In December 2020, we asked our fans to anonymously submit their pet concerns to Dr. Trudie Prinsloo.

Dr. Prinsloo is a qualified veterinarian and lawyer. In 2015, she started Legalvet services in order to provide legal advice to the animal and veterinary industries in South Africa – and now she’s teamed up with us to give you answers to your most pressing issues.

While Dr. Prinsloo is a qualified veterinarian, she cannot diagnose pets’ conditions remotely.

The answers provided to these questions asked are intended for informational purposes only and should in no way be regarded as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. is not responsible or liable for any advice or any other information provided herein. If you are concerned about your pet’s condition, the best course of action is to consult your veterinarian as soon as possible. 

Why does my dog keep eating our other dog’s feces?

As pet owners, we find this behaviour very upsetting. Not to mention the smell of the dog’s breath after doing it! The scientific name for this behaviour is “coprophagia”.

Coprophagia can be a behavioural problem, or it can be due to a poor digestion or decrease in absorption of nutrients. Examine the stool of the dog that eats the feces. If it is soft, with poorly digested food in it, it is likely that the behaviour is due to insufficient digestion or absorption of food. However, it is not always easy to see it.

Clean the yard of any feces as often as possible and supervise the dogs when they are outside to prevent coprophagia where possible. Please consult your veterinarian if it is a chronic problem.

How can I test my bull terrier’s hearing? recently wrote an excellent blog on how you can test your dog’s hearing at home.

If you suspect that your dog is deaf after doing the test, your veterinarian can do further tests or refer your dog for further tests.

Our Dachshund X rescue has a very sensitive stomach. We feed her a specialized diet and have done manual anal cleaning. Will this condition improve, and should we consider getting her anal glands surgically rectified?

A dog’s anal glands (also called anal sacs) secrete fluids used to mark its territory and for identification. The fluid is normally emptied from the sacs when the dog defecates. However, these sacs sometimes do not empty properly or become impacted and infected, leading to considerable discomfort and pain for the dog.

If a dog generally has soft feces, it could cause the glands not to empty properly. In this case, regular manual cleaning may be required.

Since you also mention that your dog has a sensitive stomach, I would guess that her feces are soft, and that is why her anal glands need to be manually expressed.

If it is a chronic condition, it will mean that her anal glands will have to be manually expressed regularly. As long as they are not infected and there are no other problems, this can be done regularly without any problems. I would not recommend surgery if that is the case.

However, if there is a chronic infection or impaction of the anal sacs, or if there is a tumour, surgery would be indicated. Your treating veterinarian would be the best person to advise you on when surgery should be done.

My dog’s hair is falling out – the house and bed are full of hair! Is this normal?

It is very normal for dogs to shed hair, especially in spring and early summer when they shed their thick winter-coat. Like humans, there is also some natural shedding of old and damaged hair throughout the year.

However, excessive shedding of hair can also be an indication of underlying diseases. If the shedding is sudden and excessive, or if bald patches are developing, it is not normal. If that is the case, please consult with your veterinarian.

My border collie’s stomach is running, although we haven’t changed the food. We got a prebiotic, but it doesn’t seem to be working. What should we do?

There are many underlying causes of diarrhoea. Any diarrhoea that persists for more than 12 hours indicates you should take your dog to the veterinarian immediately.

If it is severe and has blood in, you should take your dog to the veterinarian immediately. Severe diarrhoea leads to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances, and can lead to death.

What can I do if my dog suffers from constipation?

If your dog tends to have hard stools that are difficult to pass, you can change the dog’s diet to increase the fibre intake. Stool softeners and laxatives may also be indicated, depending on the severity of the problem.  You can discuss this with your veterinarian.

Do not ever feed any small bones, such as chicken bones, to your dog.

If your dog struggles to pass any stool, please take him to a veterinarian since this can become a serious condition and will get worse the longer you wait.

I have a year and a half old Great Dane. How often should I feed her, and how much?

Great Danes are one of the so-called giant dog breeds. These breeds have special requirements during their growing phase.

At 18 months, she has done most of her growing, but she can still grow a little bit up to two years of age. A commercial dog food suitable for a giant breed of growing age should be sufficient.

It is difficult to give a standardized volume that you should feed because it depends on the dog’s age, weight, and the brand of food she is eating. The commercial brands all have excellent guidelines printed on the bags that tell you exactly how much to feed your dog daily. Just follow their recommendations.

If possible, divide the daily volume into two feedings. Feeding a large volume of food in a single meal to large breed dogs increase the chances of gastric torsion. Gastric torsion is a life-threatening condition. It is therefore better to feed two meals a day.