- Our 2 year old female golden retriever has been burping since we got her when she was 8 weeks old. I have never heard of a dog burping as frequently as she does. She is a big dog for a female, but we don't feed her anything unusual, mainly diet kibble. We are guilty of giving her table scraps ocassionally, mainly meat. Is this burbing unusual? Is it a trait specific to the breed? Thank you - Jan from Torrance, Ca
Excessive belching can be caused by a couple of possibilities. An allergy to something in the diet may be the problem. Food allergies are usually the result of a componen [more]
Excessive belching can be caused by a couple of possibilities. An allergy to something in the diet may be the problem. Food allergies are usually the result of a component of the diet such as chicken, beef, corn or wheat.
To determine if a food allergy is to blame, a hypoallergenic food trial must be done where the dog is given a special hypoallergenic diet for about 8 weeks.
Another possibility is that she is gulping down her food too fast. If she is a gulper she may be swallowing a lot of air with her kibble causing her stomach to fill with gas. This can become a real problem because some dogs can develop bloat from excessive gas in the stomach. Bloat is a potentially life threatening condition where the stomach fills with gas and then twists which can prevent the gas and food from escaping as well as cut off the blood supply to the stomach. To help prevent her from gulping her food too fast, you can try to split her feedings into multiple small meals every day. Some people give their dog’s meal as training treats so they are never actually given a bowl of food to eat but are instead given small bits of kibble throughout the day as they perform obedience skills. Another way to slow her down is to add something large and inedible to her bowl along with her kibble that she has to eat around. An example would be adding tennis balls to the bowl of food. There are also special bowls that you can purchase on-line that have rubber fingers extending from the bottom of the bowl that prevent them from eating so fast.
Finally, there may be a disorder in the motility of the intestines causing the gas to build up in the stomach. If this is the case, a medication to help improve the motility of the intestines may be necessary or a medication to reduce the amount of gas in the stomach. [less]
- I have a puppy that unfortunately, was separated from her mother at four weeks old. She is doing good and has had two sets of vaccinations, at six weeks, then nine weeks. Her second set was just given a few days ago. I was told by an animal trainer that it is fine to take her out for her first walk and did so today for the first time. Then, after doing so, I was told by several people that it is not okay. I am confused and worried. Please clarify if it is okay. - Anonymous from Torrance, Ca
It is absolutely okay for you to take the puppy out for a walk. Think of your puppy as analogous to a new infant.
There is no reason why a baby cannot be taken for a wa [more]
It is absolutely okay for you to take the puppy out for a walk. Think of your puppy as analogous to a new infant.
There is no reason why a baby cannot be taken for a walk around the block in a stroller, and no reason that people cannot come over to visit as long as nobody is sick or starting to feel sick and everyone washes their hands first.
However, you wouldn’t want to take the new baby out to a busy mall or a playground where there are large groups of unfamiliar people. Likewise it is also okay for the puppy to go out for a walk around the block or to be around another dog, such as a friend or neighbor’s dog provided it is fully vaccinated and otherwise healthy. The concern comes when you take the puppy around places where there are large groups of unfamiliar dogs such as dog parks, dog shows, boarding kennels and groomers. In these situations, a young puppy with an immature immune system is at a risk of acquiring a contagious disease. Even fully vaccinated dogs are at risk at these places. Puppies have a narrow window of socialization (which usually ends around the time the vaccination series is finished) and keeping a puppy isolated and away from other dogs or outdoor experiences can sometimes even predispose them to behavioral issues later. [less]
- What are the signs that our 13 1/2 years old cat is having teeth problems? Our vet recommended a teeth cleaning but this could prove to be stressful to our cat - he is very high strung - as well as perhaps a possibility of infection and maybe not waking up from the anesthetic. Thank You. - Whiskers the Cat from Carson, CA
Unfortunately, pets may not show any symptoms of teeth problems even if they are quite severe. I have often seen many cats and dogs with severely abscessed, infected or l [more]
Unfortunately, pets may not show any symptoms of teeth problems even if they are quite severe. I have often seen many cats and dogs with severely abscessed, infected or loose teeth where the owners said they are not acting any different and had a great appetite. This may be because the diseased teeth did not crop up overnight but took a long time to become so bad. When the pain develops slowly, the pet has more time to become accustomed to it and learns to deal with the discomfort. Also, pets are very stoic about pain which is a method of self preservation because in the wild, survival of the fittest is the name of the game and those that show signs of weakness are shunned by the rest of the group or are subjected to predators.
That being said, here are some signs you may see that can indicate a problem – a bad odor from the mouth, decreased appetite, dropping food out of the mouth while eating, difficulty chewing hard foods or a preference for eating soft foods. Dental disease in pets is often categorized into four grades.
Grade 1 is gingivitis – the bright red line of inflammation along the gums near the edge of the teeth.
Grade 2 is gingivitis and plaque – the slimy tan accumulation of food and bacteria which you can scrape off with your fingernail (or a toothbrush)
Grade 3 is gingivitis, plaque and calculus – which is mineralized plaque that can NOT be scraped off with a fingernail or brush
Grade 4 is gingivitis, plaque, calculus and exposure of tooth roots, infected or abscessed teeth.
We recommend that Grades 1 and 2 start brushing the teeth regularly to prevent the disease from progressing further and Grades 3 and 4 need professional cleanings. It is better to have the teeth cleaned at a grade 3 level than to wait until it is grade 4 and have to deal with an infection and the loss of a tooth.
A thorough dental cleaning does require anesthesia because the pet will not allow cleaning under the gum-line if awake.
Anesthesia always does carry a risk; however your veterinarian will run a variety of pre-anesthetic tests as well as perform a thorough pre-anesthetic examination to make sure your pet is healthy to help minimize that risk as much as possible. Although the process may be stressful for the cat, the diseased teeth and chronic infection in the mouth is also stressful and has been shown to contribute to disease in the heart, kidneys and other internal organs. [less]
- Why does my dog go bonkers every time I pull out the hose to water the lawn, she aggressively attacks the stream of water jumping up and snapping at the stream of water. She is a 1 year old 30 LB terrier mix that I got from the carson shelter a few months ago. - Don from Del Aire, Ca. 90304
For some dogs it is a fearful thing when the water is spraying out of the hose or the sprinklers. They do not understand where it is coming from or why and this confusion [more]
For some dogs it is a fearful thing when the water is spraying out of the hose or the sprinklers. They do not understand where it is coming from or why and this confusion causes them to become very afraid. Other dogs are overly enthusiastic toward the water spray and go crazy attacking the source of the water. This may have been brought on by a punishment with water or an unhappy bathing experience or it may just be an anxiety within the dog herself. To get her to stop doing this behavior, first start by keeping her indoors and away from any outdoor water activities except under controlled circumstances. Start by holding her on a leash across the lawn far away from the water while someone else turns on the hose (very low, calm spray, not moving the water around but just keeping it in one spot – like filling a bucket, for instance). She will probably start to focus on the water and pull that way but just stand still with her on the leash. Once she ignores the water and looks at you, give her a treat and praise. Repeat this process, praising her when she is calm and ignoring the water.
After she has mastered being calm from a distance with the water in one place, have the other person start moving the hose around and spraying the water at a higher velocity.
Similar to how you would water the lawn. Again, keep her at a distance and make sure the water never comes close to her or sprays at her. Repeat the process of praise and treats when she acts calm and ignores the water.
Once she remains calm from a distance, very gradually start to move her closer and closer to the water, again giving her praise and treats when she is very calm and ignores the water. Anticipate that this process will take several weeks to months to get her close enough to the water. Some dogs are never able to have complete freedom with the water hose and will always have to be kept away from outdoor water activities, however you may be able to change her tune by working with her regularly and being calm, consistent, and persistent. [less]
- I have a 1 year old fixed female cat, indoor only, and in good health/shape. Everytime she goes to the bathroom (#2) she flys out of the litterbox like a bat outta hell, and runs a few laps around the house. Sometimes she bolts away IN MID-POOP, flinging it all over herself, and all over the bathroom. Any ideas whats going on? She's been de-flead by advantage, and treated once, many months ago, for tapeworms. - Meg from San Pedro, CA
She may be doing this because she is fearful, frightened or painful for some reason. If there is something that is disturbing her while she is in the litterbox, or if som [more]
She may be doing this because she is fearful, frightened or painful for some reason. If there is something that is disturbing her while she is in the litterbox, or if something has happened in the past which had frightened her while she was defecating in the box. For instance, some people keep their cat’s litterboxes in the laundry room which can be very scary for a cat, especially when the washer and dryer are very noisy. Other loud noises or very busy areas of the house where the litterbox is housed can cause this problem as well. Another possibility is if she has long hairs around her back end that are catching the feces as it exits, this causes a sensation in the cat as though someone is goosing her from behind which can be frightening. If she is a long-haired cat you may want to take her to a groomer for a sanitary clip to reduce the long hairs around the area that may be trapping the feces. She may also have experienced something painful in the box such as constipation, a urinary tract infection, or an orthopedic injury which has caused her to associate the litterbox with a painful or uncomfortable place. You should consult your veterinarian to check for any evidence of constipation, abnormal stools or any potential pain-provoking diseases to make sure this is not the case. [less]
- Please solve this mystery. Of the 4 cats we have, our only female,spayed,5yrs,white, retches & vomits all over the kitchen right after eating She is not allowed on the counter or table but will vomit on these surfaces when alone, usually at night. We do not see her do this outside. She is not underweight so she retaines enough nutriants from other meals.We thought perhaps she was retching and vomiting up hairgballs, but we see no evidence of this. This sa a discusting habit which we hope we can stop. ANY suggestions? - Linda E. Brown from Torrance CA
There are many, many possibilities for a vomiting cat, and if it is happening this often, you will need to see your veterinarian to determine what is causing her symptoms [more]
There are many, many possibilities for a vomiting cat, and if it is happening this often, you will need to see your veterinarian to determine what is causing her symptoms. But, here are a few possibilities.
1) Adverse food reaction or food allergy: Food
allergies are common in pets just as they are in people.
They can show a variety of symptoms such as chronic vomiting, diarrhea, hair loss or itchy skin. To determine if your cat has a food allergy, first she must be placed on a hypoallergenic or novel protein diet. This is usually a diet with ingredients she has never had before. Some of the diets we use have ingredients such as rabbit, salmon or duck. It is important that during a diet trial no other foods, treats, table scraps, or even flavored medications are given to prevent possible interactions. The diet usually has to be tried for 6 – 8 weeks before it can be determined a success or failure.
2) Inflammatory bowel disease: This is a condition
where the intestine is inflamed and irritated for some reason. Usually the reason cannot be determined. The symptoms of IBD are variable and can include chronic vomiting, diarrhea and/or weight loss despite a good appetite. The diagnosis is made with a variety of blood tests, ultrasound and intestinal biopsies. This condition is managed using a combination of diet and anti-inflammatory medications.
3) Foreign body: If your cat has eaten something and it
is too large to leave the stomach, it can roll around inside the stomach preventing some food from passing and causing irritation of the stomach resulting in vomiting. If it is rolling around in the stomach and not lodged farther in the intestines, it can still allow enough food to pass so that she will not lose weight.
4) Kidney disease: In addition to vomiting, cats with
kidney disease may also have a decreased appetite, weight loss and an increased amount of water intake and urination.
Sometimes this goes unnoticed by multi-cat families, however.
5) Hyperthyroidism: Elevated thyroid levels are common
in older cats and can cause chronic vomiting. Usually these cats have a good appetite and may be losing weight. The high thyroid level is caused by a tumor in the cat’s thyroid gland which is usually a benign (non-cancerous) tumor. The cat’s can be treated with medications, surgery or radiation of the thyroid gland. [less]
- Can you please tell us the pros and cons of spaying our female Lab Retriever? She is 1 1/2 years old and has been through several heats. Thankyou! - Anonymous from San Pedro, CA
Spaying your female dog is an important thing to do to help protect her health and hopefully prevent some serious diseases. Unspayed female dogs are prone to develop a se [more]
Spaying your female dog is an important thing to do to help protect her health and hopefully prevent some serious diseases. Unspayed female dogs are prone to develop a serious and often life-threatening condition called pyometra. This is a condition where an infection enters into the uterus and bacteria and pus starts to fill the uterus making the dog very seriously ill. If not immediately removed, the uterus can rupture internally causing the infection to enter the abdominal cavity and cause a potentially fatal infection. Another reason to have her spayed as soon as possible is to help diminish the risk of developing breast cancer. Female dogs can get breast cancer just as women do, and their risk of developing breast tumors is markedly less if they are spayed before their first heat cycle. With each heat cycle, their risk goes up and the chances of her developing a tumor later in life become more of a possibility. There are other more obvious benefits such as less mess because you will no longer have to deal with a potentially messy heat cycle, and less cost to you when you get her license renewed for having a spayed dog.
The downsides of having her spayed would be an increased risk of obesity. Removing their ovaries and uterus causes their metabolism to slow down making them prone to becoming overweight. The key to preventing this from being a problem is to recognize that she will not need as much food following her spay surgery and feed her less than she was getting when she was intact. Spayed and neutered pets may need as much as 30% fewer calories than their intact counterparts. Also, if you keep her active, you can help prevent the expanding waist-line. Another potential risk is the development of incontinence. Some spayed female dogs will start to lose bladder control as they age. Often this is first seen as leaking at night while they are sleeping.
This is usually easily corrected with medications to help tighten the bladder sphincter to prevent the urine from leaking out. Anesthetic risks are also always a concern whenever a pet (or a human) must be placed under anesthesia for any procedure. However, with today’s technology, most anesthetics are performed routinely without any complication.
In general, spay surgeries are a safe and relatively complication-free procedures that can benefit the pet’s overall health as well as preventing unwanted pregnancies.
The potential downsides to spay surgeries are far outweighed by the benefits obtained. [less]
- How can you tell if a dog is dead? Are open eyes and a protruding tongue classic symptoms? I touched the dog's eye and there was no reflex action, does that indicate death? I recently had my dog euthanized, and for some inexplicable reason I've been worrying that she may have still been alive (I saw no signs of breathing). I was not present for the euthanization, which I now deeply regret. I'm no longer in possession of the dog, as I had her cremated. Please help, this has been bothering me recently. - Anonymous from Torrance, CA
Please accept my deepest condolences over your loss. I know how difficult it is to make the decision to have a pet euthanized and the cascade of different emotions surrou [more]
Please accept my deepest condolences over your loss. I know how difficult it is to make the decision to have a pet euthanized and the cascade of different emotions surrounding that difficult decision. All of the things that you listed are indications of death – eyes open with no reflex, no signs of breathing, protruding tongue, etc. Usually the pupils are fixed and dilated and the color of the gums is very pale or grey. After a time (usually takes hours), rigor mortis will set in and the limbs will start to become stiff, but you usually will not see this unless your pet passes at home or you take the remains home for burial. The medication used for euthanasia in pets is very quick and humane. You can rest assured that your dog had passed on following the injection based on what you are describing. You can also rest assured that veterinarians all listen to the heart and make absolutely certain the pet has passed on following the injection before they are taken to be cremated.
Veterinarians and hospital staff are just as concerned about this as you and want to make sure that everything is done as quickly and humanely as possible to ease the stress on both the pet owner as well as the pet herself. [less]
- I have a 2 year old cat with a chewing problem. She chews large holes and swallows the fabric of almost any type of fabric (usually an item of clothing i.e. socks, t-shirts, sweat shirts). She takes socks under the bed and chews it up until it's not much left. I've tried to keep the clothing out of her reach, but sometimes she gets into the closet or chews the dirty laundry. How do I break her from this habit? - Yvonne from Torrance CA
This behavior is sometimes seen in cats and is commonly called “wool sucking”. The behavior is sometimes seen in kittens who were bottle babies or weaned from their mothe [more]
This behavior is sometimes seen in cats and is commonly called “wool sucking”. The behavior is sometimes seen in kittens who were bottle babies or weaned from their mothers too soon. The suckling behavior is calming and comforting for the cat and is thought to elicit good feelings. The big problem with your cat’s situation (aside from the fact that your clothes and socks are getting eaten) is that the amount of fabric she is eating may cause an intestinal blockage and result in an expensive surgery. Try to keep a log or journal of when she does the behavior and see if it seems to be associated with a certain time or if there are any stressful things happening to the cat that may induce this behavior.
If you notice a pattern, see if you can remove or avoid the thing that sets her off.
The first step is to avoid inadvertently reinforcing the behavior. If she is chewing/sucking on the fabric, make sure you do not pet or cuddle with her which may encourage the behavior. Instead, gently interrupt the behavior by saying (not yelling) the cat’s name and picking her up and removing her from the clothing. If she returns and tries again, repeat the process and remove her from the clothing gently without punishment or negativity. Of course you will still have to be diligent about keeping the desirable items out of her reach as much as possible.
The second step is to help her fixation by finding other more acceptable outlets, especially food related. You can try taking her dry cat food and separating it onto 10 different small shallow dishes, then hiding the dishes all over the house (behind the couch, on top of the refrigerator, in different rooms and on different levels all over the house). You can also try offering her cat treats and chews as well as cat toys with openings for hiding treats and food. As a last resort, if she is still not behaving, your veterinarian may prescribe behavioral medications to help reduce her anxiety. [less]
- What do you suggest we do to help our three still partly feral indoor cats make a move with us to another state? They do not like car rides-they sit in their carriers and cry. The only place they have traveled is to the vet and one short 10 block move in 2002. - katmom from South Bay, CA
If you are planning on a lengthy car ride, it will probably be stressful for them. However, moving in general will be a stressful event. If you are moving to a state that [more]
If you are planning on a lengthy car ride, it will probably be stressful for them. However, moving in general will be a stressful event. If you are moving to a state that you can get to in a 1 or 2 day drive, you may be alright. Any more than that and you may want to consider flying. The flight itself will be stressful for all, no doubt, but at least it will be over quickly and the cats can start to adjust to their new homes on the same day. Regardless, you may also want to consider using a mild sedative for them during the travel to help calm them and make the trip easier.
If you have a lot of time between now and your trip, the ideal thing to do would be to get them used to driving in the car and being in cat carriers. Start by first taking time to get the cats used to the cat carriers by making them a pleasant place to be – place a soft bed inside and make it a place where they can go to relax and be undisturbed by others. You can purchase cat pheromones (such as Fel-I-Way) to spray on the carrier as a calming influence. Also, when it is time to feed – give them their food in the carrier so they begin to associate it with good feelings. Hopefully, after doing this for some time, you will see the cat frequently walking into the carrier voluntarily throughout the day. The next step is getting them used to the car. Just start with short drives several times a week and then returning home, again keeping the whole experience as positive as possible. You may even want to give them a treat if they are relaxed and quiet in the car to reward their calm behavior. Gradually, start increasing the amount of time in the carrier in the car until you are confident they will be able to make a long trip as stress-free as possible. [less]