DOG OWNERSHIP

Retractable Leashes Present Very Serious Risks

For an ill-trained dog who wont 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. Thats because it doesnt 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 leashs lock mechanism doesnt 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.
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Being a Dog Person is in Your Genes, Literally

You may think you chose to have a dog in your life. But your decision to have a dog may have been genetically predetermined.
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Dear Doctor: Bully Sticks and Pig Ears

Someone told me bully sticks that people give dogs as treats are really the penises of bulls. That cant possibly be true, can it?
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Which Bones Are Safe to Chew, Which Are Not

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 thats 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.
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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.
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Teaching Service Dogs to Use the English Language to Help Their Owners

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 Techs 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.
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Minding Your Pets Welfare During the Holiday Season

Tinsel on the tree gets eaten and ends up literally strangling or cutting the intestines. Candles on the menorah singe a curious dogs hair. The water in the tree stand, laced with preservatives, proves toxic.
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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 shes being a little over the top. What do you think?
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Its Their Eyebrows That Make Us Love Them

You know that sad, wistful, puppy dog look our pets often get when theyre 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. Thats all it takes to bring out the nurturer in us.
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Make Your Home Free of Dog Odors

Come on, admit it. While you may not be able to smell dog odor in your home because youve become too accustomed to it, youve worried on occasion that visitors can.
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How to Make a Dog More Comfortable If She Had a Previous Owner

Perhaps a dog whos no longer a puppy comes to live with you because her previous owners could no longer take care of her - not out of a lack of caring but because of a change in circumstances. They moved to a place that doesnt allow pets, perhaps, or developed allergies, or accepted more demanding jobs that dont afford them the time to take care of a dog, or died.
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Forget the Pregnancy Test – Your Dog Can Tell You

Many women have said that during their pregnancies, their dog became more clingy, or more protective, or simply more attentive, as if they knew. Some women have claimed the dogs behavior changed even before a positive pregnancy test. Is that possible?
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