The “Ask the Vet” series was débuted April 14 in honor of National Pet Month and features the advice of local veterinarian Dr. Richard Freedman, from Albemarle Veterinary Health Care Center & Canine Rehabilitation and Fitness Center of Virginia. Remember that the series is not designed to replace a visit to your veterinarian or to an emergency veterinary clinic.
Here are questions from Examiner readers; answers follow from Dr. Freedman:
- In a previous hornface.com article you recommended back exercises for dachshunds to strengthen their core and protect their backs. Does scratching a dachshund’s knees (which makes the doxie stretch her legs) also help to strengthen the core or back muscles?
Answer: This is a very interesting question; unfortunately, there is no benefit to your dachshund’s core when performing this activity.
- Halley licks her back feet when she curls up to sleep. Although it seems as if she is soothing herself, the licking doesn’t seem to have a purpose. Why do doxies lick?
Answer: The cause can be either physical (medical condition) or behavioral. Foot licking can start out as a medical problem that develops into a habit. Eliminating any medical cause for the licking should be your first approach since there are a variety of sources that could be causing the problem, among them a local irritant; or a bacterial, fungal, or parasitic source. Inhalant allergies are another potential source, particularly if there is no visible sign of pathology on the feet.
If there is no medical condition, behavior modification techniques can be implemented; just be aware that these require time, patience, and consistency. Behavioral licking is usually seen when the dog is relaxing, stressed, or bored. If you think that Halley is bored, take her for more walks or play ball or any other game that she enjoys. A tired dog will probably be more interested in sleeping than licking.
- The breeder from whom we got our first doxies always recommended pet supplements, like Pet Tabs. What do these do, and are they necessary?
Answer: If you feed your pet a balanced diet, which most commercial quality foods, like Sammy Snacks are, then Pet Tabs are excessive. These are vitamins, and some excessive vitamins can be harmful to a pet’s health. Others just pass out in the feces and urine, so you are wasting your money.
Submit your questions to [email protected] and they will be forwarded to “Ask the Vet.” Receipt of your questions will be confirmed, and we will print as many questions and answers as we can accommodate. We look forward to hearing from you.