I know that many pitted fruits such as plums contain traces of
cyanide in the pit, but is the meat of the fruit alright for
Q:I know that many pitted fruits such as plums contain traces of cyanide in the pit, but is the meat of the fruit alright for dogs?


It’s true that plum and apricot pits contain small amounts of cyanide. Cherry seeds also have this poison inside their shell. Fortunately, there’s little danger to dogs that ingest these pits or seeds, because the amount in each piece is extremely small. Nonetheless, it’s a bad idea to let any dog eat fruit off the ground. There’s a risk that the pits or seeds could cause intestinal irritation or blockage.

But what about the fruit itself? Once again, if the fruit is on the ground and rotting, that tasty treat could cause a nasty gastroenteritis.

But fresh fruit in small quantities is safe for dogs and cats. Too much, like anything else, can lead to digestive upset; what my mother fondly called “the green apple two-step.” (There’s one notable and important exception; grapes and raisins are potentially deadly. In some animals, grapes can cause terminal kidney disease.)

The bottom line is this. Fruit off the ground can potentially make a dog sick. Fresh fruit without pits is OK. Just don’t let your pooch overdo it.


Our cat, Rusty, got stuck in the garage door a few months ago. Ever since, he’s had a limp in his rear legs. Some days, it’s pretty bad, while other days, it isn’t even noticeable. We took him to the vet right away, and they told us he was lucky to have survived, and that he’s probably be OK. Can a back injury cause him to limp off and on like this? How long can it take to get better?


It sounds as though Rusty is lucky to have survived his run-in with the garage door. His current limp could be caused by several different problems, including a possible injury to his back.

He should be reevaluated with an X-ray exam to determine the best treatment for his discomfort. Pain in the rear legs and pelvis can be symptoms of a soft tissue injury (such as a torn ligament or tendon in the leg), or even damage to a disc in his back.

Back problems in cats and dogs sometimes radiate pain to the legs similar to sciatic pain people suffer with bulging discs in their lower back. Some injuries such as Rusty’s can be treated surgically with excellent recovery. Others respond well to medication for pain management. One thing for certain, Rusty will be a lot happier if he isn’t constantly in pain and limping.


We decided to give our dog, Benjy, a “summer clip” after reading about it in one of your columns. So we got some clippers and voila! He’s a short-haired mutt for the moment. But here’s the question. How long will it take for his fur to grow back to its original length?


Good job! I’m sure Benjy feels a lot better with his new appearance on these warm summer days. So how fast will he re-grow his coat? All dogs are different, so we really can’t say. Some dogs need only one summer clip per year; it lasts several months for them.

But there are some dogs that grow their coat so quickly that they need to be done again every 6 weeks. You’ll just have to watch and see how Benjy does. Have a great summer!


A friend of mine showed me a dog whistle he got from his dad’s desk. He says his dad uses it to call their dogs. But when we blow on it, there isn’t any sound. My friend says that doesn’t matter. How does a dog whistle work?


Dog whistles produce a sound that is ultrasonic; where the wavelength of sound is much different than what we hear. These whistles work in the frequency range of 16,000Hz to 22,000Hz.

Human ears can usually only pick up sounds below 20,000Hz. But dogs are able to detect sounds in a much higher frequency and can actually be trained with these devices. So even though you and your friend might not hear anything from this whistle, you can bet the dogs know when his dad is blowing it.

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