Reining in Standards When It Comes to Judging at Dog Shows

With breeding, says canine genetic expert Jerold Bell, DVM, some dogs are tall and some are taller, and a taller dog looks splashier in the ring. Or more wrinkles are better, or more angulation of the hind legs. At least, thats how some dog show judges tend to think of it. The problem, he says, is that more is not always better. It can become a disease-causing issue.

Dear Doctor – Canine Breast exams?

Q Someone told me I should be giving my dog regular breast exams to check for cancer. Thats patently ridiculous - right?
Claire Lemmer
Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Dear Doctor – Clinical exam for an older dog

The ins and outs of a clinical exam for an older dog

Q I often hear the term clinical exam, as in, I cant diagnose your dog without a clinical exam, but what does that mean, exactly? How does a clinical exam differ from a regular exam? I ask because I have a 10-year-old dog and its time for her clinical exam, but Im wondering if she really needs one.

Can Flea Collars Cause Seizures in Dogs?

I have an older dog - a 10-year-old golden retriever - that I just adopted from a rescue. When I put a Seresto flea and tick collar on her, she started having seizures. She no longer has the collar but is now on phenobarbital to control the seizures. What do you advise using for flea and tick control on a dog that has a history of seizures? I know that the new pill is not advised for these dogs.

Making Bath Time Better For Your Dog

Dogs love to dig in and roll in the dirt and run through the woods, and though they dont like to go out in the rain will gladly jump in a swamp or smelly debris, says veterinary dermatologist Laurie J. Stewart, VMD, DACVD. Maybe thats why Dr. Stewart, owner of Veterinary Dermatology of New England in Westford, Massachusetts, quips that bathing in dogs is highly underrated."

Truth be told, healthy dogs who are free of skin disease dont need to be bathed for their own sake.

Bathing is Different for Dogs with Skin Conditions

The skin is the bodys largest organ, for dogs as well as for people, and allergies in dogs often affect that organ. In such cases, which are referred to as atopic dermatitis, bathing can be a great way to reduce irritation, itching, pain, inflammation, crusting, and odor, says board-certified veterinary dermatologist Laurie J. Stewart, VMD, DACVD. In fact, while dogs with healthy skin may be able to get away with a bath every few months, a dog with a skin condition may need baths as frequently as twice a week.

Most Popular Dog Shampoos

A good dog shampoo will contain the following chemicals to do the job of cleansing your dog: Taurate Lauroyl lactylate. In a conditioner, these are that ingredients that do the conditioning: Behentrimonium Glycerin Cetearyl alcohol There are many good products available. The most popular dog shampoo on Amazon is Earthbath All Natural Dog Shampoo, which has ingredients that fit the criteria set forth by veterinary dermatologists. They are also cruelty-free and biodegradable.

Anesthesia-Free Dental Cleanings Not for Anxious Dogs

An anxious dog who would not be able to handle someone sticking a hand in her mouth for an extended period of time and doing some light probing would not make a good candidate for dental cleanings without anesthesia. This point is agreed upon by both dentists in favor of anesthesia-free dental cleanings and those against it. The dog needs to be mellow enough to allow the cleaning, says veterinarian Ellie Shelburne, who schedules some patients in her Northampton, Massachusetts, practice for anesthesia-free dental work.

Sharing the Medicine Chest with your Dog

You might share the medicine cabinet mirror with your dog while you shave or apply your makeup, but some of the medicines you have inside the mirrored door are very, very toxic to your pet and should at all times be kept out of paws reach. Says the American Veterinary Medical Association, about one quarter of all phone calls to the Animal Poison Control Center are about human medications.

Dear Doctor – Anal Sac Problem in Dogs

Q Sassy, age six, has had a constant problem back there and goes to the vet frequently to have her glands expressed. Within a week she is scooting again and licking her behind. The vet suggested adding more fiber to her food, but her bowel movements are not soft. What to do?
Gary Thomas
Houston, Texas

Dog Care & Nutrition: Dog Injuries

When your dog is hurt, you have no time to lose. Your pet needs attention. Now. Considering the many scrapes and tussles a typical dog will endure in a long, eventful lifetime, it's good to know that you safely can handle some of his or her health problems by at home. But which ones? And how? And which situations definitely require a veterinarian's immediate attention?

Dog Care & Nutrition: Aging Dogs

Keeping Your Dog Engaged

Owners can take greater responsibilities in helping slow the aging process by noting early changes in their dogs' appetites, behaviors and physical conditions. Veterinarians offer these recommendations:

Reinforce basic commands. You can teach an aging dog to "Sit" before heading out the door for a walk or "Give me a paw" shake before settling down his or her food bowl. Test hearing and sight by teaching your dog to make eye contact with…