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: What are the nutrition requirements of a Rottweiler?
– Harshal Bhaturkar, Nagpur

Dr KG Umesh: Just like you, dogs need a balanced diet which contains the right amount of protein, fat, carbohydrates and many different vitamins and minerals to ensure that they stay in peak condition. Our research indicated that most home-made diets/baby food fed to dogs in our country are inadequate and do not meet recommended nutritional requirements. There are many commercial pet food for puppy as well as specifically for ‘large breed puppy’ available from the reputed manufacturers. Large breeds have longer growth period than small breeds and therefore continue feeding puppy food until 18-24 months of age. Most of the reputed puppy food contains nutrients required for fur health that includes high quality proteins, Omega fatty acids, zinc as well as vitamins. You may have to contact your vet for preparing the balanced home-made food considering his size and activity.

Q: I have a one year old female German Shepherd. She’s been shedding a lot since September 2018. Now she’s on Pedigree Pro Plan. Please let me know the root cause of the shedding? – S Kamath, Mumbai

Dr KG Umesh: Some physiological reasons like light intensity, besides nutrition, genetics, health that can cause dog to shed hair excessively. Dogs may also shed excessive hair because of stress, worms, harsh climate and general illness. Therefore, my approach would be to find underlying cause(s) like parasites or allergy, hormonal imbalance, infection, etc and then your vet will be able to recommend suitable medications that will eliminate the cause and hair fall. Balanced and complete nutrition is most important for healthy skin and hair coat. Feed him balanced pet food that contains nutrients like omega fatty acids, zinc and vitamins required for skin and hair coat. Regular brushing at least 2-3 times a week also helps to remove unwanted hair.

Q: Kindly tell me the best way to get rid of ticks from dog. – Birinder Singh, Mumbai

Dr KG Umesh: Ticks lay their eggs (as many as 18,000 in some species) in sheltered areas on or near the ground. Successful control of ticks depends on eliminating these pests from the dog and the environment. To control ticks on a dog, all animals in the household must be part of the ticks control programme. There are two basic categories of ticks control products: Adulticides and Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs)/Insect Development Inhibitors (IDIs). It is always best to treat the dog and the environment on the same day. The use of these insecticides must be preceded by a thorough vacuuming; special attention should be paid to the areas under furniture, carpets, near pet bedding, and along mouldings. Make sure that other pets/dogs whom your dog frequently contacts/visits are free from fleas and ticks. The veterinarian will choose a product or products that combine safety, efficacy, and ease of use for the client. Often a combination of adulticide and an IGR or IDI is used.

Q: We have a Great Dane of six months. Can we give him a bath in winter? – Dilipsinh Jadeja, Rajkot

Dr KG Umesh: Dogs only need bathing when they are dirty or on the advice of your veterinarian. Make sure that you only bath your dog in fine weather or indoors to avoid chills. We generally do not advise bath for young puppies, particularly in winter. We suggest to give him sponge bath with plain lukewarm water when required. When he grows up to an adult, you can use shampoo for regular bath, generally twice a month. Never use human shampoo, use only dog shampoo specific to your dog’s skin condition. Ask your vet to recommend a good quality brand shampoo.

Q: Please tell me how to give shoe training to Pug? – Nakul Bipalliwar

Dr KG Umesh: Most dogs dislike wearing shoes and they really don’t need them unless recommended by your vet for medical reasons. You may try shoes on one paw to start with and encourage him to walk around inside in order to get used to the shoes. He may not walk comfortably and may try to remove it. When he walks a few steps around the room normally, make sure that you praise/reward him with treats. This will positively reinforce the behaviour of wearing the shoes. Do this practice several times on other paws throughout the first few weeks.