Dog who ‘pigged out,’ purged, is likely just fine

There's money to be made in scooping poop

Our beagle, Dinky, ate a large part of a roast beef. He even ate
a little of the bone. A few hours later, he vomited most of it, we
think. Since then, he has seemed all right. He’s eating and playful
in his normal way. But he hasn’t had a bowel movement since that
day. Normally, he

goes

two times every day. Should we worry?
Q: Our beagle, Dinky, ate a large part of a roast beef. He even ate a little of the bone. A few hours later, he vomited most of it, we think. Since then, he has seemed all right. He’s eating and playful in his normal way. But he hasn’t had a bowel movement since that day. Normally, he “goes” two times every day. Should we worry?

A:

I don’t think you have to worry at this point. No doubt Dinky had a nasty tummy ache after engorging himself with so much food. And when a dog “pigs out” like that, there’s always a risk for pancreatitis or other medical issues. But if any of those diseases were a problem, he’d be very sick by now. And since he’s not showing any adverse symptoms, I don’t think he needs a checkup.

So you’re wondering, aren’t you? How can he eat so much and not need to go out to the backyard for his daily constitution? Here’s a logical answer. His stomach and intestines completely emptied when he brought up all that roast he devoured. And after that kind of purge, some dogs take up to four to five days to resume their normal daily routine; think of it as time needed to refill the pipes. I’ll bet he’s completely back to his normal twice-a-day routine soon.

Still, you should watch him carefully. If he loses his appetite or shows any lethargy at all, he should be seen by his regular veterinarian right away.

Q:

What’s the best way to remove fur mats on our old kitty? Marcus is about 15 years old and has two really large mats on his sides. We want to remove these ourselves, but aren’t sure if we should use a special type of scissors. What should we do?

A:

Don’t use any scissors, please! It’s just too easy to inadvertently cut the skin. And you could really hurt Marcus if you do this incorrectly.

This is a job better left to a groomer or a veterinary assistant. But if your budget won’t allow a visit to the groom shop, here’s how to attack this problem.

You’ll need an electric hair trimmer with a fine set of teeth (no scissors!). The trick here is to use extreme patience. Gently bump the base of the mat up against the skin with the trimmer. Hopefully this will cut the fur near the skin without injuring Marcus. Repeatedly bump the base where the fur is attached and gently pull on the mat with your other hand. You should be able to get the mat free in a few minutes. Have someone hold Marcus to keep him calm while you try this. And stop immediately if you see any red rash on his skin. That will mean that he has an infection and needs medical help.

Please understand, even this method isn’t foolproof. And if you accidentally cut Marcus’ skin, you’ll wish (and he will, too) that you had given this job to a professional. So be careful … and gentle … and good luck!

Q:

Is it better to have more than one cat? We’ve always only had one in our home. Recently, our old Chester passed away, so we got a kitten from the shelter. They told us we should think about getting another one to keep him company. He even suggested getting two more! Are cats happier when there are others in the same home?

A:

This is a tough question that has no real answer. Each and every cat is a little different. And the same can be said for different families. You’ve had such a good life with your previous kitty-companions and each of them lived solo with your family. So that works for you, and there’s no reason why you should feel obligated to get another kitten.

Having said that, let’s look at this in another light. There are so many orphaned kittens out there. And if you brought home a playmate for your new family member, I’m sure the two would have a great time together. It’s a little more work if you have a multiple cat household. But I can tell you (from personal experience) it’s well worth the effort. We have three at the moment and they entertain us continually with their horseplay. We love them all.

Our friends tell us that we should have a few more. One even gave us a plaque with a little-known saying, “Every life should have nine cats.” No thanks. For me, three is enough.

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