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41° Good Afternoon

Owners need to pick up after their dogs

When a well-trained older cat starts leaving surprises

When a well-trained older cat starts leaving surprises outside the litter box, suspect health issues. Credit: Dreamstime

Q At our condo complex, we have a problem with dog owners who violate the rules relative to walking their pets. Some, very few, allow their pets to defecate or urinate on lawns without picking it up. While our condo is pet-friendly, there are rules about dog walking. Is there an effective and humane deterrent that will prevent a dog from this offensive action? Someone suggested that the grass areas be “sprinkled” with red pepper.



A I have never heard of red pepper thwarting dogs from peeing outside, but why would you want to do that? The problem is not dogs peeing and pooping outside, which is a perfectly natural thing for animals to do. The problem is their owners not picking up after them when they do.

It’s sad people need to be reminded about this, but they do. It’s not a trivial issue either since neighbors can get very confrontational with one another over this matter.

Talk to your homeowners association about posting information in your community newsletter or email. Maybe get a group of people to pick up poop one day, tally it, and offer it as “news” in the next newsletter. In our neighborhood, our homeowners association set poop bag waste stations every half mile. It serves as both a reminder and resource for dog owners.

Q We have a 17-year-old cat who during the past few months has sometimes neglected to use the litter box. Sometimes, the cat will leave a surprise right next to the litter box and sometimes elsewhere. It seems to happen whether the litter box is completely clean or not. What’s the reason?


Rockville Centre

A If you haven’t moved the litter box, changed the substrate or had any changes in your household (new baby, mother moved in, etc.), I am inclined to believe that your senior feline may have a health problem — like constipation or an intestinal problem — that is making it difficult “to go.”

Cats also get into different positions when they are peeing or pooping. If arthritis is the problem, the position for pooping may be causing some discomfort, and so it may be easier to go outside the box. Health problems can be treated, so take the cat to the veterinarian — and take a sample of the poop with you.

Q My older cat, Sonney, has a bump or nodule above his left eye. I don’t know how he got it; it could have started from a scratch from one of our other cats. He did have a small scratch close to the bump that healed before I noticed the bump, which seemed to grow since I first noticed it. It is not getting any bigger, and it has been about three months since it started. It does not seem to bother him. Is there some kind of cream I could put on it?


Las Vegas, NV

A I don’t think there is any cream to fix that nodule. Generally, veterinarians say if a nodule moves freely, it could be a benign cyst; if is it attached it could be cancer. There is only one way to know for sure though, and that is to take Sonney to a veterinarian to have the nodule examined and biopsied.

Q I have a friend who received a dog from a shelter. This dog was previously with a breeder. Whenever the dog rides in my car, he usually poops (ugh!). I don’t know if he was crate trained or not, but in such a confined space of the back seat, you would think he wouldn’t go, even if he gets walked before. He’s a young adult, not a senior dog. Most dogs love rides; this one gets car sick.


Chesterton, Indiana

A Just like people, dogs can get car sick. Most of the time, they feel nauseous, which results in vomiting or drooling. But sometimes, their queasiness may result in an unexpected defecation in the car. Your dog doesn’t mean to poop in the car; it just happens.

There are over-the-counter and prescription medications that can reduce the car sickness symptoms, which may reduce this involuntary reflex and make car trips more pleasant for the both of you.

Also, put down a blanket in the car that can easily be washed, and open the window a crack, since fresh air sometimes helps.

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