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Pet talk

April 12, 2017

By Maneka Gandhi

In this week’s Pet Talk, Maneka gives tips on how termites can be stopped from attacking wooden furniture and speaks about the cure of a jellyfish sting.

How do I stop termites from attacking my wooden furniture?

Termites at home, or firm, are a common problem with wooden fixtures and furniture, like wooden doors, shelves, racks, windows, dining tables and wooden flooring. Termites generally feed on dead plant materials and wood. Some termites can consume about 15 pounds of wood within a week. Houses with high moisture content in them have a higher risk of termites. Here are some useful home remedies to get rid of termites.

  1. Cardboard Traps: The termites not only feed on wood, but also on paper and cardboards. These are termite friendly foods, as they contain cellulose. The cardboard can be used as a trap to control termites. Wet the cardboard and place it near the affected areas to attract termites. When the cardboard is full of termites, then hold it with handles, or with gloved hands, and flame it out. Repeat the process several times.
  2. Aloe Vera Gel: Aloe Vera kills termites. Crush the aloe plant and store it in a container filled with water over it. Mix Aloe Vera and water properly and spritz it, on the infested areas, using a mist sprayer.
  3. Petroleum Jelly: Petroleum jelly contains phenol. Rub petroleum jelly on wooden furniture. Leave it for a day or two and then use a soft cloth to polish your fixtures.
  4. Garlic Oil: An analysis by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry proved that the compounds of garlic oil showed insecticidal activities against Japanese termites. According to a study, concentration (20%, 10%, 5%) of different solutions, consisting garlic, neem and tobacco, was used in hot and cold water. Solution having higher concentration of garlic, in both hot and cold water, resulted in 100% mortality of termite species.
  5. Fill the cracks or holes in the foundation, using mortar or other material.
  6. Do not store wooden logs, or wooden debris, near the house.

Is the dog breed Dalmatian, born with black spots?

Dalmatian puppies are born pure white, and the spots appear as they age. The exception is puppies born with patches, solid masses of dense, brilliant black or liver-coloured hair with no white hair.

What is the cure of a jellyfish sting?

The best treatment for you may depend on the type of jellyfish that stung you. But most stings can be treated with these simple remedies:

  1. Remove stingers: Remove any pieces of jellyfish tentacle in your skin by rinsing the wound with seawater. You can also try gently scraping off the stingers with the edge of an ID card or a credit card. Avoid getting sand on the wound. And don’t rinse with fresh water, or rub the area with a towel, as these actions may activate more stingers.
  2. Rinse with vinegar, or apply a baking soda paste — Rinse the affected area with vinegar for about 30 seconds. Or, apply a paste of baking soda and seawater. Each method may deactivate the stingers of some types of jellyfish.
  3. Take a hot shower, or apply ice packs. Hot water — as hot as you can tolerate but not above 113 F (45 C) — and ice packs may help ease the pain.
  4. Take a pain reliever and apply lotions. Apply calamine lotion, or lidocaine, to help relieve itching and discomfort.
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What do jackals eat?

Jackals can best be described as opportunistic omnivores. They cooperatively hunt small antelopes and also eat reptiles, insects, ground-dwelling birds, fruits, berries, and grass. They will pick over kills made by large carnivores and even frequent rubbish dumps in pursuit of food.

Why does my dog become a picky eater after a couple of days?

Most dogs will eat anything, and everything, without a moment’s hesitation. So, when your dog doesn’t show interest in his food, and walks away, you need to be concerned.

If he has lost weight recently, or develops vomiting or diarrhoea as well, it is time to make a visit to the veterinarian. Problems with teeth, and/or problems in the mouth, can make eating difficult for even the hungriest of dogs. Check the mouth for sores, growths, bad teeth or foreign objects, that might be causing pain or discomfort for your dog. Tick fever is a reason. Get a blood test immediately. Dehydration is another reason.

Or, it could be that he doesn’t like the food any more. Change it. If you are feeding scraps under the table, then your dog will become finicky about his own food.  Table scraps, and excessive treats, only cause weight gain and don’t provide balanced nutrition. Your dog needs to eat nutritionally-balanced food, in proper amounts every day, to maintain health.

Check the dog food you are offering to make sure it’s not spoiled, or out of date. This may be a reason why your dog suddenly doesn’t want to eat his food. Make sure the food you are offering is safe, nutritious, and consistent. Don’t keep changing the food constantly, because this can upset your dog’s digestive system. If your dog won’t eat dry dog food no matter what, there are a few tricks to try that might entice him to eat. You can try another brand, or flavour, of food that might taste better. Mixing a tablespoon or two of canned food may provide a flavour boost. Canned food can be warmed slightly in the microwave, or warm water or broth can be spooned over dry food to give it some warmth and extra aroma.


Taking your dog for a good walk before mealtime can also help increase his appetite. If you can schedule a daily walk, around a regular feeding time, this will help your dog to associate the walk with the upcoming mealtime. Staying out of the area while your dog eats, and giving him a quiet, safe place to eat alone, away from distractions or competition from other pets, may be helpful.

How do birds urinate ?

To make them more lightweight, most birds do not have bladders to store urine. Rather than producing liquid urine to get rid of wastes, they produce a white, pasty substance. However, while an ostrich does not have a bladder like a mammalian bladder, it is unique among birds, because it does have a complete separation of faeces and urine.

What does a woodpecker eat?

Woodpeckers are omnivores, they eat fruits, insects, berries, nuts and tree sap.

What could cause a dog to cough?

When a dog swallows a foreign object, it may get lodged in the rear of the dog’s throat, leading to a bout of coughing. The dog stops coughing when the object is removed. Lung problems, such as chronic bronchitis, pneumonia or lung cancer, may also cause a dog to cough. Weight loss, laboured breathing, fever and coughing, are symptoms of fungal infections in dogs. Congestive heart failure makes fluid accumulate in a dog’s lungs, which leads to coughing. An enlarged heart can also make a dog cough. Roundworms and heartworms can make a dog cough. De-worming medication helps cure the cough. A dry, hacking cough in dogs may signify kennel cough, which lasts for around two weeks and is treated with prescription medication.


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