Steve Dale, author of the syndicated "My Pet World" column, is widely known as the "Ann Landers of the pet world," offering animal lovers of all kinds the latest news and information on their furry, feathered and scaled companions.

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Steve Dale

Steve Dale

My Pet World

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Don't be concerned if a cat wants to show a dog some affection

November 26, 2015

Q: My neutered male cat makes a nightly ritual of climbing on top of our 20 pound female dog, rocking back and forth, using his paws to swim through her coat. It's as if we're watching an X-rated movie. The dog -- who is spayed -- tolerates this until the cat bites her once too often. Then she jumps away. She doesn't act angry. What's happening in our house? Should I get involved in their mishegoss or leave it alone? -- C. P., Indianapolis, IN

  • There might be a safer option when traveling with your pet

    November 25, 2015

    While more pet owners than ever are traveling by car with their pets, particularly around the holidays, the Center for Pet Safety (CPS) says don't be too sure about your pets' safety. Allowing a pet to roam without restraint may be the most dangerous option.

  • Dog flu vaccine will be available soon

    November 19, 2015

    Q: The dog flu hit our family hard; we have all recovered, but we sure don't want to go through that again. Will there be a vaccine, and if so, when? -- D. S., Chicago, IL

  • 'Best in Show' celebrates 15th anniversary

    November 18, 2015

    The movie "Best in Show," spoofing the dog show world, is celebrating its 15th anniversary. Some dog show aficionados were offended by the satire, but dog show announcer David Frei laughs all these years later.

  • How to help your dog enjoy car rides

    November 12, 2015

    Q: We are planning a driving trip in January with our very nervous dog. Do you have any suggestions on what we can give her to calm her down? -- S. C., St. Paul, MN

  • In Hungary researchers are discovering what dogs may understand, and how they communicate to humans

    November 11, 2015

    BUDAPEST, Hungary -- Senior lecturer Peter Pongracz of the Family Dog Research Project at Eotvos Lorand University in the Department of Ethology in Budapest, Hungary has studied how much we understand what dogs are trying to tell us, based on their vocalizations alone.

  • Not a problem to give a pet turkey at Thanksgiving, just moderate how much

    November 5, 2015

    Q: I don't understand these people who go on TV and warn against our pets eating turkey over Thanksgiving when turkey is found in dog and cat food. C'mon -- it's crazy. -- T. J, Providence, RI

  • Questions regarding how dogs communicate getting answered

    November 4, 2015

    BUDAPEST, Hungary -- So, how much do dogs know? Humans have lived side-by-side with dogs for thousands of years, yet even today this question continues to baffle science. To attempt to dig into dog psyche, Adam Miklosi founded the Family Dog Research Project in Budapest, Hungary at Eotvos Lorand University, Department of Ethology in 1994.

  • Dogs may not have a specific language, but they do know how to communicate

    October 29, 2015

    Q: Do dogs actually speak a language? It does seem my dog uses different types of barks, and other sounds to communicate with me? -- Las Vegas, NV

  • A pet's bad behavior could just deal with anxiety, stress

    October 28, 2015

    LAS VEGAS -- Bad behavior -- or at least bad behavior perceived by pet parents -- may be the most common explanation for animal deaths, as many of these pets are relinquished to animal shelters. Often pet owners don't know where to turn.

  • Be smart when deciding to dress up your pet for Halloween

    October 22, 2015

    Q: My mother says it's silly to dress up our dog Cody for Halloween -- that Cody is a dog and therefore humiliated to wear a costume, which I don't believe is true. I think Cody is happy to be dressed as a superhero. What do you think? C H., Las Vegas

  • Lots of options when dressing your pet for Halloween

    October 21, 2015

    According to the National Retail Federation, more than 22 million Americans will dress up their pet for Halloween, and spend over $330 million dollars on costumes. According to the federation the most popular pet costume in 2015 is a dressing up as a pumpkin, followed by a hot dog (particularly popular with Dachshunds).

  • It's important to slowly gain a dogs trust

    October 15, 2015

    Las Vegas -- These reader questions were answered by experts attending the 2015 Animal Behavior Conference in Las Vegas on Sept. 25-27.

  • Readers share their thoughts

    October 14, 2015

    Here are a pawful of comments from readers, some who like me, others not so much!

  • It's important to help your animals adjust to car rides

    October 8, 2015

    LAS VEGAS -- These reader questions were answered by attendees of the Clinical Animal Behavior 2015 Conference from Sept. 25-27, presented by the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians and Academy of Behavior Technicians.

  • Veterinary technicians proud of what they accomplish

    October 7, 2015

    If hugs counted for $1 apiece, the U.S. government could balance their budget on the number of free hugs technicians give to clients. Veterinary technicians do it for love.

  • Readers' questions answered by experts at Clinical Animal Behavior Conference

    October 1, 2015

    LAS VEGAS -- These reader questions were answered by attendees of the of Clinical Animal Behavior 2015 Conference, Sept. 25-27, presented by the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians and Academy of Veterinary Behavior Technicians.

  • Lyme disease a continual issue in dogs, and humans

    September 30, 2015

    SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Lyme disease is diagnosed more readily and responded to differently in animal health compared to human health. Two veterinarians and two experts on tick-borne disease in people spoke on Sept. 10 at an unusual forum in Syracuse, N.Y. It was unusual because it is rare for medical professionals on the animal and human side to share information on the same stage.

  • Lyme disease a continual issue in dogs, and humans

    September 30, 2015

    SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Lyme disease is diagnosed more readily and responded to differently in animal health compared to human health. Two veterinarians and two experts on tick-borne disease in people spoke on Sept. 10 at an unusual forum in Syracuse, N.Y. It was unusual because it is rare for medical professionals on the animal and human side to share information on the same stage.

  • Owner believes dog is skittish on stairs because he sees a ghost

    September 24, 2015

    Q: When we moved into our house, it seemed as -- in general, Max our 9-year old German Shepherd mix, became a tad more skittish. We've lived here just over a year, and last week Max began to hesitate at the same spot going up stairs, at the very last stair from the top. When he does this he looks around, as if he's looking for something. I've followed your work for some time, and you frequently write about how keen dogs' senses are. Clearly, because of Max, we've learned there's a ghost at the top of our stairway. Who do we call? -- V. S., Las Vegas City, NV

  • Shelters, owners remember animals not adopted on Remember Me Thursday

    September 23, 2015

    Mike Arms says that while more dogs and cats are adopted every year, his heart breaks for those that aren't.

  • It's important to get older cats tested for kidney disease

    September 17, 2015

    Q: My vet said that soon my 8 year-old cat should be tested for kidney disease. Still, Lucky, appears to be just fine, eats well, and as you know cats today live 'till they're even 20. So, why do the testing? -- B. J., Montclair, NJ

  • Many drawing attention for National Puppy Mill Awareness Day

    September 16, 2015

    "Do not listen to blatant lies from pet stores selling puppies," said Victoria Stilwell, former host of Animal Planet's "It's Me or the Dog," and spokesperson for National Puppy Mill Awareness Day, which is Sept. 27. "Obviously people are unaware that pet stores, flea markets and many websites sell puppies from puppy mills, as no self-respecting breeder will ever sell to a pet store."

  • There are many ways to dial down a cat's anxiety during flights

    September 10, 2015

    Q: My 4-year-old cat is afraid of his own shadow. During the winter, we fly south, taking the cat along with us in the cabin of the plane. The first time, I gave him a tranquilizer, which worked. The second time, the same drug made him crazy; he scratched and his eyes rolled back in his head. The third time, we didn't give him anything and he was fine. On the most recent flight, we also gave him nothing, and he cried most of the way. Any advice? -- J.C., St. Paul, MN

  • You can steer your dog out of panic mode during thunderstorms

    September 9, 2015

    Some dogs are better at forecasting the weather than the National Weather Service. They know a storm is approaching before we do. They pace, salivate, tremble, whine and become "Velcro dogs" (sticking to you like glue) even when a storm is an hour away or more. By the time the tempest arrives, the pet may be in full panic mode.

  • Boosting dog's confidence can stop piddling

    September 3, 2015

    Q: About a month ago we acquired a 1-1/2-year-old, 12-pound dog. She'd been an outside dog and is not spayed. She now lives indoors 100 percent of the time. She's totally housebroken for bowel movements, but urinates indoors, especially when our grandson pets her. Will this stop after she's spayed? -- F.C., Spartanburg, SC

  • Research may soon lead to treatment for cats with FIP

    September 2, 2015

    Susan Gingrich is upbeat about the most devastating illness in cats, feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). Gingrich established the Bria Fund with the Winn Feline Foundation 10 years ago after her little Birman, Bria, succumbed to the fatal disease.

  • Dry air, not altitude, makes fleas more sparse at high elevations

    August 27, 2015

    Q: I live in the Sierra Mountains of California because there are no fleas. I wonder if this is a phenomenon nationwide. I haven't seen a flea or tick above 3,000 feet. Does altitude make that much difference? -- J.M., via cyberspace

  • New test allows early diagnosis of chronic kidney disease in cats

    August 26, 2015

    Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) may be the most common illness of aging cats. If cats live long enough, at least one in three will at suffer from CKD. What's more, according the Banfield Pet Hospital State of Pet Health 2012 Report, the disease is on the rise in cats, increasing 15 percent from 2007 to 2011.

  • A pet-friendly fountain beats sipping from the fish tank

    August 20, 2015

    Q: Is it OK for Diego to drink from the fish tank? -- C.H., via cyberspace

  • Stem cell therapy shows promise for helping pets

    August 19, 2015

    TORONTO, CANADA -- A Winn Feline Foundation symposium called "What's New, Pussycat? Advances in GI Therapy" was held on July 2 in Toronto, Canada. While stem cell therapy continues to be controversial in U.S. human medical circles, Winn and other groups are funding research on how it might be used to treat various illnesses in cats.

  • Confused bird needs a time out!

    August 13, 2015

    Q: I have two cockatiels. Sugar we found on the roadside. She's about 5 years old and rather skittish. After a couple of months, I thought she could use a companion, so we got Sweetie, also a female. The pair quickly bonded. Sugar has become more tame, but Sweetie more wild. In the past year, I've noticed Sugar seems to want to mate. She postures and makes all sorts of noise. Sweetie seems indifferent, though. Is there something I can do? -- E.L., Bear Lake, MN

  • Don't hesitate to act if you see a dog trapped in a hot car

    August 12, 2015

    Dogs can easily die in hot cars. Even if it's only 80 degrees outside, in 20 minutes a car will begin to cook inside -- even with the windows cracked -- reaching 109 degrees, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

  • A cure remains elusive for cats with FIP

    August 6, 2015

    Q: My 6-month-old kitten is suffering from the wet form of feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). In an effort to ease Ashley's pain, my veterinarian removed fluid from her chest and gave us an antibiotic for her. After five days, Ashley's breathing became labored again, and the veterinarian said, "there's no hope." Once again, he took out some fluid and gave Ashley a steroid. Is there any way to cure my baby? -- M.M., Malaysia

  • Novice candidate Limberbutt hopes to claim the chair in the Oval Office

    August 5, 2015

    One more candidate for President of the United States has just tossed his hat into the ring - or his little sparkle ball. Candidate No. 23 officially registered with the Federal Election Commission back in May, but has only recently begun to speak out, and getting press in such a competitive field isn't easy.

  • Learn to say "no" to over-eager lap dog

    July 30, 2015

    BOSTON, MA -- This week, your pet behavior questions are answered by the ultimate experts, veterinary behaviorists attending the 2015 Veterinary Behavior Symposium, held July 10 in conjunction with the Convention of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

  • At summer's peak, protect your dog from the heat

    July 29, 2015

    If you're hot, you can be certain that your dog is hotter.

  • Dog flu now spreading beyond the Chicago area

    July 23, 2015

    "We don't live in a bubble, and our pets don't, either," notes Dr. Jerry Klein, supervising veterinarian at Chicago Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center in Chicago. The Windy City is where this spring and summer's outbreak of dog flu began.

  • Training can curb pooch's passion for jumping on guests

    July 23, 2015

    BOSTON, MA -- Veterinary behaviorists attending the 2015 Veterinary Behavior Symposium on July 10 in conjunction with the Convention of the American Veterinary Medical Association chimed in to answer your questions this week.

  • Separating 'visiting' cats might be best option

    July 16, 2015

    TORONTO, CANADA -- These cat questions were answered by three board members for the non-profit Winn Feline Foundation here for a meeting and the Winn Feline Foundation Annual Symposium. Chiming in: Dr. Drew Weigner, of Atlanta, GA; Dr. Brian Holub, Boston, MA Chief Medical Officer of VetCor veterinary clinics; and board president Dr. Glenn Olah, of Albuquerque, NM.

  • Study: Big dogs behave quite differently from their smaller cousins

    July 15, 2015

    BOSTON, MA -- Veterinary behaviorists and other veterinarians interested in animal behavior were among those attending the 2015 Veterinary Behavior Symposium July 10, attended by members of American College of Veterinary Behaviorists and other interested veterinarians in Boston, a day before the opening of the annual Convention of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

  • Why has formerly cuddly cat changed his tune?

    July 9, 2015

    TORONTO, CANADA -- These cat questions are answered by three board members of the non-profit Winn Feline Foundation who were in Toronto for the foundation's annual symposium July 2. Chiming in are: Dr. Drew Weigner, of Atlanta, Ga., Dr. Brian Holub, of Boston, Mass., Chief Medical Officer of VetCor veterinary clinics; and board president Dr. Glenn Olah, of Albuquerque, N.M.

  • Shocking Facebook post revealed stark case of animal cruelty

    July 8, 2015

    In April, after Texas veterinarian Dr. Kristin Lindsey posted an image on her Facebook page of a cat she boasted of having shot with an arrow, the story made international headlines. Accompanying the image, Lindsey wrote: "My first bow kill, LOL. The only good feral tomcat is one with an arrow through its head. The vet of the year award ... gladly accepted."

  • While dog flu threat is widening, there's no need to panic

    July 1, 2015

    Q: I'm worried about the dog flu, which was in Chicago, and is now in Atlanta. What precautions should I take? -- C.D., Atlanta, GA

  • Preventing heartworm is the best 'remedy'

    July 1, 2015

    Only about a third of all dogs, and likely less than 10 percent of cats, leave a veterinary practice with a heartworm preventive. No one knows how many ferrets are protected, but it's likely that number is very small. Dr. Stephen Jones, president of the non-profit American Heartworm Society, calls the situation "frightening."

  • Artificial sweetener can be toxic for dogs

    June 24, 2015

    Q: You've mentioned many times in your column that dog owners can keep their pets occupied by stuffing peanut butter into toys. Recently, I read that some peanut butter contains Xylitol, an artificial sweetener you've reported is harmful to dogs. How dangerous is it? -- L.D., Buffalo Grove, IL

  • Don't let July 4 Big Bang leave your pet with the jitters

    June 24, 2015

    The Big Bang is no theory for dogs. Even the most patriotic, All-American dogs like Boston Terriers and American Foxhounds can be terrified by all those colorful explosions in the night sky on July 4.

  • These pedigreed cats have top billing

    June 18, 2015

    The Exotic, for the second year in a row, is the most popular cat breed in America, according to the Cat Fanciers' Association registry of pedigreed cats. In 2014, the Exotic knocked the Persian off its long-time perch as top cat.

  • With the right products, you can beat fleas and ticks

    June 17, 2015

    Parasites are a very popular topic this time of year! Today, veterinary parasitologist Dr. Michael Dryden, of the Department of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology at Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine, answers your questions. Dryden speaks around the globe on flea and tick issues, and is known lovingly, no doubt, as "Dr. Flea."

  • Cats don't care what we wear -- or don't wear

    June 11, 2015

    Q: Our cat, Martha Stewart, loves our two children, Jane, 11, and Adam, 6. After school, Adam comes home and runs around naked. I think the cat gets embarrassed. Is that possible? When Adam is fully clothed, the cat loves him, but when he's naked, Martha wants nothing to do with him. Any advice? -- T.B., Tampa, FL

  • Join the campaign to debunk tired stereotypes about cats

    June 10, 2015

    Cats have an image problem.

  • Cat's high-velocity purring both annoying and charming

    June 4, 2015

    NASHVILLE, TN -- These questions were answered by experts at BlogPaws 2015 in Nashville, TN, May 28-30. Hundreds of pet bloggers gather each year for continuing education with their pets, including dogs and cats, as well as ferrets, rats and even a few pot-bellied pigs.

  • Include some pet books on your beach reading list

    June 3, 2015

    As you lounge at the pool or beach this summer, be sure to use sun block and bring along a good book. Here are half a dozen reading options only a pet writer would suggest:

  • The risk of tick disease is rising

    May 28, 2015

    Q: I'm wondering if I should vaccinate my dog for Lyme disease. My veterinarian says it's not necessary. However, a friend I often go hiking with said his veterinarian recommends the vaccine, and his dogs are vaccinated. What do you think? -- C.G., Jackson, MI

  • Obese and overweight pets need our help

    May 27, 2015

    As our love for our pets has grown, so have the pets themselves. An estimated 52.6 percent of U.S. dogs are overweight or obese, and 57.6 percent of U.S. cats are overweight or obese, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP).

  • New tactics could make taking pills fun for your pet

    May 21, 2015

    Q: I read your recent column on pilling cats. What I need to know is how to give pills to my stubborn dog, who spits them out. I've tried rolling a pill inside peanut butter and lunch meat, to no avail. Is there a secret trick? -- D.N., Anchorage, AK

  • Most dog and cat bites can be avoided!

    May 20, 2015

    Each year, more than 800,000 people receive medical attention for dog bites. At least half of them are children, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. While that sounds like a lot of people, it's small when you consider that there are 70 million dogs in America.

  • Benefits of wonder drug Rimadyl still outweigh the risks

    May 14, 2015

    Q: One day, a cat came to my door, and from the first day he rubbed against me, we were inseparable. He eventually developed kidney stones and I had him put down in 1987. I just couldn't afford to pay the medical bill. I miss him so much and feel like I let him down big time. Is there any way to ask forgiveness? -- C.H., Highland Park, IL

  • Microchip coding controversy could be putting pets' lives at risk

    May 13, 2015

    Microchipping saves lives. This is an accepted fact among those in the veterinary and animal welfare community. However, some microchip companies may now be compromising a system that's reunited countless numbers of pets and their owners.

  • Worries over dog flu continue

    May 7, 2015

    Chicago is the Windy City, the City of Big Shoulders, the Second City, and now, apparently the dog flu city. The canine influenza virus, or dog flu, settled into the Chicago metropolitan area just over a month ago. Since dogs do travel, however, it's no surprise that the virus has popped up elsewhere. Chicago, however, remains the only hot spot.

  • The threat of tick-borne diseases growing across the U.S.

    May 6, 2015

    There are more ticks in more places than ever, and they continue to spread. Veterinary parasitologist Dr. Michael Dryden, of Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine-Manhattan, calls it a "tick explosion." And the fallout is tick disease.

  • 'Pilling' a cat takes patience and purrsuation

    April 30, 2015

    Q: Do you have any suggestions for giving my cat the anti-seizure meds she needs three times a day? I use Pill Pockets (flavored treats to hide pills inside) and sometimes she'll take them. I'm planning a trip in late summer and am very concerned about the pet sitter being able to give the meds. Is there anything cats can't resist that I might use to fool my cat into taking her pill? -- N.C., Margate, FL

  • Service dogs offer powerful medicine to disabled kids

    April 29, 2015

    "Rarely do we humans realize the feeling of purpose and destiny," says veterinary technician Julie Shaw, of Lafayette, IN. "I think dogs feel this all the time; it's one of the characteristics we humans envy of them without knowing it."

  • So far, dog flu epidemic is confined to the Chicago area

    April 23, 2015

    There are reasonable concerns that the canine influenza (dog flu) epidemic in the Chicago area could be a springboard, triggering outbreaks across America.

  • Powerful new preventives kill fleas faster than ever

    April 22, 2015

    Along with spring showers and flowers come fleas. It's a sure bet in most parts of the country, but some places have it worse than others. Fleas in Florida and other southern states can be so overwhelming that many pet owners throw in the towel, assuming these pests are inevitable, and simply hire an exterminator when needed.

  • Powerful new preventives kill fleas faster than ever

    April 22, 2015

    Along with spring showers and flowers come fleas. It's a sure bet in most parts of the country, but some places have it worse than others. Fleas in Florida and other southern states can be so overwhelming that many pet owners throw in the towel, assuming these pests are inevitable, and simply hire an exterminator when needed.

  • Distract finger-biting cat with other amusements

    April 16, 2015

    These reader questions were answered at the 2015 International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants Feline Behavior Conference here, April 11-12. Speakers included veterinary behaviorists and certified cat behavior consultants on issues ranging from the social organization of cats to how to introduce an outdoor cat into the home. (To learn more about animal behavior, or find a behavior consultant at

  • Conference explores cat behavior issues

    April 15, 2015

    ATLANTA, GA -- "Cats are not anti-social," says veterinary behaviorist Dr. Sharon Crowell-Davis, professor of behavior and anatomy at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, Athens, speaking at the 2015 International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants Feline Behavior Conference here April 11-12.

  • Vaccine good tool as dog flu epidemic grows

    April 9, 2015

    Q: I live in Chicago, where there's an epidemic of dog flu. My dog is very social, so I was thinking about the vaccine. Now, I've heard that the virus has mutated and the vaccine is no longer effective. Any advice? -- C.G., Chicago, IL

  • Dog flu outbreak in the Midwest could spread

    April 8, 2015

    A dog flu epidemic has sickened over 1,000 dogs and has been responsible for the death of at least five dogs in the Chicago area since mid-March, according to Dr. Donna Alexander, administrator for the Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control.

  • Howling dog is probably NOT seeing ghosts

    April 2, 2015

    After 20 years of writing this column and answering, on average, four reader questions weekly, that's 4,160 answers! My fingers should be 'dog-tired,' but instead I'm invigorated because each month (sometimes each week) I receive letters and emails saying my answers motivated someone a visit to a veterinarian, or even saved a pet's life.

  • Soft Paws can soften your cat's ability to damage furniture

    April 1, 2015

    Keep those emails and 'snail mail' letters coming. I'm always learning from readers. My knowledge base can't equal the collective expertise of all of you! Also, reflecting back on 20 years of writing this column, I certainly wouldn't have lasted anywhere near this long without your interest and input.

  • New drug showing promise against once fatal FIP

    March 26, 2015

    TAMPA, FLA. -- Your questions are answered this week by experts attending the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) Conference here, March 12-15, and a meeting of the Winn Feline Foundation Board of Directors directly following the conference.

  • Bonding with your veterinarian is good for your pet's health!

    March 25, 2015

    TAMPA, FLA. -- What do pet owners want from their veterinarians? According to a 2014 survey, they disdain medical jargon they don't understand, want tests results shared, and expect full transparency regarding their pets' care.

  • Regular veterinary visits can catch any problems early

    March 19, 2015

    TAMPA, FLA. -- Your questions are answered this week by experts attending the American Animal Hospital Association Conference, March 12-15.

  • Twenty years of columns have only fueled my enthusiasm about pets!

    March 18, 2015

    Summing up 20 years of work isn't easy. As I begin my third decade of writing this column, I have a wealth of memories to recall.

  • Noisy parrot may have been lovesick!

    March 12, 2015

    Q: I recently gave my 18-year-old African Grey parrot to a bird sanctuary because he became restless and climbed and squawked a lot. In his huge new cage, he seems happier. I visit him every week, but I wonder if this is actually detrimental to helping him adjust to his new surroundings. I only want him to be happy. Any thoughts? -- N.L., Las Vegas, NV

  • A little enrichment could give your pet a new lease on life

    March 11, 2015

    I contend that the average monkey, bear or lion in a zoo has a richer life than most of our dogs and cats at home. In fact, all pets require some enrichment, even lizards, and most certainly, pet parrots.

  • Education is the best way to discourage declawing

    March 5, 2015

    Q: I appreciated your recent column about declawing cats and your stand against this procedure. But you didn't state what we need to do - namely to ban declaw as some other countries have done. Don't you believe the U.S. ought to act tomorrow? -- V.H., Seattle, WA

  • Labrador Retriever keeps crown as America's most popular dog

    March 4, 2015

    The Labrador Retriever continues to hold the title of America's favorite dog breed, (since 1991), according to just released 2014 American Kennel Club (AKC) registration numbers.

  • Careful conditioning can convert scaredy-dog

    February 26, 2015

    LAS VEGAS, NV -- This week, experts attending the Western Veterinary Conference in Las Vegas, NV, Feb.15-19, have answered your queries:

  • Movement keeps building to the ban puppy mills

    February 25, 2015

    "I don't understand how in a country of animal lovers, puppy mills can be tolerated," says Chicago veterinarian Dr. Scott Rovner. "Now, we've finally begun to speak up and do something about it; we need to."

  • Declawing with a laser is still inhumane and unnecessary

    February 19, 2015

    Q: I was told that it's possible to humanely declaw cats with a laser. My two kittens are dangerous with their claws. Would this be a good choice? -- C.S., via cyberspace

  • Research offers hope for feline heart problems

    February 12, 2015

    Q: Penny, our beloved tabby, died in my arms last weekend. We loved him for 9 years and he appeared to be perfectly healthy when he suddenly collapsed. I rushed Penny to the emergency clinic, but nothing could be done. I was devastated. Our veterinarian never warned us of the danger of heart problems in cats. Skylar, Penny's buddy, has taken his death very hard. Do you have advice to help Skylar? Also, can you talk more about heart health in cats? -- M.H., via cyberspace

  • America's 'toughest sheriff' has a soft spot for animals

    February 11, 2015

    Sheriff Joe Arpaio, of Maricopa County, AZ, puts animals in jail -- and he's proud of it.

  • Geriatric cat may need anti-anxiety relief to tolerate a long car ride

    February 5, 2015

    These reader questions were answered by experts attending the North American Veterinary Conference in Orlando Jan. 17-21.

  • Westminster Dog Show contestants are the best of the best

    February 4, 2015

    Every dog may have its day, but only one can win Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, coming up Monday-Tuesday, Feb.16-17, at New York's Madison Square Garden.

  • Cat may need follow-up appointment after dental cleaning

    January 29, 2015

    ORLANDO, FLA. -- Experts converged to teach veterinary professionals at the North American Veterinary Conference in Orlando Jan. 17-21. Some of those renowned experts took time to answer your questions.

  • American starts SPCA shelter in Mexico

    January 28, 2015

    "The street dogs and cats in Mexico are the lucky ones; at least they can find food in the trash, and maybe beg from tourists," says Janice Chatterton, founder/president of the SPCA Puerto Vallarta. "I wanted to find a way to help dogs kept tied up on rooftops where I've seen the ropes cut into their necks, malnourished dogs kept in back yards fed barely enough to survive. The animal abuse here can be overwhelming."

  • Dog raised in a puppy mill may need extra training, TLC

    January 22, 2015

    This week, your dog behavior questions are answered by veterinary behaviorist Dr. Valarie Tynes, of Sweetwater, TX, a contributing author of "Decoding Your Dog: The Ultimate Experts Explain Common Dog Behaviors and Reveal How to Prevent or Change Unwanted Behaviors" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York, NY, 2014). This is the first-ever book authored by members of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, and was co-edited by Dr. Debra Horwitz, Dr. John Ciribassi and myself.

  • Protect dogs and cats from winter's blast

    January 21, 2015

    To some dogs, the weather outside may be frightful, while others want to romp and play in the snow -- and how can you blame them? But when is it just too cold for some dogs?

  • New drug shows promise to extend life for cats with 'dry" FIP

    January 15, 2015

    Q: My friend's cat was recently diagnosed with FIP (feline infectious peritonitis). The Chinese (veterinarians) maintain this is a fatal disease. Can you help? -- L.L., China

  • Adopt these New Year's Resolutions for your own cat

    January 14, 2015

    I hearby resolve to work with the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) to lead a revolution to support cats in 2015.

  • Pills that taste good go down easier

    January 8, 2015

    Q: Years ago, I remember watching you on "Animal Planet" explaining how you'd trained your cat to take a pill. Now my cat needs a pill, and no matter I do, she drops it on the floor, then walks away. Any advice? -- L.G., via cyberspace

  • Pet pledges for 2015 benefit their people, too

    January 7, 2015

    New Year's resolutions are no longer reserved just for ourselves; many people now make resolutions for their pets, too. My Facebook fans (at chimed in from around the world with their pet pledges for 2015. Here are some examples:

  • Helping readers is the name of my game

    January 2, 2015

    More than anything else, I hope my columns help families, as most pets are considered members of the family. During 2014, I was proud to elevate several topics to a public platform.

  • Dogs' quirky spinning habit likely hard-wired

    January 2, 2015

    Q: Why do dogs turn around three times before they poop? -- S.H., Buffalo, NY.

  • Vaccines can mute threat to pets from animal droppings

    December 26, 2014

    Q: The people where I live are brain dead. The neighborhood is plagued by geese, ducks and nasty squirrels. There are laws against feeding these animals, but people do it anyway. As result, I walk my beautiful pup in poop. I have to bathe him constantly. I also disagree with my neighbors, who say leptospirosis is not a problem. What do you think? -- J.K., Longs, SC

  • People and their dogs have a very special bond - believe it!

    December 26, 2014

    Bark at me, purr at me -- doesn't matter! I love when you squawk back. Here are some interesting notes and comments from readers. Keep those emails coming to

  • Pug's piddling indoors could be spiked by separation anxiety

    December 18, 2014

    These reader questions were all answered by contributing authors of "Decoding Your Dog: The Ultimate Experts Explain Common Dog Behaviors and Reveal How to Prevent or Change Unwanted Ones" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York, NY, 2014; $27), written by members of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. I co-edited the book with veterinary behaviorists Dr. Debra Horwitz and Dr. John Ciribassi.

  • Follow these tips for a pet-safe holiday season

    December 17, 2014

    Here are 12 safety tips to insure your pets enjoy a healthy and safe holiday:

  • What may look like a cat/dog tussle is probably just play

    December 11, 2014

    Q: I have a 10-month-old Bedlington Terrier and a Siamese cat. Our dog is intent on chasing the cat, and it's annoying. The cat is not afraid and sometimes encourages the dog. How can I stop this from happening? -- P.D., via cyberspace

  • Misinformation about dog behavior is rampant - and sad, expert says

    December 10, 2014

    TV dog trainer Victoria Stilwell is registering an official complaint: "Dogs aren't allowed to be dogs anymore," she says. "It's great they're living in our homes, but they have less freedom."

  • Recent books explore how dogs think

    December 4, 2014

    Q: I've read your column for many years, and I'm wondering if you've written anything else, say a book, that might help me understand how my three dogs think? If so, where can I buy it? -- P.F., Winchester, KY

  • Consider putting some of these books under the tree

    December 3, 2014

    Here are eight new books perfect for animal lovers this holiday season. Several are inspirational, others are funny, and still others just plain useful.

  • If barking at the TV bugs you, give your dog something else to do

    November 27, 2014

    These reader questions were answered by veterinary behaviorist Dr. Melissa Bain, Associate Professor of Clinical Animal Behavior at the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

  • New pet gifts promise happy holidays for furred and feathered family members

    November 26, 2014

    More than ever before, some of those presents under the Christmas tree, as well as Hanukah gifts, are intended for barking, purring, or even squawking members of the family.

  • Feisty cat needs a 'time out' period

    November 20, 2014

    Q: Karma, our 12-year-old cat, picks on our two 15-month-old Labrador mixes. He may even jump on top of one dog and start to hiss and bite; he really carries on. Sometimes, we have to pull him away. No one's been hurt yet, but the dogs seem terrorized. Any advice? -- S.C., via cyberspace

  • National Dog Show remains popular Thanksgiving treat

    November 19, 2014

    The Thanksgiving Day "National Dog Show Presented by Purina" has been a hit with TV viewers since the first contestant walked into the ring in Philadelphia in 2002. Viewership that first year hit nearly 19 million. Last year, hosts David Frei and John O'Hurley entertained an all-time high 22 million viewers -- more than watched each of the first six games of this year's World Series, and about equal the number who tuned in for game No. 7.

  • Give your dog something else to do besides bark at cyclists

    November 13, 2014

    Q: My 4-year-old Australian Shepherd now barks at people on bicycles as they go by the house. She never did this before. What's going on? -- C.J., San Diego, CA

  • Pet travel products make it easier to take all family members on vacation

    November 12, 2014

    When families take a vacation, increasingly, it's the entire family enjoying the get-away. Nearly a third of all dog owners now take their pets along on vacation, according to the 2013-2014 American Pet Product Association National Pet Owners Survey.

  • Elderly mom should be especially careful around cat that bites

    November 6, 2014

    Q: My elderly mother adopted an 11-year-old Siamese cat 7 months ago. After three months, the cat began to bite her. The previous owners claim the cat was never aggressive. Mom tries to play with the cat and give it lots of attention, which didn't happen with the other owners. When Mom was in the hospital, I watched the cat and was also bitten. I'm at a loss about what to do, because who wants a cat that bites? -- C.S., via cyberspace

  • 'Catifying' your home adds more fun for your feline

    November 5, 2014

    A cat's mind is a terrible thing to waste.

  • NSAIDs effective drugs to help manage pain

    October 30, 2014

    Q: My dog has bad arthritis in his knee. I've read a lot about Rimadyl and it scares me, so I'm thinking of using Zubrin. Do you have any suggestions about what might be safer? -- V.W., via cyberspace

  • Tear-stain products under fire from the FDA

    October 29, 2014

    Lots of dogs and cats cry. It's not that our pets get overly emotional watching TV soap operas; the cause is a natural overproduction of tears.

  • Second-hand smoke is bad news for people and pets

    October 23, 2014

    Q: We have a friend who's started smoking cigarettes, and quite heavily. She claims to love animals. I wonder how second-hand smoke affects pets. I think I know the answer, but my friend needs a blast of reality from a professional like you. -- D.G., Henderson, NV

  • Pet owners are prepping their Halloween finery

    October 22, 2014

    "I don't know why, but people love dressing up their dogs as monkeys," says Alice Lerman, owner of Barker and Meowsky: A Paw Firm (, in Chicago. She says monkey costumes are always big sellers at Halloween -- and this season's hot item is the Fez Monkey Hoodie with a removable vest. Another winner is the Max the Monster Pullover and Hoodie Sweater.

  • Officials hope to have a protocol soon regarding pets and Ebola

    October 16, 2014

    Q: Can dogs and cats get the Ebola virus? If the answer is no, as I believe it is, why did they kill that dog from Spain? -- S.H., Chicago, IL

  • New book takes a revealing look into the world of feral cats

    October 15, 2014

    Even if you don't know it, they're out there lurking in the shadows. According to market research conducted by Anne Beall, there are nearly as many feral (wild) cats in the U.S as there are owned cats.

  • Stem cell treatments show promise for some feline health issues

    October 9, 2014

    When it comes to cats, nearly everything modern veterinary medicine knows about their health and welfare has been learned through studies funded by the non-profit Winn Feline Foundation. From the very food most cats eat to treatments for a wide range of health issues, Winn has been there to help cats for 46 years, and has now launched a new website as a resource for cat lovers:

  • Loss of prominent behaviorist, veterinarian stuns pet world

    October 8, 2014

    Dr. Sophia Yin, an applied animal behaviorist, was one of the first to join my public outcry over then-popular dog trainer Cesar Millan's emphasis on forceful, aversive dog training and misleading messages about dog behavior. In a 2005 My Pet World column, Yin said of Millan: "He seems to have found success by forcing dogs into what he calls submission. What's he's doing, though, is forcing dogs -- it's not about dominance or submission; we're forcing them because we can."

  • Declawing is, indeed, amputation -- and unnecessary

    October 2, 2014

    Q: We don't consider a declaw an amputation, as you insist it is. Our cats survive longer because we keep them indoors. We love our cats; they even sleep in our bed. Don't you believe under those conditions it's OK to declaw? -- H.T., Tampa, FL

  • America's Favorite Veterinarian a beloved James Herriot clone

    October 1, 2014

    On Sept. 30, Dr. Tim Hunt, of Marquette, Mich., was voted America's Favorite Veterinarian in a contest sponsored by the non-profit American Veterinary Medical Foundation. As it turns out, voters chose a kind of modern day James Herriot (the beloved late British country veterinarian, James Alfred "Alf" Wight, best known by his pen name).

  • Anxiety likely at the root of cat's car sickness

    September 25, 2014

    Nearly everything modern veterinary medicine knows about cat health and welfare has been learned through studies funded by the non-profit Winn Feline Foundation. From the very food most cats eat to the vaccinations they receive to treatments for a wide range of health issues, Winn has been there to help cats. The foundation is now celebrating 46 years and a new website:

  • Pet-loving celebrities support 'Remember Me Thursday'

    September 23, 2014

    "Let's also remember the orphans who are euthanized," says Mike Arms, CEO and president of the Helen Woodward Animal Center in Rancho Santa Fe, CA.

  • New products good weapons against skunk smell

    September 18, 2014

    Q: We can hardly go outdoors without smelling a skunk. Moreover, our dog has now had two close encounters, which created such a terrible a stink in our home that we needed professionals to de-skunk the place. Any advice? -- B.H., Grand Rapids, MI

  • 'Remember Me Thursday' honors orphan animals euthanized around the world

    September 17, 2014

    Pet adoption in America is steadily improving, and at least some shelters boast impressive numbers of placements in some parts of the country. But Mike Arms, president and CEO of the Helen Woodward Animal Center, Rancho Santa Fe, CA, is most interested in the orphans not adopted.

  • Sporting breeds make good dogs for rambunctious children

    September 11, 2014

    Q: My 5- and 8-year-old grandchildren want a dog. Can you recommend a breed that's good with children? Do you suggest a purebred or mixed breed? And where should we get the dog? -- K.L.L, via cyberspace

  • New initiative promotes early diagnosis of Lyme disease

    September 10, 2014

    Lyme disease is an epidemic in America. Last year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated there is 10 times more Lyme disease present in people than previously thought. At least 300,000 people are diagnosed annually with Lyme in the U.S.

  • Your dog will love your car as much as you do

    September 4, 2014

    Q: Will our dog recognize that we have a shiny new car? -- T.U., Lincolnwood, IL

  • Stem-cell therapy works wonders for a dog -- and his owner

    September 3, 2014

    The same remedy that healed journalist Julia Szabo's dog wound up saving her life.

  • Dogs with a pit bull 'look' continue to get a bad rap

    August 28, 2014

    These questions don't directly relate to pet behavior or health, but instead are answers to questions regarding my opinions on timely pet-related topics.

  • Veterinarian group promotes alternatives to declawing cats

    August 27, 2014

    "Let's face it, a declaw surgery is an amputation," says Dr. Marcus Brown, president of the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) and a participant in the American Veterinary Medical Association House of Delegates, who helped craft the new AVMA position statement on declawing cats.

  • Training and TLC can help mute dog's noise sensitivity

    July 31, 2014

    Veterinarians and veterinary technicians met at the annual Animal Behavior Symposium on July 25 to share research. The event is sponsored by the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior and the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. Expert attendees answered several of your pet behavior questions this week.

  • The human-animal bond can work wonders

    July 23, 2014

    He didn't grow up with pets. His mother didn't even like pets, but psychologist Aubrey Fine sure appreciates their value.

  • Use simple protective measures to keep coyotes at bay

    July 17, 2014

    Q: I'm very concerned about coyotes; the problem is worse than ever around here. I'm especially worried about my little Bichon Frise, who has no way to defend herself. Recently, there was a coyote attack nearby on a dog who didn't survive. I don't want this to happen to my dog. Any advice? -- C.G., Schaumburg, IL

  • Preventatives could lower heartworm cases

    July 16, 2014

    Pets can run, but they can't hide from heartworm disease, which occurs in all 50 states. Without heartworm protection, even indoor cats hiding under the bed or dogs in states where heartworm isn't especially common (like California or Nebraska) aren't safe from this potentially fatal disease.

  • Curbing your dog's attraction to cat poop may take some creativity

    March 13, 2014

    Merrick Pet Foods recently conducted a contest via Facebook, asking readers to ask me: "Why does my dog...?" The first 20 responders received a copy of "Decoding Your Dog: The Ultimate Experts Explain Common Dog Behaviors and Reveal How to Prevent or Change Unwanted Ones" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York, NY, 2014; $27). The book was written by members of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, and co-edited by myself, and veterinary behaviorists Dr. Debra Horwitz and Dr. John Ciribassi.

  • Campaign to drive puppy mills out of business gaining momentum across the U.S.

    March 12, 2014

    The goal is to drive puppy mills out of business and discourage impulsive purchases of dogs. With the impetus of the Puppy Mill Project, a non-profit educational campaign launched in 2009, Chicago joined Los Angeles, Phoenix and over 40 other cities March 5 in banning pet stores from selling dogs, cats or rabbits. My hope is that by the end of 2015 at least 40 more cities will follow suit, including major markets like New York, Houston and San Francisco.

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