I recently had a live Facebook Q and A, which focused on answering many pertinent, common questions that my clients and subscribers had. This is a transcript of that Q and A. I am posting it here in hopes that those clients and subscribers reflect many pet parents and what is on their minds. I hope it touches upon a topic or two that you find interesting and helpful.

Question 1: How much chocolate, such as Easter and Halloween candy, is too much?

Any chocolate should be avoided. My recommendation is none is best. Also note that xylitol, an artificial sweetener in many candies, peanut butters, and countless other products, is poisonous to dogs.  If dogs eat chocolate, it is very important to determine how much and call your veterinarian or poison control asap.  They may recommend that you induce vomiting within an hour, and they will instruct you how to do so if needed.

Question 2: My dog loves a little of our dinner mixed in with his dry food each night.  Is people food dangerous?
Dogs and cats can become ill from many dinner table items.  Best to avoid, but if you can’t resist their begging, especially avoid:
hi fat meals such as hot dogs, bacon, and those that include macadamia nuts, onions, grapes, and avocados.  They can cause stomach upset, and can be toxic as well.  As I mentioned, xylitol and chocolate are toxic.  The rule of thumb with chocolate:

“The darker the chocolate the more concentrated the toxic compound.”

Question 3: My dog is afraid of loud noises, like thunder and fireworks.  My vet said to give her Benadryl, but it doesn’t work.
There are several mild, non-prescription herbal anti-anxiety products available online.
Zylkene and Bach’s rescue remedy are two available on Amazon for example, which I recommended to try first.
If still not helping, contact your veterinarian for other options.  The key is treatment before the noise starts.

Question 4: I heard it is bad to give cats canned food, but my friend said her vet recommended canned food for her cat.  Which is correct? I thought dry food was better for cats’ teeth?

It seems that most cats don’t actually chew dry food to enough of an extent to prevent dental disease.  There os a dry prescription diet that I do think works.  Otherwise, the benefits of canned food, which are actually lower in calories/cup, are several.  The added water content helps hydrate cats, particularly if they are not big drinkers! This is a common issue with cats, so not a bad thing at all.  Especially for male cats, who are prone to urinary blockage.  So yes, canned food is fine in moderation, for weight control, and hydration.  Brushing their teeth will do more good, so think about trying to get your cat accustomed to brushing!

Questions 5: I enjoyed your thorough, and informative blog about Lyme disease.  Is it still difficult to diagnose and treat it, as with people?
Answer: Yes, there remains some disagreement on when tot read Lyme disease and the valium of vaccinations.  The testing that is available is also debatable in terms of which tests indicate true infection vs exposure.  The most important thing your should focus on is preventing tick exposure to your pets and by extension, to you and your family!  I recommend all year tick prevention here in the Mid-Atlantic region, and in the Northeast in general, where I live.  And, there are several tick bourne diseases that can be life threatening.

Question 6: Do you recommend crate training puppies?
Answer:  Yes.  I find it to be a tool that, when used properly, makes training much easier.  Important to get your puppy to learn to love the crate, and not to see it as a place of punishment.. They will not want to soil where they rest and sleep, so if utilized properly, it is invaluable in house training.

Question 7: Why does my cat, who goes out, bring dead mice to me?
Your cat is actually responding to an innate instinct to teach you how to hunt! They are hunters by nature, and teach their kittens to hunt, and so on.  As gross as it is, it shows that uno are someone very special to him/her – but you probably already knew that!

Question 8: My cat has been spending more time in the litter box.  She goes in 7-10 times a day, and there are only tiny clumps of wet litter left behind.  Should I be concerned?
Answer:  Yes, you should be concerned atet that there may be a urinary tract infection, or some other issue that needs addressing by your veteterinarian.  Even if you do not see blood in the urine, there could be an issue, blue discomfort.  Contact our regular vet for an appointment.  Good luck!

Question 9: I moved to Arizona recently, and love to hike with my dog.  But, I am really worried about poisonous snakes.  Is it safe?!
I actually blogged about this very subject.  See  blog: “Bats, snakes, and javelinas…oh my!”
It describes dog “classes” that train your dog how to avoid snakes, and to protect both of you.  Please refer to it, as it includes details that you specifically will find helpful, I think.

Question 10: I have a senior dog who really is having trouble seeing, hearing, and getting around.  It is sad, ad I am not sure when it will be time to consider euthanasia, or how to tell if he is in pain.  Any suggestions?
Answer:I am sorry to hear that your dog seems to be having trouble with some age related changes.  Important to make sure your veterinarian is addressing the comfort level properly.  To assess his quality of live, please see my blog:“How to know when it’s time”.  There is a questionnaire that will help you and your family ask and answer questions that I hope will help guide you to the right decision.

I hope you found these questions and topics relevant and helpful, as well as the answers. If you have further questions, please refer and search on this blog. Pleaser also consider subscribing to the blog on the main page, where you can more easily access info as needed.

Dr. Dawn
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