Dr. Pradeep Rana is a well-renowned vet in Delhi. He has his veterinary degree from College of Vet Sciences, Hebbal, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore. He is an expert in solving queries and curing pets.
Dr. 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 won the Best teacher award in the year 2000. He is a member of European Society for Vet Dermatology and is presently working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for South Asia.
Q: Why do dogs sleep so much? What is the maximum number of hours should a dog sleep in a day? Do they sleep because they are bored?
– Sheetal Desai, Mumbai
Dr. Rana: The amount of sleep that an animal needs depends upon its age, size, activity level and breed of dog. Some very large breeds of dogs, like Saint Bernards, Mastiffs, often spend a great deal of their lives sleeping,perhaps up to sixteen or even eighteen hours a day. For this reason, they were often referred to as “mat dogs”. Great Danes probably only dream about sleeping! Comparatively smaller breeds like Apsos, Dachshunds , Jack Russel Terriers etc need less sleep .
Q: My 1.5 yrs GSD Sam eats his stool everyday. Please advice how to get rid of this habit?
-Shashidhar K, Bangalore
Dr. Umesh: Coprophagia, or eating of faeces, is very common in dogs, and is often seen in puppies. It is not dangerous to the dog’s health, but can be unpleasant habit to live with. Treating the problem can be simple and involves thinking ahead.
Any faeces deposited in the garden should be removed as quickly as possible. A dietary imbalance or parasites can on occasions cause coprophagy. Make sure that your dog is receiving complete and balanced food and dewormed regularly. Coprophagy can transmit parasites also.
One method of training is to walk your dog on an extending leash and purposely direct him towards some stools. As soon as he stoops to try to eat faeces, pull away the dog gently and effectively and at the same time, unpleasant distracting noise such as “NO” should be sounded and immediately after this, make him sit and praise for compliance with kind words and physical contact. The dog should not be punished as he will not associate the punishment with the action. This type of exposure should be repeated several times.
I suggest Professional training if it is associated with behavioural problem. Some advise products containing (or spraying) pepper or mustard on faeces are ethically questionable and feeding a slice of pineapple or peppermint oil may work in some dogs.
Q: I have a Golden Labrador male of age 5 years named Duke. He has frequent ear problems. Once you pick his ears, a foul smell comes. How do I take care of his ears on a regular basis?
– Nidhi Malhotra, Delhi
Dr. Rana: Duke appears to be suffering from an ear condition called Otitis Externa and he needs to be taken care of seriously before it gets chronic and make him very uncomfortable. Otitis Externa may be caused by organisms, foreign substances, or neoplasia entering the external ear canal, the middle ear and the eustachian tube. Water in the ear canal during bathing or swimming may be an important cause. Proliferation of bacterial organisms in the external ear canal can cause the animal great discomfort and predispose to Otitis media and Otitis Externa. Please consult your vet who will examine the ear and probably do a culture of the ear swab so as to find the causative organism. Daily or periodic cleaning of ear canals with normal saline or ceruminolytics in my opinion would be quiet helpful in the longer run.
Q: My 7 year doggie, a spitz – Joomki, has put on weight. I feed her twice a day. She has a bowl full of chicken stock with vegetables either with rice or roti in the morning and the evening. She also has her treats- biscuits and chew sticks. Her vet tells me that she is much over weight. How do I make her loose weight? Please help.
-Mrs Mukherjee, Kolkata
Dr. Umesh: What you have to remember is that the diet you feed your dog should be complete and balanced. This means, the balanced diet will meet all her required nutrients and energy demand, regardless of her life stage or life style. Home made diets, depending on the sources, vary with respect to quality, digestibility, nutrient content and therefore is not balanced and complete.
If your dog is overweight, it will affect her life in many ways. She will be less likely to want to go out for a walk and exercise. Obese dogs are also prone to develop health problems like arthritis, heart problems, diabetes, etc.
As with people, any diet should ensure that any weight loss is in a steady manner, ensuring that dog does not become deficient in any nutrients and is not hungry. The best person to speak to is your vet, who will advise appropriate food and amount. A target weight should be set for your dog and in order for your dog to reach her ultimate target weight, she must be initially targeted to lose 15% of her current body weight. If more weight needs to be lost, then next target should be further 15% reduction and so on until his ideal weight has been achieved.
Your dog will also need to increase her exercise. Please contact your vet for further details including correct diet.
Q: My dog has wet streaks under his eyes. Are those tears?
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Dr. Umesh: Epiphora is the term used to describe the overflow of tears, which is normal in some breeds of dogs but can be due to blocked tear ducts. The tear duct can become blocked for a number of reasons, such as infection, a foreign body or a hereditary defect. Your vet will be able to perform a simple test to determine if there is a tear drainage problem with the eye.
Tears are produced to lubricate the eyeball and keep it clean, and then are drained through the tear duct. If this is blocked, the tears build up and will tend to run down the cheeks of the dog, and this can result in rust coloured tear streak. The colour occurs from an antibacterial enzyme called lysozyme, which is normally present in body fluids such as tears and saliva.
Dr. R T Sharma (BVSc & AH) is the President of Pet Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), President (North India) of Bharath Kennel Club (BKC) and President of Small Animal Veterinary Association (SAVA). He is running his own pet hospital and boarding shelter in Delhi. Mr. Suresh Sherawat is founder/master trainer of the Canine Village Dog Training & Research Center having a strong desire to bring professionalism and quality to the canine world. He has spent years in researching the different aspects of training for homes, military, police, industrial houses etc.
Q : My 1.5 year old Labrador refuses to get into the car, whenever we want to take him to the vet. What is the possible reason for this and what should we do to handle the situation?
Vinod Maitre, New Delhi
Mr. Sherawat : Mr. Maitre, it seems that you take the dog in a car only when you visit the vet. Just as you don’t like going to the dentist, the dog does not find going to the vet a pleasant experience. Overcome it by taking your dog for short joy rides in your car.
Q : I am planning to buy a female Alsatian puppy. Please advise how to choose the right one.
S Dave, Mumbai
Dr. Sharma : A female Alsatian (GSD) is more affectionate than a male. Before buying, you must see the parents and check their vaccination status. If you and your vet are satisfied with the health and pedigree of the pup, please go ahead. Best of luck!
Q : My 1year 5 month old 30 kg Labrador Scooby refuses to drink water. This might lead to some health problem. Please suggest a healthy diet for Scooby. For your reference, I give him rice/roti with chicken everyday for lunch and dinner. I give papaya, biscuits and chana for breakfast on alternate days while I feed him a bowl of milk in the evenings. Please help.
Julie Dhariwal, Kolkata
Dr. Sharma : Though you haven’t mentioned what other liquid diet you are giving to your pet, still less water intake indicates less exercise. Please take him out for a run or a long walk and add other liquids in his diet such as diluted milk or soup. On an average, 60-80 ml/kg body weight water is required to maintain the normal fluid level. If Scooby is healthy and active, don’t bother, just enjoy his company!
At 30 kgs, Scooby is slightly overweight. He needs more exercise and less fat in his diet. Try to add more fibres in his diet and add a supplement of multi-vitamins at least once a day. Another option is to put him on a balanced commercial food available in the market. May Scooby live a long life and share many happy moments with you.
Q : I live in a big farm house. Due to lot of robbery in our area, I want to keep a guard dog for my family protection and to patrol the farm house. What kind of breed should I go for?
Lavleen Gupta, Saharanpur, UP
Mr. Sherawat : Lavleen, since you are living in a big farm house and want to keep a dog for protection , I shall advise you to go for German Shepherd, Doberman or Rottweiler. These breeds are known for their guarding instincts. Take any of these breed from a reputed breeder. Check for breeders in dog magazines. Engage an experienced trainer to train them as guard dogs. I hope these breeds will prove to be perfect protection/guard dogs.
Q : What precautions should I take for preventing ticks. My dog Gucci suffers with “Tick Fever” from time to time, how can I prevent this ?
Sheetal Desai, Mumbai
Dr. Sharma : “Tick Fever” is a serious disease and lot of care should be taken if the dog gets it. “Tick Fever” leads to various other problems like anemia, kidney failure & even paralysis. The fact that Gucci suffers from “Tick Fever” again and again should be consulted by your vet. The best way to prevent “Tick Fever” is management of ticks by manually removing the ticks or by use of products like tick collars, shampoos, sprays which are available with your vet. So take good care of Gucci.
Q : I have a 4 year old Spitz. From the past few days, he has stopped taking his regular diet. Is this because he is lonely and needs a companion? Is mating safe for him?
Dr. Sharma : Dear Aditi, you already know the problem. Your Spitz is love-sick and needs a companion. This is absolutely normal at his age and in this season. He needs a companion, get him one and you will find a difference in his behaviour. Mating is a natural need and it is very safe with a domesticated female. Please go ahead and let him enjoy his life.
Taking me by storm Storm Front Batra, a German shepherd puppy, came to us at a time when I was not ready to look at the possibility of another four-legged friend, having just recently lost our beloved four years Dobermann Nero to kidney failure. My husband suggested we go to our friend’s pet shop to “play with the puppies” to cheer ourselves up. That decision was to enrich our lives forever…
At the pet shop, it was the dark uncontrollable German shepherd pup who caught my attention and heart and I thought of him that night and the next night and the night after. My amused husband lovingly christened him Storm Front Batra on day three. Storm was two months old and he came to us exactly three days after Nero’s death.
Used to greeting me with a gigantic jump each time I got back home, all this had to be changed once I got pregnant. On the first day back from the doctor, I took his two paws in my hand and explained to him how “ mummy had a baby in her stomach” and his jumping could hurt it. It was like we had made a connection that afternoon, till date Storm has never greeted me with a jump again. A loving wag, a kitty brush and wet slurps, yes, but never a jump again!
In the past four years, Storm has been the center of our universe, the universe shifting slightly after the birth of our first child but once again firmly in place today.
Storm – the love of our lives is totally intimidated by our two and a half year old daughter. Scared by her fidgetiness and her whisker pulling, he steers clear of her path, clearly terrified of her hands, he charges to me for total protection.
As I write, Storm is trying to nudge a biscuit off Ameera, not managing to get a bite in without dropping his ball which is tightly secured in his mouth, aaah life is back to normal.
And I, his Mama, bask in this glory.
Pati, Patni or voh!
I am not the usual dog lover. I never had a pet, not even the occasional low maintenance gold fish or parrot. My disdain for dogs is probably hereditary. As a child, my mother was attacked by a pack of stray dogs and the fear of dogs has been transmitted to me through her genes.
The twist in the story is that I am now married to a family of dog lovers. For the last seven years before my marriage I had been the single child, my only elder sibling had moved out. From being the focus of attention of the family, I found myself in a situation where I was competing with OSCAR. Oscar is a Golden Retriever, aged 3 years and the blue-eyed boy of the family.
Before we got married, Oscar and my husband were roommates, or rather bedmates. Hubby used to wake up with Oscar, silently waiting for him to flutter his eyelids. Sometimes, he would wake up with Oscar lapping his face. All that has changed now. I am sure my husband misses the male bonding that he once shared with Oscar but he never dares to admit it.
Oscar now sleeps with my in-laws. Initially, my mother-in-law i.e. Oscar’s mother would bang on our door to wake up hubby for Oscar’s morning walk. However, that was met with strong opposition from me. Getting up at 6.00 am in the morning is absolutely criminal.
But, this is not the end of it. Though we have been married for barely six months, husband has a picture of Oscar as a screensaver on his mobile. And you know what his explanation is, “You’re my bibi and Oscar my baby”. Husband cootchie cooes to Oscar and me using the same sweet nothings. I wonder if Oscar has ever noticed this! Even if he has, thank God, he is not complaining. I sometimes wonder if dogs also feel jealous like women.
But, things are gradually changing. Oscar and I are now getting to know each other. I allow him into our room but he can only put his front paws on our bed. Maybe, it is only a matter of time that he would find his way back into our bed and into my heart too.
–Sadhvi Narang Mathur
Q : My 2-year-old pet is itching very badly and is not even able to sleep well. Please help.
Dr. Rana : Itching is the most common reason for pets visiting a veterinary clinic. There can be many reasons for itching, since itching in itself is not a disease, but only a symptom of an underlying cause. One will have to systematically approach to solve this problem. Check for fleas, ticks and lice. The saliva of a flea is very irritating to your petÕs skin, causing skin infection, superficial and deep bacterial infections. Skin mites too play a major role in giving your pet sleepless nights.imessage on pc download Allergy to perfectly natural environmental components such as grass, plants or even to foods causes itching skin. Let your vet diagnose the cause and then treat the pet accordingly. A piece of advice – be patient for it may take a while for your vet to find the cause.
Q : Why does my dog vomit whenever I take him in a car?
Dr. Rana : Vomiting and dribbling is a sign of motion sickness. This is quiet common in young pups. If you expose your pet to frequent and short car journeys, their balance mechanism evolves to cope with this type of motion. Sometimes, in stubborn car sick cases, you might have to give your pet an anti-vomiting pill.
Q : My dogÕs name is Jinny, who is a 9 month old Dalmatian male. Jinny gets aggressive with other dogs. How do I solve this problem?
Mr. Bhatt : The above problem shows that your dog is a dominant nature male and wants to show his superiority by showing aggression to other dogs. Also, at the age of 9 months, the male hormones starts producing, which naturally makes a dog more dominant. You need to establish proper control by training and simultaneously start socialising him with other dogs and animals
Q : My dog Sparkle, a 5 month old Springer Spaniel, obeys sit and stay commands but does not responds to ÔcomeÕ.
Mr. Bhatt : Come is the top command in training. Make your dog understand the command ÔcomeÕ and make your dog feel great by giving him a treat or a toy to play, every time he obeys it. This would help your dog to understand the meaning of ÔcomeÕ. Only once he will understand the come command, it is then that you can force him to come to you even when he is not willing.
Q : Does dry nose mean my dog has fever?
Dr. Rana : IÕve had patients coming with wet noses showing 106oF temperature while some, having dry nose showing perfectly normal temperature, so what does it means – NOTHING! The state of the nose depends upon what a dog is doing or has recently been doing as well as the climate. Sleeping dogs generally have dry noses and while exercising, their noses are usually wet. Wet nose is useful because scent molecules are trapped in moisture, enhancing the animals scenting ability. If the pet has fever, you should rather rely on symptoms like lower levels of energy and appetite rather than the nose.
Q : When I enter my house, my dog Commando, a German Shepard, greets me with a jump. How do I solve it?
Mr. Bhatt : This is a common problem with all dogs. Being a member of the pack, a dog gets excited with some expectations, seeing the members of the pack returning home. This habit starts when the dog best cheap laptops under 2000 dollars is a pup or 6-10 weeks of age. We encourage this habit by praising/showing affection to a pup. When the same pup grows, this becomes a problem. To solve this, surprise your dog by pushing him away effectively and at the same time giving him a treat with a sit command. In a few days time, your dog will understand to greet you with a ÔsitÕ command and expect a treat. Use this from day one when the pup comes home.
For query about your pet dog, please mark the letter as “Ask the experts” and post it to Dogs & Pups, 406, Sant Nagar, East of Kailash, New Delhi Ð110065 or e-mail at email@example.com, marking the subject line as “Ask the experts”.
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