June 2011

How to Help Your Noise-Phobic Dog Get Through Loud Events

If you can’t get farther away from a fireworks show, try to at least shield your dog’s eyes and ears to reduce the intensity of the stimuli.

July 4th is still a month away, but in many parts of the country sound-sensitive dogs and the humans who love them are already struggling with the effects of thunderstorms. Our Corgi, Lucy, is a thunder-phobe, and we know all too well the impact thunder and firecrackers have on her (and our) quality of life. Fortunately, the following can make life better for you and your dog during noisy events.   More...

Keeping Your Dog Safe at the Dog Park

Ideally, you can find a time when your local dog park is not crowded, or populated by dogs who play too rough or bully others. If your dog’s park time is highly stressful for him, it negates its socialization and exercise value.

Subscribers Only — Dog parks have gotten a bad rap in the past few years, thanks in large part to articles written and statements made by training and behavior professionals. That’s unfortunate, because, while there are, indeed, problems with some dog parks, a well-run facility can be a lifesaver for some dogs. These days, most dog park administrators understand the need for rules that purport to regulate, at least to some degree, the behavior of the canines and humans who avail themselves of the dog park privilege. Problems arise when there’s no one in attendance to monitor the action and enforce the rules. Some parks run well on a peer-pressure basis, but this format often acts only to evict an offender after a problem arises – sometimes a serious one – rather than screening users in advance to prevent problems.   More...

Sample Dog Park Rules

Subscribers Only — Park rules should be posted prominently near park entrances – if they’re not, ask about them prior to bringing your dog to the park, and make sure you are able and willing to comply. Here are some of the rules that you are likely to find...   More...

Concerns About Dog Parks

Subscribers Only — Trish King, Director of Training and Behavior, Marin Humane Society, Novato, California, (marinhumanesociety.org) says potential dog park problems include...   More...

How Dog Breed Discrimination Can Affect Your Homeowners Insurance Coverage

Erin Sullivan’s pit bull, Doc, has his Canine Good Citizen title and advanced training in several canine sports, including tracking. But owning Doc made it nearly impossible to find a company that would sell Sullivan renter’s insurance in Florida, where she moved to take a new job.

Subscribers Only — When Erin Sullivan’s employer offered her a promotion and relocation to Orlando from Baltimore, she jumped at the chance to leave the cold behind in favor of the Sunshine State. Little did she know that her excitement would soon be quashed as she attempted to find a rental home – and subsequently, renter’s insurance – that would accept her, her Pit Bull, and two Pit Bull-mixes. Stories of breed discrimination by insurance companies (and rental property owners) abound as insurance companies increasingly refuse to write homeowner’s and renter’s policies for people who own breeds of dogs that the insurance industry considers to be “dangerous.” Many opponents argue that the industry’s decisions are based on faulty assumptions and improper use of dog bite statistics.   More...

Planning on Taking Your Dog on Your Next Vacation? Make it a Great Experience!

Your dog won’t swamp your vacation if you’ve done plenty of prep work closer to home. Well before the trip, practice and reinforce any skills she’ll need to display, such as staying in her designated spot in the canoe.

For some of us, taking a vacation just wouldn’t be nearly as much fun if we couldn’t share it with our dogs. Camping and other outdoor adventures are natural vacation options with our four-legged friends, although dog-friendly vacations can be as plush as a four-star hotel stay! Depending on you and your dog, your perfect dog-friendly vacation might mean a visit with your favorite aunt and uncle, sightseeing in your favorite historical town, long days hiking and swimming, or simply snoozing in a hammock on your favorite beach. While taking your dog on vacation can be great fun, it can also pose some challenges. Not every dog (or person, for that matter) will enjoy a visit to a crowded tourist destination. Not every relative will appreciate having us show up on their doorstep with our dog in tow. And some dogs just aren’t cut out for rugged camping adventures.   More...

Bringing the Dog on Family Visits

If your dog will be attending a family event (such as a birthday party) she should be sociable and calm with strangers.

If you are visiting family or friends, the key to a great vacation with your dog pal is to ask first! Be direct: Would it be convenient for me to bring my dog? Even if your family and friends love your dog as much as you do (or love you enough to understand that you are a package deal), there may be situations when it is just not suitable to bring your dog.   More...

A Study of Breed-Related Causes of Death in Dogs

It helps to know what disease is most likely to afflict your dog’s breed, or which organ system is most prone to problems.

Subscribers Only — A new 20-year retrospective study from the University of Georgia examined causes of death in dogs between 1984 and 2004. Researchers looked at records of 74,566 dogs from the Veterinary Medical Database, which includes data from 27 veterinary teaching hospitals. These results may be biased toward more severe, complicated, or unusual causes than the general dog population, but are fascinating nonetheless. The study grouped deaths by organ system and by disease category (“pathophysiological process”), and analyzed results based on age, breed, and average breed size. Eighty-two breeds with at least 100 representatives were included in breed-based analyses; mixed-breed dogs were considered as one group.   More...

When Buying Veterinary Drugs Online, Look for Accredited Sites

Subscribers Only — Purchasing veterinary medications such as heartworm preventatives online can offer significant cost savings, but how can you be sure that you’re buying the real thing and not counterfeit products from China, which can be impossible to tell apart? I recently read about a dog who tested positive for heartworms despite being given monthly preventative medications. The reason may be that the heartworm preventative the owner purchased online was not what it claimed to be.   More...

ProMeris Discontinued

Subscribers Only — Pfizer has announced plans to discontinue manufacture and sale of its flea and tick control product, ProMeris. Orders will continue to be filled until September 20, 2011. ProMeris was introduced in the fall of 2007, and touted as the first topical product to use metaflumizone. Pfizer gained control of ProMeris when it acquired Wyeth/Fort Dodge Animal Health in 2009. Pfizer is also the maker of Revolution, used to control fleas and one species of ticks, along with heartworm, ear mites, and sarcoptic mange.   More...

Not For You?

Subscribers Only — Bringing a baby or toddler (or even grade school-aged kids) into a dog park is the inappropriate human behavior I most deplore. When our kids were about 8 years old, a friend took my son, his twin boys, and their dog to the dog park – and then left them all there together while he drove someplace to get coffee. When he got back to the park, he was alarmed to see an ambulance in the dog park parking lot . . . and then horrified to see that the EMTs were gathered around one of his sons, while the other two boys stood by with frightened expressions. It turns out that the boys were playing (and probably completely absorbed in their own world) when one of them got flattened – knocked to the ground, hard – by a dog who was running by with a pack of big, boisterous dogs. Mike was okay, but he had the wind knocked out of him (and he has asthma anyway), so when it appeared that he couldn’t breathe, and the nearby dog owners learned that the boys were there without a parent, someone called 911.   More...