We might be biased, but we think books are the perfect gift. They are also the perfect way to enjoy a travel-free getaway during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. There is something for all ages and interests. Relax with your favorite dog or cat and lose yourself in the words.

Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Bragg puts his flair for words to his dog in “The Speckled Beauty: A Dog and His People” (Knopf, 9/21/21). Speck isn’t a good dog, exactly – Bragg calls him 76 pounds of wet hair and bad decisions – but he’s what the author needed as he faced a plethora of health issues. . Don’t miss this beautifully told love story.

“The Dog That Came at Christmas” (Revell, 10/21), edited by Callie Smith Grant, is a collection of essays by 29 dog lover writers who tell how dogs then and now have brought home the spirit of giving and the message of recognizing the important things in life, keeping promises and making friends.

Veterinarian Melissa Shapiro and writer Mim Eichler Rivas team up to tell the heartwarming story of “Piglet” (Atria Books, 8/21), a little pink puppy who can’t see or hear. His journey to love and communication inspires students, teachers, and anyone who meets the fiery 6-pound Chihuahua-Dachshund mix to change the way they think about overcoming obstacles, meeting challenges, and interacting with those who may seem. different but who have the same need for love and acceptance as everyone else. Piglet and her people make the world a better place and invite us to join them.

Do you want to unravel the mystery that is your cat? In “What is my cat thinking?” (DK, 9/21), veterinarian Jo Lewis answers questions all cats have (“Why is my cat sleeping on the keyboard?”), Explains their natural behaviors and how to help them channel them to the satisfaction of all, and offers advice on the sometimes difficult situations life with a cat brings, whether it’s bringing a dog into the family or moving to a new home.

Speaking of cats and mysteries, a number of authors have written mystery series featuring cats and librarians. In Sofie Kelly’s “Hooked on a Feline” (Penguin Random House, 9/21/21), cats Owen and Hercules help librarian Kathleen and Detective Marcus solve a murder with a genealogical twist. In “What the Cat Dragged In” (Berkley, 08/21), the latest in Miranda James’ Cats in the Stacks series, librarian Charlie Harris and his Maine coon Diesel take a pleasurable journey through Charlie’s memory – to that they find a skeleton in the closet of the house Charlie has just inherited. The suspenseful story reminds us that families can haunt us even after they’re gone.

Dogs are not left out in the detective department either. In “It’s a Wonderful Woof” (Forge Books, 10/21), volume 12 of the Chet and Bernie series, the dog Chet and Detective Bernie must uncover hidden secrets and art treasures before the killer eliminates them. – definitively.

For kids, search for “The Pug Who Wanted To Be A Reindeer” (Aladdin, 9/21/21) by Bella Swift. Peggy the Pug goes to the North Pole to help her family get back into the holiday spirit. On the cat side, look for “The Cat on the Dovrefell: A Christmas Tale” by Tomie dePaola (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 10/21). The tale of a favorite Norwegian fairy tale involves a large polar bear, trolls and a very big cat.

Thinking about getting a dog or know someone who is new to living with a dog? In “Pup Culture” (Tiller Press, 11/21), Victoria Lily Shaffer shares not only her love for dogs, but also the knowledge she gained from adopting and adopting an assortment of puppies and adult dogs. Chapters cover deciding when is a good time to have a dog, recognizing rescue groups with a heart, tips on spaying / neutering, travel tips, caring for dogs with special needs and more.

Questions and answers

Extra vitamins?

Maybe, maybe not

Q: I want to make sure my pet is getting the best nutrition. Should I give her a multivitamin?

A: If your dog or cat already has a complete and balanced diet (this will be indicated on the bag or on the box if it is), a multivitamin is not necessary. It can even disrupt your pet’s nutritional balance. But there are times when a dog or cat can benefit from it, and I asked Joe Bartges, DVM, DACVIM (Nutrition), a certified veterinary nutritionist at the University of Georgia, to tell me when it might be. useful.

Once is when a pet eats a homemade diet, he says. These multivitamins may be recommended by a veterinary nutritionist after assessing what your pet is eating.

And sometimes vitamin and mineral supplementation can help treat an illness: “For example, (give) vitamin B12 – cobalamin – with gastrointestinal illness; vitamin D3 – calcitriol – with chronic kidney disease; (and) potassium in cats with low blood potassium levels due to chronic kidney disease, ”he says.

Do not give animals your own vitamins. The amounts of vitamins and minerals they contain are unsuitable for pets and can even be toxic. “For example, the vitamin D content of some human vitamins is high due to osteoporosis, which could lead to overdose, depending on the vitamin D content in the animal’s diet,” says Dr. Bartges.

Vitamins and minerals can be natural, but they are not always harmless. And giving too much of anything can cause problems. “If someone gives too much calcium, especially to a large or giant breed dog who is consuming a reasonable amount of calcium as part of a good diet, it can lead to excessive calcium intake, which increases the risk of orthopedic development. disease, ”says Dr. Bartges. – Dr Marty Becker

Do you have a question about pets? Send it to [email protected] or visit Facebook.com/DrMartyBecker.


Number of pets on the rise,

poll says

– A survey conducted earlier this year by the American Veterinary Medical Association of more than 2,000 pet owners found that dog and cat populations have increased, with 45% of households having dogs and 26% cats. As more people had pets in 2020, investigators found they had fewer pets. For example, 65% of households with dogs had only one dog in 2020, and 56% of households with cats had only one cat. Shelters and animal shelters are often sources of new pets, but 42% of dog owners last year said they bought their dog from a store, as did 43% of cat owners. But maybe that’s because stores are showing more and more pets from shelters and shelters, which is why 24% of pet owners said they bought one pet at a time. in a store and in a shelter.

– Cats use visual, vocal, olfactory and tactile signals to communicate with us and other cats. There is a lot to know, but here are a few to watch out for: Body language is visual and may include a tail that rustles (“backs up”) or a raised tail (“hello, there!”); dilated eyes (fear or excitement); and slow blinking (happiness). The vocalizations are mostly straightforward, ranging from a purr (usually happy) to a growl or hiss (feeling threatened). Always look at the cat as a whole to get the big picture. To learn more about feline communication, visit fearfreehappyhomes.com and search for articles on vocalizations, auditory speech, and more.

Beagles are known for their cheerful temperament and powerful scent ability. They will follow their nose anywhere. Beagles have such finely tuned noses that they can detect even faint or diluted odors beyond the measuring capability of high-tech equipment. They are the breed of choice as airport detector dogs looking for contraband in luggage. – Dr Marty Becker, Kim Campbell Thornton and Mikkel Becker