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Short Takes

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.

Telemedicine for Fido, or In-Person Care?

The COVID pandemic led to more Zooming and FaceTiming, including for veterinary care. And it may be easy to assume that most people have come to prefer such virtual vet visits because it’s more convenient than taking your dog to the doctor. But they don’t.

Dogs Dig It

Different breeds of dogs dig for different reasons. Terriers, originally bred to dig for varmints that burrow into the ground, might dig fast and furiously in the dirt — or bed linens — to work through their hereditary instinct. They’re figuratively engaging in the so-called appetitive phase of preda-
tory behavior.

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.

dog anxiety

When an Older Dog Develops Separation Anxiety

If a dog who has never minded your leaving the house without her suddenly develops separation anxiety when she is older, get her to the doctor. Much of the time, it’s a medical issue that triggers the problem. The dog is in pain for some reason, and she now becomes anxious and insecure in your absence. If the pain interferes with her physical functioning, it can undermine her security all the more. Often, but not always, such a dog had sub-clinical separation anxiety in her younger years that simply was never picked up.

Nope, tennis balls are not the greatest choking hazard. But they’re up there.

If Your Dog is Choking

A choking dog is an emergency. An animal has to be able to breathe. Before rushing to the vet, first try the following.

How You, Personally, Can Get More Shelter Dogs Adopted

Taking a shelter dog for an outing of just a few hours or fostering the animal for a night or two significantly increases the dog’s chance of being adopted — and not by you. When dogs are seen in the community and their short-term caregivers share these animals’ stories, people step up to take home the canines as permanent pets.

Your Dog is Not Relieving Herself in the House to Get Back at You

If your potty-trained dog eliminates in your absence, it’s not to spite you or be vindictive about you leaving. It’s most likely because she feels panicked in your absence. In fact, that look on her face when you arrive back home is not remorse or guilt — it’s fear. She sees you’re angry at her and doesn’t understand why, since all she knows is that she has just been through an ordeal.

Genetically Mapping Canine Cancers Can Help Save Dogs’ Lives

In human medicine, genetic mapping of tumors that have already metastasized has added years to the lives of cancer patients who otherwise would have been near death. By understanding the exact nature of the genetic mutation that caused the cancer, scientists have been able to develop drugs that target malignant tumors with incredible precision, effectively pushing back the advance of life-threatening disease. Now, veterinary researchers have begun the process of pinning down the genomes of tumors in dogs.

You’re Still Not Giving Your Dog Heartworm Preventives?

More than six out of 10 dogs participating in research known as the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study had not previously been on heartworm preventives, according to research funded by the Morris Animal Foundation. While the investigation was just on one breed, it’s safe to assume this alarming statistic applies to other breeds (and mixed breeds) as well.

Why You Shouldn’t Leave a 4-Year-Old Alone with a Dog

We have often said that leaving a dog and a child younger than 6 alone together is not a good idea. That’s true no matter how gentle the dog and no matter how well behaved the child. A preschooler may not realize she’s hurting the dog if, say, she wants to press her pet’s eyes to see if they’re squidgy. Or she may want to play with the toys of a possessive dog and may misinterpret the animal’s displeasure. A new study only strengthens the case for not leaving small children and dogs to their own devices.

When Your Dog Starts Squinting

Some dogs start squinting in sunny weather as they age. It’s almost always nothing to worry about. There’s a sphincter muscle in the iris (the part that gives the eye its color), and it normally takes down the size of the pupil (the dark circle in the middle of the eye) to let in less light when the sun is shining bright. But as a dog ages, the sphincter muscle may not work as well, and too much light gets in. Ergo, the squinting.