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The Meaning of “Veterinarian Recommended” on Dog Food

You know those television commercials that have a dentist in a lab coat recommending a particular toothpaste? Well, the marketing ploy has drifted over to products meant for our pets, in a manner of speaking. A number of dog food manufacturers have a burst in large letters on the front of their packages that says the product is “Veterinarian Recommended.”

Integrative Geriatrics for Your Senior Dog?

“I always wanted to be a veterinarian,” Dr. Narda Robinson says, “but it just seemed like too much of a heartbreak.” So she went to medical school, practiced on people for a few years, then finally accepted that “what I really needed to do with my life was work with animals,” she remarks.

Does Your Dog Suffer from Motion Sickness in the Car, or is it Anxiety?

The image of a dog sticking his head out the car window is iconic. Even though it’s unsafe because it means he’s not safely secured in his seat, most dogs love to feel the wind on their face as the vehicle rushes along. Yet a small but significant minority of dogs feel nauseated during car rides, literally. They hunker down for what’s going to be a grim experience. They whine, pace, or smack their lips. Some drool or vomit.

Dear Doctor February 2024

Walk the dog before or after meals?

Don’t Let Your Dog’s Light-Up Collar Flash On and Off

Especially during these short days of the year, light-up collars and leashes are great for taking your dog for that last piddle in the dark. But you may want to leave off the flash option so the bulbs don’t keep blinking. Flashing lights can bring on epileptic attacks in some people. And they may irritate some dogs, or worse, make them feel anxious or unnerved. Best to light up your dog’s night life with a steady glow. 

What’s On Your Dog’s Favorite Playlist?

An easy and surefire way to calm a dog who’s anxious, perhaps because you’re not home, is to leave on some music. A number of studies suggest that dogs find music calming. But not just any music.

Download The Full January 2024 Issue PDF

  • When a Play Bow Is Not a Play Bow
  • Short Takes
  • Dog Dates: Daily, Weekly, Monthly, or Yearly?
  • New Thinking on the Right Way to Help a Dog with Conflict Aggression
  • Warnings About Corn in Dog Food Unfounded
  • Adjusting the Dog to the Toothbrush
  • Why Won’t My Dog Settle Down at Night?
  • Dear Doctor

When a Play Bow Is Not a Play Bow

We’ve all seen it. A dog stretches out her front legs and leans down on her elbows with her chest to the ground but leaves her rump in the air. It’s called a play bow. That’s because it’s an invitation — to another dog or to a person — to play. Most of the time.

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.

New Treatment for Canine Epilepsy

Epilepsy, a condition of recurring seizures for which a cause most frequently cannot be found, is the most common neurological disorder seen in dogs. It affects an estimated one in 20 of them. In the past, veterinarians often prescribed unapproved phenobarbital tablets from the human drug marketplace to help control seizures. But the Food and Drug Administration has just conditionally approved phenobarbital for our canine pets. The drug manufacturer has five years to be granted full approval by moving evidence for the drug’s effectiveness and safety from “expected” to fully “demonstrated.”

Dog Dates: Daily, Weekly, Monthly, or Yearly?

Read this article with your smart phone nearby, your appointment book, or your wall calendar. You won’t need to jot down dates for things you’re supposed to be doing daily — those are tasks you’ll want to commit to memory. But reminders for what you’re supposed to tend to weekly, monthly, and annually will help you take the best care of your dog. What better time to get this in order than at the start of the year?*