M.S.W., St. Louis, Mo
Tags: dog MO St Louis
Jul 25, 2009
My husband and I have a brindle beauty, Raisin, a 5-year-old collie mix. When we adopted him from the pound two years ago, they said he had been abused. He goes ballistic when he sees other dogs. Even if he knows the other dog, he is a major barker. Someday, when my disabled-veteran pension arrives, we want to rent a house and adopt a friend for Raisin.
What can we do about this ballistic trait? We signed up for the Humane Society of Missouri Introductory Seminar for Training a few years ago, but have since been deactivated. The $75 fee for the "Growly Dog" course was just too much for us (we are senior citizens). I used to carry a water gun when we walked the dog, but I got tired of losing it. I bought one of those clickers, but they don't help. Raisin is great with people and a wonderful pet. He just can't handle other dogs.
I was encouraged by doctors to adopt a pet because I suffer from depression. The doctors were right -- my depression is a lot better. But we also want to help Raisin.
M.S.W., St. Louis, Mo Jul 26, 2009
Dogs bark for many reasons, including excitement, for attention or to warn and protect. My guess is that your dog is not properly "dog socialized" and needs the opportunity to have off-leash time with other dogs. Having a dog buddy could certainly help.
Dogs on the leash tend to be more protective/defensive and are likely feeling vulnerable when restrained. Your reactions are important. Don't discipline or tug hard on the leash -- that may only incite him as he picks up on your anxiety. Play it cool. Try to teach him to sit and stay. Buy a gentle leader that goes around his muzzle for easier control when he's on the leash. One of my dogs is terrified of a clicker. Forget the water gun. He needs quality time to play with other dogs, the best therapeutic rehabilitation being in a safe backyard with an easygoing dog. Yes, your dog is your therapist/healer, like many good dogs (and cats) can be -- so you owe him the best you can give.
J.B., Lakewood, NJ
Tags: cat Lakewood NJ diet food
Jul 25, 2009
I have a 4-year-old neutered male cat. His bladder area looks as if he has a hernia -- there''s a lot of fur hanging there. He is a longhair cat; he is not in pain. I am a senior living on a fixed income, and I love my cat -- we have a bond. Please advise.
J.B., Lakewood, NJ Jul 26, 2009
I am glad you have a feline companion -- not only for good company but he can help keep your blood pressure down. Petting and holding will stimulate your body to produce "feel good" neurochemicals -- natural anti-anxiety and anti-depression substances.
As for your cat''s "hernia," you are good to be so observant. This is a natural skinfold that accumulates some fat in the flank/groin area -- it''s not a hernia. Palpating (examining by touch) a cat like yours was a trick question for vet students who would often misdiagnose the fatty folds as a hernia.
A word of caution: Don''t let your cat get overweight. Ideally, feed a quality canned cat food like Evo, PetGuard or Castor & Pollux.
B.E., Grapevine, TX
Jul 25, 2009
I have two Pembroke Welsh Corgis -- an 8-year-old male and a 5-year-old female. Both are in good health, but the male has allergies. We''ve had him tested and give him an allergy shot every two weeks. The tests showed he has problems with grasses and fleas. I use Frontline Plus on both dogs, once a month. I have attached a label from the food bag from a local mill here in Texas. The shots seem to do the trick. I''m wondering if there is any other supplement I might use to help him. The next issue is that the female is an obsessed scavenger. On our walks, she cleans the gutters of all the dried worms. She will also run into our neighbor''s flowerbeds and go straight for where cats have gone to the bathroom and load up on this stuff before I can catch her. She will then be sick as a dog. Her tummy seems not to get enough grass, so she consumes a lot of it, then either throws up or experiences diarrhea, which will be severe enough to turn bloody. Then we have to take her to the vet, and he gives us Flagyl tablets for 10 days until she calms down. Then, if I don''t catch her in time, she''ll repeat the process. Am I missing something in her diet? Is this normal? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
B.E., Grapevine, TX Jul 26, 2009
The biweekly "allergy shot" is probably Prednisone. While giving your dog temporary relief, long-term treatment will ensure serious health problems, like Cushing''s disease. Your dog''s eagerness to scavenge may indicate both dogs'' health is being compromised by their diets. Ask your veterinarian to provide good-quality probiotics, L-glutamine, aloe vera (liquid or gel), insulin and digestive enzymes that are often helpful in dealing with allergies and food hypersensitivity. You might want to rotate different dietary formulas every seven to 10 days. For a list of good dog foods (dry, canned, organic, raw freeze-dried and raw frozen), visit my Web site, www.DrFoxVet.com/info.
B.W., Chaska, MN
Tags: dog Chaska MN
Jul 25, 2009
My daughter and son-in-law have a 13-year-old female mixed black Lab, Shelby. She almost acts human, and her owners treat her that way. My daughter had a baby about four months ago, and Shelby has been bonkers.
She has to be next to the baby at all times. She hardly takes time to do her thing. When the baby is home, she goes right up to her and then she backs up, waits a second and backs up some more (usually until she bumps into something). Then she goes up and starts all over again. When you hold or feed the baby, she is right there. She moves constantly. Before the baby, she was as calm as could be and would sleep most of the day. But now she is constantly on the move. When the baby is in bed, she sits outside the door. If you don''t go to the baby right away, she comes to get us. Could you please give us some advice on why she is acting this way and what we can do to help her calm down? It gets very tiring.
B.W., Chaska, MN Jul 26, 2009
The baby has aroused the old dog''s protective maternal instincts, and I would put up with it as best you can. The dog should be given time and exclusive attention on a routine basis, outdoors as weather permits. Too many couples with a new baby unwittingly neglect their dogs.
Some of the dog''s anxiety could be relieved by allowing her to see and sniff the baby down at nose level and by giving her a stuffed toy to serve as her own substitute puppy. I doubt from the behavior that you describe that the dog is jealous of the attention the baby is getting. Regardless, boundaries need to be set, and the dog should be taught to sit and stay at a distance to observe while the infant is being cared for. Giving her half a human dose, twice daily, of Valerian may help settle her down. Many dogs (and cats, too) can become apprehensive when infants cry -- a normal reaction to the distress calls of a fellow mammal.
M.L., Winston-Salem, NC
Jul 25, 2009
In response to your answer to D.M. in Greenwich, Conn., concerning the cat that urinates on the bed: If the cat is healthy, try feeding it every meal on the bed. It worked with my cat, Tom. I bought five cheap bowls, put one in each corner of the bed and one in the middle. I then put one-fifth of the meal in each bowl. Several years ago, I had a female cat that, for some reason, used my bathtub as a litterbox. I put a bow at each end of the tub to feed her.
This works! Cats won''t mess near their food; they''re very clean animals.
M.L., Winston-Salem, NC Jul 26, 2009
You get the prize for the best tip of the week! I would advise heavy ceramic bowls that don''t spill over easily. And, of course, never use plastic bowls, either for food or water, anywhere, anytime. What you have done is change the valence, or stimulus influence, of the surface of the bed on the psyche of the cats from a place to evacuate to a place to eat. Of course, whenever a cat becomes a house-soiler, a vet checkup is advisable. Many cats with urological problems will become house-soilers, even urinating (or straining and trying hard to) at their owner''s feet.
P.J.H., Port St. Lucie, FL
Tags: small pet
Jul 18, 2009
I read with interest your comments in our local paper regarding Beneful dog food. I want to tell you about my experience with this product.
My aging dog had been eating Beneful weight-control dry food for several years. In May, I went north, and my daughter covered for Abby for 10 days. Upon my return, I found her food to be solidly molded into a lump and I discarded it. I bought another bag and several days later (less than a week), I checked for mold by smelling it. I couldn''t detect mold immediately, but I felt something crawling on my face. I couldn''t see anything in the mirror, so I took some packing tape, covered the area and, upon removing the tape, I could see through a magnifying glass some tiny, ivory-colored bugs. After I washed my face, I looked in the bag -- the contents were covered with those insects. I sealed the bag in plastic and threw it out. I bought another bag and, upon opening it, I found the same critters, and it was straight from the store. The store refunded my money.
I notified the manufacturer, and they denied any knowledge of the problem. However, my daughter found some blogs on the Internet complaining about the same thing. I was sent a generous amount of coupons, which I used for cat food only -- Abby will never touch Beneful again. The manufacturer seems to be aware of the problem, but refuses to do anything about it. The cat food was not infected.
P.J.H., Port St. Lucie, FL Jul 19, 2009
Dry dog and cat foods can contain mites, mealworms and other insects that breed and quickly multiply inside the sealed bags. Considering the fact that many bags of pet foods are many months old before they are opened, it is little wonder that I often receive letters like yours.
I do not believe that this problem is restricted to just one brand of pet foods. For my selection of preferred cat and dog foods, check my Web site at www.DrFoxVet.com/info.
A.D., Lynbrook, NY
Tags: cat Lynbrook NY
Jul 18, 2009
In Desmond Morris' book "Catlore," he says the spaying of female cats and the castration of males are unnecessary and cruel operations (he calls it "butchery") that dramatically change a cat's personality. Tying the female's fallopian tubes and performing a vasectomy on the male will avoid cat overpopulation.
Do you agree? Does this also apply to dogs? My dog Blake, who passed away three years ago, was neutered. My vet assured me it would have no ill effect on his behavior. I had my doubts, but I went along with it. I'm getting another dog. What is the right thing to do?
A.D., Lynbrook, NY Jul 19, 2009
I have known Desmond Morris for many years and respect his work, but when it comes to helping cats adapt to their domestic environments, neutering is a humane decision. It is not butchery. Of course, population control is an important issue in communities where people allow their un-neutered cats to roam free. Biologist Dr. Morris is responding as a purist and, in theory, he is correct. But the behavioral and medical health benefits of neutering dogs and cats far outweigh the risks and side effects that can generally be corrected. For details, see my Web site, www.DrFoxVet.com/info. It is an anthropomorphic notion that neutering animals deprives them of a basic desire that is their natural right or entitlement to fulfill. Few animal species match the human in terms of sexual motivation or desire, the consequences of which contribute to overpopulation, violence and assorted perversions -- unique in our species in terms of prevalence.
A.P., Stratford, CT
Tags: cat Stratford CT diet food
Jul 18, 2009
Several months ago, I adopted a 5-year-old male cat and was told that he had FIV. They also said this illness was not contagious to people or dogs, but I mustn''t let him near another cat.
I know precious little about FIV in cats and would like your help. Is there anything special I can do for him? What can I expect in the future? I do love him, and he is a good cat. I also have an appointment to have his teeth cleaned, as he has bad breath.
A.P., Stratford, CT Jul 19, 2009
First, I am glad that you are taking the poor cat for a dental cleaning. After that, get your cat used to having PetzLife oral gel or spray applied to teeth and gums, following manufacturer''s instructions. Periodontal disease, especially for cats with FIV (feline AIDS), is a very serious issue.
What your cat needs is the best food you can find -- canned, not dry (unless you opt for Evo''s grain-free dry cat food). Beneficial supplements like cod-liver oil and antioxidants (that your veterinarian can provide) to help boost your cat''s immune system are a must for cats suffering from this disease. It is indeed only transmittable from cat to cat.
H.N., Bloomington, MN
Tags: dog Bloomington MN
Jul 18, 2009
I have an 8-year-old terrier/border-collie mix. She''s the greatest dog anyone could ever have, except for one annoying habit: She barks at everything, including the moon.
She gets me up in the middle of the night to go outside and once there, she starts barking. This is so annoying, and I can just imagine what my neighbors are thinking. Even inside the house, if she wants a treat or to go for a walk, she sits in front of me and barks until I give in. I know she''s spoiled, but she never used to bark all the time like she does now. Is there anything I can do? Getting after her for barking does nothing.
H.N., Bloomington, MN Jul 19, 2009
Moon barking and barking at jet planes and their trails in the sky seem to be common traits in border collies and Shelties. Just accept it as part of their character and visual acuity. One of my old dogs always barks as soon as she goes out, as though to tell the world and perhaps to check if there are other dogs around who might answer her. She may be checking whether the coast is clear or simply proclaiming her existence.
Barking in front of you for a treat or a walk is her way of training you. Ignore, and say "No, later." Try motivation training so she responds only when you want her to. Shout her name, then get her attention by shaking a can of coins or squeezing a dog-training clicker, then make her sit and stay. When she is quiet and attentive, give her a tasty treat (like freeze-dried salmon, freeze-dried beef or other pure-meat freeze-dried treats posted on my Web site). When you are ready to walk her, give her a voice command like "Walkies, get leash!" and encourage her to find her leash that you can hide in various reachable places.
L.L., Delray Beach, FL
Tags: cat Delray Beach FL diet food
Jul 18, 2009
Maggie, my 11-year-old female cat, tested positive for feline AIDS many years ago. A feral kitten when I took her in, she was spayed, tested, and vaccinated against rabies. It took years, but she is cautiously friendly with people and unbelievably attached to me. The problem is that her nose constantly runs and she coughs heavily about two times a day. Fortunately, the sneezing has almost disappeared. When this occurred in years past, my vet gave her a steroid shot even though he was reluctant because of her AIDS. This helped for a month or two. We have tried many antibiotics, and none have worked.
Recently, I started giving her vitamin C (100 mg. daily) in hopes that this will alleviate the problem. So far, no luck. She gets raw chicken liver twice a day plus some dry food (not much, as she tends to gain weight easily) and a teaspoon of canned Fancy Feast wet food twice a day.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
L.L., Delray Beach, FL Jul 19, 2009
There are several beneficial supplements, including potent antioxidants and omega fatty acids that will help strengthen your cat''s impaired immune system. Check my Web site (www.DrFoxVet.com/info) for a selection in my review of beneficial supplements. Cod-liver oil (1 to 2 teaspoons daily in food) and a better-quality cat food than you are feeding right now (even a home-prepared diet) could make a world of difference.
Many cats with and without feline immune-deficiency disease develop chronic sinus problems. Antioxidant-rich supplements more potent than vitamin C will help. As you have discovered, 100 mg. of synthetic vitamin C will do nothing.
Visit www.aromadog.com, and look at their safe and effective inhalant that may give your cat much relief.