Is It Safe to Warm Up Cold Cat Food?

Ericson, a practicing Orange County veterinarian, is immediate-past-president of the Southern California Veterinary Medical Assn

Q: My roommate and I have a delightful Siamese/calico-mix feline that seems to prefer her canned food at room temperature. Our question: After removing her canned food from the refrigerator, is it advisable to leave it out so that it may gain the warm texture that she seems to like without the possibility of food contamination?

Donald Yvaska, Anaheim

A: Leaving cat food out to warm to room temperature for a short period of time will probably cause no problems, especially if the remaining food is picked up after your cat is finished eating. However, if canned food is left out in very hot weather or in direct sunlight, it could spoil. It would be much better to warm food from the refrigerator in the microwave. Just be sure that it is not too hot for your cat to eat. Another possibility is to feed her the smaller, individual-type servings instead of food from the larger cans.

Q: Our 2-year-old Doberman recently had a litter of six pups. The puppies are ready to be weaned, and I am wondering if it is all right to give them regular cow’s milk since they will not be nursing from their mother. I have been told that regular milk is not good for dogs.


Sheila Farnsworth, Irvine

A: It is recommended that you not substitute cow’s milk for canine milk because most dogs do not have the ability to tolerate or digest the proteins in cow’s milk. This most often leads to diarrhea or other digestive upsets. You can use canine milk replacer that is commercially available or just use water to mix their food to make it easier to eat. Giving cow’s milk on occasion may not be harmful and can even be used as a treat, but if diarrhea occurs, don’t use it again. Always make sure that the pups have fresh water during the weaning period.