Q: Can cats that stay indoors get parasites? My veterinarian recommends that I apply a parasite preventive to my cat Seymour's skin every month, but I don't understand why it's necessary.
A: While cats that spend time outside are more likely to encounter parasites, even indoor-only cats can become infected. Three types are common.
The first is...Read more
Q: We recently adopted Rufus, a young adult dog who becomes anxious every time he's in the car. He pants, whines, drools, licks his lips and sometimes even throws up. What can we do about this?
A: The most effective way to help Rufus feel calm in the car is behavior modification. Through a series of small steps, you'll teach him that car ...Read more
Q: We have several cats, and we provide foster care for kittens from a rescue organization. I am pregnant with my first child, and we don't want our child to grow up allergic to cats. While our child is young, should we stop fostering and limit access to our family cats?
A: Quite the opposite. For years, physicians have recognized that ...Read more
Q: Our Yorkshire terrier Bentley has a dry, honking cough. His veterinarian said he has a collapsing trachea and recommended we walk him on a harness rather than a neck collar to take the pressure off his throat.
Is there anything else we can do to minimize his coughing and help him catch his breath? Please tell us more about this condition.
Q: My income is limited, but I wouldn't part with my dog, Max, or cat, Mimi, for anything. How should I spend what I've budgeted for pet health care?
A: The best way to save money on pet care is to prevent disease rather than treat it. Let's start with some free ways to do that.
First, keep Max and Mimi slim. Research shows that slim dogs live...Read more
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