Ask the expert…


Dr K.G Umesh (MVSc, MSc (UK)) is a Postgraduate in ClinicalMedicine. He has been a lecturer in clinical medicine at Vet College in Bangalore for15 years, and has won the ‘best teacher’ award in theyear 2000. He is a member of European Society for Vet Dermatology and is currently working for WALTHAM asRegional Associate for South Asia.

Q: I am a single working person, living in a 2BHK apartment. I would like to buy a puppy. Can I buy a Labrador pup or suggest me a breed suitable to my lifestyle?

– KVS Rajesh, Rajahmundry, AP

Dr KG Umesh: Labrador being a large breed cannot be cramped in a small apartment. They need plenty of space to run around and more importantly, the availability of open spaces nearby for exercise. They need a lot of attention, especially when young, and sufficient time must be set aside for their training, exercise and grooming. In particular, toilet training puppies will be difficult if you spend a lot of time away during this critical period. Small breeds with shorthair coat (Dachshund, Pug, Beagles) are easy to maintain in small apartments. If your lifestyle means your dog would be on his own for most of the day, then perhaps you should reconsider your choice of pet. Another choice of pet like cats/hamsters may be more suitable.
Q: My dog Bronie (Doberman), aged 10, has dry cough problem. In spite of vaccines and medicines by the vet, he has been suffering for the past four months. He is eating well and behaving normally. But he makes a very weird sound, like he is tending to vomit. Please advise.
– Deepesh Das, Neemuch, MP
Dr KG Umesh: Any senior pet showing persistent or recurring respiratory signs like cough requires immediate medical attention. Dogs can develop cough for several reasons, and cough is merely a sign of an underlying problem anywhere in wind pipe, food pipe, lungs or left heart failure. Kennel cough is typically seasonal and dogs respond very well to medications. The underlying cause could be serious infections or allergies or growths in upper respiratory tract or chest. Please take him to your vet ASAP. You vet may need basic investigations like radiograph, ECG and blood tests to make sure that there are serious diseases that cause dry cough.
Q: My dog, who is of eight years now, is facing problem in his right eye. The eye becomes red and tears coming out.
Please help.
– Kunwar Shashwat, Varanasi, UP
Dr KG Umesh: Red eye may indicate inflammation in any internal parts of the eye ball. Injuries, corneal ulcers/opacity, uveitis, infections and glaucoma are few examples of red eye. The underlying cause of the problem can only be confirmed by your veterinarian when he examines your pet’s eye.
Q: I have a five-month-old Rottweiler puppy. It’s around a week she has come home and has adjusted well with the house; we have house trained her. She also gets along well with the two other dogs (older than her). The problem is, she gets scared to walk on leash and does not move. Please advice what best can be done.
– Sudha Salian, Chennai, TN
Dr KG Umesh: Leash training of puppy to walk is based on the same principles as training them to obey the sit, down, and stay exercises. To reward a dog for proper behaviour, it is important to identify a sufficiently motivating reward. Examples include food, a tennis ball, or a squeaky toy. Whenever the dog is walking quietly next to you or is not pulling, he should be rewarded. You will have to reinforce good behaviour at least on an intermittent schedule or the dog will not continue to offer that behaviour.
Identify situations and environments that your puppy will need to be comfortable with, meeting the people in road, having contact with the children/pets next door, walking along the street, tolerating large lorries and cars – to name just a few. You are basically aiming at preparing your puppy for all eventualities, so that whenever he encounters anyone or anything new, he will greet it with inquisitiveness rather than fear or aggression. When taking your puppy for a walk, take some tasty snacks with you and ask people to give one to your puppy, and your puppy will soon learn that all people/things are friendly.
Q: My female Lab, who is now four months old, is not growing properly and putting on weight. Please advise.
Ketan Duthade, Aurangabad, Maharashtra
Dr KG Umesh: The growth of puppies involves the genetic potential of the individual (breed and sex), the environment and nutrition. A nutritionally balanced diet is crucial for the healthy growth and development of a puppy in order to prepare him for an active, long, and healthy life. The provision of all essential nutrients in reputed commercial puppy food along with accurate feeding will help to maximise their genetic potential to grow. Avoid overfeeding and do not use supplements like calcium while he is on a complete diet.