Death of Miley Cyrus’ Dog Lila Strengthens Pet Safety Message

by Patrick Mahaney on January 29, 2013

This article originally appeared on my ongoing series of articles for Flexcin International, Inc as Death of Miley Cyrus’ Dog Lila Strengthens Pet Safety Message

My condolences go out to Miley Cyrus and her family, as they recently suffered the unfortunate loss of Lila, their beloved canine companion.  Lila was a 2 year old Yorkshire Terrier mix and one of Cyrus’ many rescue dogs. Despite the immense amount of love Cyrus had for her, Lila may have fallen victim to a simple mistake.  Do you know how to keep your pets safe?

How Lila Cyrus Died

On December 12, 2012 @MileyCyrus took to Twitter to alert the world of Lila’s passing in stating:

for everyone asking… I have never been so hurt in my life. My heart has never been so broken….. Lila my sweet baby girl has passed away.

Cyrus tweeted about Lila’s health issues as recently as October 2012, so the circumstances surrounding Lila’s unfortunate death were initially unclear.  Cyrus’ mother, Tish, clarified the circumstances around Lila’s passing on her blog :

For some unknown reason,  Ziggy…….. grabbed Lila.  Not really sure if she was playing or what?  She grabbed her in just the wrong spot and Lila didn’t survive

Ziggy is a female, young adult (estimated to be just over one year) English Bulldog.  As a puppy of only a few weeks of age, Cyrus gave Ziggy as a gift to her fiancé, Liam Helmsworth.

It’s not the first time

In my clinical practice, I have seen severe injuries and even death from one dog being bit or otherwise traumatized (run into, pushed over, etc.) by another dog.  Considering Ziggy’s large body size and strong jaws, the potential for Lila to incur life-threatening trauma from a fight is quite high.  From Tish’s report, it’s unclear if Lila and Ziggy were in the presence of a responsible adult or were home alone at the time of the attack.

A clear message of precaution radiates

Lila’s death sends a strong reminder about precautions pet owners should take to reduce the likelihood another pet (or person) suffers an injury from an interaction with a pet prone to attacking,bitingscratching, etc.

  1. Never leave your pets unobserved in a confined space without the presence of a responsible adult.
  2. In your absence or inability to closely observe interactions, separate your pets by placing them in individual rooms or species-appropriate carriers.
  3. Do not leave food, treats, or toys in a common area where one pet may resource guard and become aggressive in defense of their items.
  4. Engage in physically strenuous activity before leaving your pet alone for any period of time.  A tired pet is more likely to be a better behaved than one with energy to burn.
  5. Schedule an examination with your veterinarian and pursue recommended diagnostic testing (X-rays, blood/urine/fecal evaluation, etc.) to determine if any medical abnormalities are contributing to behavior problems.  Conditions include urinary tract infection,arthritis/Degenerative Joint Diseasehypothyroidism (dogs), Cushing’s disease,hyperthyroidism (cats), cancerhormonal issues (sexually intact pets), and others.  I shared my perspective on topic in the Flexcin Blog article: My Cat From Hell: Vet Discusses Medical Reasons Behind Cat Behavior Problems.
  6. Get to the root of behavior problems and receive the best recommendations for their resolution by consulting with a Diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Behavior (DACB).
  7. Use a veterinary prescribed medication or over the counter calming agent (Rescue Remedy PetDog Appeasing Pheromone, etc.) to adjust your pet’s attitude and reduce household stress levels.
  8. If needed, fit a pet prone to inflicting injury with cage style or soft muzzle (ProGuard Softie).  Only have your pet wear the muzzle under your observation to avoid strangulation and other mishaps that could occur if removal is attempted.

Miley Cyrus is a great dog owner

I commend Cyrus for her responsible decision to give up Ziggy’s ownership.  Although Ziggy does not have a longstanding reputation to be vicious, her unpredictable actions could lead an attack on another pet.

Hopefully, Cyrus will soon recover from Lila’s loss and continue to be an excellent caretaker for the other members of her canine brood

Thank you for reading this article.  Your questions and comments are completely welcome (I’ll respond).

Please feel free to communicate with me through Twitter (@PatrickMahaney) and follow my adventures in veterinary medicine by liking Patrick Mahaney: Veterinarian Acupuncture Pain Management for Your Pets on Facebook.

Copyright of this article (2012) is owned by Dr Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. Republishing any portion of this article must first be authorized by Dr Patrick Mahaney. Requests for republishing must be approved by Dr Patrick Mahaney and received in written format.


Share This
  Print This Print This Tweet ThisTweet This

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: