Question: Would a Newfoundland puppy be able to adjust to the Florida climate? We moved here from Massachusetts last year and would like to obtain a Newf, since ours died (of old age) in 1991. We have seen several huskies in the area that seem healthy. _ W.
W., Tarpon Springs
Answer: All canines, in general, have a compromised "cooling system" due to lack of sweat glands within the dermis (skin). Long-haired, thick-coated breeds, such as the Newfoundland, chow, husky and akita (to name a few) compound the problem with a lack of ventilation to the skin's surface, which prevents the dissipation of heat. Despite these characteristics, a young Newfoundland puppy can acclimate quite well to Florida's heat and humidity, assuming he or she is housed with air conditioning, has access to a shaded yard for exercise during the summer months (preferably during the cooler times of the day) and is provided with a constant supply of fresh, clean drinking water. With proper lifestyle and care, your new Newf puppy can have a happy and comfortable life here in Florida. _ Scot M. Trefz, D.V.M, Gulf Bay Animal Hospital, Clearwater
Question: My niece saw a sign at a vet's office sometime last year (she does not remember where) advertising gift certificates for "teeth floating." Please tell me what this is. _ R.
Answer: The anatomy of horses' mouths, as well as the manner in which they chew, causes uneven wear of their teeth. This causes formation of sharp enamel points on the inside of the lower set of cheek teeth and on the outside of the upper set of cheek teeth. These sharp points cause pain when the horse chews and can result in poor bit contact and bit-shy horses. Floating is performed by your veterinarian and is the rasping or filing of these sharp points on the horse's teeth. This should be performed annually, as the horse's teeth continue to wear unevenly. _ Armon Blair, D.V.M, Odessa Equine Clinic, Odessa
Question: Why does my dog drink out of the toilet? _ Amy G., age 9, St. Petersburg.
Answer: The only reason a dog drinks out of the toilet is because he is thirsty, and the water is available. He doesn't know there is any difference between the water in his bowl and the water in the toilet. Keeping the toilet lid down usually takes care of this problem. _ Glenn P. Smith, D.V.M., Sunshine Animal Hospital, Clearwater
Please send questions to ASK-A-VET, Pinellas Animal Foundation, P.O. Box 47771, St. Petersburg, FL 33743-7771. Because of the volume of mail received, questions can be answered only in this column.