One of the most experienced veterinary specialists in India, Dr SB Mathur is running a successful practice in Lucknow
Q: My pet Labrador is 13 years. She still comes on heat. Does a dog go through menopause? -Rajni Singh
No, dogs do not go through menopause like humans do. Dogs that have not been spayed will continue to have heat cycles, and therefore bleed once or twice a year, for their entire lives unless they are pregnant or get spayed. But older unspayed dogs also may not have heat cycles as often as younger dogs so the time between cycles can start to increase. This increase in time between heat cycles is not the same as menopause, though. So, it is important to get your female pet neutered by 8-10 years so that she develops no disease of the uterus, including cancer.
Q: I want to keep a pet. But, tell me, are some breeds, like pit bulls, really more aggressive? Mini Mathur
Certain dog breeds, such as pit bulls and Dobermans, are sometimes associated with aggressive behaviour. However, it is impossible to predict how an individual dog will behave based solely on their breed. No dog breed is naturally aggressive and should not be categorized in that way. Some dog breeds can be very strong-willed with a desire to work and perform tasks. Even these dogs can be very loving and affectionate with the right dedicated owner. Being familiar with your dog breed and personality is crucial for training and ensuring this animal is the right companion for your family. However, if you are a first-time dg owner, I would suggest to safer breeds like Spitz, Pug, Lhasa apso, or Labrador and Golden Retrievers. These are comparatively easier to keep, train and make good family pets and companions.
Q: Can I feed my dog raw meat? -Mohd Arif
You are better off cooking meat before feeding it to your pet. Raw meat poses contamination risks for dogs and humans from Salmonella, Listeria, and other bacteria. Besides that, your dog may not be able to digest it. In the wild, carnivores eat once and then go without food for days until the meat in their intestines is digested. How will you calculate this?
Q: Can someone with a dog allergy ever adapt to living with dogs? -Seema Singh
You can adopt a dog even if you have allergies, but do not assume you will be magically cured of it over time. Some dog allergy sufferers have probably heard anecdotal evidence that it is possible to eventually adapt to living with dogs. Unfortunately, there is no consensus among experts as to whether this is true. People with respiratory problems, such as asthma, should be especially cautious about intentionally exposing themselves to dog allergens. However, there are certain breeds that are hypoallergic that you can keep. Only do not get into very close quarters with them and let them lead a happy life in one part of the house while you maintain a safe distance, whereas others in your family are not deprived of the pleasure of keeping a pet. The dog must be groomed properly, including monthly baths with et-prescribed shampoo, daily sponge cleaned with Savlon mixed warm water and brushed or combed thoroughly. Do not use alcoholic products on it like conditioners and deodorants because your dog may be allergic to alcohol and it may get allergy itself, worsening your situation. Keeping your pet clean will also help it shed very few allergens or none at all. Thus, you can keep a pet with a little care.