Dear Tabby, Is it safe to let my dog ride in the back of my truck? I see a lot of people with dogs in the back of a truck and it makes me nervous. What do you think? Tailgating in Timbergrove Dear Tailgating, Most dogs love to ride in a vehicle--their nose out the window, ears flopping in the wind. It seems as though a ride in the back of a truck would be every dog’s dream come true, but in reality, it can turn into a real nightmare for both you and your dog. For starters, dogs can’t “hold on” the way humans can, and any sudden start, stop, or turn can toss your pet onto the highway. If the impact of hitting the road at a high speed doesn’t kill him, oncoming traffic probably will. It is estimated that at least 100,000 dogs die this way each year. There are other … [Read more...] about It’s Tailgating Season – but not for your dog
Dear Tabby, When I went to get my dog’s heartworm meds recently, they said that he needed a heartworm test before they would refill his heartworm medicine prescription. I hadn’t budgeted for extra blood work and am curious if the vet is trying to scam me. What do you think? Sceptical in Shepherd Park Plaza Dear Sceptical, I understand how unexpected vet bills can certainly blow your budget--especially when it seems like superfluous testing--but vets recommend doing yearly testing to make sure that heartworms don’t injure your pet...even if you’ve been religious about giving him the preventative medication. Here’s why: Heartworm preventatives can’t stop mosquitos from carrying heartworm larvae to your dog. Instead, they kill the larvae before they mature, reproduce and … [Read more...] about Scepticism over a yearly heartworm test
Dear Tabby, As my cat is getting older, I often wonder if she’s comfortable and completely healthy. It’s so hard to tell if she’s 100% or not, the older she gets. How can I tell if she’s in pain or not? Concerned about kitty’s comfort in Cottage Grove Dear Concerned About Kitty, This is indeed a timely question because September is Animal Pain Awareness Month. The International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAPM) launched Animal Pain Awareness Month in the hopes that more pet guardians learn about and recognize pain in their pets. Unlike other companions, it’s hard for a cat to show their pain. Evolution is working against well-meaning guardians. According to the Okaw Veterinary Clinic, as both predators and prey, disguising pain can save a cat’s life: “The … [Read more...] about Is your older cat comfortable?
Dear Tabby, I’ve heard about many of my neighbors finding displaced baby squirrels in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. What should I plan to do if I happen to find baby squirrels who appear to need my help? Concerned About Critters in Cottage Grove Dear Concerned, It is the height of baby squirrel season in Texas and with the punishing winds and rains of Hurricane Harvey, many of these babies were harmed. Luckily, the Texas Wildlife Rehabilitation Coalition (TWRC) has published some helpful tips on how to care for a (seemingly) helpless baby squirrel. Here’s what they recommend: • Attempt to renest very young squirrels (eyes still closed) that are uninjured, alert and responsive: • Put the squirrel in a shallow box in a shady spot at the base of a tree closest to where … [Read more...] about What to do if you find a baby squirrel
Dear Tabby, We just adopted a boxer-mix and were told to watch for signs of “bloat” in our dog. What is bloat and what are the symptoms? Worried in Woodland Heights Dear Worried, Canine bloat, or more technically, gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV), is a top killer of dogs--especially of deep-chested giant and large breeds, such as Great Danes and Standard Poodles. “A dog can go into shock from bloat because the stomach expands, putting pressure on several large arteries and veins. Blood does not get through the body as quickly as it should,” continues Dr. Alicia Faggella, DVM. “In addition, the blood supply gets cut off to the stomach, which can cause tissue to die, while toxic products build up.” What causes bloat? “We don’t know exactly why bloat happens,” says … [Read more...] about Banishing Fears About Bloat in Dogs