Q: Climate change seems to be causing more hurricanes, flooding and wildfires than we had years ago. If something like that happens here and we're told to evacuate, what should I do about my cats?
A: Take them with you. The Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act, or PETS Act, became law in 2006, ensuring that pets and service animals ...Read more
Q: Our six dogs and cats are on preventives throughout the year to protect them from heartworms, intestinal parasites, fleas and ticks. We want to continue buying them from our veterinarian, but he can't match the prices we found online.
A friend learned the hard way, though, that some online pharmacies sell counterfeit medications. How can we ...Read more
Q: What's the best way to remove a tick embedded in my dog Floyd's skin? I tried covering the tick with alcohol, nail polish and petroleum jelly, but nothing loosened its grip. I've heard that touching a lit match to the tick works, but I'm afraid I'll burn Floyd. What do you recommend?
A: None of these techniques is effective. They just ...Read more
Q: I recently adopted a cat named Max, and I need to learn about trimming his claws. What's the procedure, and how often should it be done?
A: Start by choosing whatever equipment is most comfortable for you. I use human toenail trimmers, but many people prefer cat claw trimmers from the pet supply store.
If you are right-handed, hold Max ...Read more
Q: My seatbelt will help protect me if I'm involved in a car accident, and I want the same for my dog, Gucci, who often rides with me. What's the best way to keep him safe?
A: You are wise to restrain Gucci in the car. Not only could he be injured in a crash, but an accident could hurl him against you, preventing you from controlling your car. ...Read more
Q: My cat Fred's fat underbelly swings when he walks. I think it's cute, but his veterinarian says he needs to lose weight. What's wrong with a cat being overweight?
A: Fred has lots of company: The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention reports that 60% of U.S. cats are overweight or obese.
That statistic isn't surprising, since most domestic...Read more
Q: We're enchanted by Eva, a sweet, young Dalmatian available for adoption through the nearby Dalmatian rescue. Our only concern is that she is deaf. If we adopt her, how will we train her?
A: Deafness is inherited in some breeds, including Dalmatians, especially those that are mostly white and have blue eyes. Fortunately, with kind, consistent...Read more
Q: I am planning to become pregnant, and a friend says I should give away my cat, Myrtle, because she can transmit a disease that could harm my unborn child. Is this true?
A: Rest assured that you may keep Myrtle. It sounds like your friend is referring to toxoplasmosis, nicknamed "toxo," a disease caused by a one-celled protozoal parasite ...Read more
Q: We're concerned that our middle-aged Labrador-German shepherd mix may be nearsighted because he can easily spot his nearby toys but doesn't see those that are far away. Still, he can always find his blue ball. I thought dogs were colorblind but otherwise had good vision. Please explain.
A: While dogs' smell and hearing are far superior to ...Read more
Q: I adopted a calico cat from a shelter that named him Joseph for his coat of many colors. My veterinarian was surprised when she examined him and confirmed he was a male, because she said calico cats are almost always female. Why is that?
A: Calico cats have orange, black and white fur, while tortoiseshell cats, or torties, sport orange and ...Read more
Q: Pebbles, my 9-year-old terrier, was diagnosed with diabetes several months ago. I give her insulin injections and monitor her diabetes with urine test strips. Is there a better way to determine how well her diabetes is being controlled?
A: Diabetes mellitus arises most often in middle-aged dogs, usually around 7 to 9 years of age. Three-...Read more
Q: My spouse and I want to take our dog and two cats on a monthlong trip across the United States in our 30-foot recreational vehicle. The dog is no problem, but we are concerned about whether this is feasible with the cats. What's your advice?
A: Your family can make this work, but only if the cats are amenable. I suggest you first take an ...Read more
Q: Our dog Riley ate a lot of semisweet chocolate bits. His veterinarian advised us to use hydrogen peroxide to make him throw up. After Riley vomited all the chocolate, he was fine.
What are the toxic effects of chocolate? How much does it take to make a dog sick?
A: Before I became a veterinarian, one of my golden retrievers ate a big bag of...Read more