Ask the Expert.. | Nov Dec 08

Noorie, my GSD, who is 8-year-old, is having urinary incontinence, she is otherwise very well trained but at night relieves herself in the house. Do advice.
– Mrs Bose,Gurgaon

There are many possible causes for urinary incontinence. First, a detailed history is necessary as it provides important clues on the type of incontinence and assists in decisions on the diagnostic workup. Although sphincter incompetence due to spaying (low estrogens hormone) is the most common cause, a thorough examination should be performed on every incontinent animal. Like wise, urinary incontinence should not be confused with inappropriate urination, which is caused by behavioural problems. Urinary incontinence can also be a symptom of underlying conditions like diabetes, bladder infections and kidney disease. In any case, you should take your dog to the veterinarian to determine the exact cause. Therapy can be medical, surgical, or a combination of both.

I have a 5-month-old Lab, who bites a lot, may be because he is teething. How long my dog will continue doing like this?
– Rakesh Mann, Chandigarh

It is normal for puppies to be “mouthie”. Most chewing behaviour is seen in young puppies due to their strong desire to explore. As dogs mature, this desire decreases and they are less likely to be destructive. Never leave shoes, or indeed anything chewable, within the puppy’s reach. When your puppy does any inappropriate behaviour, stop him immediately by telling the pup “No”. “No” means “stop whatever you’re doing right now.” Act early before bad habits become established. Ignore your puppy, when he behaves inappropriately rather than giving him attention.

When the pup stops the bad behaviour, make sure you reward the pup with “GOOD (puppy’s name)!” To prevent him doing this, exercise and play with your dog regularly and you should try to provide him with interesting toys/chews that do not resemble in appearance or texture of unacceptable chew items. He will soon learn that playing with toys is more fun. Ask your vet for a right chew that suits your puppy.

Do advice the first aid measures for snake bites on dogs.
– Minu, Ferozepur

First look for the marks of two fangs at the site of the bite and call your vet to let him know the kind of snake it was, if you happen to see it. Carry the dog if possible rather than let him walk, to avoid spreading the poison. If bite is on the leg, put on a tourniquet above the bite, release it every 15 minutes. Treatment such as sucking out poison or cutting the wound with knife is useless but you may clean the wound with soap and water.

My dog’s stool seemed to have red streaks- is this blood? Do let me know what to do. Currently, she is also having medicines for stomach infection.
– Ratan Arya, Thane

Occasionally, a very light streak of fresh blood on stool is likely to come from a broken vessel around anus and is not worrying, provided the dog is otherwise well. If even this small amount of blood is seen persistently, veterinary advice should be sought. Ulcers in stomach, hook worms, anal sacs infection, bowel or liver diseases, or any disease affecting blood clotting can cause such problem. Make a note on its frequency, colour, fresh or dark digested, that may assist in decisions on the diagnostic workup by your vet.

My dog does not like car drives. He gets scared and vomits and even barks a lot. It becomes very traumatic to take him to his vet. Please, advice.
– Rajesh, Vadodara

Ideally, puppies should be introduced to car travel before they are eight weeks of age just before the “fear period” in their development. Let him go in and out and play around the car so that he regards the car as fun. First, put your dog in the car (in the place he will be sitting) and let him settle and relax for five minutes. Leave the doors open. Don’t go anywhere. Don’t even start the car. Praise and reward him with words and small treats.

Next, start the car, but don’t drive. Observe your pet for signs of stress, which might include shaking, drooling, or drooping ears. If these are present, turn off the car until your dog calms down. Do not attempt to calm him, as soothing and attention to the anxiety can actually reinforce the behaviour. When he can manage the sound and vibration of the engine again, go for a short drive, not more than five minutes, and preferably to a place he enjoys, like a park. Reward him with a toy, treat, or praise.

Travel sickness may occur in dogs as it does in humans. It is helpful to hold your pet securely so that he is not so affected by movement of the car. Putting the dog in a crate or feeding the dog in stationary car may be helpful. Don’t feed for up to five hours before a long car ride. If all fails, consult your vet to get pills that help stop travel sickness.