My Pet World: Anything you can do when a dog pees in the same spot every day?
What do you do when you have a neighbor who allows their dog to pee in the same spot on the street in front of your house all the time? Couldn't they change the location sometimes?
The dog's urine has a terrible odor, and because it's going in the same spot repeatedly, it accumulates, and the smell intensifies, especially on hot days. I am not on speaking terms with this neighbor, so I hope they see this column and fix the problem. My dog goes in my own yard. If she does her business in the street, I always pick it up. Any advice on how this problem can be rectified.
— Susan, East Northport, New York
Your neighbor may be trying to keep their dog off everyone's lawns. What that means, though, is that if her dog must relieve himself, it will be in the street, and dogs often pick the same spot. Since the neighbor can't "pick up" urine, they could sprinkle baking soda to absorb and reduce the odor. You also can take the initiative and sprinkle baking soda over the area yourself, which, in turn, may make the dog choose another location to pee the next day. Since they are not on your property, however, that is probably the most you can do.
I read with interest your advice to the woman who was having a feral cat problem in East Islip, New York. I understand her frustration, but I advise some caution on how zealous she gets in getting rid of the feral cats.
She states that she lives on the edge of a wooded area. My guess is she has little or no problem with other wild animals right now. Even though she probably doesn't realize it, the feral cats have been controlling other pests. If she manages to eliminate the feral cats on her property, it won't take long before there's an upsurge of animals like mice, rats, squirrels, opossums, and raccoons. These animals are adept enough to circumvent any fence she may have installed, and they can be highly destructive and multiply very quickly.
My husband and I had a similar situation in our neighborhood several years ago. We live in a dead-end subdivision in a town of 20,000 people in a rural farming county. We had a woman in the neighborhood who declared war on the local feral cat population because they would get into her flower beds and use them as a litterbox. She convinced local authorities to trap and remove all feral cats.
Within one summer, the number of rabbits in the neighborhood quadrupled, and the ground and tree squirrels doubled. The rabbit population had grown so large the following summer that it wasn't unusual to count 20 to 40 rabbits in view without even trying hard. My next-door neighbor lost his entire garden to rabbits, and we all fought to keep rodents out of flower beds and landscaping.
I would encourage moderation in any attempt to control feral cat populations. The woman doesn't want to have a much larger problem with animals that are even harder to control.
— Debbie, Charleston, Illinois
Until people stop abandoning their felines, neighborhoods will be dealing with feral cats. Cats, as you point out, are the most effective, long-lasting, and humane deterrent for keeping rodents and other small creatures away from our homes.
They not only hunt these small animals, but if these animals get a whiff of a cat, they tend to stay away. And, when neighborhoods get these cats fixed, they also eliminate unwanted reproductive behaviors and future kittens from being born, making it easier for everyone to co-exist. The average cat lives 14 years; the average feral cat, less than seven – and more often only three or four years.
We have two cats, 10 and 12 years old, a one-year-old kitten, and a Cairn Terrier, who is maybe 10. Our vet says the oldest three need their teeth cleaned, but it's $400 each. Where can I get this done at an affordable price?
— Lee, Batavia, Illinois
Some low-cost spay-neuter clinics and animal shelter vet clinics offer teeth cleanings and can provide you with a more affordable option. They may even have a grant to cover some of the costs. Private vets also run dental specials in February. You could wait until then or ask your vet for their “February price." You should also call several vets in your community to compare prices or to see if they offer special rates for seniors.
(Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, author, columnist and pet expert who has more than 25 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to email@example.com. Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal.)
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