One of the most experienced veterinary specialists in India, Dr SB Mathur is running a successful practice in Lucknow
Q: My two-year-old dog barks a lot, especially while I am not around. His health is fine. What can be the issue? Rajat Gupta
The first step is figuring out what causes your dog to bark too much. Barking is often motivated by fear or a perceived threat to their territory or people, it can be lessened by limiting what your dog sees. If your dog barks excessively while you’re gone, you need to provide more activities or companionship to keep them from being lonely or bored. Get someone to walk your dog or play with it for at least an hour a day. Remember not to scold your pet. Separation anxiety and compulsive barking are both difficult to treat and should be handled with the help of a veterinary behaviourist or a certified applied animal behaviourist. Dogs with these problems often need drug therapy to help them cope while learning new, more acceptable behaviours.
Q: There is a dark colour eye discharge from my Pomeranian’s eyes. Is it a disease? Kamna Singh
Dog eye discharge and tear staining are common problems, especially with certain breeds. Excessive tearing can occur as a result of irritation to your dog’s eyes or because your dog’s tears are not draining properly. In a normal dog eye, there are small holes that drain tears away from the eye and down the throat. A variety of dog eye problems can affect this drainage, causing excessively watery eyes. These conditions include shallow eye sockets. If the eye sockets aren’t big or deep enough, tears can spill out onto the fur around the eyes. If the eyelids roll in toward the eyeball, the drainage holes for tears may become blocked. If hair grows too close to the eye, it can wick tears away from the eye and onto the face. Blocked tear drainage holes (puncta). Previous dog eye infections or eye damage can cause scar tissue to form that blocks some of the drainage passages for tears. There is no way to stop dog eye discharge because of shallow eye sockets, so the goal in this situation is to minimize skin irritation and coat discoloration. If your dog’s tear stains are developing because their eyes are always irritated, eliminating the source of irritation will help. This might include keeping hair near the eyes trimmed very short and treating infection or glaucoma, if present. There are surgical options for certain eyelid or eyelash problems that can restore normal tear drainage and eliminate overflow onto the face.
Q: My dog shivers a lot, and not necessarily out of cold. What could be wrong? Maya Mehta
If it is not cold, it could be out of excitement. You can safely ignore this type of shivering in most cases. However, other intense emotions that can cause shivers are fear and anxiety. While shivering, in this case, isn't harmful in itself, stress isn't any better for your dog than it is for you. Do your best to reassure your dog and, if possible, remove the source of the stress. Shivering could be a sign that your dog is in pain or suffering from an illness. Shivering and muscle tremors can be symptoms of serious conditions such as distemper, hypoglycaemia, Addison's disease and inflammatory brain disease, as well as more common ailments like an upset stomach. It is not uncommon for weakening leg muscles to develop tremors as dogs age, but shivering could also be a sign of arthritis or joint pain. If the shivering is accompanied by abnormal behaviour or seems out of character for your dog, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Q: My Labrador is having loose stools. Please advise. Saket
Most cases of dog diarrhoea are self-limiting and will resolve on their own in a day or two. Many dogs with diarrhoea act and feel fine so there’s no need to worry in most cases. How to stop dog diarrhoea is usually as simple as fasting your dog and returning to a bland diet. But if the bout of diarrhoea lasts for more than a couple of days, the most common risk is dehydration. So, you may have to take your pet to the vet.