A More Enriched Environment will Provide Healthy Alternatives

Question:
My dog brings feces into the house from outside almost as an “offering”. How can I stop that behavior?

Dr. Nichol:
Maybe she’s like Lassie and she’s trying to tell you something. These tokens could represent your dog’s depth of feeling for you or her payment for room and board or perhaps an honest critique of your cooking.

You want the truth? Some dogs play with their feces like toys because they exist in an otherwise sterile environment and it’s all they have to do. Remove temptation by cleaning up the stool as fast as it appears. Then give your dog healthy outdoor amusements like a soccer ball to push around. A digging pit on the north side of your house would encourage normal canine excavating if you moisten and loosen the dirt every few days. Make this normal behavior fun for your dog by allowing her to watch as you bury a few rawhides. After discovering these treasures later she may deliver them to you as more fitting offerings.

Be sure to play with your dog often. Brisk leash walks and daily trips to the dog park will help her socialize with other dogs and enjoy a fuller life, devoid of scatological activities.
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I have been given a wonderful volunteer opportunity that excites me to no end. I know there are people who will want to help. In just a few weeks I’ll be in Belize to spay, neuter, treat wounds, kill parasites, and practice field medicine for underserved dogs, cats, and a bit of livestock too. Participating veterinarians and assistants are donating our time and paying our own travel expenses but we could use a bit more help. Surgical equipment and medical supplies are in short supply. The wish list includes: thermometers, Adams flea and tick spray, collars and leashes, otoscope (CQ) with speculums for ear exams, surgical instruments, pill cutters and pill counter, and electric clippers for surgery prep.

Most people don’t have this stuff waiting and ready for action so donations of cash or airline miles are gladly accepted. Learn more about this annual excursion at www.helping-paws-across-borders.net or call the group’s leader, Angie, at 260-413-2504. I’ll regale my readers with anecdotes of voluntary veterinary adventures when we return in April.