DEAR DR. FOX: When my son's Yorkiepoo joined my household, she seemed to have thought she hit the jackpot. She was more interested in eating waste from our house bunnies than her own food -- to the point where she would hide in their cage. Our (now-deceased) cocker spaniel, who had never done anything like that her whole life, seemed to think that if the puppy could do it, she could, too.
The major dog food brand I'd been feeding them had multiple shapes. One looked just like rabbit droppings. Once I began feeding the dogs food prepared using your recipe, they stopped eating the rabbit waste.
I suggest people whose dogs like eating animal waste switch to your recipe and see if it makes a difference. -- R.S.B., North Beach, Florida
DEAR R.S.B.: Thanks for your confirmation of the benefits of good nutrition for dogs. Many people have written to me about the improved health and behavior of their dogs and cats after being given home-prepared food from my recipe or making a similar change in diet from highly processed "junk" pet foods.
Nestle's Purina is promoting probiotics in its foods, which can help dogs with digestive issues and poop-eating; the company has added "animal digest" as a flavor enhancer, which I would recommend readers investigate at truthaboutpetfood.com.
I have slightly revised my dog food recipe with some additional beneficial herbal supplements, now posted on my website, DrFoxVet.net.
DEAR DR. FOX: I've read many of your columns about stray and feral cats, and I agree that it is a serious problem in our country. But it seems you present the problem most often without offering a solution.
Spaying and neutering is the primary answer to this issue, but many, if not most, in your profession stand in the way of progress in the name of making a buck. When you take a cat in to spay or neuter, the latter of which is a so-easy-it's-crazy procedure, and leave with a bill of $200, $300 or more, you are encouraging people to do the wrong thing. Because how could they afford to do the right thing?
I would love to see a column with a more concrete plan of action than just "don't feed them." That isn't, and won't ever, end this "plague." -- J.S., Middletown, Ohio
DEAR J.S.: I appreciate your concerns. I encourage people to have their cats neutered, adopt neutered cats, keep their cats indoors and not feed stray cats unless there is the intent to capture them and have them neutered and vaccinated and rehabilitated for adoption.
Teams of veterinarians across the country offer their services at low cost to spay and neuter cats in an effort to help reduce the "cat plague." Such efforts can make a difference, but they are costly, not quick-and-easy and involve general anesthesia and blood tests. Additionally, there must be owner education and local animal control ordinances put in place, which you can read about in my article "Releasing Cats to Live Outdoors," posted on my website.
We have yet another feral cat we trapped on our property in our home; after five weeks, he is becoming attached and playful and will soon be ready for a good home. He would have been killed in the average animal shelter or released back on our property soon after neutering under our local humane society trap-neuter-return community cat program so they can fly the no-kill flag. I say nuts to that -- a total abdication of responsibility.
PURINA DOG FOOD RECALL
Nestle Purina has announced it is voluntarily recalling select lots of its Beneful and Purina Pro Plan wet dog foods because they may not contain the recommended level of vitamins and minerals. The recall includes select lots of wet dog food under the Beneful Prepared Meals, Beneful Chopped Blends and Pro Plan Savory Meals brands.
Purina is conducting this voluntary recall as a precaution for those dogs who may have eaten the affected product as their only meal for more than several weeks. If you have questions about your pet's health, the company suggests that you contact your veterinarian.
Although most of the recalled product contains all of the vitamins and minerals your dog needs, Purina recommends that you discard any of the affected product you may have. For more information, visit newscenter.purina.com/10ozwetdogfoodtubrecall.
(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.)