Subscriber Archive

Dr. Nichol’s Video – Picking the Greatest Puppy for Your Life

October 10, 2017

Sharing your life with a great dog is a lot like any important relationship. Social skills matter.  Behavioral research understands this. Puppies do better in life if they stay with their mothers and litter mates until the age of 5-7 weeks. Picking the right breed is important too but remember that everybody is a unique individual; puppies aren’t appliances that roll off an assembly line. You’ll want to pay attention to the variation in temperament within each litter. I recommend first choosing the racy appearance of your shiny new dog. Then close the book on that breed and carefully sort through the applicants.

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Dr. Nichol’s Podcast – Freaked out by Strangers & Sick when Alone

October 3, 2017

The Mind-Body Connection is Big Lulu is a really sweet female Australian cattle dog and she’s mighty cute too. She’s 2 years old and she’s a big girl, weighing in at 50 pounds. Lulu lives with a very committed pet parent who will do whatever it takes for her dog’s well-being. That’s a good thing because this girl has faced a few serious challenges. Lulu had been adopted from a shelter just 2 months before she and I first met. An excellent new anti-itch medication called Apoquel was helping but Lulu wasn’t taking it consistently because it upset her stomach. She landed in my exam room because her behavior was scaring the daylights out of people. Anybody who rushed onto the scene could trigger this dog’s fear-related aggressive displays. “Scary monsters don’t belong here. Move to the next county and nobody gets hurt.” A panicked dog spews an explosion of…

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Dr. Nichol’s Blog – Children & When the Dog Bites

September 26, 2017

Kindness – on everybody’s part – is a key ingredient. In my work I see life lessons on the power of kindness every day. A few months ago a little girl and her big scared dog were students and they were teachers. The story of Buster the boxer, and the little girl who loves him, will have meaning for anyone who cherishes dogs and values kindness. Long before the arrival of their daughter, Shelly and Bill adopted Buster as a puppy right after they moved-in together. Buster went everywhere with his pet parents. They were an excellent family of 3. Then little Amber came along. When Amber was just one year old she got mobile and just thrilled in her mission of hugging Buster. Buster, frightened and wary of this rampaging little giggler, had no idea what he should do. Mostly, he tried to escape. One sad day Amber cornered…

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Dr. Nichol’s Blog – Nervous Whizzing

September 4, 2017

Panic is No Fun for Anybody Buddy was a really cute 2 year old dog when we met. Her problem was that she lost her composure and released a bladder full of urine with almost any hint of excitement. She didn’t show up alone, though, but with her Mom in tow. Buddy may be an unusual name for a girl dog but I am nobody to judge the monikers other people bestow on their non-human companions. I call my dog Miss America and that works just fine for both of us. So there was Buddy, in the reception room, ready for some help. My job is to interpret and treat behavior disorders, so when meeting a new patient, I usually make only brief eye contact with the human half of the equation, directing my attention instead to assessing the emotional state of the pet. Avoiding an individual dog’s or cat’s…

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Dr. Nichol’s Videos – Is My Dog OK? At-Home Exams

August 28, 2017

Our dogs are special to us. None of us wants there to be any problem. They need to stay well and enjoy a great long life with us. If you learn to examine your own dog at home and you’ll be able to uncover concerns early so they can be checked out by your veterinarian. You’ll also find what’s working just fine. You can feel good about that. It’s easy and we’ll make it fun. Chewy treats like jerky are great reinforcers for good behavior. Start at the front end and work your way back. Use a light to check your dog’s eyes. Watch her pupils constrict with the light. Check for redness, discharge, or uneven pupils. When examining your dog’s mouth you want pink for the color of her gums. Pale suggests poor blood flow or anemia. A deep red color usually means that the gums are inflamed, most…

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Dr. Nichol’s Videos – Cat Toys that are Fun but may be Dangerous

August 15, 2017

Pets who eat nonfood items can pay a big price for their curiosity. Swallowed linear foreign material, like yarn, ribbon, or dental floss, can saw holes in the intestinal wall leading to septic peritonitis. We can protect these little guys by cat–proofing the house. Keep an eye out for innocent but potentially harmful household items. The story of my own cat Tony really makes this point. Just a week before we made this video we found some fuzzy junk in his mouth. The next day he ate less food. I knew right away that we had a problem. I was worried about the little guy. Cats are different. They are predators and a prey species. They don’t want anybody to know that they’re not firing on all cylinders. They don’t speak a human language. They get small, hide out, and try to power through it. All pet parents need to…

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Dr. Nichol’s Video – Help for Confused Older Dogs

August 8, 2017

Pets who age gracefully bring comfort to their doting pet parents. But not all of them do well in their golden years. Some get dementia that their families mistake for normal aging. Alzheimer’s disease is pretty common in older people. The symptoms of dementia and the unhealthy brain changes seen in some older dogs are similar. In dogs it’s called cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS). Like nearly all physical and behavioral problems we can make a bigger difference with early diagnosis and treatment. This helpful video shows examples of different older dogs with mild, moderate, and severe signs of cognitive dysfunction. All canine seniors, including those who seem to be doing just fine, need special monitoring so we can take good care of them. If your dog is over age 9 or 10 you need to know what to watch for: Dogs with CDS tend to stand and stare. When they’re…

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Dr. Nichol’s Video – Worried about Your Cat – At Home Exam

August 1, 2017

There are important reasons to keep a close eye on our cats. They tend to hide their illnesses and injuries. It’s just who they are. Their genetically programmed reality puts the responsibility for their well-being on their people. Cats are wonderful pets but in many respects they are very different than we are. Unlike people and dogs, cats don’t call out to their comrades when they are sick or hurt. They tend to get small and hide out as they do their best to heal on their own. This doesn’t always end well. In this 8 minute video I will show you how to do a physical exam on your cat. You’ll learn how to find internal problems early. I have used my own cat Whitey for purposes of demonstration. I have included a couple of good diagrams that illustrate the location of internal organs. Here is the order I…

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Dr. Nichol’s Video – Not Jumping Up-A Good Thing

July 25, 2017

Jumping up can be an annoying behavior. It can also be dangerous if a big dog jumps up on children or elderly people. You can punish, reprimand, or correct a dog who does this but you can damage the relationship. And some dogs think that people are playing with them when they are pushed off. Worst case, there are dogs and even puppies who can react with defensive aggression when a person reacts forcefully. Most dogs who jump up just want to make new friends but it can turn into a bad habit. Active and exuberant, most jumpy dogs just don’t recognize personal boundaries. They don’t have them, so why should anybody else? They’re sure that everybody wants their hugs and their spit and their muddy paws. And they keep doing it because they usually get a response. Instead turn your back and ignore – completely. What a wild and…

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