Pet Q&A: Most raw veggies are good treats for dogs

07/17/2012 12:00 AM

07/16/2012 11:29 PM

We feed our dog raw carrots. She loves them, but are they good for her?

– Via Facebook

Raw vegetables and fruits are a wonderful treat. I often recommend carrots and apple slices as a substitute for commercial treats, especially for dogs that are pudgy. (Another easy weight-loss trick involving vegetables: Substitute thawed frozen green beans for part of your dog's daily food ration. They'll make your pet feel full without adding much in the way of calories.)

Not all fruits and vegetables are good for your pet, though, and some may even be toxic. The absolute no-nos include raisins and grapes, onions and many nuts.

When in doubt, ask your veterinarian or visit the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center online, at www.aspca.org/pet-care/ poison-control.

– Dr. Marty Becker

Can I give my dog garlic to control fleas? I don't want to put dangerous chemicals on him.

– Via Facebook

There's no scientific evidence that garlic (or brewer's yeast, which I'm also often asked about) will control fleas. And since garlic in its natural form can be toxic, don't give it to your dog.

The best advice I can offer is to ask your veterinarian for one of the topical products that controls fleas. These products are considered safe when used as directed on healthy pets. And when you consider the problems caused by an out-of-control parasite problem for both pets and people, the risk-benefit factor becomes even greater on the side of modern preventives.

Some natural strategies can help, and you should try them whether or not you use topical veterinary-recommended products. Wash your pet's bedding and vacuum pet areas frequently to remove eggs and developing fleas. This will interrupt the life cycle of these parasites and cut the number of adult pests you'll have to deal with.

– Dr. Marty Becker

The buzz

Helping shelter cats survive ringworm

Ringworm is often fatal to cats in shelters – not because the fungal disease is deadly, but because many shelters kill pets with even mild diseases to prevent the spread of infectious conditions.

Veterinary dermatologist Dr. Karen Moriello, clinical professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, is working to change that. She has established a protocol to detect and treat ringworm in cats that is being used in shelters across the country, saving countless feline lives.

Equine veterinarian Dr. Kent Allen of Middleburg, Va., filled in www.thehorse.com on his role as technical delegate to the London Olympics. His job includes following 90 pages of veterinary guidelines for competitors in Olympic equestrian events, working with a team of veterinarians to keep the horses healthy (and pulling them from competition if they're not) and making sure everyone is playing fair, with no unapproved performance-enhancing substances.

"It's not a slap on the hand and a fine anymore," said Allen of the strict anti-doping policy. "It's getting to be more like (the anti-doping policies for) the athletes in other sports."

The nonprofit Rural Area Veterinary Services provides veterinary care to pet owners who don't have access, either due to their location or finances. Volunteer veterinarians, veterinary technicians and others provide help to nearly 9,000 animals a year. The care ranges from routine preventive medicine, such as spay-neuter, vaccines and parasite control, to treatment for serious injuries and disease. Donations are always needed to fund operations: ruralareavet.org.

– Gina Spadafori

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