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Your Pets Diet

Appetite is largely governed by energy intake and gut fill but can be significantly affected by individual animal tendencies and how tasty the food being offered is. Each animal has a maintenance requirement which is the energy necessary for all the resting bodily functions such as the beating of a heart and the constant action of nerve and muscle fibres. Above this is the requirement for voluntary activity such as running and playing. Every animal has its own rate and efficiency of use for these activities which makes it impossible to create a reliable formula for food requirement. Dogs (and cats to a lesser extent) will eat excessively simply because the food tastes good, a phenomena which gave rise to pet food advertising with statements like “eight out of ten cats prefer it” and the counter advertisement by hills science diet which states below a large photograph of sweets and ice cream that “eight out of ten children may prefer it”.

Types of food vary enormously but can be broken down into those which which are ‘complete’, or those which form only a part of a diet such as ‘mixer’ biscuits. Complete feeds provide all the necessary nutrients discussed below and do not require any additional food provision. Food may also be dry or moist. Traditional feeding was typically based on a canned moist food with mixer biscuits. Many of the earlier dry feeds were poorly balanced and particularly in cats, predisposed them to kidney failure and other problems.

Dry foods are now much improved and many reputable manufacturers provide dry or moist equivalents of the same food brand, the only difference being the moisture content. It is always very important when giving a dry diet to provide adequate fresh water as the requirement is not present in feed. Cystitis can be a problem even in the best balanced dry food if water intake is inadequate.

Dry or crunchy foods also have a significant benefit on cleaning a pets teeth and indeed specific diets such as Hills ‘T/d’ are available for this purpose.

Feeding Regime

The feeding regime is how much and how often our pets are fed. There is an established pattern to feed dogs and cats once daily, but there is little good reason to follow this and indeed twice daily feeding has many benefits. More regular salivation improves dental hygiene, smaller meals are easier to digest, and more frequent feeding reduces boredom and begging problems. Of significant importance in deep chested and large breed of dog is the prevention of gastric bloat and torsion which can be induced by large meals, particularly if followed by exercise. Gastric bloat and torsion is a life threatening emergency requiring immediate veterinary intervention.

Bones and chews.

Vets will almost always advise that bones and often chews are avoided due to frequent problems when large fragments are swallowed. These can obstruct and even perforate the bowel. However, there are benefits with these, particularly to dental health, and some dogs can tolerate large bones very well. Chews such as Rasks, Royal Canin’s Mini Oral Bar and CET chews are a much safer option.

Always consult your own veterinary surgeon before giving bones to a pet. Never give poultry bones, as these often produce sharp fragments when chewed.


All food has an energy value. Carbohydrates are essentially sugars and provide a rich source of energy. Simple sugars such as glucose and dextrose are readily available ‘instant-energy’. Starches are readily digested into simple sugars and are derived from potatoes, rice, pasta and other common plant and cereal sources. Starches form a major constituent of many diets as they provide a ready energy source that is more sustained and filling than the simple sugars. Non- digestible carbohydrates form fibre and allow your pet to form a bulky faecal stool. Fibre is generally not broken down by simple stomached animals like dogs or cats, but allows digestion of the other nutrients and formation of a regular, firm, healthy stool. Insufficient dietary fibre can often result in diarrhoea and anal gland problems.

The requirement for carbohydrates is governed by the weight and activity of our pets. Active animals have a greater need, obese animals and often older animals have much less. Specific diets are formulated to meet these needs, such as Royal Canin’s ‘Obesity’ and various geriatric diets. Animals with poor digestion can be helped by a higher fibre, slower digested diet such as Hills i/d. Diabetic animals also are unable to cope well with simple sugars and require a higher fibre food such as Royal Canin’s Diabetic diet, or Hills r/d.


Protein provides animals with essential building blocks, the amino acids, which go to make up muscles but are present in almost all body tissues. Certain amino acids can be synthesised by the animal itself, others cannot and are termed ‘essential amino acids’. These must be provided in the diet. Sources of protein are traditionally meat but alternatives are available and dogs can have a balanced meat-free diet. Cereals, chicken, fish and soya are common sources of protein.

The protein that our pets eat is largely digested in the bowel and absorbed as the constituent amino acids, which are then broken down and assimilated in the liver and other body tissues. The result is the correct balance of amino acids for the individuals needs, coupled with waste nitrogen products - many of which are excreted through the kidneys.

Kidney failure results in the nitrogen waste products failing to be excreted into the urine. Urea is measured in blood to evaluate kidney failure, which affects about 75% of older cats. These cats still have protein requirement to maintain tissue bulk, often high requirements, but it is essential that only the most readily utilized protein is provided through their diet. Diets such as hills k/d utilize specific ingredients to achieve the correctly balanced diet.

Growing dogs and active sporting dogs will also have greater requirement provided by life stage diets, available from many manufacturers.


It is essential that diets contain a small amount of fat. Fat provides a more concentrated but less available source of energy than the carbohydrates. This means that a high fat diet can increase obesity but a balanced diet containing fat will satisfy the appetite better than a low fat, high carbohydrate diet.

Essential fatty acids are so termed because like the fat soluble vitamins A, D, and E, they cannot be synthesised by the animal but are necessary for normal healthy skin, immune, hormone, and other body systems. Occasionally supplementation is necessary for dry skin conditions. Reputable products such as Efavet capsules and viacutan liquid have been specifically designed for use in dogs and cats. Evening Primrose oil has also been traditionally used as a supplement in many skin disorders If appetite is poor, flavour becomes important and it is fat that adds the flavour to many foods, especially meats. Warming food can also enhance flavour.

Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI) is a disease where the pancreas fails to secrete the enzymes amylase and lipase essential to digest dietry fat. The result is greasy, soft, often white faeces. The disease is especially common in German Shepherd Dogs but can be present in other breeds too. Reducing the fat levels in the diet can help but usually it is necessary to supplement each meal with the deficient enzymes. Products such as Pancrex, Lypex, or Panzym Powder are available for this purpose.

Vitamins And Minerals

Vitamins are essential nutrients without which many normal body functions are impossible. They are either water or fat soluble and must be be present to meet RDA (recommended daily allowance) in any balanced diet. It is not necessary or advisable to supplement a complete diet with vitamins without the advice of your veterinary surgeon.

Minerals are the raw elements which are required in varying quantities and are termed ‘macro’ or ‘micro’ minerals, dependant on the quantity necessary for life.

Macro-minerals include calcium, necessary for development of teeth and bones and present in the body in large quantities. Balanced supplements are available for specific situations such as late pregnancy and suckling young. Supplying individual minerals is not recommended, as each one affects others and unnecessary supplementation may upset a fine natural balance.

Micro-minerals such as copper or selenium are only required in very small amounts and again the correct balance is essential for tissue health and development, as well as normal immune and other functions. Supplementation of micro-minerals is only usually recommended under veterinary supervision.

Vitamin and Mineral Supplements such as SA37 for growth and during lactation can be considered, especially in large breeds, but often it is better to use an appropriate complete life stage diet.


There are many causes of diarrhoea; from dietary excess, indiscretion, intolerance and allergies to parasites such as worms or protozoa and infections. Many can be controlled by dietary changes alone, for others specific treatments are necessary. Historically Kaolin has been used as a binding agent but this is not well accepted by most cats or dogs. Now modern treatments that are far more palatable such as Canikur tablets and Canikur granules for cats or smaller dogs are available. Pro-Kolin paste for dogs and cats can be very effective. During recovery from many operations ailments and digestive upsets pro-biotic can be given to help restore the natural bacterial or yeasts present within the digestive tract, Protexin provides a range of products suitable for cats, dogs, rabbits and horses.

While it is generally acceptable to withdraw food for 12-48 hours for pets with diarrhoea adequate provision of fresh clean water must always be available. Whenever diarrhoea persists beyond 1 or 2 days dehydration can be a very serious concern and a proper evaluation should be made by your veterinarian.

Older Animals

Geriatric pets have altered nutritional needs. Often the appetite is reduced and activity can be less but at the same time it is important to ensure adequate mineral vitamin and protein provision to maintain often wasting muscle mass. In many cases specific diets to suit certain geriatric diseases are of paramount importance, and advise in these cases should always be sought from your veterinarian. When animals are old (cats and dogs typically over eight years of age) it may be enough just to adopt a lifestyle diet from one of the established manufacturers such as Hills, Iams, Royal Canin/ Walthon ( RCW ) or Purina.

Special Prescription Diets

Special Prescription Diets are so called because they are generally only provided through a veterinary surgeon. Examples include:-

Kidney diets commonly given to cats with chronic renal failure. These diets contain minimal salt, fat and protein, and the most digestable proteins and carbohydrates. The idea is to minimise the waste products of digestion which create many of the clinical signs of disease, whilst maintaining tissue mass to prevent wasting. Most commercial diets are based on chicken and rice, examples include Hills k/d and Royal Canin Renal diet.

Dental diets aim to maximise chewing and salivation while scaping the surface of the teeth and penetrating the gaps between the teeth. The principal of the diet is to provide the right shape and consistency of biscuit with minimal sugars and deposit. Examples include Hills t/d

Diabetic diets must provide a slowly digested and absorbed carbohydrate source to maintain level blood glucose concentration. This is generally achieved by providing high fibre with low fat and simple sugar levels. Examples include Hills i/d and Royal Canin Diabetic diets.

Sensitivity diets are provided for dogs with food allergies or intolerances. Generally common allergens such as wheat glutens are avoided, there is a high fibre inclusion, and protein and carbohydrate are provided from novel sources. There is a great variety of products available from chicken and rice based foods such as Hills i/d to capelin and tapioca diets and Royal Canins Sensitivity control . Atopy, or allergic skin disease, can also be supported by the use of many of these diets when a veterinarian has diagnosed food allergic dermatitis.

Obesity diets are well provided to contain the minimal calories with the maximum gut-fill. There is usually a very high fibre content, and many have biscuits expanded with air and designed scientifically to swell in the stomach giving a ‘full’ feeling. Examples include Hills r/d and Royal Canin Obesity.

How to stop bad breath in your dog

Obviously when you praise your dog and playing around, you don’t want his breath smells like a vampire. Bad breath in dogs is common problem and this is directly related on dog’s health.
Dogs just loves to lick in your face and that means he really loves you and don’t want you to leave him. But soon his mouth smells from miles, you get ticked off and unfortunately you can not give him a mint chewing gum for that bad breath.
Similar to human, bad breath is the cause from what you eat and it is same with your dog. What your dog eats has everything got to do with a bad breath. Surly they don’t brush teeth twice a day and maintain good oral health like we humans do. But you can start thinking of brushing your dog’s teeth at least once day which is enough. There can be several reasons when you dog’s breath starts to smell. Generally it is not serious problem but one should always take vet’s examination into consideration which in fact, it gives your dog a better health and a better food than before.
One of the usual suspects of having a bad breath is not chewing the food properly which means saliva that helps to soften food and provides lubricant, is not functioning properly. Other reason maybe due to dental plaque, allergic reaction to some food that you might not be aware of, improper management of dog foods, bacterial infection in saliva, digestion problems, tooth decaying etc. All these reasons may cause not only bad breath but could damage overall health of your dog. Without proper guidance of experienced vets, your dog might suffer from serious health risk which could be permanent.
If taken care from the beginning, you dog could enjoy a healthy life and also brings smile on your family everyday. So what you need to do is apply basic steps to avoid bad breath of your dog.
There are various toothbrush especially made for dogs with meat flavored toothpaste that you can buy from market. Using the toothbrush on daily basis builds strong resistance to other bacterial diseases which are main reason for bad breath and other oral infections as well. You may be surprise to know that if your dog’s teeth remain strong and healthy, he can live more, up to 5 years in addition. Never ever use human toothpaste.
Avoid feeding your dog chocolates and do not mess with routine food intake of your dog. Search around the market for best food that is suitable for your dog. It depends on age, breed of a dog and likes or dislikes, consulting with vets will help to list down the healthy diet for your dog.
One of the most popular ways to freshen up the your dog’s breath is giving the favorite treats that is especially formulated to freshen up the mouth, makes teeth strong and kills bacterial attacks which ultimately gives fresh breath.
However, if the bad breath doesn’t stops then your dog might be in serious health risk so it would be good idea to check in vet clinic as soon as possible before it gets too late.

Tips On Buying The Right Food For Your Pet

Food is one of the most important necessities in your pet’s life. It provides the nutrients they need in order to grow and develop into mature animals as well as giving them the energy they need each day to enjoy life by your side. There is a vast array of manufacturers that provide food for all animals and it can be a confusing task to decipher all the ingredients, proteins and benefits of each one in order to choose the very best one for your pet.

Depending on the type of pet you have, you will still have to do some research to find out exactly what you should be providing them for their main meals as well as any snacks or treats on the side. You can find a multitude of information on the Internet, from friends or family with similar animals, or even from sales representatives at your local pet shop. When it comes down to the final decision though, you are the responsible one who will choose what you feel is best for your pet, not your aunt or the guy in the pet store.

With the awareness of organic foods for the public in every supermarket and health food store, there has also grown the niche for organic pet food. There are many painstaking efforts that go into providing a balanced meal for your pet that is free of many additives that are not necessary for your pet’s nutritional health and yet are included in many other manufactured pet foods.

Organic pet foods are not always available at every pet store or grocery store where other popular brands are sold, thus making it harder to find for some pet owners. With the increased awareness, organic meals are being produced more than ever, but due to the nature of the process, these types of foods for your pet are generally more expensive than a store-brand bag of dry food that you could pick up at any local corner store. As with any food for your pets, there are positives and negatives to each.

Price is not always an indication of the quality of food, but it tends to be a good guide for the market shopper. If you examine the store-brand plain dry food, you may find the ingredients to list not as many proteins or pure foods like some other popular brands. Additives may be more abundant in cheaper brands, but they can still be apparent in many higher-priced brand name pet foods. Just like you shop for your own health and wellness, be sure to read the labels and shop for your pet’s health and wellness.

There can be side effects to supplying the low-cost alternative food for your pets in some cases. Your pet can develop anywhere from mild to severe health issues that are directly related to the type of food provided. With some cats, liver problems and kidney stones can develop rapidly if not provided with a good quality food each day. You will want to be sure that you are doing everything you can in order to maintain your pet’s health and wellness for years to come.

Lonely Dogs and How to Handle Them

Dogs belong in packs and when they are domesticated, they still look at their families as their ‘packs.’ They need to be social and they need attention. The way dogs have been domesticated has created a bit of a problem. Allowing your dog to spend time with other dogs is not satisfactory. They need time with their human friends. Sure, we have lives that are extremely busy, so it can be difficult to give our dogs as much attention as we need. As we rush around like maniacs trying to get important things done, trying to spend time with our dogs can feel like a burden.

When you’re feeling like this, spending time with your dog sure can seem like more of a chore than having a relaxing, fun time with your four legged friend. Taking him or her for a walk can feel like a chore among a million chores that you have to accomplish. This definitely lessens the quality of the time you spend with your dog. It shouldn’t be this way but sometimes it seems like life has you by the collar!

The way that we live really does affect our dogs. For instance, if we are stressed out all the time, what kind of personal time we have, our general demeanors really have a lot to do with our dogs’ temperament. The dogs sometimes take on their human companions’ moods and feelings - to the point that if you’re depressed or stressed out all the time, your dog can be anxious and depressed as well. Also, if we are busy with certain things, walking the dog or spending time with him can be pushed to the back burner and your dog will truly suffer because of this. There are a few things that you can do to make time for your dog so that he or she is not lonely!

* Take your dog with you when you are out doing the normal daily tasks. Whether you have to go pay bills, drive your children here or there or even going out for a drive, take your dog. He or she will love going, even if she has to sit in the car. Getting out of the house and having something different to look at is a great thing for your dog to get a chance to do. If you will have other people in the car, for instance if you will be driving your kids around or picking up friends, this is a great way for your furry friend to socialize. One thing you should be sure of is to never leave your dog for more than a half an hour in the car and you should NEVER leave your dog in the car on a hot day. This could result in fatal injuries due to the heat.

* Let your pooch sleep in the bedroom with you at night. He or she doesn’t have to sleep on the bed - they can have a cozy spot in the corner. Still, just the time together with you is enough to put him or her at ease. Neither one of you have to do anything but you’re spending time together anyway. This is a great thing to do. If you’ve noticed how dogs lie together when they are puppies, you will understand that dogs have an instinct to be close to the pack during times when they are vulnerable, like sleeping. This helps them to feel secure and safe. So, for an easy way to keep your dog happy and healthy, allow them to sleep in the bedroom with you at night. * Try exploring different areas with your dog. Becoming accustomed to the same old route can also become boring. Although dogs like familiar surroundings, they also appreciate exploring new areas and seeing new things. Taking your dog through the woods or down a new path or even to the beach would be a great idea. You could even take your dog on a hike. The key is for you to enjoy the time you spend together as well because then you will want to do it more often and that will help the relationship between you and your dog!

* Spend time with your dog while you’re doing other things. You can multi-task and you won’t have to feel guilty that you’re not spending time with your dog. For instance, while you are watching television, you can brush and groom your dog. Or, if you’re ready for a relaxing nap, allow your pooch to hop up on the couch and snooze along with you (unless of course he or she is a large breed dog - then you might get pushed off onto the floor!) Doing simple things like this can be very enjoyable for your dog and doesn’t take much extra effort and no extra time from you!

* Encourage the other members of your household to play with your dog and spend time with him or her. If you live alone, you could hire a dog walker a few times a week (someone that you fully trust with your pet) and allow your dog the chance to interact with others and have a good time. If the dog lives in a house with children, this is great because children usually have tons of time and energy. Make sure that your dog understands that he or she is not dominant over the children and that the dog will obey the children’s commands before you allow the child to play with the dog alone. Not only will this help keep your dog happy and well-adjusted, but it takes some of the responsibility off of your shoulders as well.

While you still need to spend a good amount of time with your dog, giving him or her attention, making sure that he or she is healthy and happy, you can make your life easier in some ways using the tips and tricks above.

Urinary Tract Infection in Cats and Dogs

Urinary tract infection (UTI) is one of the common health problems in cats and dogs. Bacterial infection is a common cause of urinary tract infection. When bacteria enter the urinary tract through urethra and multiply in the bladder, it can lead to UTI. It is more common in female cats and dogs, because of a shorter urinary tract and weaker sphincter muscles. Generally, cats are more prone to UTI than dogs.

Causes of Urinary Tract Infection in Cats and Dogs

Urinary tract infection in cats and dogs is mainly caused by the bacteria, Escherichia coli. Other causative agents are Proteus mirabilis, Pseudomonas, Enterococcus and Klebsiella. Bladder tumor, bladder cancer and abnormalities of the urinary tract can increase the risk of urinary tract infection. Kidney stone causes a blockage of urinary tract, leading to infection. According to some researchers, urinary tract infection in cats and dogs is associated with their diet. Commercial dry pet foods may be contaminated with bacteria, which can cause infection. Inadequate food storage and unhealthy feeding practices can lead to multiplication of E. coli.

Symptoms of UTI in Cats and Dogs

There are two types of urinary tract infection in cats and dogs such as upper urinary tract infection and lower urinary tract infection. Upper urinary tract infection causes the symptoms such as vomiting, weight loss and anorexia. The signs and symptoms of lower urinary tract infection are related to abnormalities in urination. This includes trouble and extreme pain during urinating. The frequency of urination is increased. There is straining while urinating and localized pain. The urine is cloudy and foul smelling. There may be a presence of blood in the urine (hematuria). Some other symptoms of UTI are tender lower abdominal area, fever, fatigue, lethargy and loss of appetite. When you notice these symptoms in your pet, you should immediately take it to the veterinarian.

Diagnosis of UTI in Cats and Dogs

The diagnosis of UTI in cats and dogs is done with the help of physical examination, medical history and symptoms. The veterinarian performs a thorough physical examination including palpation of abdomen. The medical history includes the questions about reproductive status of your pet, water consumption, previous medications, illness or changes in urination. Urinalysis is done to determine the presence of bacteria, red blood cells, white blood cells and crystals. Excessively alkaline urine indicates the possibility of UTI. Culture and sensitivity of urine is performed to identify the causative agent.

Treatment of UTI in Cats and Dogs

Urinary tract infection in cats and dogs is treated with a course of antibiotics. In case of severe infections or persistent urinary tract infections, catheterization or surgery may be required. UTI in cats and dogs can be treated with some herbal remedies. Goldenrod Horsetail compound is the herbal tincture, which can help to soothe the irritating symptoms of UTI. Some other herbs used for UTI treatment are Uva Ursi, Berberine, Cranberry and Ester-C. These herbs help to reduce inflammation and manage the symptoms.

To prevent these health problems, you should take good care of your pet. Your dog’s health and cat’s health will depend upon the amount of attention you spend on its nutrition, and other health-related issues. Along with this, ensure you spend ample time and give your pet plenty of exercise to keep it happy and healthy forever.

Some Simple Dog Training Tips

Owning a dog provides a great deal of personal satisfaction and whether you are the most hardened character or not, you are going to experience a great deal of love and companionship with your dog. Dogs are social animals by nature and they want to please who they are with as well as providing companionship and attention, dogs are great protectors of family and property not because they think these are your things but precisely because they feel this is their family and their home.

Training a dog benefits everyone and even if it is the most basic of behavior that is being taught, it will hep immensely with how a dog behaves and its own happiness and well-being. Dogs are hierarchical animals, they believe in everyone in their place and want to know constantly where they are in the pecking order and will seek reassurance in this; this is dog behavior and perfectly natural and when this is disrupted the dog will inevitably become stressed which may manifest itself in unwanted behavior.

Training your dog is a process and this will not produce immediate and instant results from just an initial session; training is part of a lifelong process which underpins the relationship you will have with your dog and them with you and your family as well as the world around them.

Training never stops.

Use these tips to help you with training:

Tip #1 Be Patient

Be patient; your dog will not always understand what you are trying to get it to do and will have to work it out but they will instinctively try to please you. They will quickly learn but so will you and losing your temper will harm the relationship you have with your dog and create adverse consequences down the road which will slow more advanced training.

Tip #2 Act Like a Team

Dog training is a misnomer to describe what we are doing here; in truth we are training the dog and the owner as you are a team and this is exactly how the animal is viewing the activity. Professional trainers rarely undertake training a dog directly when they are consulted; watch the TV programs which are popular at the moment and you will see that the professionals are actually training the owners in how to train their animals.

Tip #3 Be Gentle

Losing your temper, shouting at the dog and being angry, hitting or humiliating the animal are very big “No’s!” for owners. Negative reinforcement may produce a short term impact in stopping unwanted behavior but the effect tends not to be lasting and severely damages the way the dog views the relationship with the owner. Dogs are pack animals and look to the pack leader for guidance and protection; they do not react well to a pack leader which hurts them and you will see this in the wild with lots of friendly licking and play between members of the pack, including the leader.

These three pieces of training advice are all essential to forming a positive and constructive relationship where the dog understands its place in the family hierarchy and learns very quickly what is expected of it. A well trained dog is a credit to the owner but also a source of a great deal of satisfaction and enjoyment for years to come.

African Wild Dogs

African Wild Dogs

African wild dogs are found mainly in the plains and woodlands of sub-Saharan Africa including national parks such as Hwange, Kruger, Gonarezhou, Moremi and Chobe. Most of these wild dogs prefer to live in savannas, grasslands and woodlands, where frequent rainfall occurs. Packs of African wild dogs roam freely in the hills of Namibia.

Nature of African wild dogs

African wild dogs are by nature very social and live and hunt in packs. They live in a pack with their puppies. Like the wolves, these wild dogs, also known as ‘Cape hunting dogs’, hunt larger prey like antelopes and share food amongst the pack. They have strong unity among themselves and guard the weakest and the ill in their pack.

Interesting facts about African wild dogs

African wild dogs belong to Canidae (biological family of dogs) which also includes jackals, foxes, wolves and domestic dogs. These dogs have only four toes in each foot. Their large head and swift nature often misleads one to recognize them as hyenas.

Due to their captivating coat of multicolored fur (with irregular, spotted patches), and ferocious nature, African wild dogs are also known as ‘painted dogs’, ‘painted wolfs’ and ‘tricolor dogs’. This dog breed has large, rounded ears and a sharp sense of hearing.

African wild dogs have long legs and a thin body, which helps them to run fast. Their body length is about 40 inches and the tail is approximately 12-16 inches long with a white plume at the tip. The males among the wild African dogs, are a little larger than the females. This breed can weigh up to a maximum 66 pounds.

African wild dogs are constant wanderers and hunt during the day. They have a reputation of being tireless runners and can cover a long distance within few seconds. This dog breed is carnivorous and a successful hunter.

All African wild dogs make unique sounds like whining, whimpering and twittering sounds like the birds, when they greet one another. They often make a hooting call, such as “whoo” during the time of searching for another member of their pack.

In case of groups of elephants, lions and baboons, the grown-up male changes the group after 3 or 4 years of birth. However, in case of wild African dogs, females change the pack after 3 years of birth.

They give birth to their puppies during the middle of the dry season, when it is easy to hunt and find food for their young ones. Their puppies live in a den for up to two months after birth and are guarded by the older African wild dogs.

African wild dogs live up to almost 10 years in woodlands; however, in zoos, they live up to 13 years.

This breed of dogs is regarded as one of the most endangered species among carnivores and marked to be preserved by International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The African wild dog is almost extinct due to various reasons. As these dogs have a bad reputation as killer dogs, they are often killed by people. Some of the wild African dogs are dying due to various dog illnesses such as rabies and distemper. There are therefore national parks, where the African wild dog lives in a protected environment.

Canaan Dogs

Canaan Dogs

Canaan dog, also known as Kalef K’naani, is regarded as the national dog breed of Israel. In the year 1930, this dog is basically bred from the wild dog of Israel and an ancient herding breed. If we turn the pages of history, we find that they were used for tending cattle and sheep. The Canaan dog breed has been classified as one of the herding dog groups.

The dog breed was named as ‘Canaan Dog’, after the Land of Canaan in Israel. During the Second World War, the breed was used mostly in patrolling work and was first trained to detect mines effectively. Eventually, people used to engage this breed of dogs as messengers, mine detectors during tracking, hunting and herding as they have a keen ability to smell, hear and learn.

The Canaan dog also resembles the typical pariah dogs and is aloof with strangers. This dog breed is found in a variety of colors, ranging from brown, black, sandy, cream and red with white color patches. In the year 1965, Canaan dog was first imported to the United States by the founder of the breed Dr. Rudolphina Menzel.

Interesting Facts on Canaan Dogs

No one can question the loyalty of a Canaan dog towards its master. They can be tamed for their docile, obedient and defensive character. Like the guard dogs, the Canaan dog is defensive by nature and reacts quickly to every disturbance by prompt barking. However, a Canaan dog is friendly with its master.

A Canaan dog has two coats i.e. inner coat and outer coat. The undercoat is short, dense and soft, whereas the outer coat’s thickness ranges from ½ to 1½ inch. The dense undercoat protects them from extreme temperatures, such as cold or hot and this helps make them a great watchdog.

A Canaan dog shows talents of a stock dog, is a natural herder and is used for patrolling work in Israel. By nature, the Canaan dog is intelligent and can learn a skill quickly than other pariah dogs. A Canaan dog is obedient and hence responds well to all kinds of dog training. As a group of herding dogs, a Canaan dog is inquisitive by nature and remains alert.

Children will be delighted to know that a Canaan dog reacts in a friendly way with children. This dog can be an obedient pet dog, if trained in a proper way.

The Canaan dog has prick ears that have broadbase and rounded tip features and its nose is slightly slanted. It has sharp teeth, dark brown almond-shaped eyes, straight legs and pads in feet. Canaan dog’s chest is deep and the tail is set high. This dog is available in medium, rectangular as well as wedge-shaped sizes. A Canaan dog is almost 35 to 55 pounds in weight and 19 to 24 inches in height.

Do you know for how many years a Canaan dog lives? Let me tell you that a Canaan dog lives up to 11 to 15 years. Some health problems from which this dog suffers is hypothyroidism, epilepsy, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), and problems of digestive system, heart and respiratory systems.

You should take proper care of your pet Canaan dog including bathing, brushing, providing proper, nutritious dog foods like bones, milk and fish.

Wildlife Management

Wildlife Management

Wildlife management involves the application of scientific knowledge and technical skills for protection, conservation and management of wildlife and their habitat. It is an interdisciplinary subject, since it includes biological, technological, social, economical and legal aspects. Wildlife includes all non-domesticated species of wild plants, wild animals and other organisms. Management of wildlife encompasses conservation of endangered, threatened and non-threatened species and their natural habitats. It also includes implementation of certain laws and acts related to wildlife. In fact, wildlife management tools are laws implemented to protect the existing natural habitats. Wildlife managers use ecological knowledge in order to bring a balance between the needs of populations and the needs of people.

Basically, there are two forms of wildlife management - manipulative management and custodial management. Manipulative management acts on wildlife population either directly or indirectly and balances the population densities, whereas custodial management acts indirectly in conserving wildlife population and its habitat by minimizing the external factors that are detrimental to their existence and growth such as hunting and animal cruelty.

Elements of Wildlife Management

Successful management of wildlife totally depends on certain elements and their coordination. Public support and awareness is necessary to protect wildlife and their habitats. Let’s discuss about the general elements of wildlife management.

Public Participation: It is necessary to make local people realize and accept the idea and importance of wildlife protection. Public interaction can help in making local people responsible and cooperate in enforcement of wildlife management laws and regulations. Public discussions should be held in order to understand people concepts on management programs and other necessary steps. Their feedback should also be taken for effective functioning of wildlife management.

Public Awareness: People should understand the concept of conservation of natural resources and protected areas. The wildlife managers and other responsible persons should held public discussions, shows, and talks and should also take help of other media like newspapers, magazines, radio, television and so on, to make people aware about the basic concepts behind wildlife management. This can stop people from exploitation of resources, which is the major threat to wildlife and their habitats.

Education: The role of education in pubic awareness programs is very important. There should be environmental subjects based on wildlife conservation. The well-educated and trained specialists on environmental and forest issues should participate in public training and interact with people and solve their queries to make them more responsible towards their wildlife management duties.

Nature Interpretation Centers: Nature interpretation centers may include setting up of educational camps or exhibition in nearby regions of protected areas such as zoological gardens, parks and wildlife sanctuaries. It is usually taken up by the concerned forest departments. It should be made compulsory for all the tourists to spare some time in the interpretation centers before entering parks or sanctuaries. The interpretation centers should be handled by qualified and trained staff in order to explain and motivate the concepts of wildlife management to the tourists and people of the nearby-protected areas.

Coordination: Wildlife management is operated at four basic levels - local, state, national and international. Government agencies plan the policies of protecting, conserving and managing wildlife. All the management levels participate in passing wildlife management tools and many a time, conflicts arise. Thus, proper understanding and coordination between the inter-departmental and inter-level is an important element for wildlife management.

The major protected sites developed for wildlife management include national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and biosphere reserves. In course of time, many animal species have become extinct either due to natural unavoidable reasons or human interference. The main objective of creating protected areas under wildlife management is to protect the wild flora and fauna and allow them to live in their natural habitat under natural or protected conditions.

The Nile Crocodile

The Nile Crocodile

The Nile crocodile, scientific name Crocodylus niloticus, is one of the largest crocodiles among the four species found in Africa. Crocodylus means “crocodile” and niloticus means “belonging to the Nile River”. Overall, it is the second largest crocodile, next to saltwater crocodile. There are many subspecies of the Nile crocodile that are found in other regions other than Africa. The average life span of a Nile crocodile is about 45 years in wild and 80 years in captivity. They are voracious predators and can feed on any animals or humans.

Habit and Habitat: Nile crocs are solitary in habit, but sometimes they gather together for hunting their prey. They can survive in various habitats such as rivers, lakes, estuaries, freshwater swamps, brackish water and so on. Adults are mostly seen digging dens with their snout and feet, in order to stay and protect themselves during adverse environmental conditions. They are found in Madagascar and in tropical and southern Africa.

Physical Characteristics: Juvenile Nile crocodiles are dark brown to olive color with darker crossbands on the body and tail. Adults have darker and uniform colors with dark crossbands, particularly in the tail portion (the body crossbands fade away as they grow up). However, the belly is white, dull yellow or grey in color. Their eyes are green and have nictitating membranes. Nile crocodiles are sexually dimorphic; males are about 30% larger than the females. The average body length of a male Nile crocodile measures about 3.5-5 meters (rarely 6 meters). Reports suggest that their body length can even reach to 7 meters. Male crocs weigh up to 500 kg. Female crocs reach to about 4 meters in body length and weigh about 350 kg.

Feeding: The food of juvenile Nile crocodiles includes smaller aquatic invertebrates to larger vertebrates such as fish, amphibians and other reptiles. Adult Nile crocs feed on fish, large cats, zebra, camel, porcupines, donkey, horses, buffaloes, antelope, young hippos and so on. Sometimes, they attack humans and consume as food (about 200 people are reported to die each year in the jaws of the Nile crocodile). They have powerful jaws to hold their prey. Occasionally, Nile crocodiles are seen forming a semi-circle in cooperation, across the river, so as to herd fish and later feed on them. Nile crocodiles attack those animals that come to drink water, then dragged the animals inside water and drown them. They smash their victims’ backbone through powerful blows of their tails so that the victims can’t move. At a time, they can eat up to half of their body weight.

Very often, a Nile croc lies with its mouth open, so that birds such as spur-winged plover can pick parasites and pieces of meat from between the croc’s teeth. One unusual habit is swallowing of stones for digestion aid. It is believed that around 10 pounds of stones can be found in a crocodile’s stomach.

Reproduction: Male and female crocs reach sexual maturity at 10 years of age, when males reach to 3 meters and females reach to 2.5 meters, on an average. During the mating season, males attract females by making a variety of actions such as bellowing, blowing water out of their nose, slapping their snouts in water and by making a variety of other noises. Around 2 months after mating, usually in the month of August and September, females lay 50-60 eggs in holes in the riverbank. Both male and female crocs guard the eggs until they hatch. Usually, they roll the eggs in their mouth in order to help the hatchlings to emerge. After 70-100 days of incubation, hatchlings (about 10 inch long) emerge from the eggs. Female carries the babies to the water and takes care of them for 8-10 weeks.

Conservation: Regarding conservation, Nile crocs are regarded as an endangered species, in consideration to the total distribution and population survey. It is a fact that population of Nile crocs in some specific regions is depleting and some of the subspecies are on the verge of extinction. Hence, in some African countries, Nile crocs are protected legally under International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) and Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Various threats to the population of Nile crocodile include habitat destruction, pollution and hunting by humans (for their skin and meat). According to a population survey, the estimated wild population of Nile crocodile is 250,000-500,000.

Recent studies have found out that in South Africa, one of the nonnative invasive plants known as the ‘trifid weed’ (Chromolaena odorata) is causing a threat to Nile crocodiles by making them abandon the nesting sites.