Ask Ashley – November 2022

Ask Ashley

Animal expert, Ashley Flores, CPDT-KA, is the Senior Director of Animal Behavior and Training at Great Plains SPCA. Ashley has more than 16 years of experience in animal training and behavior. Email for a chance to have your pet question answered in KC Parent magazine.

Sable is a chocolate lab who is almost 13 years old. Her fur is currently very dry which is not normal for her.  She takes Omega-3 and fish oil supplements and has for years. Is this because of the time of year after shedding and before getting her winter coat?  Is it age related?  – Kathy Stull

Older dogs experience different types of skin changes as they get older so this could be related to age or weather. It sounds like you are giving Sable some excellent vitamins to help keep her coat shiny and healthy. Food can also play a part in dry and coarse hair, but if this is not normal for her, then keep an eye on it for the next six months and see what her hair does. Oatmeal baths, coconut oil, and herbal supplements can also help with dry and course fur. – Ashley Flores, CPDT-KA

I have a seven-year-old male tabby who has always eaten from a bowl with no problem. Recently he won’t eat out of a bowl. He will only eat off the bare floor or carpet. He has been to the veterinarian recently and I was told cats will do what they want! (I AGREE 100%) I just thought it was weird. – Tammy

It is a little strange to us, but I wouldn’t assume there is anything medically or behaviorally off with this new eating habit. A lot of cats prefer to eat off the floor and many cats will take food out of their bowl and place it on the floor before consuming it. The ancestors of our domestic kitties used their paws to hold down prey, so your tabby may be following an evolutionary instinct. – Ashley Flores, CPDT-KA

I have had my dog for seven years and every night he has slept in his bed which is in a wire crate with the door open. About a month ago, my husband got COVID, and I slept in the guest room. My dog slept with my husband in our room, but he stopped sleeping in his crate. He slept on the floor at the foot of the bed instead. Since then, he hasn’t gone back to his crate, even since I came back to our bedroom. Any thoughts on why he would make such a big change suddenly? – Tracy Lewandowski

Dogs are associative learners, which means they learn in patterns. Sounds like your pup developed a new pattern and is repeating that pattern. You can train him to sleep back in the crate if you wish, but I wouldn’t worry about it he seems content where he is. If you have issues getting him back in the crate, I recommend going back to the basics of crate training. –Ashley Flores, CPDT-KA

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