You may see a lot more dogs on the street today wearing harnesses rather than having their leashes attached to collars. Are harnesses safer for dogs than collars? Should you abandon the your dog's traditional collar altogether? The fact is, there are many types of collars AND harnesses on the market, and some serve specific purposes. The front-clip harness, for example, is heralded as the best kind of restraint tool for a dog who pulls on the leash during walks. Head halters, on the other hand, should really only be used by professional dog handlers in specialty situations, like in show rings.
Many clients bring their aging dogs to me for private sessions because they have started having difficulty or reluctance with or can no longer perform normal life activities like climbing stairs, getting into the car, or walking on smooth flooring. These problems are often related to muscle atrophy in the hind end. Once the dogs get the all-clear from their veterinarian, we work on fitness exercises designed to rebuild hind-end strength; we increase the difficulty of the exercises slowly over time until more function returns.
Let's take a moment to talk about collar grabs. I see a worrisome number of dogs who duck away when their human reaches for their collar. This is not only annoying for the human, it is also dangerous. Imagine what happens in an emergency, when the owner needs to quickly corral the dog to keep her out of danger, and the dog ducks away from the reaching hand and runs off.
The job of getting rid of fleas in your house or yard really consists of taking on both the adults and all the other flea life stages. One could think of the non-adult phases of the flea as another species of pest, given that each stage has differing life needs and vulnerabilities. Because flea eggs, larvae, and pupae all have the potential for turning into fleas, destroying the insects in the non-adult stages is critical to preventing the population from repeatedly bouncing back into your and your dog's lives.
What type of collar should your dog wear? It depends on your dog, your personal taste, and your training goals, philosophies, and needs. But from our force-free perspective, there are some types of collars we wholeheartedly endorse, some we support with caution, and some that we regard as unnecessary and risky.
Last month, in Bravecto
To paraphrase Forrest Gump, life with dogs is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you are going to get.In early May, my adolescent Pit/Lab-mix, Woody, started coughing and gagging dramatically. It seemed like he had something stuck in his throat, and though I looked in his mouth and throat I couldn't see anything. It called for an immediate trip to the veterinarian.
For several reasons, veterinarians tend to put the most stock in prescription oral or topical flea medications than any other preventatives. In fact, these are the two most effective solutions for killing fleas but they aren't without potential side effects and they should represent only a part of a dog owner's efforts to control fleas.
The final kindness we can do for beloved pets who are suffering from disease or painful effects of advanced age is to relieve and shorten their misery. Euthanasia should be painless and peaceful, giving a caregiver a last, loving embrace with her dog (or cat), and a memory of ending the pet's life in a quiet, dignified, fear-free, trauma-free manner. Many of us are at our most vulnerable at this time, wracked with sadness and distracted with deep concern for our companions and, unfortunately, this may cause us to fail to ensure that the end we want for our pets resembles our hopeful vision of a peaceful end in any way.
When the vet injected the drug into the muscle of Yogi's hind leg, my cat screamed the loudest meow I've ever heard and, with a power he hadn't displayed in years, thrust himself backward almost off the end of the table. The vet said, You can let him go." What?! I heard the words but my protective instinct kicked in; I was not going to let my frail friend crash to the floor! I was able to prevent him from falling off the table
In more than 30 years as a veterinarian, I have heard of a number of accounts similar to Jill Breitner's pet euthanasia horror stories. In my career, though, I have dedicated my practice to using only low-stress techniques, especially at the end of life. This is the art of euthanasia.
If you do nothing else about the aggression between your dogs, you must scrupulously manage their movements and activities. Every time your dog successfully engages in a behavior that you don't want her to exhibit, it makes it that much harder to convince her that it's not a useful behavior strategy. Every time your dog aggressively communicates to another canine family member, it increases the potential for unresolvable aggression between the two and serious injury to one or both.