One of the most experienced veterinary specialists in India, Dr SB Mathur is running a successful practice in Lucknow
Q: My 3-year-old lab dog keeps asking for food though I give her good portions twice daily, but she'll beg for ours. Why? Vibha Jain
Dogs, unlike cats, are known to have insatiable appetite. It is just a fact for some breeds more than others. For example, Labrador or Cocker Spaniel will eat until they physically cannot anymore, throw up, and eat again. This is the main reason why you should not, EVER, leave "open counter buffet" for your dog - it is bad for them, and they cannot stop. Also, if you think about dogs domestication, their appetite is widely used for training - you give your dog a reward each time it does something right, this reward is typically food. If dogs were not eager to eat, it would be more difficult to train them, and potentially we actually selected for them to be like that. Once your dog has had a taste of human food, it will want it again, so when you are training a dog not to beg, do not give her any. Don't let your kids have a moment of weakness and slip them something under the table. If you do give your dog a little human food as a treat, make sure you give it to her in the proper place — dog bowl. After a while, your dog will realize that the only place to get food is from that one place, so she won't wait around the table. Another way is do not feed your dog until you are ready to eat dinner or lunch. This way, she will be busy eating hers that begging for yours. If after all these tips, your dog is still begging at the table, ignore her. Do not even acknowledge that she is there.
Q: My dog has rashes all over his body, particularly in belly region. He keeps licking it. What can be the reason? Harsh Mehra
A skin rash in dogs can be caused by an underlying condition such as parasites, bacterial infections and allergies. The most common reason for skin rashes in dogs is allergies. Allergies may be caused by your dog’s diet, by the environment and by parasites. A few flea bites on a dog that is allergic to flea saliva can trigger itching and scratching for weeks. Parasites not only cause skin rashes, but they can also rob your dog of nutrients. A heavy infestation of fleas, mites and ticks can also cause your dog to become anaemic. Dogs that have a skin rash should be seen by a veterinarian. The veterinarian will be able to diagnose and treat the underlying reason for the skin rash.
Q: My 5-month-old German Shepherd is too friendly with strangers; how do I stop this? Sahar
It depends on many factors like if your dog is puppy then it is normal because puppies are generally calm natured and friendly. Another reason can be that the parents of your dog were not aggressive and were of friendly nature that is why your dog is also friendly or you may not have trained it for showing aggression to strangers. Dogs have what is called a "warding” instinct. This instinct is not functional at birth. It starts coming in anywhere between 8 months to about a year and a half of age. Also, don't mistake being friendly with a lack of protectiveness. You basically want a dog that essentially likes people but who will react when you are threatened.
Q: My 9-month Golden Retriever is scared of strangers, does not bark at them and hides behind me? Meira Shah
There are fear periods in some dog’s life between six to fourteen months. Make sure your young dog has plenty of good experiences with people and other animals. Don’t force your dog on people, just let your dog approach someone at its own pace. Ask people not to touch, talk or make eye contact with your dog. This enables the dog to relax around people and hopefully see there is nothing scary. It is your job to make sure your pup meets as many people as possible, meets other dogs and if suitable plays with other dogs. You should be taking your dog out and walking around. Socialise as much as possible.