Albuquerque Journal Articles

Basset Hounds

By drjeffnichol | September 6, 2012 | Comments Off on Basset Hounds

Why that funky body style? Are they all loveable?   Question: What are basset hounds good for?   Dr. Nichol: That depends on who’s asking and why. Originally Bassets were bred to hunt rabbits. Their short legs allowed them to get into small places like rabbit holes. They are really tenacious hunters. Once they’re on a scent they are be oblivious to everything-all the while howling their little brains out.   But that’s their original purpose. What are they good for in contemporary American culture? I asked Basset owners in my family and others who I know well. They’re good…

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Training Collars & Head Halters

By drjeffnichol | September 6, 2012 | Comments Off on Training Collars & Head Halters

There are several useful tools; each has its place. All are safe if used properly.   Question: Do you know of any health problems related to either prong/pinch collars or head halters?  I am doing some research for our training club.   Dr. Nichol: I’m glad to get this question because there is a great deal of concern and misinformation about training methods and devises like these. The truth is that, yes they are safe, but there is always a way to misuse and mistreat a dog during training. Most often these problems occur through genuine ignorance from a loving…

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Pets & Children: Teaching Responsibility

By drjeffnichol | September 6, 2012 | Comments Off on Pets & Children: Teaching Responsibility

Carefully consider the maturity of the primary caretaker before adding a new pet to your home.   Question: I’m thinking that a pet is a good way to teach responsibility to my children. One is 5 and the other is 3. Do you think they are old enough?   Dr. Nichol: Do I look like Dr. Joyce Brothers? (Please say no.) The truth is I see a lot of parents making this decision at various times in the development of their children. And having a couple of bambinos myself, I can add a personal perspective.   Number one: Even some…

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Introducing a New Dog to an Established Group of Cats

By drjeffnichol | September 6, 2012 | Comments Off on Introducing a New Dog to an Established Group of Cats

There is a good method to taking it slow & careful. A gentle dog should fit in well-eventually.   Question: Five days ago I got a young dog. I already had three cats . I’ve let the cats run loose at night and kept the doggie in the bathroom. I let them all sniff under the door. I’ve taken the dog with me in the daytime and let the cats be able to go into her bathroom to check out her scent. I’m not comfortable letting her roam the house yet with the kitties. The cats are not hiding and…

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Puppy Training Class

By drjeffnichol | September 6, 2012 | Comments Off on Puppy Training Class

Even small breed dogs need good manners. Taking a puppy to school gets you both trained-and your lives together get better.   Question: We just got a brand new puppy and are we ever excited. She is perfect. She’s a miniature poodle and she’s 12 weeks old and she’s already making potty outside and she comes to us when we call her. But I think dog school would be a great idea but my husband says that she’s just a little dog and we can train her at home and why would we want to take her to a place…

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Aging Dogs-Knowing when the Time for Euthanasia is Right

By drjeffnichol | September 6, 2012 | Comments Off on Aging Dogs-Knowing when the Time for Euthanasia is Right

Your Veterinarian should be there for Guidance & Support Question: I have a 17 year old cocker terrier. She now has multiple problems and is on many meds. She is deaf and can’t see that well. My dilemma is this: When is the appropriate time to think about “putting her to sleep”? I love her with all my being and have a difficult time even thinking about this let alone asking about it. She still runs around and loves to eat and get treats. The last thing I would ever want to do is make her suffer.   Dr. Nichol:…

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Grieving Pet Loss

By drjeffnichol | September 6, 2012 | Comments Off on Grieving Pet Loss

Other family dogs share the loss & the grief. Question: A few weeks ago I had to put down Sam, one of my four dogs, due to liver failure. The remaining three seem to be grieving, no playing, no barking, not eating. Sam seemed to be the leader. How can I help them overcome their grief when I cannot seem to recover from it? Thank you for listening.   Dr. Nichol: Your world has been badly shaken. You and your special family are having normal feelings of loss. The other dogs had a unique social structure that needs to repair…

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Urine Killing Grass

By drjeffnichol | September 6, 2012 | Comments Off on Urine Killing Grass

Daily Vitamin C will provide a healthy lawn.   Question: We have a 6-month-old blue heeler, female; she is slowly turning my grass yellow.  Is there anything that I can do to prevent my grass from dying?   Dr. Nichol: 250 mg. (two hundred fifty milligrams) of vitamin C once daily will acidify her urine and cause the grass to grow lush and green in those spots instead of brown and dead.     Question: I read in your column that in order to neutralize a female dog’s urine you should give 250 unit of vitamin C. Should I give…

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Belly Buttons

By drjeffnichol | September 6, 2012 | Comments Off on Belly Buttons

Everybody has one. Here’s how to hunt one down.   Question: Why don’t dogs and cats have belly buttons like people?   Dr. Nichol: Well, the truth is that they do but they’re just a bit more modest about it. I’ve examined the tummies of countless dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice and guinea pigs and everybody has one but they are all strangely unfestooned with rings and studs and starburst tattoos. Each of them is discreetly covered with hair. Nonhuman mammals never seem to display their navels. I just don’t get it.   To find your dog’s…

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Legal Intervention for a Neglected Dog

By drjeffnichol | September 6, 2012 | Comments Off on Legal Intervention for a Neglected Dog

Do your Best job of Diplomacy Before calling Animal Control Question: One of my neighbors has had his Labrador confined behind his house (on the windowless side) for years.  Never walks him, now had a debark collar installed.  The dog is outside day and night, very lonely.  I have tried to talk to the neighbor, but the answer has been “mind your own business.”  What organization can I contact to do something to help this poor, lonely creature?   Dr. Nichol: You are a kind soul to want to help this dog. Boredom is a destructive force. Creatures of any…

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