Ask Marc: Staff Pet Questions
Animal expert Marc Morrone fields questions from the Martha Stewart Living staff about grass-eating dogs, baby squirrels and more.
Pet expert Marc Morrone provided answers to some questions posed by Martha Stewart Living television staffers in the Westport, Connecticut, studio.
MARA: What's the best product for cleaning up carpet stains caused by hair balls, soiling, and the occasional upset stomach?
MARC: The best product for addressing these sorts of stains is Nature's Miracle. It retails for about $11 at pet stores and at select grocery stores.
TOM: My brother cut down a tree on our mom's property and found a very young squirrel. Realizing he had accidentally destroyed the squirrel's home, he brought it to his house and has been caring for him for the past two months. Can a wild animal ever be a pet? Can a woodland creature raised in a suburban home ever successfully be returned to the wild?
Marc: Not only do tree squirrels make bad pets; it's also illegal to keep them as such. At two months old, the squirrel is still young enough to be successfully reintroduced into the wild. Tell your brother that the solution is to contact a wildlife rehabilitator -- a licensed expert who offers the public a place to bring wild animals in predicaments such as his. For more information on wildlife-rehabilitation services, contact your local fish and game office, or for general information, visit the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council's website.
MARK: Now that the weather is warmer, we let our dog run around the backyard. If he runs through patches of poison ivy and then comes back inside, can he pass the poison ivy to us?
MARC: It's far easier than you might think for the irritating oils of the poison-ivy plant to get onto your pet's coat and then your hands. And even though it isn't a frequent occurrence, some dogs can actually get poison-ivy blisters themselves on areas such as the stomach, which have less fur protecting their skin. Do your best to keep your dog clear of poison ivy, and give the dog a bath if you think he or she might have come into contact with the plant.
CYNTHIA: My dog Daisy likes to eat grass. Is she trying to tell me something?
MARC: Dogs eat grass because they like the texture and the taste, but because they are incapable of digesting it, their stomachs usually send it right back up. Theoretically, eating grass is harmless, but keep one thing in mind: Many lawns are often treated with chemicals and pesticides, which are decidedly not harmless. Even if your dog isn't eating the grass, he or she is rolling or running around in it. When they later lick their feet and fur, dogs can ingest any chemicals that might have been applied. You can protect your dog at home by using pesticide- and herbicide-free lawn-care products (available at many garden centers) and rinsing your dog and his or her toys after spending any time in someone else's yard or at a public area with a lawn, such as a park.
Marc Morrone, pet expert