|
|
|
MailTribune.com
  • The biting protocol for puppies

  • DEAR DR. FOX: My puppy really likes to chew on my hand when I pet him. I am afraid he might get more aggressive when he gets older. His sharp teeth hurt, and sometimes he runs at me and jumps up to paw me. I push him away, but he comes back to jump on me again.
    • email print
      Comment
  • DEAR DR. FOX: My puppy really likes to chew on my hand when I pet him. I am afraid he might get more aggressive when he gets older. His sharp teeth hurt, and sometimes he runs at me and jumps up to paw me. I push him away, but he comes back to jump on me again.
    What do you advise? — R.L., Houston
    DEAR R.L.: Take your puppy to a puppy playgroup or to the dog park and see how the dogs interact with one another. You need to learn about dog body language, which you can read about in my e-book "Understanding Your Dog," available on my website, DrFoxVet.com.
    Your puppy wants to play with you, and you need to learn how to play like a puppy. Many pups are punished for wanting to play because too many people do not know anything about canine behavior and communication. This can ruin dogs for the rest of their lives, making some aggressive and others emotionally unstable, shy and unpredictable. The opposite is overindulgence and not setting any boundaries with an animal (or child), which can result in a delinquent, socially maladjusted narcissist.
    Puppies learn quickly to bite gently and to respect when you do not want to play. But playtime is important for social bonding, and you must learn to enjoy this activity with your dog. Those who play together, stay together. Their sharp milk teeth can hurt, but by six months, the not-so-sharp permanent teeth will replace them. In the interim, provide safe chew toys to help with teething.
    DEAR DR. FOX: Why does one of my cats lie down and pull like mad on each of his claws? He does this regularly, and I worry he has a nail infection or an allergy, maybe from his litter box material. — G.W.S., Miami
    DEAR G.W.S: One of my cats fastidiously grooms his claws at least once a day. He uses a scratch post regularly but likes to keep his claws clear of the quick, or soft tissue encircling the base of each claw.
    Some cats do develop nail-bed infections, which need veterinary attention. Squeeze your cat's paws to extrude the claws and look at the base of each claw. If you see any excessive redness or discharge, set up a veterinary appointment. Otherwise, your cat is simply giving himself a manicure. It is a good idea to get cats used to having their paws massaged, which helps develop trust and makes examination when needed much easier.
    DEAR DR. FOX: Four days ago, I returned home to find one of my cats dead. His third birthday would have been two days later. He was never sick, and he seemed fine when I left for work that morning. My cleaning lady happened to be there that day; she left at 1 and said he seemed fine other than vomiting up a hairball.
    The night before, my beagle attacked the cat when he walked by the dog's treats. I couldn't find any bite marks or signs that she hurt him, and he sat with me for the better part of the rest of the evening purring and letting me pet him. He was very affectionate, so that was normal. He ate his treats before bed and even ate a good breakfast the day of his death.
    I have three other cats, one of whom is his sister, and they gave no sign anything was wrong.
    I have been completely devastated by this. The suddenness and not knowing, especially because he was so young, are making me inconsolable. I had him cremated and will be scattering his ashes. My vet said necropsies aren't done at any facilities in the area and would be prohibitively expensive for me. I really need help or guidance in coping with this. I've had to euthanize two older cats in the past due to illness, but this feels worse, given the circumstances. I could use a pet bereavement group but haven't been able to find one. Please give me some advice. I'm in terrible pain. Thank you for your attention. — E.D., Flint Mich.
    DEAR E.B.: My condolences. This must have been a terrible shock. First, don't punish the dog. It could have been a threat-snap and growl as a get-away warning to the cat with no actual physical contact. Only an autopsy would reveal if there was a bite injury, and most surely your cat would have shown some signs of pain.
    My educated guess is that your poor cat had a vascular reaction to the beagle's attack, which triggered the flight response and sudden change in the diameter of blood vessels after release of the fear hormone, adrenaline. This in turn could have affected blood flow and coagulation, leading to a blood clot or embolism forming. In some cats, this can lead to paralysis of one or both hind legs when the blood clot moves and blocks a major blood vessel in the lower half of the body, or to a heart attack when the clot or clots occlude the coronary blood vessels of the heart. Giving your cat half of a baby aspirin may have helped prevent this, but if there was internal bleeding, such medication could have made things worse. Either way, you did not and could not have known this was happening. It is not your fault.
    In the future, stay by your dog when she is eating and having treats because of her food-protective aggressive potential.
    Cat food and insecticidals
    Last year, I wrote about my concerns with Bayer's Seresto anti-flea and tick collars that contain a nicotine chemical (imidacloprid). This chemical can cause seizures, thyroid gland damage, mutations, abortions and birth defects and is in a class of agricultural chemicals implicated in the catastrophic demise of honeybees. The collars also contain a pyrethrin chemical (flumethrin) that can cause nausea, vomiting and seizures, among other harmful side effects. I also expressed concern for children and adults petting animals with these chemicals seeping into their skin, and of the animals grooming themselves and each other.
    Now Bayer has gone wild with a plethora of new anti-bug products related to its Seresto. K9 Advantix II and Advantage II contain similar ingredients, and the company has released new products, including Advantage Treatment Spray for dogs and cats, Advantage Treatment Shampoo for dogs and cats, Advantage Household Spot & Crevice Spray, Advantage Carpet & Upholstery Spot Spray, Advantage Household Fogger to kill insect pests in the home, and Advantage Yard & Premise Spray that kills pests in the yard and around the house.
    The drug company is banking on a combination of public ignorance, trust and fear of fleas and other noxious insects, safer controls for which are documented on my website. Visit my website for more details about the harmful consequences of these kinds of products to the environment and bees and other beneficial insects as well as to our health, agricultural and food security and economy.
    Send all mail to animaldocfox@gmail.com or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns. Visit Dr. Fox's website at DrFoxVet.com.
Reader Reaction

      calendar