Diagnose your pet
A little precaution can keep parasites and infections away from your pet.
I have a new house and six new dogs rescued from a shelter. Any tips on what to use in my house?
Welcome to the world of love, fun, hair shedding, mud and ticks. Keep very little furniture and that which is easily movable. If you have to have carpets, forget wool and cotton and go for all-synthetic fibers. Natural fibers absorb everything, and that guarantees stains and odours.
No shag carpets which provide homes for fleas and ticks. Varied hues of the same colour hide dirt and stains the best.
Use light curtains that are well off the floor. Opt for tightly woven, smooth-surfaced upholstery. Such fabrics will resist a few claw marks and will not encourage furniture-scratching. Anything with a loose or open weave invites cats and dogs to pull at it, fiddle with it, claw or scratch it. You could also use washable slipcovers, Make use of mats everywhere. Rubber-backed mats of synthetic pile collect dirt and moisture and clean easily. Use them just outside and inside the doors, underdog food dishes and in sleeping areas. You might look at nice car mats.
Brush the dogs every day. Grooming is good for your pet, good for your relationship with your pet and good for the general cleanliness of your home. Set time aside on a regular basis to comb and brush your pet, making a fuss over him as you do so he'll come to love it. Not only will your pet be more attractive and happier for the extra attention but every piece of fur you snare you'll spare from a future home on your floor or sofa.
Keep Dettol handy. If a dog urinates in the house, then clean and put Dettol on the surface. Dogs generally avoid the place. Otherwise, should the smell persist, they will do it again in the same area.
How do you make out whether my dog has dandruff or Cheyletiella mange?
Brush the dog over some paper and then put some sticky tape on the flakes and get them checked in a veterinary laboratory.
What is the first thing I should do when I suspect a mange infection?
Take the dog to a vet and get a diagnosis of which mite it is. Diagnoses of the sarcoptic mite mean a blood test as well but this is only effective if the dog has been infected for more than two weeks. Demodex mites will need to be identified with skin scrapes Do not start any treatment without this examination.
(Views expressed and information provided are personal. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org)