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

October 2019

Full Issue (PDF)

October 2019 - Full Issue PDFSubscribers Only

Features

How to Pet a Dog

But imagine how great your pet would feel if you showed him affection according to his rules. It becomes even more important when you’re greeting a dog on the street who’s not familiar with you. You don’t want to make a dog feel frightened or, worse, like he has to protect himself. With dogs’ emotional comfort in mind, here are some tips for petting and greetings in general. They’re standard for a dog you meet on the street, but if you try them on your own dog, you’ll also see very satisfied responses.   More...

It’s Their Eyebrows That Make Us Love Them

You know that sad, wistful, puppy dog look our pets often get when they’re trying to communicate their needs to us, the way they make their eyes look bigger and more baby-like? Researchers reporting in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences have just discovered that dogs can achieve that look because of a small muscle above each of their eyes that allows them to intensely raise their inner eyebrows. That’s all it takes to bring out the nurturer in us.   More...

Eating Too Fast Can Have Serious Health ConsequencesSubscribers Only

Many dogs eat extremely fast, and they do so for a number of reasons. One of them is that they simply don’t taste food as well as we do, so there’s no benefit to chewing it longer. While we have about 9,000 taste buds on our tongues, dogs have only about 2,000.   More...

Play Ball, But GentlySubscribers Only

So many dogs love those plastic ball chuckers, and why not? They allow a person to fling a ball faster and farther than they could with their arm, affording a pet a happy, frenetic run at top speed in order to chase the ball down and bring it back for more. Some dogs, in fact, are absolutely obsessed with the game.   More...

Treats for TricksSubscribers Only

To train your dog to follow cues and perform various tricks, you’re going to need food treats — and lots of them, especially when the trick is new or when your dog is a puppy and is getting the hang of learning in general. You might need to give four or five treats in quick succession in order to solidify the follow-through in your pet’s mind as she repeats the move you’re trying to teach. But how does that square with the standard advice not to give your pet more than 10 percent of her calories as treats, since treats are not part of a dog’s healthful diet and can lead to nutrient imbalances?   More...

Is Your Veterinarian Practicing Narrative Medicine?Subscribers Only

If you bring your dog to the veterinarian’s office because he has started urinating in the house, does the doctor simply perform a clinical exam followed by x-rays and blood work, or does she add in some questions that help her learn the story of the dog’s life? For instance, a vet might ask, “Has anything changed lately? Have you moved, or has someone moved into or out of your household? Has there been a divorce or some other difficult event?” That way, the doctor may find out that the dog is stressed, perhaps because he is sensing your own stress, and that is what is making him urinate indoors.   More...

Dog Walking Injuries On the Rise, Especially Among Older PeopleSubscribers Only

In the August issue of Your Dog, we discussed that you’re never too old to enjoy sharing your life with a canine companion. But even good things can go awry if proper care is not taken to prevent falls, as was made evident in a report by University of Pennsylvania researchers drawn from nationwide data on dog-walking injuries among the 65-plus set. Injuries sending older dog walkers to emergency rooms rose more than 250 percent in the last 15 years or so, from nearly 1,700 in 2004 to just under 4,400 in 2017. Most of the injuries were said to have been caused by a loss of balance that ensued when a dog pulled too hard or suddenly on the leash.   More...

News & Views

Avoiding Dog Bites to ChildrenSubscribers Only

Children 5 to 9 years old are more apt than any other age group to require treatment immediately after a dog bite. And most of those bites are from the family dog when the pet is resting and a child approaches, says Meghan Herron, DVM, associate professor of veterinary clinical services at Ohio State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. With that in mind, Dr. Herron advises the following:   More...

Dear Doctor: Halloween costume for Fido?

I have the cutest Halloween princess costume for my dog, and I want to show it off when children come trick or treating, but my neighbor says it is wrong of me to confine her in clothing. I understand the concern, but I think she’s being a little over the top. What do you think?   More...

Dear Doctor: A pill instead of surgery for laryngeal paralysis?Subscribers Only

I appreciated your June 2019 article on how to surgically fix the labored breathing that comes with laryngeal paralysis, which affects a significant number of older, larger dogs. But I also heard about a drug to treat the disease and make breathing easier. Can a drug really take the place of an operation?   More...