Tag Archive: Dr. Sara Hogle


“My dog isn’t getting along with other dogs. What can I do?”

 By: Sara Hogle, DVM use sh

           Inter-dog aggression occurs when a dog is overly aggressive toward dogs in the same household and/or unfamiliar dogs. Inter-dog aggression occurs much more frequently between intact (not spayed or neutered) dogs and is generally more of a problem between dogs of the same gender. There are a number of reasons for aggression to occur between dogs including lack of or Boxing frenchielimited socialization especially when the dog was a puppy, a previous traumatic encounter with another dog, inappropriate training/interactions with the owner, wanting to protect territory/resources (food guarding) or social status (dominance), a painful condition (leading to guarding behavior), and very commonly, fear or lack of confidence. 
          Initially, inter-dog aggression may be addressed by avoiding situations that encourage aggressive behavior to occur. Behavior modification also plays a very important role in resolving inter-dog aggressive tendencies. For example, a dog may be trained to sit and relax during exposure to other unknown dogs or situations that historically elicited aggressive behavior and treats provided as a fearaggressionreward. It will also be beneficial to slowly condition the dog to not fear other unknown dogs, by gradually exposing the dog to other dogs in public and always keeping the safety of all dogs as a top priority. There are no medications that specifically address inter-dog aggression but given that fear and anxiety can play a major role in this behavioral problem, sometimes medications that help to address fear and anxiety can be helpful in managing the problem. 
            Finally, it is important to understand that behavioral modification techniques, limiting of risky behaviors and interactions, and medications if found helpful, need to be implemented for the life of the dog. Even if there is a prolonged period of time without an aggressive incident, the potential risk still remains.
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The Real Scoop on Poop

How Long is Too Long for My Dog/Cat Not to Defecate?

By: Dr. Sara Hogle use sh

I always recommend monitoring both the quantity and quality of what your pet ingests (food and water intake) and what they eliminate (urination and defecation habits). The quantity and color of urine and the feces color, texture, odor, and presence of mucus or blood are all indicators of how well your pet’s body is functioning overall.  Often times changes in the characteristics of your animals feces or urine can be the first sign of a health problem developing, so it is important to be aware of your dog or cat’s elimination habits and to regularly monitor for changes in the fecal or urine appearance.

Constipation is defined by inadequate or complete lack of defecation (stool passage). The majority of dogs or cats will look like they are trying to go, need to go, or are experiencing discomfort when defecating without producing stool or producing a very small volume of firm/dry feces. If this difficulty or discomfort associated with defecation produces little stool and is persistent (lasts more than a day or 2) it is very important to seek veterinary assistance. Constipated pets may also appear bloated, uncomfortable, may have a decrease or loss of appetite, and can even start to vomit if left untreated. It is recommended that we determine the cause of the constipation through diagnostics and physical exam and resolve it prior to the dog or cat exhibiting any of these symptoms. Dog bathroom

Ultimately, it is very important to regularly monitor not only what your pet is eating but also what they are eliminating in an effort to catch and resolve health problems early in the course of disease. If resolved sooner these problems tend to improve more completely and quickly, therefore, getting your beloved pet back on track sooner!

How to Help Your Pet Age Gracefully

By Sara Hogle, DVM use sh

The majority of dog breeds have reached their golden years by 7 to 10 years old with large and giant breeds becoming seniors earlier than small breed dogs. Cats are typically considered seniors around 10 years of age. Many dogs will experience some graying of the coat (especially around the muzzle or face) as they age but there are many, more subtle signs of aging to watch for.  Some owners will report diminished hearing in their geriatric dogs and cats. Often times older animals are noted sleeping more and tiring more easily when playing. These changes in activity tend to be very gradual in the healthy older dog or cat. Rapid changes in activity level, or excessive lethargy/sleepiness are often indicators of health problems and a visit to your veterinary is strongly recommended if this is noted at home.

senior dogsOther aging changes to watch closely for include excessive thirst, unexpected weight loss or gain, large changes in activity level or ability, and any signs of pain or discomfort. I recommend regularly evaluating your pets ears and mouth for odor or debris, feeling the belly for tenseness, pain, or bloating/distention, running your hands through the coat to feel for masses or lumps, and to screen for any eye or nasal discharge. Additionally, monitor your pet’s activity level and abilities on a daily basis. For example, if you start to notice hesitation, difficulty or reluctance to sit down, climb stairs, get in or out of the car, go for walks, changes in how they are posturing to urinate or defecate, or with a cat, difficulty or inability to get into or out of the litter box, these may all be indicators of pain and possible underlying arthritis, back problems (e.g. disc disease), or even cancer. If any of these changes in odor, activity, etc. are noted at home we strongly recommend a visit to your veterinarian as soon as possible. Many of the problems that our senior pets face can be managed and/or resolved more easily early in the course of disease, making early diagnosis very important.

Additionally, we recommend regular senior wellness exams, every 6 months ideally. Annual blood work, fecal examination Labwork when indicated, and urinalysis can allow for early detection of diseases. Many diseases can be managed and progression prevented by early detection and medical treatments. For example, cats may appear healthy and happy for a long period of time early in the course of kidney failure but kidney problems can be detected during this time by regular bloodwork monitoring in the older cat. If caught early kidney disease progression can be slowed or prevented keeping your cat healthy and happy at home. Once a cat is clinically sick from kidney disease it has progressed to a point where treatment is more challenging, more expensive, and the cat’s quality of life may be affected long term or altered due to the condition.

older-dogFinally, it is important to consider your aging pets changing dietary and exercise/comfort needs. We recommend feeding a complete and balanced, high quality diet specifically formulated for geriatric or senior pets. Some pets will require a specialty or prescription diet due to other concurrent illness, so we advise following your veterinarians dietary recommendations in these cases. Additionally, older dogs can have more difficulty effectively maintaining their body temperature, so keeping them comfortably warm (not hot) and dry is important. Arthritic dogs may benefit from ramps to get up steps and extra padding where they sleep and arthritic cats may require litter boxes with lower sides for easy access. If your older dog or cat is losing sight or hearing, removing obstacles and avoiding unnecessary movement of furniture, food/water dishes, etc. can help to reduce anxiety and maintain mobility and comfort in the home. If at any time you notice any unusual symptoms or evidence of pain/discomfort we strongly recommend an exam with your veterinarian as soon as possible. Ultimately, with you and your veterinarians tender loving care, support, and guidance we can keep your aging pet comfortable, happy, and healthy into their golden years.