Dr K?G Umesh (MVSc, MSc (UK)) is a Postgraduate in Clinical Medicine. He has been a lecturer in clinical medicine at Vet College in Bangalore for 15 years, and has won the ‘best teacher’ award in the year 2000. He is a member of European Society for Vet Dermatology and is currently working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for South Asia.

Q: Can I give curd rice to my pet dog regularly. Is this right or wrong? Please advice.
– Pawan, Vijayawada

Dr KG Umesh: Over the time pet parents have learnt that homemade food albeit fresh is not a complete and balanced meal for pet primarily because the nutrition requirements of a pet differ from humans. Homemade diets (for example, curd and rice) contain more water (60- 80 percent) and carbohydrates, but not adequate levels of proteins and fats, vitamins and minerals your pet should need. Consult your vet who can help to formulate or recommend balanced pet food that makes your pet happy and healthy.

Q: My three years old black Lab has allergy all over his body, which seems like he is bruised. His hair is also shedding. Please help. – Dolly Kumari, Patna

Dr KG Umesh: Dogs too suffer allergic skin diseases like atopy or flea allergies. Itching and hair loss can be the result of many disorders causing inflammation including parasites or dry skin. Skin and hair coat alone take away approximately 30 percent of protein from the diet for its health. Hence balanced and complete nutrition is most important for healthy skin and hair coat. Evening primrose oil or sunflower/corn oil along with fish oil and zinc everyday in the balanced food may also help him to improve his hair coat in the short term when no underlying cause identified.

Q: My dog Lucy always feels lonely due to separation anxiety. I spend around eight hours with her and my family members also help. Can you give me some suggestions so that we can give her a good life and reduce her separation anxiety? – Adithya, Mysore

Dr KG Umesh: Try not to manage your dog’s separation anxiety problem by giving her even more attention—you’ll only create a vicious cycle of neediness. Do you have a set routine each day before you leave the house? Perhaps you jingle your keys, put your bag or briefcase near the door or say ‘bye’ to your spouse and kids. Your dog picks up on these cues, and associates them with your leaving. Try to mix up your normal routine by doing your usual activities in a different order. Plan some short trips that allow your dog to gradually adjust to being lonely. If your dog seems comfortable after half-an-hour of your departures, and exhibits no anxious behaviour, increase your time away. Taking your dog for a long walk before you leave will help make her too tired to misbehave after you leave. Before you leave, bury toys and hide treats where she can find and ‘dig’ them up. Keeping a TV or radio on can also provide ‘company’ for your pooch. Getting another pet is also not a bad idea.

Q: I have a Lab who is eight years old and he has a bump just on top of his left eye. I need your help to find out what the bump is about.
– Alok Mehra, Jaipur

Dr KG Umesh: Sudden development of bumps and lumps with pain could be sting bite, hematoma (bleeding under skin) or infection causing pus accumulation. Bumps without any pain could be common problems like lipoma (fat lump), while bump growing in size could be sign of tumour in a senior dog. Get him examined by your vet ASAP.

Q: In a fight my dog got a bite on his head and his head swelled. The swelling has reached his eyes, but subsided a little now. Please advice for a treatment. 
– Rishabh Kumar, Kanpur

Dr KG Umesh: Dog bite wounds must require immediate medical attention. The wound must be cleaned immediately with soap water or recommended antimicrobial solution. The bite wound must be assessed by your vet for depth of injury, infection and reviewing anti-rabies vaccination status. Please take him to your vet before the infection spreads to the eyes.