Dr. Annie Price of Ormewood Animal Hospital in Atlanta took time to address a few questions sent to MNN recently, including hypersalivating cats, housetraining newly adopted dogs and trimming those claws.

Drooling catI have a 19-year-old house cat that salivates a lot when he sleeps. What is causing this? Should I take him to the vet?

Excessive salivating could be caused by a number of health issues, especially if it is vomiting or not eating. Nausea, pain and even dental disease can lead to hypersalivation. During exams, we find a lot of cats with teeth that are just rotten, and it hurts. Common oral tumors also make it diff to swallow well and cats will drool as a result.

If the problem has persisted for a while, the cat may have eaten something that caused ulcerative damage to its mouth. Some house plants can cause damage to the mouth and esophagus. Definitely schedule a veterinary exam and bookmark the ASPCA website, which provides a comprehensive list of toxic plants.

Miniature pinscher eatingWhat’s the best time to feed a 6-year-old miniature pinscher? I’m trying to regulate potty breaks and need to know how long the dog can hold it.

I recommend twice a day feeding, especially with small dogs. Daily feeding for small dogs can lead to acid reflux, and three times a day is unnecessary unless it’s a puppy or a 1-pound Yorkie. Keep a schedule and be consistent. Dogs love consistency and they learn very quickly.

Many dogs develop gastrocolic reflex and get the urge to poop about 10 to 20 minutes after eating. Monitor your dog and take it outside shortly after meal time. Trainers also recommend that you keep a journal of when you go out and what time the dog relieves itself. Note details such as when you wake up, what time the dog eats and how long it took to poop. This helps you identify how long dogs can wait. But the best news is that they are adaptable.

A cat stretches, showing its clawsMy cat is 20 and she seems to have trouble retracting her claws. Should I trim them or is this normal with age?

Cats tend to be less active when they age. Activities they used to enjoy — such as clawing at posts or cardboard toys — may wane over time, causing their nails to become thicker. Many times, that outer layer makes the nail look very, very large and lead owners to think it’s not retracting. The nails should be trimmed; otherwise they can grow into the cat’s foot bed and cause infection. If owners are not comfortable trimming the cat’s nails, the vet can trim them for you. 

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Photo credits:

Cat drooling: khawkins04/Shutterstock

Miniature pinscher eating: Igor Kovalchuk/Shutterstock

Cat stretching: nkfsnapz/Flickr