Monday, December 31, 2012

A Dog’s Take on New Year’s Resolutions


By Cody Yost, Canine Guest Blogger

Humans think they are the only ones who like to make New Year’s Resolutions, but the truth is us dogs don’t mind a little self improvement. As long as it’s tastily rewarded, that is. But I can’t help noticing that my humans, Mike and Tamara, aren’t usually very successful with theirs. Why? They’re going about it all wrong.

So I decided to take their New Year’s resolution list and improve upon it with canine logic. Maybe now their resolutions will last past spring.

Exercise is Good

Especially for me. But it’s silly to buy some expensive and scary thingamajig to walk on. That’s so boring and we can’t do it together. You’re just going to start throwing clothes on it anyways. So what’s the point?

Instead, grab a leash or a ball and we can go outside! We can play chase or catch and I can show you all of my favorite spots in the neighborhood, like the fascinating dumpster in the alley, or we can investigate that backyard where all the rabbits live. I can even teach you how to sniff out the best stuff and which leaf piles are optimum to roll around in. Plus, we can explore new places.

See how I just saved you money?

Budget the Right Way

Speaking of which, my humans are always trying to cut more expenses from their budget, yet they pick the silliest, counterproductive things to get rid of. For example, in the past they’ve cut movie channels and gotten rid of cable (that didn’t last). First of all, I like the talking picture box, so that was just rude. Secondly, when they do this they have to leave the house (sometimes without me!) and spend money. Silly people.

They’re also always talking about buying less food. Not my CANIDAE dog food – I will say they are super good about keeping that in stock – but the yummy stuff they make for themselves. So when they can’t find anything to eat, sometimes they go out and eat somewhere else. Without me. Again, rude! That just means I have to dig through the trash, and you can bet I don’t like to leave the bag intact. Otherwise, how would they learn?

Friday, December 28, 2012

An Unforgettable “Citizen Ride Along” with K-9 Samson


By Julia Williams

Most cities have programs where civilians can spend a few hours riding shotgun with a police officer out on patrol. It's a great way for ordinary citizens to get a behind-the-scenes look at law enforcement, whether for a future career or just to satisfy their curiosity. As a Journalism student in college, I was assigned to the “police beat” and took many such rides. For a young girl who’d never been in trouble with the law, these adventures were all quite fascinating, but one in particular was unforgettable. I was allowed to go on patrol with a K-9 cop and his four-legged partner, a German Shepherd named Samson. Decades later, I can still vividly recall this ride along.

It was a dark and stormy night. Just kidding! It was probably a night like any other for Officer Kaiser and Samson. As for me, I could feel the excitement in the air. I was ready for the “action” I hoped would ensue, because I wanted to write a story that would blow the socks off my Journalism teacher.

Prior to riding with Samson, I’d been forewarned by fellow officers that “the dog stunk to high heaven, paced back and forth all night, and barked at anything and everything.” Most of that was true, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

When I first saw Samson, he was inside the police car. Kaiser called Samson over, ordered him to “stay” and sauntered back to the car. I said something dumb like “Nice doggy” as I held my breath and waited for him to bite my leg. He didn’t bite, of course, and off we went on patrol. Samson rode in the back seat; a partition separated us, but this didn’t stop him from periodically sticking his furry face through a little window to lick mine.

We drove around for a long time, and just when I thought we’d never see any “action,” a call came over the radio about a fight at a liquor store. Kaiser spun the car around, flipped on the lights and accelerated. Samson went wild in the back seat, barking and pacing in a frenzy. When we arrived at the scene, three men were standing around a hippie sitting on a moped. Fighting? Not so much. I was disappointed.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Handling Jealousy and Favoritism in Multi Pet Homes


By Linda Cole

Pets can and do show signs of being jealous of another family member, including other pets in the home. I have wondered, at times, if my pets understand the concept of having a favorite one among them. I love and treat them all equally, but will admit, I do have my favorites. I think that's just human nature. However, our pets do have emotions, and there may be times when we have to contend with a dog or cat that may feel left out.

A jealous pet can make life difficult in a home with multiple pets, if you don't establish yourself as the leader. Even cats need to know who makes the rules in the home. Dogs and cats in households with more than one pet do compete with each other for their owner's attention. Being a multi pet home, I understand the need to make sure each pet receives attention throughout the day. And as individuals, some require more than others, which has nothing to do with jealousy.

Cats, by nature, are more reserved than most dogs. Some of my cats are more loving, and ask for more attention than others. Each one has their own personality and preference when it comes to whether or not they want to sit on my lap and cuddle. Some decide when I'm allowed to hold them, and for how long. Jabbers is a huge black cat who loves to sit and talk with me, but he's not one that wants to be held or cuddled, unless he makes that decision. Still, he is one of my favorites because of his personality.

Because I've brought many cats into my home over the years after rescuing them off the street, my four legged family members takes newcomers in stride, and treat them like they've always been part of their family. This makes socializing easier for a new arrival who is just waiting for their forever home. None of my cats are jealous because they know I love them, and understand what I expect from them.

Jealousy becomes a problem when a pet feels he's lost your love. The bond we share with a pet is as special and sacred as it gets, in their eyes. A strong bond requires trust, and when both are established, the pet will never break his end of the bargain. It's our job to nurture that bond every day by making sure we are the ones who set rules we expect pets to follow, and be fair and positive when disciplining, if it's needed.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Four Furry Beneficiaries Worth Millions

By Langley Cornwell

There have been more pets with large bank accounts than you might imagine, and they didn’t all start out as pampered, pedigreed pups. Of course some of them did, but around this time last year a rescued alley cat named Tommaso became one of the wealthiest animals in the world, adding to the growing list of animal millionaires.

Stray Cat Strut

A lonely heiress, Maria Assunta, rescued a stray cat from the streets of Rome and cared for the cat as if he was her own son. When the wealthy lady died at the age of 94, having no children to leave her estate to, Tommaso the cat inherited her fortune: $13 million dollars in cash along with property in Milan, Rome and Calabria.      

Assunta, the widow of an Italian property tycoon, had a trusted nurse caring for her in her final years. When her health began to decline, the heiress began to put her affairs in order with a particular interest in securing a comfortable future for her precious cat. Her original plan was to bequeath her fortune to a suitable animal welfare organization that would commit to caring for Tommaso. When none of the animal associations met her standards, she left everything she owned to the cat, with the agreement that her nurse would agree to care for him.

German Financier

A German shepherd named Gunther IV is supposed to be the wealthiest dog in the world, but some say his story is a giant publicity stunt. Whatever the case, the dog is mega rich. His father, Gunther III, was the beloved companion of Karlotta Liebenstain, an eccentric German countess. Karlotta died in 1992 and left her dog, (Gunther III), an inheritance of $124 million dollars. Apparently that German shepherd was quite a good money manager. During the elder Gunther’s lifetime, he grew his fortune to $372 million dollars which was passed on to his son, Gunther IV at his death. It’s safe to say this family of German shepherds has plenty of nutritious CANIDAE dog food to go around.  

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Pet Version of "The Night Before Christmas"


By Linda Cole

It's the night before Christmas, the house is all quiet. That fat man who falls down the chimney is near. He steals through the house, grabbing cookies and milk. But not this year – not while I'm here. A right jolly old man, as the story goes, who has reindeer as pets; one with a big red nose that shines through the night, showing Santa the way with an eerie (and unearthly!) magical glow.

He creeps through the house in the dark of the night. Dressed all in red, BOL, what a funny sight. I'm watching and ready this year when he comes. That plate full of cookies will be mine this night. You know who I mean, he's a plump little fellow. Rosy cheeks, and belly shaking just like Jello. He swoops down the chimney with a bag full of loot, yelling Ho Ho Ho in a booming bellow.

I'm on the job, patrolling my home and guarding my humans as they dream in their beds. But just in case I get tired this night, I've enlisted some help from a cat friend named Fred. Oh Fred, stay on your toes, he'll be coming soon. Fred! Stop playing, leave that poor mouse alone. I told you no playing, and you promised to be good. What did you say? You don't like my tone?

And then it happened, as quick as can be. A noise on the roof – Fred, that fat man is here. Scoot to your post, as fast as you can. Now where did Fred go? He's disappeared. I hear a noise from behind the couch, a muffled meow in the quiet old house. Well hello Fred. Why are you tied? What's that you say, it was a ninja mouse!

Just then from the chimney came a noise up above. Forget that mouse, and hide over there. A cloud of soot suddenly appears, catching Fred by surprise who stops with a bewildered stare. My plan will fail if Santa sees Fred! I must spring to action; there's no time for delay. I quickly grab Fred by the nap of his neck, but he doesn't budge. Fred, how much do you weigh?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

2012 AKC Awards for Canine Excellence (ACE) Winners

Keahi, Search & Rescue
By Langley Cornwell

The American Kennel Club has a deep respect for the canine-human bond and the extraordinary ways in which dogs contribute to people’s lives. Inspired to formalize their appreciation for this symbiotic relationship, in 1999 they started The AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence (ACE), and had their first presentation year in 2000.

For a dog to qualify, he must have done something that benefited an individual or a community. The dogs do not have to be AKC registered for this award; mixed breeds are given equal consideration. The AKC presents one award per year in these five categories: Search and Rescue, Law Enforcement, Service, Therapy, and Exemplary Companion Dog. The 2012 ACE winners each received an engraved silver collar medallion and a check for $1,000 at a presentation ceremony in Florida on December 15th. The winners for this year are:

Search and Rescue

A seven-year-old Belgian Tervuren named Keahi is one of Arizona Search Track and Rescue’s most valuable assets. Certified in air-scent, avalanche, cadaver, evidence and human-remains searches, this dog’s services have helped search and rescue efforts in nine states and Canada. Keahi and her owner/handler Kristi Smith conduct around 43 searches per year.

Smith and Keahi have led investigators to the bodies of murder victims and drowning victims (including one who was found 170 feet underwater), found wandering seniors and lost children, and discovered crucial evidence in criminal investigations.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hilarious and Heartwarming Holiday Pet Stories

Kim's cat Libby

By Tamara McRill

What pet owner doesn’t have at least a few sweet or silly holiday memories spun from the antics of our fur children? Whether it’s the loving holiday traditions we carry out with our pets through the years or singular events that warm our hearts and uplift our spirits, these all become cherished stories. The best tales are meant to be shared, so I thought I would ask my friends about their favorite holiday memories starring their cats and dogs. Here’s what they had to share:

Kitty and Kiddie Sneak Peek

What’s a mom to do when the cat and children are in collusion to catch a glimpse of the gifts? Kim Morgan shares how her adopted feral cat Liberty, aka Libby, “helps” her spread the joy of the season:

“My kids want me to wrap their presents and put them under the tree early, because they know there's a good chance the cat will tear the wrapping to shreds and they'll get to see what they're getting,” said Kim. “This Christmas, it's already happened twice.”

Reindeer…err...Puppy Games

Santa’s not the only one watching to see if all little puppies are being good for Christmas, but that didn’t stop Linda Wolke’s Dachshund mix, Puppy, from trying to get his mom to join in a little holiday play. Puppy would tug his mother Rusty’s chain and try to drag her into a fun scrap. But Puppy must have known who was handing out the stockings in his house, because every time Linda would look out the window, he would stop and act like a perfect angel.

O Christmas Tree...

Kerri's former dog Cody
How tempting you can be. Especially when all those brightly colored packages are piled up underneath. That goes double when they are under someone else’s tree. Kerri Hollingsworth shared how her former dog Cody, (now mine), took all the surprise out of Christmas one year. The  Australian Shepherd and Blue Heeler mix had a grand time unwrapping all the gifts under her sister’s tree – including her sister’s new PlayStation.

They laughingly made a quick getaway, but it’s not like the tree is any safer at her home, thanks to her cat. Like most kitties, Nala considers the tree her private Christmas playhouse. It’s too bad it gets infested with garland, which she – of course –  does her best to “exterminate.”

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Small Dog Breeds for Active Lifestyles


By Linda Cole

People who love to run and enjoy the companionship of a dog by their side have a tendency to pick larger dogs as a running partner. Small dog breeds aren't usually thought of as being able to keep up the pace over the long haul. However, the cool thing about all dog breeds, large and small, is their unique and varied energy levels.

Small dogs can have as much energy packed into their little bodies as a Border Collie or Labrador, and are ready to show you what they've got. If you have an active lifestyle, you don't have to look far to find a small dog breed that will relish a stimulating hike or run. After all, many small breeds were bred as working dogs, and have the tenacity, energy and loyalty to fit into most lifestyles.

High Energy Small Working Dogs

A small dog is usually considered to be less than 22 pounds. Not surprisingly, terrier breeds dominate in the group of small dogs with the highest activity level. Dogs who run on high octane were bred to hunt small prey like rabbits, foxes and rats. These little dogs had to be brave, fearless and tenacious to follow whatever they were chasing underground to root them out. Many times, their prey turned out to be bigger than they were. Today's terriers haven't lost their desire to chase prey. A rabbit bursting out from under a bush can quickly find a terrier hot on his heels.

With boundless energy, these dogs are always ready for a good run, whether it's jogging with his owner or chasing a neighborhood cat. Some examples of small dogs with lots of energy include the Parson Terrier, West Highland White Terrier, Bull Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Norfolk Terrier, Jack Russell Terrier, Wire Fox Terrier, Border Terrier, Australian Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer, Basenji and Petit Basset Griffon. These breeds can learn to live with cats in the home, and they are great with children and other dogs in the home.

Monday, December 17, 2012

How to Keep Your Dog Out of the Christmas Presents


By Tamara McRill

One of the greatest pleasures on Christmas morning is watching someone you love excitedly shred wrapping paper to get to the gift you picked out just for them. Except, of course, when that someone you love is your dog and those weren’t his presents. Nor is it Christmas yet. There’s no denying that some dogs just can’t resist the temptation of brightly wrapped packages and just have to go investigating.

So how do you keep your furry present-wrecker from getting into the gifts? Like most things canine, it depends on your dog, and one solution does not fit all. But here are some tips to try, most of which have worked for me in the past:

Reinforce Verbally and Redirect

Sometimes what should be the easiest thing to do can be the hardest. Every time your dog starts nosing around the presents, it is important to firmly tell them “no,” “stop” or whichever halting command is familiar to them. No matter how cute they look amongst the packages, don’t take the time to snap a photo or go get people to see.

Yes, I know it’s hard. I epically fail at this almost once a season. But if you don’t tell your dog no every time they get near your gifts, they will get the impression that it’s sometimes okay to go investigating. And we all know what an expensive mess that can lead to.

Not only should you verbally stop your dog when they take an interest in the presents, but you should also redirect them to do something else. Have them sit, go fetch something or any other activity. This gives them a defined course of action to take, hopefully getting their mind off of your pretty packages.

Fence the Tree

While I have had good luck (mainly in spite of myself and thanks to good dogs) with stopping and redirecting, sometimes that’s just not enough – especially if you can’t be there 24/7 to guard the gifts or you have an extremely willful dog. That’s when you have to get proactive on ways to keep your dog from the presents.

One way is to fence off the tree. Your dog can’t mess with what they can’t get to, right? Some people use baby gates around the Christmas tree for this purpose. I’m not a huge fan of how the taller ones block the tree from being seen, but there are alternatives. One is to use smaller garden fencing – decorated, of course – or run a working train track around the tree.

Friday, December 14, 2012

TV NewsCATster Joey the Garden Cat Charms All


By Julia Williams

The story of Joey the Garden Cat is a “feline rags to riches” tale that just warms my heart. No one knows how or why the young tabby cat found himself living on the street in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas. But the plucky kitten refused to let his humble beginnings deter him from having a wonderful life …he took matters into his own paws and chose a TV station’s “Weather Garden” for his home. Soon, all of Little Rock knew his face and name, and Joey the Garden Cat went from feral to fame!

Watching clips of the purrsonable Joey “stealing the show,” it’s quite obvious this cute kitty was born for television and enjoys his job. And seeing Joey charmingly interact with his legions of Facebook fans, it’s clear he enjoys his high-profile life. Joey’s story serves to remind us that we should all dream big – because what we are born into doesn’t have to be what we become!

Joey the Garden Cat graciously agreed to an interview so our readers could get to know him. Enjoy!

Me: When you were an inky-dinky lad living on the streets, did you ever think you’d end up with such a great life? 

Joey: It was Christmas 2006 and I was on my own hunting down food in the streets of Little Rock.  I was tiny, fast and smart, cause across the street I discovered the weather garden where Larry the Garden Cat lived.  He let me eat his food and sleep in his heated house.  I never dreamed I would be a TV star, but it’s been a pretty cool gig with lots of perks.

What do you like most about being a famous Celebricat? 

All the attention!  So many new people to meet that come to the news studio or weather garden for interviews, and they want to meet and take photos with me – even other celebrities.

Who are three of your favorite people at the station, and what do you love about them?

Meteorologist Tom Brannon and morning show host, cause he’s my on-air buddy.  Momma/agent Theba Lolley, cause she found me and takes care of all my needs.  Feather/girl Kelly Tibbit, cause she plays with me every day with the feather toy.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Is Your Pet on Santa’s “Naughty” or “Nice” List?


By Tamara McRill

Has your pet been good enough this year to merit a Christmas gift? Or has your fur baby been bratty enough for you to consider leaving their stocking unstuffed? Since it’s the holiday season, I thought it would be fun to ask other pet owners what their dogs and cats have done this year to land them a spot on Santa’s naughty or nice list, and what their pets should expect to find under the tree. After making a list and checking it twice, here are some of the stories pet owners shared:

Small Niceties 

Many people couldn’t think of one spectacularly naughty or nice thing their pets did this year, but spoke of the small things that made them deserving of Christmas gifts. Like Laura Gill, who bragged about her Golden Retriever Nikki not barking for the past week. Anyone who is trying to teach a dog to be a little less vocal can probably appreciate the quiet time. For her good behavior, Nikki will be getting a bone for Christmas.

For Goodness’ Sake

Sometimes it takes the thoughtless behavior of us humans to point out how good our pets really are. Rissa Watkins shared this story about her dog Mocha, an Aussie Shepherd/Chow mix:

“He has been a good dog this year. Someone closed the door, blocking the doggie door. Poor Mocha cried and ran around and acted strange. This went on for a few hours. I got home and realized the door was closed and let him out. Poor boy desperately held it instead of going inside.”

Will Mocha be rewarded by Santa for his good deed? “Heck yeah, he has his own stocking,” said Rissa. “He will also be getting a new bed.”

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What to Do If Your Dog Starts Choking


By Langley Cornwell

It always happens. Every time I write about a dog or cat, I fall in love with him or her. In fact, I become like a star-struck groupie, and celebrate each dog or cat’s successes as if they were my own. My husband laughs at me because I always update him: An ESPN writer just published a book about Wallace, the famous Disc Dog! Or – Fire Safety Dogs Tango and Siren just got a television deal! Or – there was a new monument erected for Stubby, the most decorated War Dog!

Recently, my news wasn’t so exciting: “Therapy Dog Stacey Mae died unexpectedly,” I told him through tears. She was only five years old and did so much for so many during her short time here. At first they thought the cause of death was choking, and I couldn’t shake the thought of how terrible that would be. I knew that if my dog started choking, I wouldn’t know exactly what to do. Would you?  

The veterinarians at PetPlace.com say that pets often come to the vet because of what people think is choking, but that many pet owners mistake vomiting or coughing for actual choking.

Signs that your dog may actually be choking: 

Acting anxious and in distress
Having difficulty breathing
Having difficulty swallowing
Drooling
Gagging
Pawing at his face
Throwing up

True choking can be caused by two major things: a foreign object stuck in your dog’s throat, or your dog’s throat swelling closed because his neck is overly constricted. In both cases this is a real emergency, and you must take action and get your pet to a vet immediately.

Dogs explore with their noses and mouths. It’s their curious nature and undiscerning eating practices that get them into trouble; all kinds of things can get stuck in their throats. Anything that can fit into the opening to their trachea can cause serious harm, but the most common offenders are small balls such as golf or ping pong balls, real bones, cellophane, plastic toys and pieces of wood or cloth.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

City or Country Life…Is One Healthier for Dogs?


By Linda Cole

What dog wouldn't love to live in the country where there's wide open spaces to explore, plenty of room to run, critters to chase and ponds to cool off in? We have a tendency to think of city life as more cramped, but there are good things and bad things about living in the city or country. Whether one or the other is a healthier lifestyle for a dog depends more on his owner than where he lives.

When I was a kid, my family lived in the country. My dog Trixie and I explored every country mile we could find. Well, at least the ones that were within the distance I was allowed from home on my own. Trixie, being a farm dog, would roam on her own at times, and brought back some interesting “trophies” from her travels around the farm. One time she trotted up to show off the snake she'd just caught. Thankfully, it was just a garter snake.

As far as I was concerned, life on the farm was perfect, but there were hazards we had to contend with. There was always a chance of meeting wild animals, especially around sunset or sunrise, and there were stray nails that I always seemed to find – with my foot. I had to look out for puddles of oil or antifreeze that leaked out from vehicles, things Trixie found to eat that she shouldn't, or getting scratched by a rusty wire sticking out, just to name a few dangers. However, when we moved into town, some of the same hazards were also present, especially my ability to find stray nails the hard way.

According to veterinarian and founder of Peachtree Hills Animal Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, Dr. Duffy Jones, country life gives dogs a higher risk of getting injured. More farm dogs are allowed to roam unsupervised which means they can encounter more falls, run ins with wild animals, being hit by a car or some other type of farm equipment, or being infected with worms from eating things they shouldn't. Ticks are also a bigger concern for dogs living in the country. Deer ticks are a danger to us as well as our pets, and wherever you find deer, there is an increased chance of finding a deer tick on your dog.

Monday, December 10, 2012

DIY Dog-Themed Christmas Tree Ornaments


By Tamara McRill

I’m not sure if it’s the mad love for my dogs or all those hours spent on Pinterest, but I have decided my boys deserve their own little Christmas tree. Decorated completely in – you guessed it – handmade dog-themed ornaments. From photos to paw-tastic ribbons, there are so many options to choose from and each one can be customized to fit in with my current holiday decor. Since I am in full-on craft mode, I decided to make the ornaments myself. Figuring that my fellow dog lovers might also want in on the fun, I’m sharing some of the easier ornaments I’ll be making and others under consideration. Enjoy!

Frame Ornaments

This one is easiest if you already have some photo frame ornaments sitting around. Then all you have to do is print out some pictures of your pets and put them in the frames. To match your current decorations and make the look more cohesive, also frame other graphic images of dogs, bones and paw prints. You can find these in your Christmas colors online, or buy some dog-themed wrapping paper and cut out the details you like best.

I don’t have any frame ornaments on hand, so I am turning to my trusty glue gun and silver spray paint. Here are the steps:

Supplies: Cardboard, scissors, exacto knife, glue gun, glue sticks, silver spray paint, ribbon and your image.

1. With scissors and an exacto knife, cut out ornate frames in different shapes from cardboard.

2. Poke a small hole at the top, wide enough to string ribbon through.

2. Spray paint them and allow to dry.

3. Glue the edges of your image to cardboard backing.

4. Glue the backing to your photo frame.

5. String a ribbon through the top hole and tie the loose ends in a knot.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Cat Chat: Text Abbreviations for Tech-Savvy Felines


By Julia Williams

The advent of computers and cell phones spawned a new way of communicating for many people. Words and phrases became abbreviated to save time while typing in chat rooms, online forums, mobile text messages and on Facebook. Chat abbreviations have become so commonplace that most of us know what LOL, BRB, TMI, ETA, IDK, OMG and BFF mean. However, I saw a text abbreviation recently that stumped me, so I did what I always do nowadays when I need information – I googled it. Paydirt! I not only found the one that had baffled me, but a comprehensive A to Z list that blew me away. Who knew there were thousands of text abbreviations just waiting to make our lives easier by shaving two seconds off our typing time? Wut?

Naturally, that got me to thinking about texting abbreviations cats would use in their everyday communications with other cats (and perhaps even a stray human or two). Never mind the lack of opposable thumbs. Plenty of cat crazy people are willing to buy into the fantasy that felines are capable of typing. Why wouldn’t cats want to save precious time by using text abbreviations? After all, that leaves more time for what is really important to kittehs – such as, eatin' a big bowl of FELIDAE cat food, then settling down for a long nap as only a cat can do.

As responsible pet owners, we should be keeping tabs on Tabby while she’s online and especially when she’s texting that Tomcat hotty who has a reputation for wooing every ladycat within hissing distance. To make it easy for you, I spied on my own wily felines and compiled a list of all the texting lingo that tech-savvy cats use.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Are Pets Part of Your Holiday Traditions?

By Langley Cornwell

Several years ago, Julia wrote a thoughtful article about Including Family Pets in Your Holiday Plans. With the season upon us, I thought it would be interesting to take a poll to see if my friends included pets in their holiday traditions. I’m happy to report there are no “Scroogely Curmudgeons” among my friends!

Many people hang stockings for their pets and give them special presents. In fact, lots of my friends acted surprised that I even asked; I received answers like absolutely and of course and even a few why yes, don’t you?

Sherrie’s pets receive presents and get extra treats. Christina’s dogs get presents – toys, cookies, clothing, the works – and they let their dogs open gifts before the people do. Sharon’s dogs have stockings and get special gifts and doggie treats. Jo says: “Of course our furbabies get some Christmas dinner and they have stockings with toys and treats. Don't all pets?”

Brandi’s dog and birds have stockings hung right alongside the family’s, and theirs are always filled, just like everyone else’s. Rissa’s dog has a stocking and gets gifts; he loves getting all his new toys on Christmas morning! Luchrisa says her pets help her and her husband open their packages and then have a great time playing in the wrapping paper.

Alina hangs tiny stockings filled with a few treats for their cats. Her kids think it is the funniest thing ever. Michelle always makes sure to buy a little stocking for each of her animals and puts them up on the fireplace with treats in them. Scott’s pets all get their own stocking on the fireplace filled with goodies. His family thinks making the stocking with their pet’s names in glitter is part of the fun.

I got a lot of answers that involved dressing up or otherwise adorning pets for the season. Tania’s greyhound is going to get a red scarf-type collar with bells this year. And she always paints her Diva dog’s toenails in Christmas colors. Starr’s dogs wear Santa or elves hats and have their own stockings filled with CANIDAE treats. Deborah’s “little girls” each have her own Christmas sweater; one says “Naughty” and the other says “Nice.” David dresses up his dog like Santa, but he says the dog acts more like a devil.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Ethos Pet Nutrition - Our Advanced Research and Development Center and Manufacturing Facility


All of us at CANIDAE are proud to share with you a milestone event. This November every CANIDAE and Ethos team member came together in Brownwood, Texas for a company tour of our recently finished facility.

This new facility -- named Ethos Pet Nutrition -- is our advanced research and development center as well as our pet food manufacturing facility.

Here at CANIDAE Pet Foods and Ethos Pet Nutrition we are committed to all of your families enjoying long, happy and healthy lives together. And that is why the foundation of the CANIDAE culture will always be to provide the best in pet and equine foods and treats so that your pets can enjoy A Healthier Today for a Longer Tomorrow™.

Please enjoy these pictures of our team standing in front of our facility and a few photographs from inside our research and development center and manufacturing facility. To see more, visit EthosPet.com

Automation –
Total process and formulation monitoring throughout the facility allows for quality control during the entire manufacturing cycle… From the delivery of ingredients, to the cooking, adding of nutrients, extrusion, the addition of probiotics and fats, last stage finishing and bagging – the final pet or equine product being manufactured is exactly what was intended.

Extrusion –
Once our natural ingredients have been carefully blended to our specific formula, they are conveyed into the extruder.  Here the ingredients are carefully cooked through the process of controlled steam and pressure.  This process of both art and science also changes the texture of the food mixture so as to allow it to be formed into the desired kibble size.  The result – a superior tasting kibble that is both more nutritious and more highly digestible.




Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Be a Secret Santa for a Needy Pet this Christmas


By Tamara McRill

In my house, we’re big believers that the joy of the holidays isn’t just reserved for the special people in our lives. We like to extend the love and gift giving to their pets and even have friends that do the same for ours. But this year I’ve been thinking about those pets that don’t have the benefit of a loving circle of friends or our friends who may not be able to afford gifts for the pets they adore. Instead of feeling sad about this, I’ve decided to start a new holiday tradition. This Christmas we are going to become Secret Santas to some less fortunate pets in our community, and you can too!

Here are a few considerations and tips you can use to help out needy pets this holiday season:

Being a Secret Santa to Pets You Know

We’re no strangers to the sleuthing it takes to give the perfect gifts to needy pets that we know. It’s usually not hard to get fellow pet lovers to open up about their fur babies. Some details you may want to ask (or fish for depending on the person’s pride):

- What types of toys does your pet like to play with?
- Which toys aren’t a match for his jaws or personality?
- Is your pet supervised with toys?
- What kind of treats does your pet like best?
- Is there anything your pet needs or could use replacing?
- Does your pet have any phobias?

These questions are important, because you don’t want your being a Secret Santa to turn into a trip to the vet for the pet. The power of a dog’s jaws and how often they tear things up are crucial to the type of toys and even food dishes you consider giving as presents. Some dogs – like my chocolate lab Wuppy – have powerful chompers that destroy most dog toys. Even most of the super durable kinds. Most toys pose a choking hazard for my dog if they aren’t taken away as soon as he goes out of play mode and into destruction mode. Other dogs – and most cats – are kinder to their toys and don’t require that high level of supervision.

Finding out a pet’s phobias may seem like a strange thing to ask regarding a Christmas present, but there are actually lots of pets out there who have a strong aversion to common things. I’ve had a wonderful, but picky, white cat who wouldn’t sit on anything not – you guessed it – white. So a different color pet bed would have been a waste on her. I’ve also known dogs who were afraid of balls!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Why Did Dogs Become Our Best Friends?


By Linda Cole

No one really knows exactly how dogs were domesticated, although there is evidence pointing towards a mutual benefit for both man and canine. “Why” dogs became our best friend has been more elusive. However, research into dog behavior has been giving scientists a better understanding of the reasons.

Scientific understanding of how dogs came to live with humans has led researchers to conclude there were most likely three females, referred to as the “Eves” in the early years of domestication. In 2004, scientists took 85 dog breeds and traced their genetic pattern. They consider 14 of the 85 to be ancient breeds, and seven of the 14 are classified as having the oldest genetic footprint. However, even the ancient breeds can only be traced back to around 2,000 years or so, which is far from the time when dogs were first domesticated.

The seven ancient breeds are from Alaska (the Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute), China (the Chow Chow and Shar Pei), Japan (the Shiba Inu and Akita) and Africa (the Basenji). According to researchers, the history of how dogs became various ancient breeds is difficult to determine because of interbreeding and how they were moved to different areas around the world. It's a complicated history scientists are still trying to unravel.

Most of the dog breeds we know and love today were created during the 1800s. Different dog breeds were interbred to create our modern day breeds and each one was bred to do a specific job for man. Some of those earlier breeds used are now extinct. Interestingly, the Saluki was isolated by geography during the time when breeds were being created in the 19th century, and their genetic makeup appears to be different than other breeds for that reason.

Dog owners know what scientists are just beginning to discover when it comes to why dogs became our best friends. Anyone who has lived with canines already understands how in tune dogs are with us and our emotions. A study I reported on earlier explained how dogs are capable of being empathic, which is something any dog owner who pays attention to their dog already understands. According to researchers, dogs became our best friend because we reward them when they show empathy towards us. They believe their study suggests that we've simply conditioned our dogs to respond to us.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Will My Pet Remember Me Forever?


By Julia Williams

Anyone who’s forged a deep bond with a pet has likely asked themselves that question or a similar one. We want to believe that the bond we share is so unbreakable, so life changing not just for us, but for our pets, too. We want to think that if we were ever separated, no amount of passing time could dim our pet’s memory of us. We want it to be true for them, as it certainly is for us.

We never forget our pets; no matter how many months or years go by, the love we shared is always fresh in our minds. We smile remembering all the things they did that made us laugh. Our hearts swell thinking of the endearing way they curled up to sleep in their favorite spot, or gave us that quick little lick on the tip of our nose. We could never forget the happiness they brought with them when they came into our home.

The saying “pets leave paw prints on our hearts” is oh so true, and those paw prints are forever. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if it could be the same for our pets? That the gentle hands that gave them loving pats every day could imprint on their heart till the end of time, and the voice that soothed was remembered forever?

We know our pets have the mental capacity to remember us for short periods of time. There’s plenty of evidence of that – one only has to search YouTube to find hundreds of examples. Perhaps you saw the heartwarming video that went viral, of the pup running out to greet her “Daddy,” a soldier who had just returned home from Afghanistan. That dog’s excitement and joy is palpable; clearly, this pup did not forget the one they loved.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Caring for Rescued or Abused Dogs


By Eliza Wynn

Animal lovers who have adopted an abused or rescued dog know it's one of the most rewarding things they've ever done. It can also be hard for first-time adopters to figure out how to make things easier for themselves and their new companions. These dogs have been through a lot, and their experiences often make them hesitant to trust people again. It's up to the adopters to help them adjust to their new life as part of a loving family. With that in mind, here are some tips for caring for rescued or abused dogs that will help them feel safe, confident and loved.

Supply Run

Not having essential supplies when you need them is stressful, and pets pick up on that stress. Before bringing your new family member home, be prepared for the inevitable messes by having pet-safe cleaning supplies on hand. Other important items include puppy pads, grooming and first-aid supplies, chew toys, CANIDAE dog food, and a leash and collar. By preparing in advance, you'll be more likely to stay calm when things don't go as planned.

Home Vet Visit

As a responsible pet owner, you'll want to have your dog's health checked out right away. If possible, arrange to have a trusted veterinarian provide the initial exam at your home. Once your dog realizes that this new person is a friend, you can schedule future visits at the veterinary clinic.

Use a Gentle Tone

Use a gentle tone of voice whenever your dog is nearby, and always speak his name kindly. Loud voices and harsh words can be frightening, especially to a dog that's already anxious or fearful. Use praise when appropriate, occasionally supplemented with a CANIDAE dog treat. Sing to him softly, and if this has a soothing effect, use the same song whenever he needs some extra TLC.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

How to Help Your Pet Deal with the Winter Blues


By Linda Cole

Some dogs enjoy outside winter activities, but not all pets or people want to be outdoors when those frigid winds are howling. Cabin fever can be a problem for our pets, but indoor activities can help to ward off those winter blues and help you both stay in shape.

Remote Control Cars

OK, so my first suggestion gives cats and dogs more exercise than it will you, unless you need to lose some weight in your fingers. However, playing with a small remote control car inside is a blast for most pets and helps get them up and moving. The noise of the car rolling along the floor gets their attention and holds it while they contemplate how to attack this strange new creature that dared to disturb their sleep. Look for a pet friendly car that doesn't have small parts which can fall off or be pulled off by your pet. You will also want to find one that is strong enough to hold up to a dog or cat who finds the courage to attack it. I have to admit, this is a favorite activity at my house.

Indoor Obstacle Course

An interesting obstacle course can be made with whatever you have in your home. Set up a course where your dog has to jump, crawl and find his way around the course, utilizing furniture along with other fun obstacles like empty drawers, clothes baskets, paper sacks made into tunnels, boxes, broom handles and piles of pillows. Think outside the box to make a challenging and fun course. Cats can also learn to navigate an obstacle course. Use their favorite wiggly toy or a laser light for them to follow. Don't be afraid to get down on all fours and have your pet follow you. The idea, after all, is for both of you to get up and move!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fictional Dog Biography: Toto


By Langley Cornwell

Who was Toto? Fans of The Wizard of Oz movie are likely very familiar with this loveable little dog whose real name was “Terry.”  Toto is one of the most beloved and well-known dogs in film history, and this dog paved the way for many great dog actors in show biz.

There were other famous dogs of that era: Prince Carl, the Great Dane appearing in Wuthering Heights (1939); Buck, the Saint Bernard who co-starred with Clark Gable and Loretta Young in Call of the Wild (1935); Musty (Swiss Family Robinson); Mr. Binkie (The Lights that Failed) and Promise (The Biscuit Eater) were all very well-known. But Toto, Dorothy’s adorable little sidekick, warmed the hearts of many and remained a fan favorite.

There is a lot more to Toto than you think. First, he was actually a she, and her story is a canine “rags to riches” tale.

Terry was a purebred Cairn Terrier who was born in 1933 in Alta Dena, California, according to her biography. She was taken in by a married couple with no children, and they named her Terry. The couple had problems house training Terry so they sent her to Carl Spitz’s dog training school in the San Fernando Valley for help.

Spitz put her through his usual training process and in just a few weeks, she was no longer wetting the carpet. However, the owners had then become late on the kennel board fees and when he attempted to contact them, their phone had been disconnected. They never came back to retrieve Terry, so Spitz and his wife decided to keep her.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Important and Cool Jobs Dogs Have Done


By Linda Cole

Whether it's guarding a flock of sheep or following a scent, our canine friends have been working by our side for centuries. Some breeds, however, have some pretty important and cool jobs they were bred to do.

Saint Bernard

In 1050, an Augustine monk set up a hospice and monastery in the Alps to give travelers crossing the mountain pass between Switzerland and Italy a place to find shelter. The first dogs were brought to the monastery in the late 1600s when monks added the Saint Bernard for use as guard dogs and pets. These dogs had a shorter coat and were smaller than today's breed. In the mid 1700s it was discovered the dogs had a good nose for finding people buried under snow, and the monks began to train them for search and rescue. The dogs were so good at their job, they were sent out on their own in pairs to search for people who needed to be rescued. “Barry the Great Saint Bernard” was a favorite of the monks and Swiss people, and is credited with saving more than 40 lives. Despite the many pictures we've seen of Saint Bernard dogs wearing a keg, no kegs were ever used during search and rescue missions.

Alaskan Malamute

Cousin to the American Eskimo, Samoyed and Siberian Husky, the Alaskan Malamute is a true workhorse of the North. Used by the Mahlemuit Eskimos in Alaska to haul goods and supplies, these dogs gained fame for their endurance, work ethic and strength. Considered an American made dog, the Malamute was so highly sought after by miners during the Alaska Gold Rush years, that a good dog could be sold for a hefty $500 price.

Samoyed

This is an ancient breed developed by the Samoyede people in Siberia. The Samoyed is as close to a primitive dog as any breed, and there is no fox or wolf genes in this dog's DNA. Used to haul heavy loads, to hunt, as guard dogs and to herd reindeer, the Samoyed was a much loved animal to the Samoyede people. Because they were so dependent on their dogs for survival, the dogs were welcomed inside their tents at night.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks for Our Pets

If there is one thing that unites all of the contributing writers here on the CANIDAE RPO blog, it’s the deep love we have for our pets. Today, on the day when family and friends gather to give thanks for their many blessings, we each wanted to share with you some of the reasons we love and appreciate our four legged friends.

Julia's cat, Annabelle
Julia Williams: I’m thankful for my pets because they make life worth living. That may sound corny, but for me it’s true. I simply couldn’t imagine living without the loving presence of a pet.

These wise and gentle souls have taught me so many important life lessons, and they’ve made me a better person because of it. In addition to being remarkable teachers, my cats are best friends, roommates, healers, trusted companions, stress busters, good listeners and great secret keepers.

My cats are not my children and I am not their “mother,” but they do provide an outlet for that nurturing instinct we all have. It fulfills me to take care of them, and makes me feel good to meet their every need. Regardless of how much money I might have on any given day, my pets make me feel like the richest person on earth. Their love is a priceless treasure never to be taken for granted. I make a point to give thanks each and every day for these beautiful beings, my angels with fur, my beloved cats. They have my heart…and I would not have it any other way.

Langley's pets, Frosty and Jet
Langley Cornwell: I’m thankful for my pets because we love each other so much.

I’m thankful that my precious, shy pup writhes in delight every time I say something to her. She can be across the room, (she’s never far away), minding her own business and I’ll look up from my computer, meet her eyes, and say “hey girl, hey pretty girl.” When I do, she starts her happy squirm. If I keep talking to her, she gets up so she can get more of her body in motion, and wiggle her way over to me. When she gets to where I am, she either forms a crescent with her body and leans against me or bends her head so she can plant her forehead against my legs. When I talk she wants contact. Our contact feels like she’s trying to give me a hug. It’s hard to explain but, in that moment, our love for one another is palpable.

I’m thankful that my cool, macho-acting cat is a complete family man. He’s got a fake swagger that cracks me up, but he’s a lover through and through. When I’m in the house, he’s always in the room with me, usually on or near me. When I’m outside, he’s right where I am. He knows my car and when I drive up, he runs to greet me, like a dog. I love that he loves me as much as I love him, and that he’s quick to demonstrate his love.

Tamara's dogs, Dusty and Cody
Tamara McRill: A little smile is twitching loose on my lips right now, just thinking of all the reasons I have to be thankful for our three dogs, Wuppy, Cody and Dusty. They’re good at that, making me breathless with laughter even when I’m trying to argue and otherwise be ungracious. Their mad-dashing, bone-chucking (often at my head), slobbery affectionate antics make it easy to get distracted from heavy thoughts and fall in with their happy ways.

Their open and individual personalities encircle our home in silliness and love. Something in which I’m grateful to be a part of every day. It keeps things lively.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Do Some Dogs Really Prefer Men or Women?


By Tamara McRill

While visiting a rescued pup we had placed in a new loving home, his female owner commented that he was a “guy’s dog.” This had me wondering if some dogs really do prefer males or females. After all, it was a variation of comments we hear from pet owners all the time, like “my dog hates men,” “she’s a girl dog, so she bonds better with men,” and other similar phrases. But is there any science to back up our observations?

Man’s Best Friend?

There are few studies on the issue, but it turns out dogs in general may prefer men. Neurotic or anxious men, that is. A study conducted at the University of Vienna, “Relational factors affecting dog social attraction to human partners,” showed that dogs approached male owners more often than female ones.

More so if the male owner was neurotic, as determined by a personality test. But personality may play as big – if not bigger – role than gender, as the dogs also stayed close to neurotic female owners.

The study actually brought up more questions than answers, as more independent behavior from the dog could be an indication of a more secure attachment and not gender preference.

Does Nurture Trump All?

A large number of pet lovers on dog forums believe that dogs simply like best whichever person takes care of them. Therefore, they tend to like the gender that typically feeds them and doles out the CANIDAE dog treats. I’m sure that has a lot to do with it, but since I work from home and am the main caregiver and num num dispenser in my household, I can attest that this isn’t always true.

I have spent a hugely disproportionate amount of time with Cody – even when he was our only pet – and still simply don’t exist when Mike is in the room. Oh, he may make a big deal when I make my first appearance of the day, but after that it’s all about Dad.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What's New for This Year's National Dog Show?


Russell Terrier
By Linda Cole

For most families, the holiday season is about tradition. One tradition many dog lovers look forward to every year is the National Dog Show. I recently sat in on a media conference call with David Frei, Director of Communications for the Westminster Kennel Club, and Mary Carillo, retired tennis pro and dog lover who reports behind the scenes of the benched competition. David and Mary discussed what's new for this year's National Dog Show.

November 22 is the 11th year for the National Dog Show, which draws around 20 million viewers every year. The dog show is only one of six where the public is allowed to mingle with the pets, handlers and groomers for an “up close and personal” look at what goes on to get the dogs ready for competition.

Treeing Walker Coonhound
If you're in the Philadelphia area, you can take in the show first hand November 17 - 18 at the Expo Center in Oaks, PA. You can check out the contestants in the bench area, talk to their owners/handlers, and enjoy demonstrations by canine athletes showing off their mad skills in Freestyle Flying Disc and Diving Dog. Two new breeds, the Russell Terrier and the Treeing Walker Coonhound, will be introduced this year at the show. This brings the number of dog breeds officially recognized by the American Kennel Club up to 175.

A new therapy dog ambassador team will be introduced this year at the National Dog Show. Li'l Abner and Stella are Dogues de Bordeaux, and Vivian is a Staffordshire/Boston Terrier mix. They will be walking in the footprints of two very special therapy dog ambassadors who passed away earlier this year. Eli, a Belgian Sheepdog, was at ground zero after the 9/11 terrorist attack. He also worked with troubled teens and was part of David Frei's Angel on a Leash organization. Eli died on April 11, just weeks before his 13th birthday. He was owned by Sherry Hanley.

Monday, November 19, 2012

“Puppies Behind Bars” Changes the Lives of Many


By Langley Cornwell

Puppies Behind Bars was featured on Oprah Winfrey several years ago and started making headlines. The organization caught my attention because 1) it’s about animals and 2) it highlights what the “love of a dog can do for your life.” All true animal lovers can attest to the truth of that statement, but Puppies Behind Bars is a wonderful illustration of just how true that statement really is.

Today, the organization continues to do wonderful work, bringing the love of a puppy into the lives of inmates who are taught how to train eight-week-old puppies to become service dogs for the disabled, including wounded veterans.

Most of these inmates have never known love or responsibility, with many having been told their entire life that they are worthless, and these precious puppies can teach them both. Not only is the offender’s life changed forever, but the life of someone who needs their assistance is also forever changed for the better.

Inmates who raise these puppies take part in an extraordinary effort that is often challenging but brings great rewards. The pups live in the cells with the inmates, who are designated as their primary raisers. They take their pups to classes to teach them basic obedience skills. The inmates are responsible for all of the puppies’ needs including feeding them nutritious dog food like CANIDAE.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Those Silly Kitties Sure Love Their Boxes!


1st Place Winner

By Julia Williams

Our recent FELIDAE photo contest was a big hit with cat lovers, and lots of fun for us here at the CANIDAE RPO blog, too.

We received nearly 75 entries of awesome cats in boxes! It was so difficult to pick the winners, because they were all just so darn cute.

The almighty box is a great invention for lots of practical reasons, but I particularly appreciate it for its “cat magnet” properties. I have never understood the appeal of the box myself, but then I’m not a cat.

2nd Place Winner
Seriously, if cats could talk in a language I could understand, the first thing I’d ask them is, “What’s up with the box?”

I really loved seeing all those kitties enjoying their boxes in so many different ways – playing, sleeping, hiding (or trying to hide!) and just hanging out in their favorite place.

The photos of cats trying to fit into itty bitty boxes made me laugh, and the photos of feline friends curled up in a “box built for two” tugged at my heart.

My cats don’t really like to share their boxes, and they sometimes fight over them like Tigger and Kovu, the cats in our 1st Place photo taken by Tamara B from Oregon.

3rd Place Winner
I’d like to thank everyone for entering their wonderful photos. If you’d like to see the ten winning photos, click here. You can also see the entire gallery of Cats in Boxes photos here.

Congratulations to the winners! From the first tasty bite down to the last little crumb, I’m certain that all the kitties will enjoy their FELIDAE cat food and TidNips treats.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Unique Coat Colors of the Siberian Husky

By Linda Cole

The Siberian Husky is one of seven dog breeds, identified through DNA testing, as one of the most ancient breeds with bloodlines closest to the gray wolf. Unlike most dog breeds, the Husky coat comes in a wide variety of colors, and some coats have multiple colors mixed in it. One coat is very much wolf-like.

Jet black - Individual solid black hairs make up the outercoat, which is monochrome, meaning, the coat is made up of different shades of a single color. The undercoat is either black or dark grey and the tail, ears and hindquarters are deep black. The paw pads are usually very dark.

Black - The outercoat is made up of individual black hairs, white at the root. There may be solid white hairs mixed in with the black. The tail, ears and hindquarters have yellow and brownish hairs mixed in. The undercoat can be white, beige, charcoal or a mixture of the three.

Silver black - Mostly white hairs with black tips make up the outercoat. The head and along the spine is black with silver on the ears, tail and hindquarters. They have a white undercoat.

Wolf grey - A yellow/brown color makes up the outercoat starting at the root and ending in a black tip. Beige, yellow, red or tan colors are found behind the ears, the hindquarters and along the saddle area on the back. The undercoat is beige.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Animal Obesity Clinics: Reasonable or Ridiculous?


By Langley Cornwell

Some time ago I had an active and rambunctious black Labrador retriever. Even though she was very food oriented, I was able to keep her at a healthy weight because of all the exercise she did. Then she had a small surgery and gained weight during recovery. It was my fault. Even though her energy expenditure was less than half of what it used to be, I continued to feed her the same amount of dog food. Not smart. So I reduced the quantity of her food and she got back down to a healthy weight range. Although that simple formula worked for us, I still see lots of overweight pets. Even so, I was surprised to read about animal obesity clinics.  

It's not only humans that are fighting obesity. More and more dogs and cats seem to be battling the bulge and, just like humans, the complications of obesity in pets can be serious. But does that mean you need to take your pet to an obesity clinic? Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University seems to think so. With their opening of the first animal obesity clinic in the country, the school hopes to help pet owners tackle obesity issues that may be plaguing their pets. Let's take a closer look at the situation to help us determine whether or not an animal obesity clinic is really necessary.

The American Pet Obesity Problem

We've all seen the occasional cat or dog that’s so large he has to drag his oversized belly around, but other dogs and cats that don’t seem so big may also be classified as overweight. Recent studies actually show that over half of the dogs and cats in America are obese. Your pet may not look overweight to you, but even a small amount of extra weight can be dangerous for a pet.

Why Obesity in Pets is Dangerous

There are a number of risks that are associated with overweight pets. Just like humans, the risks of your pet being overweight are numerous. One of the most risky conditions associated with pet obesity is diabetes. However, there are also a number of other risks, which include heart problems, joint issues, a higher risk of death during surgery, decreased liver function, and even heat intolerance. In other words, obesity can shorten the lifespan of your dog or cat.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Should You Leave Your Dog In the Dark?


By Tamara McRill

Know that feeling when pulling into the driveway at night, flush with shopping success, only to be slammed with guilt because you didn’t leave any lights on for your dog? Yeah, me too. After I run inside to pet the dogs, I always wonder: Are dogs okay with being left in the dark?

Not just that, but is it also safe for dogs to be in the dark? Can they see?

Generally Better Night Vision

Obviously, that can depend on your dog, but it turns out it may also depend on just how dark it is in the house. Dogs do have better night vision than people in very low light situations. This is because they have a special structure in the back of their eyes that reflects more light to the retina.

So your furry housemate is going to make out more looking out the window at night than you will, but that is due to their eyes being able to better utilize the small quantities of light available. Say, from other lit up windows, streetlights or the moon.

Pitch Dark Navigation

When it comes to pitch black darkness, though, dogs can see about as well as we can. Which is pretty much nothing. Wait, but your dog can navigate the living room with absolutely no light? I believe you, but chances are it is because of his ability to quickly memorize the layout of the room.

For example: We had a town-wide blackout for five nighttime hours this summer. The dogs walked around just fine, until I moved some pop boxes in the kitchen. Dusty tripped over them on his way through, because he couldn’t see them and they weren’t there the last time he was in the kitchen.

So your dog can probably navigate your home in the dark, just from memory. It’s even easier for them if a streetlight or other light source is shining in the window. Same goes for them being outside at night.

Monday, November 12, 2012

What Causes Leash Aggression in Dogs


By Linda Cole

We've all seen the dog that's pulling on his leash, lunging and barking at other dogs as they walk by. His owner appears to be just as frustrated as the dog. Leash aggression is a common behavior problem created by us when we don't understand why our normally friendly dog is acting in an aggressive way.

The cause of leash aggression

Leash aggression is a behavior problem that should not be overlooked. When a dog exhibits any kind of aggression, it's not something they'll grow out of, and ignoring the problem only makes it worse. The dog's aggression is created when he becomes excited, frustrated or fearful, and all three are reasons for his behavior. Lack of socialization or proper training can also contribute to leash aggression.

Excitement and frustration

Some dogs become so excited when they see another dog, they try to pull their owner towards the other dog. Off leash, he's one of the friendliest dogs around, but put him on a leash and he lunges and frantically barks at other dogs or people. What he wants to do is have a “meet and greet” with the other dog, but his leash is making him frustrated. Leash corrections to try and rein the dog in and control him will only add to his frustration. Because he can't get to the other dog, he becomes aggressive when he hits the end of the leash that's restraining him from doing what he wants to do.

Fear

A dog that is fearful may show signs of leash aggression if they are forced to be closer to other dogs or people when they would otherwise avoid them if they were off leash. Not all dogs enjoy meeting other canines or people they don't know. Fear can cause a dog to lunge at another dog in an attempt to keep him at bay, and his snarling bark shouldn't be ignored. In his mind, the fearful dog is trapped by his leash, which causes his aggression.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Life-Saving Service Dog Wins Free CANIDAE!


By Julia Williams

Where else can you win a stockpile of premium-quality pet food just by subscribing to a blog? I don’t know, but I love that the sponsor of this blog, CANIDAE Natural Pet Foods, awards one new reader every quarter with their choice of a six-month supply of CANIDAE dog food or FELIDAE cat food. I can only imagine how exciting it would be to get THAT email!  I’d probably fall off my chair…wouldn’t you?

I always enjoy getting to know the winners and finding out their unique story. Our latest lucky winner was Deborah Van Gelder, who lives in California with her canine friend Denver, a purebred Australian Shepherd. Denver is both a Service Dog and a Therapy Dog, and he and Deborah go to visit the veterans every Friday at the VA Hospital in Loma Linda, California. “Denver and I LOVE going to the VA hospital,” said Deborah. “He will pull me down a certain hallway so that he can visit his favorite patients.”

Deborah and Denver also participate in a fun reading program at local libraries called “Sit, Stay and Read,” which is very popular with both children AND adults. During the summer, they volunteer at a special Kids Kamp helping children who have been abused or neglected. Deborah is a K9 Specialist who trains Service Dogs and Therapy Dogs, and has been doing this for several years.

Since Deborah and Denver do so much for others, I was particularly pleased they won this fantastic prize. I was also happy to find out that Denver has been a “CANIDAE dog” for about three years, and that Deborah credits the food with helping to save Denver’s life!

As Deborah told me, “A while back, Denver suffered from intestinal shutdown (I almost lost him) and had to be placed on bedrest. During that time, I gave him the CANIDAE grain free pureSKY formula. That's what kept him from being sicker, and it stabilized his system. Since then he’s been doing great!”

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