She is soft, warm, and cuddly. He is the best walking companion.
Her smile brightens your home. His silent presence calms your mind and body after a stressful day.
They are always attentive to your every command, always ready to please you, and they never complain.
They are your pets.
They are the “bestest” of your best friends and a partner for life.
The good news is: You have the power to prolong your pet’s life. You have the power to give your pet what is called quality life. You can be the most responsible pet owner.
This column will share tips on how to take better care of your pets. Most of the tips come from experience in caring for our eight shih tzus and eight puspins (pusang Pinoy), and over 300 dogs and cats rescued or assisted by Save Animals of Love and Light (Save ALL), an animal welfare group, for more than three years now. I will also share what we learned from veterinarians and from literature on dogs and cats.
It took time for me to personally get things right when it comes to being a better “furparent.” I would like to share what I have learned so you don’t have to experience the problems we encountered when we knew too little about dogs and cats then.
For one, did you know some human foods are bad for your dog? Worse, they can have ingredients that can kill them.
Did you know there are good and bad food for your kitten? Good food will make your kitten grow up into a beautiful, healthy cat.
Did you know you can train your dog yourself? There are some DIY tips this column will share with you.
Did you know there are pets that need homes you can adopt? This column will lead you to animal welfare groups and rescuers looking for loving, lifetime adopters for abandoned or abused puppies, dogs, kittens, and cats.
And did you know there are pet-friendly places in town? And the best news is there are a lot of pet restaurants or cafes—yes, restaurants—that serve good cooked food and even prepare birthday cakes for your pets.
This and more will be featured in this column.
In the meantime, let me share the story of Cole.
Cole, a shih tzu, was given to a vendor in Cubao, Quezon City by a young man in 2015. The vendor told us Cole was kept in a bathroom when his owner went to work. His condition worsened while on the street. He had wounds all over his body from scratching, his hair was matted, and some parts of his body seemed to be “burnt” because he had black spots in some areas. He was, to many, an ugly doggy.
Save ALL, a non-profit organization registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), rescued Cole with the help of Loribert Sobrio Bersabe and Jhet Manio, and decided to bring him to the clinic immediately.
Cole was diagnosed with a severe case of general demodicosis or the kind of mange that affects a large part of the body. Demodectic mange is also known as galis, a skin disease that is either inherited or develops in a dog due to poor nutrition or a dirty environment, among others.
Demodectic mange is triggered by a weak or compromised immune system. It leads to hair loss and in severe cases, wounds that look like burns in the body. If left untreated, the wounds can lead to bacterial infection or even gangrene in some cases.
Although is it not a disease that can be transferred to another dog or to a human, it is an illness that you would not want your pet to suffer from.
It is easy to cure if you detect it early. Please see a veterinarian when your dog starts to have wounds due to continuous scratching, there is hair loss in some parts of the body, the skin is too pink, or there seems to be wrinkled parts in the skin.
If you did not detect the illness early, do not fret. There are ways to heal your pet.
Cole was given meds for the demodectic mange, as well as supplements. His diet was also changed.
It took almost two years to bring him back to the handsome doggy that he was. He is now four years old.
How do you avoid demodectic mange? It is quite simple: Keep your dog’s immune system strong.
1. Give good food, preferably natural food such as boiled beef with sweet potatoes and moringa (malunggay) leaves. Or you can give dry dog food that has the least preservatives and salt content.
A word of caution: Some cheap dog food brands in the market have been identified as the cause of kidney stones/failure, liver problems, and skin disease. We tried different brands of dog food and chose some rather expensive ones to give to our dogs and rescued dogs of Save ALL. Although the dog food is pricey, the dogs’s health is better, thus, we avoided expensive trips to the vet and possible illnesses in dogs that might even lead to their death.
These are important to follow to avoid mange flare-ups:
*Do not give table food
*Do not give food with fish sauce (patis), anchovy (bagoong), soy sauce (toyo), and cooking oil
*Do not give fish
*Some dogs develop allergy when given chicken or turkey. Some dogs, when used to eating chicken since a pup or for months, may develop allergy to beef. We have seen this happen to some dogs. So the rules for us are: (1) Observe the dog after being given new food, watch out for itching or if his skin becomes too pink; and (2) Ask the vet which food is best for your dog. The kind of food your dog needs can vary depending on breed and age.
2. Keep your place and where the dog stays very clean. Places with molds should be avoided. Clean areas with molds. Keep him away from the bathroom.
3. Keep your dog happy. Walk him. Play with him. Give him toys. A happy dog has a strong immune system. A strong immune system keeps mange flare-ups away.
4. Give multivitamins. Most dogs are given 3 ml. of multivitamins for dogs. Ask your vet for the multivitamins that is best for your pet. It is not expensive at all.
Quite easy, isn’t it?
The hardest part is when you have to say NO to your pet when he or she looks at you with those “pabebe” begging eyes. Do not give in. Keep in mind: “This is for his own good. No mange. No kidney problem. No liver problem. Long life.”
Would it help if I tell you that dogs have a strong sense of smell, thus they beg for table food because every dish smells different and they want to taste it?
So keep table food away from your pet so that you don’t have to fight the urge to give them food that might contain ingredients that are bad for them.
I will give you a list of bad food and good food in the next columns, including how to make your dog’s RECOMMENDED food more enticing to them.
In another piece, I will discuss in detail the different kinds of mange, symptoms, and cures you can give your dog with the help of your trusted vet.
I hope to be your partner in taking good care of your pet.
See you next Sunday.
About the author:
Desiree Carlos is a former reporter, editor, and lecturer. Today, she is a media consultant and an animal welfare advocate. She is a furparent to eight shih tzus and eight puspins, and a foster parent to many rescued dogs and cats of Save Animals of Love and Light (Save ALL). Save ALL is an animal welfare group that rescues and rehabilitates abandoned, abused, injured, and disabled dog and cats; promotes responsible pet ownership; and controls animal population through spaying and neutering.