Dear Doctor: Tug of war quandary

My puppy loves playing tug of war with a rope toy, but Ive heard it can make dogs aggressive. Should I not give into her urge?

Dont Accept Labored Breathing As Just a Sign of Old Age

You find your old pal is having a harder and harder time taking in air, particularly in warm weather or during physical activity. This is not a normal sign of aging. A healthy old dog should be able to breathe comfortably.

FDA-Cleared Device May Aid in Pain Management

Imagine a medical device that hastens the healing process and provides relief from conditions ranging from osteoarthritis to itchy hot spots on the skin, often to the point that a lower dose of medication may be used. The Assisi Loop may be such a device.

Chocolate Labs Less Healthy Than Black Or Yellow

Labrador retrievers have remained the most popular dog breed for almost three decades, but Lab lovers who opt for chocolate rather than black or yellow Labs may be in for more veterinary bills - and heartache. A study of some 2,000 Labs published in Canine Genetics and Epidemiology shows that chocolate Labs are two times as likely to get dermatological problems in the form of hot spots. They are also more likely to end up with otitis externa - the canine version of swimmers ear. They die younger, too - at an average age of 10.7 years as opposed to 12 years for the other two colors.

Cataracts in Dogs

If your once-athletic dog can no longer catch a tossed treat, or your senior pauses before descending a flight of stairs, theres a chance that his vision may be cloudy because of cataracts in one or both eyes.

Running with Dogs

While all dogs like to run to a certain degree, some make better running companions than others. Dalmatians, Doberman Pinschers, Labrador and Golden Retrievers tend to make good running partners, as well as herding dog breeds (but they can get easily bored and look for something to herd along the way, such as a car).

Dog Anesthesia: 5 Questions to Ask Your Vet

Advances in dog anesthesia techniques have made veterinary surgery considerably safer nowadays, but its usage needs to be tailored to the individual dog to make it as risk-free as possible. Here are the important questions to ask before your dog undergoes surgery.

When Your Dog Wont Swallow a Pill

Most dogs are easy enough to get a pill into, even on a regular basis if need be. You simply make a meatball out of some wet dog food or something else soft, like deli meat or cheese, and your dog will end up reminding you about his medication after a while. You just have to make sure with the veterinarian that whatever food you use to wrap the pill doesnt contain ingredients that are bad for the condition youre treating.

Can You Pass This Eye Exam?

One of your dogs eyes has whitish or clear gook in the inner corner. To what degree should you be concerned?

Early Detection and Treatment of Malaria Is Going to the Dogs

More than 400,000 people die each year from malaria, with some 2,000 diagnoses annually in the U.S. And the situation is about to get worse. A mosquito-born disease, malaria is once again on the uptick. The reason, in part, is that tests designed to detect malaria early are no longer working as well because mutant malaria parasites are not producing the specific protein those tests were designed to detect. But dogs might be able to do what the tests cannot.

Can you give your dog your cold?

A common concern that comes with the common cold is wondering whether your dog can catch it from you. But dogs dont get colds from people, says Tufts veterinarian Elizabeth Rozanski, DVM. Human colds are generally caused by the rhinovirus, which does not thrive in a dogs sinus or respiratory system. In very rare instances, dogs can get the flu from people, Dr. Rozanski says, but in general, respiratory illnesses are not zoonotic, meaning they dont jump species.

Help for the Overweight Dog

Obesity in dogs is a problem that veterinarians are seeing increasingly in recent years. In fact, obesity is considered the most common preventable disease in dogs in North America. Approximately one in four dogs is considered obese, with 50 percent weighing more than they should.