Why Do Dogs Drink From the Toilet?

In two new books, "Why Do Dogs Drink Out of the Toilet" and "Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?" veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker answers some of the most embarrassing questions about he's been asked about pets.

October is National Pet Wellness Month. If you want more information about caring for your pet, visit www.petconnection.com.

"Good Morning America" also featured two animals up for adoption -- Toby, a terrier, and Morrissey, a 7-week-old orange tabby cat. Both are available for adoption through the Humane Society of New York.

Read an excerpt from "Why Do Dogs Drink Out of the Toilet?", by Marty Becker and Gina Spadafori, below:

Q. Is the whole Rockettes leg-lift thing really necessary?

A. It is to a dog. Better to put your scent mark at nose level, where other dogs can smell it and the breeze can more easily disseminate it. That's why dogs (mostly male, but even some females) contort themselves into precariously balanced tripods to get their urine-squirters into position to splash their pee as high as possible.

Of course, some males never really do get into it, especially if they're neutered. But the most precocious males start lifting a leg at four months of age.

For the most dedicated leg-lifters, the act can get pretty amusing when the dog is one of those small ones with a big attitude. While your average Irish Wolfhound can land the highest squirt with very little effort, if you're a bossy little Irish Terrier, you're going to have to try harder-a lot harder. Some small dogs get that hose up so high in an effort to top some taller dog's mark that they're practically doing a front-paw stand.

Q. When dogs yawn, are they sleepy or bored?

A. Neither, really. Think of yawning as a kind of switching gears. A yawn increases the flow of oxygen and boosts the heart rate-actions that give the brain a good goosing. A yawn can prepare the body for action-as in the yawning of a keynote speaker waiting for her introduction or a quarterback waiting to get back onto the field. Yawning can also be a way to relax.

Dogs yawn both to charge themselves up and to calm themselves down. It depends on the situation. If you go to a canine agility competition, you'll often spot dogs yawning at the starting line while waiting for the signal to explode across the line to the first obstacle. They're ready to run, and the yawn expresses that stress and excitement. In the waiting room of a veterinary hospital, you'll often see dogs yawning, too-a sure sign that they're stressed and trying to calm themselves.

In training classes, dog will often yawn-and owners will often interpret this as a sign that the dog is bored. Not so. The dog who's yawning in obedience class is more likely stressed than bored, either from nervousness or from wanting to please you but not yet understanding how.

Just as in humans, yawning can be contagious in dogs. If you catch your dog's attention and yawn, you may well get a yawn back. Some experienced dog handlers actually use this to their advantage, encouraging their dogs to yawn as a way to get them either focused or relaxed.

Q. Why do dogs love to roll in stinky stuff?

A. You know those sprays and plug-ins you use to make the house smell fresh? Your dog is not impressed. If your dog were choosing a scent to make the house smell perfect, she might pick Old Dead Squirrel or Pile o' Cat Poop.

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