DOG OWNERSHIP

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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?

Are You Too Old to Adopt Your Next Dog?

Youre 68 and have lost your canine pal and want to adopt a new one. But the average life expectancy in the U.S. is just under 79 - youve got 11 years left, if you go by averages. Yet the average life expectancy of a dog is 10 to 13 years. Your pet may outlast you.

Obeying the Local Dog Laws

Were you aware that dogs are not allowed in elevators in Glendale, California? Or that in North Carolina, if any person owning or having any bitch shall knowingly permit her to run at large during the erotic stage of copulation he shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor. Or that it is unlawful to allow a dog to defecate on the grounds of the capitol buildings or governors mansion in West Virginia, even if you pick up the waste afterwards?

How They Find Their Way Home

You get lost, you make your way back with a general sense of direction combined with I recognize that house…I remember passing this post office. And then, of course, theres the map app on your phone, which can guide you anywhere. Your dog gets lost, sometimes many miles from home, and she finds her way back, too. How?

Research Proves It Yet Again: Leaner Dogs Live Longer

Several decades ago, 48 Labrador retrievers were split into two groups at birth and then followed for their entire lives. One group was always fed 25 percent fewer calories than the other. By the end of the study, the group fed less lived for a year and a half to two years longer than the other, on average. The difference: they were ideal body condition as opposed to their moderately overweight counterparts.

Why an Older Dog Might Be a Better Choice

While a brand new car has its attractions, many people have found that a car with some mileage on it runs just as well, has had the kinks worked out, and costs a lot less than a new vehicle. So it goes with dogs. A mature dog usually has plenty of life left. In addition, the behavioral kinks have likely been taken care of, and a mature dog often costs a lot less than a 2- to 3-month-old puppy. The advantages break down as follows.