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

March 2019

Full Issue (PDF)

March 2019 - Full Issue PDFSubscribers Only

Features

An End to Excessive Barking

Up to one in seven dog owners identifies excessive barking as a concern, says the American Veterinary Medical Association. Barking dogs also constitute the majority of animal-related complaints in some locales, the organization says. And the complaints can get legal, leading to eviction proceedings and other actions.   More...

Why Dog Diets FailSubscribers Only

The reason efforts to slim down an overweight dog often fail is not because of a nutrition problem like too many calories per serving. Rather, most dogs have weight problems because of emotional issues — yours, not theirs.   More...

What to Do When Your Dog’s Aggression is Directed At YouSubscribers Only

It used to be called dominance behavior. A dog growls if his owner goes to pick up one of his toys, or steps into space the pet considers his and his alone. But today, animal behaviorists call that kind of deportment conflict aggression, with the understanding the dog is not trying to exert dominance over his human caretaker but, rather, feels inner conflict about who’s the leader in the household. He’s actually anxious and worried that he’s unprotected and feels he must step up to take care of himself. It’s akin to a four-year-old who acts out because he hasn’t had the proper structure, guidance, and limits to feel secure.   More...

Go to a Large Veterinary Practice Or Small?Subscribers Only

Thinking of choosing a new veterinarian? If so, one of the first considerations should be whether you prefer a large practice or small. Small practice benefits: Your dog will see the same doctor — or two — every single visit and will therefore develop a bond with the vet and feel less scared about going for medical care. The atmosphere will be less harried. The vet will have intimate knowledge of your dog’s baseline health and will be in…   More...

The Solution for Dogs Afraid of Slippery FloorsSubscribers Only

You may love gleaming hardwood or tile floors, but to some dogs, they are like skating rinks. Slippery floors are apt to strike fear in puppies in particular, but a dog of any age can be affected.   More...

Nail Trimming 101Subscribers Only

Tufts veterinarians see more than their fair share of pups whose owners haven’t trimmed their nails — in the emergency room. The nails have grown in a circular shape and back into the dog’s paw pads, causing painful infections that turn red and ooze pus.   More...

News & Views

At an Airport Terminal Near You — Dogs to Pet and Ease Your Travel Tension

The delays, the people in Zone 4 trying to get ahead of you during boarding, the sterile atmosphere, the fear of flying…there are all kinds of reasons not to like waiting for your flight to take off. But what if you could pet or cuddle with a friendly dog to take your mind off the tedium and anxiety? At more and more airports, you can. Around the U.S. and Canada, airports have been instituting programs whereby people come and walk their friendly, well-behaved dogs around the terminal to soothe travelers’ strung-out souls.   More...

A Woman’s Best Sleeping Partner

With which of these three animals do women get the best night’s sleep: a dog, a cat, or a person? A dog, according to a survey of 962 women across the U.S. whose results were published in the journal Anthrozoos.   More...

Expert Advice

Dear Doctor: Citronella collar for training?

Would a citronella collar work to stop them in their tracks — the kind that emits a citronella spray when you press a gizmo? A fenced yard is not an option, and I do not want to shock my dogs with a shock collar or with the perimeter around an electric fence.   More...

Dear Doctor: Why has the dog started urinating in the house?

My three-year-old, 10-pound Malti-poo (half Maltese terrier, half miniature poodle), Teddy, has started leaving little drops of urine around the house. I let him out in the morning, and he does his business beautifully, and I also let him out at night, when he also does what he has to. My husband is so upset about this new behavior that he is ready to give the dog up. Please help.   More...