Frequently Asked Questions About Cat and Dog Health

What’s the best food for my dog?

Your dog is a carnivore, even though he can eat vegetables, fruit, and grains. Dogs need a significant amount of animal-based protein in their diet, so feeding them a diet consisting mainly of muscle meat is advisable. Fresh organ meat such as liver, heart, or kidney supplies vital amino acids and other nutrients to your dog’s body. Dry kibble is the least desirable food, due to its high starch (sugar) content.


Why does my cat throw up almost immediately after eating?

If your kitty is vomiting undigested food (it will look chunky, just like before she ate it), she most likely has an intolerance or sensitivity to something in the food. Many dry and canned cat foods have multiple ingredients, including at least two animal proteins (such as chicken and liver) or more, making it hard to pinpoint exactly what your cat can’t tolerate. Try feeding a “limited” ingredient food, starting with poultry, and see how she tolerates it. Then switch to another combination, such as salmon and chicken, and monitor her response. Many preservatives, artificial dyes, and chemicals from factory farmed meats may be the culprit.

Making your own food is only way to control what goes into your kitty’s body.


What can I do for my dog that scratches constantly? She doesn’t have fleas and my veterinarian diagnosed her with seasonal allergies.

This is a complicated question, because there are many factors that play a part in allergies. An immune system that is out of balance is the problem; trying to “fix” it is the challenge.

A poor quality diet, over-vaccinating, reactions to chemical flea, tick, or heartworm preventatives, lawn chemicals and fertilizers, airborne mold, dust mites, and a multitude of things can cause havoc. Since most of the immune cells are in the intestinal tract, you should start with an appropriate diet, digestive enzymes, and probiotics.

Minimizing chemicals your dog is exposed to will help the toxic overload she may be experiencing. But each allergy case is unique, and I encourage pet parents to consult with a holistic veterinarian to get to the source of the allergies.


My horse colics several times a year. What can I do to help him avoid these episodes?

Horses who are stalled more than they’re turned out, are eating sugary, processed feed, on a rich pasture or are getting straight alfalfa hay, or are high-strung are at higher risk of colicking.

Horses were meant to eat throughout the day and night, walking miles per day to forage on sparse grass. When confined, or turned out in small pastures on thick grass and are getting processed feed, the risk for intestinal upsets increases greatly.

If your horses are eating on sandy ground, use hay feeders so they don’t accidentally ingest sand particles, which can lead to sand impactions.

Have your horse’s stools checked for parasites twice a year, and make sure they have heated water in the winter so they consume enough to prevent problems.


My dog gets frequent ear infections.They clear up for a while with medicine my vet gives me, then it comes right back. What can I do?

Ear infections are one of the most common things we veterinarians see on a daily basis. There are many factors that can lead to infections, such as dogs with narrow ear canals, dogs that swim and get water trapped in their ears, excess wax production, etc.

The most common cause for chronic ear infections is diet! Inflammation from starchy foods is probably the biggest (yet unrecognized) culprit for dirty, smelly ears.

Once your switch your dog to a homemade diet, the ear problems oftentimes go away on their own.


My cat gets frequent urinary tract infections. How can I help her?

Diet, diet, diet. And I’m not referring to the overpriced, “prescription” diets that your veterinarian carries in the office.

Felines were designed to obtain most of their water consumption through eating prey. Since our house kitties don’t have opportunities to hunt and eat prey, they must be on a wet food to stay at a good level of hydration.

They’re just not great water drinkers, unless they have a kidney issue. If you’re feeding a dry cat food, your kitty is existing in a chronically dehydrated state. Dry foods also contain high amounts of starch, leading to inflammation anywhere in the body. So between dehydration and inflammation, the urinary tract is affected negatively.

Wet foods greatly decrease the chances for chronic UTIs.


What can I give my old dog for joint pain? His arthritis makes it hard for him to go up and down steps and sometimes he has to have help getting up from where he lays.

There are many natural therapies and products that can help dogs with advanced arthritis and joint pain. First of all, make sure your dog is on a good homemade or commercially prepared fresh food diet.

Dry food, as mentioned in other comments here on the FAQ page, leads to increased inflammation. Arthritis = inflammation in the joints. Omega fatty acids,pharmaceutical-grade joint supplements, B-complex vitamins, essential oils, homeopathics, and CBD (hemp) oil can provide a good amount of comfort.

If your dog is severely immobilized or you’re not able to control his pain with natural products, a prescription medication from your veterinarian for strong pain control may be necessary. Quality of life is very important for our older pets, and even though I don’t like scripting out medications like this, I do not want the animal to suffer needlessly.


Private 1:1 Consultation Services

In addition to her online teaching, Dr. Barb Fox is available for private consultations by phone. For dates and times, please contact Dr. Fox directly at (563) 380-0983 or drbfox(at)barbfoxdvm.com.

She will go over a detailed history of your animal’s state of health, including what diet you’re feeding, if your pet has experienced a lot of recent stress, what phobias / fears it has, what chemicals your pet is exposed to, and many other factors that can be impacting your animal’s health.