What’s the Best Age to Neuter a Dog?

We have had Great Danes for several years. Most have been males neutered at about 6 months. Recently, we have heard breeders and others say this age is too young for large-breed dogs. They say neutering them this early causes them to grow taller and not fill out. Our male is 18 months old and was neutered at 6 months. He now is 36 inches tall at the shoulders and barely tips the scale at 140 pounds. [The Great Dane Club of America includes no weight requirements in its standard, but other sources list weight for males at 135 to 170 pounds and height of 33 to 36 inches.] What is the medically recommended time to neuter a large breed?

Put the brakes on bolting out the door for dogs

[From Tufts May 2010 Issue]

You open your front door to accept a package, carefully body-blocking your dog so he doesnt escape. Just as youre closing the door, your mail carrier asks you a question. Distracted, you forget Scooter and open the door to answer. And there he goes. Hes out the door, dashing down the sidewalk before you can stop him. Heart pounding, you rush out to try to capture him before hes injured or vanishes altogether.

Countless hazards lie in wait for dogs running the streets. A client of mine lost her beautiful Belgian Tervuren when her long-line snapped and the dog ran off. She was later found badly injured, hit by a car. Linney died at the veterinarian. A recent news article told of a Pomeranian who, terrified by thunder, darted away from her owner into nearby woods. Early the next morning when a woman was driving to work, a horned owl flew over the road and dropped the hapless dog in front of her car. The driver slammed on the brakes, jumped out and scooped up the little dog just ahead of the owl, who was swooping back for a second grab. Miraculously the dog had only mild injuries and was safely returned to his owner.

A first-degree burn can heal at home for dogs

[From Tufts June 2010 Issue]

Whether during the drama of a fire or the innocence of a walk, dogs suffer burns just like people do. In summer, they burn their paw pads by walking across hot asphalt streets or parking lots, says Scott Shaw, DVM, a specialist in emergency and critical care at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. In winter, they get stuck under radiators in the house, or they go under a car and touch a hot muffler or tailpipe.

Sometimes, too, people accidentally burn them. For example, heating pads left next to the skin can cause burns, when all the person tried to do was keep an older dog warm, Dr. Shaw says. The injury happens slowly, the burn going deeper and deeper. The same thing happens to elderly people.

My Husky Lost His Appetite

It can be normal to see periods of reduced appetite, especially in some Northern dog breeds, such as Siberian huskies. However, a reduced appetite can also be a sign of an underlying illness. It is non-specific sign, meaning that it can be seen with a variety of illnesses ranging from fever and infection to gastrointestinal or even liver or kidney disease.

Two surprising causes of skin problems in dogs

[From Tufts October 2010 Issue]

When your dog has a lackluster coat, flaky skin and hair loss, the cause could be an underlying medical problem. If, however, the condition resulted from his diet, the reason may come as a surprise.

Most problems are associated with feeding low-cost generic diets or home-prepared foods in which balance may be an issue, says dermatologist Lowell Ackerman, DVM, a Your Dog advisory board member. If a well balanced diet is fed, it is rare to see diet-related hair coat problems.

Double up on the benefits of exercise with your dog

[From Tufts December 2010 Issue]

Obesity has become a major public health threat, increasing at a rate faster than anyone could have imaged, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. Twenty-seven percent, or 72 million, of U.S. adults are obese. Nine states had obesity rates of 30 percent or more last year, compared to three states in 2007.

At the same time, the FDAs Center for Veterinary Medicine says obesity among dogs is also increasing at an alarming rate. Estimates are that 25 to 44 percent of dogs are clinically obese.

It is OK to be tired after exercise – it is not OK to...

[From Tufts December 2010 Issue]

Want to start an exercise program with your dog? Its easy. Take your dog for a walk. Every day. Twice a day if you can manage it. If youre both out of shape, check with your own doctor and your dogs veterinarian, then start slowly and build up.

We believe in starting where youre at, says Robert F. Kushner, MD. If youre a couch potato, start off with bite-size pieces: 5-, 10- or 15-minute walks.

Carsick cockapoos

[From Tufts November 2011 Issue]

I have two cockapoos who will be 2 years old in December. Ever since we got them, they have suffered from carsickness. It takes only about five minutes of riding before one of them vomits. We want to drive to Florida in November but dont want them sick all the way down. Is there anything that can stop this?
Linda Becknell
Richmond, Ill.

Bike Riding Safety for dogs

[From Tufts December 2011 Issue]

I would like to give my dog more exercise by bike riding with her. She is about 20 pounds and can outrun me (who cant?). Any advice? I dont want to get hurt or hurt her.
Mark Benjamin
Elkins Park, Pa.

Taking your dog on a bike ride can be a great way to give her some quick exercise. However, the practice can be dangerous for both dog and owner, and its definitely not for every dog. Here are some pointers:

Let sleeping dogs lie next to you?

[From Tufts May 2011 Issue]

An article in a scientific journal published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made headlines nationwide when it warned that people can - and often do - get too close to their dogs. Bruno B. Chomel of UC Davis and Ben Sun of the California Department of Public Health, writing in Emerging Infectious Diseases, said that about 50 percent of owners in the U.S. allow their dogs to sleep on their beds, but doing so puts them at risk for health problems.

10 easy steps to successful vet visits

[From Tufts July 2011 Issue]

Whether you're taking your dog to the veterinarian for a routine checkup or treatment of a chronic health problem, you want to get the most from the appointment. Follow these 10 simple steps and you're on your way to a successful visit:

Summer brings outdoor fun – and risks


[From Tufts July 2011 Issue]

Warm weather encourages owners and dogs to spend more time outside. While summer offers outdoor fun, it's easy to overlook dangers that could harm your dog, says Scott Shaw, DVM, a specialist in emergency and critical care at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.

Fireworks top the list for risky business. "Dogs shouldn't be around fireworks at all," Dr. Shaw says. "They can chase thrown fireworks and get burned or injured." Some fireworks contain toxic substances that can poison dogs if chewed or swallowed. The explosions also can scare them. "The same dogs that are afraid of thunder will freak out on the 4th of July," he says.