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

July 2017

Full Issue (PDF)

July 2017 - Full Issue PDFSubscribers Only

Features

When Mites Get Too Mighty

Say “mites,” and many people think “mange,” a highly contagious disease often referred to as scabies or sarcoptic mange. Caused by a species of mite known as Sarcoptes scabiei, it occurs when the microscopic animals burrow through a dog’s skin, causing severe itching and irritation. Treatment consists of oral and/or topical drugs that kill the mites, with the dog perhaps being dipped in a medicated shampoo. Ongoing treatment over the course of several weeks is critical, as the drugs kill only living mites, not eggs that haven’t hatched yet. The eggs need to mature so the continued drug administration can take care of that next generation of mites, too.   More...

A New Way to Hang Out With and Delight Your Dog, Even on a Harried ScheduleSubscribers Only

These are the times that try bored dogs’ souls. Sure, we love ‘em, spend tons of money on their health care, and couldn’t imagine living without them and their love. But too many of us spend too little of the day really interacting with them to do their quick minds and action-craving bodies justice. It’s understandable. A lot of families are out much of the day and barely can make room for their own enriching moments, let alone those of their pets. Thus, trying to adjust the schedule for things like agility courses and other group activities that dogs love goes out the window, especially when you add in the drive time.   More...

Beware ‘Lost Dog’ ScamsSubscribers Only

When Amy Gonzales’ Chihuahua, Red Eye, escaped from her Buckeye, Arizona yard, she searched the neighborhood, put up pictures of her pet with her contact information, and in hopes of reaching a wider audience, made use of social media by placing the same information on her Facebook page. After several weeks, a call finally came through from an individual stating that he had her dog. But rather than discussing how to reunite Red Eye with his owner, the caller demanded a $500 payment to return the pet.   More...

How Does Your Dog’s Garden Grow?Subscribers Only

You like peonies; your dog likes peeing. You dig asters; your dog digs, period. You stop and smell the roses; your dog sniffs what decomposes. How can you and your canine pal possibly enjoy the same garden? It would be great if you could, because time outside with you is time not spent waiting indoors for something more exciting to happen.   More...

Train Your Dog PositivelySubscribers Only

As a Your Dog reader, you’re already well aware that you should never punish your dog. The first reason is that it’s cruel, plain and simple, and will only fray the bond between you. Second, punishment won’t teach a dog the behaviors you do want him to engage in. In fact, it could serve to make him behave inappropriately whenever he gets the chance. As world-renowned trainer Victoria Stilwell puts it in Train Your Dog Positively, the aim is to reward a behavior you like to insure that it gets repeated, and to ignore or redirect a behavior you don’t like so its incidence will decrease.   More...

Is Bringing Your Dog to the Office a Good Idea?

Carlat Publishing in Newburyport, Massachusetts, puts out newsletters and books for psychiatrists and other mental health professionals, but probably nobody in the company knows as much about psychology as office mate Mo. At no more than a pound or so, the tiny nine-year-old Chihuahua, who belongs to chief operating officer Jeffrey Ives, puts a smile on everyone’s face by coming over to their desks to be petted, cooed over, and marveled at as he makes little play bows and generally acts more adorable than shoud be legal. His “sessions” with people don’t last too long, but they do a world of good. His instincts are always on the mark.   More...

Improve Your Picky Eater’s Diet

It’s not just cats. Some dogs turn up their noses at food, too, worrying their “parents” that they’re not taking in enough calories — or won’t unless they’re fed more enticing fare. Are these picky eaters born that way, or molded that way by their owners?   More...

News & Views

When You’re Out With Your Dog, Are You Dialed In?

When our son John was just a year old, he loved to walk atop a low stone wall in front of the old parish house around the corner. I’d lift him up and hold his hand as he threaded his way along, delighted at the novelty of walking “high” off the ground and pleased with his competence at being able to stay afoot on the relatively narrow ledge.   More...

Expert Advice

Dear Doctor: Separation Anxiety is Ruining the House

Our six-year-old Portuguese water dog has started to become very destructive when we go out, especially at night. He empties trash cans, goes into closets and tears up shoe boxes, walks over to my bedside cabinet and swipes things off, and so on. I think it is separation anxiety; I know he is not doing it out of any negative feelings towards me or my husband. I think I read in a long-ago issue of Your Dog that when you come home, you should make a fuss over your dog because it makes his endorphin levels go up and contributes to his feeling happy. We have been doing that for a long while. But our trainer has now said it is absolutely the wrong thing to do in our situation and that we should ignore him until he settles down and then give him affection. I’m confused. We want to do the right thing, but which approach is the way to go? Thanks for any guidance you can provide. By the way, other than this behavior, he is a wonderful, sweet dog and, in fact, is a therapy dog at Children’s Hospital where he is calm and loving.   More...