Pet Care: End war against coyotesDear Dr. Fox: A big coyote has been spotted in our neighborhood. This is a dangerous animal, and I worry about my grandchildren visiting and it killing my cats who get out on the yard
By: Dr. Michael Fox, INFORUM
Dear Dr. Fox: A big coyote has been spotted in our neighborhood. This is a dangerous animal, and I worry about my grandchildren visiting and it killing my cats who get out on the yard. – R.M., Silver Spring Md.
Dear R.M.: Rest assured that coyotes are fearful of humans, but they have been known to kill small pets who are left out unsupervised. The war against the coyote, with traps, poisoned bait, shotguns, cyanide guns and the like – along with state bounties and millions of dollars of public funds misspent in vain attempts to control their numbers – have not deterred this wily survivor from spreading across much of the United States. Some have crossbred with dogs and wolves. For more details, and ways to live in harmony with this incredible cousin of wolf and dog, visit www.projectcoyote.org. Many municipalities have found successful ways to reduce coyote and other wildlife-human conflicts. Regarding coyotes, keep all garbage secured or shut away in a shed. Do not put food out unless it is in birdfeeders and never let cats and small dogs outdoors unsupervised. Always keep pets on a leash when off your property, which is an animal-control ordinance in many communities, along with rabies vaccinations and collar tags.
Dear Dr. Fox: Like one of your reader’s cats, my 10- year-old Siamese used to throw up daily, but has stopped. My cat didn’t chew his food thoroughly, and he ate too fast. I now cover his food so he can’t eat it for 120 minutes, and I add a half cup of water, which changes the dry to wet mush. Problem solved. – C.C., North Palm Beach, Fla.
Dear C.C.: There are many reasons why cats vomit up their food soon after eating. With some dry cat foods, there may be some irritation to the lining of the stomach or esophagus, literally drawing moisture from the delicate mucus membrane and causing irritation that may trigger the vomiting reflex. Dry food that is especially high in cereal ingredients is an unnatural diet for cats and causes various health problems, detailed in the book “Not Fit for a Dog: The Truth About Manufactured Cat and Dog Food,” co- authored by myself and two other veterinarians. These problems are compounded in those cats who do not drink plenty of water and who are allergic to corn.
Your practice of allowing the dry food to absorb moisture before the cat eats it is a good one. But to help keep teeth clean, offer your cat some scalded raw chicken wing tips or thin strips of raw beef or turkey gizzard to chew on.
It seems that the old saying, “You can’t make a silk purse out of a pig’s ear,” should be rephrased: “You can’t make a safe pet treat out of a pig’s ear.” These kinds of animal byproducts from slaughterhouses/processing plants cannot always be guaranteed safe, especially when imported from abroad where conditions are often not fit for a pig. Food Safety News (May 18, 2011) reported that two more companies, Boss Pet Products and Blackman Industries, are recalling pig-ear dog treats after a supplier, Keys Manufacturing in Paris, Ill., found that a batch of the pet chews tested positive for salmonella. One dog has been reported to become ill because of contaminated pig ears. If you have any such products for your dog, check with the store manager where you purchased the ears to look into the safety of what you have from the batch number on the packaging. Blackman Industries is also recalling all PrimeTime and KC Beefhide brand dog treats. Dogs with salmonella infections may become lethargic, feverish, vomit and have diarrhea. Both sick and infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals, including humans.
Send your questions to Dr. Fox in care of The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107. 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 www.twobitdog.com/DrFox.