Ask the Experts.. | Jan Feb 2012

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 a nine-week-old Labrador puppy and we are planning to buy a male mate for her. How would I introduce her to her new mate? Will it be okay to bring one at this age? What and how much should she eat?
– Aayushi Shah, Ahmedabad
Dr KG Umesh: Whatever your reasons you decided to add another puppy to the family, just be aware that bringing in a new puppy is a huge change for another dog – and unless you go about it the right way, it could create a lot of stress. However, both being very young puppies, they can get along very quickly. With the puppy in your lap and your another puppy held by someone else, let the older puppy sniff, lick and explore the new puppy. A couple of minutes are more than enough time for this initial introduction. On the second or third meeting, if all seems safe, allow the puppies onto the floor, and monitor that situation carefully for a few minutes. Make sure that you give your older puppy praise and attention. Repeat this exercise at least twice daily until you’re comfortable that the two will get along. Puppies nutritional requirements are almost twice that of an adult dog and are different from human. A nutritionally balanced diet is crucial for the healthy growth and development of a puppy. Therefore, accurate feeding and the provision of all nutrients (reputed complete puppy food like Pedigree) to maximize puppies genetic potential to grow is required. Puppies are fed 2-4 small meals per day and please follow the instructions given on pet food label or ask your vet.
Q: How do I housetrain my two and a half months old Pug pup and what are the first basic commands? Also, how do we go about the vaccination and deworming?
– Tej Bindra, Jammu
Dr KG Umesh: It is essential that you start the socialisation and training programme as soon as you acquire your puppy. Much of the early socialisation/training can be done in your home and you can take him out following his complete vaccination. If your dog is properly trained to ‘sit’, ‘stay’, and ‘come’, he’ll be less likely to have behavioral issues with people because his first concern will be to obey your commands. A dog who’s under control and knows you are the leader of his ‘pack’ will behave and, if your dog is socialised properly, he’ll be comfortable around strangers and in new situations. Your best ally in the prevention of health problems is your veterinarian. Typically vaccination is done at the age of six weeks or later and your vet may advise 2-3 booster doses until 20 weeks of age. Deworming recommended once in 2-3 weeks until six months of age.
Q: My dog’s nails have become long – how do I cut them?
– Mahima Gorani, Thane
Dr KG Umesh: Excessively long toenails will actually cause pain and may deform a dog’s feet. There is a nerve and a blood vessel in the nails. Watching your vet perform the task will let you know if your dog already has issues about toenail trimming. Even if the dog seems fine with it, consider waiting until you have had time to get used to each other before you try toenail trimming on your own. There are many safe nail clippers available and your vet will recommend the right one for your pet. In the meantime, you need to have a professional do it if your dog might bite you out of fear.
Q: My dog has been straining while passing faeces. This problem has been reoccurring. Please help.
– Gopal, Amritsar
Dr KG Umesh: There are number of reasons for a dog to develop straining or difficulty to pass faeces. Constipation is not a disease but condition that can be caused by many factors and diseases. Insufficient dietary fibre and water deprivation can cause constipation. Constipation can also result from consumption of bones and foreign materials. Environmental factors that affect an animal’s daily routine such as hospitalisation or lack of exercise can lead to constipation. Other common causes of constipation include aging, rectal or anal or pelvic problems, growths in large bowel and surrounding structures, certain drugs, metabolic and endocrine diseases. Therefore your vet can help to identify and treat the underlying disorder and he may also advise enemas, laxatives and high-fibre dietary products for some cases.
Q: My veterinarian has advised me not to neuter my five months old GSD Jack. I do not want to breed him. Please advise.
– M Shukla, Mathura
Dr KG Umesh: Early-age neutering is viewed as an important step in reducing the number of unwanted litters of puppies. Neutering a male dog also help to reduce some forms of aggressions and may prevent roaming and fighting. Long-term outcomes in a study found that early neutering offers more benefits than risks for male dogs. Some males can still be as aggressive if neutered but not well trained. Weight gain can be avoided if exercise is encouraged.