Q: I have been working at home during the pandemic, and I expect to return to my regular workplace soon. My two dogs have become accustomed to having me home, and I'm concerned that their stress will increase when I'm again away 40 hours every week. What can I do to make the transition easier for them?
A: Your concern for your dogs' emotional ...Read more
Q: My elderly cat Tater Tot is losing his appetite for dry cat food, but he loves the tuna I eat. Now that he's eating only tuna, I guess I should ask if that's OK for him.
A: It seems you have two concerns: Tater Tot's recent disinterest in dry food and his all-tuna diet.
I'm suspicious that Tater Tot may be experiencing mouth pain that makes...Read more
Q: Our dog Hunter is terrified of loud noises, so I'm concerned he'll panic during Fourth of July fireworks and summer thunderstorms. How can we help Hunter remain calm?
A: I'm sorry Hunter has a noise phobia. It's understandable, considering a dog's acute hearing.
When fireworks are expected or a thunderstorm is predicted, modify Hunter's ...Read more
Q: I want to brighten my home with some new houseplants, but they need to be safe for my cats, who explore everything. Are philodendron and spider plants harmless if cats eat them? If not, can you suggest some cat-safe houseplants?
A: Philodendrons contain calcium oxalate crystals that burn a cat's mouth and throat, cause drooling and ...Read more
Q: When Dobby, my roommate's family dog, visits us, he sometimes gets into the trash. My roommate says scolding him after I find trash on the floor is not effective. Is this true?
Yesterday, I found Dobby knee-deep in trash on the kitchen floor. Even though I didn't yell, Dobby rolled over and showed his belly, so I'm sure he knew what he'd ...Read more
Q: I was recently diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder. I live with two normal cats, but I've been wondering whether cats can have OCD, too.
A: Yes, though veterinarians who specialize in behavior refer to the abnormal repetitive behaviors as "compulsive disorder," or CD, since the word "obsessive" refers to thought patterns we can't ...Read more
Q: I recently adopted a dog, Chester, who will be neutered when the pandemic subsides enough to allow the shelter's veterinary staff to resume sterilizing pets. Chester is sweet and fun, but he also lifts his leg to mark his indoor territory with urine, and he humps people's legs.
I know these bad behaviors will stop after he's neutered, but ...Read more
Q: My cat was diagnosed with uveitis after I noticed that the iris of one eye had turned red, its pupil was small, and a foggy haze filled the normally clear front of the eye. My veterinarian prescribed steroid eye drops and sent a blood sample to the lab for further testing.
What is uveitis, and what causes it?
A: Uveitis is inflammation of ...Read more
Q: Kip, my retriever mix, loves to swim in a nearby lake, even during the winter. The water recently turned green, so I kept him out. If the lake is green the next time we hike there, is it safe for him to swim?
A: I recommend Kip stay away from green water, because the color may mean it's contaminated with blue-green algae called cyanobacteria...Read more
Q: I recently adopted my first pet, a young cat named Tulip, and took her to the veterinarian, who smelled cigarette smoke on her fur and recommended I stop smoking or smoke outdoors to protect Tulip from cancer.
I feel the veterinarian is overstepping her role. Still, I need to know whether my smoking could really give Tulip cancer.
A: Our ...Read more
Q: While I was picking up sticks in the yard prior to mowing, I found two baby rabbits sitting in a shallow nest in the grass. The mother was nowhere to be seen. If I take these bunnies inside, how do I care for them? Would they make good family pets?
A: No, they are wild animals and cannot be domesticated. So please don't move them.
Wild ...Read more
Q: My puppy, Cooper, got skunked today. Is skunk gunk toxic to puppies? Also, please recommend a safe way to get rid of the stench on a puppy.
A: The standard commercial skunk remedies, like Skunk-Off and Nature's Miracle Skunk Odor Remover, are safe for puppies. Or, you can try one of these homemade recipes:
-- Mix 1 quart of 3% hydrogen ...Read more
Q: I've had cats before, but none ever looked like the cat I adopted this week from the shelter. Both of her front paws have the normal four toes -- plus three thumbs instead of one. I've never seen a cat with so many thumbs. What is this called? Should the extra thumbs be surgically removed?
A: Your new cat is polydactyl, which in Greek means ...Read more