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Pet Wellness

Tuna the Chihuahua’s Owner on Must-Follow Dog Care Tips

Photo: Courtesy of @tunameltsmyheart on Instagram

During the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year, pet adoptions seemingly soared as many shelters saw increased demand.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the mean number of pets being seen in a veterinary office weekly rose by 50 percent — from about 25 in late March 2020 to 39 in early July 2020.

Having a canine companion no doubt helped assuage many people’s feelings of loneliness during lockdown, but at the same time, owning a pet is no small responsibility.

There are matters like exercise, nutrition, and pet supplies to consider when you’re caring for a furry friend.

The owner of Tuna, a chihuahua that has amassed a 2 million-plus following on Instagram, is raising awareness of this reality when it comes to grooming, dental hygiene, and behavior. They want other pet owners to prioritize these aspects of their dogs’ care this summer and beyond.

“We get Tuna’s nails professionally grinded once a month at our local pet store, and we get his teeth professionally cleaned at his vet once a year,” said Tuna’s owner, adding that the annual cleanings are invasive due to their requiring anesthesia. Yet they added that this procedure “is very important to maintain healthy teeth and fresh breath, as well as to prevent future infections or extractions.”

At home, Tuna’s owner uses a plaque scraper as well as a home spray to help the tiny pup maintain his sterling smile. As far as his coat and nails go, regular walks help ensure Tuna’s nails remain trimmed, and a daily drop of fish oil in his food keeps his coat shiny.

Besides minding a pet’s physical health, paying attention to their behavior is also important, Tuna’s owner said. This can be especially important when it comes to introducing children to the family.

Tuna’s family was unsure how Tuna would react to their new daughter, as he hadn’t been comfortable around children prior to her arrival, “but to our amazement, he’s really grown to love her,” Tuna’s owner said.

“Before our daughter arrived, we talked about her to Tuna every day,” they said. “We would tell him that we are having a baby and that it was imperative that he loved her. I think that was actually effective! We also gave him a lot of attention right after she was born and we spent a lot of one-on-one time with him. From there, we eased into spending quality time with the two of them together, and we would give him treats as a reward when he was voluntarily sweet to her.”

If this sounds like you, Tuna’s owner emphasized patience and trusting the process.

“Try not to force the relationship or be fearful of them not getting along,” they said. With love and encouragement, they will come around to each other and they will eventually learn to live in the same environment together.”

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