Dispelling the Myth that Purebred Dogs Are More Disease-Prone

It’s true that certain medical conditions are more prevalent in particular dog breeds. Dachshunds are more likely to have problems with the discs in their spinal column than other dogs. A Yorkshire terrier is more likely to have a collapsing trachea, and a cavalier King Charles spaniel is more likely to develop a kind of heart disease called mitral valve disease. But a new study looking at more than 27,000 canines enrolled in the Dog Aging project—roughly half purebred pets and the other half mixed-breeds—found that the pedigreed pets were no more likely to have medical conditions in general over the course of their lives than the mutts.

How to Report Suspected Animal Abuse

Q: I have a neighbor who I have seen literally dragging his dog to the point that it whines as if in pain. I want to say something, but he does not seem like the kind of person you can talk reasonably with and I don’t want any trouble. What’s the best way to say something? I think what he is doing is animal abuse.

Garden Safety

Q: I do a lot of gardening, and my dog keeps me company in the backyard as I weed, mulch, water, and otherwise tend to the flower beds. But I worry because you always hear about different flowers and plants being toxic for dogs. Are there certain flowers I should absolutely be keeping her away from?

If You and Your Dog Are Traveling by Air

More than 2 million pets travel by air each year, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. If your canine family member is going to be one of them, it’s good to get him acclimated ahead of time.

Is All Your Dog’s Shedding the Sign of a Health Problem?

People shed hair every single day, just like dogs. We just don’t happen to have as much hair to shed, so it doesn’t show in the same way. Also, most of our shed hairs go down the drain when we shower, so we’re not apt to see them. Dogs, of course, have many more hairs than we do, and when those hairs die and slough off, they end up all over the place; our pets don’t rinse their bodies every day.

Helping Your Dog Get a Better Night’s Sleep

People think of cats as the pets who keep their human housemates up at night. But some dogs have trouble settling down at bedtime, too. Sometimes it’s pain from an illness that doesn’t allow them to drift off. Dogs with separation anxiety might be particularly afflicted. If they’re in pain and the people in the home aren’t available to them because they’re asleep, they may feel more nervous than usual. But if a medical issue (including dementia) is ruled out, what can you do to help your pet slumber?

When Doggie Day Care and Dog Parks Are the Wrong Choices

We think of dogs as social creatures, and rightly so. They are a species genetically primed for social engagement with others of their kind. But if a dog gets into a frightful scrape with another dog early in life, perhaps before she came to live with you, being around other dogs can unnerve her, truly making her miserable.

Running with the dogs

Q: Can you settle whether it’s okay to have your dog go jogging with you?

Veterinary Chaplaincy Edges Towards the Mainstream

At a webinar put on a few years ago by the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab at Brandeis University, Robert Gierka, EdD, discussed the concept of disenfranchised grief, which is grief over the loss of a loved one that is not socially acknowledged or considered legitimate. Such losses, Dr. Gierka said, traditionally consist of miscarriage, the loss of a same-sex partner, and the loss of a loved one through capital punishment. There’s also the loss of a pet.

Should Your Dog Get a Summer Crewcut?

Giving your dog a summer buzz cut can actually make her feel warmer, not cooler. That’s because hair on a dog insulates her from the heat.  The coat creates an air chamber between the hairs that does not conduct heat easily. (It also makes it hard for cold air to get to a dog in winter.)

Prison Puppies

We’re not talking here about canine prisons—puppy mills where dogs are kept in deplorable conditions. We’re talking about a program called Prison Puppies in which incarcerated men and women train puppies to become guide dogs and thereby help people in need. The program currently operates in prisons in Michigan and Minnesota.

A Psychological Reason Behind Your Dog’s Excess Weight?

More than 50 percent of dogs in the U.S. are estimated to be overweight. Part of the reason may be a psychological problem — yours. In many households, people turn food into currency for love. They fear that withholding as much food or as many treats as their dog wants will fray the bond they have with their pet. It won’t — if you show your pet love in all the other important ways.