Anyone interested in dog breeds native to India may have come across photographs of dogs that appear to be branded. This distinctive Indian practice is often done with a steel spoke from a bicycle wheel, but it’s not done to indicate ownership. Owners explain that the practice is a method of treating certain illnesses, or even to provide general protection to the dog from disease. In his marvelous book, The Book of Indian Dogs, author S. Theodore Baskaan shares a conversation he had with a veterinarian who suspects that a possible effect of branding is to activate the dog’s immune system. Rural area dog owners, however, may brand their dogs to negate the effects of the “evil eye” that may have been cast on the dog.
Back in the day before dogs were “chipped,” tattooing a dog on its inner thigh was a matter of routine for dog fanciers. While some may still choose to identify their dog this way, it’s not practical (tattoos can fade, be altered by a dog thief, or become unreadable), and in the UK, it’s not even an option as dogs must microchipped by law.
Image: Mudhol Hound shared by Neil Trilkekar