DEAR DR. FOX: What do you recommended when a 35-pound dog eats sugar-free gum? The gum has xylitol in it, and she ate the whole pack. She threw up once and was staggering around. -- D.S., Winston-Salem, North Carolina
DEAR D.S.: This situation is an emergency, and any dog who eats xylitol-containing human consumables -- including diet cookies, mouthwash, children's multivitamin chews, candy and gum -- should go to an emergency clinic. A mere 50 to 100 milligrams per pound of body weight can trigger the pancreas to release insulin in massive quantities. This causes acute hypoglycemia that can lead to seizures and death. Surviving animals can also suffer liver damage.
Dogs not only have a sweet tooth, but they also want to share, or steal, whatever we are eating or have left within easy reach.
While I encourage dog owners to learn about dental care for their canine companions, I advise them to use products that are dog-safe and effective, such as those available on my website, DrFoxVet.com. Do not use human toothpaste or any other oral care products containing xylitol.
DEAR DR. FOX: We have two very gentle cats, both 4 1/2 years old. The other day, we had a couple over who were interested in buying our house. They brought their 6-month-old baby and 3-year-old toddler. Neither of our cats had ever seen a child younger than 10 years old, so they were both very curious -- sniffing and staring, but not touching. After about an hour, the 3-year-old started getting restless and started crying. Both cats looked alarmed, but after a few minutes, the father picked up the crying child, at which time Sasha attacked him! I'd never seen anything like it. She latched onto his leg and started growling, hissing and biting him. Olivia started hissing and mewing. Due to Sasha's size, I reached for her, and she swiped at me. We were, quite frankly, scared, as they have never behaved aggressively.
I suggested the father put the child on the couch, at which point he did. The cats immediately settled down. It was like flipping a switch. Sasha walked over to the child, sniffed, and then walked away as if nothing happened. We are all speechless. It is as if they believed the father was harming the child.
I'm a beekeeper and have a few chickens; my observations of both (along with the cats) make me firmly believe all animals have some sense of self in relation to their world. I can't imagine how people can be cruel to them. Thank you for listening! -- G.S., Cornwall, Vermont
DEAR G.S.: I believe that your interpretation of your cat's behavior is correct. A few days after receiving your communication, one of our cats was on my lap, and he gave some low yowls in protest while I was clipping the long fur on his hindquarters. Our other cat came running over and seized my hand holding the scissors in his jaws. The bite was firm but painless; he was evidently very concerned and being protective.
PET FOOD AND TREAT RECALLS
Tuffy's Pet Foods Inc. of Perham, Minnesota, is voluntarily recalling specific lots of 4-pound bags of Nutrisca chicken and chickpea recipe dry dog food because they have the potential to be contaminated with salmonella. Tuffy's manufactured the product for Nutrisca.
Consumers who purchased the dry dog food product subject to the voluntary recall should stop using the product and contact Nutrisca at 1-888-559-8833.
Pet International of Miami is recalling 1,500 units of Buster's Natural 6-inch Beef Trachea treats because it may be contaminated with salmonella.
The affected product was distributed to retail stores in Conifer and Lakewood, Colorado. The recall may soon be expanded. Purchasers are advised to take these dog chews back to the place of purchase and can contact the company by phone at 305-591-3338 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have grave concerns that these kinds of processed animal parts, many subjected to irradiation, could still harbor potentially harmful bacteria resistant to antibiotics, which are grossly misused in many countries. My advice: Read the label, and if the country of origin/manufacture is not indicated, only a "distributed by" country -- DO NOT PURCHASE.
(Send all mail to email@example.com 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.
Visit Dr. Fox's website at DrFoxVet.com.)