DEAR DR. FOX: I have three cats -- two females, ages 10 and 4, and a 3-year-old male. Recently, especially in the morning, the male has terribly harassed the other two.
Is there any homeopathic remedy I can use to calm down my male in the morning? He is less obnoxious later in the day. -- F.P., Stratford, Connecticut
DEAR F.P.: A sprinkle of fresh catnip may spark him into a more sedated state -- cat Valium! Not all cats eat it, but those who do generally calm down. The cat pheromone product Feliway, available in a plug-in dispenser, may help. It works well with some cats and is worth a try.
He may need to be fed separately or have a separate litter box -- you need to look at the dynamics of where the other cats are when he harasses them. He may even be bored and want to rough-play, so give him some time with you and interactive playtime with a laser light or lure on a string. His aggressive behavior may be linked with hyperactive thyroid gland, which should be considered if these other measures fail to improve his demeanor.
DEAR DR. FOX: I just read your article about tearstains on dogs. I wanted to tell you I have found a way to practically eliminate them in my 1 1/2-year-old Maltipoo.
I started feeding him dry food brands with just chicken as the main ingredient. There are several to pick from. Since he has been on this diet, he no longer has the orange stains running down his face.
As you mentioned, probably much of it is caused by the red dyes in much of the dog foods, or perhaps it's the red meat ingredient. -- B.S., St. Louis
DEAR B.S.: Thank you for adding to the number of simple solutions for dealing with tearstains on the faces of our canine companions! I have said for years that a major cause of the stains is the dyes that are put in dog foods.
One ingredient/additive to make beef red-looking is Red Dye No. 3, which of course is not put into manufactured canned chicken dog foods. This dye most probably caused the stains on your dog's face; it could also possibly have harmed your dog's thyroid gland and even be cancer-causing.
When dogs' tears stain their faces, we should first take it as a warning, first of a possible eye problem, then consider the crying shame of what additives are still being put into many manufactured pet foods that are considered by the companies to be safe and profitable.
A REPRIEVE FOR THE GREAT LAKES GRAY WOLF
The good news came just before the 2014 Solstice: On Dec. 19, U.S. District Court judge Beryl Howell ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's 2011 delisting of the gray wolf population in the Great Lakes region, which gave management authority to the state authorities of Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin, was scientifically unsound, politicized and premature. Howell ruled that the species had not recovered fully across its natural range. The delisting has resulted in the trophy killing and trapping of more than 1,500 wolves, which the estimated population of 3,500-4,000 cannot sustain.
The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association immediately responded with the threatening statement that illegal killing of wolves will result because many deer hunters will want to "protect" the deer from the wolves, adopting the practice of "shoot, shovel and shut up." The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources considered an annual kill of almost one-quarter of the state's wolf population "sustainable," as did federal wolf biologist David Mech, who favors state-regulated and managed sport hunting and commercial trapping to conserve the species and has long opposed federal endangered species protective listing.
(Send all mail to firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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