Pet Columns

[dog in Fourth of July parade]

Land of the Free, Home of the Not-So-Brave Dogs

Jun 27, 2017 / Behavior / General Care / Preventive Health / Cats / Dogs

No Fireworks or Fatty Foods for Fido For Americans, the Fourth of July is a day of celebration, fireworks, and finding hundreds of ways to incorporate the American flag into food, outfits, and decorations. For our pets, it’s a random hot day full of strangers and lots of good-smelling food, accompanied by inexplicable loud “kabooms.”...

[barking dog looking out window]

Decoding Your Dog’s Excessive Barking

Jun 5, 2017 / Behavior / Dogs

Barking May Be Exacerbated by Boredom If you’re using a quick fix to stifle your dog’s excessive barking, you’re probably barking up the wrong tree. An expert from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine advises finding out why your pooch is barking in the first place, so you can find solutions that address...

[pet column dominance - wolves]

Dominance Is Not the Answer

Jan 2, 2017 / Behavior / Dogs

Domestic dogs are not wolves If only our pets could talk! Then we would know for sure why they are acting a certain way. Instead, we resort to books, word-of-mouth, and TV shows to decipher pets’ actions. The problem is that these sources deliver many incorrect and misguided beliefs about animal behavior. Dr. Kelly Ballantyne...

[fear free veterinary practice]

When Your Pet Fears the Vet Clinic

Dec 11, 2016 / Behavior / General Care / Cats / Dogs

Fear Free practices reduce pet stress Does your cat skedaddle when the carrier comes out? Does your dog dive under the bed when he hears the “v-word”? A trip to the vet is some pets’ worst nightmare. As a consequence, owners may neglect important health care visits rather than put their pets and themselves through...

[moving cattle]

The Secrets of Moo-ving Cattle

Oct 10, 2016 / Behavior / Farm Animals

Low-stress handling maximizes safety and comfort Ever wonder how farmers manage that huge herd of cattle? With nothing more than a couple of people and maybe a farm dog, they are able to move hundreds of cattle from an open pasture into a barn or corral. As it turns out, farmers rely on techniques that...

[dog sucking its flank]

Compulsive Disorders in Pets

Jul 25, 2016 / Behavior / Cats / Dogs

Compulsive disorders impact pet’s, owners’ quality of life Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a well-known diagnosis in human medicine, but did you know that animals can also develop a form of this disorder? This doesn’t mean there are dogs out there that count their steps or triple-check the light switches. In fact, the first thing to understand,...

[cat with scratching post]

Channel Pet’s Need to Chew and Scratch

Apr 1, 2016 / Behavior / Cats / Dogs

Redirect, don’t discourage, these behaviors Shredded tissues. Destroyed shoes. A gnawed coffee table. These are just a few of the things dog owners may come home to after leaving their puppy unattended. Similarly many cat owners discover that their couch or curtains have been shredded by sharp claws. A hassle for you and a potential...

[two dogs baring teeth at each other]

Seek Help to Address Aggression in Pets

Dec 7, 2015 / Behavior / Cats / Dogs

Aggression in pets is managed, not cured Every year, about 1.5 percent of the U.S. population will be injured by an aggressive dog. Cats, too, cause injuries to people, though the incidence is smaller. Aggressive behavior has negative consequences for pets as well, sometimes leading to the pet being relinquished by its owner or even...

[cat looks at camera]

Accidents Happen, Part 2: What to Do If Your Cat Goes Outside the Box

Nov 22, 2015 / Behavior / Cats

Pets should never be punished for house soiling The most common behavioral problem for which cat owners seek a veterinarian’s advice is when their cat goes outside the box. According to Dr. Kelly Ballantyne, a veterinary behaviorist at the University of Illinois Chicago Center for Veterinary Medicine, studies indicate that house soiling can account for...

[closeup of a collie by a couch]

Accidents Happen, Part 1: What to Do If Your Dog Soils the House

Nov 16, 2015 / Behavior / Cats / Dogs

Behavioral causes of house soiling can usually be resolved If your indoor dog is among the one in five that leaves unpleasant surprises for you to find, don’t despair. Your veterinarian can help you determine the cause and a solution for house soiling—urinating, defecating, or both, in inappropriate locations. According to Dr. Kelly Ballantyne, a...