Dear Readers: In addition to pointing out the risks of giving dogs leftover bones from cooked meals, the government has posted a warning about the processed bones sold in pet supply stores. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it has received dozens of reports of dog illnesses related to processed "bone treats," and that the risk of such treats goes beyond that of regular bones. A wide range of bone treats were listed in the FDA statement, including items described as "ham bones," "pork femur bones," "rib bones" and "smokey knuckle bones." According to Dr.
Dear Dr. Fox: I have an indoor-outdoor cat, and I have noticed that he is overeating somewhere else while he is outside. I put a tag on him that reads "Please don't feed me" and includes my phone number. And, sure enough, a woman was soon calling me, saying that my cat is eating the food that she sets out for feral cats. This woman lives a half-mile away from me. I went to her house to pick up my cat, and learned that she puts out food for cats in the morning and at night—about 5-6 pounds of the cheapest cat food.
Dear Dr. Fox: I hope you can help me; I'm out of ideas and options for my 7-year-old giant Alaskan malamute. In the past couple of years, he gets diarrhea off and on, plus a lot of gas, but he rarely vomits. He also has idiopathic seizures once or twice a year. The vet did every blood test you can think of. It's all normal. They did tests on his stool sample: no parasites or protozoans. They put him on metronidazole and probiotics; it seems to do the trick, but in a couple of weeks, the problems start again.
Dear Dr. Fox: I am having a problem with my dog. He's a 2-year-old Lhasa Apso/poodle mix and is neutered. He constantly licks our tile floor. The floor is kept very clean and has no food residue. I have talked to our vet about this and they don't have a clue.—L.E., West Palm Beach, Florida Dear L.E.: I find it quite incomprehensible that the veterinarian with whom you consulted could offer no treatment suggestions for your little dog. The behavior that you describe is an anxiety-driven obsessive-compulsive disorder that is actually quite common, especially in small breeds.
Dear Dr. Fox: My wife and I are now in our mid-70s. We live comfortably in a beautiful home and neighborhood on the New Jersey shore. Except for my time away in college and the Army, I've always had a dog. The last three lived over 16 years since puppyhood. Living close to the beach and having a good-sized backyard, the dogs got lots of healthy exercise, health care and love. Our last dog, a wonderful mixed-breed Lab, died two years ago.
Dear Dr. Fox: I have a 17-year-old Chihuahua that has CCD (Canine Cognitive Dysfunction), congestive heart failure, liver disease and kidney disease. His congestive heart failure is managed with Vetmedin, Lasix and Benazepril. The primary concern is his CCD. It is unclear, per our vet, if his heart problem is causing less oxygen to reach the brain or not. But he's either pacing and circling or sleeping. He does not interact with others, and I suspect it's for a variety of reasons: deafness, near-blindness and cognitive dysfunction.
Dear Dr. Fox: Some animal organizations have jumped on the bandwagon and are promoting free adoptions, just to empty out the kennels and to keep the euthanasia rate to a minimum. This will look good on paper: Increased adoptions equal decreased killings. What more could the humane public ask for? However, the crucial part missing from this happy equation is a concern for the quality of life for the animal.
Dear Dr. Fox: In your professional opinion, what are the worst mistakes people make with their cats and dogs that they are not aware of?—R.E., Silver Spring, Md. Dear R.E.: What a thoughtful question! Maybe if enough readers respond with their top peeves and serious concerns, we will have a list good enough to start a book of proper companion animal care like Dr. Spock's was for new parents! Then some of the harmful relationships that form between people and their puppies and kittens might be avoided.
Dear Dr. Fox: The Institute for Humane Education launched its first crowdfunding campaign on Aug. 22 to support its Solutionary Program. It is completing the third year of a three-year pilot of this new program for middle and high schoolers in which students work collaboratively to address real-world problems of concern to them and devise solutions good for people, animals and the environment.
Dear Dr. Fox: Max is a 9 1/2-year-old female domestic shorthair cat I adopted from the Arlington Animal Welfare League when she was 6 months old.