G.W., Topanga, CA
Tags: dog CA diet food Topanga
Mar 25, 2013
One of my dogs had chronically loose stools. I have made one simple change that has completely resolved the issue.
We adopted the dog as a 1-year-old and have had him for three years. He is a labradoodle and is lean and otherwise healthy. I feed all three of my dogs a mixture of wet and dry Wellness food and some fish oil. For the labradoodle, I tried all sorts of added ingredients, including sweet potato, psyllium flakes and yogurt. Each one helped at first, but the benefit did not last. The owner of his littermate said his dog had the same issue, so I thought it must be part of this particular breeding line.
My dogs had free access to a large backyard where they could romp around at will, though most of the activity involved charging out to bark at a squirrel or a neighboring dog. They also got 30 minutes off-leash every day at a dog park. I thought things were going well.
We recently moved to a house in the hills with no yard at all. This requires me to give the dogs regular scheduled walks on a variety of routes around the neighborhood. It's not even for very long, sometimes just a brisk 20 minutes twice a day if that's all I can fit in. And every few days we have a two-hour off-leash hike where they can go full speed up and down the trails. That is the only change. With this routine, the labradoodle's stools are now healthy, and the other male dog has stopped marking inside -- though that may be due to less stimulation from other dogs walking past the house.
I just want to reinforce to your readers the importance of brisk and perhaps routinely scheduled walks.
G.W., Topanga, CA Mar 26, 2013
Brisk, routinely scheduled walks and off-leash romps in safe and dog-sanctioned open space are all part of holistic canine health care. Experienced veterinarians always determine such lifestyle factors in making a diagnosis and in recommending appropriate treatment for a variety of health problems.
A strict activity routine before meals helps prime the dog's appetite and digestive system before coming home and anticipating food. This mimics the dog's natural hunting/gathering/scavenging behavior -- physical activity to various degrees of strenuousness before eating two or three small meals daily. One big meal can mean bloating, vomiting, indigestion and loose stools.
E. & C.V., Torrance, CA
Tags: cat CA diet food Torrance
Nov 19, 2012
We read your column in the Fargo, N.D., Forum. Recently, you requested feedback on pet improvement after changing pet food.
Our cat is a female American shorthair, 11 years old, spayed and indoor-only. Her original food was Hills Science Diet Active Longevity. She was overweight at 14 pounds. For about a year, she had a cyst on her cheek that was the size of a large grape, which we had drained by the vet. It did not seem to bother her. She had bowel troubles from time to time, a dirty rear end and anal gland problems. She would chew at her fur a lot.
About five months ago, we switched her to Wellness Indoor Health Dry Food and Wellness Indulgence Poultry Packets (wet food). She quickly took to the new diet. As of now, the bowel and rear end problems have cleared up. She has lost 2 pounds. She is much more lively, alert and active. The cyst has shrunk considerably and seems to be drying up. She leaves her fur alone also.
Thanks so much for the information.
E. & C.V., Torrance, CA Nov 20, 2012
Thanks for confirming the benefits that can come when one focuses not simply on the symptoms when an animal has health issues, but on what the animal is being fed. Some ingredients in many popular and widely advertised brands, especially corn and other genetically modified ingredients (GMOs), may be putting our animals at risk -- even foods sold by the vet. All pet and human foods should be labeled to indicate if they contain GMOs. It's best to buy USDA organically certified produce and cook from scratch using known ingredients. For an in-depth review of what goes into many pet foods, and for home-prepared recipes for dogs and cats, see the new paperback edition of the book that I co-authored with two other veterinarians, "Not Fit for a Dog."
For more information see Dr. Fox's reports:
M.G., San Francisco, CA
Jul 31, 2010
Which causes the least trauma -- a no-kill kennel for an inadaptable cat that hates kennels or a big barn in Virginia for a cat that likes people? After my dad passed away, I found a home for his cat, but it turns out he doesn''t do well with other cats. My landlord let me keep him this past year as I searched for a new companion with no luck. I''m shipping out in a month, and I can''t keep the cat. How can I do right by this creature who was such a comfort to my dad? I know this isn''t your usual type of question, but I hope you''ll have some advice.
M.G., San Francisco, CA Aug 01, 2010
Many good souls like you who are taking care of relatives'' pets after they have died, been hospitalized, or placed in a nursing home that allows no pets are often in a serious predicament. There are shelters for such animals, but they can be far from ideal for cats and dogs who do not adapt to group living or worse -- life in a solitary cage. The farm-barn situation can work out well for cats, provided those who are attached to humans get some human contact on a regular basis.
Your local animal shelter/humane society should have some leads for you, including names of people who offer temporary in-home living as a halfway house or foster home prior to adoption. It is always wise to make some provisions in one''s will when companion animals might outlive their owners.
B.J.N., Ahwahnee, CA
Tags: dog Ahwahnee CA
Aug 29, 2009
I have a 2-year-old mix of Labrador retriever, Australian shepherd and border collie that I chose from a litter being given away in front of a grocery store. He is a wonderful dog with beautiful markings, except for his nose. Only part of his nose has pigment, which results in the rest of his nose being raw and scabby upon exposure to the sun, which is frequent.
My vet suggested the use of sunscreen, which I have tried along with applying Vaseline, but he licks it off as soon as it is applied. Do you have any ideas or suggestions for treating this?
B.J.N., Ahwahnee, CA Aug 30, 2009
This condition is so common in border collies that it is called "collie nose," a skin disease often misdiagnosed as a simple photosensitivity to sunlight. This is because it can flare up in the summer with exposure to ultraviolet light and is more evident in white-muzzled dogs. While bacterial, fungal and other skin infections need to be ruled out, the most likely cause is an autoimmune disease that causes localized lupus erythematosus. Corticosteroid lotion is often effective in reducing inflammation, but may delay healing. Make a mixture of five drops each of frankincense, myrrh and helichrysum into 50 drops of almond oil -- apply three times daily. This will help the non-pigmented area of muzzle skin to heal, regenerating new cells and keeping potentially harmful bacteria at bay. Put it on the dog while you are sitting together on the sofa or on the floor, and keep the dog from licking or rubbing the medication off for at least 20 minutes.
Once healed, your veterinarian might consider tattooing the muzzle skin to artificially impregnate the delicate skin with protective pigment. When the dog is outdoors, apply gentian violet, calamine, or zinc oxide for protection. But most importantly, enjoy your dog with either a purple or white muzzle. I found the tattooing worked well on white-muzzled dogs at my wife Deanna''s animal refuge in India. But the veterinarian must rule out any other underlying autoimmune disease when treating this sunlight-sensitive condition.
D.S., Catheys Valley, CA
Tags: cat Catheys Valley CA diet food
May 16, 2009
I have a female cat that is about 9 years old. Recently, she started to lose weight, and now she is skin and bones. When we pet her, she slides along the table. She lost some hair on her back, but I think that''s because I put a sweater on her to keep her warm. The hair is growing back a bit now. I have other cats, and they have none of these problems -- they''re completely healthy. This female eats and drinks more than the others. She acts normal and is very playful. But she also seems to have problems going to the bathroom. We checked her feces, and there were no worms. I would take her to a vet, but I simply can''t afford that right now (and I feel terrible about it). We''ve tried to keep her on the dosage of worm pills, but they seem to have no effect.
D.S., Catheys Valley, CA May 17, 2009
There are many reasons, other than having worms, why cats lose weight and eat more. Pet owners like you should not guess what might be wrong and give the sick animal worming medicine. Such drugs could make things worse. From the symptoms you describe, your cat probably has an endocrine disease like diabetes mellitus or thyroid disease. These diseases are extremely common in cats today, especially in those fed dry, high-carbohydrate junk cat foods. Sorry, it is too late to offer any cost-saving preventives that proper nutrition early in life would have provided. Your cat should be taken to a veterinarian, and you should explain your financial situation while making the appointment. Many people are facing hard financial times right now, and caring veterinarians will make some concessions and payment arrangements for the sake of both their clients and animal patients. They should not end up in the animal shelter, where they are likely to be killed, simply because owners could not afford to feed them anymore. There are economical ways of feeding and treating pets that people in hard times need to learn.
T.H., Clovis, CA
Tags: cat Clovis CA diet food
Apr 11, 2009
My cat eats plastic, especially plastic bags. Can you tell me what causes him to do this? What can I do about it?
T.H., Clovis, CA Apr 12, 2009
Cats like to chew and lick plastic possibly because stearates derived from animal fat are often incorporated to make the material flexible. That''s my theory to explain why some cats like to steal, lick and nibble paper money that is coated with chemicals containing derivatives of animal fat. Many plastics contain harmful chemicals called phthalates and bisphenol A, so keep your cat away from all plastics, including food and water containers.
Your cat may crave come roughage in his diet, so try sprouting some wheat grass or buy barley green for cats. Boredom can be a factor, too, so get some safe cat toys and play with your feline companion.
T.C., Clovis, CA
Tags: small pet Clovis CA
Jul 19, 2008
Five years ago, I adopted a 6-month-old male kitten from a local shelter. He was very sweet when he was "in jail," but as soon as he was neutered and I could bring him home, I knew there was an issue."His meanness was his way of handling stress. A little more than a year ago, he went into a cat rage -- he had reached his stress limit. This was all new to me -- so I did some research and decided to try Feliway.I use the dispenser and keep it plugged in all day. This has worked wonders for him and us. I was going to have him put down, but Feliway saved his life. He is still a bit cranky, but he''s definitely manageable.We also have a female cat, and Feliway has no influence on her, but the male calms down immediately within minutes of plugging the dispenser in. Maybe this will help other cat owners with similar issues.
T.C., Clovis, CA Jul 20, 2008
I am glad that the pheromone Feliway helped your cat feel more secure and turned him from an attack cat to a lap cat.French veterinary researchers recognized the profound behavioral and psychological effects of certain body odors called pheromones, and they developed this product.I would appreciate hearing from other readers about their experiences using Feliway on their cats with various behavioral problems.There is an equivalent pheromone product available for use in dogs suffering from such conditions as separation anxiety, the pheromone being like the scent around a mother dog''s teats.
D.H.P., Pinedale, CA
Tags: small pet Pinedale CA
Jun 02, 2007
I was reading your column regarding concerns over chemicals used to abate bugs and such pests. You made a comment about DDT being banned, and I think you should update your information. The accusations against DDT published by Rachel Carson have now been disproved.This chemical is again being used in Africa and South America to abate mosquitoes. After the banning of DDT, the incidence of malaria began to climb in poorer countries to a major degree. Health authorities figure the upsurge at about 85 percent. After research now shows DDT to not be the source of problems, as claimed by Carson, many countries are beginning to start using it again, and the number of cases of malaria has dropped precipitously. Those who fell for Carson''s unsupported diatribe now have considerable egg on their faces.I think you need to research your information on DDT and get correct data.
D.H.P., Pinedale, CA Jun 03, 2007
I appreciate your humanitarian desire to limit the spread of malaria. However, DDT is one of a class of pesticides that causes endocrine-system disruption as well as immune-system impairment, cancer, birth defects and infertility in humans and other animal species, wild and domestic (see my book "Eating with Conscience: The Bioethics of Food," NewSage Press, 1997). Carson''s "diatribe," as you put it -- her classic book "Silent Spring" (Mariner Books, 2002) -- was a wake-up call to us all. But some people, like yourself, clearly chose to live in denial, or believe the propaganda of the chemical manufacturers.DDT and related man-made chemicals have caused more harm to humans and the environment than malaria. Malaria is a public sanitation, population and nutrition issue for which there are no chemical solutions. Plus, the malaria-carrying mosquitoes quickly develop immunity to DDT and other pesticides
C.P., Oceanside, CA
Tags: small pet Oceanside CA
May 19, 2007
I have two pugs. The male is 6 years old, and the female is 4 years old.Lately, when they go into the yard, the male urinates on the female in the same place each time. This is while the female is urinating. The dogs get along fine, but is there anything I can do to change this behavior? They have lived together for four years.
C.P., Oceanside, CA May 20, 2007
There is nothing you can do to rectify this kind of problem. Just have a moist cloth on hand to wipe the female''s head and back when the two dogs are ready to come back indoors.My male dog sometimes urinates on one of my female dogs, especially when she sniffs spots he has marked with urine. Other times, my dogs will "mark over" the same spot that another one has just marked. Sometimes, in the process of marking over, the first dog to urinate doesn''t get out of the way soon enough and gets marked by the second dog. I think this is purely accidental. Dogs do no deliberately mark each other with urine but rather the ground beneath.
L.M., Fresno, CA
Tags: cat Fresno CA
May 12, 2007
Ten years ago, a small kitten showed up in our yard. We trapped her in the first six months and had her spayed. We put food out for her every day, and over the past several years, she has allowed us to pet her.She is black and white -- or was, until recently, when her sides and belly (shoulders to haunches) turned gray. I''ve never seen a cat turn gray. What happened?.
L.M., Fresno, CA May 13, 2007
Coat color is genetically determined, but there are epigenetic factors, like nutrition, ambient temperature and light, as well as physical and psychological stress and aging, that can influence hair pigmentation.Melanin, a stress- and pigment-associated hormone, plays an important role.As animals age, and sometimes after acute stress, they develop gray (pigment-deficient) hairs. If possible, this cat should be given a full physical checkup to rule out a medical reason for her turning gray. I wonder why you never adopted her and took her into your home.