DEAR DR. FOX: I have 24 cats. They all have their shots, etc. I give them plenty to eat, plus they catch mice outside. Every other day, I boil a whole chicken down to the bone to feed them. I also add salt, garlic powder and English thyme.
I know garlic is recommended for dogs, but can garlic harm cats? What I prepare is mixed well, and I add a lot of water to cool down the mash. The cats love it! I also give them flounder smothered in butter every other day (mixed with a lot of water). They like to slurp. They also eat Purina One salmon and tuna dry food, Wellness chicken and herring, Friskies poultry platter pate and Friskies ocean whitefish and tuna.
Please advise. -- N.H., Clinton Corners, New York
DEAR N.H.: Garlic can cause a form of anemia in cats, so do not give them garlic or onion. The cat food recipe posted on my website, DrFoxVet.net, may be more cost-effective and best for all your cats. I urge you to put up a large covered cat porch or gazebo with secured tree branches to climb and plenty of resting shelves or perches. Also, be sure to set out several litter boxes. Your cats are killing and probably eating other wildlife in addition to mice; this is not acceptable. You should not limit your care and affection to just one species! From the mice, your cats can get diseases that can infect people, and some of your cats may be injured or killed by hungry coyotes if you let them roam freely.
DEAR DR. FOX: I have a rescued male Shih Tzu, who I have owned for about nine years. Just recently, a gentleman came into my life, and we have been spending a lot of time together.
My dog has chewed up and destroyed a throw rug and is doing his "business" everywhere in my home. If I am home, he will still urinate in the house. I believe it's a case of jealousy, but I don't know what to do. The dog really likes my friend and pays attention to him. Please advise. -- B.G., Fort Myers, Florida
DEAR B.G.: Your dog is probably experiencing a combination of jealousy and separation-anxiety, which he acts on by destroying things and house-soiling. First, take your dog with you and your new gentleman friend whenever you can, and have the man walk the dog on the leash, groom the dog and engage with you and the dog in interactive games in an enclosed, off-leash area. Leave a TV or radio on when you must leave your dog at home to help make him feel less abandoned.
There are various dog toys and puzzles in which you can put treats for the dog so he can be engaged while alone. Be sure to give your dog some treats before you leave so he associates your departure with being rewarded.
Ignore him and don't scold if he makes a mess or chews things while you are away. That will only increase his anxiety and make him more likely to continue this behavior. Discuss with your veterinarian giving the dog a mild dose of Prozac or Valium to help him through this crisis so he can adjust better to a new member of the pack.
Dog Food Recall
Limited batches of Carnivore Meat Co.'s Vital Essentials Frozen Beef Tripe Patties and Frozen Beef Tripe Niblets have been recalled due to possible listeria contamination. Listeria can cause illness in dogs and people. If you purchased this product, call 920-370-6542 for information regarding a refund.
(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.net.)