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10 Tips For Winter Pet Care To Keep Your Furry Friends Happy And Healthy

Winter can be hard on pets, especially ones that are used to being outside a lot. Some pets also get increasingly wary of playing outside when it’s cold, leading to not getting enough exercise during the winter months.


What can pet owners do during the cold months to protect their pets? The cold weather and wind can be hard on your furry friends, so it’s important to take extra care of them during the winter to keep them healthy and happy. Here are 10 Winter Care tips to keep your furry friends happy and healthy.


Suggestions for Winter Pet Care


1. Keep Your Pets Inside


Keep Your Pets Inside
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During the winter, it’s best to keep your pets inside, especially if it’s very cold or windy outside. If you must take your pet outside, make sure they are adequately covered by a coat or sweater, and keep them outside for a short period of time to avoid hypothermia or frostbite.


Also keep the following measures in mind:

  • Make sure their fur coat is completely dry from previous baths before taking them out.
  • Some pets have a thick fur coat, but if yours has thin fur, it’s best to take them out to play when the temperature is higher during the day: late mornings and early afternoons.
  • When they are back indoors, make sure to dry their coat immediately using a dry towel or dryer.
  • Keep a watch for sunny days and make sure to let them get their dose of Vitamin D on those days!


–> SEE ALSO: Why is my dog so itchy?




2. Keep Your Home Warm:


Keep Your Home Warm
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If you have outdoor pets, it’s best to move them indoors during the cold months. Especially if your pets are older or have health difficulties, make sure your home is warm enough for them. To keep your pet warm, consider using a space heater or covering their bed with an additional blanket.


Keep the following precautions in mind:

  • Some pets are accustomed to cold weather, so find out what levels of temperature are suitable for them. It’s very possible they don’t like keeping as warm as other pets.
  • If you have smaller pets like cats and squirrels, make sure they don’t creep into warm hoods of cars searching for warmth. Honk your car or bang on the hood before starting it.
  • Keep heat sources like indoor heaters or radiators at a spot away from your pet’s reach to avoid dangerous accidents.


3. Keep your pets safe from the weather


Keep your pets safe from the weather
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If you have to take your pet outside, make sure the cold wind can’t get to them. Think about giving them booties to protect their paws from the ice and salt, and clean off their paws and legs when you get back inside to get rid of any possible dirt buildup.


Keep the following precautions in mind:

  • Do not give your pet a bath immediately before taking them out.
  • Moisturise the pet’s paws using pet-safe balms or oils.
  • Avoid having open, stagnant water in your compound. Your pets may try to drink water from it or play in it, which may result in digestive issues or infections. Just one bite from an infected mosquito could put the pet at risk for heartworm disease.


4. Make Sure Your Pets Get Enough Water:


Make Sure Your Pets Get Enough Water
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During the winter, when pets may be less active, it’s crucial to make sure your pets are getting enough water. To encourage your pets to drink more, think about utilising a pet water fountain. Additionally, make sure their water bowl is always filled and not too cold.


Keep in mind:

  • Dehydration can be life-threatening. So, keep a watch on the amount of water your pets drink during winter.
  • Not having enough physical activity can make them less thirsty. Take them out for runs, or play indoors regularly so that they get thirsty enough to drink water.


5. Give Your Pets Plenty of Food:


Give Your Pets Plenty of Food
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To keep warm and energised during the winter, your pets may require more food. Make sure you’re feeding them enough, and if you need to, think about switching to a higher-protein meal.


It’s important to keep the following in mind while feeding:

  • Avoid overfeeding. It is a misconception that overfeeding them during winters can keep pets warm.
  • Monitor your pet’s weight to make sure they’re not eating too much or too less.
  • Make sure they get enough food get enough exercise along with it.


6. Keep Your Pets Active:


Keep Your Pets Active
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Even though it may be freezing outside, your healthy pet can still get some activity. Playing indoor games, taking little walks, or even constructing a tiny obstacle course in your home can all help keep your pets active.


Keep the following precautions in mind:

  • Older pets may need to stretch their joints instead of hardcore exercise. Hydrotherapy (aquatic therapy) is a fun way to help dogs get gentle exercise with the help of water buoyancy
  • Consider indoor games such as fetch and tug-of-war for healthy dogs. Hiding their toys can also make them want to move around looking for it.


–> SEE ALSO: Pets, Parasites & You




LUBRIHANS by Sava Vet is an easily chewable tablet for superior support for joints and cartilages in dogs. It contains Glucosamine Sulphate Potassium, Chondroitin, Hyaluronic Acid and Collage Peptide Type II & provides more flexibility and mobility in patients with Osteoarthritis.


LUBRIHANS offers 3 unique benefits in each tablet:


LUBRIHANS is indicated in dogs with severe Osteoarthritis and in geriatric or older patients. The highly palatable chicken flavour makes this medication a hassle-free experience for dog owners and dogs alike.


7. Keep an eye out for signs of illness:


Keep an eye out for signs of illness
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Cold weather can make some health problems, like arthritis and breathing problems, worse. If you observe any changes in your pets’ behaviour or health, keep an eye out for symptoms of illness and visit a veterinarian.


–> SEE ALSO: Does Your Cat Blink Frequently?




Some pets experience arthritis pain during winter and may shy from movement and play during this time. BONHANS can be used in patients with mild to moderate osteoarthritis, a disease caused by loss of cartilage and thinning of synovial membrane leading to pain, inflammation and stiffness.


The Pain Management range by Sava Vet including CARODYL and METAFLAM are also extremely useful for pets suffering from pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis.


8. Keep Your Pets Groomed:


Keep Your Pets Groomed
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Keeping your pets well-groomed is essential for their general health and can also keep them warm throughout the winter. Regular brushing can help to remove any mats or tangles, and nail trimming will prevent long nails and disease manifestation in your pets.


Keep the following precautions in mind:

  • It’s particularly important to give them a good brush after baths so that any residual moisture dries up quick.
  • It’s easier for ticks and fleas to grow on moist and ungroomed hair. It’s important that this does not happen for healthy dogs and healthy cats.


9. Make Sure Your Pets Are Safe Around Small Children and Visitors:


Make Sure Your Pets Are Safe Around Small Children and Visitors
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Make sure your pets are secure. To ensure they are treated kindly and respectfully around children or strange individuals, keep an eye on your pets.


Keep the following precautions in mind:

  • Make sure they’re comfortable around new people. Some pets can show unusual behaviour when they feel unsafe around strangers.
  • Small children may not know how to behave around pets. Show them how to touch/not touch a pet and keep an eye on them at all times.


10. Ensure Your Pets are Properly Identified:


Ensure Your Pets are Properly Identified
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If your pet becomes lost during the winter, make sure they have a collar with a current identification tag. Consider wearing a reflector on them as an extra precaution.


Pet tracking devices are also available in the market. It can be extremely dangerous for your pet to get lost during hostile weather conditions, so keep them protected and safe especially during winter.


–> SEE ALSO: Nutrition For Pets: Is It Really Important?




By using these tips, you can help make sure your pets are happy and healthy all winter long. Remember to pay attention to what your pets need and to listen to your vet if you have any worries about their health. With a little extra care, you can make sure your furry friends are happy and comfortable all winter long.

Nutrition For Pets: Is It Really Important?

Wellness and nutrition for pets has become more important than ever. Awareness among people is also fast-growing. Pet-owners are more focused on preventive healthcare and general wellness to improve the overall quality of life for their pets, keeping them in the best of their health.


Every year, 600,000 pets are adopted in India, and even more are being bred and bought. Dogs are the most popular pets in India while cats are second most popular. People are more open to having pets at home, as a companion as well as a part of their own mental wellness.


–> SEE ALSO: Does Your Cat Blink Frequently?




As a result, people are spending more on the nutritional needs of their pets to keep them healthy and happy. In 2022, the Indian veterinary healthcare market is valued at $169 million and is expected to reach $186 million by 2027.


Why is Pet Wellness So Important?


Why is Pet Wellness So Important - Nutrition
Image Credit: Pexels


As pet-owners, you can give conditions for proper exercise, play with them and spend cuddle time to tend to the pets’ psychological needs. But the truth remains that for basic health and nutritional requirements, most Indian pets are faring bad.


–> SEE ALSO: Pets, Parasites & You




Here are some of the important facts about the nutritional requirements of pets:


1. Vitamin Requirements: Outwardly, a pet may be seemingly healthy but with vitamin deficiencies they tend to grow weaker with age. Eliminating common vitamin and amino acid deficiencies can help a pet avoid serious health problems later in life.


2. Iron: Cats and dogs tend to adapt to anaemic conditions i.e. not having enough iron in their blood. But this is not healthy for the animals in the long run. Moreover, anaemic conditions can also occur due to hemorrhage from gastrointestinal tumours. Or genetic conditions. In these cases, supplementing their iron intake is important to keep their energy levels up, keeping them active and happy.


3. Good Digestion: While the digestive system of dogs and cats are fairly tough, they can encounter complications occasionally. Food is often the greatest source of excitement for most pets and having a poor digestion can cause a lot of discomfort and distress for them. Excessively oily, salty human food is bad for companion animals. Some pets may also have chronic indigestion or a poor appetite in which case, appetizers or digestive supplements are advised.


4. Immune System Boost: As pets are in their formative years, the condition of their health defines the strength of the immune system for the rest of their lives. Also as they grow old with age, they are more likely to be prone to illnesses and common diseases. Therefore, supplementing the pet’s immune system against disease-causing infections is essential.


5. Fiber Requirements: The health of the gastrointestinal system along with smooth bowel movements is entirely dependent on the right quantity of dietary fiber in dogs. Between 2% to 4% of the dog’s food must be fiber in order to meet this requirement. Too less and too much can cause digestive issues. If your dog is a picky eater, you can consider herbal appetizers that aid bowel movement.


SAVA Vet Wellness Range


SAVA Vet pets Wellness Range
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Sava Vet is a leading producer and manufacturer of small animal healthcare products and pharmaceuticals. With a range of differentiated products across therapy areas, Sava Vet aims to meet the current unmet medical needs of Veterinarians.


With the aim of better pet nutrition, Sava Vet has an extensive range of Wellness and Nutrition medicines and supplements. These are prepared with the utmost care and precision, keeping in mind the needs of our small companions:




The composition of this tablet is Ferrous Asparto Glycinate, L-Methyl Folate, Methylcobalamin, Zinc Sulphate. This special formulation is suitable for both cats and dogs.


This helps to fight:

  • Iron deficiency anaemia (IDA).
  • Nutritional deficiency anaemia.
  • Patients recovering from tick fever, CPV.
  • Anaemia during pregnancy & lactation.
  • Improves health of weak & debilitating animals.
  • Helps to boost immunity in young and aging animals.




The composition of this herbal appetizer syrup includes proven herbal ingredients like Amla, Thai Ginger, Jeera, Brahmi, Ashwagandha and Trikatu. PETSAPP is indicated for the use of pets that have loss of appetite, loss of weight, under-weight pets, indigestion and are recovering from illness.


This syrup helps by:

  • Stimulating appetite.
  • Increasing bile secretion.
  • Curing digestion problems.
  • Aiding in bowel movement & digestion.


This is available as both 100 ml and 200 ml bottles, depending on the dosage patterns of the pet. This appetizer syrup is suitable for pet birds, adult dogs and cats, puppies and kittens.




This is a multi-vitamin and essential amino acid syrup that provides vitamins and minerals which are necessary for growth and overall wellbeing of pets. With a perfect blend of 10 Vitamins and 10 Amino Acids, it has unmatched palatability and may become your pet’s favourite wellness syrup.


It helps:

  • Fight fatigue.
  • Restore energy.
  • Fill nutritional gaps.
  • Promote growth & development.
  • Maintain healthy skin & coat.
  • Prevent recurrent infections.
  • Provide strength during recovery from illnesses and injuries.


It is highly beneficial for pregnant and lactating dogs, and can be used to meet the general nutritional need of pet birds, adult dogs and cats, puppies and kittens.




The composition of this Immunity Booster Syrup includes proven herbal ingredients like Tulsi, Aloe vera, Turmeric and Giloy.


They help:

  • Provide protection against infections.
  • Boost disease resistance.
  • Support natural immune response.


This is available as both 100 ml and 200 ml bottles, depending on the dosage patterns of the pet. The immunity booster syrup is suitable for pregnant and lactating dogs, adult dogs and cats, puppies and kittens.




The composition of this Platelet Enhancer Syrup includes Papaya leaf extracts, Giloy and Kalmegh which have scientifically proven benefits for healthy blood formation.


It helps:

  • Papaya leaf extract boosts platelet production.
  • Giloy helps acts as a blood purifier.
  • Kalmegh acts as a natural antioxidant.
  • ADVAPLAT enhances platelet count.
  • It promotes recovery in anaemic conditions.


This is available as both 100 ml and 200 ml bottles, depending on the dosage patterns of the pet. The platelet enhancer syrup is suitable for pregnant and lactating dogs, adult dogs and cats, puppies and kittens.


Dog running
Image Credit: Pexels


Wellness for pets is no longer a luxury with the wide range of pet wellness products that Sava Vet offers. It has not been easier for pet-owners to keep track of the nutritional needs of their pets with the specific products for specific needs of their small companions.


Thousands of happy pet parents and companions trust in Sava Vet for a healthy quality life for their pets.


–> SEE ALSO: Why is my dog so itchy?

Does Your Cat Blink Frequently?

Cats blink at you all time and it could mean several things. Cats mainly meow to communicate with their humans, but sometimes they also use their eyes.


Sometimes cats give you a kitty kiss – which is a slow eye blink. This is usually towards humans and other animals or cats they trust. But this is very different from excessive blinking and could be a sign of dry eye syndrome, also called KCS.


SAVAVET is a leading manufacturer of small animal pharmaceuticals that offers differentiated products across therapy areas that meet the current unmet medical needs of Veterinarians. SAVAVET’s Visio Tears is an effective solution for KCS in cats. Let’s find out what this means for their treatment.


What does this mean?


Cat Blinking Eye
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Firstly, excessive blinking from your cat is a sign that there is irritation or pain in the eyes. It is not normal. If the cat is constantly trying to rub its paw on the eyes, that is also a sign that something is not right.


Redness, dryness of the eye and tearing from the eyes can also be noticed.


–> SEE ALSO: Why Cats Make Amazing Companions?




What could be the reason?


There could be a scratch in the cornea, or an infection in the eye. It’s best to get the cat checked by a vet for these problems. If there is no noticeable infection, another reason could be dry eye syndrome, also called, Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS).


What is Dry Eye Syndrome (KCS)?


Dry eye syndrome is simply because the cat’s eye gets abnormally dry and causes inflammation of the cornea. The cat’s lacrimal gland produces tears, which consists of a combination of mucous, water and oils.


When the lacrimal gland does not produce enough tears, it causes the situation of dry eyes. This is a condition that needs treatment for a better and comfortable life for your furry friend.


Cat Eye Closed
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Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome:


  • The cat blinks excessively or keeps the eyes shut.
  • An inflammation in the form of redness can be observed on the outer eye layer.
  • The cat’s eyes look a bit dull.
  • The eyes also produce cloudy, yellow, green or white mucous as a discharge.
  • The cat may also squint often as a sign of discomfort.
  • It may also use paws to scratch the eye due to irritation.


Why does my cat have KCS?


There can be a number of reasons why your cat has developed Dry Eye Syndrome. Conjunctivitis in cats however, does not depend on the breed or age of the cat. But you can take a look at the following possibilities:

  • If your cat has had a recent surgery involving anaesthesia, it may have temporarily reduced tear function.
  • Bacterial infections like chlamydia can cause this.
  • The main cause is usually infection by the feline herpes virus.
  • If your cat has been exposed to radiation during radiographs or radiation therapy, a direct beam to the eye may have caused this.
  • Immune diseases that affect the lacrimal gland can also lead to reduced tear production. This is a genetic condition.
  • Neurogenic KCS is also a situation where an inner ear infection affects the nervous system.


Can I ignore my cat’s Dry Eye Syndrome?


It is advised to get medication for dry eye syndrome because the condition causes a lot of pain and irritation for your dear pet. Cat eye infection treatment is also inexpensive if treatment starts at an early stage.


–> SEE ALSO: Pets, Parasites & You




Moreover, constant scratching may also cause scarring to the cornea, leading to reduced vision. In extreme cases this may also lead to blindness.


Cats with KCS can also live a comfortable life if you monitor appropriately and administer medication at intervals.


How can you safely diagnose Dry Eye Syndrome?


White Black Cat Looking
Image Credit: Unsplash


It is always best to approach a veterinarian doctor to confirm the condition in your cats. The doctor will consider the following tests:

  • An eye examination along with a thorough physical check up. Share details of the cat’s health history and medical records, if any.
  • A Schirmer Tear Test (STT) may be used by the doctor to measure the rate of tear production. A special strip of paper is put inside the cat’s eyelid and held in place for 60 minutes for this test.
  • Corneal staining may also be performed as a test to check for further bacterial infections.


Treatment for Dry Eye Syndrome


It is not possible to permanently treat dry eye syndrome. Rather, with proper care and medication, you can keep the symptoms under control and reduce your pet’s discomfort.


The medications used for Dry Eye Syndrome aim to stimulate production of tears in the eye and replace the tear film that does not allow the cornea to get damaged. So, a doctor may consider the following medication:

  • Cyclosporin: this is used in case your cat’s symptoms are from an auto-immune disorder. It suppresses immune destruction so that tear production gets better.
  • Tacrolimus: This is a second option in case the cat’s condition does not show improvement from treatment with cyclosporin. This is also an immune disorder drug.
  • Pilocarpine: If the syndrome is triggered by a problem in the nervous system, this drug is used.


Other options are also available:


  • You may be asked to administer an artificial tear solution every few hours depending on how serious the situation is.
  • Anti-inflammatory medication can also help reduce the inflammation of cornea to treat a secondary infection from scarring.
  • You can soothe the cat’s pain by gently cleaning the eyes multiple times daily with a warm, wet and clean cloth.
  • You can also use eyedrops that can help lubricate the eyes. Visio Tears by SAVAVET is an effective medication that helps soothe and lubricate the eye and enhances the stability of the tear film.
  • Suppose your cat does not permit or respond to any of the medications mentioned above, surgery may be performed by a certified surgeon to reposition the salivary duct and let is secrete saliva into the eyes. The risk associated with this procedure is also considerable, which is why this is only a last resort.


Cat Looking
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It can be disheartening to know that your cat has a chronic condition that is painful. However, with lifelong therapy and careful monitoring and support from your part, your cat can have a pain-free life too.


With more developments for this condition, dry eye syndrome is no longer a hopeless condition, especially if diagnosed early.


SAVAVET’s Visio Tears is an effective medication that can help your feline friend live more comfortably with Dry Eye Syndrome without experiencing the pain associated with it.


As long as you help your cat follow proper medication as prescribed, combined with occasional visits to the vet to see the progress of medication, your cat can have pretty much a pain-free, normal life.


–> SEE ALSO: How to Improve Your Senior Pet’s Quality of Life?

Pets, Parasites & You

Pets are family and it is extremely important to keep them healthy and free of parasites.
Parasites can affect your pet in a variety of ways from skin irritation to life-threatening diseases. They also can infect and transmit life threatening diseases to you and your family also. Your veterinarian can help prevent, accurately diagnose and safely treat parasites and other health problems that not only affect your dog or cat, but also the safety of you and your family.

What are the common parasites that affect pets?

  • Tapeworm
  • Roundworm
  • Hookworm
  • Whipworm
  • Flea
  • Tick
  • Mite
  • Chewing Lice

Reducing risks for your family

You can reduce the risk of parasitic infection to your family by eliminating parasites from pets; restricting access to contaminated areas, and other high-traffic areas; and practicing good personal hygiene. Disposing of pet feces on a regular basis can help remove potentially infective worm eggs before they become distributed in the environment and are picked up or ingested by pets or humans.

Round the year prevention

Parasites are everywhere and can infect your pet any time of year. External parasites, such as fleas and ticks, may be less prevalent outside during certain times of the year; however, they often survive in the house during the winter months, creating an uninterrupted life cycle. Other internal parasites, such as worms, may affect your pet all year long. Consult with your veterinarian to implement a year-round parasite control program.

What can you do?

You can help by implementing a year-round pet parasite control program to reduce the risks of parasite infection and transmission. By following a few simple guidelines, you can do this:
  • Practice good hygiene
  • Use preventative flea/tick treatment year-round
  • Administer worming medications as recommended by your veterinarian
  • Only feed pets cooked or prepared food (not raw meat).
  • Minimize exposure to areas of contamination
  • Clean up pet feces regularly and dispose them responsibly
  • Visit your veterinarian for annual testing and physical examination.
  • Ask your veterinarian about parasite infection risks and effective year-round preventative control measures administered monthly.

When to use anti-flea & tick products?

It is recommended that Spot-On application should be used once-a-month; There are spot-ons available in the market that break life cycle of fleas and ticks in addition to killing adult fleas and ticks. This will help you to have control of flea and tick population and reduce chances of re-infestation.

Frequently asked questions

Do fleas & ticks present a health risk to your family?
Yes. Fleas and ticks can carry and either directly or indirectly transmit several potential illnesses of humans. For example, rickettsiosis (infection with Rickettsia) can be transmitted directly by ticks. Bartonellosis (infection with Bartonella) is transmitted between cats by fleas and then may spread to people. Also, fleas serve as an intermediate host for tapeworms, which can infect both humans and pets.
What kind of intestinal worms infect pets?
There are a number of intestinal worms that can infect dogs and cats, and they vary according to the species. In general, these include roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms, and they are very prolific. In fact, one worm can produce more than 100,000 eggs per day, which are then passed in the pet’s feces and spread throughout the area the pet roams. Once in the environment, some of these eggs can remain infective and present a health risk for your pet and humans for years
If my pet has intestinal worms, how does this affect humans?
Roundworms are the most common intestinal parasite of pets and the most likely to be transmitted to humans. Humans can accidentally ingest infective worm eggs that have been passed through the pet’s feces and left in the environment.  Especially children are at high risk as they unknowingly ingest the parasites. The eggs can then hatch in the human’s intestinal tract, and the immature worms can travel to various tissues in the body, including the eyes and brain, potentially causing serious infections.

Preventing Zoonotic diseases

Human-animal interactions enrich our lives. But, this can also pose risks to both humans and animals. One of these risks is the spread of disease between humans and animals. Fortunately, preventive measures and good hygiene are simple ways to reduce the risk of disease.

What are zoonotic diseases?


Zoonotic diseases are diseases that can be spread between animals and people. They can be caused by pathogens (disease-causing organisms) such as viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungi. Examples include rabies, Salmonella, just to name a few. At least 65 percent of recent major disease outbreaks have zoonotic origins, and 75 percent of emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic. Emerging zoonosis can come from many animal species, including pets.

How are zoonotic diseases spread?


Zoonotic diseases can be spread in a number of ways. Some methods of transmission include:

Fecal-oral transmission occurs when people ingest small, usually invisible, amounts of stool or droppings containing a pathogen. It is often an unintentional exposure because the person does not realize, or forgets, that they came in contact with fecal material. This can occur when a person does not thoroughly wash his hands after handling infected animals or items from an animal’s environment.

Foodborne transmission occurs when people ingest food contaminated with a pathogen, or if a person handles contaminated pet food, uncooked meat or fomites and does not wash his/her hands before handling foods or drinks. Examples of pathogens that can be transmitted in this way include Salmonella, E. coli, etc…

Insect-borne transmission occurs when insects carry a pathogen from an infected animal or person and transfer it to another animal or person.

Direct contact occurs when a person becomes infected through touching or handling an infected animal or through a bite, scratch, or contact with the eyes, nose or mouth of an infected animal. Rabies, ringworm and are examples of zoonotic diseases spread through direct contact.

Indirect contact occurs when a pathogen is transmitted without physical contact with the animal. Many pathogens can survive outside a person or animal for a period of time. Some pathogens can survive well in water and soil, or on inanimate objects, also known as fomites. These items can transfer pathogens such as Salmonella, Leptospira and fecal parasites from place to place, animal to animal and from animals to people.

What zoonotic diseases can I get from pets and other domestic animals?


This list doesn’t include every disease you can get from pets and other domestic animals, but below are some examples:

  • coli infection (caused by the E. coli bacteria)
  • Leptospirosis (caused by Leptospira bacteria)
  • Rabies (caused by the rabies virus)
  • Ringworm (caused by certain fungi)
  • Salmonellosis (caused by the Salmonella bacteria)
  • Toxoplasmosis (caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii)
  • Toxocariasis (caused by Toxocara parasites – also called roundworms)

Are certain people at higher risk of being infected with zoonotic diseases?


Children are at higher risk of infection because they are less likely to thoroughly wash their hands immediately after handling animals; they might not have fully developed immune function; and they are more likely to put their hands and other objects in their mouths.

Young children, pregnant women, older people, and anyone with certain health conditions such as chronic respiratory disease, heart disease or a weakened immune system should be extra careful when interacting with animals because these conditions make them more likely to become severely ill if infected.

Examples of conditions that cause a weaker immune system include HIV/AIDS, autoimmune diseases, and people undergoing treatment with chemotherapy, steroids or other immune-suppressing medications. People who are around animals often are also more likely to be exposed to a zoonotic pathogen. If you fall into any of these groups, take extra precautions to protect yourself.

How can I reduce the risk to my family?


Sometimes animals carrying a zoonotic disease appear perfectly healthy. It is important to practice these habits with all animals, even if they do not appear to be sick.

  • Wash your hands with soap and running water:
  • After petting or handling any animal
  • After you’ve cleaned up after your pet or livestock or handled their bedding
  • After handling uncooked food for you or your pet After handling any pet or animal food
  • Before preparing food or drinks for yourself or others and before eating or drinking

Make sure children wash their hands after touching an animal, whether at a petting zoo, fair, pond, beach, backyard, or any other place that they get to interact with animals. Children should also avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth until after they’ve thoroughly washed their hands. To help prevent illness and injury, keep children under 5 years of age away from areas where pets are fed.

Make sure children stay away from wildlife, and that they do not pet unknown dogs or cats without the owner’s permission.

Keep your pet healthy.


Make sure your pet receives regular preventive veterinary care including vaccinations (talk to your veterinarian about the appropriate vaccinations for your pet) and flea, tick and intestinal parasite preventives.

  • Vaccinate your pets (including indoor cats!) against rabies.
  • Clean up after your pets
  • Discard pet waste in a tightly sealed, impermeable bag. Small biodegradable or plastic bags work well.
  • Pet waste can contain harmful bacteria and parasites, so young children should not clean up after pets.
  • Store pet foods separate from people foods, and feed your pets in separate areas from where you eat or prepare food for you and your family.
  • For your health as well as your pet’s health, don’t share your food with your pet.

A word about reverse zoonotic diseases


Reverse zoonoses occur when a person spreads a disease to an animal. For example, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) can be spread to people from animals (zoonotic disease), but it can also be spread to animals from people (reverse zoonotic disease) and then possibly back to people from the infected animal.

Fortunately, the same precautions described above are effective ways to reduce the risk of making your pet sick.

Why is my dog so itchy?

Flea and Flea Allergy Dermatitis


One common cause of itching in pets is a hypersensitivity to flea bites, also known as flea allergy dermatitis. It doesn’t take many fleas to whip your pet into a scratching and grooming frenzy, but the condition isn’t always easy to identify and is frequently mistaken for a rash. Often, you won’t see any fleas because they spend most of their lives off of your pet.

Your veterinarian may want to use a flea comb to look for the little critters or their “dirt” (excrement). If there are any fleas, your veterinarian will put your pet on a flea preventative and perform further tests to rule out other causes of itch.

If your pet is diagnosed with flea allergy dermatitis, your veterinarian will dispense medication to control the itch and will recommend an aggressive flea control plan for your pet, his environment, and other pets in the house.

Prevention is simple: keep your pet from getting fleas! Talk to your veterinarian about the best flea prevention methods for your pet.



  • Hair loss, especially along the back and hind end
  • Chewing and biting at the tail, hind end, and hind legs
  • Skin damage due to a lot of scratching and licking


It could be mites!

Fleas aren’t the only parasites that like to live on your pet. Mites can also be a pain, though they are a whole lot smaller. The two most common types of mites – sarcoptes and demodex – can cause secondary skin infections in addition to itching.

And while sarcoptes mites tend to affect the ears, elbows, and chest of a pet, demodex mites are less particular and can appear anywhere on a pet’s body. If your veterinarian suspects that your pet has mites, he or she will perform skin scrapings to look at under a microscope. However, sometimes this isn’t enough – mites are so small, they can’t always be detected, so your veterinarian may choose to treat your pet based on suspicion of mites.

One thing to note: if your pet has highly-contagious sarcoptes mites, all pets in the household need to be treated.


Treatment for mites includes:


  • Shampoos
  • Topical preventives
  • Sanitation, especially cleaning and vacuuming bedding
  • Medications to control the itch and treat secondary skin infections


Bacterial and Fungal infections


An itch has to be scratched, but all that increased scratching by your pet damages the skin, which can result in bacterial and fungal infections as secondary conditions to itching.

Common signs of infection include inflamed, reddened skin, areas of hair loss, and ear infections. These infections also often cause your pet to have an unpleasant odour. In order to diagnose a bacterial or fungal infection, your veterinarian will collect samples for culture or examination under a microscope.


Food allergies


Tiny organisms aren’t the only thing that can give your pet allergies. Food can also cause problems, and food allergies often arise out of the blue. When a pet becomes sensitive to food – often a protein like chicken, beef, or lamb – that he used to easily tolerate, food allergies could be the culprit. This can happen at any time, even if a pet’s diet remains unchanged. It’s not always easy to distinguish food allergies from a simple upset stomach or other allergic conditions, but if the symptoms persist, food allergies may be the cause.

Food allergies cause itching, stomach problems, vomiting, weight loss, skin and ear infections, lethargy and decreased activity

If food allergies are suspected, your veterinarian will perform a physical exam and ask for a detailed history of your pet’s food intake. But the only way to diagnose a food allergy is through hypoallergenic diet trial to see if it reduces your pet’s symptoms. The diet shouldn’t contain anything your pet has recently eaten and he won’t be able to eat any treats or supplements unless approved by your veterinarian.

The only treatment for food allergy is avoidance. This may seem like common sense – don’t feed your pet foods to which he is allergic. But it’s not always easy to identify foods that are both nutritionally balanced and devoid of problem ingredients for your pet. Your veterinarian will help guide you and your pet for long-term diet management.

Atopic Dermatitis


Sometimes, the answer to your pet’s itching problem is “none of the above.” If your pet continues to itch for no apparent reason, there’s a chance he has atopic dermatitis. Similar to “hay fever” in people, atopic dermatitis is caused by a reaction to environmental allergens such as pollen, mould spores, or plant fibres. If your pet is diagnosed with atopic dermatitis, allergy testing and allergen-specific immuno-therapy may be the best option from your pet.

If your pet has been diagnosed with Atopic Dermatitis, you need to ensure that you remain patient and take medications as recommended by your veterinarian as per the dose and duration.

Fortunately, there are medications that act on the root cause of Atopic Dermatitis. It is important to weigh short term cost of treatment with long term gain in terms of benefits.

Talk to your veterinarian now on options available to keep your pet itch-free.

Things to do as a pet parent

He is your treasure. So making sure they are as happy and healthy as can be is a must for you.


  • Get Regular health checkups done by veterinarian
  • Get vaccinations done as per veterinarian’s advice
  • Worms can grow inside your pet. Regularly worm your pet as per your veterinarian’s advice
  • Bathe your pet regularly with shampoos and soaps
  • Spend as much time as possible with your pet
  • Train your pet early
  • Avoid flea and tick infestations by keeping his bedding and surroundings clean & also using anti-flea and tick preventives regularly
  • Give your pet the best nutrition and keep a tap on his weight
  • Give your pet a healthy exercise routine
  • Show attention to his oral health
  • Groom your pet regularly to keep him fresh and healthy
  • Do not self-medicate. Always take veterinarian’s advice before using any medicines

Atopic Dermatitis in Dogs

My Dog Has Been Diagnosed with Atopic Dermatitis. What’s Next?


Atopic dermatitis is similar to asthma in people, but as an allergic skin condition, it causes your pet to itch. It’s caused by a dog’s natural sensitivity to common environmental substances like pollen, mold spores, and dust mites. There are many treatment options to consider, but in general it takes a combination of treatments to manage your pet’s symptoms, and it may take several tries to get it right.

Taking the First Step.


Each pet is different, and response to treatment depends on biology, breed, and environmental factors. There’s no single right answer – what works for one pet might have no effect on another. Your veterinarian will help you work through the process to get your pet back to feeling him or herself.

There are two ways to identify factors in your pet’s environment that are causing discomfort: intradermal skin testing and blood testing. Once you are able to determine the offending allergens, you can work to control them and treat your pet as appropriate.

What’s next?


Depending on what you find through allergy testing, your vet may recommend allergen-specific immunotherapy to help desensitize your pet to the offending allergens. This involves exposing your dog to gradually increasing amounts of the allergens to which he’s reacting. Think of it as having your dog face his fears: over time, his body will become accustomed to these allergens and the severity and frequency of symptoms will lessen. Immunotherapy is the only way to change the long-term course of atopic dermatitis.

Your veterinarian may also recommend techniques to reduce exposure to the allergens in your pet’s environment. Other medical options include steroids and cyclosporine, which are generally effective but can cause side effects and long-term health issues for some pets. Antihistamines, fatty acids, and topical therapies can also help in mild cases of atopic dermatitis, especially when paired with other forms of treatment. Often, treating atopic dermatitis requires several different modes of treatment, and your pet may need to continue taking medications even during immunotherapy.

Besides medical treatment, What can I do?


Keeping your pet’s environment clean and free of allergens, combined with regular baths for your pet, can go a long way in giving him relief from the itchiness of atopic dermatitis.

Depending on the allergens affecting your pet, here are some ways to keep your pet’s environment clean:

Fungi and Mould Control


Sensitivity to moulds and fungi can cause allergies in many dogs. Here’s how to control fungi and mould:

  • Keep your pet off of the lawn after mowing and away from leaf litter and other organic debris
  • Reduce excessive indoor moisture in basements, bathrooms, etc.
  • Wash food and water bowls frequently using hot, soapy water
  • Bathe your dog with hypoallergenic shampoos as recommended by your veterinarian


Storage Mite Control


Ingestion of storage mites, sometimes found in dry pet food, may be a cause of allergies. To prevent this,

  • Buy small bags of food (less than a 30-day supply)
  • Store food in cool, dry areas in airtight containers
  • Consider an all-canned diet


Dust Mite Control


Hypersensitivity to house dust mites is another common allergy. It’s pretty difficult to completely eliminate dust mites, but because they prefer warm, humid environments and often live in beds, carpets, and furniture, you can reduce their numbers using certain techniques:

  • Reduce carpeting and upholstered furniture, and vacuum often
  • Reduce dust collectors such as houseplants
  • Change furnace and air conditioning filters often
  • Wash your pet’s bedding weekly in hot water
  • Cover dog beds with plastic

Itching in dogs can be caused by fleas, food or environmental allergens such as pollens, molds or house-dust mites.


The 4 most common allergies are:


  • Flea allergy
  • Environmental allergens like pollen, mould and dust mites
  • Food allergy
  • Contact allergy (carpets, deodrants, and shampoo)

How to start training your puppy?

Puppies are quick learners. They learn from the environment, from socializing with people or other animals and also from direct training. Training gives the perfect foundation for their adulthood. Providing puppies with the appropriate socialization and basic puppy training allows them to grow into confident adult dogs.

Follow this step-by-step puppy training guide to set you and your puppy up for success!

When can you start training your puppy?


Training a puppy starts as soon as you bring them home, which is typically about 8 weeks of age. At this young age, they can learn basic puppy training cues such as sit, stay, and come.

Tips for Training Your Puppy


Use positive reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is the process of giving a reward to encourage a behaviour you want. The use of punishment—including harsh corrections; correcting devices such as shock, choke, and prong collars; and dominance-based handling techniques—should be avoided, because these can produce long-term consequences that result in various forms of fear and anxiety for your dog as an adult dog.

To apply this, first find out which rewards work best for your puppy. Some puppies might find something as simple as a piece of their normal kibble exciting enough to train with, while others might need something tastier, like a special training treat.

Then there are the puppies that are not motivated by food at all! For those puppies, try to find a toy they enjoy that they can get when they do a good job. Praise is also a way to positively reinforce a puppy. Petting or showing excitement and saying, “good job!” may be all you need for basic puppy training.


Keep training sessions short

When training a basic cue, keep the sessions short, about 5 minutes each, and try to average a total of 15 minutes per day. Puppies have short attention spans, so end your session on a positive note so that they are excited for the next session!


Use consistency when training your puppy

It is important to be consistent in your approach to cues and training. Use the same word and/or hand signal when you teach your puppy basic cues such as sit, stay, and come.

It is also important to reinforce desired behaviours consistently, even when it’s not convenient. So if your puppy is at the door needing to go outside to go to the bathroom, stop what you are doing, let them out, and reward them for going to the bathroom outside.


Practice in different environments

Taking a puppy to a new environment like a park or the beach and asking for a cue is vastly different than training at your house. This is due to the variety of new sights and smells they will encounter outside the home.

Make attempts to practice in different settings to set your dog up to be confident no matter what their situation. Please keep in mind that puppies should not go to areas where there are a lot of dogs until they have finished their puppy vaccination series!


Be Patient

Puppies are growing and learning, just like young children. They will make mistakes and may not always understand what you are asking.

All puppies learn at different speeds, so stick with it and don’t get frustrated. Maintaining a consistent routine with feeding, potty breaks, naps, and playtime will make your puppy feel secure—and a secure puppy is ready and able to learn!

Little girl taking care of her dog and cat

Basic Puppy Training Timeline

7-8 weeks old


Basic Cues (Sit, Stay, Come)

You can start with basic cues as early as 7 weeks old: Say a cue such as “sit” once. Use a treat to position your dog into a sitting position. Once sitting, give your puppy the treat and some praise.


Leash Training

You can start leash training indoors at this age. Because puppies don’t have their full vaccinations at this point, it is unsafe for them to be walking around where other dogs walk.

Start by letting them wear the collar/harness for short amounts of time while providing treats. Increase this duration slowly. Once your puppy knows how to come to you, you can walk around inside on the leash with no distractions. You can move the training outside once your puppy has all their vaccinations.


General Handling

Get your puppy used to being touched. Gently rub their ears and paws while rewarding them. This will get them used to having those areas touched and will make veterinary visits and nail trims less stressful when they are older!


8-10 weeks old

Crate Training

Your puppy should see their crate as a safe and calm place. Start by bringing them to their crate for 10- minute intervals while they are nice and calm. Reward them for going in their crate. You can even feed them in their crate to create a positive environment.


10-12 weeks old

Learning Not to Bite

Puppies become mouthy at this age. Putting things in their mouths is how they explore their world, but it is important to teach them not to bite your hands or ankles. When they start biting at you, redirect them to a more appropriate object to bite, such as a toy.


12-16 weeks old

Potty Training

Maintaining a schedule is important for potty training. Make sure to take your puppy out first thing in the morning, after eating, and after playtime and naps throughout the day. At this point they should start having enough bladder control to learn to hold it. Reward your puppy with a treat every time they go to the bathroom outside.


6 months old


Puppies are entering the adolescence stage by this point, and it is the most difficult stage to start training at. That is why it is important to start training them as young as possible! At this stage you will continue training to solidify and strengthen their skills in more public and distracting settings such as dog parks.