Easter – Chocolate and lilies

With Easter just around the corner, we just wanted to remind everyone about the danger of chocolate, wrappers and candy for your dog and worse yet, the ever popular Lily flower to your cat. PicMonkey Collage

Everyone knows that chocolate is toxic to dogs but even candy and their wrappers can give your pet an upset stomach. Be sure to keep these tasty treats away from your dog this Easter. Be especially careful when hiding Easter treats that it’s your child that finds them, not your pet.

With regards to flowers, lilies are extremely, and we can’t emphasize the extremely enough, toxic to cats. Everything about a lily, from its stem to petals, flower to pollen can cause a cat to go into kidney failure. Even the minutest amount can cause this condition.

This Easter season, please keep lilies out of your home for the sake of your cat.

If you have any further questions feel free to call us, Snelgrove Vet 905-846-3316 or would like to get more information, take a look through our pet health section of our website www.snelgrovevet.com

My dog is great with kids…

We see the pictures all the time, posted and shared again and again on social media sites. You know the ones with the baby or child sprawled all over the dog giving hugs and kisses.

Cute right?

Well, not really. A closer look at many of these dogs reveals dogs that although they are tolerating the behaviour they are not overly comfortable with such affection.

In fact millions of people are bitten by dogs each year. Unfortunately many of these are children and often the family dog is responsible. When it happens it often seems out of the blue and many wonder why a dog that has always been so good before could do such a thing. However if one takes a closer look at previous encounters we would realize that although “he has always been so good before” he was never okay with it before either.

The most common cause of aggression and bites is fear and failure to recognize signs that a dog is not comfortable with the situation they are in. Most dogs give adequate warning they are not happy prior to an actual bite occurring.

So how do we prevent this from happening?

Well luckily for the most part common sense goes a long way. Things that we don’t appreciate our kids doing to us often translate into things our dog does not appreciate either.

  • Don’t let your kids bother your dogs when they are eating. This includes hitting, running around, yelling, and reaching in the food bowl.
  • Don’t let you kids put their faces right into your dog’s face. Don’t let your kids climbs on or jump on your dog.
  • Don’t let your kids bother your dog when they are sleeping.
  • Don’t let your kids handle your dog roughly. This includes pulling their hair, tail, ears, etc.
  • Loud screaming is never appreciated by anybody, this includes dogs.
  • Friendly gestures such as hugs are often disliked by dogs. Hugging is actually viewed by a dog a threatening behaviour. Although most dogs can be trained to enjoy close handling such as this, caution should be taken.

This is not to say that a child should not interact with your dog at all, however they need to be taught to do so safely and gently, because let’s face it kids can be rough and rude (and this just isn’t towards dogs!). LOL

Both you and your children should learn to recognize the signs that a dog is uncomfortable with a current situation so that you know when it is time to back off.

This includes: moving away or attempting to retreat, cowering, turning their head away, looking away showing the whites of their eyes, yawning when there is no reason for them to be tired, licking their lips when there is not food present, furrowed brow, panting when they are not hot, tail tucked, ears flattened on head, in later stages growling or lifting their lip. Most dogs will exhibit multiple behaviours in an attempt to get you to back off prior to the last resort (a bite).

dogkid1

Do any of these dogs look happy here?

Remember, above all: ALL interactions with dogs should be supervised.

Dr. Stephanie Gunsinger

 

Antibiotic Misuse

Antibiotics

Among the lengthy list of medications that we dispense here at Snelgrove Vet, antibiotics have to be one of our most common. In a most basic explanation, antibiotics are a type of antimicrobial that either kill or prevent the growth of bacteria. There are many different types of antibiotics, and they treat a myriad of different types of bacteria. Seems pretty straight-forward, doesn’t it? Not so. In fact, antibiotics are likely one of the most misused medications on the market, for both animals and humans.

Why is this?

The explanation is really quite simple – we, as a society, are pretty terrible at complying with our doctor’s instructions. Either doses are missed or the course is stopped before it is complete. Hey, it happens. Maybe our lives are busy and we forget, or maybe our pet seems so much better that we don’t bother finishing those last few days.

Well, today I am here to tell you:

It is so, so, so important to follow your doctor’s instructions and complete a course of antibiotics (or any prescription medication for that matter) to the absolute letter.

I am the first to admit, I haven’t always finished my or my pet’s antibiotics when they’ve been prescribed by a doctor. That was before I knew what I know now…

I recently re-read a book called Why We Get Sick: The New Science of Darwinian Medicine by Randolph M. Nesse, M.D., and George C. Williams, Ph.D. It is a fantastic read that I was originally assigned in university, and a lot of the content has stuck with me since then (I won’t tell you how long ago “since then” was!), so when I saw it on my bookshelf  the other week I decided to pick it up again. Among some very interesting arguments, the authors describe an “arm’s race” between modern medicine and ever-evolving illness. Antibiotics are a perfect example of this. When they are misused in the ways described above, we are are basically giving the advantage to the bacteria. We are unknowingly creating antibiotic resistance which results in stronger bacteria and, in turn, less effective antibiotics. Needless to say, this is a big problem.

How can we combat this?

I am happy to say that at the public level, there are ways that we can curb antibiotic resistance. The answer is an easy one, so I am sure you can guess it! That’s right – complete any course of antibiotics prescribed in its entirety. For real, that’s all we need to do. And it is becoming easier and easier. There are apps that we can download to remind us to give our pets their medications, websites that can e-mail us reminders, or we can even go back to the cave-man days and write it out on a wall calendar, checking off each dose as we go. If your pet is a real pain to give pills to, there are also the options in some cases of giving an antibiotic injection instead, or even a flavoured liquid or paste. And remember, if you ever have a problem giving your pet any medications, we are always here to help!

Easy ways to play with your cat

addieDid you know that more than half of indoor cats are overweight? Although, we agree, indoor cats live longer healthier lives, they don’t have the luxury of climbing trees or chasing butterflies to get their daily exercise.  It is up to us to make sure they do not lead a sedentary lifestyle.

Here are some suggestions of toys to help keep them active:

  • A bucket filled with crumpled paper or ping-pong balls makes a great interactive toy. Shake the bucket, toss one out and watch your cat try to empty the bucket.
  • Play fetch! Although they probably won’t return it, they will chase balls. Especially shiny, crinkly ones.
  • Cardboard boxes. Just like young children, cats love cardboard boxes to climb in and out of.
  • Catnip! A small sack filled with catnip will keep your cat rolling around. Use it as your fetch toy.
  • Dangle a ‘fishing pole” with feathers at the end. A makeshift one will do. Be sure not to let them play with string on their own and remove any from their mouth if it breaks off.
  • Small flashlight or light beam. Some cats enjoy chasing and jumping as light travels along a floor or wall. Just be sure not to point it at their eyes.
  • Bells and wind-up toys are often fascinating to cats.

Keep toys out of sight between play sessions. This keeps them from getting too familiar with these objects and increases their enthusiasm. 

What does your cat like to play with? Let us know your cat’s favourite toy to help give others ideas what may work with their cat.

Take a look at some of the toys we have available to you on our webstore. Not registered, it’s easy, just follow the online instructions and we’ll get you signed up.

 

 

What does it mean when a cat slowly closes their eyes at you?

Love! It’s as simple as that. scout

A cat that looks at you with half-closed eyes while slowly blinking is essentially saying they love you.  These special eye blinks are considered ‘cat kisses’. They convey affection, contentment, relaxation  and most of all, trust. Try doing a slow blink back at your cat in these moments of affection. This will help build and strengthen your relationship with your cat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cats Wiggle. Cats Pounce. Here’s why…

Why cats wiggle before they pounce?

Have you ever watched a pouncing cat’s ritual? We explain why they wiggle before pouncing!

Understanding cat anatomy

When a cat walks around the house, they use alternating legs (front right with the back left and vice versa) until they spot their prey — or, in most cases a toy.   cat1

When they prepare for their clandestine attack, your feline will crouch down and wiggle their hind quarters while pressing their paws into the ground to help balance. Then, they will use her hind legs to propel themselves through the air.

In other words, your cat doesn’t just shake their bottom to look cute or make you laugh — it actually helps ground them for the big launch, just like a runner at the starting block.

The True Nature of Cats

While a pouncing cat does look cute, this behaviour finds its roots in the wild.

Just like their ancestors, domestic cats have an innate hunting instinct. They’re predators at heart and love acting out these instincts through play.

Take a look at your cat the next time they pounce on a toy. They’ll attack, claws will extended, they’ll flick the toy into the air and shake it, to make sure it has been incapacitated. This mimics the behaviour of a cat in the wild catching dinner — it’s all part of feline nature.

Understanding the roots of this behaviour can help us better appreciate our cats and understand what makes them tick.

  “While a pouncing cat does look cute, this behaviour finds its roots in the wild. “

Why do cats purr?

We love to hear our cats purr. There is nothing better than a cat curled up on your lap, satisfied and happy, but have you ever wondered just how cats purr and why they do it?

Humans smile, dogs wag their tails and cats purr. All of us show our contentment in different ways. So it’s not surprising that when your cat is curled up beside you, or you are stroking them, they express their feelings by purring. However, purring is not always a sign of happiness. Sometimes it is an emotional response, indicative of pain or distress. Indeed, cats may purr while giving birth, so purring is more likely to be a mechanism that helps cats rest and repair.

Purring may be feline self-comforting behaviour. It is first expressed when kittens are only a few days old, perhaps signalling their presence to their mother, encouraging her to feed them. This form of communication continues into their adult lives.

How do cats purr?

What is most surprising is that cats have no special apparatus in their body to enable them to purr. Purring involves the rapid movement of the muscles of the larynx (voice box), combined with cat3movement of the diaphragm (the muscle at the base of the chest cavity). The muscles move at around 20 to 30 times per second.

As the cat breathes, air touches the vibrating muscles, producing a purr. Each cat’s purr is unique with some high pitched and others emitting a low rumble. Some purrs are so faint you have to be extremely close to your cat to hear it while others are extraordinarily loud.

The purr and meow combination

Cats have a special type of purr that they use when they want our attention, especially when they wish to be fed. This purr is known as a ‘solicitation purr’ and involves a combination of the purr and meow. Cat owners respond to this sound in a similar way that parent’s respond to the cry of their baby.

This is a wonderful example of how our domesticated feline friends have evolved to live with and be nurtured by us.

“Cats express their feeling through purring”

 

Shared on behalf of Purina ‘s  cat behaviour  blogs

Do cats see colour?

When you look at a rainbow in the sky, you see shades of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo,and violet. Do you ever wonder what your cat sees when he looks at a rainbow? Can your feline friend distinguish the same range of colour that you do? Does he see bands of black and white? Do the colours look blurred?

How cats see colour is a long-standing topic of research and the results are pretty amazing.While cats can’t appreciate all the colours that humans do, their world is not entirely black and white. In fact, cats live in a pretty colourful world.

What makes a colour so “colourful?”

Colour is discerned by the nerve cells in the eye. The retina of the eye has two main types of cells–rods and cones. The ability to differentiate cat6colours is determined by the presence of the special colour sensitive cells called “cones.” Human and feline eyes have three types of cones that can identify combinations of red, blue, and green. But because humans have 10 times more cones than cats do, they appreciate more colour variations. In scientific observations, cats don’t appear to perceive the full range of colours that humans can. Some scientists believe that cats see only blue and gray, while others think they see also see yellow like their canine counterparts.

Just as cones are responsible for distinguishing colours, rods have a special job to do as well. Rods detect light levels and motion. Cats have more rods than humans do, giving them the edge when it comes to seeing in low light or identifying moving objects.

How does a cat’s vision compare to human vision?

Just because cats don’t appreciate the entire spectrum of colour that humans do, that doesn’t mean they don’t perceive
different colours. They just may not see the “true” colour of an object. They are also less sensitive to changes in rightness, so they don’t have the ability to perceive colour in the rich, vibrant tones that we do.

In addition to colour perception, felines and humans have other visual differences. In some respects, feline vision is not as acute as human vision. Cats are more near-sighted than we are. When looking at an object from the same distance, the object may appear crisp to us, but blurred to our cats. For example, if a human sees an object clearly from a distance of 100 feet, it will appear blurry to a cat. In fact, the object will not appear sharp until the cat is much closer to it, about 20 feet away.

What are other visual differences between cats and people?

To compensate for these minor deficiencies felines have other visual advantages. Cats have eyes that are set more on the sides of the head, which allows them a broader range of peripheral vision than we have. The trade-off is a smaller range of visual acuity so cats don’t have the depth perception that we do.

Also, cats have elliptical pupils that dilate to the max, allowing them to capture as much light as possible. They also have reflective cells under the retina which form the tapetum. The tapetum gives cats the “shiny eye” appearance and also improves their ability to see in dim light.

“When compared to humans, cats see better in dim light (dusk and dawn) and more accurately detect motion.” 

Cats also have more rod cells in the retina than their human friends. Rods are responsible for detecting motion, even small movements at great distances. So, when compared to humans, cats see better in dim light (dusk and dawn) and more accurately detect motion.

Why do cats see what they see? 

Cats are equipped with the visual accommodations that allow them to survive and thrive in the wild. Seeing well in dim light and picking up slight movements in the forest at great distances improve the cat’s hunting ability. These assets also help a cat know when HE is the prey and needs to flee.

Knowing how and what your cat can see will help you make good choices for her. For example, you should keep your cat’s colour range in mind when shopping for toys. He will enjoy yellow and blue toys more than red ones. And you’ll understand why he suddenly becomes alert while sitting on the windowsill as he hones in on a bird flying 50 yards away. You’ll also know that to get his complete attention, you should stand directly in front of him where his range of visual acuity is greatest.

“Your cat will enjoy yellow and blue toys more than red ones.” 

And the next time you are lucky enough to be graced with a rainbow in the sky, rest assured that your cat can enjoy it, too. He won’t see ALL the colours of the rainbow, but he may see a bit of yellow and blue. And that’ll be just fine for him!

This client information sheet is based on material written by: Lynn Buzhardt, DVM
© Copyright 2015 LifeLearn Inc. Used and/or modified with permission under license.

Why dogs turn around before laying down

dog 1

Dogs, unlike humans, don’t just plop down in bed when they are tired.They spend lots of time preparing their bed before snuggling in for the night. Sleepy dogs turn around in circles and do kind of a dance before going to sleep. This bedtime ritual is a bit compulsive and sleep evades them until they complete their nightly dance routine.

How does circling help with survival?

Dog behaviorists believe that a dog’s need to perform the bedtime ritual of turning around in circles before lying down is inherited. Canine ancestors like wild wolves did the same thing, and domestic dogs retained this genetic predisposition. Evolutionary behaviors like this one are aimed at self-preservation and are strong influences that persist for generations in the animal kingdom.

Turning in circles before lying down is an act of self-preservation in that the dog may innately know that he needs to position himself in a certain way to ward off an attack in the wild. Some wildlife enthusiasts believe that wolves sleep with their noses to the wind so that they can quickly pick up on a threatening scent. Circling allows the wolf to determine the direction of the wind so that he can best position himself. With a quick whiff, the wolf knows that he may be in danger and is alerted for a potential attack.

Most domestic dogs are pets that sleep in our homes or in another safe, controlled environment. Even though they aren’t subject to attack by wild animals, our canine friends retained this evolutionary protective trait. So, like their ancestors, our dogs turn around a few times before lying down.

How does circling help dogs travelling in packs?

There is another evolutionary explanation for this circling behavior. Wild canids, like wolves, foxes, and coyotes, travel in packs that include many family members. The entire group is protective of the members of the pack and is on constant lookout for stragglers. Turning around helps group leaders assess the pack and survey the area for members that may have fallen behind.

Turning around 360 degrees also provides an opportunity to take one last look for potential predators before bedtime. So, again, this bedtime rotation is actually a form of self-preservation and protection.

Every pack has an established hierarchy. Some members are more dominant while others are submissive. The bedtime turning routine may also be part of a ritual that identifies a wolf’s place in the pecking order of the pack.

 How does circling help with comfort?

Here’s a more basic reason for canine circling. Dogs in the wild don’t have the luxury of manufactured doggie beds and pillows. They make their own “beds” in nature. To make their sleeping quarters more comfortable, dogs pat down tall grass and move prickly underbrush and stickers before lying down. They root out rocks and fallen tree branches. In colder climates, dogs circle to reposition snow banks. This “nesting” procedure also uncovers unwanted inhabitants like snakes or insects. Dogs don’t like to share their beds with intruders. Moreover, changing the format of an area by moving grass, snow, or leaves indicates to other wild dogs in the area that this particular spot is taken for the night.

How does circling help with temperature?

Dogdog2s in the wild had no control over weather conditions and had to survive extreme changes in temperature. They couldn’t turn down a thermostat when it was hot or grab a blanket when it was cold, so they adapted by “denning” to moderate the temperature of their sleeping quarters.

Outdoor dogs in hotter climates scratched at the ground to clear away topsoil and grass that retained and radiated the sun’s warmth. Removing the topsoil exposed cooler soil underneath. Scratching and turning allowed them to find a more comfortable temperature for sleeping.

Wild canids in colder climates circled to wind themselves into tight balls to conserve personal body heat. The tighter the tuck, the warmer the dog. In addition, other pack members gathered together in a tight circle to effectively share body heat. So, the bedtime turning ritual had a biological basis, too.

How does circling help our pet dogs?

These are all good reasons for dogs to circle before lying down in the wild, but how does this relate to our contemporary, domestic dogs that lead comfortable lives within our homes and yards?

The desire for comfort is innate, so one explanation is that our dogs circle before lying down to get their beds just the way they want them. Unlike us, a quick plump of the pillow won’t do. But their bedtime ritual is more than that. It’s a repeat performance of the actions their ancestors took before going to sleep under the stars.

What if the circling is excessive?

While watching our dogs turn around before bedding down is amusing, it can also be a signal that something is wrong. Dogs that are in pain will circle excessively as they struggle to find a more comfortable position. They may also crouch then rise several times before completely reclining.

If your dog has difficulty settling down even after making several revolutions, consult your veterinarian. Orthopedic disorders like arthritis and neurological disorders like spinal cord or back problems can “turn” the routine nighttime “turning” into a painful experience. With proper evaluation and therapy, bedtime can once again become a comforting “turning” into a painful experience. With proper evaluation and therapy, bedtime can once again become a comforting AND comfortable ritual.

This client information sheet is based on material written by: Lynn Buzhardt, DVM © Copyright 2015 LifeLearn Inc. Used and/or modified with permission under license

 

Why Dogs Sniff Butts. Yuck!!

Why do dogs sniff butts?

There is no delicate way to ask, “Why do dogs sniff butts?” Apparently, this particular issue is as sensitive as a dog’s sense of smell, so let’s approach the question carefully. To address why dogs sniff rear ends, we have to understand their sense of smell and their communication techniques.

Dogs Have an Amazing Olfactory System

Like humans, dogs have five basic neurological senses: taste, touch, hearing, sight, and smell. Of these senses, smell takes the lead in the canine world. A dog’s ability to smell is far more advanced than ours. An average dog has a sense of smell that is about 100,000 times more sensitive than his owner’s partly because dog noses contain 150 million olfactory receptors while human noses only have 5 million. And dogs devote about 1/3 of their brain mass to the detection and identification of odors, while humans utilize a mere 5% for olfactory purposes.

Plus, dogs have an additional tool to enhance their sense of smell. A special organ called Jacobsen’s organ is located inside the nasal cavity and opens into the roof of the mouth behind the upper incisors. This amazing organ serves as a secondary olfactory system designed specifically for chemical communication. The nerves from Jacobsen’s organ lead directly to the brain and are different from the nerves in the olfactory tissue of the nose in that they do not respond to ordinary smells. In fact, these nerve cells respond to a range of substances that often have no odor at all. In other words, they work to detect “undetectable” odors.  dog3

Jacobsen’s organ communicates with the part of the brain that deals with mating. By identifying pheromones, it provides male and female dogs with the information they need to determine if a member of the opposite sex is available for breeding. In addition, this organ enhances the sense of smell that newborn puppies need to find their mother’s milk source. Jacobsen’s organ allows pups to identify their mother from other nursing dams. With a quick sniff, a pup placed between two nursing mothers will migrate to the one that gave birth to him!

The two separate parts of the dog’s odor detection system, the nose and Jacobsen’s organ, work together to provide delicate sensibilities that neither system could achieve alone. When the dog curls his lips and flares his nostrils, he opens up Jacobsen’s organ, increases the exposure of his nasal cavity to aromatic molecules and essentially becomes a remarkably efficient smelling machine.

The Benefits of Sniffing

In addition to chemical communication, there is another purpose to butt sniffing. Dogs smell rear ends as a calming mechanism. Performing this innate ritual soothes them and serves as a stress reliever. Plus, sniffing is much quicker than a lengthy conversation. So, even though sniffing butts seems revolting to us, try to think of it as a healthy, socially acceptable form of canine communication!

 

This client information sheet is based on material written by: Lynn Buzhardt, DVM
© Copyright 2014 LifeLearn Inc. Used and/or modified with permission under license.

Interpreting Tail Wags in Dogs

What does a wagging tail mean?

When your dog wags his tail is he telling you that he’s happy? Not necessarily! Canines know many variations of the “tail wag” and they all mean different things. In fact, a wag of the tail is one of the best methods of  communication in the canine kingdom. Like human infants, dogs must learn their language. Pups aren’t born knowing what a wagging tail means any more than a newborn baby understands words. But when a pup is about a month old, he recognizes the need to communicate with his mother and siblings so he picks up the lingo. The pup wags his tail to tell his littermates that he’s tired of playing or to tell his mother that he’s hungry.

Why do dogs wag their tails to communicate?    dog4

Words are the basis of human communication so people are good listeners. Dogs, on the other hand, are watchers. Lacking a verbal vocabulary, dogs communicate broader messages with body language by taking a certain stance, moving their ears, furrowing their brow, shifting their eyes or wagging their tails.

Tail wagging works well for dogs. Since canine vision is attuned more to movement than to colors or details, dogs readily discern different tail wags. Evolution has also helped by producing tails that are more visible. Some tails have color variations such as dark or light tips, some are lighter on the underside, and some are really bushy. All of these traits accentuate the tail wag and enhance communication.

What messages does a wagging tail communicate?

Before we learn to speak “tail,” we must recognize that the neutral or natural position of a dog’s tail varies by breed. Most dogs have tails that hang down near their heels when they are relaxed. But some dogs, like Beagles, hold their tails more vertically. Others like Greyhounds and Whippets curl their tails under their bellies. Still others, like Pugs and Boston Terriers, have tails that coil tightly against the body and don’t wag at all.

Tail position may indicate:

1. Preparedness or agitation. When dogs are alert, they stand with their ears up and tails raised. This posture indicates that they are watching and ready to confront whatever caught their attention.

2. Negotiation. When a dog suddenly stops wagging his tail and freezes, it may mean that he wants to divert a threat without being aggressive. Many dogs do this when petted by strangers to communicate that they don’t want to interact with them.

3. Aggression. When a tail moves from a neutral position to a vertical one or arches over the back, it indicates that the dog may be aggressive. The higher the tail, the greater the threat. This high tail position also releases more of the dog’s scent from the anal glands which announces the
aggressive dog’s arrival and marks his territory.

4. Submission. When a tail moves from the neutral position to a lower one, the dog is submissive and is not a threat. If the tail is tucked tightly between the rear legs, the dog is scared. He perceives a threat and is asking not to be harmed. This lower tail position reduces the amount of scent emitted from the anal glands and allows the dog to remain in the background or fly under the radar.

5. Curiosity. When a dog is curious about something she hold her tails straight out in a horizontal
position.

6. Happiness. When a dog is happy, he holds his tail in a neutral or slightly raised position and adds a healthy wag.

The rate at which a tail moves adds further meaning to canine communication.

Wagging speed may indicate:

1. Excitement. The faster the wag, the more excited the dog. A tail wag may range from very slow to extremely rapid (known as flagging). Sometimes the dog’s tail wags so fast that it appears to vibrate.

2. Insecurity. A dog that is tentative about meeting a new person or another dog may wag his tail ever so slightly to indicate that he is insecure.

3. Friendliness. A dog that is very friendly may wag his tail more freely and even wiggle his hips at the same time.

4. Aggression. When a dog wags his tail very fast while holding it vertically, he may be an active threat. So, remember that a person can get bitten by a dog that is wagging its tail!

Canine “tail talk” is so complex that even the direction of the wagging is significant. Studies show that dogs wag their tails to the right when they are happy or confident and to the left when they are frightened and there is a reason for this.

The left side of the brain controls movement on the right side of the body and vice versa. So the left brain is engaged when the tail wags to the right and the right brain causes the tail to move to the left. Since the left side of the brain is associated with positive feelings like love and serenity, a happy dog wags his tail to the right. Conversely, the right half of the brain is associated with negative feelings like fear and depression, so a frightened dog wags his tail to the left.

Can tailless dogs communicate?

Dogs without tails communicate but have limitations. Tailless dogs approach other dogs or people cautiously to avoid miscommunication. They depend on other aspects of body language such as ear position, facial expression, and stance to communicate their intentions.

Tail Talk

While dogs don’t speak the human language, they still communicate quite effectively and tail wagging enhances their ability to communicate. Interestingly, dogs don’t talk to themselves. They will wag their tails in front of humans or other dogs, but they don’t wag when alone! Think about that the next time you mutter to yourself!

This client information sheet is based on material written by: Lynn Buzhardt, DVM
© Copyright 2014 LifeLearn Inc. Used and/or modified with permission under license.