Ask the Vet - Vallard C. Forsythe, DVM


Don’t try this at home

Dear Dr. Forsythe: What is the best way to teach a Bulldog how to ride a skateboard?  I saw the video on YouTube of that dog in Los Angeles that skateboards and surfs, so now I want to make my Bulldog Winston learn that. But when I put him onto my skate the first few times he just rolled off.  Kind of a fail. Your suggestions? - Winston’s Peep

Dear “Peep”: Do you try and imitate EVERYTHING cool and daring you have ever seen on YouTube?  I shutter at the fact that a video of a bulldog skateboarding compelled you to simply plop your bulldog down onto a skateboard and give it a swift “push.”  That poor rolly-polly rowdy. I’m wondering if Winston sustained any appreciable damage “rolling” off the skateboard the first few “times” you tried this with him.

Actually, your question has prompted me to ponder your thought process when it comes to selecting hobbies choose for your pet.  Immediately I wondered why you hadn’t considered ribbon dancing, a high-wire act, or simply shooting him out of a cannon?  Sorry for the sarcasm, but I am still “shell-shocked” at the notion that seeing a dog do something online translates into forcing them into trying it for real.  Haven’t you heard that little exclaimer “do not try this at home?”

In all likelihood, the surfing bulldog probably jumped up on his owner’s skateboard or surfboard one day of his own volition and showed gumption and desire, not to mention talent.  This is a far cry from an over-excited parent pushing their tiny child into private skating lessons at the age of three so they will have another Peggy Flemming or Dorothy Hamill 10 years later.  I’m afraid that by trying this stunt with your big juicy (and most likely very uncoordinated) Bulldog, you were putting his health and safety in the back seat and driving very quickly.

Bulldogs tend to be very scared of skateboards — as a breed, they dislike the sound the wheels make on cement (with exceptions of course).  They also have a very easy time rupturing their anterior cruciate ligaments in their knees if they step or fall wrong.  If I were you, I’d stop trying to use Winston in your “life imitates art” efforts and let him do what he does best: walk around and let people oogle over his wrinkles.  And I’m sure nobody wants to see him in a skating dress, just in case you have that idea in your head now. Thanks for putting up with my harsh but well intended response. - Dr. F

Dear Dr. Forsythe: Every year when I take my dog and cat in for their annual checkup, my vet tries to test the stool sample for parasites.  I always tell him “no” because neither my cat nor my dog have diarrhea or any other problems. Isn’t that OK to do? - Chiva, Santa Rosa

Dear Chiva: Actually no, Chiva.  I really have to tell you that I think it is a very good idea to have an annual fecal check done on every pet in the house. Indoor or outdoor, pets can acquire parasites of different types, and many animals are subclinical “carriers” that don’t appear to be sick at all.  In one study, about 12 percent or the “healthy” pets that were checked actually came back positive for an endoparasite.  Since some of these little critters can infect other animals or even people, it is well worth the relatively small investment to leave the stool sample, get the dewormer, and have the peace of mind knowing your pet is really and truly “healthy” on the inside as you “suspect”. Thanks for a good question, I’m sure many people have wondered about the same thing.

Dr. F

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