Friday, September 30, 2011

The Healing Power of Purr Therapy

By Julia Williams

I have nothing against medical doctors. They’ve certainly played a role in my care since birth, and have even helped me a time or two. But there are times when I opt for a more unconventional mode of healing, one I’ve taken to calling “Purr Therapy” for lack of a better term. Sometimes, Purr Therapy is all I need to cure whatever ails me. Whether I suffer from a physical, mental or emotional malady, Purr Therapy can miraculously take me through the illness and into perfect health.

What is this strange healing power I call Purr Therapy? Well, it’s not some mumbo-jumbo snake-oil tactic, I assure you. Purr Therapy is simply believing in and allowing the natural healing power that my cats have. Though some might dismiss this notion as fallacy, the miraculous healing powers of pets have been well documented by doctors, veterinarians and animal lovers alike. And truly, just about everyone who has a close bond with their pet has experienced this natural healing ability firsthand. Purr Therapy – and its companion Wag Therapy – can be holistic complements to your wellbeing regime.

Purr Therapy allows my body’s own natural healing ability to shine, thereby creating health and wellness in every cell. Purr Therapy centers me, lifts my spirits and makes me feel glad to be alive. Who can feel sad or sick with a cat lying on their chest so close to their heart, purring like mad? Certainly not I. Who could allow pain to diminish their happiness when there is a pet nearby, so willing to give and receive love? Oh…not I, that is for sure. Purr Therapy has the miraculous ability to make everything seem all right, even when it isn’t. In fact, I think Purr Therapy can be a thousand – no, a million! – times more effective than any anti-depressant medication.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Moscow's Subway Riders Include Stray Dogs

By Linda Cole

It's one thing for stray dogs to hang around a local butcher shop or search for food in dumpsters and trash cans, but for dogs living in Russia it's just a matter of catching the subway into Moscow, where they can find plenty of opportunities to fill their tummies. What's amazing about these subway riding canines is that they have riding the tube down to a fine art, and scientists have been learning some interesting things about how man's best friend has learned to adapt to their environment.

In the days when Russia was still the USSR, there were no dogs allowed in subways and even if they had been welcomed, dogs had no reason to go into the city. There were no street vendors or restaurants in the downtown area of Moscow, just industrial buildings. The stray dogs living on the outskirts of town found food digging through garbage dumps and trash cans. When the old USSR fell in the 1990s, everything changed for the people and the stray dogs. Restaurants, street vendors and fast food joints sprang up in Moscow, and the only challenge for the dogs was how to get from the suburbs into the downtown area where all of that easy food could be found.

Dogs are opportunistic and intelligent, and when they figured out they were no longer chased away from the subway stations, they began hopping trains for a lift into the city. The Moscow subway system is a maze that can be confusing for people, but the dogs appear to have learned the system. Scientists have been studying the train-hopping dogs to learn how they know which train to catch and when to get off. Researchers believe the dogs know their stop because of their ability to judge how long they've been on the train. It appears some of the dogs recognize the names of stations from the announcement over the loudspeaker or can sense the different smells of each station. It's possible that it's a combination of knowledge the dogs have learned. Some may even recognize certain people who exit at a specific station each day and simply follow them when they get off.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Heroic Acts of Pet Owners

By Langley Cornwell

We buy the good brand of dog food, always have clean, fresh water available, take long walks and enjoy unstructured playtime together. We are committed, responsible pet owners and think we would do anything for our pets. But would you put yourself in real danger to save your animal? These pet owners went to heroic lengths to rescue their pets from harm.

Punching a Bear in the Face

Alaska resident Brooke Collins tangled with a bear to save her dog’s life. It all started when Fudge, a senior dachshund, slipped out the door and into the jaws of a black bear. According to, 22-year-old Collins was startled to see a bear bending over her dog, squeezing the dog with its paws and biting the dog’s neck. She immediately sprang into action and made a huge commotion, screaming and flailing her arms. The bear seemed unfazed so she ran right towards him. The bear continued to maintain his grip on Fudge, so Collins reared back and punched the bear in the nose. The bear released the dachshund and Collin’s boyfriend scared him off. Fudge was lucky and escaped with only minor wounds.

Facing Down a Coyote

Minnesota has its share of coyotes and they are encroaching on the neighborhoods in Edina, notes CBS Minnesota. When Becky Bennett’s dog Smokey was playing in their backyard, a coyote boldly came onto their property. Within seconds the coyote grabbed Smokey, an 18-year-old Schipperke, and carried him towards the edge of the yard. Without hesitation, Bennett raced towards the coyote with her arms waving; she screamed and yelled and charged forward. The coyote was startled by Bennett’s actions and dropped Smokey, but the dog suffered from the attack. It took 10 days for the senior Schipperke to recover from puncture wounds and regain the strength to walk again.     

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Best Books about Dogs

By Suzanne Alicie

Those of us who love animals and dogs in particular often enjoy reading about them as well. When you think of great books about dogs you may picture children’s books such as Clifford the Big Red Dog or The Incredible Journey, but there are many books about dogs that are wonderful reads for adults.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: What I Learned from the Dog/101Stories about Life, Love and Lessons is an amazingly heartwarming book with essays that will make you laugh and cry, and make you realize just how many things we can learn from our canine family members.

Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog is a heartwarming story about the author and his dog Merle, and how they came together despite Merle’s freethinking ways. This book is a great look into the relationships between humans and dogs.

The Art of Racing in the Rain explores all the things that humans do from a dog’s point of view. It’s much more than a story about a dog though. The Art of Racing in the Rain tells of a race car driver and his dog, but goes on to detail the family that follows and the companionship that a dog named Enzo offers to them all.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Can You Tell if Your Dog is Depressed?

By Linda Cole

Dogs can get down in the dumps just like we can. Depression can be a serious and life threatening condition if it's not recognized and treated. However, dogs can't tell us when they don't feel right, so the only way we can tell if something is wrong is by observing how they act.

A dog's personality can be just as complicated as their owner's. Just like us, dogs have their own favorite areas of the home where they feel secure and comfortable. If that area is an out of the way spot, like under the bed or in a closet, it can be misread as the dog hiding. A depressed dog may hide, but he could also just want a quiet place to relax. There are other symptoms to look for that are better indicators of depression.

Symptoms of depression in dogs

Depression works much the same with a pet as it does for us. There's an apparent lack of interest in food and sometimes even water. If your dog misses one or two of his CANIDAE meals, there's no cause for concern as long as he's still drinking water. But if his lack of appetite lasts longer than a 24 hour period, and he isn't drinking water, you should have your vet check him out to make sure there's not a medical problem or injury that's causing him to not want to eat or drink. Sometimes a depressed dog may go the other way and overeat.

Besides loss of appetite, other symptoms to watch out for can include no energy (lethargy) in a normally active dog or sleeping more than usual. A depressed dog may appear to be easily startled by a noise or another pet or person in the same room. A dog that wants to be left alone, won't move his head to look at you when you call his name, or paces from one room to another and can't seem to find any place where he's comfortable, is showing symptoms of depression. Your dog may be depressed if he constantly follows you around the house or yard but doesn't want to interact with you, especially if he always has in the past.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Cat Commandments

By Rocky Williams (Feline Guest Blogger)

I'm told you hoomins have something called the Ten Commandments. Now, I like the sound of that because I have things I want to command my hoomin, aka the Warden, to do. And I should think that all felines might want to adopt these cat commandments too, for they are the word of one who clearly knows how to manipulate his hoomin, and is known throughout the land as King of the castle. Which is exactly as it should be, of course. But being a crafty cat, naturally I have more than ten commandments.

Here are my 18 Cat Commandments:

You shall not put any other cat before me, nor any dog, horse, hamster, gerbil, rabbit, chicken, or other creature that inhabits your world.

You shall honor all things Feline as divine.

You shall not call me Boo Boo, Bubba, Bugaboo, Chi Chi, Fatty, Floppy, Fluffy, Moo Moo, Noodle, Pookie, Snookums or any other any silly name that makes people laugh when they hear it. I am a dignified cat, and I shall not respond to any name that is beneath me.

You shall not ration my Tidnips Treats, for my desire to nom these tasty things knows no bounds, and my appetite for them is insatiable. 

You shall not baptize me in water for any reason whatsoever!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dogs That Made Our Presidents Smile

By Linda Cole

Running the country is probably the most stressful job anyone can have. Beginning with our first president, George Washington, to President Obama, many different pets have lived in the White House. Most of the men who have held the highest office in the land had a dog by their side. There have even been some famous “first cats” too. As a pet lover and a lover of history, I ran across some interesting facts about a few of our presidents and the dogs that made them smile.

George Washington

We know what he did for our country, but did you know Washington is considered the father of the American Foxhound? He imported a pack of young Foxhounds from England before the start of the War of Independence. During the war, the Marquis de Lafayette became friends with Washington and presented him with a gift of three French Foxhounds. Washington bred his English Foxhounds with his French Foxhounds to produce the American Foxhound. Washington loved dogs and he often talked about them in his diaries. He fondly mentions one who kept his wife Martha up in arms because the dog had a knack for breaking in and stealing whole Virginia hams from her pantry.

One story that shows Washington's character as a man and as a dog lover recounts the Battle of Germantown, which wasn't going in Washington's favor. The American troops were camped at Pennibecker's Mill when a little Terrier was spotted roaming the battlefield between the American and British lines. It was discovered the dog belonged to the British commander General Howe and had gotten lost between enemy lines. Ignoring the advice of his officers who wanted to use the dog to demoralize Howe, Washington surprised everyone when he took Howe's dog to his tent, fed him, made sure he was cleaned up and then ordered a cease fire. After the shooting stopped everyone on both sides watched as an aid to Washington walked across the battlefield under a flag of truce and returned the dog to his grateful owner.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Attending an International Dog Show

By Lynn Taylor

Most people have heard of the traditional AKC Dog Conformation show, but have you ever heard of the International Dog Show that takes place in the U.S.? The International All Breed Canine Association (IABCA) is an independent organization that offers the same ring procedures as the other organizations but with the European-style flavor of providing all dogs with a written critique against the breed standard. There are both American (AKC) and International judges at every show, including judges from Australia, Canada, Colombia, Germany, Puerto Rico and Sweden.

The IABCA began more than twenty years ago with the intent of making the International Title available to the American public without having to expose dogs to the dangers and inconvenience of international travel.

I attended my first show recently and was very pleased with it. The show runs as a typical dog show with the same ring process. However in addition, during each show personalized attention is given to each exhibitor by the judge and a full written critique of your dog is received encompassing 12 different parts of his body and movement. The judges take time to explain what they see in each dog. It provides a nice relaxed atmosphere too.

When working toward an International or National Title, the dog is judged against the breed standard and rated. The rating of each show will count towards the title. In turn the rating will determine the title your dog will receive. There are both puppy and adult titles available. During each show there are Class winners and a Best of Breed winner that moves on to Best in Show.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tips for Combating Doggie Breath

By Suzanne Alicie

We all love our dogs, but one thing that seems to be a common complaint for all owners is doggie breath. Sure, little baby pups might have sweet smelling puppy breath, but in general when your dog gets in your face your first instinct is often to push him away. There are several ways you can combat doggie breath, and of course the first step is to talk to your vet.

Most veterinary offices offer doggie dental care which can help address any sort of infection, buildup or decay that may be making your dog’s breath worse than usual. Keeping your pooch’s choppers clean and healthy is part of being a responsible pet owner; you should do it for the health of your dog, not just for your sensitive nose!

You can even brush your dog’s teeth at home if you’re brave enough or if your dog is well behaved enough to allow it. Actually, if you start brushing their teeth regularly from puppyhood, most dogs will tolerate it – just be sure to use toothpaste made for dogs! It may be tempting to use some sort of human toothpaste or mouthwash to combat offensive doggie breath, but these things can be very harmful to your dog.

Some dog treats can help clear away plaque and leave your dog with fresher breath, such as Snap Biscuit and Snap Bits treats from CANIDAE. These treats include all natural peppermint as well as other healthy ingredients that will help keep your dog’s mouth fresh and clean! Doggie breath is as much a part of being a dog as barking, and it doesn’t seem to bother them at all, but the poor people who own the smelly critters are always looking for ways to defeat bad dog breath.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tips to Help a Senior Pet Stay Active

By Linda Cole

I have several dogs that are getting along in years. They move slower and are more content to sleep away the hours, but a lack of exercise and stimulation isn't a healthy way for them to spend their senior years. Older pets can develop arthritis and other joint related problems that may keep them from enjoying activities, but it's still important to keep them as active as possible. If you have a senior pet, here are some tips to help them stay active.

By the time a pet turns a year old, they are already a teenager in human years. The senior years for small dogs 20 pounds or less begin at the age of 7 to 9, and larger dogs are considered seniors at 6 to 7 years. Cats are actually living longer because of advances in veterinary medicine. An indoor cat can easily live up to 18 years or longer and are considered senior at around 9 years. Outdoor cats have shorter life spans, around 4 to 5 years.

How to Keep Senior Dogs Active

As dogs age, they may not be able to keep up a rigorous exercise schedule. That doesn't mean you have to stop running, biking, hiking or any other activity you enjoy doing with your dog, but it does mean you may need to slow things down for your senior dog's sake. Swimming and slower walks for senior dogs, especially one with arthritis, keep their muscles strong. Exercise helps keep joints limber, keeps their bowels functioning normally, digestive system working and helps your dog maintain a healthy body weight.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Rituals Can Help You Bond with Your Pet

By Julia Williams

Like humans, dogs and cats are very much creatures of habit. They are perhaps even more dependent upon routines than we are, and sometimes the slightest deviation can upset them. On the flip side, sticking to a schedule with your pet can help with behavior problems. Daily rituals are also beneficial to pets and owners because they can help forge a strong bond. And isn’t that what we all want, to have a meaningful relationship with our four legged friends?

Personally, if I didn’t want to form a close bond with my cats I would just stick to pet rocks. But as an animal lover, I do want to have a great relationship with my pets, and I’ve found that daily rituals are a wonderful way to strengthen our connection. Rituals build trust, enhance my cats’ lives, and make them feel loved and wanted. It’s hard to say who enjoys our little rituals more, me or the cats, but what matters most is that they bring us closer day by day. 

Rituals don’t have to be elaborate or expensive to be worthwhile, either. Even the simplest things – like always having a dog biscuit in your pocket when you arrive home from work, or grooming them every day at a certain time. These are two rituals I’ve employed for years with great results. Well no, I don’t actually use dog biscuits because my cats wouldn’t appreciate those, but they get FELIDAE TidNips treats every night before bedtime, and it has become a ritual they all look forward to. In fact, if I’m working late on the computer, Mickey will come in and loudly announce that it’s time for treats. If that doesn’t immediately produce results, he hops onto my desk and obscures my view with the classic “butt in the face” stance until I surrender. Mickey takes his treat ritual very seriously! 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Sled Dogs of Denali National Park

By Linda Cole

Photo by NPS
Sled dogs have always had a place in the wilds of Alaska. Snowmobiles may have replaced dogs in Alaska for the most part, but mushing is still a good way to get around in winter, and it's the only mode of transportation allowed in Denali National Park’s inner two million acres of designated wilderness. The National Park Service maintains their own kennel and still uses sled dogs to patrol the wilds of one of the most awe inspiring national parks we have. And this year, the Park Service has installed a puppy cam so we can watch their newest pups as they grow!

The word Denali means “the high one” and comes from the Athabascan Indian vocabulary, Alaska's largest native inhabitants. Mt. McKinley, located in the park and known as Denali by Alaskan residents, is 20,320 feet above sea level and is the highest mountain peak in North America. Denali National Park, which includes a preserve, was set aside as a national park in 1917 in an effort to protect wildlife. The park covers 9,492 square miles – six million acres of awesome and stunning wild lands that draw visitors from all over the world.

Dog sleds have always been the most reliable way to travel the wilderness of Alaska. Charles Sheldon was a naturalist who studied Dall sheep around Denali during the 1907-1908 winter, and he hired a dog musher by the name of Harry Karstens as a guide. Sheldon was so impressed with the beauty of the land and wildlife, that when he returned to his home on the east coast he began lobbying Congress to establish the land as a national park and preserve. Because of his efforts, Mount McKinley National Park was established in 1917. In 1921, Harry Karstens was named the first park ranger and was tasked with the job of getting pouching under control. Karstens understood the important role dogs played in the wilds of Alaska, and he was the person who built the first kennel to make sure he had healthy and well-trained dogs he could depend on to effectively do his job.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

All About Polydactyl Cats

By Julia Williams

Polydactyl cats are not a specific breed, but they do have a unique characteristic that is immediately noticeable – extra toes! These extra toes make their paws look gigantic, rather like they are wearing mittens, hence the nicknames “mitten cat” and “mitten foot cat.” Another nickname is “thumb cats,” because some polydactyl cats have separated toe clusters which make them appear to have a thumb on their paw. The term polydactyl is of Greek origin and comes from poly- (many) + daktylos (fingers or toes).

Most domestic cats have 18 toes: five on both front paws and four on each hind paw. Polydactyl cats, however, are born with extra toes as a result of a genetic mutation. Polydactyls typically have one or two extra toes on their front paws. Although a polydactyl cat can have up to seven extra toes on either the front or hind paws, it’s more common for the extra toes to be on the front paws only. It’s rare for a polydactyl cat to have extra toes on their hind paws only, and rarer still to have extra toes on all four paws.

The Polydactyl Gene

The extra toes on a polydactyl cat are the result of a mutant gene (Pd) that is dominant. This means that if one cat parent has extra toes, there’s a high probability that some of the offspring will be polydactyl too. If both parents have extra toes, this further increases the likelihood that they’ll produce polydactyl kittens.

The polydactyl anomaly is found in many other animals besides cats, including humans, dogs, chickens, horses, mice and guinea pigs. Domestic cats of all breeds and colors can have extra toes, though polydactyly is most common in Maine Coon cats. Presently, the standards for all CFA recognized breeds disqualify a pedigreed cat with extra toes, and responsible breeders won’t breed a cat known to carry the Pd gene.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Daily Acts of Responsible Dog Ownership

By Bear (Canine Guest Blogger)

I am one excited doggie! It is September and for the American Kennel Club (AKC) this is Responsible Dog Ownership Month. My mommy is a responsible dog owner but even she can pick up some tips from the AKC Facebook page. They are posting what they call “Acts of RDO” each day. Here’s one of them: “I recognize that my dog’s welfare is totally dependent on me and I will never overlook my responsibilities for this living being.”  I think that one sentence sums up being a responsible dog owner pretty well.

There’s also a really cool Responsible Dog Ownership petition that all of you loving dog moms and dads should check out and sign! What do you think you need to do to be a responsible dog owner? The basics such as food, water, vet care and a warm place to sleep are simple, but there’s a lot more to caring for one of us than just those things.

The first thing you must know about getting a dog is that it’s not a short term thing. It takes being committed to raising and caring for us throughout our lives. It’s not always convenient to have a dog. There are places we can’t go, and there are things that we need, so not only are you committing to having a companion for several years, you are also committing to the financial needs and the care of your dog for many years as well. I know my mommy sometimes wishes she could go out for the day without worrying about me being stuck at home. Sometimes she does have to leave me for the day and she makes sure that she leaves the television on for me, and that I have plenty of CANIDAE dog food and water. My mommy even puts paper down in the basement for me in case I have to potty before she gets home. All the little things she does let me know how much she loves me and cares for me.

Monday, September 12, 2011

What to Look for in a Pet Sitter

By Linda Cole

I'm always happy to pet sit for a friend or neighbor, and it's a responsibility I take very seriously even though I usually do it for free. Finding a good pet sitter should be as important as finding a trustworthy babysitter for your kids. There are some things you need to discuss with a pet sitter whether paid or not, because this person has the keys to your home and the responsibility of caring for your pet while you're away.

We don't have professional pet sitting services in my area. People who need to find a pet sitter have to rely on family, friends or neighbors to help them out. Since I'm not a professional service, I rarely charge to watch someone's pets, especially if they're good friends. I pet sit because I want to help and because they trust me to do what I promised to do.

Pet sitting is more than just running over to someone's house and throwing down some food or rushing through a walk with their dog. You want someone who will spend time with your pet, give him attention and play with him along with trying to maintain the regular schedule your pet is used to. Vacations or family emergencies shouldn't upset your pet with a change in routine just because you're away from home.

I used to take care of a retired friend's cats while they took a yearly Florida vacation during the winter months. I did accept pay for this one because it was usually a three month job in winter, and they lived in the country. Two of their cats had medical issues that required daily medication and this was a challenge because they were outside cats. This is a perfect example of why a pet sitter needs to have a good bond with your pets. Knowing where my friend's cats liked to hang out made it much easier when I had to track them down to give them their medication, and they didn't freak out and run away when they saw me coming. They were as comfortable with me as they were with their owner.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Rocky and Annabelle’s “Gotcha Day” Tale

By Julia Williams
I follow a lot of other pet bloggers, and have read so many touching stories of a beloved pet’s adoption day. I didn’t think to tell my own Gotcha Day tales, primarily because I don’t know the actual date. The three cats I have now were all what I call “accidentally adopted,” i.e. I didn’t set out to find a cat to adopt but rather, they found me. And even then, I had no intention of keeping them. Ha ha! The wily felines had other plans, and worked their magic so completely that turning them away just wasn’t an option. I now realize I don’t need an actual date to celebrate the time these beautiful souls found their way into my home and heart. This is Rocky and Annabelle’s Gotcha Day tale.

It was August of 2003. I was renting an office for my freelance writing business, and the woman in the adjoining suite asked me to water her garden during her vacation. I went to her house and as she showed me her garden, she casually mentioned she had a momma cat and two kittens living in a shed. When I asked who would be taking care of them, she said they were leaving some dry food and water for the mom, and the kittens were still nursing. I still can’t fathom the mindset of asking someone to care for plants but leaving four-week-old kittens and their mom to fend for themselves!

She also said they initially had four kittens but two recently died, and she didn’t know why. I asked her to show me where the cats were, because I intended to look after them whether she thought they needed it or not. I noticed the kittens had fleas, but didn’t realize the gravity of the situation until I came back the next day. These poor kittens were being eaten alive by fleas! I suspected the other kittens had died from flea anemia, and these two looked so weak I worried they’d suffer the same fate. I took them straight to my vet, who agreed with my assessment and said they probably would’ve died in a day or two.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

CANIDAE Sponsored Dogs Make a Splash at “Paws in the Pool”

By Linda Cole

Dock diving is a popular and inexpensive sport you can enjoy with your dog. The competition is friendly but competitive, and the dogs love every minute of it! At the recent Splash Dogs competition held in Lancaster, OH on August 20 and 21, Team CANIDAE was well represented with talented canine athletes ready to show why they're top dogs. Tony Reed of Splash Dogs and Terry Cook of Aqua Dogs hosted the event that had handlers and dogs from all over the country eager to hit the dock to show how far their dogs can fly.

The Paws in the Pool competition wasn't just about having a great time with your dog. The event also raised money to help support local animal shelters and rescue groups in the Fairfield County and surrounding area in Ohio. Animal shelters across the country are having record number of pets surrendered to them with fewer donations to help keep shelters operating. Events like Paws in the Pool help to raise much needed funds for rescue groups and shelters. Dog teams from around the country gathered in Lancaster to give their support to a good cause, have fun and find out who has the top dock diving dog, at least for this competition.

The Paws in the Pool competition was open to all interested dock diving clubs. Several CANIDAE Team members participated and made a great showing. A big congratulations to Dan Jacobs and his Labrador Retriever Kody who placed 2nd in the Pro Division Finals with a score of 20.01 ft. and Brian Johnson and his Chocolate Lab Gunner who placed 3rd with a score of 20.00 ft. Dan and his Labrador Retriever Kasey took top honors in the Senior Division placing 1st with a winning jump of 18.06 ft. Lynn Taylor worked three dogs through the Junior Division placing 3rd, 4th and 6th. Riot, a German Shorthaired Pointer, took 3rd with a score of 12.09 ft.; Champ, a German Shorthaired Pointer, finished 4th with a score of 12.07 ft.; Cajun, a Labrador Retriever, took 6th with a score of 10.06 ft. Way to go Team CANIDAE!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

How to Make Vet Visits Less Stressful

By Julia Williams

As responsible pet owners, we know how important veterinary exams are for keeping our dogs and cats healthy. However, just because we know it’s for their own good doesn’t mean our pets will enjoy the vet visit. In fact, most pets don’t like going to the vet, which makes sense when you consider how stressful it must be for them. Aside from the fear of being in an unfamiliar environment, they encounter peculiar smells and sounds, other animals, and strangers in white coats touching, prodding and poking them. What’s to like about that? Nevertheless, there are things you can do to help your pet tolerate vet visits and keep their stress level down, which will help you stay calm too.

Car Rides

If the only time your pet rides in a car is on the way to the vet, it’s only natural they’ll become agitated. For dog owners, the solution is to bring them along when you run short errands (just don’t leave them in the car in the summer!), take them to a dog park often or to places that allow dogs such as pet stores. This can help curb their anxiety on trips to the vet. I’m not sure the same holds true for cats, aka notorious haters of cars in motion. I haven’t tried “practice rides” with my cats, mostly because subjecting myself to more of the heart-wrenching wails they make in the car doesn’t seem wise. 

Keep Your Emotions in Check

As you’ve probably noticed, our pets are very much in tune with our emotions. If you are stressed and anxious about going to the vet, your pet will pick up on that – so try to stay as calm as you can before you set off, during the car ride and while you’re waiting to see the vet. Speaking words of encouragement in a soothing voice can help your pet to relax in the strange environment. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Are You Going to “Bark in the Park?”

By Suzanne Alicie

CANIDAE is thrilled to be participating in the San Jose, California “Bark in the Park” event once again, on Saturday, September 17, 2011. Come spend the day at this family oriented event for dog lovers and their pets. William Street Park in downtown San Jose is the destination for lots of fun with your furry friends. Bark in the Park is the largest dog festival in the United States; consider it the crown jewel in the world of dog expos!

Bark in the Park is a fundraising event to benefit the local Campus Community Association, San Jose Animal Care Center and the Humane Society of Silicon Valley. We’ve covered the Bark in the Park event here on the RPO blog before, but this year we’re giving you advance notice so you can make your plans to attend. If you love dogs, whether you have one or not the Bark in the Park event is one you won’t want to miss. You can follow Bark in the Park on Facebook and Twitter for more information and updates as we race toward the big day!

Want to see how working dogs perform? You can see search and rescue demonstrations and herding demonstrations at Bark in the Park. If you’d rather watch dogs show off their agility, flyball or dancing skills, you can also find those events. Did you know that agility training can improve your dog’s behavior? Our very own Linda Cole wrote an article about how beneficial agility training is to behavior in dogs.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Fascinating Facts and Figures about Dog Training

By Linda Cole

Most dog owners understand why it's important to make sure their dog knows basic commands like come, sit and stay. Recently, a company in England wanted to find out what dog owners thought about dog training, so they asked 1,000 dog owners in the UK and the U.S. some questions about training their dogs. The company came up with some interesting facts and figures about dog training. Record your own answers and then find out how you stack up with respondents who took the survey.

1. How well trained is your dog compared to someone else's dog?
a. 10%
b. 20%
c. More than 50%
d. You mean you can train a dog?

2. If you have three or more dogs, how old was your dog before he/she was socialized?
a. My dog is a work in progress.
b. While he/she was still a puppy. I learned from my mistakes with my first puppy.
c. A year or older.
d. Socialize? I'm still trying to get him to stop eating my socks!

3. Which basic command is the most important one for a dog to know?
a. Come
b. Stay
c. Sit
d. Roll Over

Friday, September 2, 2011

Interview with "Cooper the Photographer Cat"

By Julia Williams

Have you ever wondered what the world looks like to a cat? I have, and with the advent of lightweight “cat cams” that you can attach to your kitty’s collar, anyone can get a feline’s eye view of their home, their garden or the neighborhood. That’s really all Seattle residents Michael and Deirdre Cross had in mind when they put a digital camera on their outdoor cat Cooper one fateful day back in 2007. The camera was designed to take a photo every two minutes, and Michael and Deirdre were just hoping Cooper would show them where he goes all day and who he hangs out with – a “snapshot” of a typical outdoor cat’s day, if you will.

The photographs Cooper brought back did that, and more. So much more, in fact, that his work has exhibited in art galleries from Seattle to Chicago to London. “Cooper the Photographer Cat” has been featured on Animal Planet’s Must Love Cats, Today Show Australia, Good Morning America and in People Magazine. Two years ago, Cooper snagged Seattle Magazine’s “Best of 2009” and this February was honored in the magazine’s “Best of the Decade” category. Not one to rest on his paws, the talented celebricat has even published a new book titled Cat Cam: The World of Cooper the Photographer Cat. The book is available on for $19.95, and a portion of the proceeds is donated to the nonprofit shelter, PAWS: Progressive Animal Welfare Society.

I’ve viewed Cooper’s photos on his website, on Facebook and Flickr, and have to tell you I am truly impressed. Though skeptics might say he’s merely an accidental artist, I disagree. His photos seem perfectly and purposely framed, and many of them tell a story. Two of my favorites include one where a dog can be seen intently staring at Cooper from an apartment window, and another where the sidewalk shows a shadow of Cooper’s head.

Although there are some recurring characters in his photos, “Cooper is a pretty solitary fellow when he’s out with his camera,” said Michael. “He usually sticks to photographing the landscape, trees and plants. Every now and then we get a surprise cameo appearance from a human subject.” Cooper, who turns six in September, also has a YouTube channel and is now shooting some footage with his new Video Cat Cam.

Ever the gracious feline, Cooper recently took time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for me. I really enjoyed getting to know this talented pussycat, and hope you do too!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

How to Help a Carsick Dog

By Linda Cole

When our Jack Russell/terrier mix sisters Sophie and Kelly were puppies, we began taking them with us when we'd go for rides. Kelly loved hopping in the back seat and she settled right in, but Sophie wasn't as keen about it. In fact, our very first ride ended with Sophie throwing up in the back seat. There is hope, however, for dogs that get carsick.

What causes carsickness in dogs?

The ear structure of puppies is still developing, and their balance is thrown off when they are in a moving vehicle. Usually it's just puppies and young dogs that have a problem with an upset stomach, but a dog that experienced nausea in the car as a puppy may carry that anxiety with him as he gets older. If a dog equates an unpleasant experience – such as a trip to the vet or to a house where the cat picks on him – with riding in the car, he can make himself sick worrying about where he's going. You may actually be going to visit someone he loves or taking him to a dog park to hang out with his canine buddies, but he doesn't know that.

Signs of carsickness

The end result is vomit in the backseat, but before that happens most dogs will be inactive, uncomfortable, listless or uneasy. They may whine, yawn or drool. Some dogs will have a definite “I'm going to throw up” look. Others, like my dog Sophie, won’t show any signs of carsickness and will throw up with no warning. Sophie has always been apprehensive about getting in the car, so we're always prepared, “just in case.”

Treating carsickness

It's important to try and make a car ride as pleasant and positive as you can to help reduce the stress your dog is feeling. Instead of just taking him in the car for vet visits, include other trips where the destination gives him something fun to do, like a dog park or an afternoon hike. Teach him that car rides can also be fun which can help reduce his stress.

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