Coconut Oil has been known to have many many health benefits for our darling pets.
Feeding coconut oil to your dog provides him/her with many health benefits, including
- Increased metabolism
- Higher energy and vitality
- Protecting them from illness as it improves the immunity system
- Speeding up healing, soothing and healing itching
- Improving digestion and reducing allergic reactions.
- It also promotes healthy skin, a healthy coat, and healthy teeth and gums!
- Helps in reducing eye discharge over time.
So how does coconut oil provide so many benefits to our dogs?
Coconut oil is a fatty acid that is helpful in cognitive function, which has been medically proven.
Medium-chain fatty acids, like coconut oil, help with physical and digestive ailments because they are “directly absorbed in the GI tract and go directly to the liver where they are metabolised into utilisable energy.”
Besides the overall health benefits, coconut oil can be used as a coating on pills to help dogs swallow them, and it can be applied topically to smooth and freshen a dog’s coat.
How should one feed coconut oil to dogs?
Coconut oil can generally be given to dogs 1-2 times a day with meals.
How much you should give your dog depends on the size of the dog.
Many veterinarian recommend adding coconut oil slowly to the meals and gradually increasing the dose.
A good starting dose is ¼ teaspoon daily for small dogs, 1 teaspoon for medium dogs and 1 tablespoon daily for big dogs.
However, if you have an obese or overweight dog, it’s suggested that coconut oil be provided no more than once a day because of its high fat content.
What are Tear Stains?
Tear Stains are the reddish-brown streaks right under a dog's or cat's eye and is caused by several reasons. The appearance is more prominent in certain breeds like Lhasa Apso, Shih Tzu and Persian Cats. Although, tear staining is usually normal, it can also be a symptom of a serious eye problem.
What causes Tear Stains?
There can be several reasons why tear stains occur, the most common could be :
- Ingrown Eyelashes
- Eye Infection
- Unusually small tear duct openings
- De-worming overdue
- Poor quality diet
- Teething in puppies
- Glaucoma or other eye diseases
- Exposure to passive smoking
Why do some dogs have more prominent tear stains?
Apart from what we explained on the breeds, there could be other reasons why some dogs get more frequent staining under the eye, than others.
Tear Stains are typically results of porphyrins. Porphyrins are naturally occurring molecules containing iron, which are formed from the break down to red blood cells.
These are usually removed from the body through poop, however in some dogs & cats, porphyrins can also be excreted through saliva, urine and tears.
How to treat Tear Stains
- Keep the under eyes clean and dry.
- Gently wipe the face with a damp, soft cotton cloth at least twice a day.
- Keep the under eye hair trimmed at all times.
- Feed a high quality diet. Basically focus on food that is easy to digest.
- Ensure your pet has clean drinking water at all times. Tap water can sometimes contain chlorine and fluoride that may make the staining worse.
- Replace plastic food bowls with steel, ceramic or glass.
- Add probiotics to the meals.
- Keep a tear stain cleaner handy at home.
- NEVER use human eye drops on your pets.
Its become a rather regular incident of us watching painful stories on social media regarding dogs that have been shaved on request of pet parents, or recommendation by "vets" and "groomers".
We at PoochMate turn down umpteen number of requests to shave down double coat dogs to "keep them cool in summers" almost on a daily basis.
So why would one want to shave dogs? Is it right? Is it wrong? Does it actually do any harm?
We're trying to reach out to pet parents through this blog to help them understand what happens when you shave down your dog.
The general public seems to have a pretty low opinion of Dog Groomers.
There is no regulation in our country for the pet industry yet, but there are some trained and professional groomers in the field too.
A good groomer will have the dog's interest at heart at ALL times.
So when you call your groomer to book your dog for shaving and your request is turned down, remember the groomer has SAID NO TO MORE MONEY and there has to be some valid reason behind it !
- You should not shave down a dog for the following reasons:
- They DO NOT need to be shaved down in summer
- It DOES NOT help in controlling shedding
- It DOES NOT keep them cool in summer
- It EXPOSES them to harmful sun rays, often leading to heat strokes
- Some breeds are KNOWN TO GET INTO DEPRESSION with having shaved down to the skin
- The topcoat of dogs protects them against sun burns and dirt from settling on to the skin.
- Some breeds like Huskies have a thick, coarse top coat that keeps them cool in summer, and warm in winters.
- Some breeds like German Shepherds if shaved close, may get back patchy and uneven growth.
The next question we are asked many times is how should we control the above issues then?
It's very simple. None of the reasons mentioned above are compelling enough to get your dog shaved and NONE of the issues mentioned above will get resolved by shaving.
- Shedding is seasonal. Invest in a good de-shedding brush and use it once every two days during the shedding season.
- Introduce coconut oil in your dog's meal. A teaspoon in the morning and evening will do wonders for your dog's coat and overall wellbeing.
- If you find excessive shedding in your dogs, something which doesn't seem normal, consult a vet and get tests done for dermatitis.
- Keep your pet cool in summers by ensuring the walks are done in the early morning and late evening hours when the sun is not bright!
- Make cool treats for your pet at home, there are plenty of recipes available on the internet.
- Chilled watermelon without seeds and beaten yogurt are great to keep your pets cool in summer.
- If you need to take your dog out for walks during the peak hot hours, use waterproof socks or shoes. They do wonders to protect their delicate paw pads from the heat.
- Keep their bowls full of fresh water at all times.
Lastly, steer clear of "vets" and "groomers" that suggest you to shave down your dogs for any of the above reasons.
Ever noticed your dog profusely licking his paws, which has caused you both to visit the vet a little more often?
The small inflammation that appears between the paws are usually hairless, fleshy lumps that cause excessive itching leading to licking, and eventually limping in dogs.
The condition medically termed as “Interdigital Cysts” is found most commonly in short coat dogs like Labradors, Bull Dogs etc, but may also appear in other breeds, even if not that commonly.
Your usual visits to the vets may result in tests for allergies, cancer, anti-biotics, putting the dog on an e-collar and sometimes much more. We have been seeing our dog suffering from this condition for the longest time.
Every visit to the vet results in all of the above but NOTHING seems to have worked in the long run.
So what are these Interdigital cysts in dogs and what causes it? Interdigital cysts are these small bloody lumps between the dog’s paws that are
- Fleshy Lumps -Looks like a Hairless bump
- Causes bleeding on breakouts
- Keeps re-appearing in most cases
- Painful lumps, usually causing limping, and excessive licking
There are a variety of causes of Interdigital Cysts in your dog’s paws. And usually you will hear your veterinarians say they are not really sure of what caused it in your dog. Some of the common reasons include:
- Allergies from grass is the MOST common
- Deep Bacterial Infection in dogs
- Excess Weight in dogs
- Ingrowth of hair between the paws
- Yeast Infection in dogs
- Structure of the paw – if the gaps between the pads is less it can cause the moisture to get locked and lead to licking
- Walking bare paws on areas with building construction material
- Wheat allergy in dogs
- Any other food allergy in dogs including Chicken in some cases
Common treatments for IG Cysts/a combination or any one of these may work best for your dog :
- Cleaning the paws and under pads with Betadine solution and applying an anti-bacterial powder. This usually works when the cysts are not too many or reappearing too often.
- Soaking the paws in salt water twice a day.
- One of the most effective treatments is using 1 cup of Epsom Salts dissolved in two gallons of warm water and soaking your dog’s paws in it. However, once you remove the paws from the water, make sure to dry them completely with a dry towel or hair dryer. Epsom salts are laxative if swallowed, so you don't want your dog to lick off too much or to lap up any of the water that he's standing in. (Epsom Salts are available on FlipKart)
- Another proven treatment available on the Internet today is using Stockholm Tar Spray on the cysts and pet parents worldwide have claimed the earlier persistent cysts almost never came back. Stockholm Tar Spray is commonly used in many countries to treat cuts, skin issues, scratches etc on horses and cattle. It is made of pine-wood.
- Moving the dog to grain-free dog diets also helps in preventing recurrence of the cysts.
The success of any one of the above treatments will depend on the correct diagnosis of the reasons cited above. More often than not, one of the above reasons may be causing the cysts to grow back every now and then, or a combination of two or more reasons.
Most treatments will take TIME to show results. But they are TREATABLE.
No matter how long any of the above treatment take, DO NOT take any suggestions for surgical removal of the webbing between the paws. The webbing between the dog’s paws is there for a purpose.
You may end up attracting more trouble like orthopedics issue, foot pad overgrowth for your dog if the webbing is surgically removed.
So next time you spot your dog limping, or excessively licking his/her paws, look for these lumps between his paws. DO NOT PANIC. Take a Step-wise approach:
- Start using one of the treatments mentioned above and make sure the cysts vanish and the paws dry up. This may take a few weeks to PATIENCE is key!
- Once they have disappeared, identify which of the above reasons could have caused it most likely.
- The best way to do this is stop one thing at a time and see if it makes a difference. For e.g stop walks on grass OR stop wheat in the meals.
- If the cysts do not reoccur after you’ve stopped one of the causes, you know you’ve hit the bull’s eye! Else, keep trying unless you find the cause. REMEMBER, for this most common yet painful issue with the dog’s paws, finding the right diagnosis is KEY!