Q: Mr. Poo Poo Head, our 15-year-old cat, has started yowling to come into the house every night. He eats diced beef, chicken and tuna, and he's healthy and active. His behavior is annoying, so we'd appreciate your advice.
A: Yowling is common among elderly cats. The causes are numerous, so it's important to determine what's prompting the ...Read more
Q: I recently adopted Rosie, a greyhound who is mostly white. Earlier this summer, she was out in the sun too long and got sunburned. When we go on vacation together later this summer, I'll try to keep her inside as much as possible between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., but I'm worried about sunburn. Is dog sunscreen available? Can dogs get skin cancer ...Read more
Q: I planted foxgloves because I love their spikes of colorful, speckled, bell-shaped flowers. My cat Stormy is walking through them, rubbing her face on them. Should I worry about this?
A: If she only walks through your foxgloves and doesn't chew on them, she should be fine. But watch her closely to be sure she doesn't eat any.
If she does, ...Read more
Q: While adding windshield washer fluid to my car's reservoir, I spilled some on the ground and my dog started licking it. I sopped up the liquid before he got more than a taste, but afterward, I wondered: Is windshield washer fluid actually toxic to dogs?
A: Yes. Most windshield washer fluids are about 20-30% methanol, which is toxic to dogs, ...Read more
Q: I have had cats and dogs for years, and all of them have been spayed or neutered. I've noticed that they -- and my friends' sterilized pets -- are almost all overweight, whereas friends' dogs that are not sterilized usually remain slim. Is it true that spayed and neutered pets are heavier than sterilized pets? If so, why?
A: Your observation...Read more
Q: My Lab mix has a mast cell tumor. What can you tell me about this condition?
A: A mast cell tumor, or MCT, is the most common form of skin cancer in dogs. Mast cells are white blood cells designed to fight parasites and allergies. It's not clear why some of these immune cells develop into tumors.
MCTs vary widely in appearance, although ...Read more
Q: My holistic veterinarian says my 10-year-old cat Moses has rotten teeth, and at least one tooth has fallen out. Because of his age, I don't want him anesthetized for dental treatment, so the vet said she would clean his teeth using only essential oils and light. I'm concerned about Moses feeling stressed. What should I know about dentistry ...Read more
Q: Ava, my 2-year-old dog, was chewing an elk antler when she started licking her lips and grinding her teeth. Later, she rejected a small, soft treat, which she's never done before. Is it possible she broke a tooth on the antler? Are antlers OK for dogs?
A: Dogs should never chew hard objects such as elk or deer antlers, dried cows' hooves, ...Read more
Q: Eddie, our neighbor's indoor-outdoor cat, is very sweet. He often visits us while we're sitting on our porch or working in the yard. He's so affectionate that we can't help but give him a few cat treats. Eddie seems to be gaining weight, and I wonder whether he is charming other neighbors out of treats, too. Should we stop feeding him?
A: ...Read more
Q: Our dogs killed a raccoon that looked rabid, and we took it away from them. The county animal services people who picked up the raccoon later reported that it had distemper, not rabies. Is raccoon distemper transmissible to dogs? What about humans?
A: Distemper is widespread in the raccoon population. The disease is caused by the canine ...Read more
Q: A houseguest watched me refill my dog's food and water bowls without washing them, my usual procedure unless there's obvious grime on them. She pointed out the slime covering the inside of the water bowl and told me it's dangerous because the slime harbors bacteria that can cause illness. Is she right? Should I do as she advises and scrub ...Read more
Q: I notice that many cats have white bellies and some also have white paws, even when the rest of the coat is another color. Are white bellies as prevalent among cats as they seem? If so, why?
A: White bellies are indeed common among cats, dogs and other species. Each of my tuxedo cats is black with a white underside and paws, as though the ...Read more
Q: How do we find a nice hamster for our daughter? A friend of hers has a hamster that bites, and we don't want that. Also, do hamsters need vaccinations?
A: Veterinarians often refer to hamsters, gerbils, mice, rats and guinea pigs as "pocket pets." Because hamsters are nocturnal -- they're active at night and sleep during the day -- and many ...Read more