Questions For The Doctor With Dr. Velez: Summer Edition

Temperatures continue to rise as August opens, matching the burning questions we have about our precious furry pals as summer rolls on. Fortunately for us, we can rely on Dr. Arlianne Velez who has all the answers for our pressing questions from fecal matter ingestion to traveling with pets.

My family loves to go swimming and we try to take our Lab as often as we can. He loves it but sometimes after we go swimming he won’t stop scratching. Why is this and what should I do?

“There are certain chemicals and/or substances in the water that can irritate your pet’s skin,” says Dr. Velez. “Ideally you want to rinse off your pet after swimming in a pool, beach or lake.”

She says after having fun swimming, owners should take their time washing the pet’s coat with a mild shampoo and rinsing them off thoroughly. Don’t forget to take care of their ears.

“If your pet continues scratching even after the bath or consistently daily,” says Dr. Velez. “They might have an allergy problem and should see the veterinarian.”

This inviting weather has my family quite eager to take our puppy outside, but we’re not sure when that might be okay. At what age would it be alright for my puppy to go outside?

Dr. Velez recommends that once the puppies have received the last of their boosters, they can be introduced to the outside. She mentions that this is usually around the four to five month age range.

She also recommends that owners follow up with heartworm, flea, tick, and intestinal parasite prevention on a monthly basis since they can be exposed to different pathogens while in the open.

On walks with my dog, I occasionally have to redirect him away from fecal matter. On rare instances he sometimes eats it. Why does he do that?

“The act of eating fecal matter is called coprophagia,” says Dr. Velez. “For some species, like with rabbits, it is a normal behavior in order to obtain certain nutrients. However, for dogs, it could be the cause stemming from different reasons.”

Dr. Velez says that coprophagia in dogs can be related to health problems such as vitamin/nutrient deficiencies, gastrointestinal and malabsorption syndromes, and intestinal parasites. She notes that this could be a learned behavior but urges owners to consult with their pet’s veterinarian to have their pet examined and treated.

My cat is almost always inside, so how do its ears always get so dirty with smelly, crusty stuff?

Indoor cats can also get ear infections, which Dr. Velez says can be related to underlying medical problems such as allergies, bacterial and/or fungal infections, ear mites, autoimmune diseases, and environmental irritants.