Ask the Expert.. Nov-Dec 06

Q?:?I have a male Tibetan Terrier, who is 2 years and 3 months old. I feed him milk and roti for lunch and dinner and occasionally meat stock and roti. He has pedigree, biscuits, chewsticks for breakfast. Sometimes he stops eating his food. We have tried to feed him cereals, pulses and vegetables but he refuses to eat the same. He tends to eat the things we eat, refusing what is served in his bowl. He also likes to eat sweets. Are they good for his health? Please recommend a healthy diet for him.
– Aparna Thakre, Nasik

Dr. K.G. Umesh?:?It is not surprising to know your pet showing this feeding behaviour. There are a number of reasons for your pet to behave like this. For e.g., he may have fear for new food, previous bad experience with the food, poor palatability or simply, he may be a fussy eater. Small breeds are generally considered as fussy eaters. Some dogs may refuse food/skip meals, when they have consumed more energy then they would require (which is common in our experience). Please make sure that you are not overfeeding him and monitor his body weight at least every two weeks.

Home made diets depending on the sources, vary with respect to quality, digestibility, nutrient content and therefore is not balanced and complete. Prepared pet foods from reputable pet food manufacturers come with a guarantee of nutritional adequacy, quality and safety. Therefore, we suggest to feed him pet food which is developed and formulated specifically to meet all the requirements of dogs in different lifestages. You can also choose to prepare balanced home made food after consulting your vet nutritionist. Feeding sweets occasionally as a snack should not be a problem as long as it does not add significant calories.

Q?:?Please advise how to take care of a two-month-old Rottweiler puppy?
– Sanjay Gupta

Dr. K.G. Umesh?:?Feeding your dog a well-balanced diet is clearly necessary to keep him fit and healthy, but other activities such as exercise, training, grooming and regular visits to the veterinarian are equally important. If you start training your puppy early, housetraining shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Patience and praise at the right time is the secret. It is essential particularly during this socialisation period that the puppy encounters all the things (people, other animals, objects) that he may encounter in adult life. A well-socialised puppy should be able to cope with any new things that he may experience in later life.

Your best ally in the prevention of health problems is your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will be able to advise you on vaccinations (starting from 6 to 20 weeks of age), worming (every 2-3 weeks until 6 months of age), feeding and the general health care of your dog. In addition to the training that occurs throughout the day during exercise and interaction with people, more formal training begins approximately 7-8 weeks of age.

Q?:?My 11-month-old Pug (male) cannot digest dog food and vomits the same. He just eats egg, milk and roti. I have tried various brands of dog food but the result is the same. He is a little overweight and snores. Also, let me know if Pugs have breathing problems. Please advise.
– Dr. Mansi S Chauhan, Bhavnagar

Dr. K.G. Umesh?:?Puppy owners, in particular, are aware of the heavy nutritional demands of the puppy as he grows and may be tempted to feed as much as he will eat. However, many dogs tend to overeat and this could have damaging consequences for your puppy. The extra food received is converted into fat and stored in the body. While a dog is still young and growing, his body will produce extra fat cells to store the excess fat and, once formed, these cells stay with him for life. This may make him prone to obesity as an adult. Overfeeding of rapidly growing puppies can also cause a number of skeletal deformities in large breeds as well as other health problems. It is therefore important to monitor his general condition and record his weight regularly on the ‘Puppy Growth Chart’ to check that he is growing at a rate appropriate to the breed. If he has more than a moderate covering of fat over his ribs he may be getting too fat. When you use a prepared pet food, the label on the packaging will provide a guideline as to how much to feed your dog and it is not necessary to add any calcium or protein supplements.

Dogs with short snouts (Brachycephalic breeds) like Pugs and Bulldogs aren’t able to breathe as efficiently as dogs with longer snouts. Their elongated soft palates tend to make a snoring sound when they inhale. And, the harder the dog breathes, the greater the swelling of the soft palate. Ask your veterinarian for advice if you are unsure about your growing pet condition.