Category Archives: Pets

Outing a Sore Spot for Nosey Dog

PAW’S CORNER
By Sam Mazzotta

DEAR PAW’S CORNER: This weekend I took my dog “Marty,” a dachshund-beagle mix, out to some property, where she sniffed and sniffed and dug and sniffed and sniffed. I think she had her nose buried in the rocky soil for so long that she gave herself a rather large (maybe the size of a nickel) blister on her upper lip. It’s not puffy — just a raw patch under her nose, and she licks at it. I saw something saying that canola oil or olive oil might help chapped lips, but this seems like a larger area. Any tips? — Matt P., via email

DEAR MATT: First, I have to caution that it’s always wise to consult your dog’s vet. With that out of the way, I’d say the best thing to do would be to treat the raw patch like you would a blister or a raw patch on your own nose. Keep the area clean, rub a bit of Neosporin over it two or three times daily and watch it closely.

Marty probably will lick off the antibiotic ointment within a minute or two of application, but in such small quantities it isn’t a problem to ingest. A Band-Aid probably will cause more discomfort and trouble than it prevents. You also can ask your vet for topical medicine to reduce any discomfort and thereby reduce her licking of the area so it can heal faster.

If it is indeed just a raw patch caused by friction, the area should heal up within a few days. But do keep a close eye on it: If the patch looks like its getting infected or otherwise changes for the worse, take Marty to the vet right away.

Send your question or tip to ask@pawscorner.com, or write to Paw’s Corner, c/
o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. For
more pet care-related advice and information, visit www.pawscorner.com.

(c) 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.

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Animal Advocates

PAW’S CORNER
By Sam Mazzotta

DEAR PAW’S CORNER: I recently read on your website about a North Carolina county board that wanted to disallow adoptions of certain dog breeds from its shelter. The proposal was defeated thanks to a huge public outcry, but what about other rulings that don’t get as much publicity? How do we find out about them, and how can we get enough public support to stop unfair pet laws?
— Jane in Missouri

DEAR JANE: It’s great that you’re concerned and want to be more active in the area of pet legislation. The North Carolina case was a classic example of legislators (or in this case, a county board) proposing pet laws based upon popular but often inaccurate information, particularly about “bully breeds”
(pit bulls, Doberman pinschers, etc). The county board shelved its proposal after receiving tens of thousands of emails and facing a packed house of dog owners, rescuers and other advocates at its board meeting. Getting started can be as simple as an Internet search. Major organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States, the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and growing organizations like the No-Kill

Advocacy Center are good websites to start with. You often can find local chapters or local advocacy organizations through larger nonprofits’ websites. Facing down local legislators is just one facet of animal advocacy. If you want to learn more about protecting pets, pick up “Defending the Defenseless: A Guide to Protecting and Advocating for Pets,” by Allie Phillips (Rowman and Littlefield). Phillips is an attorney and animal-rights advocate, and her book is packed with information on ways you can become more active.

Send your questions or tips to ask@pawscorner.com, or write to Paw’s Corner,
c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475.
For more pet care-related advice and information, visit www.pawscorner.com.

(c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.

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Dachshund’s Odd Behavior

PAW’S CORNER
By Sam Mazzotta

DEAR PAW’S CORNER: When we give my miniature Dachshund, “Peg,” a chew treat, she takes it and walks all over the house crying. She will stop and “bury” it in different places, under a blanket or behind things, then pull it right back out and continue the process again and again for a while before she finally settles down and begins chewing it. We were wondering what is going on in her head that results in this behavior. — Curious Doxie Mom

DEAR DOXY MOM: Peg’s behavior has all the earmarks of instinctive behaviors applied to a specific item (the chew treat). Dachshunds are notorious diggers –it’s part of what they were originally bred for, as working dogs that would root out vermin like moles. So it’s not too surprising that she does this with her chew toys. The crying seems like a way of announcing possession, like “hey, this is mine, I got it, check it out!” rather than distress. If the behavior happens only at treat time and doesn’t bother you or harm the
furniture, it’s up to you whether to let it continue. However, it sounds like Peg needs more stimulation in her life. Try playing games where you “bury” a toy (cover it with a pillow, say) and have her find it. You can even go so far as to build a sandbox out back where she can bury and dig up toys during play times, under your supervision. Don’t let her dig in other parts of the yard, though; if she starts that up,
distract her and give her something else to do (like teaching basic obedience commands) or bring her back to the sandbox to dig.

Send your questions or tips to ask@pawscorner.com, or write to Paw’s Corner, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. For more pet care-related advice and information, visit www.pawscorner.com.

(c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.

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Sick Cat Can’t Stop Pooping

PAW’S CORNER
By Sam Mazzotta

DEAR PAW’S CORNER: My 8-year-old longhaired cat, “Buster,” has gas and diarrhea. He was given Flagyl for two months with no improvement. Then he took three months of probiotics, and no improvement. Now he gets 5 mg of
prednisone and 5 drops of Rescue Remedy daily. His butt has been shaved to help keep him clean, and I wash it once a day. Buster eats special cat food, but that doesn’t help his digestion either. We have quarter-sized circles of poop all over the house, and I am breaking my back cleaning the carpet and floor. My husband says to euthanize him. What more can I do? — Pat R., via email

DEAR PAT: Such long-term diarrhea is certainly cause for concern, and I know it can be intensely frustrating to care for and clean up after a sick cat. Please convince your husband to shelve the euthanasia suggestion, however. Buster sounds like he has inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)– a term that describes a collection of symptoms, such as frequent (or constant) diarrhea, but not a specific cause.

Flagyl is a common treatment for IBD, as is prednisone. Rescue Remedy is a natural remedy to calm pets. Buster’s vet should run a number of tests, if he or she hasn’t already, to rule out bacterial infection, parasites or a metabolic condition. If a conclusive cause isn’t found, you must try and find ways to mitigate his symptoms.

The change in diet also is recommended in case a food allergy is the problem. You’re feeding Buster a specialty cat food, but if it isn’t working, try other brands or even try making home-cooked cat food.
Additional information can be found online. And realize you’re not alone: Many owners are caring for cats with IBD. Please don’t give up on Buster.

Send your questions or tips to ask@pawscorner.com, or write to Paw’s Corner, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. For more pet care-related advice and information, visit www.pawscorner.com.

(c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.

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Getting the Poop on Poop-Eating

PAW’S CORNER
By Sam Mazzotta

DEAR PAW’S CORNER: I recently read an article that said to use Super B complex to stop stool eating in dogs. Have you heard of this? My veterinarian has not. If so, what is the dosage? The article I read referred to golden retrievers, but my dogs weigh 35 to 45 pounds. I don’t want to overdose them.
— Dianne E., via email

DEAR DIANNE: Poop-eating, known scientifically as copraphagia, is a troublesome habit in which dogs will sniff and eat their own stools or those of other animals. As you can imagine, this behavior is not only disgusting but potentially unhealthy. And it sure makes you not want to kiss your dog. Copraphagia is such a big problem that there are entire websites devoted to it. Vernon Lee’s dogpoopdiet.com is one such site. It’s clearly laid out and offers plenty of information both on possible causes of the behavior — from
health issues to attention-seeking — and ways to deter it.

As far as giving your dog a B complex supplement, it appears to address the possibility that a dog is not getting enough of certain nutrients, including vitamin B, which is leading to his behavior. B vitamins are found naturally in foods like liver, kidney, heart, eggs and kelp, and in ingredients like yeast and wheat germ. Pet stores and health-food stores both sell B complex supplements for both humans and dogs.
The vitamin supplement is water-soluble and tends to break down quickly when exposed to air or water, so according to some advocates, an overdose is unlikely. However, you should check dosage rates for your dogs through their vet, or a holistic practitioner, or by searching on the Internet or visiting
manufacturers websites for recommended amounts.

Send your questions or pet care tips to ask@pawscorner.com, or write to Paw’s Corner, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. For more pet care-related advice and information, visit www.pawscorner.com.

(c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.

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Bobcat Fever Is Cat Killer

PAW’S CORNER
by Samantha Mazzotta

DEAR PAW’S CORNER: I recently began hearing reports about something called “bobcat fever”,which affects cats. What is it, and how can I keep my cat safe? — Darlene G., Kansas City, Mo.

DEAR DARLENE: Bobcat fever, scientifically known as cytauxzoonosis, is a serious illness that has spread across the United States in recent years. It affects cats — not only domesticated cats, but wildcats and even tigers — and has a high mortality rate. It does not affect dogs.

Bobcat fever is spread through bites from infected ticks: A tick first bites and sucks blood from an already-infected cat, drops off then bites and infects another cat.

Leah Cohn, a University of Missouri veterinarian, said healthy outdoor cats are most at risk. ÒThe disease acts very quickly and can kill a cat less than a week after it begins to show signs of being sick, so it is important to get treatment from a veterinarian as soon as the cat appears ill.

How can you keep your cat safe? Keep it indoors. If your cat must be outdoors, make sure it is treated regularly for fleas and ticks or wears a flea/tick collar. If your cat shows signs of illness — sluggishness and/or refusal to eat — or if you discover a tick on its fur or skin, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Cohn recently developed a more effective treatment for bobcat fever, which increased the survival rate for cats affected by this illness from less than 25 percent to nearly 60 percent. She also is doing research toward a vaccine for bobcat fever. In the meantime, prevention is the best medicine for this
disease.

Send your questions or tips to ask@pawscorner.com, or write to Paw’s Corner, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. For more pet care-related advice and information, visit www.pawscorner.com.

(c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.

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Pets in Distress

PAW’S CORNER
By Sam Mazzotta

DEAR PAW’S CORNER: Recently, my cat “Clark Gable” got very ill — vomiting frequently and lethargic. I had no idea what was wrong, so I called my veterinarian. The vet’s assistant talked me through some important steps that

I didn’t know and wouldn’t have been able to accomplish in my panicked state, such as looking at what C.G. was vomiting up and looking for possible sources of poisoning in my apartment. She advised me to bring him in immediately along with a sample of the vomit (gross, right?) and a couple of possible
items he could have eaten.

The vet was able to quickly treat C.G., who has made a complete recovery. But I’ve become much more aware that I need to learn when my cat is in distress and how to prevent him getting into dangerous things — like the houseplant leaves he ingested. I hope you’ll remind readers to educate themselves as
well. — Clarence in Cincinnati

DEAR CLARENCE: Your story is more common than you’d think. Thanks for sharing it.

If you have a pet, it’s very important to know that many household items can be dangerous if your pet ingests them. For example, many cats love to chew on the leaves of houseplants — but many houseplants are extremely poisonous to cats, especially plants from the lily family. Other seemingly benign things,
like chocolate and onions, can be harmful to pets, especially dogs.

Even armed with the knowledge of what can harm your pet, accidents can happen. For example, a dog can break into the pantry and eat a giant bag of dog food. Make sure to display the phone number of your pet’s veterinarian and the nearest emergency pet hospital near the telephone or on the refrigerator where you can access it should your pet ever be injured, ill or in distress.

Send your questions or comments to ask@pawscorner.com, or write to Paw’s Corner, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. For more pet care-related advice and information, visit
www.pawscorner.com.

(c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.

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Canine Influenza Is Very Contagious

PAW’S CORNER
By Sam Mazzotta

DEAR PAW’S CORNER: What is dog flu? A friend at the dog park told me that I need to ask the veterinarian about getting my dog vaccinated against it. —
Gladys in Dallas

DEAR GLADYS: Canine influenza, or dog flu, is a new illness that was first documented in 2004. Since then, it has been found in dogs in 38 states, with more than 100 cases recorded in Texas.

Dogs that become ill with canine influenza have symptoms that include runny nose, coughing and a fever. Just as in humans, the illness can become very serious because dogs can get dehydrated, or can develop a secondary infection like pneumonia — conditions that can be deadly.

Furthermore, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, canine influenza is highly contagious and can be easily transmitted between dogs. (It can’t be transmitted to humans.) An information release from Jefferson Animal Hospital in Baton Rouge, La. says that many infected dogs appear healthy at first, meaning it’s more likely that an ill dog will spread influenza to other dogs at meeting places like dog parks, doggie daycare, and grooming and boarding facilities. The really depressing fact about this
flu is that almost every dog exposed to it will become ill unless they’re vaccinated, because it’s such a new virus that dogs have no immunity to it.

The best way to prevent the spread of canine influenza is to get your dog vaccinated. Contact your veterinarian about the availability and cost of this vaccination. Learn more about this illness at http://www.doginfluenza.com.

Send your questions or comments to ask@pawscorner.com, or write to Paw’s Corner, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. For more pet care-related advice and information, visit
www.pawscorner.com.

(c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.

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Running With Your Dog

PAW’S CORNER
By Sam Mazzotta

DEAR PAW’S CORNER: I started my own fitness training about four months ago, and have done pretty well with daily runs. Now that my dog “Spirit” is out of puppyhood — he’s about 9 months old — I’ve tried to take him along. But he didn’t seem too excited the first time we went running together. He stopped running and tugged on his leash back toward home after just half a mile. How can I get Spirit into running? — Curt C., Boulder, Colo.

DEAR CURT: You’ve got to work Spirit up to it, just as you had to work your fitness upward. He gave a really clear signal that a half mile was his initial maximum distance; at that point it was time to take him home. Spirit is still very young to be out running, so don’t get discouraged by that first day showing; just gradually increase the distance each day in small increments, take Spirit home, and finish your own run.
Running with your dog can be rewarding, providing companionship and even a measure of security. But keep your dog’s welfare in mind throughout the exercise. Heidi Ganahl of Camp Bow Wow offered some important tips for keeping your dog safe while running:
–Don’t feed your dog less than 1 hour before or after running, to avoid the
possibility of bloat.

–Put sunblock on your dog’s nose on sunny days.

–Make sure he drinks plenty of water before and after the run.

–Check your dog’s feet after each run for injuries.

–Avoid running in very hot, humid weather, as dogs can overheat quickly.

–Place reflective gear on your dog and yourself if running in the evening or
early morning.

Send your questions or comments to ask@pawscorner.com, or write to Paw’s Corner, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. For more pet care-related advice and information, visit
www.pawscorner.com.

(c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.

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House Training Advice

PAW’S CORNER
By Sam Mazzotta

DEAR PAW’S CORNER: I’ve been trying to house train my puppy, “Genie,” but she still leaves puddles around the house in the morning before I wake up. I tried rubbing her nose in the mess, but it doesn’t seem to work. Can you help? — Claire W., Akron, Ohio

DEAR CLAIRE: Some dogs are a bit more difficult to house train than others, but don’t give up. First, however, stop rubbing Genie’s nose in her puddle. Dogs’ attention spans are pretty short, and trying to punish her long after the act won’t help, and in fact can set her training way back.

Does Genie make that puddle at roughly the same time each morning? If so, that’s a clear signal that her bladder is full by that time. You need to make an adjustment: wake up earlier, before Genie pees in the house. Take her outside on her leash and encourage her to go, praising her lavishly when she does. Repeat this every morning without fail — Genie will get it.

Now, to get your sleep time back, you need to try and adjust when Genie goes at night. If you’re taking her out at 10 p.m. and she’s wetting the floor at 5 a.m., take her out at 11 p.m. instead. Then take her out at 5:30 a.m. the next morning, and at 6 a.m. the following morning. See if her clock adjusts. If that doesn’t work, remember, Genie is still young and growing. She may be able to hold her urine longer when she gets bigger. So be patient, and keep working with her.

Send your questions or comments to ask@pawscorner.com. If your question or comment is printed in the weekly column, you’ll receive a free copy of “Fighting Fleas,” the newest booklet from Paws Corner!

(c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.

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