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Tanya Munshi

It is essential for dogs to have their own toys to play with. This not only keeps their teeth strong and tartar-free but also provides them with enough exercise so that they do not take out their pent up energy on your shoes and furniture instead.

Picking a Toy
Pick such a toy that not only keeps your furry friend busy but also has scope for you to join in while playing with him. If heís the only dog you have, then a toy that you both can play with is more essential. This strengthens the bond between you and your pet. With two dogs, you need not worry; the furry playmates will make a sport out of any given toy. For a pup, pick a teething toy. This will keep him busy and save your belongings from being destroyed.

Your Dogís Personality
A pet dogís mood and personality plays a vital role while choosing a toy. For a shy and timid dog, select a soft toy by which he wonít feel threatened. A soft toy acts as a comforter for your shy pet, especially while youíre travelling and he is being taken to a new place. For a bold and playful dog, choose toys and games which will help him to be more disciplined and focused.

Qualities to look for in a toy
Itís best to pick toys that will provide loads of exercise for your dog. Something that will make him run, jump and look forward to playing a game with you is ideal. Innovate new ways to use the same toy for playing with your dog. Dog-safe rubber toys are usually a good bet as they can withstand bites. Many dogs like to bury their toys and a rubber toy can bear all this. Also, when dogs play with a toy or chew on a toy, it keeps them physically and mentally active and healthy; rubber is safe to chew on. It promotes salivation, which will keep their mouths clean. Chewies in particular help to clean the gums and the teeth.

Types of Dog Toys
Chewies, Rubber Balls, Teethers, Squeaky Balls and Crazy Balls are some of the toys you can choose from, for your beloved pet.

Just like your baby, activities and entertainment for your dog is a must for its physical and mental development. Hence plan your petsí toy list today to be a proud pet owner.

Dental care of dogs and cats is one of the most commonly overlooked areas of pet health care. In fact, it is estimated that 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats show signs of oral disease by age 3. As a pet owner, it is your duty to ensure your petís dental health through regular teeth brushing. Remember, proper dental care can add as much as 5 years to your pet's life and safeguard them against a number of dental disorders like Periodontal Disease, commonly found in dogs and even cats. The first and most important objective is to massage the gums for proper circulation and for removing the food plaque. Here is what you need to do:

1. Make a thin chicken soup (for your dog) or tuna water (for your cat) and gently rub along your pet's gums and teeth. The taste of chicken and tuna will encourage your pet to allow you for carrying out comfortable brushing.
2. The most important area to focus on is the gum line (the crevice where the gums meet the teeth). Here, the bacteria and food mix to form plaque. Focusing on the gum line, start at the front of the mouth, then move to the back upper and lower teeth and gum areas.
3. Once your pet is okay with a little bit of touching, introduce gauze over your finger and rub the teeth and gums in a circular fashion.
4. When your four-legged friend can handle the gauze, try brushing with a toothbrush specially designed for pets or a very soft, ultra-sensitive toothbrush designed for people. The bristles should be held at a 45-degree angle to the tooth surface and be moved in an oval motion. Scrub in the gum line, as this is where odour and infection begin.
5. Gradually add special dog/cat toothpaste (flavored with meat or fish), but never use human toothpaste or baking soda, as both will upset your pet's stomach.

Use the following process to clean the inside surfaces of your pet's teeth:
1. Place your hand over your pet's muzzle from the top
2. Gently squeeze and push his lips on one side between the back teeth (to keep his mouth open)
3. Pull his head back gently so his mouth opens
4. Brush his teeth on the opposite side
5. Repeat this process for the other side

If your dog or cat continues to resist, try gently wrapping him/her in a large bath towel with only the head sticking out. Above all, avoid over-straining and keep sessions short and positive. You can further improve your petís oral health by offering him/her hard biscuits after each meal. These produce abrasion to help keep plaque to a minimum on the crown of each tooth.

With plenty of praise and reassurance, your dental sessions can bring the two of you closer---a closeness that won't be disfigured by the odour of your petís breath.

by Gautam Desai

You're looking forward to your two-week break this holiday season. Your bags are packed, the car is loaded and all you need to do is turn on the ignition and head to your destination Ė yipee! But hang on; you're taking your pet along as well. Are you equipped to take care of your pet dog in every way possible? Read on to ensure that your pet stays safe, healthy and well groomed while on a trip with you.

1. Carry doggy essentials
Depending on where you're going, make sure you are carrying all that your dog will need to stay clean, fresh and healthy. For example, if you plan to go on a hiking or a camping trip, make sure you carry dog grooming essentials Ė from tweezers to remove thorns and spines to a fine tooth comb and dog brush, and even doggy cologne!

2. Take breaks for your pet's sake
Your dog may be used to small trips of up to 2-3 hours around town, but if you plan on driving for a longer period, remember to take breaks. This is because, like you your dog too needs to stretch its legs and take a pee. If you're travelling during the day, your car is likely to heat up, so allow your dog out of the car every hour or so to cool down.

3. Be prepared to handle illnesses
It's quite likely that your pet may fall ill during your trip. So, do carry an emergency medication kit. Also, do some research and make enquiries about a local vet or animal hospital at your holiday destination.

4. Plan meals
As far as possible, carry your pet's supply of food for the entire duration of the holiday. This is especially important if your dog is a fussy eater and is used to a particular brand of biscuits or dog food. At least your pet will then eat well and allow you to enjoy your holiday without a worry.

5. Handle doggy blues
A long journey and a new place can tire and even stress your pet. So, ensure you give your pet at least a day's rest and allow it to familiarise itself with a new place. Once you are sure your pet has settled in, you can concentrate on enjoying your holiday.
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