DEAR DR. FOX: In rainy seasons, my dog goes crazy. It seems nighttime is worse. She pants, jumps in bed and tries to lick my face, then runs to the door and starts scratching it, trying to get out, while howling. (The neighbors are unhappy!)
I got Acepromazine from our vet (10 mg. -- she’s 17 pounds) and only give her a quarter of a pill. Even a half-pill was too much. That works fine, but I hate to give it to her too many nights in a row.
What is your opinion of giving the pills too often? -- P.K., Naples, Florida
DEAR P.K.: It is never wise to keep a dog on such medication for a long period of time.
Not being able to predict when the rain will come next, and therefore when to medicate, is a dilemma. Does she seem to respond to the sound of the rain, or start reacting before the rain comes -- the prelude to storms being wind and changes in air ionization?
If you have any forewarning, turn on some loud but soothing music and wrap a small T-shirt around your dog. Secure with Velcro like a tight wrap. These are called “thunder shirts” and are available in some pet stores and online, but you can make your own. Many dogs find them comforting.
If these steps fail, make a tape recording of heavy rain and play it at random intervals to desensitize your dog. Such immersion therapy does work when other means of eliminating a phobia or conditioned emotional reaction have failed.
Try a few drops of essential oil of lavender on a bandanna around her neck. This oil can be very calming for dogs, including those who get overexcited when in the car.
Let me know what helps your dog! Our recued dog Kota refuses to go out when it is raining, sharing many dogs’ aversion to getting wet! Good luck.
DEAR DR. FOX: Fall is coming and mice are getting in. Please advise. Exterminators want to use poison baits. Are there alternatives? -- G.V., Houston
DEAR G.V.: I would adopt two kittens from your local shelter (if you have no cats currently) and keep them indoors, of course. Their scent will deter mice, and they may be good chasers and catchers.
Essential oil of peppermint in handfuls of absorbent kitty litter can be a deterrent, distributed where mice may travel in your home. Or try putting the same in old socks, if the mice are in the attic or ceiling.
Avoid using poisons like Decon, especially outdoors. They get into the larger ecosystem and poison raptors, foxes, stray cats and other wild carnivores who may eat the bait or poisoned mice who may not die inside your home. One’s own cat or dog could be poisoned inside in the same way.
There are humane traps for use in-home, and the mice can be trapped and released to fend for themselves in a local parkland or field. Glue traps are wholly inhumane, and wire-snap traps do not always quickly kill.
DEAR DR. FOX: I read your column recently and you recommended your home-prepared diet. It would be helpful to readers if you would list the recipe for dogs and cats in the column. -- P.H., West Palm Beach, Florida
DEAR P.H.: Many readers have requested this, but each recipe includes feeding instructions and important steps when transitioning dogs and cats onto a new diet, or even making these home-prepared meals a portion of the regular diet. This would fill more than one column, and simply giving out the basic recipe is not adequate when addressing this basic animal care need and responsibility.
Anyway, I am sending you both recipes for you to pass on to whomever you may wish.
(Send all mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Andrews McMeel Syndication, 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 DrFoxOneHealth.com.)