Signup for The Your Dog Flash

Latest health and behavior news and advice from the veterinarians at Tufts University.

Is the Intensity of the Grief Normal?

Is the Intensity of the Grief Normal?

Managing the bereavement when you lose your dog.

October 2017 - “Platitudes don’t work,” says veterinarian Alicia Karas, referring to the need for feelings to be acknowledged that brings bereaved callers to the Tufts University Pet Loss Hotline. It’s understandable that people use them, she comments. “More often than not, they really don’t know how to respond to grief because there are few things you can say that won’t end up sounding wrong. But uttering phrases like, ‘he had a good life’ or ‘he’s out of pain’ or ‘he’s is in a better place’ falls short of the mark because the person is so severely missing the companionship shared with their dog.”

Continue Reading

You Have to Check Not Just Weight But Also Muscle Mass

You Have to Check Not Just Weight But Also Muscle Mass

A dog may be just the right weight or even overweight but still have too little muscle mass, leaving her frail. How can you tell? What should you do?.

You know you should be assessing your dog’s body condition score to make sure she’s not too heavy by looking at her from above so you can easily see and then feel her waist and an abdominal tuck. You should also be able to feel her ribs very easily when you lightly run your fingers over her sides. But the body condition score assesses only your dog’s fat stores. What about her muscle condition score? Your dog can be just the right weight, or even overweight, yet have too little muscle.

Continue Reading

On Whether Being a Therapy Dog is Safe for Your Pet — and for the Patients She Visits

On Whether Being a Therapy Dog is Safe for Your Pet — and for the Patients She Visits

Tufts survey reveals alarming gaps in both animal and patient safety.

But a new Tufts study led by veterinary nutritionist Deborah Linder, DVM, MS, DACVN, and colleagues just published in the American Journal of Infection Control provides evidence that those visited by therapy dogs — especially the elderly and those with compromised immune systems — are put at risk by a lack of rules about a therapy dog’s vaccination status and other health parameters. Likewise, lax rules potentially compromise dogs’ safety.

Continue Reading

Does Antibiotic Use in Dogs End Up Backfiring, Diminishing the Drugs’ Ability to Kill Harmful Bacteria?

Does Antibiotic Use in Dogs End Up Backfiring, Diminishing the Drugs’ Ability to Kill Harmful Bacteria?

Our pets antibiotic prescriptions may affect our health as well as theirs.

Since antibiotics came into common medical practice in the late 1940s, they have eradicated countless bacterial infections that used to routinely kill people long before they reached old age. They are indeed wonder drugs. But today, antibiotic resistance — a weakening of these drugs’ power to do away with harmful bacteria and eliminate sometimes deadly infections — is more and more becoming a threat not only to human health but also the health of our pets.

Continue Reading

Ask Tufts Experts