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

December 2019

Full Issue (PDF)

December 2019 - Full Issue PDFSubscribers Only

Features

Swallowing Foreign Objects: There’s Dangerous, And Very DangerousSubscribers Only

“Dogs will literally swallow almost anything,” says Your Dog editor-in-chief John Berg, DVM. A veterinary surgeon at Tufts University’s Foster Hospital for Small Animals, he has retrieved from dogs’ GI tracts such items as pantyhose, golf balls, socks, rocks, underwear, plastic gadgets, and magnets.   More...

Putting an End to the ItchingSubscribers Only

Sometimes a dog’s itchiness becomes so relentless that the incessant scratching, biting, licking, and rubbing in an effort to relieve the problem leads to hair loss, wearing away of the skin, nasty bumps, scaly red spots, crusty areas forming over scabs, and the skin’s thickening and hardening. In addition, as part of the itch-scratch cycle, the dog will often develop secondary bacterial or yeast infections.   More...

Your Dog May Very Well Need a Winter CoatSubscribers Only

Some dogs seem happiest in cold weather, thrilling to a drop in the temperature and enjoying rolling on their backs in the snow to make canine snow angels. But even though most dogs are covered in fur from head to toe, not all are built for winter. The American Kennel Club says the following dogs need a coat in cold weather.   More...

Dog Bites: Costly In More Ways Than OneSubscribers Only

Dogs don’t bite to show that might makes right or to make clear how scary or nasty they can be. Most dogs bite out of fear, stress (including stress that leads to resource guarding), self-protection or protection of their human family members, or severe pain.   More...

News & Views

Teaching Service Dogs to Use the English Language to Help Their OwnersSubscribers Only

Sure, a service dog can tell if her owner is about to have an epileptic seizure or is going into a diabetic coma. But can she call 911? If Melody Jackson, PhD, has her way, yes. She is heading up Georgia Tech’s FIDO Project, which stands for Facilitating Interactions for Dogs with Occupations. As part of her work, she is testing vests with attachments dogs can hold, bite, touch with their nose, or tug to launch a string of words in English.   More...

How the Animal Behaviorist Should Make You Feel

Aggression is the number one reason people bring their dogs to animal behaviorists, and these owners are often in an agitated emotional state because they are afraid they can’t control their pet in dangerous situations. Now a new study out of the University of Bristol in the UK demonstrates that owners’ emotional needs need be addressed as well as those of their reactive dogs so that they can effectively apply positive reinforcement rather than punishment when training their dogs not to act aggressively.   More...

Expert Advice

Dear Doctor: The Dog Demands More Food When Hiking in Cold Weather

My 5-year-old chocolate Lab, Trixie, and I love to go hiking year round, but we run into a problem in winter. While I avoid walking on days that it falls below 20 degrees, I still always give her extra food before a hike (including pieces of chicken for a pre-hike protein boost), and we stop for “snack breaks” of kibble along the way.   More...