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

January 2017

Full Issue (PDF)

January 2017 - Full Issue PDFSubscribers Only

Features

Your Role in Cutting Down on Health Problems in Purebred Dogs

People who rail against the intentional breeding of dogs point to the fact that there are already many mixed-breed dogs in this country who end up in shelters waiting to be adopted. For that reason, they say, nobody needs to be purposely mating dogs to create more pets still. They also argue that too many breeds have inbred problems — Dachshunds with herniated discs, pugs with faces so flat and noses so narrow they can’t breathe, shar peis with so many wrinkles in their skin they keep developing skin infections, and so on.   More...

Should Your Dog Be Eating More Calories in Winter? Is “Premium” Kibble Really Better? (And Other Common Questions We Hear from Dog Owners)Subscribers Only

Many of the nutrition questions that come to the board-certified veterinary nutritionists on the Tufts staff come in clusters. That is, the same concerns and misconceptions have a way of recycling themselves. Herewith, some of the more common nutrition concerns people have about their dogs — and the right way to address them. More calories in winter? …   More...

5 Double-Dip New Year’s ResolutionsSubscribers Only

Another year and with it, another list of resolutions followed by a few weeks of good intentions. But what if you were to shake things up a bit this go-round, incorporating your dog's well-being into the list of things you want to improve on? There is a good deal of overlap between a number of resolutions suited to you and to your dog, and if you make them with both of you in mind, you might be more motivated to stick with them. Here are five suggestions for resolutions that will lead to wellness benefits for you and your canine pal at the same time, allowing you to double-dip into improved outcomes.   More...

Tails from the SnippedSubscribers Only

Eunice Davis of Norwalk, Connecticut, is concerned about her 8-year-old dog, Shadow. “When other dogs come to visit,” she says, “the first thing he does is try to hump” them. She is confused because he is neutered and wonders if it’s “a dominance thing” since it doesn’t matter if the visiting dog is male or female. “How can I change this behavior?” she wants to know.   More...

Do We Treat Our Dogs Better Than People In Other Countries?Subscribers Only

In the October 2016 issue we discussed which countries have the most pet dogs. But the more important issue is how the people in each country treat their dogs. No behavioral survey or study has been conducted that could give empirical evidence, but for a view toward a general understanding of how respectfully and lovingly dogs are treated in various regions across the globe, we spoke with Karen Menczer, founder and executive director of Animal-Kind International, a 10-year-old organization that raises money for animal welfare organizations in countries across Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Menczer has also traveled much of the world outside of those regions, always with an eye toward the care and protection of dogs and other animals.   More...

Reining in Standards When It Comes to Judging at Dog ShowsSubscribers Only

“With breeding,” says canine genetic expert Jerold Bell, DVM, “some dogs are tall and some are taller, and a taller dog looks splashier in the ring. Or more wrinkles are better, or more angulation of the hind legs.” At least, that’s how some dog show judges tend to think of it. The problem, he says, is that more is not always better. It can become a disease-causing issue.   More...

News & Views

Copy Cats

We have often said in these pages that dogs are very social animals, to the point that they will copy each other’s behaviors just to copy them. To wit: Franklin never used to shake his whole body out (unless he was wet from rain or snow and I had just put on clean clothes and didn’t want to get spattered with water). But then Rosie came to us with the habit. She kind of uses the shake-out as a transition from one activity to another — going from inside the house out to the driveway; going from the woods back to the car; and so on. And now, Franklin shakes, too. He doesn’t know why he’s doing it. Best I can figure is that he thinks, “She’s shaking — I should also.”   More...

Expert Advice

Dear Doctor - The Dog Won’t Pee Where She’s Supposed To

I have a golden Lab, and she has a 14-foot by 14-foot fenced-in area in which to run around and go to the bathroom. But she steps off our deck and urinates right in front of the stairs there, or she runs around the pen and comes back and then urinates in front of the steps. How do I get her to go somewhere else? Is there something I can put down to discourage her from urinating there?   More...

Dear Doctor - Fears that the Dog isn’t Drinking Enough Water

We have a two-year-old German shepherd who refuses to drink water when we are out on walks. She is obviously thirsty but won't drink from spigots, a cupped hand, or a water bottle. Often, she will refuse the water until we return home. We have started carrying a bowl made of fabric, and this is the only thing that gets her to take a little water. She is very focused, and when she knows she is potentially going for a walk, she will even refuse water at home. Is there something we can do to help hydrate her?   More...