M.D., St Louis, Mo
Tags: cat St Louis MO
Jan 23, 2012
I enjoyed the interesting chapter in your book "Animals and Nature First" about animals having an afterlife, and the evidence from readers' accounts and photographs they shared with you.
I am enclosing a photo of our family taken a few years back that shows our deceased cat, Willy, in the lower left corner coming out from behind my son's legs. You can see the cat shape distinctly and his black and white face. The picture was taken about three months after Willy passed on.
M.D., St Louis, Mo Jan 24, 2012
I am glad you enjoyed this particular chapter in my new book, published with CreateSpace.
I hesitated to include it because skeptics might use it to ridicule the entire book, which has more to do with rectifying our relationships with animals and the natural environment than exploring the supernatural. But the metaphysical evidence of life after life, of animals being living souls like us and having spirits, all contribute to awakening us to the great mystery of life. As a veterinarian, I think treating all living beings with respect and compassion is the best preventive medicine, and a long overdue step in healing our relationships with the rest of the animal kingdom.
I would very much appreciate receiving photographs from other readers who have caught what appears to be the image of a deceased companion animal in the picture. Kindly provide information as to the age of the animal and when he or she died and when the photo was taken. A few such images are posted on my website.
V.S., St. Louis, Mo
Tags: dog MO St Louis
Sep 19, 2011
My boyfriend says I spoil my dog and that she will not learn to respect him when she growls at him. This happens especially when she's on the sofa with us. I say she's just jealous and scolding her to get off the couch will make things worse. Help! My boyfriend is almost at the point of saying it's either me or the dog.
V.S., St. Louis, Mo Sep 20, 2011
You are not the only single person with a jealous-dog dilemma. Dogs (cats, too) will often demand the undivided attention of their guardians when they see a visitor, male or female, as a potential rival for attention.
Reassurance, rather than discipline, is called for, along with the understanding by your boyfriend that this is a natural reaction and not a sign of disrespect or an indication that you care more for your dog than for him when you don't shoo the dog away. Possibly you have overindulged your dog and she knows no boundaries, in which case you must step in and teach her that growling is unacceptable and that she is not allowed on the sofa when she growls.
Remember, banishing a dog is, for a pack animal, the severest of reprimands. Dogs growl for different reasons that you must determine: Is your dog growling for attention? If so, then simply ignore her and then pet her when she's quiet. If it is a threatening or warning growl, there could be something in your boyfriend's behavior or body language that you don't see but the dog either perceives or misperceives as threatening or intimidating. Dogs can be remarkable judges of human character.
Encourage your boyfriend to walk the dog on a leash with you and also alone. Have him learn (if he does not already know) how to play with her and groom her.
Young children whose parents are divorced also act out when a parent brings a date home to meet them. Forbearance, love and understanding are called for where there is insecurity for man and beast alike.
Send all mail to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.
S.G.L., St. Louis, Mo
Tags: small pet MO St Louis
Aug 07, 2011
We have a small Dutch rabbit, and you can see her front lower teeth when she's sitting up. They seem to have grown too long, but my brother says it is natural and is best left alone. What is your opinion?
S.G.L., St. Louis, Mo Aug 07, 2011
Rabbits, like people, can suffer malocclusion, a condition often associated with a congenital deformity and misalignment of the lower jaw.
This can lead to uneven wear of the teeth. Unlike human teeth, rabbits' teeth continually grow. When there is uneven wear or a lack of wear, especially of the front lower teeth, the rabbit will have difficulty eating. Neglected teeth can cause injury to the inner lining of the mouth and lead to starvation and death.
Have a veterinarian examine your rabbit. Snipping the teeth is a simple and painless procedure, but it is not something you should do by yourself. One preventive is to provide the rabbit a piece of hardwood or boiled marrowbone to gnaw, which will help keep the teeth trim once they have been shortened as needed.
K.P., St. Louis, Mo
Tags: dog MO St Louis
May 23, 2011
My husband watches the game show "Jeopardy" in the afternoon; it features a tune reminiscent of "The Syncopated Clock." When that particular song comes on toward the end, Patch (our Brittany spaniel) howls in tempo with the music! I videotaped those few minutes of "Jeopardy," and we have occasionally played it for friends. Each time, Patch has performed on cue. He also sings along with the "ESPN SportsCenter" theme and with the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" opening. But he is most vocal with the "Jeopardy" theme.
K.P., St. Louis, Mo May 23, 2011
Your Patch is one of many TV-exposed dogs who are clearly more tuned in to certain programs than one might expect. Behavioral studies can demystify why certain songs appeal to them, showing that certain notes on a particular pitch trigger an instinctive response because those notes are part of the animal's vocal repertoire.
Howling or "singing" is a common canid trait that can be triggered by certain notes that are similar to the natural sounds that dogs, coyotes and wolves make.
As for watching TV, it is especially amusing when some dogs take a particular dislike to certain newscasters and bark and growl when they come on the screen. Dogs do enjoy some types of music, especially classical, and the CD "Through a Dog's Ear" seems to be appreciated by many canine audiophiles.
M.S., St. Louis, Mo
Apr 17, 2011
I have seen your article on dog food. I am 78 years old and need to find a cheaper way to fix meals for my 5-year-old golden retriever. I just can't think of giving my Buddy up -- it would break my heart.
M.S., St. Louis, Mo Apr 17, 2011
Many readers have written to me saying they are close to giving their dogs up for adoption because they can't afford to buy good-quality dog food; nor can they afford animal vaccinations. When they buy the poorer-quality dry kibble in big bags and their animals become ill, they cannot afford to take their dogs to the veterinarian or to pay for costly remedial diets. Some animal shelters provide free pet food of reasonable quality donated by manufacturers for hard-up pet owners, which you should look into. If it is just dry food, add at least a teaspoon of olive or safflower oil per serving.
Here's a cheap, simple recipe for dogs:
- 2 cups of uncooked, ideally brown rice.
- 1 cup each of hamburger and grated carrot or sweet potato (yam) stirred into the rice when fully cooked and still hot. You can also include green beans and leafy greens such as spinach and collard greens.
- Add four crushed Tums (for calcium) or four 600 mg calcium-supplement tablets.
- Refrigerate and serve 1 cup (more or less) for every 30 pounds of body weight, morning and evening.
- Garnish with any scraps from your table, but no bones!
In the old days, pet owners could get green tripe, kidneys, lungs and other nutritious trimmings from the local butcher. In some small towns, they still exist, and cat and dog owners should help keep them in business.
J.DeM., St. Louis, Mo
Tags: dog MO diet food St Louis
Jan 10, 2011
I currently have two rescued dogs: a mother, Lacey (part Rottweiler), and her pup, Tag (part German shepherd). I adopted them from Stray Rescue here in St. Louis, Mo. Lacey had obviously been abused (missing teeth, scars and a great deal of fear), but Tag was young enough to escape unscathed.
Our vet found that Lacey has Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and she has recurrent bouts of the disease. We keep it under control, mostly, and just deal with it. Unfortunately, both dogs have had knee surgery on their hind legs and now have arthritis. Lacey's arthritis is most severe in her front legs (which weren't operated on), and she has been on Previcox on a daily basis for pain control.
I began cooking for both dogs as soon as I got them, being so unsatisfied with commercial canned food. I do use dry (AvoDerm), but I make the moist from scratch. I mix my recipes with AvoDerm on a 50/50 basis; and I supplement this with meaty bones and milk bones for treats. I read your article on homemade diets, and it looks as if I'm doing OK but would love to hear from you.
I have two basic recipes that I feed my dogs and my daughter's two littermates (also from Stray Rescue):
The first is chicken casserole made with boiled chicken leg quarters (skinned and de-boned, of course), baked and diced sweet potatoes, raw chopped sweet red and yellow bell peppers, raw shredded zucchini and yellow squash, raw chopped spinach, cooked brown rice or barley, raw shredded apple, raw shredded carrots and cooked and chopped green beans. The other is a meatloaf made with ground beef or turkey (even bison, emu or chicken), the same vegetables and fruit (only roughly pureed in a food processor), brown rice and organic, cage-free brown eggs.
I'm concerned after reading your article that I need to add calcium. A friend also suggested adding amino acids.
J.DeM., St. Louis, Mo Jan 10, 2011
Try New Chapter's Zyflamend capsules for your dog's arthritic problems. It will also help with inflammatory aspects of the Rocky Mountain spotted fever infection. Give 1/2 a human daily dose with food to start then a full dose. Nordic Naturals fish oil is also excellent source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids; it's available in most pet stores in non-capsule liquid bottles.
The less you cook animal proteins, the less amino acids are destroyed. Check my basic dog-food recipe at my website under "Special Reports, Companion Animals" -- it has been nutritionally analyzed and is balanced and complete. It can be fed raw. This diet will guide you on the critical calcium supplement issue, which your recipes, like many home-prepared diets for dogs, are lacking. A 50-pound dog needs about 500 to 1,000 mgm daily of a good source of calcium, such as calcium lactate or calcium citrate. Also, check out my buckwheat dog-cookie recipe, which most dogs enjoy!
M.A., St. Louis, Mo
Tags: dog MO St Louis
Jan 03, 2011
You recently published a response on how to get rid of skunk smell from a dog by using an absorbent powder and then ketchup or an enzyme-based cleaner. I have a concoction guaranteed to remove skunk smell. It doesn't store well, so you have to mix the ingredients prior to application. Based on a formula used for removing hydrogen sulfide from waste-gas streams, this mixture neutralizes the noxious chemical components of skunk spray.
Mix one quart of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide (from a pharmacy) with 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 teaspoon of liquid soap. Soak the dog in water, scrub with the mixture, and then rinse in warm water. Because thiols are also the active ingredients in the likes of male cat urine, this can be a handy mixture for other chores, too.
M.A., St. Louis, Mo Jan 03, 2011
This concoction sounds safe, biodegradable, and readers may wish to give it a try on skunk-sprayed dogs. I used a similar mixture to clean bathroom grout. However, I would not leave it on a dog more than 10 minutes before rinsing thoroughly, as you advise, with warm water.
I.P., St. Louis, Mo
Dec 12, 2010
Our family recently suffered a needless tragedy. The day started off great -- we were excited because it was our son's first day back to high school as a senior -- and we went off to work. While we were gone, our 5-year-old dog Nikki had found a bag of barbecue potato chips that had been left in one of the bedrooms. Apparently, there were a few chips at the bottom of the bag, which got stuck on her head. She panicked and ran blindly around our small house, knocking into objects until she finally fell down and suffocated. Our son came home from school and found her.
Please warn your readers about the importance of putting away food and plastic bags. Our hearts are broken because this could have been prevented.
I.P., St. Louis, Mo Dec 12, 2010
I am sorry to hear about the horrendous experience for your dog and your family. I guess her panic was so intense that she did not instinctively pry the bag off with her front paws. This reminds me of some incidents a few years ago with a particular brand of yogurt container that not infrequently got stuck around cats' heads.
This should also be a reminder never to leave snacks and their containers around the house where a dog or cat could easily access them. Snacks high in chocolate and the artificial sweetener xylitol can be harmful -- even fatal -- to dogs who (more than cats) like sweets.
K.S., St. Louis, Mo
Aug 29, 2010
I have a little Yorkie who is 10 years old. She is a former puppy-mill dog whom my husband and I adopted last June. She is perfect in every way, and we want to give her the best life possible. But we were wondering if what we feed her is appropriate. We feed her Science Diet each day, but we also give her two thin slices of turkey bacon each morning when we have breakfast. She absolutely lives for this. We mix it in with her Science Diet nuggets. Is it OK to give her turkey bacon on a regular basis? Are we doing something we should avoid? We adopted another puppy-mill dog a few years ago. She was also 10 years old, and we were able to give her three happy years before losing her. She was perfect in every way, as well; but I wouldn't recommend a puppy-mill dog for just anyone, because they require a lot of time, love and attention -- they cannot do anything and they must be taught everything. But what a joy it is to see them climb up stairs or jump on a sofa for the first time. Imagine a dog sitting in a cage for 10 years, and imagine all the things they don't have the opportunity to learn. Someone once asked me what I expected to get from a dog "like that." My response: "I don't expect to get anything. I hope only to give." Many puppy-mill dogs have had little human contact. It took both of our dogs a few months to take a treat from our hands, but the wait was well worth it.
K.S., St. Louis, Mo Aug 29, 2010
I hope your letter will be read by many and help put an end to the government's (U.S. Department of Agriculture) "regulated" commercial puppy-breeding industry. Puppy mills are an abomination. They are a disgusting and disgraceful reflection of our culture and our spiritual decline as a civilization. I would urge you to transition your dog onto a home-prepared diet, as per my recipe on my website, DrFoxVet.com/info. Also on the website, you will find many good brands of dog food -- from frozen to canned and dry -- that may be best for a small dog with such a stressful and physically/psychologically damaging past. A little turkey bacon is OK as a treat, but it would be best to get away from all processed meats. There are some excellent organic and freeze-dried salmon and other meat treats, additive-free, such as PetGuard and Stella & Chewy's, that would be better for your dog. In the long run, especially for an older dog whose health may need attention -- teeth, gums and kidneys in particular -- fresh foods would be best.
P.M., St. Louis, Mo
Tags: dog MO St Louis
Aug 22, 2010
I have two 1-year-old Pomeranians. Calvin has shown alpha-dog signs since we brought him home at eight weeks. He seems to know his place with the family (eight children live at home). The problem occurs when other children come over to play. He tends to pick one and dominate the youngster. I watched him with one child: He had a strange look on his face while staring at her. He actually bit one little girl twice. And there are certain people in the neighborhood that he wants to go after. He has also started wetting when he sees my husband, sometimes on him. He will snuggle up to my husband at night, showing no signs that he fears him. My husband never had a dog and expects Calvin to understand more than he is capable of. He has chased the dog down angrily, punished him for running out the door, etc. Is there a way to stop these behaviors? The dog's, I mean; I don't think I can do anything about my husband's.
P.M., St. Louis, Mo Aug 22, 2010
Husbands can be a problem. Many flunk basic obedience school. Your spouse should learn that getting frustrated and angry at the dog will cause fear and confusion. Calvin could benefit from the cradling therapy described on my website and in my book "Dog Body, Dog Mind." In this book, you will also learn how to better communicate with Calvin and help him not to act aggressively toward visiting children. In the interim, keep him in another room or on a leash when children visit; and when on the leash, he must sit and stay. Above all, he needs to learn self-control -- what Ivan Pavlov called "internal inhibition" -- and the cradling therapy can be extremely effective in this regard.