Q: I recently adopted a dog, Chester, who will be neutered soon. 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 what can we do now to manage them?
A: The most common negative behavior exhibited by unneutered -...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 kids' Halloween candy sits around the house for weeks. Sometimes the kids share it with the dog; other times the dog steals candy that's not hidden. I know chocolate is toxic to dogs. Is there anything else I should remove from the Halloween haul?
A: You are right that chocolate, which contains theobromine and caffeine, is toxic to dogs. ...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
Q: Should we neuter Max, our 3-year-old Jack Russell terrier? Our veterinarian described the behavioral benefits of neutering, but those are not an issue for us. Max is healthy and lots of fun, and we just want him to live forever.
A: Keeping Max around as long as possible is a good enough reason to have your veterinarian neuter him, because ...Read more
Q: A new friend invited me to her home, and I was surprised that one of her cats was missing an ear tip. What was left of the ear looked normal, except that it had been cut in a straight line. I'm wondering: Is this woman in a cult that tortures cats, and should I report her to the authorities?
A: You should start by talking with her. Ask her ...Read more
Q: Mrs. Maisel, my small, 2-year-old mixed-breed dog, died soon after chewing a toad. She didn't swallow it, but I think it released some sort of toxin, because within a few minutes, she fell over, had a seizure and died. What happened? I know toads don't cause warts, but could this toad have actually killed her?
A: I'm so sorry to hear about ...Read more
Q: I need to put some mouse poison in the basement, but I'm worried my cats may find it. I understand that poisoned mice bleed to death. Can mouse poison have the same effect on cats?
A: Yes, and worse.
The first rodenticides were anticoagulants, which caused death from internal bleeding. Short-acting chemicals like warfarin became less ...Read more
Q: Our son vapes in his bedroom. Is it okay for him to use his e-cigarette when our dog Smoky is in his room?
A: No. E-cigarettes are electronic smoking devices, or ESDs, which heat, vaporize and emit numerous harmful chemicals that expose pets and people to substantial risk. If your son must vape, he should do it outdoors to protect Smoky and ...Read more