Question: Baxter, my 5-year-old retriever mix, broke a tooth while gnawing on a bone, and the vet said his enamel was badly worn, probably from chewing on tennis balls. Can you suggest safer chew toys?
Answer: The nylon fuzz on tennis balls damages enamel in two ways: It’s abrasive even when clean, and it picks up dirt that acts like sandpaper on teeth. The lesson: Anything harder than teeth breaks teeth. The list includes natural and nylon bones, dried pig ears, hard plastic chew toys, and even ice cubes. Safe chew toys, the rubber kind, have some “give.” (Kong black toys are good for power chewers.) Offer Baxter a twisted rope toy and some dental chews. Also, increase his physical activity to tire him out before he settles down for a chew.
This article is featured in the July/August 2020 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.
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Q: How can I get my adopted cat, Sally, to take her pills?
A: Perhaps my technique will work for you. While my cat is eating yummy canned food, I tip her head up, open her mouth, and drop the pill on the back of her tongue. Then I praise her and let her resume eating. Offering food before giving the pill lubricates the throat, which facilitates swallowing. The food reward afterward ensures the pill finds its way to the stomach. You can also hide the pill inside a tasty treat, such as a Pill Pocket, or try using a pet piller. If she still refuses, ask Sally’s veterinarian about alternative dosage forms — flavored liquids, long-acting injections, or transdermal gels that are absorbed through the skin.
This article is featured in the May/June 2020 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.
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Ask The Vet’s Pets is written by Daisy Dog and Christopher Cat, with a little help from Dr. Lee Pickett, VMD. Send questions to Daisy and Christopher at [email protected] and read more online at saturdayeveningpost.com/askthevetspets. Dr. Pickett’s column appears in the each issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe today.
Dear Daisy Dog: My sister gave me a gorgeous sago palm. Will my 9-month-old dog who chews on outdoor plants have a problem if he chews on the sago palm?
Daisy Responds: Yes, so I urge you to give the plant to a friend who has no pets or children. Though I am smart enough not to chew anything but my dog toys and kibble, my home is free of sago palms and other toxic plants, as yours should be. Sago palm palms are popular indoor houseplants and, in warm climates, often are used as landscape plants.
All parts of the sago palm are poisonous to dogs, cats, and humans. The seeds are so toxic that ingestion of a single seed has caused death in dogs.
Signs of toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. Sago palm toxins damage the liver, stomach, intestines, and nervous system, so immediate veterinary treatment is crucial.
See more at AsktheVetsPets.com.
Featured image: Sago palm (Shutterstock)