equal share of company and attention to keep them happy and well behaved. As dogs can live for ten to 15 years or even more, owning one is a long-term commitment. Feeds need to be regular, as does exercise. Grooming is necessary to keep the dog’s skin and coat in good condition, and to minimize the amount of hair shed in the house, and with long-haired varieties, this can overtime become more of a chore than a pleasure. Dogs bring dirt and dust into the house, so increasing the amount of housework around them.

Choose the breed carefully to suit your family situation; dogs are bred for certain characteristics and different types can require much more exercise and feeding than others. Most dogs do not like to be left alone for long periods, and some can become destructive in the home. Check on the dog’s likely temperament and if you are buying a puppy try to see both parents.

Training is another important aspect in a dog’s life. Dogs must always be kept under control and well behaved, especially in public. An uncontrollable dog is a potential danger in the home and on the street. If you have any difficulty with training your dog, seek out a training group, where your dog can learn to socialize with other canines and learn to respond to your commands.

Keeping cats

Cats are much more independent than dogs, and require less care and attention. They groom themselves, unless they are long-haired, and often spend a lot of their time on their own. However, when they do want attention, or a nice warm lap to snuggle into, they can be very affectionate and rewarding as pets. They will even play with you, but on their terms and only when they feel like it.

It is wise to get a male cat neutered and a female cat spayed. Males grow into rangy beasts which take to fighting and spraying your property as they mark out their own territory. Females can, and most probably will, start to reproduce at six months of age and can produce two litters a year. Finding good homes for the kittens can become a regular headache. Talk to your local vet about the best time to spay and neuter your pet, if unsure.

Small rodents

Mice, hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits all have their particular charms. They are generally relatively short-lived, although some rabbits do go on for many years. Although they are much cheaper to keep than either dogs or cats, they all need to be contained in cages, preferably with areas or runs large enough for them to exercise in. Hamsters particularly like toys and wheels to play with and guinea pigs and rabbits benefit from being allowed to run out of doors. Cages should be cleaned weekly.

Many children are wonderfully at ease with pets, but it is a good idea to show them how to hold and handle animals safely.