Q: I've fallen in love with my friend's rabbit, and I want one of my own. I wonder if the rabbit is lonely when my friend is at work and whether I should acquire two instead of one. Also, do shelters have rabbits, or should I go to the pet store?
A: Rabbits are the third most commonly surrendered species at animal shelters, and February is ...Read more
Q: What can you tell me about feline vision? I've heard that cats see well in the dark, but I still think we should leave a nightlight on so our cats can find their way to water bowls and litter boxes in the dark. My partner disagrees.
A: I'm with you; we've placed night lights in strategic locations for our pets, too. Still, your partner's ...Read more
Q: Icy sidewalk season is here. I've heard rock salt is hard on dogs' feet, but I'm not sure what to use in its place. Can you suggest a de-icer that won't harm my dogs?
A: Look for de-icers labeled as safe for pets. These products are also safe to use around children.
Rock salt and other salt-based de-icers contain sodium chloride, potassium ...Read more
Q: The pet food my dog, Sarge, eats is being recalled because it contains too much vitamin D. Since vitamin D is necessary for good health, how can too much be harmful?
A: Several companies' pet foods were recalled this year after they were found to contain toxic levels of vitamin D.
Humans can manufacture vitamin D with the help of sunshine, ...Read more
Q: Why is my cat Nala attracted to menthol? I like its coolness, so I buy shower gel and skin creams that contain menthol. Occasionally, I also use a menthol ointment on my sore muscles. Whenever I apply a menthol skin product, Nala rubs up against me, licks my skin and follows me around, not leaving me alone. What's this all about?
A: Menthol ...Read more
Q: My kids are big fans, and they have a question this Christmas season. Can all reindeer fly?
A: Only Santa's reindeer can fly. However, even ordinary reindeer have characteristics that make them special.
Also known as caribou, reindeer are the only mammals that can see ultraviolet light. This makes it easy for them to find lichen to eat and ...Read more
Q: I recently adopted Sophie, a 1-year-old standard poodle, who has an endearing trait. Sometimes she tilts her head when I'm talking, as though she's trying to understand everything I'm saying. None of my other dogs did this. Why does she?
A: In a recent study, researchers concluded that especially smart dogs more often tilt their heads than ...Read more
Q: Penny, my middle-aged indoor cat, chews her dental treats only on the left side of her mouth. Is this normal?
A: I confess that I've never observed my cats or dogs closely enough to know whether they chew on one or both sides of the mouth. Nor have I heard this topic discussed at veterinary conferences. So, I consulted two renowned ...Read more
Q: We recently adopted Reena, a curious, lively 6-month-old puppy. Please advise us about keeping her safe during her first Hanukkah, when our young children will want her to participate in the festivities.
A: During the eight nights of Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, as you light your menorah's candles to celebrate the miracle that a one-day...Read more
Q: I'm considering adopting Hope, a 1-year-old cat who tested positive for the feline leukemia virus. She's healthy now, but I know from your column that she may get sick in the future.
If I could buy pet health insurance for her, I would be more likely to seek out the best treatment if her health worsens. However, I've been unable to find ...Read more
Q: Fern, our daughter's first rabbit, just joined our family. May she eat only rabbit pellets, or should we also give her lettuce and carrots?
A: Most of Fern's diet should consist of a variety of fresh grass hays, such as timothy, Bermuda, brome, oat, rye, barley, meadow and orchard grass hay. Avoid alfalfa, which is too high in calories and ...Read more
Q: Our pit bull puppy died of parvovirus. How can we prevent parvovirus in our next puppy?
A: Instead of choosing a puppy, I recommend you adopt an adult dog whose parvovirus vaccination is up to date. Vaccination is very effective at preventing parvovirus infection, nicknamed "parvo," and all dogs deserve protection from this common, life-...Read more
Q: Panda, our black and white tuxedo cat who also responds to the more fitting name of Pandemonium, plays with the centipedes in our bathroom. If she eats one, could it harm her?
A: No, but eating too many of them could result in stomach upset.
The greater concern is that centipedes bite, and the bite feels like a bee sting. Centipedes don't ...Read more