Tag: Vetstreet

Taking our dogs out and about.

Another great article from Mary Jo of MNN

On Monday I published an article written by Wendy Lipscomb about summer heat for dogs, especially for long-haired dogs. It was well-received!

That article implied that our dogs frequently go out with us more often than not.

Summer brings in many outdoor activities such as hiking, swimming, running and going for a picnic or maybe going out just for a walk. There is nothing wrong with taking your dog out with you if you know how to regulate your pet’s body temperature.

But Mary Jo of Mother Nature Network published an article just a few days ago that offers another perspective. Here it is!

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Please don’t take your dog everywhere

Not all dogs are happy at public events.

by MARY JO DILONARDO, May 11, 2018.

Always be in tune to your dog’s body language when you take him to a public event. (Photo: Arina P Habich/Shutterstock)

Whether it’s a farmers market or a summer art festival, when the weather warms up, people head outside. And when they go outdoors, many people take their dogs. But while plenty of pups are happy to browse the produce stands and mingle with hundreds of strange people and their pets, there are many who are stressed by the adventure.

Some owners just assume that if they’re having fun, their dogs are happy, too. But not all dogs love the noises and smells, people and activity that come with going to outdoor events or restaurants. They get nervous and maybe even cranky when faced with scary or new situations.

Chicago trainer Greg Raub suggests asking yourself a few questions before snapping on the leash and taking your pup with you:
  • Will my dog be comfortable at the event or would he be happier at home?
  • Can I be sure my dog won’t react aggressively if a stranger rushes up to him?
  • Can I make sure my dog won’t get into something like dropped food or trash?
  • Even though my dog is harmless, could he scare little kids because of his size or looks?
  • Will it get too hot for my dog if I can’t find a spot in the shade?

Tips for a good outing

If you decide to take your dog to a public event, it’s key to set him up for success, says Maryland trainer Juliana Willems.

First up, she says, don’t use a retractable leash.

“There is hardly any control with these leashes, and in high activity environments you need all the control you can get,” she writes on her blog. “For the sake of all other dogs and owners at the event, I encourage you to stick to 4′ or 6′ standard leashes.”

Then, make sure to stuff your pockets with treats.

“I understand that shoving a bunch of treats in your dog’s mouth won’t solve real problems, but it can sure help manage some when you’re out in a distracting environment,” she says. “Oftentimes when there is an overwhelming amount of stimuli, your dog will only pay attention to you if you’ve got something they want: yummy food. In new environments it is essential to be able to capture your dog’s focus. Treats will help enormously for this, especially if they are high value.”

Pick and choose

Some dogs might be very stressed at an outdoor cafe, while other might enjoy watching the people go by. (Photo: Budimir Jevtic/Shutterstock)

Just be smart about when your pet tags along, suggests veterinarian Patty Khuly, V.M.D.

“Over time, I’ve learned that your life has to be 100 percent dog-friendly if your dog is going to tag along 100 percent of the time. And precious few of our lives are that accommodating,” she writes in Vetstreet.

For example, Khuly says that she only takes one of her four dogs to outdoor restaurants because her other three don’t have the right dispositions.

“There’s no point in taking your dog to a restaurant if he doesn’t have the temperament for it, won’t enjoy it or if it will cause a lot of disruption. But smaller, well-behaved and socialized dogs may be just fine.”

Look for signs of stress

Wherever you go with your pup, it’s key that you always pay attention to him. That’s not only so his leash doesn’t get tangled in a stroller, but it’s primarily so you can sense his mood.

Be aware of the signs and symptoms of stress so you know when it’s time to take off. Here are some of the most common things to look for, according to veterinarian Lynn Buzhardt, D.V.M. of VCA Hospitals.

  • Yawning
  • Nose or lip licking
  • Pacing or shaking
  • Whining, barking or howling
  • Pulled or pinned-back ears
  • Tail lowered or tucked
  • Cowering
  • Panting
  • Diarrhea
  • Avoidance or displacement (focusing on something else like sniffing the ground or turning away)
  • Hiding or escape behaviors (hiding behind you, digging, running away)

If you notice any of these stress signs, take your dog home or at least give him a break from all the activity.

“Dogs are extremely sensitive and can go from being fine to absolutely not fine in a matter of minutes. It is essential that you stay in tune to how your dog is reacting to other dogs or people, and the minute things start getting hairy, you skedaddle,” says Willems. “Your dog might not necessarily need to leave all together, but a time out away from all the hubbub can really help a dog’s mentality.”

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Must close by including the following:

Mary Jo DiLonardo writes about everything from health to parenting — and anything that helps explain why her dog does what he does.

We are on the verge of a thunderstorm arriving so please forgive me for signing off without delay.

The ways our dogs speak to the world.

A republication of my post from August, 2016.

I am sharing this with you again because it so nicely complements the posts of the previous two days.


The ways our dogs speak to the world.

First published August 8th, 2016.

Dogs are very vocal creatures.

Anyone who has been close to dogs in their lives knows that they are frequently very vocal creatures. Likewise, anyone who has been close to a dog or two quickly learns to understand the basic emotions being conveyed by a dog’s vocal sounds.

But, nonetheless, there was an item over on the Care2.com site recently that provided a comprehensive tutorial on listening and interpreting the sounds from our dogs. I wanted to share it with you today.

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How to Interpret Your Dog’s Growls

1387750.large By: Vetstreet.com August 3, 2016

Our smaller ones!

Are smaller dogs more difficult to care for?

Of the nine dogs that we have here at home two would be classified as small dogs: Sweeny and Pedy.

To my mind they are no more different from the other dogs than are our two German Shepherds; Pharaoh and Cleo.

But that still didn’t stop me from noting a recent article over on the Care2 site under the heading of Everyday Issues for People With Small Dog Breeds. Here it is for you good people.

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Everyday Issues for People With Small Dog Breeds

1391153-largeBy: Vetstreet.com October 10, 2016

About Vetstreet.com

I never thought of myself as a small-dog person. When I was growing up, I much preferred my dad’s German Shepherds to my stepmom’s Toy Poodles. The first dog I acquired as an adult was a retired racing Greyhound. But although Greyhounds are wonderful apartment and condo dogs, we have stairs, and it became difficult to get Savanna up and down them after she lost a leg to bone cancer.

The next dog, we decided, would be smaller. That’s how we ended up with Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (and one Chihuahua mix). But although they are more portable, small dogs come with their own set of issues. If you are considering acquiring a small-breed dog because you think one will be easier to live with, here’s what you should know.

It Ain’t Easy Being Small

Small dogs are, well, small. It’s easy to step on them, no matter how careful you try to be. It’s not so bad with the larger Toy breeds such as Pugs and Cavaliers — at least, not once they reach adult size — but smaller dogs such as Chihuahuas, Papillons and Yorkies run the risk of getting stepped on or kicked not just by the humans in the home but also by other pets. We frequently joke about attaching a balloon on a long string to the collar of our Chihuahua mix so we’ll be more likely to notice where she is.

Other pets may bully them. Lots of small dogs rule the roost, but when they have a gentle personality, their size can work against them. Esmeralda, a Papillon, was stalked by her owner’s much larger cat, who seemed to view the small, fluffy dog as a toy at best, potential dinner at worst. It was a painful dilemma for the owner, who finally ended up placing her cat in a new home to save her dog’s life.

Little dogs can hurt themselves jumping on and off furniture. It’s an especially common problem with breeds such as Italian Greyhounds, who have long, thin legs, or Japanese Chin, who often enjoy being on high places such as the back of the sofa. This is more common in young dogs, who are not only still growing but also tend to be fearless, but any small dog can suffer a broken bone if he lands the wrong way jumping off the furniture, is stepped on by an errant guest or is dropped to the floor by a child.

For this reason, it is often necessary to buy steps so small dogs can get off furniture safely and easily (getting up on their own can be an issue, too). It’s better to teach them this habit at an early age than to risk a broken bone.

Tiny dogs often think they’re bigger than they actually are. In their head, they’re just as big and badass as that Rottweiler down the street. It’s not uncommon to see a Yorkshire Terrier, Chihuahua or Miniature Pinscher take his life in his hands by challenging a bigger dog. Owners must always be prepared to keep their small dogs out of harm’s way — especially when their dogs try to bring it on themselves.

Too Cute To Train?

Little dogs can be just as smart as big ones — sometimes more so. But people often don’t make the effort to train them. That’s a shame, because small dogs are just as much in need of manners as large ones.

There are a couple of issues with training small dogs. One is that they’re so low to the ground it can be difficult to get their attention or to reach down and reward them with treats.

Another is that some can be slow to learn house training. But it doesn’t have to be that way. As with any other dog, perseverance and consistency win the day.

By Kim Campbell Thornton | Vetstreet.com

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I’m not completely sure whether I totally agree with everything that Kim writes about: what do you think?

So far as me and Jean are concerned our Sweeny and Pedy are adorable and at this time of the year are most welcome as all-night sleepers on our bed!

Pedy in front of Sweeny. Picture taken yesterday afternoon.
Pedy in front of Sweeny. Picture taken yesterday afternoon.

Mouthing it canine fashion.

Another fascinating insight into the behaviours of dogs.

Every dog owner knows how dogs appear to have their mouths directly linked to their emotions. From licking to growling, from dribbling to holding stuff, we humans don’t really have a clue as to the role of the canine mouth over and above eating food.

Which is why this recent item over on the Care2 site caught my eye (not my mouth!) and I wanted to share it with you.

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Why Does My Dog Grab Something in His Mouth When He’s Excited?

1390782-largeBy Vetstreet.com September 26, 2016

About Vetstreet.com Follow Vetstreet.com at @vetstreet

Some dogs seem to love to entertain. When guests come to the door, these dogs become delighted hosts, racing to greet their visitors with something — anything — they find to put in their mouths.

What’s behind this amusing behavior?

Vetstreet checked in with Dr. Wailani Sung, a veterinary animal behaviorist, to find out.

There are several different reasons your dog might be doing this, she says. Among them: They’re offering a gift, they’re looking for attention or they want to show us they’re happy.

“I think some dogs are so excited to see a visitor because it may represent a new person who will play with him/her, so the dog grabs a toy to try to entice the person to play, whether it is tug or throwing the object,” Dr. Sung explains.

A Welcome Distraction?

For other dogs, it may be a behavior that the owners taught them or encouraged to give them something more appropriate to do in place of jumping on people or barking.

“Other owners have recognized that their dogs may appear anxious or worried, but if they get the dog engaged with their toys, they appear less concerned about new visitors in the house,” she says. “Some dogs may naturally grab a toy on their own, whether to solicit play or to have something to do.”

The dog may also be reacting to your own excitement and responding in kind.

Dr. Sung has seen the behavior mainly in Retrievers but said it’s something any breed might exhibit.

Avoiding an Embarrassing Moment

In some cases, owners report some rather embarrassing situations — like when the first thing their pooch spotted to grab was dirty laundry or other “unmentionables.”

Dr. Sung says it’s best to be sure those things are out of the dog’s reach. But if the arrival is a surprise and the dog does get something he shouldn’t have, the owner should try to keep calm and get the dog to exchange the contraband for another toy or treat.

“They should distract the dog, redirect to a more appropriate behavior, such as come and sit, and then ask the dog to drop it,” Dr. Sung said. “Sometimes people forget and raise their voices or go chasing after their dog and it becomes a game to the dog. Then the next time visitors arrive, the dog remembers how much fun he had last time people arrived and grabbed an item.”

It can be flattering to be the source of a canine host’s excitement — unless he’s so thrilled, he’s jumping or running into people. In those cases, Dr. Sung recommends putting him in another room or in his kennel or bed while guests arrive to try to avoid the excitement.

By Amy Sinatra Ayres | Vetstreet.com

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Anyone got any wonderful stories about what their dog has put in their mouth? (That you would like to share!!)

Senior Smiles

Adopting dogs who are no longer young animals.

A trip to your local animal shelter reveals that dogs of all types, backgrounds, and ages may usually be seen. Inevitably, those dogs that are no longer in ‘the first flush of youth’ are frequently seen as less adoptable than younger animals. While that is understandable from a prospective owner’s point of view there’s no reason at all to disfavor the older dog.

Both Casey and Pedy were dogs that Jean and I adopted when they were well into their middle years, or six-years-old to put a number to it.

Casey, shown above, had been in the animal shelter for over a year and on top of being six had the added burden of being a Pit Bull breed.

Hi Pedy, I'm the bossman around here. Name's Pharaoh and you'll be OK.
Hi Pedy, I’m the bossman around here. Name’s Pharaoh and you’ll be OK.

So when the Care2 blogsite published a post about adopting senior dogs I thought that this was most certainly something to be shared with you.

Here it is.

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What Advice Would You Offer Someone Adopting a Senior Dog?

1388615.large

By: Vetstreet.com August 18, 2016

About Vetstreet.com
Those of us who have been fortunate enough to share our hearts and homes with a senior dog know just how special those gray-muzzled darlings can be. Earning the love of an aging pup who truly needs you creates a special bond that’s hard to put into words.

True, they may have some age-related health issues (like arthritis, dental disease or failing vision or hearing) that require attention or treatment. But older dogs have lots of pros, too, like the fact that they’re likely to be better trained than a puppy and they’re probably game to lounge around with you and take it easy. And when it comes to adopting a senior dog, you have the benefit of knowing what you’re getting in terms of size and in most cases, personality.

Our readers recently shared some great tips for people getting their first dog or cat — and in fact, we know that many of you have opened your homes to adult dogs. So when we wanted to offer tips to people looking to welcome an older canine into the family, we turned to our Vetstreet Facebook followers and asked: What’s the one piece of advice you’d give someone adopting a senior dog? And, as we suspected, our readers came through with some excellent — and touching — words of wisdom.

Advice for Someone Adopting a Senior Dog

Many readers expressed the importance of showering your senior dog with love. “Love them unconditionally, as you don’t know how long you will have them,” said Peggy Lowe-Brooks. “Enjoy each day they are in your life.”

Rich Dunn agreed, saying, “Love them, love them. Treat them like family, be there to the end and hope someday to see them on the other side!” Dee Davis added, “Make sure you’re committed to love, care and cater to them for them the rest of their lives.”

Mike Carroll suggested remembering that, for some dogs, age might be just a number: “Have fun with them; they still have a lot of energy and the desire to do most anything they ever did before. Baby them big time and be ready to be on the receiving end of some serious love and affection from them. Just let them enjoy the rest of their life like never before.”

William West Patience’s experience backs up Carroll’s suggestion. “I have had dogs that lived until 15, then I adopted one that was 16 because no one else would,” he said. “It has been a rewarding experience and has taught me so much. Except for some mobility issues he doesn’t know he’s an old dog.”

Of course, it’s important to remember that taking on a dog during his golden years can be a big responsibility, and potential owners should be ready for that. “…Remember they may have expensive medical bills; be prepared to give them the medical care they will need,” said Priscilla Leuliette.

Susan Holt Stanley was of a similar mind, saying, “Love them with your heart, care for them medically and tell them a million times how special they are!”

And Sarah Vaughn reminded us of the golden rule: “Be patient! One day you’re going to be elderly and you don’t want someone yelling at or getting frustrated with you because you move so slowly and have accidents because you can’t make it outside (or to the facilities) in time.”

If you’re considering bringing a senior dog into your home, there are numerous things you can do to help him enjoy his senior years. You might take steps to pet-proof your home in a way that makes it easier for him to get around. And believe it or not, teaching your old dog new tricks isn’t only possible, it’s a great way to help your new-old pup stay mentally and physically sharp! Getting him to the vet for regular exams and keeping an eye out for any physical or behavioral changes is important for dogs of all ages, but becomes perhaps even more important as he ages.

Care2 readers, what advice do you have for people adopting senior dogs? Tell us below in the comments. [Ed: as comments left on this post.]

By Kristen Seymour | Vetstreet.com

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Keeping an eye out for any physical or behavioral changes doesn’t just apply to aging dogs! 😉

The ways our dogs speak to the world.

Dogs are very vocal creatures.

Anyone who has been close to dogs in their lives knows that they are frequently very vocal creatures. Likewise, anyone who has been close to a dog or two quickly learns to understand the basic emotions being conveyed by a dog’s vocal sounds.

But, nonethless, there was an item over on the Care2.com site recently that provided a comprehensive tutorial on listening and interpreting the sounds from our dogs. I wanted to share it with you today.

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How to Interpret Your Dog’s Growls

1387750.large By: Vetstreet.com August 3, 2016

Summer heat and Dogs

Hot, fine weather does carry a risk – for our dogs.

A week today will see us celebrating the Summer Solstice and for much of the Northern Hemisphere the heat of the summer days soon will be upon us. Both we and our dogs love taking a bit of sunshine but equally for both species the danger of heat stroke is not to be underestimated.

So it seemed highly appropriate to republish an article that was presented over on Care2 a couple of weeks ago.

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Five Factors That Put a Dog at Risk for Heatstroke

1383141.largeBy: Vetstreet.com May 30, 2016

About Vetstreet.com Follow Vetstreet.com at @vetstreet

Summer can be an incredibly fun season for dogs and their active owners. There are walks to go on, boat rides to take and beaches to explore!

But for all the fantastic opportunities summertime offers, there are also a number of seasonal dangers. A serious one that all dog owners should keep in mind is heatstroke. While all dogs are at risk of heatstroke, there are a few factors that can make your dog more vulnerable. From the genetic predisposition of certain breeds to the dangers some outdoor dogs face, here are five heatstroke risk factors to be aware of — and avoid.

ThinkstockPhotos-513469413-1-e1464380428868Congenital Defects or Underlying Respiratory Problems

Upper-airway problems, as seen in flat-faced dogs like Pugs and Boxers, are some of the most common risk factors for heatstroke in dogs exposed to higher temperatures, according to Dr. Debbie Mandell, staff veterinarian and adjunct associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital. As dogs get hotter, they pant to cool down, and brachycephalic breeds have a difficult time breathing so hard in hot conditions.

Brachycephalic airway syndrome isn’t the only potential issue. Large and medium breeds, like Labs and Pit Bulls, can experience laryngeal paralysis, and collapsing trachea commonly affects small dogs like Pomeranians and Yorkies. With both conditions, the dogs’ airways swell as they pant, which causes them to pant harder. That in turn increases the swelling and can create a dangerous situation quite quickly.

ThinkstockPhotos-534541239-1-e1464380439891

Not Being Acclimated to Hot Weather

That sunny weather can be so inviting that it’s nearly impossible to remain indoors, especially if you — and your dog — have been stuck inside for months. But it’s important to remember that even if you’ve been hitting the gym during the cooler months, your dog might not have built up the same tolerance for activity. And if you take him out to run or play with you, he’s not going to know when to stop, even if he reaches the brink of collapse due to heat stress, Dr. Mandell says.

So what’s a responsible dog owner to do? First of all, start with a visit to your vet, so you’re sure your dog is healthy enough for increased exercise. Second, exercise restraint when it comes to, well, exercise. Start off slowly and build up your dog’s fitness very gradually. Third, make sure you know the signs of heat stress (like excessive panting and drooling, a fast pulse and gums that have changed in color from pink to bright red) and be prepared to help your dog cool down before it becomes an emergency. If your dog vomits or has bloody diarrhea, you should call your veterinarian immediately.

ThinkstockPhotos-495804298-1-e1464380444720Being Kept Outdoors Without Access to Shade and Water

It’s not only indoor dogs who aren’t used to the heat who can find themselves at heatstroke risk — dogs who live primarily outdoors can land in trouble come summertime, too, if they’re left without shade and water. Of course, it’s best for dogs to be kept primarily indoors, but if a dog must be mostly outdoors, always provide a cool area out of the sun and plenty of fresh water.

1383141.largeBeing Left In the Car

When it comes to ways to avoid heatstroke risk, never, ever leave a pet in a hot car. The temperature inside a car can reach over 120 degrees in minutes, Dr. Mandell says. And no, cracking the window doesn’t make enough of a difference to help.

Should you see an animal locked inside a hot car, there are ways to safely rescue it. The Humane Society of the United States and the ASPCA recommend that you write down the car’s make, model and license plate; attempt to locate the owner; and call animal control or your local police department for help.

ThinkstockPhotos-495739266-1-e1464380465591Obesity and Thick Fur

Obesity can make dogs more susceptible to a whole host of health issues, including heatstroke. That’s because not all heat escapes dogs through the respiratory system; in fact, some heat loss occurs through the skin. But the layer of fat in obese pets can limit their ability to cool themselves that way.

That layer of fat under the skin serves as insulation and can prevent some of that heat from getting to the skin to be released. Thick fur can create the same problem, so furry dog breeds, like Newfoundlands and Great Pyrenees are at similar risk.

By Kristen Seymour | Vetstreet.com

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If any reader has further advice and tips to help others then please don’t hesitate to leave a comment.