T.W., Naples, FL
Dec 30, 2006
We have two female dogs: Heinz 57 is 7 years old, and Sheltie is 2-1/2 years old. They are mostly house dogs and are let out often in the back yard to do their business. Both are fixed. I bathe them every couple of weeks and brush them, but sometimes they come back into the house and stink to high heaven, even after a bath! Is it possible that they roll around in feces? If so, how can I get them to stop doing this? If not, what else could it be?.
T.W., Naples, FL Dec 31, 2006
I sympathize with your situation. Dogs will routinely find something smelly to roll in, especially shortly after they have been bathed. It would be sensible to anticipate this and not let the dogs off-leash when outdoors until the following day.You may be bathing your dogs too frequently. With regular grooming and a good diet, dogs'' coats stay sweet and healthy -- not too dry, which excessive bathing can aggravate, and not too oily. Maybe putting a bit of aftershave lotion or cologne that you use regularly around your dogs'' cheeks and shoulders will satisfy their need to roll around in scented stuff.
I.M.G., Naples, FL
Tags: small pet Naples FL
Nov 04, 2006
I have an 11-year-old miniature pinscher. She is in excellent condition but has cataracts on her eyes, with one eye worse than the other. Do you recommend having the cataracts removed? It is very costly, from what I have been told, but I don''t want her to go blind. I would like to know your views on this situation and approximate costs.
I.M.G., Naples, FL Nov 05, 2006
Veterinary ophthalmologists are adept at removing cataracts of the lens, which can become so opaque that the dog may have only a little peripheral vision. Surgery is indicated if the dog is healthy and is a low surgical risk, and provided the back of the eye -- the retina -- is normal and not diseased or detached. Many dogs have a new lease on life after the opaque lenses have been removed.
B.C., Naples, FL
Tags: small pet
Sep 23, 2006
My husband and I recently adopted a 2-year-old female black Lab mix who was rescued from Hurricane Katrina. We have named her Gumbo. She was obviously loved by her former owners, as she is extremely well trained and completely housebroken. She never begs for food at the table, will sit and stay on command and is everything you could ask for, except that she doesn''t know how to play.She has a huge basket of toys in which I hide treats to get her involved. She will not go for a ball or stick and actually closes her eyes or turns her face away if we toss the ball in front of her. We are lucky enough to have a great pool for her to swim in, but she won''t go near it. Do you have any advice on how to coax a dog to play?.
B.C., Naples, FL Sep 24, 2006
Hats off to you for adopting a canine survivor of Hurricane Katrina. She may well be suffering from post-traumatic stress and will take time to heal, become more self-confident and eager to play.Daily contact and play with a friendly dog in your neighborhood could be good therapy and help your dog become more outgoing.But your dog could simply be of a shy, gentle and submissive disposition, scared by a raised hand or thrown object. Try a squeaky toy or simply roll, rather than toss, a ball toward her. How you invite play can be a factor in how she chooses to respond. As for going into your pool, her waterphobia after the flooding where she came from will be a major obstacle, so do not force her into the pool. Go in first, and try to entice her to join you.
A.B.S., Naples, FL
Tags: small pet Naples FL
Aug 12, 2006
My granddaughter has a 14-month-old baby and is expecting another child very soon.I am very concerned about the safety of the babies. Could the cat possibly smell milk on one of the babies and accidentally suffocate the child?.
A.B.S., Naples, FL Aug 13, 2006
Cats have often been demonized (and apparently still are) for suffocating babies in their cribs. This was before the recognition of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in infants who were found dead in their cribs.Cats will jump into babies'' cribs to snuggle, bat at waving arms and legs, and, yes, sometimes may lick any milk the baby burps up.I advise that a net be put over the crib to keep the cat out, otherwise the infant could get scratched by a playful cat. The cat should have a full physical examination and be checked for fleas (which can cause chicken pox-like bites on babies), for ringworm (which is transmissible) and for toxoplasmosis and roundworm. As a sensible precaution, your granddaughter should have someone else clean out the litter box while she is pregnant.
B.V.K., Naples, FL
Tags: small pet Naples FL
Jul 15, 2006
We have two female cats, 7 and 4 years old. They''re mother and daughter. When they go into heat, they''re constantly crying. We think this could be because the 4-year-old had a litter before she was a year old, and we almost lost the mother when she was given to us at age 6.We were wondering if we should give them baby aspirin. Any advice you might have would be appreciated.
B.V.K., Naples, FL Jul 16, 2006
Cats in heat become highly agitated, cry a lot, groom excessively, roll around and become "cling-ons," soliciting attention and often trying to get outdoors. They can go into heat repeatedly if they are not bred and can lose condition and become irritable and unpredictable.I urge you to call your local animal shelter and ask whether there is a low-cost spay program available, and have both of your cats "fixed."They are not in pain; they''re in hormonal turmoil. Do not give aspirin: Even low-dose "baby" aspirin could be fatal to a cat. Ditto Tylenol.
A.G., Naples, FL
Tags: small pet
Jan 28, 2006
I have been feeding salted peanuts to our local grackles and gulls. They seem to appreciate it, but I''ve been told that salted peanuts are bad for our feathered friends. I would not knowingly hurt any animal. Please let me know if I''m helping or hurting.
A.G., Naples, FL Jan 29, 2006
Peanuts can be bad for our feathered friends if they are moldy (aflatoxin being one of several mold poisons), so be sure that the peanuts you are putting out are neither moldy nor smell rancid.Rinse the nuts first in hot water to clean off the salt, too much of which is bad for birds and humans. You might find it cheaper to go to a pet- or bird-supply store and buy regular peanuts in bulk. Or you might try a mix of various seeds, like sunflower and millet.If you are feeding the birds in your yard, do set up a water bath (with an immersion heater for winter), because in cold weather birds need plenty of water as well as food.
F.M., Naples, FL
Tags: dog Naples FL diet food
Dec 10, 2005
My veterinarian says that it''s OK to feed my 1-year-old cocker spaniel just dry dog kibble so long as it says on the bag that it is complete and balanced for maintenance and so long as my dog, Charlie, drinks plenty of water.The vet also said Charlie should never have human food because it could unbalance his nutrition.
F.M., Naples, FL Dec 11, 2005
Your veterinarian is of the old school on this subject and was probably taught companion-animal nutrition at veterinary college by an employee of one of the big pet food companies. Various pet foods were pushed onto the market this way, resulting in several nutrition-related diseases in dogs and cats.Feed your dog a variety of quality commercial dog foods, dry and moist (canned) and, ideally, organically certified. A tablespoonful of safflower oil in the food every day is always good. On alternate days, give him a scrambled egg, 1/2 cup of cottage cheese or steamed vegetables (like broccoli, sweet potatoes or spinach). Alternatively, make your own dog food from scratch using my basic recipe (see http://DrFoxVet.com/info/Dr-Fox-Homemade-Dog-Food).
R.R., Naples, FL
Tags: small pet
Nov 26, 2005
We adopted a female Shih Tzu from a small animal-rescue shelter, and she is a wonderful pet. There is only one thing wrong with her:We cannot leave her home alone, even for an hour, or she will poop in at least three different places, even though we always take her out before we leave. She loves everyone, will stay with anyone and is completely housebroken otherwise. We tried a cage, but she pooped in the cage and was a mess when we got home. Our friends and neighbors are happy to baby-sit her, but there are times when it isn''t convenient.We''ve had dogs all of our lives and have never experienced this problem. Please advise.
R.R., Naples, FL Nov 27, 2005
Your dog is suffering from separation anxiety. Her digestive system gets so upset when she is left alone, she has to defecate repeatedly. A worst-case scenario is that she develops chronic, stress-related colitis.Try making your departure enjoyable and rewarding. Fill a couple of hollow, rubber Kong toys or beef marrow/shank bones with peanut butter and put them out for her. Leave the house for two to three minutes and return, ignore any poop and pet her only when she sits, remains quiet and accepts a treat. Make several trips in and out over several days, gradually increasing the duration of time away. Leaving on a radio or TV program may help your dog feel less alone.If this desensitizing and remotivating program fails, have your veterinarian put the dog on a seven- to 10-day course of Valium, then try the program again. And don''t lock your dog in the cage -- keep the door open and she may like it as a secure den.
C.B., Naples, FL
Nov 26, 2005
I have two dogs: a black Lab, age 12, and a German shorthaired pointer, age 10. Both dogs have lipoma (fatty tumors).What causes this? Can anything be done to reduce the size? My Lab was operated on about seven years ago. I will not put her through surgery again, but she now has a tumor growing on the same spot as the one removed.My male shorthaired pointer has one next to his penis, about the size of an orange. Another one is around his right hip. And there''s a small one starting up on the left side -- it''s the size of a walnut. I can move all of these tumors, so they don''t seem to be connected to anything.Neither dog seems particularly bothered by the tumors. Should I just leave well enough alone and do nothing?Thank you for any advice you may have.
C.B., Naples, FL Nov 27, 2005
The jury is out about why dogs develop lipomas. They are not cancerous malignancies, so they need not be removed unless they interfere with the dog''s mobility and comfort, or are severely disfiguring. Yes, they often grow back in the same area after surgical removal of large growths.Injections with colloidal silver are said to shrink lipomas, but I have yet to find any clinical reports confirming this claim and would welcome that information from any veterinarians -- or the claim that daily doses of L-carnitine can help reduce and prevent these fatty tumors. The best prevention is regular exercise, plus a low-calorie diet and maintaining a lean body with good muscle tone. This problem in older dogs is often linked with reduced activity associated with various conditions, especially arthritis, low thyroid function and obesity.
No name given, Naples, FL
Tags: dog Naples FL
Oct 15, 2005
I am rarely out of my house, but sometimes when I go out my dogs bark, which I control as best I can following your advice of drawing the curtains and leaving the TV set on. Now some neighbors are complaining and say it''s illegal. Their screaming kids are much more of a nuisance and often upset my dogs, but there is no law against that. Please advise.
No name given, Naples, FL Oct 16, 2005
The "double standard" that you allude to is an issue that in other cultures is less problematic because children are parented differently. Loud screaming is gently, firmly and consistently controlled, and is not regarded as cute, high-spirited or socially acceptable. Take your dogs with you when you can, and add a radio to the "noise barrier" of the television when you are out, with the volume up high so that the sound is audible outdoors but not too loud as to cause further complaints. Fill some marrow bones or rubber Kong toys with peanut butter to occupy your dogs, and bring in a dog house-sitter and walker when you must leave them for any extended period of time.