Q. My daughter’s corn snake has an infestation of mites and we do not know what to do. We have cleaned out his tank and just keep him on a sheet of newspaper. We rub him all over with mineral oil as that is supposed to smother the mites but they crawl right over the oil! On the Internet, people have suggested putting a No-Pest Strip in the tank with the snake — but that seems a bit extreme. Can you offer any suggestions?
A. Years ago I had tried all the listed home remedies with very limited success. Then a new drug came out called Ivermectin. When applied to any reptile properly by a vet it gets rid of the mites like magic as long as the snake or lizard is kept in a very clean environment afterward. You need to take the snake to a vet who knows reptiles to have the drug applied, but it is well worth it.
Q. When should I start to feed the koi in my garden pond? I have seen them come up to the surface on the sunny days we have had so far and they seem to be looking for food now even though the water is still cold.
A. You do not want to feed them too much at first even though they may be looking for food. Their stomachs are shrunken from the hibernation and cannot handle any rich foods yet. Pet stores sell special food blends for pond fish that are meant to be fed just in the spring and fall so that your fish get just what they need. These foods will not stress out the fish if they eat them now. As soon as the weather gets really warm and the fish are active again you can feed the summer diets to them as much as they want.
Q. Our 8-month-old Fox terrier goes crazy when any guest comes into our home. She jumps all over them and tries to lick them and we just cannot calm her down. We have to pry her off the guests and then put her in her training crate until she calms down as she does not listen to us at all and ignores the squirt bottle we use to try and distract her.
A. She is literally feeding off the drama so it is best to prevent it. When the guests ring the bell, attract her attention with a big piece of cheese and then throw it in her crate. After she runs into the crate for the cheese, calmly close the door on her. Then go to the door and let the guests in and ignore all her antics in the crate while you are welcoming the guests into your home. Then just ignore her. After a while when she calms down you can then let her out of her crate and she will greet everyone in a less dramatic manner. As she matures she will feel the need to act up like this less and less as long as things are maintained in a calm manner when guest arrive. The operative word is calm.
Q. I hope you can help. Our Cockapoo was fully house-trained when we adopted him 10 years ago. Lately, he has picked a spot in the kitchen where he urinates a few days a week — during the day, never at night. Initially, I thought he was rebelling since I haven’t been walking him daily. This theory went out the window today when he urinated in the kitchen about two hours after a lengthy walk. What is he trying to tell us? Is he seeking attention? Can he be that smart?
A. If a dog wants attention, he just barks at you and wags his tail and he certainly is not trying to make you upset. The idea of an animal rebelling at any action we do by urinating or defecating or chewing on an object makes sense to us as the spiteful humans that we can be sometimes but is biologically and scientifically impossible. Animals just do not have enough folds in their brains for this kind of thinking.
If an animal does not like us, it will either run from us or bite us and only in the heat of the moment. There is no plotting out any revenge scenarios.
Most likely your dog is just middle-aged now and he cannot hold his urine as well as he used to. There are a few medical issues that can cause this. Consult your vet.
At night he is sleeping and not thinking about it but during the day he has to go more frequently as older men do . . . sigh. So either you have to be on top of his signals a bit more to let him out more frequently during the day or just wave the white flag and since he is going in the same spot in the kitchen all the time anyway you can just put down wee wee pads there and that can be his porta potty.