Pet talk: March 3
Columns, Pet Talk

Pet talk: March 3

By Maneka Gandhi

In this week’s Pet Talk, explaining as to how harmful is it to use regular human shampoo on dogs, Maneka says: “Regular human shampoo should not be used on dogs, because the pH levels of the skin differ, and it can be too harsh for the skin. Dog shampoo is formulated for the pH balance of a dog’s skin and is the recommended product to use. Human shampoo can strip the natural oils from the dog’s coat, which can cause dryness and irritation over a period of time.”

How soon after a dog has puppies does she come into heat again?

Because dogs go into heat generally twice a year, a dog will go into heat approximately 4 to 6 months after giving birth. This can vary greatly with different breeds. Larger dog breeds go into heat much less often, with a typical span of 12 to 18 months between normal cycles. Smaller dog breeds are much more regular, with 3 to 4 months between each cycle. A mother dog who is nursing puppies will not go into heat, and if she is to be spayed, the surgery should wait until after the pups are weaned and before she goes into heat again.

How chemicals in Holi colours are harmful for dogs?

Many of these colours are chemical and lead based. Short haired dogs are more predisposed to falling victim to these colours because sparsely coated regions of body are commonly affected by these colours. Inhalation of the coloured powder may also cause nasal irritation and possibly respiratory allergy or infection. Do not try using kerosene, spirits or any hair oil to clean the colour off. A good light shampoo should suffice. If the dog has been hit in the eye by a water balloon, wash the eye with clean water, and if irritation persists, take the dog to a vet.

Can we use regular human shampoo on dogs?

Regular human shampoo should not be used on dogs, because the pH levels of the skin differ, and it can be too harsh for the skin. Dog shampoo is formulated for the pH balance of a dog’s skin and is the recommended product to use. Human shampoo can strip the natural oils from the dog’s coat, which can cause dryness and irritation over a period of time. The fragrances in human shampoo can also cause irritation, if used on a regular basis.

Can guinea pigs eat grass?

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Guinea pigs can, and should, eat fresh grass daily. Guinea pigs graze, nibbling grass and plants both day and night, which keeps them full and helps keep their teeth from becoming too long. While hay and fresh grass are recommended as the main staples of a guinea pig’s diet, lawn clippings should not be given to the creatures as they can cause digestive problems. Citrus fruits should also be avoided, but guinea pigs can eat leafy greens, such as kale and broccoli, daily. Apples and root vegetables, such as carrots, can be given to guinea pigs as treats. Additionally, guinea pig food pellets provide essential Vitamin-C to keep the small creatures healthy.

Why do dogs kick their back legs?

Dogs kick their back legs when being rubbed and tickled because of an involuntary reaction, called the scratch reflex. It is caused by nerves in the dog’s stomach reacting to the tickling in an effort to get rid of an irritation. When these nerves, which are connected to the dog’s spinal cord, are activated, a message is relayed from the brain to the legs. The legs involuntarily kick, to try and get rid of the irritation. Many dogs enjoy having tummy rubs, and they are not actually irritated. The reflex is reliable enough that veterinarians sometimes use it to help diagnose neurological problems or nerve damage.

What are causes of skin growths on dogs?

The causes of skin growths in dogs range from mild to serious conditions. Smooth, round, hairless, fluid-filled nodules are sweat gland cysts. These are common and often removed surgically. Hard nodules on the back or groin, that drain and crust over, are often a reaction to the use of too many corticosteroids. They are typically treated by slowly weaning the dog off the medication. Firm, fluid-filled nodules on the ears are sometimes the result of leaking blood vessels, particularly when dogs have infections or long ears. In certain cases, skin growths form around parasites such as the larvae of the fly or the Guinea worm. Also, as in humans, some skin growths are the result of cancer.

What are symptoms of staph infection in dogs?

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Infection is caused by the staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Symptoms are fever; loss of appetite; skin and mouth abscesses; pain; infections of the eyes, ears, skin and respiratory system; toxic shock syndrome; arthritis; itching and pus-filled lesions as staphylococcal infection symptoms in dogs. A dog of any age and breed is susceptible to a staph infection, and the staphylococcus bacteria is spread easily from animal to animal. Crusty skin growths often found along a dog’s belly, rounded lesions and moderate itchiness as mild symptoms of a staph infections. A severe staph infection complication is cellulitis, which is caused by a secondary infection caused by excessive scratching of the skin. The skin then becomes inflamed and irritated, spreading down to the dog’s legs causing sores and a breakdown of skin cells. Fever, swollen lymph nodes and chills are often accompanied with cellulitis. Although cellulitis is rare, any sign of these symptoms should prompt an immediate visit to the veterinarian. There are no preventative measures to protect a dog from a staph infection, but early detection by noticing symptoms is essential in order to receive the highly effective prescription medicines before complications arise.



March 1, 2017

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