Mace Dekker: Knowing your pets |

Mace Dekker: Knowing your pets

Understanding your dog’s behavior can be challenging. For example, ”Why do dogs howl?”

Researchers have found that wolves howl more when they are separated from fellow wolves with whom they are close. For wolves, howling does not correlate to stress hormones or the phase of the moon. It seems to be a GPS for lost wolves and a warning for others to stay away from this pack.

So if Fido goes wild at the sound of sirens or other dogs, it’s not because his ears hurt.

It’s his ancestry that’s partly to blame.

Your pooch shares his penchant for howling with this distant relation, and it is an ingrained behavior.

If your dog howls in response to another dog or a loud siren, he may be saying, “Get off my turf!” or just, “Where are you guys? I’m over here!”

And if your dog howls when you leave the house, it might be because he thinks that this ruckus will trigger some response from you, his pack leader.

Your pet probably hopes that his howl will guide you home in time for dinner and some play time.

When do puppies and kittens lose their teeth?

Did you know that humans go from having 20 teeth as babies to having 32 teeth as adults (excluding wisdom teeth)?

Our pets also increase their number of teeth; dogs go from 28 to 42 teeth, and cats from 26 to 30.

With them it takes a lot less time for them to grow into their adult teeth. By 6 to 8 weeks the baby teeth are normally in place, which your hands (and furniture) will know about since they tend to chew on everything at that age.

The adult teeth will come in slowly over the next several months, and for most pets they will have a full set of chompers by 8 months of age.

Sometimes the baby teeth do not come out, and need to be removed to let a healthy set of adult teeth grow in normally.

It’s important to get started with keeping their teeth clean early in life by brushing them, to prevent the teeth from becoming seriously gnarly and infected later in life.

Grass Valley Veterinary Hospital’s Mace Dekker, DVM, will answer questions regarding pets each month in the Vet Tips. Have a question? Submit it to, attention Dr. Dekker.

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