Is something missing from their diet? Is this typical puppy behavior?
N.C.T., Mount Airy, N.C.
DF: This is the most unsavory of all dogs’ behavior that is, to a degree, normal. Check the archives section on my Web site, www.drfoxvet.com, for letters addressing this issue.
“Cures” include muzzling your dog when she’s outdoors; feeding her digestive enzymes, probiotics and brewer’s yeast; and not letting your dogs see the feces being picked up. Cleaning up the den area and acquiring essential digestive bacteria and trace nutrients are some of the possible reasons for canine coprophagia. Unfortunately, there is no simple remedy.
As for the halitosis, PetzLife Oral Care for dogs will sweeten the breath and help keep teeth and gums clean and healthy.
Diet makes difference
Dear Dr. Fox:
I am responding to your request for success stories of dietary changes.
We have a beautiful black Labrador retriever, Buddy. We’ve had Buddy since he was 7 weeks old. When my husband and I retired, we moved from California to 20 acres in the Oregon countryside. Buddy was about 4 years old.
About two months after we moved, he had a seizure. It was frightening for us and for him. It lasted about 10 minutes, and then he was back to normal. We thought maybe something he ate on the property caused the seizure. We didn’t take him to the vet. He wasn’t allowed to run on the property without being on a leash, so that we could make sure he didn’t eat anything he shouldn’t.
About three months later, he had another seizure. That time, we took him to our vet, who said that a number of things can cause seizures in dogs and that we needed to keep an eye on him.
Over the next year, he had four seizures. He had them about every three months, and they lasted 10 to 15 minutes. The vet said that if the seizures became lengthy, we would put him on medication.
The vet suggested changing his dry food and periodically giving him raw meat. We started that immediately. We changed his dry food to Blue Buffalo, and we give him one cup of raw beef-stew meat three times a week. After six weeks on his new diet, he had a seizure. We were dismayed, because we had hoped the change in diet would do the trick. We decided to keep him on the new diet regardless.
I am delighted to say that after being on the new diet for more than a year, he has not had another seizure. I think he had the last seizure because his new diet had not had time to have an effect on his system.
My husband and I are totally convinced that his change in food stopped his seizures.
M.A., Jacksonville, Ore.
DF: I trust that all dog owners with epileptic and seizure-prone dogs will take note. Dietary change is no panacea, because there are several causes. But diet should never be dismissed as a nonissue.
Avoiding soy and corn
Dear Dr. Fox:
In one of your recent columns, you said not to give cats food that has soy or corn products in it. I feed my cats Purina, and it has both corn and soy in it.
Can you please explain why Purina puts those items in its food if they are not good for the animals? I have been a loyal Purina buyer for more than 40 years. Am I feeding my cats something that will hurt them? Can you suggest a better food?
L.W., St. Louis
DF: I would never advise people to feed their cats food high in corn and soy. Check my Web site for details and for brands of cat food that I prefer, such as Evo, Organix and Wellness.
Cats are carnivores. Many are allergic to corn, and they do not need cereals in their diets, which can contribute to obesity, diabetes, arthritis and other illnesses. Soy is a cheap vegetable protein that has little nutritional value for cats and can cause digestive and other health problems.
Michael W. Fox, author of a newsletter and books on animal care, welfare and rights, is a veterinarian with doctoral degrees in medicine and animal behavior. Write to him at United Feature Syndicate, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, Mo. 64106.
2012 United Feature Syndicate