October 2011

Features

Dog Teeth Cleaning: Don’t Deny Dental Health

While your veterinarian might not have said much about your dog’s teeth 10 years ago, today, it’s likely at the forefront of discussion during your dog’s annual or semi-annual health exam. That doesn’t mean your vet is now a money-grubbing capitalist. It means that veterinarians have learned how important their patients’ dental health is and how better to address it.

When One Is Not Enough

For many of us who love dogs, our canine family members are a lot like potato chips – we can’t have just one. There are so many dogs out there, each with love to share and insights to offer, each needing love and care, that the idea of restricting ourselves to a single canine companion is simply unthinkable. Our four-legged pals complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and fill our hearts and homes with joy and love (and fur).

Dog Seizures: Causes and Treatments

There are few things as frightening as watching your dog have a seizure. Yet dog seizure disorders are surprisingly common. A seizure is defined as uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain. Seizures can run the gamut from very minor, focal seizures (a twitching of the face or a leg) to major convulsions in which a dog loses consciousness, may vocalize loudly, has uncontrolled muscle movements, and loses bowel and/or bladder control.

Dog Has Bad Breath?

The odor was there. Not overpowering, but “off” and definitely not normal. My six-year-old Bouvier Atle’s breath simply never, ever stank. Yet here it was. Some kind of skanky odor emanating from his sweet little face. Was it time for a dental cleaning?

The Best Wet Dog Food: How to Find It, Where to Look

There are eight things required by law on a canned dog food label. The front label must contain the brand and product name, species for which the food is intended, and the quantity statement (how much is in the can). The next five requirements may appear on the back or back and side labels.

Dogs vs. Wolves

Despite the widespread belief that wild wolf packs exist in a perpetual state of dominance challenges and bids for enhanced status, the collected evidence shows a glaring absence of these rigid types of relationships. There are few reports of wolves seeking higher positions in their pack, fighting over leadership, or physically dominating other wolves through aggression or alpha rolls.

The Best Dog Winter Coats and Jackets

I tested the winter dog jackets for warmth, water resistance, and the ability to put them on and take them off a dog easily. I also looked for comfort – the fit and fabric that best allowed ease of movement for active dogs. Most of the products I reviewed are pricey. Admittedly, I wasn’t looking for a bargain. If you’re out with your dog in a seriously cold winter climate, you need serious gear.

Barkaholics Not-Very-Anonymous

The trouble with having a dog who barks for a variety of reasons is that there isn’t one easy answer for getting her to stop. People often see barking as a single problem; just last week I was asked by several students in my class, “How do I stop my dog from barking?” I couldn’t give a simple answer. The solution to barking problems depends on understanding several factors.

Help! My Dog Always Smells Bad

Most of us love snuggling with our dogs and burying our noses in our dogs’ soft, shiny coats. But if you find yourself avoiding that last activity due to your dog’s persistent unpleasant odor, read on!

How to Keep Dogs Off Furniture - If You Want To

There's a method to keeping your dogs off the furniture if you don't want them there. I personally love a dog on my lap or under my arm when I’m sitting on the sofa. Not only do I enjoy the cuddling, I also get cold easily and love the warmth of dog bodies next to me. In our home, we keep the furniture covered with blankets for easy removal when company comes (dog hair begone!) and both dogs are taught to get off and/or stay off when asked to do so.

Lyme Disease in Dogs

There are three “states” of Lyme disease in dogs: acute, subacute, and chronic. Symptoms generally do not appear until after a two- to five-month incubation period, and can take even longer. Affected dogs may first shows signs of any of the three states, and may progress to others depending on the severity of infection, the dog’s immune system, and treatment.

Cloudy Eyes in Dogs

There are many possible ways in a which a dog’s eyes can look clouded. Often, you are seeing the cloudiness in the lens of the eye – an elastic, transparent structure that lies behind the iris (the pigmented part of the eye) and the pupil (the opening in the center of the eye). Tiny muscle fibers inside the eye contract and relax to makes the lens change thickness and shape; these movements help the dog change focus. As dogs age, certain changes cause the lens to turn white and become visible. When this ordinarily transparent structure develops a cloudy spot or section, the dog’s vision is compromised.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Dog Owners

Much of the old-fashioned dog training we were exposed to growing up focused on waiting for the dog to make a mistake and then harshly correcting him. While most of us simply accepted this as “how you train a dog,” we were missing the bigger picture. This method never taught the dog what he was supposed to do in that situation the next time.

MRSA in Therapy Dogs: Preventing Transmission in Hospitals

The patients who interacted closely with the dogs were six times more likely to become MRSA carriers than those who did not interact closely. But when the dogs were decolonized, the close-interaction group’s risk for becoming MRSA carriers was no different from the group of patients who did not interact closely with the dogs.

Are Dogs More Fearful Than They Used to Be?

Many of us trainers also have been called upon to help owners with extremely undersocialized and fearful dogs imported from elsewhere, such as the Chinese and Korean meat-market dogs and “street dogs” brought here from Puerto Rico, Mexico, and elsewhere. Whatever the reason for the seeming increase in the population of fearful dogs, good behavior professionals will do their best to help these dogs (and their humans) have a better quality of life – and there definitely are things that can help.