Q.C.C., Central Point, OR
Tags: dog OR Central Point
May 13, 2013
I have been wondering if it''s bad for dogs to sleep under a blanket and comforter at night? It seems to me that the oxygen supply would get pretty low after a couple of hours.
What is your outlook on this?
Q.C.C., Central Point, OR May 14, 2013
Many dogs, and cats too, enjoy having their own blanket to snuggle under. While an animal who begins to experience oxygen deprivation will eventually get out from under the covers, I consider it unhealthy for an animal to keep breathing the same air in a limited space for any length of time. Dogs with pushed-in (or brachycephalic) muzzles, windpipe/tracheal weakness and those with incipient respiratory and heart conditions are particularly at risk.
Encourage your dog to sleep on the top cover of your bed under his own light cotton blanket or bath towel.
Tags: cat diet food
May 13, 2013
I took my cat to an animal behaviorist because of inappropriate marking. We went through all the causes, and I have changed a few things.
The cat is neutered. The vet recommended Royal Canin Calm. I purchased the dry cat food, and noticed it has corn and wheat products. I also feed my cats canned food, which I believe is better for them. I have also been feeding them Merrick Before Grain dry food.
Do you have any suggestions for a dry cat food that would be similar to the Royal Canin, but with better ingredients? What about giving cats milk? Does milk have a calming effect?
I have five cats, all fixed, and I do animal rescue. I do not intend to foster any more cats. Right now my cats just tolerate each other.
May 14, 2013
These specially formulated, prescription-only (i.e. available at a marked-up price from a veterinarian) diets are part of the new wave of adding various supplements to manufactured pet foods and deleting other ingredients. The formulations are marketed as holistic veterinary medicine and nutritional therapy.
While some of these special diets can provide some benefits, many are a moneymaking scam.
The special diet to which you refer, which is also formulated for dogs, has added tryptophan, vitamin B3 and hydrolyzed milk protein as claimed calming ingredients. Tryptophan is what makes people drowsy after a meal of turkey. A glass of warm milk before bed can help people sleep better. I would opt for a healthy raw food diet for your cat, or use turkey as the single protein in my cat food recipe posted on my website, DrFoxVet.com.
There are many reasons why dogs and cats can become anxious/fearful, and these kinds of remedial diets do not address the root cause unless a nutritional deficiency in the regular food has been proven. Catnip can be a great feline calmer, and Feliway spray can work wonders for some cases.
For many dogs, a bandanna with a few drops of lavender oil on it tied around the neck can be calming, especially when riding in the car.
P.H., Brick, NJ
Tags: cat Brick NJ
May 12, 2013
I enjoyed your article about the cost of wart removal. My yorkiepoo had one under his jaw by his neck. The vet charged me $1,000 to remove it. I was upset, but the doctor said I should have it removed. My dog got another one by his eye, and I put Polysporin on top of it, and within two days it was gone. Some vets know how much you love your pets and will take advantage if you are a sucker.
P.H., Brick, NJ May 13, 2013
I share your incredulity that some members of the veterinary profession have evolved in parallel with some human doctors who put profits before ethics. Some even put their patients at risk by doing unwarranted -- but profitable -- diagnostic tests and "supportive" and "preventive" procedures.
A thousand dollars to remove a wart -- that''s a record breaker! Can any reader top that?
J.M., Poughkeepsie, NY
Tags: cat Poughkeepsie NY diet food
May 12, 2013
A year ago, I decided to take care of a stray cat in my backyard. When I saw him running around with a piece of bread I had thrown out for the birds, I knew there was a problem.
I would put food down in my garage, and it would be gone the next day. This went on for several days until I finally got to meet him. I call him Jack.
He''s a very handsome rogue with beautiful tortoiseshell coloring. After weeks of working with him, I was able to get him close enough to me to sniff the fingers of my outstretched hand. All I wanted to do was to help the little fellow make it through the winter, and I did.
Jack has been with me ever since. But there are two problems:
First, he''s a feral cat who has pretty much reverted back to the wild.
Second, he has worms. I''ve observed this from his insatiable appetite and his hyperactive behavior. I also saw a worm he passed.
I''ve called several local animal clinics, and they all want me to bring Jack in for tests and the works. I can''t afford to do this. Also, I could never get Jack into a pet carrier, and I am afraid of how he would react around strangers. Have I any other alternatives? I''d like to be able to make him well by adding something to his food.
J.M., Poughkeepsie, NY May 13, 2013
You do not give enough details in your letter as to what kind of worm you saw Jack pass. If it was long and thin, it could be a Toxocara roundworm. If it was a white, oblong, rice-grain-sized wiggly thing, it''s a tapeworm segment. If that''s the case, he''ll need to be treated for fleas, which carry tapeworm eggs.
While it may seem shocking that no veterinary hospital will give you some worming medicine to put in his food, without a stool sample and/or a sample of the worm you saw, the proper treatment cannot be determined. Get these samples and you won''t need to take Jack in unless it turns out he requires flea treatment. Not having had a rabies vaccination may make these animal clinics worry about dealing with Jack, and I urge you to rent a humane trap and get someone to help you catch him and take him in. He may need to be neutered, which will make him easier to handle. If you have a spare room, put him in there when he''s given a clean bill of health, and he may soon become sociable.
K.L., Woodbridge, Va
Tags: cat Woodbridge VA
May 06, 2013
I need help in welcoming a cat to my household. I have two dogs: a 2-year-old Lhasa apso female and a 5-year-old male corgi/sheltie/beagle-mix. The dogs bark enthusiastically at every cat they see.
My father will be coming to live with us in an apartment in the basement of our home. He will be bringing his 12-year-old cat, Harry, who is in good health. The cat has always gone from inside the house to outdoors several times a day. He has never used a litter box. I expect this routine to continue when Harry comes to our house.
My dogs have visited the cat at my father''s current home. They bark and bark. Harry attempts to go outside and disappear until the dogs are gone, or he hides inside the house. He previously lived peacefully with my father''s late lab mix.
Harry will have an entrance to the house separate from the dogs. I should be able to keep the dogs out of the cat''s living area, but I am afraid they will bark nonstop to alert us that there is a cat in the house. I fear, too, Harry will run away from his new home with these dogs in it.
How can I get the animals to exist harmoniously together?
K.L., Woodbridge, Va May 07, 2013
First, I do not condone letting cats wander outdoors unless they are in an escape-proof enclosure with protection from the weather if they are left out. Alternatively, your father should get his cat used to wearing a harness, perhaps initially also with a collar and double leash.
My fear is that in a new place and hearing the dogs bark, the cat will try to get out and probably set out for his old home. It is imperative to keep him indoors for at least four to six weeks, installing extra screen doors for security and never letting him out except on leashes or into a secure cat house.
S.W., Brooklyn, NY
Tags: cat NY diet food Brooklyn
May 06, 2013
Six months ago, I rescued a young male cat from the city street near my apartment. I thought he would be a good companion for our 5-year-old male cat who is home alone during the day, and he is indeed very sweet.
I took the new kitty to be neutered and was told he was in good condition considering he came from the street. He and our older cat have gotten to be very close and enjoy playing together. The problem is, these cats wake us up early in the morning, and it''s killing us.
They tear through the apartment, running up and down the hall, tackling each other. They scratch and knock things off the dressers, as if they were trying to make as much noise as possible.
I feed them consistently at 9 a.m. (when I like to get up) and 10 p.m., yet they wake us up at 6 a.m. I am at my wits'' end, and I am considering giving up the second cat. I know our older cat likes the companionship, but the lack of sleep is ruining our lives. And I cannot bear the idea of letting the cats win by feeding them whenever they wake up. If I close them out of the room, they just scratch on the door, which is even worse. Please help.
S.W., Brooklyn, NY May 07, 2013
Sleep interruption and sleep deprivation are serious issues, and by all accounts, a common malady -- not just among those who live with early-to-rise cats. Cats love to make noise when they are playing together, and I think it would be tragic if they have to part forever. Is there no separate room with lightproof, covered windows where they could spend the night together? You could try making the bathroom cozy for them and shut them in with soft (i.e. quiet) toys to play with, along with food, water, catnip and all breakable things put away. As a last resort, there may be another person in your apartment complex who would take the new cat and they could get together for playtime early evenings and weekends. If you are feeding them only at 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. (a dog''s feeding schedule), you need to change that to at least four smaller feedings daily.
J.V., Gainesville, Va
Tags: cat Gainesville VA diet food
May 05, 2013
I recently took my cat, Mr. Puss, to the vet. He''s having a problem with peeing. He''s not blocked, but will empty his bladder and then go to the litter box, squat and do a little bit. I thought it might be a urinary tract infection.
Three years ago, Mr. Puss had some crystals, but no stones. The vet kept him overnight and did a urinalysis on him and found struvite crystals and a possible infection. He was put on Simplicef, on which he did not do well. He was running around the house like crazy. He was then put on Baytril, but that did not go well, either. He kept shaking his head and rubbing his eyes, he was restless, he would not eat and had diarrhea. I stopped that medication also.
The vet wanted to put him on the Royal Canin Urinary SO diet food. Mr. Puss was on it for about two years, but because it has all the corn and other undesirable ingredients in it, I took him off it about a year ago. I believe he was allergic to it because he would bite and scratch. I give him UT Strength Everyday chews that are supposed to keep his pH balanced, but he won''t eat them.
He eats Innova Evo canned food and Natural Balance dry food. He also eats some canned Wellness. I think he drinks enough water. He is an indoor cat who has been with us for five years. He could be 7 to 10 years old. He weighs about 20 pounds, but he''s a big boy, not overweight.
Is there anything I should be doing differently to keep Mr. Puss healthy?
J.V., Gainesville, Va May 06, 2013
I cannot understand why the veterinarian had to hospitalize your cat overnight to do a urine test. This is a stressful experience for cats. It would be far better to take the cat in first thing in the morning with a full bladder after keeping his litter box out of reach after 8 p.m. the night before.
Please visit feline-nutrition.org for information about transitioning your cat onto a grain-free, raw food or lightly cooked diet. Try flavoring his drinking water with some salt-free chicken stock. The more fluids he drinks, the better, since this is the best preventive of blockage by urine crystals or stones. Try feeding him plain organic yogurt or kefir or a probiotic supplement that may help him fight infection and heal from the antibiotic side effects.
A.R., Washington, DC
Tags: cat Washington DC diet food
May 05, 2013
I have adopted a rescue dog who is about 15 months old. One vet said it''s possible he has irritable bowel syndrome. I am not committed to supporting a sickly dog, so I hope to get this problem corrected if possible. Two vets have suggested canned pumpkin. This works if the dog eats his entire bowl of food; however, if he doesn''t, the problem is assured to manifest immediately.
The first bowel movement of the day is normal. The second -- if the pumpkin has not been eaten, and often even if it has -- is characterized by straining (which include yelping that I assume indicates discomfort/pain), a mucus texture and concludes with further straining, resulting in wet droplets. This is frowned upon at the dog park because I think it is interpreted as evidence of an owner who is lax in providing medical attention for her dog.
Note: Regardless of the number of walking/dog park opportunities he is presented per day (usually four), the dog''s bowels move on average only twice a day. Is there some kind of fix for this condition?
A.R., Washington, DC May 06, 2013
If your veterinarian ran no fecal tests to rule out parasites and did not try a short course of treatment with metronidazole or Tylosin and only suggested you give your dog canned pumpkin, I would take your dog to another animal doctor, especially if what kind of food you are giving him was not discussed.
Check my website, DrFoxVet.com, for details on the various factors that can trigger this common canine and feline condition, as well as treatments. These can range from a diet free of grain/cereal and GMOs to giving psyllium husks in the food along with digestive enzymes and probiotics. Peppermint tea, mixed with his food if he won''t drink it or accept it syringed into his mouth, can be beneficial for dogs and humans alike.
J.D.F., Springfield, MA
Tags: dog Springfield MA
Apr 29, 2013
My daughter has a 2-year-old bull terrier who has developed car sickness over the past year. He was always happy to ride in the car on trips that generally did not exceed 1 1/2 hours. However, he now vomits several times after each ride, and it can take up to two days before he recovers.
He is in good health otherwise. Is there a remedy available that you may recommend?
J.D.F., Springfield, MA Apr 30, 2013
That your daughter''s dog enjoyed car rides rules out any anxiety issues. Hanging a cloth strip soaked in essential oil of lavender or placing a few drops on a bandanna around the dog''s neck can produce a small miracle of relaxation for dogs who are anxious in the car.
The vomiting is more a motion sickness issue. Give the dog 1/2 teaspoon of freshly chopped ginger root buried in a couple of balls of cream cheese or peanut butter 30 minutes before going on a long journey. Then make hourly stops to exercise the dog and allow him to relieve himself. Giving a second dose of ginger after two hours in the car should keep his stomach calm and make him one happy puppy.
L.B.S., Fort Myers, FL
Tags: dog Fort Myers FL
Apr 29, 2013
Please tell me something about staph infection in puppies. We have been fostering some pups, and a few got little pustules on their tummies the vet said was Staphylococcus.
L.B.S., Fort Myers, FL Apr 30, 2013
Staphylococcus bacteria, of which there are various strains, is arguably a normal "commensal" organism. Along with other kinds of bacteria, it helps keep the skin healthy and resistant to invasive bacterial and fungal infections. But in puppies with poorly developed immunity and animals with impaired immune systems, Staphylococcus intermedius can cause follicular dermatitis -- pustules with a hair shaft protruding from the center. Shampooing with benzoyl peroxide, chlorhexidine or human Selsun Blue medicated shampoo may resolve the problem. Applying essential oils with antifungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties -- such as frankincense, lavender and tea tree -- diluted in 10 parts almond oil to one part of these oils, applied twice daily may prove effective.
More resistant cases call for oral antibiotics such as erythromycin. Penicillins are not generally effective because of bacterial resistance. Be sure to get the dogs tested and treated for other concurrent disease.