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Archive for the dogs Category

Do or Do Not: The Dewclaw

dewclaw removal

dewclaw removalclaDo or Do Not: The Dewclaw

The dewclaw is that little extra toe about an inch up from your dogs paw. It is a full toe, with a claw, and it doesn’t seem to have too much purpose. Also called a dog’s “thumb” the dewclaw is on the front legs of most dogs and sometimes on the back leg as well. Dewclaws in the front usually have both muscle and bone in them, though in the back they can lack both muscle and bone.

The dewclaws are not completely useless. They assist in climbing, tearing meat and bone (or toys, as the case may be), and can help with running if they touch the ground. But this funny little toe can also be prone to getting hurt. On some dogs, the dewclaw is quite delicate and is highly prone to getting broken.

Due to its often delicate nature, some people want to remove the dewclaw. This is usually done when dogs are puppy’s. If they are less than 5 days old, they do not need to be put under anesthetic. Often dewclaw removals are done during a spay or neuter. However, most vets frown on removing dewclaws. In some countries, it is illegal to remove them with the exception of hunting dogs (due to a very high risk of the claw getting ripped off).

Beyond the risk of the dewclaw getting caught on things, there is no benefit to removing them. It can also be a painful procedure for you dog.  If your dog has a prominent dewclaw, and you do not remove it, keep the nail trimmed short. This will help prevent it from catching on things.

If your dog is frequently damaging their dewclaw, consult your vet to talk to them about best options. Otherwise, it is best to leave that funny little dog thumb alone.

No more Heinz 57 Mutts: DNA Testing

albuquerque dog dna

albuquerque dog dnaNo more Heinz 57 Mutts: DNA Testing

(We do not offer this service)

It was always fun to guess the breeds that made up our mutt’s. Half this or that with a bit of something else. However, with DNA testing, we no longer have to guess our dog’s breed makeup. You can do them with a simple swab of your dogs mouth and send away for the key to unlocking their breed heritage. But why would you want to do that? It can be fun to know all the various parts that make your mutt so special, but there are other better reasons that fun trivia. Your dog’s breed heritage can impact their health.

Different breeds of dogs are prone to different health issues. German Shepherds are prone to hip dysplasia and Boxers are prone to cancer. If you have a mutt puppy, their genetic makeup can help give you an idea of how big they will be, or keys to their potential personality.

There are different home tests that you can get that will test with varying levels of accuracy. You want to use one that has a large breed sample size to get more accurate results.

Once you find out your pups breed family tree, bring that information to your vet on your next annual checkup. Your vet can update you on potential health concerns to watch out for and if there is anything you can do to help ensure a long and happy life.

Why do Dogs Bark?

why dogs bark

why dogs barkWhy do Dogs Bark?

All dogs bark. It is unreasonable to expect that your dog will never bark. That would be like asking yourself to stop talking, ever. However, barking and excessive barking are two different issues.

Reasons why dogs bark:

  • Communication: Barking for dogs is like talking for people. It one of the ways they communicate.
  • Territory: If an unknown person or animal comes into your dogs territory, they will bark as a way to alert you and to tell the intruder to go away.
  • Fear: If your dog hears a noise that frightens them, or see’s something that startles them, they are likely to bark.
  • Boredom: Dogs don’t like to be left alone. They are pack animals and if they become bored or unhappy they will often bark out of boredom.
  • Saying hi: Barking is a way to greet people and other animals. You can tell a greeting from being protective by the tail wagging. A happy dog wags his tail.
  • Attention: If a dog wants something, like going outside, a treat, playing or just some attention, they will often bark as a way to let you know.
  • Anxiety: It is not uncommon for your dog to have anxiety when left alone. Barking can be used as a coping mechanism for their anxiety, this is often paired with destructive behavior, depression, and pacing.

Anxiety and boredom are two of the top causes of excessive barking. Read this blog about dealing with pet anxiety and bored pets.



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The information provided on this website is written by Vetco staff. All information is meant to be informational and is not meant as veterinary advice. If you have a health question regarding your pet, their treatment or anything concerning their veterinary care, please call Vetco to consult with a veterinarian.