Fireworks Freak-Out


There will be a whole lot of scared pets this weekend. It’s hard enough if they tremble and hide but some panic and escape the yard in search of safety…

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Dog with an Idle Mind

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  Puppies and dogs of any age can be unrelenting chewers and destroyers of all things we may hold sacred. We can love man’s and woman’s best friend like a…

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Biter Rehabbed

Raven 1

Does this first photo scare you? Pepper not only bared her teeth but lunged and sometimes bit her people when they reached for her on the couch or approached her…

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Rodent Poisons, Lingering Risk

dog with mouse

Last in a series As word got out that I was the go-to veterinarian for suspected dog poisonings I also became the default repository for conspiracy theories, “common sense” solutions,…

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Survivors Helped us Push Ahead

big hound

Fourth in a series I offered to help Placitas pet parents with their poisoning problem and, well, they took me up on it. The next morning Gretel, a big hound…

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Better, Funner Leash Walks

head halter training

Head halter training – Start slow and positive Lurching, jumping, growling, barking – are we having fun yet? Ah, no. A head halter, like this Gentle Leader, makes it easy…

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Teaching Fun Dog Tricks

Night night 1 thumbnail

Dogs’ brains are built for fun with their people. You can make it easy for them to work-to-earn treats, praise, and most important – physical contact. When I show Mick…

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Tomcat Killed Big Blue


Second in a series The sudden loss of “Big Blue” triggered a derailment in the brains of the two young men who loved him. He was special to them and,…

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Shocking Discovery

german shepherd

First in series He couldn’t even raise his head, his gums were pale, his pulse weak and thready. Had an injury caused this black German Shepherd mix to bleed internally?…

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Storm Phobia

storm phobia video thumbnail

Close the window blinds during storms. If possible keep your dog in an interior room with less outside sound White, pink, or brown noise (downloadable from the Internet) can be…

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Ditch wading & bird songs


Young Mick Nichol enjoys his daily jaunts along the irrigation ditches because, well, because he’s a dog. Leaving the home territory to sniff, investigate, read the bulletin boards, and post…

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Teaching Stay

teaching a puppy to stay

Who wants to stay? We may not want to but a dog can, if we motivate him. Mick is just learning that if he watches me, and then I show…

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Leave It!

Leave it

How much garbage and other poop should a dog eat on a leash walk? You can yell LEAVE IT! and jerk hard on the leash but your dog may only…

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Mick & his Chick

Mick and his Chick

We picked our boy Mick, in part because he has a social nature. It turns out that he’s never met a stranger. Mick visits this hen on a daily basis.…

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Your Dog Digs Where???

digging puppy

Digging dogs can damage a great yard. Don’t punish; it’s normal behavior. Instead, give that dirt dog its very own wonderful digging box. Make it attractive by loosening the dirt,…

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A Dog must be a Dog

Fourth in a series Set her Up for Safety Ruby, our Doberman patient who was no longer impaled by an elm stick and having finished relieving herself outside, endured yet…

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Mick, Come!


  13 week old Mick is not too young to learn basic skills. Dogs are programmed to earn resources like food and attention from their leaders. Mick already knows how…

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The All-Nighter


Third in a series Would dedication be enough? I knew when double checking my repairs of Ruby’s internal injuries that they were secure but it was her high risk of…

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Sit at Door

puppy training

  A dog racing through an open door can knock people down and risk him getting loose. Mick is learning to sit at the door and wait for the “OK”.…

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Projectiles Save Lives


Second in a series My first instruction, with Charley Garcia still on the phone, was NOT to remove the stick from her dog Ruby’s chest. Leaks can kill. That grotty…

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Train Chaser Pays a Steep Price


First in a series “Dr. Nichol, Charlie Garcia’s dog Ruby has a stick in her chest. What shall I tell her?” Martha Peterson, our composed client service specialist, had appeared…

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Sweet Destroyer Poopster

beagle photo

Third in a series Don’t lock him up Bang, bang, ding, dong! Just as Diane walked into the house, finding more of Jasper’s daily carnage, somebody was outside! Fresh scratches…

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Depression Dog


First in a series Simple Cure? Driving home from Amarillo Richard had his eyes on the road while his wife Diane took in an outrageously beautiful New Mexico sunset. That’s…

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Puppies in Their Spare Time

puppies video

  These Border collie puppies play well with others but there is more to life than fun and games. There is also hiking, snuggling, and fun and games. One of…

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Media – Boxers in the Night


First in a series Boxers in the Night Semi Pregnancy Who doesn’t love newborn puppies? Veterinarians get to turn difficult deliveries into real joy but it’s often difficult. In the…

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Holiday Weirdness & Risk

dog in a Christmas hat

What does it take? The holidays are great fun, aren’t they? Singin’, dancin’, and carryin’ on. For you and me, sure, but badly unsettled pets can engage in some unhealthy…

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Media – Baby Blues


Canine Coping Skills for Twins Question: I have a female Doberman, 5 years old, and a female mixed breed dog, age 10. And 8 months ago I became mom of…

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Media – Porgy, Tirebiter, & Papoon

dog tire biting photo

What’s in a Name? Most veterinarians don’t make house calls much anymore but I’ve done my fair share. I’ve learned interesting things about behavior that I never expected. Harry and…

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Media – Fear & Protective Aggression


Who’s to Blame? Fear is often the in-the-moment reason for canine aggression. Adrenalin-driven reactions aren’t always bad; it’s actually a survival mechanism that’s built into all of us. But if…

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Media – Snapping at Mom


Whose Fault? Rehome? Worse? Dogs are man’s and woman’s best friends but there are species differences. They walk on all 4s and they’re a bit hairier but like us, dogs…

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Media – Blanket Pacifier


Holy Moly Question: I have a 4 year old dachshund mix who insists on chewing our blankets to soothe herself for few minutes before she goes to sleep. I have…

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Media – Surgery by Dog

golden retriever

Amputations are unfortunate but sometimes necessary. The anatomy is complicated; a good doctor follows established procedure. “Blue” the blue heeler didn’t benefit from any of that until he landed on…

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Media – The Occult of the Itch


Diagnose first; treat second Question: I have a 7 month old puppy who itches and scratches herself constantly anywhere she can reach. I have taken her to my veterinarian twice…

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Media – COVID19 in Cats & Dogs

person cat bed

Sick People Infect their Pets This COVID19 pandemic continues to hang over us like a dark cloud, new variants putting unvaccinated people at increasing risk. Now we know that pets…

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Media – Freaked-Out by Fireworks


Many Great Ways of Helping Scared Cats & Dogs Startled by earsplitting blasts, many otherwise stable pets will endure almost continual panic this weekend. Dogs may hide, tremble, drool, cry…

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Media – Sudden Lameness in Small Dog

You are invited to get my help with a behavior problem by participating in a Zoom group behavior conference. Visit to sign up. Age is Not a Factor for…

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Media – Digging for Hoses

digging dog

Splendid Excavating Alternative Question: We have a self-watering backyard. Our 1 ½ year old very tall, very strong, mixed-breed Doberman-Great Dane tore up all the lines! So now we are…

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Media – Fear-Free Medical Care

Cooperation Earns Food Question: My wonderful, elderly Ellie (13 years) is difficult to work with when she has an ear infection, eye infection or other medical problem. She wiggles and…

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Media – Springtime Pet Toxins


Be Careful this Easter Everybody loves springtime flowers and plants but some buds, bulbs, leaves, and seeds can be unsafe for our pets. Swallowing any plant material can cause a…

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Media – Chronic Diarrhea & Vomiting

French bulldog

Help Faster, Better, Cheaper Retching and vomiting or straining to pass diarrhea is pretty miserable. Some dogs struggle often with these symptoms. When does it become too much? You can…

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Media – Crate House Training


House Rules & Freedom to Move Question: I just brought home an 8 week old puppy and want to ensure the best possible crate training. It’s been 4 days, however…

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Media – COVID19 Pet Infections

dog in a face mask

Who are the Carriers? Are pets capable of spreading COVID19? The SARS CoV 2 (cq) virus, the organism responsible for the human epidemic, has been investigated in cats and dogs.…

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Media – Pee – Eeww!

stinky dog

Stinky dog needs a diagnosis & treatment Question: My 8-year-old male pit bull literally stinks, even a day after a bath. His teeth seem fine. He seems to feel ok,…

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Media – Plants, snacks, & drugs

Christmas cat

Avoid Poisons & Injury Conspicuous Christmas consumption isn’t just for humans; our pets eagerly indulge in dietary indiscretion too. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center provides the following list of…

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Media – Wild & Crazy Deaf Kid

Heeler puppy

Punish? Set him up for Success Question: We bought a blue heeler puppy for my son for his 13th birthday. “Bucky” is deaf. He is spunky- too much so. We’re…

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Media – Crying for Mom

Puppy crying

Not Ready for Boot Camp Question: My new puppy, Buddy, arrived yesterday. He has been socialized with other dogs on a regular basis because the breeder has a doggy daycare.…

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Media – Noisy Breathing Dog


Dangerous? Treatment Safe or Risky? Question: We think our dog Dakoda has laryngeal paralysis. Our veterinarian said she can have surgery but it is only 70% effective and it could…

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Media – Guest Panic


Poop on-the-run is No Fun Question: We got our Jackson at the SPCA in Houston at 12 weeks age. When we were walking him a UPS truck scared him. Since…

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Media – Circling, Head Tilt

small dog

Wait & See? Question: My dog is 4 years old, weighs 4 kilograms, no fever, his name is Dodo. Yesterday, he could not go straight but circling with his head…

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Media – Brushing for Safety

Dogs like Tasty Paste Question: Just dropped off my 10 year old Schipperke for teeth cleaning. Sounds easy, but I worry about the anesthetic. I promise to keep her teeth…

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Media – Warts on Older Dogs

cockapoo in a shirt

Diagnose First, then Decide if Treatment is Necessary Question: I have a cock-a-poo with several warts. Our veterinarian said to use antibiotic cream but that didn’t help. He did not…

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Media – Alien Invasion

Old cat lying in sun

Can Old Cats & Young Puppies Mix? Question: We have a 15 year old cat who is well, happy and calm. In September we will receive a Golden-Doodle puppy from…

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Media – Mouth Warts in Puppies

puppies wrestling

Unsightly but Rarely Dangerous Question: Do you have an opinion on what to do about papillomas in our dog Ella’s mouth and how/whether to treat with azithromycin? The dog Ella…

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Media – Fireworks Freak-Out


Comfort Scared Pets with Good Management Startled by earsplitting blasts, many otherwise stable pets will endure almost continual panic this weekend. Scared dogs may hide, tremble, drool, cry or howl,…

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Media – Grain-Free Could be Risky

dog eating

Regular High Quality Pet Food is Best Question: Dr. Nichol, what are your thoughts on grain-free diets for dogs? Dr. Nichol: Well, I thought you’d never ask. Considered a fad…

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Media – Brute Fear

scared dog

Women yes; men no Question: I just watched your YouTube video on dog PTSD. I realize that my dog’s trigger is men. We’ve had her three days and she is…

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Media – Feline Family Feud

calico cat

Social Distancing is Best Question: My mother-in-law is living in nursing home/hospice. We are seeing her Miss Pearl twice a day for feeding and social time. We would love to…

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Media – Skipping Lameness


Modern Treatments – Better Healing Question: I have a 3 year old cockapoo and she was trying to jump and did something to her leg. She cried for about 30…

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Media – Prevent Bad Behaviors

two Puppies playing

Work with COVID19 Restrictions Question: With stay home in place, what do we do if we get an 8 week puppy who needs classes and socialization? Dr. Nichol: You are…

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Media – COVID-19 in Pets


Don’t Panic-Be Careful Staying home is a real drag but if you have pets you’ll never be alone. We don’t need social distancing from them, do we? Here’s the update…

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Media – Wild Barking & Chasing

small dog barking

What’s Better than Yelling? Question: I have a Chihuahua who wants to attack everyone. In the car she goes crazy; she barks at everyone on the street. She doesn’t stop…

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Media – Wigged-Out on the Road

photo of dog riding in car

Treat the Cause Question: Our two-year-old Golden retriever is totally unhappy traveling in any vehicle, including our motorhome; which is a shame because we travel a lot. We tried giving…

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Media – Bury dem Bones

Risky Chew Toys Question: Our large and lovable but frisky black Lab gets mischievous once in a while. Taking him for walks does wonders; the first half of the trip…

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Media – Holidays Happen

Keep it Safe I can’t wait for Thanksgiving: Family, turkey, pie, and political football. Well, maybe for you and me. Keep a close eye on your pets. Tense body postures…

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Media – Silent Suffering Cats

Chronic Pain can Dog your Cat Do you know anyone “of a certain age” with chronic pain? Most people don’t keep it a secret. Dogs don’t suffer silently either. You’ll…

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Media – Crate Nightmare

Separation Anxiety is Not Solved by Confinement Question: My dog is so anxious in his crate. Dr. Nichol: Crates have become popular for keeping dogs out of trouble but confinement…

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Media – Doorway Freak-Out

Special Care is needed for Emotional Abuse Question: We have a Lab mix 2 years old. She’s had issues with trust but has done well, always sleeping inside. While my…

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Media – Pig Ear Pickle

Serious Infections I’ve cared for multiple species during my career, including a few pigs. To my knowledge, no person has fed dog ears to their pigs but, sadly, the opposite…

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Media – Grain-Free Risks

image illustrating cardiomyopathy

  Heart Disease Related to some Diets The growing popularity of grain-free diets for dogs has worried many veterinarians for quite a while. The FDA, along with independent researchers, has…

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Media – Wild and Car Crazy

Question: I need help controlling my Sunny in a car. I have had big dogs all my life but never had this problem and it’s getting scary to travel and…

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Media – Fighting Family Dogs

Dangerous to Each Other & People Question: My 2 dogs have been together for 2.5 years. The female has always be passive before the male, however in the last month…

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Media – Clipping Male Dogs

dog with tie

Neutering is Best Question: Recently a neighbor got a dog from a shelter and “Rowdy” was a what ‘appeared’ to be an intact male. But the new owner said that…

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Media – Rattlesnake Bites


Teach Avoidance without Electric Shock Question: Do you have information on humane rattlesnake “proofing” techniques for dogs? It seems to me that keeping your dog on leash would be a…

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Media – Food Fight

Prevent It; Don’t Punish It Question: I have a 3 year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. He has been getting aggressive towards my other two dogs, Malteses, about his food.…

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Podcast – Fear and Anxiety

Dogs are man’s and woman’s best friends but there are differences. Unlike most of us they walk on all 4s and they’re somewhat hairier. But like us they’re genetically programmed…

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Aggression between Family Dogs

Act Early & Be Careful Question: I have 2 dogs that have been together for 2.5 years.  The female has always be passive before the male, however in the last…

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Aggressive Dog on Owners’ Beds

Give Dog her own Bed; Avoid Punishment Question: Usually at night my 8-month young mini pinscher sleeps in my brother’s bed and if someone passes by the room she jumps…

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Clipper Burns

Heal well with Careful Treatment Question: We have a Rhodesian ridgeback, chow, Sheppard mix. I made the error of shaving his coat. Now these red bloody abrasions keep appearing. Dr.…

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Retained Baby Teeth

Early Extraction is Safest Question: I discovered that Rocky (5 month old Jack Russell) is growing his adult canine teeth however his baby teeth are not coming out. Will they…

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Teaching Good Manners

Pet parents of well-mannered dogs always wear that contented, all-is-right-in-my-world look. Sure, they’re lucky, but they’ve done a few things right too. Some of their secrets are listed here. These…

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Soiling When Your Dog Is Alone

A whole lot can happen in your dog’s life while you’re away. You can manage bathroom etiquette infractions effectively with kindness and empathy. There is no way for a dog…

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Stealth Canine Soiling

A dog who sneaks off to do odd jobs may be the most maddening creature to have as a housemate. If you’ve already made the mistake of hauling him to…

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Fighting Among Household Dogs

Few things are more unnerving than dogs you love trying to hurt each other. These attacks may seem to happen out of the blue but there are important reasons for…

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Why Dogs Bite

Violence, fear, and physical injury are without question, the most difficult challenges you and your dog could ever face. This is very hard for us emotional creatures. We bring dogs…

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