Ask the expert | July Aug 07
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 presently working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for south Asia.
Q : I just want to know that what would be the appropriate diet for my 50-day-old female Labrador. She also bites things around. What should I do?
– Amit Jhingran, Hisar
Dr. K.G. Umesh : Proper nutrition allows for puppy to reach his full genetic potential. Some dog owners prepare homemade foods for their pets. But it’s difficult even for an experienced breeder to get the nutritional balance just right. Remember that puppies grow approximately 12 times faster than baby and baby foods/home prepared diets do not meet nutrient requirements of puppies. The best idea is to get your puppy used to eating commercially prepared foods from the very start as they are designed to meet all their nutritional requirements.
Also, it is normal for puppies to be “mouthie.” When she tries to bite, a GENTLE tap on the nose with a “NO BITE” command should be sufficient to correct this behaviour. Consistency is the key with puppies. When the pup stops the bad behaviour make sure you reward her with “GOOD (puppy’s name)!” Puppies want to make their owners happy and you need to help them by your voice tone when they are being good.
Q : My dog had a wound, which is now cured, but there is no hair growth in that area. Why?
– Sibi, Coimbatore
Dr. K.G. Umesh : Hair growth cycle is influenced by many factors such as hormones, stress, nutrition, diseases and drug therapy. The wound might have destroyed hair follicles. Your vet may help you to find underlying cause.
Q : My dog is probably pregnant. How do I confirm her pregnancy? Please advice me what care should be taken now, during birth and post birth. Also tell me about the pregnancy term.
– Sumonto Choudhury, Dehradun
Dr. K.G. Umesh : The diagnosis of pregnancy (gestation period: 57–69, with average of 63 days)–may begin with abdominal palpation and then be more accurately diagnosed via ultrasonography or canine pregnancy kits. Late in gestation, the female requires increased amounts of a well-balanced, high-energy diet to meet the needs of the developing offspring as well as to enable her to produce enough milk for the offspring. Lactation may begin as early as 7 days prepartum in the pregnant female, but most females produce milk hours before they whelp. Her appetite may decrease and nest-building behaviour begins 24 to 36 hours before parturition. A reduction in her body temperature of about 1.1°F signifies that whelping is 12 to 24 hours away. A whelping box should be provided in a quiet, dimly lit area that is free of drafts. She should be left alone in the whelping box with free access to food and clean water and should be monitored as unobtrusively as possible. If a puppy is not born within 2 hours of the start of abdominal contractions (true labour), she may need medical attention. Consult your vet for further information.
Q : I have a 12-weeks-old Labrador. Tell me about deworming and sterilisation schedule. Also, he does not like going out for a walk. What should I do?
– Suresh Gharpure, Mumbai
Dr. K.G. Umesh : Deworming is generally recommended every 2-3 weeks until 6 months of age and thereafter, once in 3 months. Your vet can advise you as to when it is best to have the neutering done (either puppy age or after sexual maturity). Puppies show increasing attraction to unusual things in their environment, and they learn what is and isn’t pleasing. If puppies are exposed in a non-frightening way to a wide variety of stimulating things during this period, they’re less likely to be afraid of new objects and situations later in life. Make sure that you have time to invest in an intensive socialisation programme during his early weeks with you that will have a long lasting effect on his behaviour.
Q : How can I puppy-proof my home?
– Deepika Dubey, Jabalpur
Dr. K.G. Umesh : Household items that you may consider harmless can be deadly to your puppy. He may tug or chew anything he finds including plants and electrical cords. Candles, burners, coins and similar objects can also be hazardous. Do not leave hazardous items, including medicines, poisonous plants, detergents and cleaning agents, where your puppy can get to them. Also, chocolates should be kept away from them. Make sure that all gates are shut securely and that your puppy cannot squeeze through or under your gate. Puppies soon learn that not everything in and around your home is for playing with and that some things are just not safe. In the meantime, do everything you can to ensure your puppy has a safe environment to grow up.