By Marc Morrone
Tribune Content Agency
Q: Our 2-year-old American Bulldog is a great dog, but he has always has a bad odor and his fur feels greasy. We give him a bath as often as we can but the nice smell only lasts a day or so. What can we do to keep her odor down? - Dale Jones, Las Vegas, NV
A: I really do think that this is a medical issue. In such situations a dog like yours usually has impacted anal glands or a bad tooth that is causing the smell.
For example, if the tooth is infected and causing the dog's saliva to become smelly and the dog licks herself, then that odor will be all over her fur.
A quick fix to an issue like this is to rub dry corn starch in the dog's coat - it will get rid of the greasy feel and absorb the odor somewhat, but really a trip to your vet is in order here.
Q: We have a 4-year-old female cat. Most nights she sleeps at the bottom of our bed. As soon as we are in bed, he drags two or three of her toys from the living room, across the foray and into the bedroom and leaves them on the floor at the bottom of the bed. Then she jumps on the bed and seems to watch them before sleeping. Since we have never had a cat that had an odd habit, I was wondering if this is unusual? - Grace Wallace, Chicago, IL
A: This is a subject that people love to debate and everyone can tell a tale about a dog or cat that they had that performed some rather mysterious behavior for no particular reason.
Just like humans, animals have rituals. Most are governed by instinct - the animal is doing it as it evolves to have a better life. Most likely the behavior that your cat is doing at night is based on the instinct of storing food. A cat that is not hungry will bury or store uneaten prey animals to be eaten later on. The cat toys represent prey animals to the cat and her instinct is telling her to store them someplace safe and in her mind the foot of the bed is the best place to keep the objects.
Domestic and wild animals will both do this, however since domestic animals have lots of free time on their hands then the behavior is not as cut and dry as it would be in their wild counterparts.
Q: I have a blue fronted amazon parrot that I got as a baby last spring. Her wing feathers have always been trimmed and she spent most of her summer days outside with me as I worked in my garden. I had to keep her indoors all winter long but now I have spring fever and want to get outside again to work in the garden. How warm does it need to be outside before I can take her out with me again? We have not yet had anything here over 75 degrees. - Kathy Burns, Hartford, CT
A: Parrots can acclimate to just about any cold temperatures. However your bird has most likely never been in any temp lower than 65 degrees, as is the coldest it would get in ones house. Common sense would tell us that this should be the temp outdoors that our birds would feel OK. Anything under our ambient room temp that the bird has been living in would feel chilly.
Just be sure that you have the bird's wing feathers trimmed before you start to take her outside again, the trimmed ones from last year may have moulted out and regrown over the winter months indoors.
Marc Morrone has kept almost every kind of animal as a pet for the last half-century and he is happy to share his knowledge with others. Although he cannot answer every question, he will publish many of those that have a general interest. You can contact him at email@example.com; please include your name, city and state.
Printed in the March 19, 2017 - April 1, 2017 edition.