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Any number of objects can become stuck in your dog’s windpipe or at the back of his throat and create a choking hazard — balls that are large enough to get past the mouth but not all the way through the digestive tract, rawhide chews that are gulped rather than gradually broken down, and so […]
Nope, tennis balls are not the greatest choking hazard. But they’re up there.

The Greatest Choking Hazard

Any number of objects can become stuck in your dog’s windpipe or at the back of his throat and create a choking hazard — balls that are large enough to get past the mouth but not all the way through the digestive tract, rawhide chews that are gulped rather than gradually broken down, and so […]
Dogs with health problems Of plaque stains in teeth

Tongue and Gum Colors Provide Health Clues

Has your dog’s usual pink tongue color faded somewhat? Take her to the veterinarian. A tongue or gums that go from pink to paler pink could be a sign of anemia — a deficiency of red blood cells — and the cause has to be identified and treated. If her gums or tongue literally go […]
Dog Rabies

Rabies Risk an Increasing Concern

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced a ban on dogs entering the United States from 113 “high-risk rabies countries,” including the Dominican Republic, Brazil, India, the Philippines, and Morocco. Dog rabies has been eliminated from the United States since 2007, but the CDC points out that “the importation of even one […]
The official recommendations for how long a dog should fast before undergoing anesthesia may differ from what your veterinarian tells you. Listen to the doctor.

How Long a Dog Should Fast Before Anesthesia

For healthy adult dogs about to undergo an operation, the American Animal Hospital Association now recommends a 4- to 6-hour fast prior to anesthesia. The organization suggests even shorter pre-surgical fasts for dogs younger than 2 months of age and dogs with diabetes, who need to eat their food at specific times to pair with […]
This Saint Bernard puppy, a future gentle giant, requires less calcium in his diet than smaller breeds.

For Giant-Breed Puppies, Less — Not More — Calcium

It would appear to make sense that a dog such as a Great Dane or Saint Bernard, or even a Labrador retriever, needs a more calcium-dense diet as a puppy than a dog whose adult size will be smaller. After all, the logic goes, more calcium per calorie is needed to build the bones involved […]
Angling the toothbrush instead of applying it to the teeth straight on helps you reach the critical juncture where the white meets the gums.

Better Tooth Brushing

If you already brush your dog’s teeth once a day, you’re way ahead of the curve. Too many people don’t, and it paves the way for gum disease that can both eventually make a dog lose teeth and contribute to or complicate serious diseases. That’s because bacteria in a mouth that never gets cleaned can […]
“I hope you made sure those pills you bought at a discount don’t contain any ingredients that are toxic to dogs.”

Where to Fill Your Dog’s Prescriptions

Your dog is prescribed the pain-relieving medicine gabapentin — a drug also commonly prescribed for people. Because it’s cheaper from a pharmacy for people than from the vet, you decide to have the prescription filled at your local drug store. Going to your regular pharmacy is also more convenient. It’s right inside the supermarket. The […]
Dogs can help take the stress out of college life.

Therapy Dogs Improve Life — and Academic Skills — On College

Yale Law School, Oberlin College, Tufts University…many college campuses have or have had therapy dogs to help students adjust to the stresses of campus life, and new research suggests it works. When Washington State University followed more than 300 undergraduate students enrolled either in stress-reduction workshops and lectures or a program to pet dogs as […]
Vet examining dog

Dear Doctor: The illness behind the anemia

Q. After some blood work, my dog was diagnosed with anemia. Now my vet wants to conduct a bunch of other tests. Can’t I just give him an iron supplement? Travis Zelenski Chicago, Illinois Dear Ms. Zelenski, A. Anemia simply means a low red blood cell count. There are many reasons the concentration of red […]
Welsh Corgi Pembroke dog

Dear Doctor: A look that can’t be denied

Q. My dog has a way of looking at me ever so sweetly — kind of intensely and warmly, and perhaps slightly pleadingly — that gets me to do anything she wants. It’s a look that nets her everything from an extra treat to having me tuck her in if she’s lying by my pillow […]
Spaying or neutering may cause some dogs to gain some weight, but it should not make a dog morbidly obese. That tends to be more a matter of the family’s feeding style.

Does Spaying or Neutering Really Lead to Weight Gain?

If you’ve recently had your dog spayed or neutered and it looks like your pet has put on a few, you’re probably not imagining it. Spaying and neutering don’t cause weight gain, but they do create physiological changes that predispose a dog to packing on extra pounds. The risk for weight gain is highest during […]
Sometimes a dog who seems like he doesn’t want to live anymore has an illness that’s eminently treatable. Don’t make a life-or-death decision without talking to your veterinarian.

A Good Death

One of the sad parts of our work is walking over to the clinic from our offices and seeing someone sitting outside on a bench, crying. We know what has just happened. Of course, the best way for a dog to die would be the same as the best way for a person — peacefully, […]