- My parents have a two-year old West Highland Terrier and accidentally fed him canned cat food for about a month. Now that he is back to dog food he will often try it but leave most of it uneaten. Is it unhealthy for a dog to eat cat food? Any idea why he now refuses dog food? Also, my father eats oatmeal everynight and gives his dog about a third of it. Is oatmeal okay for dogs? Can a full bowl be given instead of dog food for the evening meal (he loves it!). Thanks. - Mary from Lomita, CA
Dogs actually can safely eat cat food long term as long as they do not have impaired kidney function. The concern with feeding cat food is that it is higher in protein th [more]
Dogs actually can safely eat cat food long term as long as they do not have impaired kidney function. The concern with feeding cat food is that it is higher in protein than dog food and that may be problematic for the kidneys. The oatmeal is also fine to feed as long as it is not the main part of the diet. Oatmeal is often included as part of a hypoallergenic home-cooked diet for dogs with food allergies.
It is not, however, a complete and balanced meal by itself, so a balanced commercial or home-cooked diet is recommended as the main portion of the dogs food and the oatmeal can then be used as a special treat or addition to the diet. There are some human foods that you want to avoid giving your dog altogether including: grapes, raisins, chocolate, onions, garlic, chewing gum or candies with xylitol, and alcohol. [less]
- My grandmas dog is 8 years old and is starting to limb very badly it happened out of know where and we need to know what we can do??
One day we went outside and we saw a red patch on his side.
The fur was gone and it was just his skin/red and flakie.
We dont know what to do.
We dont have eny of his paper work beacuse we got him from some neighbor who was moving abd they couldnt take him.
we felte bad so we brang him in.
We need some advice - celia from carson,ca
Lameness in older dogs can be caused by trauma, arthritis or other chronic orthopedic disease, a torn ligament, an infection, spinal disorders or even cancer. If there is [more]
Lameness in older dogs can be caused by trauma, arthritis or other chronic orthopedic disease, a torn ligament, an infection, spinal disorders or even cancer. If there is an area of missing fur and red skin on the same leg that he is limping, it could indicate that he had a misstep or a fall. A short course of pain relievers and rest may be all that is necessary to get through a sprain or strain injury. However, because there are so many different causes for lameness, especially in older dogs, an examination with your veterinarian as well as radiographs of the affected leg will likely be needed to determine the cause and best course of treatment. [less]
- My cat eat's plastic bags. Could you tell me why and how to stop it? - Jessica McKnight from El Segundo
This could be a pleasurable learned behavior for the cat because she may enjoy the taste (strange, I know) or this may be an obsessive-compulsive disorder, which is commo [more]
This could be a pleasurable learned behavior for the cat because she may enjoy the taste (strange, I know) or this may be an obsessive-compulsive disorder, which is commonly called wool-sucking in cats, and can also be seen as the cat licking or ingesting fabrics or cotton. It is very important to get the cat to stop because if a bag is ingested, it could cause an intestinal obstruction and result in an expensive surgery to remove. You can try applying something bitter tasting (such as bitter apple spray) to the surface of the bags. This will cause her to no longer associate the bags with a pleasurable taste and could stop the behavior. However, if she is very motivated, she may continue to “taste-test” the bags to see if they still contain the bitter taste which means you will have to continuously spray all new bags. You may just need to block her access to the bags by always keeping them put away in a cabinet or drawer, however if she has an obsessive-compulsive disorder, she may find something else to chew on to satisfy her needs. In these cases, behavioral medications are sometimes necessary to stop the activity. [less]
- My 10 year old femaile cat has lost a great deal of weight even though she eats constantly. She cries to be fed and even cries for our food which she never used to do. She is just skin and bones. I feed her all the time.
I've spolen to a few vets and it seems to be a possibility she may have hyperthyroidism. The problem is that I can not afford to take her to the vet for test's and treatment. My question is, can I get medication on the internet an treat her myself for hyperthyroidism and if that is not the problem will the medication hurt her? Please advise. Thank you. - Christine Ober from Cabrillo, CA
You definitely need to know what you are treating before starting medications. Granted, it does sound like your cat has hyperthyroidism, but starting medications without [more]
You definitely need to know what you are treating before starting medications. Granted, it does sound like your cat has hyperthyroidism, but starting medications without knowing for certain that is what is being treated could cause some serious problems. The medication usually used to manage hyperthyroidism in cats is called Methimazole, which inhibits the manufacture of the active thyroid hormones. If the cat has underlying problems with the liver, kidneys or blood cells, this medication could cause severe side effects. This is why it is so important to not only have the thyroid blood levels checked but also the rest of the complete blood panel to make certain there are not other underlying diseases that would complicate things. Hyperthyroidism is also not the only disease that can cause cats to have a ravenous appetite and lose weight – these symptoms are also one of the hallmarks of diabetes in cats, which is another reason why bloodwork is so important.
Hyperthyroidism in cats is usually caused by an abnormal growth on the thyroid gland, which starts overproducing the thyroid hormone. In some cats, this growth is a cancerous tumor, however, thankfully most are benign growths. The excess thyroid hormone causes the metabolism to increase dramatically, which creates a cat that loses weight despite a ravenous appetite. Diagnosis is usually straightforward with a simple blood test that you can have done at your veterinarian. The treatment options include medication, surgery and radioactive iodine treatment. Medication is the least expensive treatment but means a lifetime of medication and blood tests monitoring the thyroid levels in the blood.
Giving a cat a daily medication can sometimes be very difficult and if the growth on the thyroid is a cancerous one, the medication does not address removing this potentially deadly tumor. Surgery used to be performed more often before radioactive iodine treatment was created. The surgery is very invasive and involves cutting into a very delicate area of the body with many important structures.
There is also danger of damaging the nearby parathyroid glands in the process which can cause problems with calcium blood levels. The radioactive iodine treatment is now the treatment of choice for many cats. This treatment involves having the cat hospitalized at a special clinic for 3 to 4 days during which time the injection of radioactive iodine is given which travels directly to the abnormal thyroid growth to kill the tissue. Only the thyroid gland receives radiation because the iodine specifically travels to the thyroid gland.
Most cats usually only need one treatment and they are cured from this disease rather than just managing the problem.
Although it is relatively expensive, it probably ends up being less expensive than oral medication in the long run if you add up the expenses of medications, follow up visits and bloodwork. Left untreated, hyperthyroidism can lead to high blood pressure, heart failure, blindness, or even sudden death. [less]
- I HAVE A 5 YEAR OLD MALE GERMAN SHEPHERD. WE MOVED TO UTAH FROM SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 3 YEARS AGO AND IN THE LAST YEAR HE HAS BEEN HAVING MAJOR PROBLEMS WITH HIS EARS. THE VET SAYS IT IS DUE TO ALLERGIES. WE HAVE TRIED SEVERAL THINGS, INCLUDING HIS FOOD WHICH WE SWITCHED TO A TOP GRADE EXPENSIVE BRAND, STARTED USING A TAR BASED SHAMPOO AND MADE SOME CHANGES INSIDE THE HOME. HE GETS A CORTISONE SHOT EVERY 6-8 WEEKS IF WE TAKE HIM IN AND THAT HELPS FOR AWHILE, BUT THE PROBLEM NEVER GOES AWAY. THE DOG IS MISERABLE AND THE VET DOESNT SEEM TO BE ABLE TO GET A HANDLE ON THIS AND THE DOG IS MISERABLE AND HE IS VERY SENSITIVE AROUND THE EAR AREA IF TOUCHED AND SOMETIMES CRIES AT NIGHT IF HE SCRATCHES THERE. WERE JUST REALLY FRUSTRATED WE CANNOT GET TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS. ANY SUGGESTIONS? - gary from Riverdale, UT (formerly Lomita CA )
Chronic ear infections in dogs are very common and can be caused by an underlying allergy (food allergy or environmental allergy), seborrhea (a disorder which causes exce [more]
Chronic ear infections in dogs are very common and can be caused by an underlying allergy (food allergy or environmental allergy), seborrhea (a disorder which causes excess production of ear wax), foreign material in the ear canals, autoimmune diseases, ear polyps or growths, hormonal diseases (such as low thyroid levels), or middle ear infections. In addition, there are some predisposing factors that make some dogs ears more likely to develop chronic ear problems such as pendulous ears, narrowed ear canals, excessive moisture or humidity, and trauma to the ear canal.
The first step in managing ear problems is an examination deep into the ear canals, sometimes this needs to be performed under sedation or anesthesia because the dog is so painful. Samples can be taken for cytology to determine what kind of microbes are present, culture to determine which bacteria and if it is sensitive to the antibiotics being given, and examination of the ear canals for foreign bodies and abnormal growths and the ear drums, which are sometimes ruptured because of the chronic infection.
Once the type of infection has been determined and the underlying causes have been ruled out with deep examination and testing, treatment with long term oral antibiotics, oral anti-fungal medications (if a yeast infection is present), and topical ear medications can be started. Flushing the ear canal with a medicated ear wash at home is often recommended periodically to remove the discharge from the ear as well as a topical ointment administered once or twice a day. If the ear drum has ruptured, most topical ear mediations cannot be used until it grows back (which can take several weeks). If the infection has entered the middle ear, that is sometimes a source of chronic or recurrent infection and long-term oral antibiotics are needed to clear the deep infection. Cortisone injections can help reduce the redness, swelling and inflammation in the ear canals as well as help minimize the effects of allergies, but have some side effects if given on a chronic basis. Other allergy medications such as antihistamines or cyclosporine (Atopica) are preferable for long term allergy control.
Sometimes, in severe chronic cases, the only solution that works is surgery. There are a few different kinds of surgery that can be performed. Dogs have very long curved ear canals, which is one reason why they are difficult to clean and treat. The less invasive surgery involves removing the upper part of the ear canal leaving only a short horizontal ear canal heading to the eardrum. This allows more airflow to the inside of the ear canal and makes it easier to treat because the canal is shorter and more accessible. The more invasive surgery, usually reserved for end-stage mineralized and painful ear canals, involves removing the entire ear canal and cleaning out the middle ear cavity. [less]
- I HAVE A 1 1/2 YEAR OLD YORKSHIRE TERRIER. WHEN I FIRST GOT HIM, HE SLEPT INSIDE AND I WOULD LET HIM OUT DURING THE DAY TO BOND WITH THE OTHER DOG I HAVE. WELL, I TRIED POTTY TRAINING HIM WITH PADS AND THE SPRAY TO GET HIS ATTENTION TO URINATE ON THE PAD BUT IT WAS NOT WORKING. HE NOW SLEEPS OUTSIDE WITH MY OTHER GOD. THEY BOND WELL. IS IT OK FOR MY PUP TO STAY OUTSIDE ALL THE TIME? SINCE HE STARTED SLEEPING OUTSIDE IN MY LAUNDRY ROOM, HE HAS DEVELOPED FLEAS BUT NOT MY OTHER DOG. ITS STRANGE, DON'T YOU THINK?! AND I CANNOT MAKE THEM GO AWAY. WHAT SHOULD I DO???
HELP ME, CYNTHIA... - Cynthia from Bell, CA
Potty training is stressful for most people, and small dogs seem to have a more difficult time of it, but rest assured it can be done! First, make sure to never leave the [more]
Potty training is stressful for most people, and small dogs seem to have a more difficult time of it, but rest assured it can be done! First, make sure to never leave the dog unattended in the house. In fact, you may want to put a leash on him and attach it to your waist so that wherever you go, he goes in the house as well. Take him outside every few hours in the area you want him to go potty and stand there with him on leash and wait. Be sure to not talk to him or interact with him in any way. He will eventually urinate or defecate, and when he does, give him lots of love and affection and a yummy treat. Then you can walk back into the house together or release him off the leash to play outside.
If you repeat this process, eventually you will not have to tether him to your side anymore in the house because the positive reinforcement he receives for going outside will solidify his training. If he does have an accident in the house, don’t say anything or punish him, which could just cause him to fear or resent you, just go back to putting him on the leash and praise the positive.
It is absolutely ok to have an outdoor only dog because the weather here is so nice. In Southern California, fleas are a part of our lives every year, all year long. There are less of them in the winter months but they do live through the winter because it stays warm all through the winter. And it is always easier to prevent a flea infestation with the topical monthly flea medications than to treat a big flea problem. Even though you don’t see fleas on the other dog, rest assured, they are there. It may be easier to see them on this dog because Yorkies do not have a dense undercoat. It is important to treat all the dogs in the environment to get the best flea control. You can also spray the yard and the house as well because only 1% of the fleas live on the dog (the adults), all of the other stages (egg, larvae, cocoon) live in the environment and are not affected by the flea control on the dog. In other words, all those fleas would have to hatch from their eggs, grow up to be adults, jump on the dogs, get the medication and die. This process could take several months if it is the only way you are treating the infestation. You can also call a company to come treat your yard and house which may help speed up the process. [less]
- We've been fostering an abandoned kittten since she was 10 days old. She's 8 months old now and i fear she's not adoptable. (My husband is still looking for a new home for her.) We've given her excellent medical care, a premium diet and she has been spayed. I've used pheromones and herbal remedies and still she has no desire to be touched, growling when being held or touched. She seems to be happy in general but she rarely purrs, and after picking her up, the fur on her back literally rolls. She then attacks her hind legs and does somersaults while chewing on them. She always has a wild look in her eyes and needs to be constantly active. She has a great relationship with our 5 yea old cat Neo but not with us. My sister said it sounds like Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome. If this a possibility, is there a cure or treatment? Or, is this a case of once feral, always a feral? Thanks so much. - Kaye from Torrance, CA
What you describe does sound typical of Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome. This is a condition which is a series of behaviors in which the cats fur on its back will roll it m [more]
What you describe does sound typical of Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome. This is a condition which is a series of behaviors in which the cats fur on its back will roll it may vocalize and self mutilate biting the back end pulling the fur out and lick excessively The cat may also urinate or defecate or even have a seizure in severe cases. The cause for this can be a variety of different things including an allergy to flea bites, muscle pain spinal pain seizures or a behavioral condition. The first step is always to attempt to identify the underlying cause if possible. If there is a flea allergy even 1 or 2 flea bites can cause symptoms. If a flea allergy or other skin allergy is identified it can be managed or treated with medication and the hyperesthesia symptoms should stop. If the syndrome is being caused by muscle or spinal pain pain relievers may be necessary to help her improve. Sometimes anti-epileptic drugs are effective if this is caused by a neurological or seizure disorder. Finally if no underlying cause is identified and it is determined to be a behavioral disorder% there are some calming behavioral medications to which some cats will respond. You can also work with the cat to desensitize her to human contact if she does have a behavioral issue. This may also be necessary for successful treatment if an underlying cause is not identified. You can do this by pairing very minimal contact with positive reinforcement. For example find a cat treat that she really loves feed her the treat while you gently touch her for just one second. Try to touch her in a place that is not as sensitive avoid the back or the spine Gradually work up to more and more contact as she becomes more comfortable at each step. You may find that she eventually will tolerate human contact much more readily even if she never becomes a snuggler [less]
- I have a ten year old three pound female Pomeranian. Almost daily she will choke and then strain to recover and breathe normally. The choking can be triggered by waking up, stretching, excitement or it just happens. While this is happening, I gently stroke her throat, pet her and speak soft comforting words.
Why is this happening and what should I do? - Eileen Rojas from Hawthorne, CA
This could be a couple of different things. The first is a reverse sneeze. This is a snorting, choking sound that literally looks like the dog cannot breathe and is choki [more]
This could be a couple of different things. The first is a reverse sneeze. This is a snorting, choking sound that literally looks like the dog cannot breathe and is choking on something. However, it is about as significant as a forward sneeze and can be caused by a tickle in the back of the throat. It is very common in small dogs and is not a cause for concern at all unless it is happening with increasing frequency which could mean something is irritating or stuck in the back of the nasal passages. If you pat the dog on the sides of the chest when this is happening, often you can get it to stop. The next possibility is collapsing trachea. This is also a common condition in small dogs and is caused by weak cartilage rings in the trachea or main airway. When the dog gets excited or has any pressure around the neck, the trachea collapses in on itself and this causes a honking/choking cough. Some dogs have a minor condition which can be managed with avoiding pressure on the airways by walking with a harness rather than a collar and avoiding airway irritants such as smoke, perfumes and powders. The third possibility is a heart problem. Heart failure is very common in older dogs and the first symptom that owners see is often a cough. Heart failure can be managed and controlled with medications for most dogs, but left untreated can be devastating. A physical exam and x-rays of the chest with your family veterinarian can help to distinguish these different possibilities. [less]
- my four year old chihuahua he keeps losing his nails they just keep falling out what can i do to help i know it hurts but i just dont know what to do. thank u worried chihuahua - apryl from macon,Ga
A bacterial or fungal nail infection can cause this as can ringworm of the nail-bed. If it is all the nails on all of the paws, it may be an immune-mediated disease calle [more]
A bacterial or fungal nail infection can cause this as can ringworm of the nail-bed. If it is all the nails on all of the paws, it may be an immune-mediated disease called lupoid onychodystrophy where the immune system is attacking itself.
If it is only a few nails localized on one paw, cancer of the foot is also possible, although he is a young dog which makes this less likely. You need to take him to the veterinarian for an examination to determine the cause. A skin cytology, fungal culture, an x-ray of the affected toes and a surgical biopsy may be needed to find out the diagnosis. [less]
- My Neighbor has a 20 months old male Husky that claws and eats everything. He has removed the wire from the foundation vents, gnaws on the wood patio, digs for bugs and snails, destroys anything made of fabric or plastic and devours bones, rose bushes, his collar and harness. Pieces ofhis chewing appear in his stool. He is fed twice a day; dry food plus scraps. The family children are away half of the week due to a custody agreement, He is not trained or exercised. I believe he is bored. Is this issue solvable? How can I help the owner? - Perplexed from Torrance, CA
Dogs have been bred for years for a variety of things such as herding livestock, a hunting companion, guarding the home and a family companion, they were never meant to b [more]
Dogs have been bred for years for a variety of things such as herding livestock, a hunting companion, guarding the home and a family companion, they were never meant to be left in the backyard and ignored. Huskies are a breed that has been developed to have a high level of energy and intelligence.
If left with no job to perform, the dog doesn’t know what to do with himself and starts to think of things to do to occupy his mind – which is usually to the detriment of the house or yard. In addition, if his destruction is due to the fact that he is stressed or anxious from separation anxiety, it may be even more complicated. More dogs are given up and euthanized at animal shelters every year due to behavioral issues than for any other reason. This issue is solvable, provided that someone is willing to put the time and effort into helping this young, active dog learn to become a well behaved member of the family. Exercise is a very important part of every dogs’ health. This will help provide an outlet for all of his energy so he is not using all his energy on being destructive. At least 60 minutes of heart-pumping activity per day is recommended for a large, young dog such as this. In addition, positive-reinforcement based training that engages his mind and encourages him to think should also help immensely. This could be obedience classes, agility training, cart pulling, Frisbee, or flyball.
Finally, if he has to stay home alone in the yard for long periods of time, try to make sure he has something interesting and engaging to do – such as hiding treats in a toy that he has to play with and roll around to get the reward, or smearing something yummy onto his appropriate chewing toys so he will focus on them rather than on the house and patio. [less]