Q: My husband and I want to train our little dog to use a pee pad indoors. My husband has Parkinson’s disease, and taking the dog out is becoming difficult. Can you help? – H.W., Coconut Creek, Fla.
A: Take your dog outside on-leash and place a pee pad under her as she’s relieving herself. As you do so, tell her she’s a good girl and offer a treat. Once she does the deed, let her sniff the pad. Each time you take her to this special spot, offer a consistent cue for your dog, saying “pee pad” or “potty here.”
Once she understands to go on the pad outdoors, bring the pad inside. Start with a pee pad that smells like her urine, so it has her calling card on it. When you know she has a full bladder, place the pad down indoors and take her there on a leash. You don’t want her roaming off and relieving herself elsewhere in the house.
Use the same cue you used outdoors, such as, “potty here.” Offer praise and a treat if she does her business. If she fails, take pad and dog outside, and have her go again on the pee pad. Soon, she’ll get the idea that you want her to go on the pad, regardless of where it is.
Q: Two of my medical patients have taken the liberty of successfully using their own testosterone injectables on their cats to reverse diabetes. I thought you might want to pass this information along. – E.L., Cyberspace
A: No, thank you. Instead, I’ll pass along this information: “Don’t do it!” implores feline veterinarian Dr. Susan Little, of Ottawa, editor and author of “The Cat: Clinical Medicine and Management” (Elsevier/Saunders Publishing, Philadelphia, Pa., 2011; $180).
Little wonders if you, as a medical doctor, are endorsing a treatment which should be the purview of a veterinary professional.
“There are a plethora of potential adverse responses of using hormones,” she notes. “And what you suggest has never been tested on cats.”
“Typically, diabetes in cats is Type 2, which is often related to body condition, being overweight or obese,” Little said. She notes that there are two insulin products approved for felines, Vetsulin and ProZinc, the latter specific to cats.
“I’m unsure why you would ever want to use testosterone on these cats,” said Little. “There’s no science to support efficacy or safety in cats. The most important rule for any medical professional is, “first, do no harm.”
Q: My veterinarian says my 9-year-old Schnauzer-mix has four loose middle teeth. The vet said this problem is common in the breed, and says these teeth need to be pulled. I do brush the dog’s teeth with dog toothpaste, and I add a drop of oil of oregano to remove tartar. Is there any way to save these teeth? – E.C., Bristol, Conn.
A: “Saving the teeth might not be in your dog’s best interest,” said Dr. Kate Knutson, of Bloomington, Minn., immediate American Animal Hospital Association past president. “In people, it’s likely the dentist may recommend implants, but in pets that (procedure) is expensive, and not suggested.”
Of course, pets don’t care much how they look in the mirror or at fancy cocktail parties, however, they do care if they’re in pain.
“If your veterinarian can appreciate how loose those teeth are without X-rays, they must be awfully loose, and therefore likely diseased – and that’s painful,” said Knutson. Your dog will actually feel better after the teeth are pulled.”
Knutson said treatment of the diseased gums and (tooth) maintenance (which you’re obviously diligent about), combined with proactive veterinary preventive care using OraStrips (to detect periodontal disease) three or four times a year, will help enormously before anything really bad happens again.
OraStrips provide an inexpensive early warning system. The veterinarian wipes a strip across the pet’s teeth and gums. No anesthesia is required.
As for the oregano, there’s no scientific evidence that oil from the herb will deter tartar, but there’s no harm in using it, and when your dog offers a kiss, her breath smells like meatballs.