Marc Morrone Newsday columnist Marc Morrone

Marc Morrone was born in 1960 in the Bronx and, when he was 2, his family moved to Long Beach, where he quickly became enchanted with the natural world of the seahore. This is when he started to keep any pet that he could get his hands on: It mattered not if it was an insect, fish, amphibian, bird or mammal.

When he was 7, the Morrones relocated to Cold Spring Harbor, where Marc was introduced to the natural world of Long Island's North Shore. The larger house his family had there allowed him to keep more and more pets, and this passion has continued to this day.

The experience and knowledge that he gained by keeping any kind of pet in all lifestyle situations has opened many doors for him, and he currently shares his knowledge with other petkeepers in many media formats. In addition to his weekly column in Newsday, he hosts a weekly TV show on Cablevision’s News 12 Long Island called Animal Island that airs on Saturday and Sunday. He also hosts a TV show called Petkeeping with Marc Morrone that airs Monday through Friday at noon on The HallMark Channel.

He is the petkeeping expert that appears on Martha Stewart's daily TV show as well as writer for the pet columns in the magazine Martha Stewart Living. In addition, he also hosts a live call-in radio show every Friday night at 8 p.m. on the Martha Stewart channel on Sirus/XM radio channel 112/157.

Morrone has written 5 books: Ask the Dogkeeper, Ask the Catkeeper, Ask the Birdkeeper and Ask the Fishkeeper, all published by Bowtie Press. He also has a memoir book, "A Man For All Species," published by Random House.

Marc Morrone lives in Oceanside with his wife and son and a houseful of pets.
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Q. Our dachshund has terrible teeth and the vet said we must brush them daily. We bought a special toothbrush made just for dogs, but she is terrified of it and when we bring it up to her face to show it to her, she runs away and cowers. How can we get her used to it? --Frank Edwards, Hempstead

A. You actually do not even need the toothbrush at first. As a general rule I have found that just one of your fingers rubbing against the dog's teeth with toothpaste made just for dogs can provide enough friction to do a pretty good cleaning job. And most dogs like the taste of the toothpaste.

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At first, just let her lick it off your finger, and then, as she really gets into it, you can move your finger into her mouth and gently rub her teeth and gums as she is swallowing the toothpaste. When her mouth is totally desensitized to your brushing her teeth like this, just leave the toothbrush on the floor with some toothpaste on it. Most likely, she will walk up to the brush and lick the paste off it and pick it up in her mouth and get used to it.

At that point, you will be able to use the toothbrush to really give her teeth a good cleaning. It is all about looking at the situation from the dog's point of view.

Q. We have a few bird feeders in our backyard, and a neighbor's cat hides in the bushes near the feeder. We have seen him catch quite a few birds that are feeding on the ground. The neighbor refuses to keep the cat inside, but she did put a bell on the cat's collar. However, the cat still catches birds with the bell on. Is there anything else we can try? --Mary Williams, Brentwood

A. I learned this trick a few years ago from my readers: Get some chicken wire two feet high and erect a floppy fence in a circle about 4 feet wide around the pole the bird feeder is on. When the cat rushes to catch a bird, the wire mesh stops it long enough to allow the birds to fly up and away. I have tried the chicken wire fence, and it works great.