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Dogs and Pups, Sep Oct 2009 Issue

‘Wags’ for the wonderful vet | Sep Oct 13

Oscar and Alladin

I’m: Nancy Khan
My pets’ names: Oscar and Alladin
My vets’ names: Dr Rahul and Dr Ravi Kumar
Veterinary clinic/hospital: Dr Rahul’s Lifeline Pet Clinic, Dwarka, New Delhi and Dr Kumar’s Dog Clinic, Indrapuram, Ghaziabad
How I came across my vets: I found both the vets through online but now my pets have bonded well with them.
Do I visit the vets for regular check-ups or only in case of medical condition: For regular check-ups.
How long have I been visiting my vet: Since last four years.
Toughest medical challenge faced by me and my pet: Oscar once got infested as a puppy and got parvo.
Role played by my vet in helping to overcome it: Dr Rahul certainly saved Oscar’s life.
A special quality about my vets: Both of them are really polite and really good in handling animals.
A ‘Thank You’ note for my vets: Thanks for being there!

Charvi & Brando

I’m: Charvi Joshi
My pet’s name: Brando
My vet’s name: Dr Rajeev Pandey
Veterinary clinic/hospital: Canine Pet Clinic and Veterinary Hospital, Lucknow
How I came across my vet: While passing in front of the clinic.
Do I visit the vet for regular check-ups or only in case of medical condition: Regular check-ups.
How long have I been visiting my vet: Since last six years.
Toughest medical challenge faced by me and my pet: He got diarrhoea and was very critical, but Dr Rajeev attended him in time.
Role played by my vet in helping to overcome it: Dr Rajeev did whatever he could and helped to overcome it.
A special quality about my vet: He never says ‘no’!
A ‘Thank You’ note for my vet: Thanks for saving my Brando.

Zak

I’m: Kulbir Gill
My pet’s name: Zak
My vet’s name: Dr Jaspreet Mauj
Veterinary clinic/hospital: Vets for Pets, Ludhiana
How I came across my vet: Through friends.
Do I visit the vet for regular check-ups or only in case of medical condition: For regular check-ups.
How long have I been visiting my vet: Over the last 10 years.
Toughest medical challenge faced by me and my pet: Zak was diagnosed with epilepsy.
Role played by my vet in helping to overcome it: Dr Jaspreet did his best.
A special quality about my vet: He is always there in time of need.
A ‘Thank You’ note for my vet: I like to thank Dr Jaspreet for his dedicated work.

Diky

I’m: Haimanti Kumar
My pet’s name: Master Diky
My vets’ name: Dr DJ Sen Choudhury and Dr Konar
Veterinary clinic/hospital: Dr DJ Sen Choudhury’s Pet Clinic, Kolkata
How I came across my vets: They are popular vets in the neighbourhood with committed works.
Do I visit the vets for regular check-ups or only in case of medical condition: I make it a point to go to the vets once a month for regular check-ups.
How long have I been visiting my vet: For Diky now about six years.
Toughest medical challenge faced by me and my pet: Diky is very naughty. An earlier incident still gives me shiver as I might have almost lost him. Once I was so busy and delayed in getting his nails shortened. Dogs have general habit of scratching and Diky was also upto it. Due to the big nails and scratching coincidentally damaged his right ear tip and was bleeding profusely. I didn’t know what to do! Somehow I applied first aid and rushed him to the vets who were very prompt to take care. But bleeding made Diky so weak that he became very thin, unable to move for quite a few days and had to be under special care. Finally, by God’s grace, vets’ medicines and mom’s special care Diky bounced back to normal in weeks.
Role played by my vets: Dr DJ Sen Choudhury and Dr Konar were very calm in nature and their medication was very effective.
A special quality about my vets: They know and handle any situation very well and extremely friendly to pets.
A ‘Thank You’ note for my vet: Dr DJ Sen Choudhury and Dr Konar, I owe my life to you. All the happiness and joy in my life is a big thanks to you. You are amazing doctors and more than that you are compassionate human beings. Thanks for being there always. A pawful thanks and big BOW-WOW from Diky!

Ask the expert… | Sep Oct 13

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: I have two dogs – Pomeranian and Labrador (mix), both male and eight years old. They are fully vaccinated and dewormed. My Pomeranian started scratching and there were red spots and also hair loss which spread. With the help of a veterinarian and medicines, he got relief for some days but the problem is back. Please help.
– Rajesh Udai, Ajmer

Dr KG Umesh: Skin problems are common in dogs as their skin is thin and the barrier function is poor, compared to man or other animals. Any dog with chronic or recurring skin disease must be subjected to investigations like skin scraping or blood tests to find the underlying cause. Proper nutrition particularly zinc, fats and vitamins can help to strengthen skin barrier function. Therefore continue only commercially prepared food that meets all your pet’s nutritional requirements and your pet won’t need any food supplements. My approach would be to find underlying cause(s) for scratching (like fleas, mange, allergy, bacterial or yeast infection, etc) and then your vet will be able to recommend suitable medications.

Q: My dog has developed a rash on her right front paw which she keeps biting – so it has become like a minor wound. I have been applying Betadine and my vet advised to put an Elizabethan collar, which she does not wear. The wound is not healing. Please advice.
– Apurva, Hyderabad

Dr KG Umesh: Allergies, parasites, bacterial, fungal or yeast infections are common causes of rashes developing on paws of dogs. If the rash has not responded to treatment, your vet may advise few lab tests to find underlying cause. Self-mutilation and Acral Lick Dermatitis (caused by boredom or behavioural problems) are also frequent causes. Elizabethan collars are helpful in such cases. Your vet may prescribe topical creams that help to relieve itching sensation and promote healing.

Q: I have two female Golden Retrievers – they have their heat cycles – approximately within a week of each other. Currently both are three years old. One of the dogs missed her 3rd cycle – but when the other was having the 4th one – she (the one who missed the 3rd) had her cycle. Is it normal for cycle to be delayed?
– Joy Fernandes, Bengaluru

Dr KG Umesh: Oestrus/heat cycle lasts about three weeks. The first signs of heat are usually a swollen vulva and a blood-stained discharge. On average, this will continue for about nine days, this is the period of pro-oestrus. This stage is followed by a period of oestrus when the vulva will be very enlarged and the discharge will appear straw-coloured rather than blood-stained. During oestrus, male dogs will be attracted to the female dogs. Many a time these signs may go unnoticed or absent. Most female dogs, if not mated, will come into season approximately every 6-9 months, although very large breeds of dogs may cycle anything up to once in 15 months. Consult your vet if she continues to miss her cycles or shows any abnormal vulvar discharge or signs.

Q: My four-month-old Lhasa Apso while playing jumped from my bed about one week back. Since then he has gradually stopped playing and now even he walks very less. He keeps lying down in his bed or floor and when he walks, at times, he limps with his front right foot. When I spoke to my vet regarding the problem, he has prescribed me Melonex Oral. Is the medicine ok for him? What should I do? Also, advise on the dietary needs of dogs?
– Samrat Dey, Mangaldai, Assam

Dr KG Umesh: Please take him to your vet for complete physical examination to rule out any serious injuries. Painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs like Melonex will control pain or inflammation but may not remove the underlying cause. These drugs must be given under your vet’s supervision as they cause serious adverse effects in puppies when you exceed dose or duration. Manufactured dry pet foods not only provide complete nutrition and are also cheaper compared to home prepared diet. Feeding your dog a well balanced diet is clearly necessary to keep them fit and healthy, and there is a whole variety of different types of products to choose from, including diets designed for specific stages of life (puppy and adult) and foods which deliver additional health benefits (small breed puppy and adult). Please remember that it is not possible to feed your dog a consistent and adequate home-prepared diet without considerable time, effort and expertise. There is no need to feed any tonics/calcium or home diet while he is feeding on a balanced food except clean fresh water.

Q: Éclair – my one and a half year old Lab – eats his food very fast and then throws up. I feed him three times a day. We feed home-cooked meals and dry dog food. What should I do?
– Ishani Rai, Chennai

Dr KG Umesh: Most Labradors have ravenous appetite and this greedy eating sometimes causes in-coordination in movement of ingested food from mouth to stomach through food pipe. This allows food to accumulate in food pipe, to be expelled through the mouth. Frequent small meals may help to prevent this normal regurgitation. Some dogs tend to eat food fast for the fear of competition. Please make sure that he is comfortable and has safe environment while eating his meals. Just like us, adult dogs need a balanced diet which contains just the right amount of protein, fat, carbohydrates, many different vitamins and minerals to ensure that they stay in peak condition and maintain optimal health. Unless properly formulated by a nutritionist or a vet, diets made at home are not likely to be nutritionally complete and balanced. Prepared pet foods from reputed pet food manufacturers come with a guarantee of nutritional adequacy, quality and safety. Therefore continue feeding only recommended quantity of the prepared pet food.

 

just for fun

Just Fur Fun | Sep Oct 2013

Kids Corner

All you kiddies out there, we would love to know more about you and your dog. Do write in your poems, short stories or anecdotes of your loving doggy and see them splash here. Here is the checklist of information we would love to have, e-mail it to us at info@dogsandpups.net

Just Fur Fun!

All About My Buddy:

Just for fun

Gouri & Mickey

My Name is: Shraddha
My Buddy’s Name is: Mickey
My Buddy’s Breed is: Lhasa Apso
My Buddy’s Age is: One year
My Buddy is: Male
My Buddy’s Favourite Treats: Sausages, Drool biscuits and roasted chicken.
My Buddy’s First Love: My daughter Gouri.
My Buddy’s Funniest Habits: Running here and there, jumping when family members came home from office.
My Buddy’s Character Certificate Will Say: A doggie with attitude.

BUDDY AND ME:
(Few of our favourite things)

What We Indulge on Sundays: A long walk.
What is the Best Trick I have Taught Him: To fetch flying biscuits and his games like Doll n’ Ball.

 

Ask the expert… | Oct Nov 12

Dr KG Umesh (MVSc, MSc (UK)) is a Postgraduate in Clinical Medicine. He has been a ask the expertlecturer 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: My dog loves to chew grass. Is it normal? How should I stop this habit?
– Sahana Sharan, Mumbai

Dr KG Umesh: Contrary to the common perception that grass eating is associated with observable signs of illness and vomiting, one study found that grass eating is a common behaviour in normal dogs unrelated to illness and that dogs do not regularly vomit afterward. Vomiting seems to be incidental too, rather than caused by plant eating. It is not uncommon for dogs to eat grass and is generally un-harmful to the dog providing the grass has not been chemically treated. The dog will often vomit the chewed grass with frothy saliva, not long after eating it. One suggestion for dogs doing this is to relieve an excess of digestive juices that accumulate in the stomach when it is empty. Some dogs will graze on fine grass and may even digest it to provide roughage in the diet. It is important that dog’s main diet is nutritionally balanced and the correct amount of food is being fed for the dog’s life stage. If the grass eating is accompanied by prolonged or persistent vomiting, and particularly if the vomitus contains blood, veterinary advice should be sought.

Q: My dog is one year old and has developed Wobblers Syndrome. Please suggest treatment.
– Karthik, Bengaluru

Dr KG Umesh: Cervical Stenotic Myelopathy (CSM) or Wobbler Syndrome or Cervical Malformation describes a syndrome of compression of the cervical spinal cord as a result of degenerative changes in the spine in neck region. Clinical signs include progressive incordination, weakness in all limbs and, sometimes, neck pain. Signs in the hind limbs are more severe than the front limbs. CT scan or MRI is required to diagnose these cases. It is recommended that dogs with neurological deficits are treated surgically, as this is a chronic progressive disease. Dogs who are non-ambulatory may respond to conservative management but surgery is strongly recommended. Conservative management includes treatment of pain with anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants, and restriction of unmonitored activity combined with controlled exercise and physical therapy. Acupuncture can be useful for controlling chronic pain in some dogs.

Q: My pet Lafro is suffering from megaesophagus – she cannot chew food, she can only swallow food, so we have to give her liquid food only. What can be done- and how do we manage this condition in the long run?
– Ekta Kapoor, Mumbai

Dr KG Umesh: In animals, like in people, the esophagus is the tube that carries swallowed food from the mouth down into the stomach. Megaesophagus is a disorder characterised by decreased movement and dilation or distension of the esophagus. As a result, food does not pass from the mouth to the stomach appropriately and can sit in the esophagus or be brought back up through the throat and out the mouth (regurgitation). Pets with megaesophagus are at greater risk for developing pneumonia (lung infection), since food and liquids sitting in the esophagus or being regurgitated can be accidentally inhaled into the lungs (aspiration pneumonitis). The goals of treating an animal with megaesophagus are to eliminate the cause when possible, minimise the frequency of regurgitation, prevent overdistention of the esophagus, maintain a good level of nutrition and body condition, prevent or rapidly identify and treat complications, such as aspiration pneumonia, and improve the overall quality of the pet’s life. Food and water should be maintained in an elevated position (by placing food and water bowls on a table or stepstool) so that gravity can help move food through the esophagus, toward the stomach. Ideally animals are held in a sitting, upright position for as much as 10 to 15 minutes after eating or drinking, to help food and water flow down into the stomach. Some patients will require the placement of a temporary or permanent feeding tube in order to maintain an adequate level of nutrition. This tube allows for food and water to be administered directly into the stomach or intestines. Megaesophagus is a potentially serious and sometimes even life-threatening illness. The prognosis varies dramatically with the underlying cause of the disease, the presence of secondary complications.

Q: My German Shepherd puppy is having runny nose and not eating well. He is not active and seems to be lazy. Please do advice.
– Vipin Rana, Patna

Dr KG Umesh: Any puppy showing respiratory signs with poor appetite require immediate medical attention. The underlying cause could be serious viral infections like distemper in unvaccinated puppies to simple allergies. Please take him to your vet ASAP.

Q: Nawab – my Golden Cocker – has frequent ear problems. He keeps shaking and scratching his ears and sometimes there is a brown smelly discharge. We tie a loose band or ribbon when we give him food. Do help.
– Meghna, Pathankot

Dr KG Umesh: Otitis externa is inflammation of the outer ear canal. In pets with otitis externa, the skin that lines the outer ear often becomes red, itchy and painful. Pus, waxy material, and other debris can accumulate. Otitis externa can cause head shaking, scratching and rubbing, a foul odour, abnormal behaviour or even irritability, and hearing loss in long-term situations. There are many underlying causes that include allergies, parasites and endocrine disorders. Some pets like spaniels are predisposed which have narrower than normal ear canals and long, hanging (floppy) ears. Debris can accumulate more easily in these ears, creating an environment in which organisms (bacteria, yeast, fungi) can thrive and trigger intense inflammation. The treatment for otitis externa requires controlling the inflammation and then treating the underlying cause of the problem, if the cause can be determined. Depending on the cause, treatment of otitis externa can be nothing more than matter of placing medication in your pet’s ears and performing regular cleanings, or it can involve a long-term commitment to treating recurrent problems. Keeping your pet’s ears clean is important because it helps prevent an environment in the ears that promotes inflammation. Your vet can show you how to properly do this and which ear cleaning products are safe to use with your pet.

Dogs and Pups, Sep -Oct 12 Issue

+ Editorial
+ Breed Profile
+ Common food myths busted!
+ Mastering the art of canine communication
+ Inspiring tails
+ Starter kit for puppies
+ Female vs Male Is love gender specific?
+ Fur dressing – Brush to shine
+ It’s all in the ears!
+ In memory of Richie
+ Picture Perfect
+ Paws and their stars
+ Ask the expert…
+ Training secrets by commando kennels
+ ‘WAGS’ For the wonderful vet
+ Fighting the dreadful cancer
+ FAQs on blood donation in pooches
+ Healthy petting
+ Events
+ PAW’-tales
+ Freedom from fleas!
+ Grouped to instincts!
+ Tracing the paws!

Ask the Expert.. Sep Oct 2012

Dr KG Umesh (MVSc, MSc (UK)) is a Postgraduate in Clinical Medicine. He is working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for South Asia.

Q: My cat is extremely vocal when I put on my shoes to step out- he keeps following me and keeps a close contact. My family says after I leave, he sulks and hides in a corner – he sometimes eats very little too. How do I calm him?
– Karuna, Pune

Dr KG Umesh: Cats communicate in several different ways, using not only sounds but also posture and

ask the expert cats

Paly

behaviour. Tactile communications include rubbing against others including people, grooming and nose touching which is used as greeting. Auditory communications include purring, which occurs primarily during contact with other individual. The trill or meow is used as greeting calls. As long as cats are given plenty of stimulation and space, they can live contented lives. Enrichment of the living space is particularly important to ensure the cat feels secure and avoids boredom. Environmental enrichment is a means of providing your cat with opportunities to express his normal range of behaviour when he lives in a physically limited environment. Allowing your cat interesting opportunities to play, ‘hunt’, feed and be friendly will help prevent problems which can arise from boredom in confined cats. Toys (particularly hanging or moving), feeding puzzles, making use of resting places at a range of heights and different locations and access to a view of the outdoors all help stimulate indoor cats. For example, cats love watching birds attracted to a feeding table outside a window! Food treats or toys left in cardboard boxes encourage cats to explore, hide and play. It’s important that cats kept exclusively indoors are given plenty of contact from their pet parents as this helps make up for less stimulation in other ways.

Just Fur Fun | Sep Oct 2012

All you kiddies out there, we would love to know more about you and your dog. Do write in your poems, short stories or anecdotes of your loving doggy and see them splash here. Here is the checklist of information we would love to have, e-mail it to us at info@dogsandpups.net

All About My Buddy:

just for fun

Aayushi and Jingle

My Name is: Aayushi Shah
My Buddy’s Name is: Jingle
My Buddy’s Breed is: Labrador Retriever
My Buddy’s Age is: Six months
My Buddy is: Female
My Buddy’s Colour is: Golden
My Buddy’s Favourite Treat are: Dentastix, ice cream and eggs
My Buddy’s First Love: My mom and me
My Buddy’s Character Certificate Will Say: She is very cute, understanding and adorable

BUDDY AND Me: (Few of our favourite things)

List of Activities We Like Doing the Most: Playing hide & seek, football and watching TV
What We Indulge on Sundays: Going for a drive, playing and watching TV
What is the best trick I have taught her: Playing hide & seek.

Wags’ for the wonderful vet | Sep – Oct 12

I’m: Narsimha Manoj Wags for the wornderful vet
My pet’s name: Lucky
My vet’s name: Dr Srinivas
Veterinary clinic/hospital: Visakha Pet Clinic, Visakhapatnam
How I came across my vet: Suggested by friends
Do I visit the vet for regular check-up or only in case of medical condition: For regular check-ups.
How long have I been visiting my vet: Ever since Lucky is with me, around two and a half years.
Toughest medical challenge faced by me and my pet: Thank God! Nothing till now.
Role played by my vet: He is very cautious.
A special quality about my vet which strengthens my faith in him: He takes good care of my dog and he is protector of Lucky from illness.
A ‘Thank You’ note for my vet: Thanks a lot for your time, love and care.

I’m: Rakesh Murthy
My pet’s name: Prince Murthy
My vet’s name: Dr S Jeya Bharath
Veterinary clinic/hospital: 5th Sense, Kondhwa, Pune
How I came across my vet: Just met him accidentally.
Do I visit the vet for regular check-up or only in case of medical condition: Of course, for regular check-ups.
How long have I been visiting my vet: Over the last two years.
Toughest medical challenge faced by me and my pet: Prince once got ear infection.
Role played by my vet in helping to overcome it: Dr Bharath clearly explained any symptom and diagnosed it easily.
A special quality about my vet which strengthens my faith in him: Always being calm and smiling, he knows precisely what he is doing.
A ‘Thank You’ note for my vet: Thanks to Dr Bharath for being with us in critical times and making us feel good. It’s true that doctors are next to God!

I’m: Vatika Seth
My pet’s name: Diana
My vet’s name: Dr Prabhakar
Veterinary clinic/hospital: Friendicoes SECA, New Delhi
How I came across my vet: Referred by a friend.
Do I visit the vet for regular check-up or only in case of medical condition: For regular check-ups as well as medical conditions.
How long have I been visiting my vet: It has been more than five years.
Toughest medical challenge faced by me and my pet:
Miscarriage when a tumour was found in her intestine.
Role played by my vet in helping to overcome it : Dr Prabhakar is extremely helpful in tedious situations. He provides the best facility as well as medication.
A special quality about my vet which strengthens my faith in him: Honest and trustworthy professional whom we can rely on him for the minutest to biggest medical problems.
A ‘Thank You’ note for my vet: ‘Thank You’ from the bottom of my heart for being anywhere and anytime to save our furry buddies.

I’m: Roshan F
My pets’ names: Bruno, Nikki and Renee (all Labradors)
My vet’s name: Dr TPL Naik
Veterinary clinic/hospital: Precise Pet Clinic, Bengaluru
How I came across my vet: That is a memorable incident which I can’t forget and that’s the reason I am obliged to my vet- Dr Naik for his committed services.
Do I visit the vet for regular check-up or only in case of medical condition: Regular check-up.
How long have I been visiting my vet: Since last eight years.
Toughest medical challenge faced by me and my pet: Once one of my pets was stung by frog and she developed small golf ball sized swells all over her body. When my previous vet did not respond to my repeated phone calls, I was helplessly wandering in the late night in search of some help.
All of a sudden, I saw Dr Naik’s clinic on a by lane and I called him up after getting his cell number from the signboard. I rushed the pet to his residential area where he treated the pet under a street light.
Role played by my vet in helping to overcome it: Me, my family and my beloved pets are obliged to Dr Naik for his dedicated service.
A special quality about my vet which strengthens my faith in him: His patience and support. Call him anytime, he will be there 24x7x365. Indeed a tremendous human being!
A ‘Thank You’ note for my vet: A ‘Thank You’ seems to be not enough for Dr Naik. You are wonderful and kind. Send in your entries to the questionnaire along with a picture of your dog and your vet at info@dogsandpups.net

Ask the expert… | Sep -Oct 12

Dr K G Umesh (MVSc, MSc (UK)) is a Postgraduate in Clinical Medicine. He has been a ask the expertlecturer 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: My German Shepherd who is five years old seems to be passing gas/fart, as sometimes there is a stinky stench around him. He is on home cooked food. Do advice what do I do.
– Kishore Jain, Haldwani

Dr KG Umesh: Most of the gas that forms in the intestine comes from air swallowed during eating or through panting. Some gases are formed from bacterial fermentation of poorly digested carbohydrate or fiber in the colon. Also, malodorous gas may be generated by metabolic disturbances in the breakdown of food components. While it’s a natural part of your dog’s digestive process, the tendency to pass gas increases as your dog ages. German Shepherds are also prone to develop digestive disturbances because of their sensitive stomach. There are a number of ways you can help decrease your dog’s intestinal gas. Check your dog food ingredients like soy or poor carbohydrates which can be hard to digest. Feed reputed commercial dry food which are digestible and meet all his nutritional requirements. Cut out table scraps. Exercise not only helps move intestinal gas, it may also simulate bowel movements. Raise your dog’s food dish. Elevating your dog’s dish means he’s not bending his neck down as far, which can lead to swallowing too much air. Therapy is directed toward reducing the carbohydrate content of the diet, reducing gas surface-active tension, reducing intestinal bacterial colonisation, and improving gut motility. The combination of Yucca schidigera, Zinc acetate or charcoal may help to reduce malodor of flatus in dogs as shown in a study at Waltham. Ask your vet for help.

Q: We have two Labradors – four and seven years old. How can I crate train them for a flight?
– Shivani Puri, Delhi

Dr KG Umesh: Before making your booking, make sure the airline does not have any restrictions that will inhibit you from traveling with your pets. Make sure you visit a vet before traveling and make sure your pets are as fit and healthy as possible to withstand the journey. Give them a light meal about two hours before they travel. Let your pets ‘try out’ the carrying container before the trip. Give your pet the opportunity to go to the toilet before putting them in their carrying container. If the pets look very anxious/nervous, your vet may advise mild sedatives/travel sickness pills that help them to settle comfortably during travel. The carrying container (Transport Crate) should be well-ventilated, roomy enough for the animals to move around, safe and have adequate food and water for the trip, with easily refillable containers for a long journey. It is advisable to have a leak proof bottom in the crate that is covered with plenty of absorbent material. Put a familiar-smelling cushion or rug in the container to help your pets settle.

Q: Symphony, my three-year-old Dachshund, is shedding a lot. I see some hair loss around his eyes and snout. There are two patches on his body too. Please help.
– David, Kalimpong

Dr KG Umesh: Dogs have unique hair growth cycle and seasonal hair shedding. Photoperiod (light intensity) is main factor besides nutrition, genetics or health that can cause dog to shed hair excessively during some seasons and is physiological/normal. Dogs may also shed excessive hair because of stress, harsh climate and general illness. If the degree of shedding appears abnormal or associated with rashes, itching or any signs of serious skin problems or fleas, consult your veterinarian. Medical conditions such as thyroid disease or skin allergies can cause excessive shedding. Some tips to prevent or reduce hair shedding include daily brushing or at least two good brushings per week, regular bathing with a rich oatmeal or moisturising shampoo (do not use human shampoo or soap) and feeding a high quality diet: a diet that is rich in fatty acids, minerals like zinc and digestible proteins to keep your dog’s coat strong and healthy, and help decrease excessive shedding.

Q: The saliva of my dog seems a little thick and has some traces of red. She is salivating more. We feed her dog food- but now she has become fussy and likes only soft food- we are making rice and dal with chicken broth (with no bones). Please help.
– Swati Mahesh, Chennai

Dr KG Umesh: Your pet may be suffering from oral disease involving gums/teeth or inflammation in mouth. But the fact is, probably the number one health problem for dogs, apart from being overweight, is periodontal disease. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 80 percent of dogs show signs of periodontal disease by the age of three. The accumulation of tartar and plaque and the resulting gingivitis can lead to more serious disease. Tartar accumulates, and eventually the healthy pink gum starts to look red, and swell (Gingitivitis). This may cause pain while chewing solid food. First take her to your vet for examination of her mouth to rule out any other problems and he may suggest dental scaling if she has bad tartar/plaque. Following this, you can lightly brush the dog’s teeth at least twice a week to remove plaque deposits. A child’s nylon toothbrush dipped in toothpaste made for dogs should be used. Do not use tooth pastes made for humans, which can cause nausea in dogs if swallowed. An alternative to brushing is using a dental chew. Studies by Waltham have shown that certain specifically designed dental health chews (Dentastix) help in reducing tartar accumulation, gingivitis and malodour. Dry dog food may also help prevent dental plaque accumulation.

Q: My nine months old Labrador loves to eat and tries to gobble a lot of things- which are non food items. While walking him I have noticed certain small objects, such as a toothpaste cap in his stool. How do we deal with this habit of his?
– Anubhav Chandra, Jaipur

Dr KG Umesh: It is normal for puppies to be ‘mouthie’. Most of such 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. This type of behaviour may start after a change in the dog’s routine or as a result of boredom. The dog will find it hard to distinguish between what it can and cannot chew, therefore having their own toys will help define suitable chewing items. Provide chew toys that do not resemble in appearance or texture of unacceptable chew items. For example, a plush toy may be similar to a pillow, child’s stuffed animal or chair cushion. Exercise and play with your dog regularly to alleviate excess energy and provide positive interaction. Prevent access to unacceptable chew items. Reward your dog with praise for chewing on appropriate items. A well-trained dog makes everyone happy, including his pet parent.

“If there’s something that you want to know about YOUR pet but don’t know where to look or who to ask – log on to: www.wer4pets.com where the Collective Intelligence of PET LOVERS from all over will help out along with Expert advice.”