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

January 2020

Full Issue (PDF)

January 2020 - Full Issue PDFSubscribers Only

Features

Even With a Measuring Cup, Food Portions Are Way Off

How do you measure your dog’s food portions? With the bowl you happen to put her food in? With your hands? Simply by eyeballing it as you pour the kibble out of the bag? If you use any of these unreliable methods, you’re not alone. More than one out of five people participating in a study about the best way to measure dog food reported using one of these three approaches.   More...

Retractable Leashes Present Very Serious Risks

For an ill-trained dog who won’t come when called or gets into scrapes with other dogs or people when off leash, a retractable leash may seem the perfect solution. It allows an unruly pet more freedom than a regular leash as the line unfurls — 10, 15, or more feet. But an untrained pet is the very dog for whom a retractable leash is a bad idea. That’s because it doesn’t take the place of responsible training that teaches dogs to “come” “wait,” and “leave it.” So dogs on retractable leashes continue to lunge, pull, and engage in all kinds of other undesirable behaviors, just as they do on short leashes, but the leash’s lock mechanism doesn’t let them be “reeled in” fast enough to contain the havoc. You have to walk toward the dog to shorten the leash, which takes time.   More...

In Dogs, Two Types of LupusSubscribers Only

Just like people, dogs can get lupus. It’s an autoimmune disease, meaning that the immune system mistakes the body’s own tissues for foreign “invaders” and starts attacking and destroying them. Two types of lupus strike our canine pets: systematic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE). The first is much more devastating, with worse symptoms that can have life-threatening implications. The second is not as dangerous but needs to be brought under control to avoid serious complications down the line.   More...

Which Bones Are Safe to Chew, Which Are NotSubscribers Only

Dog owners often hear they should never give their pet a chicken bone. The worry is that a dog can easily crush a chicken bone with his teeth, causing it to splinter and then perforate the intestine. “But that’s largely an urban myth,” says Your Dog editor-in-chief John Berg, DVM. “Chicken bone will almost inevitably dissolve in the stomach and never even reach the intestine.   More...

Eco-Friendly Dog ProductsSubscribers Only

In our increasingly environmentally aware society, more and more people are becoming concerned with how their purchases are affecting our ecosystem. With that in mind, here are some carbon footprint-friendly options for your dog, whether you’re buying first-time items or replacing some staples in your dog’s collection of accouterments.   More...

Four Steps to Relieving Separation AnxietySubscribers Only

Owners don’t see separation anxiety in action. After all, they’re not home when a dog panics over being alone. But they sure see its aftermath — the destruction of household objects, elimination in inappropriate places, escape attempts that lead to broken teeth and nails, and neighbors who complain about excessive barking in their absence.   More...

News & Views

Expert Advice

Dear Doctor: Guide Dog Versus Seeing Eye Dog

What is the difference between a guide dog and a seeing eye dog? I’ve seen both terms used for dogs who help people who can’t see, but does a guide dog also help people who use wheelchairs, for instance?   More...