Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Why Do Dogs Lick People?

By Langley Cornwell

Our dog is a licker. I won’t go so far as to say she’s an obsessive licker, but she likes to lick. She can get fixated on a spot, either on herself or on me or my husband, and lick as long as we can stand it. I asked our veterinarian about it —because it seems excessive— and the vet thinks that since our dog is somewhat anxious, she’s probably using licking as a relaxation technique. The vet said some dogs enjoy licking because the act releases endorphins that allow the dog to feel pleasure and a sense of security and comfort. A dog’s licking is like a person biting their fingernails; basically they do it to relieve stress.

This makes sense because our dog also yawns a lot, and we’ve learned that yawns are a canine’s calming signal. Yawning is an important part of a dog’s communication toolbox; they often yawn when they are in what they believe is a stressful situation. For example, dogs are not hugged or petted in the wild so it probably doesn’t feel natural for them. When we give our dog a big hug or get expressive with a scratch on the head, she very often starts her yawning repetitions. She uses these short yawns to comfort herself so when she starts self-licking, it’s likely for the same reason.

But why does she lick us? Why do dogs lick people?

Here’s a typical evening scenario. We’re all piled up on the sofa, relaxing and talking about the day. Our dog and cat are in the mix because they have to be the center of everything. Then our dog will find a place on my exposed arm or leg and start the licking. If I would sit still I think she would lick me indefinitely.

As kids, we were sure that a dog’s lick was a canine kiss. We thought that the more your dog licked you, the more she loved you. There’s a part of me that still believes this is true, but I couldn’t find scientific evidence to back me up.

There is some logic to that universal childhood theory, however. From the day pups are born, their mother licks them to clean them and stimulate breathing as well as to encourage elimination. Mother’s licks (kisses) are vitally important for a newborn puppy’s survival. Furthermore, when puppies lick one another it serves an important social function which strengthens the bond between littermates. The act of licking is a natural instinct that dogs learn from their mother at an early age. Since one of their earliest social bonds involves licking, that action has become a significant canine social device.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Top 5 Preventable Pet Ailments

By Linda Cole

As pet owners, we try to ward off potential health problems before they become serious by knowing symptoms to watch out for and paying attention to how a pet acts. When a dog or cat isn't acting like their normal self, we know something is wrong. We can't prevent some diseases from happening, but there are five common pet ailments we can control that can affect our pets' health and shorten their lives.

Dental Disease - Taking care of our pets teeth is just as important as our good dental hygiene. Bad teeth can affect the heart, kidney and liver, and has been linked to some types of cancer. Anytime infection is present in the body, there's always a risk it can spread to other parts of the body via the bloodstream. Infection in the teeth and gums is painful, which makes it hard for a pet to eat. Mouth pain can also be a contributing factor in a pet's bad behavior or aggression.

The best way to prevent dental disease is with regular brushing, vet exams and cleaning the teeth by a vet, when necessary. Brushing your pet's teeth may be a bit of a hassle in the beginning, but with patience and practice, a few minutes of your time spent brushing a pet’s teeth can help prolong their life.

Trauma/injuries - Accidents happen, and you can't always control a particular situation. However, you can take a look around your pet's environment to make sure it's dog or cat proofed to help eliminate preventable injuries. Electrical and window blind cords, loose fencing around an outside enclosure, or debris lying around in a yard can all injure a pet. A loose window screen that pops out while your cat is sitting in an opened window can pose a danger, especially if the window is high off the ground.

Dogs can get pulled muscles, sprain an ankle, and even break a leg racing around the yard playing and jumping. Most soft tissue injuries and trauma can be prevented by keeping a dog on leash when not in a secured enclosure and not letting your dog get overly excited during playtime. Bites from other animals or snakes, falls off steep banks or being hit by a car are dangers for both dogs and outside cats. Keeping your pet at a healthy weight can help reduce the risk of injuries.

Monday, October 29, 2012

How to Carve a Pumpkin that Looks Just Like Your Dog

By Tamara McRill

Have the perfect pumpkin sitting in front of you and out of ideas on what to carve? Just look to your favorite canine companion for inspiration! Carving a pumpkin in my dogs’ images is hands-down my favorite Halloween tradition. It’s even a project that can be tackled by the less than artistic among us. There are three basic options you can use to carve the exact likeness of your dog:

Dog Breed Pumpkin Templates

If your dog is the poster child for his breed in looks, then chances are you can do a quick online search and come up with a pumpkin template or stencil that looks remarkably similar. Just type the breed plus “pumpkin template” into your browser. For example, my Wuppy is a Chocolate Labrador, so I would search for “chocolate lab pumpkin template.”

There are plenty of sites and articles online to find these, such as Better Homes and Gardens. Once you find the best template for your dog, you’ll need to print the template.

Altering Templates for an Exact Look

For mixed dogs that look mostly like one breed, you can use a template and add the minor changes. Our dog Dusty is a Dalmatian and Pitbull mix, but mostly resembles the first in the face. So for him I can get away with printing out a Dalmatian stencil and drawing in slightly wider cheeks and perkier ears. Altering the template is also an excellent way to personalize pumpkins for purebred dogs. This way you can get the spots in the same place or make sure fringe placement is exact.

Exact Dog Portrait Template

Templates are wonderful for breed-specific dogs, but maybe you have a mixed masterpiece like our Cody. We have a good idea of his mix, but I have never been able to find a pumpkin carving template that looks just like him. So I came up with a simple way to make my own.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Meet the Pets of CANIDAE Staff Members

By Julia Williams

Two animal loving friends, John Gordon and Scott Whipple, started the CANIDAE Natural Pet Food Company in 1996. These “ordinary guys” and their families founded CANIDAE with a desire and a plan to make the finest natural pet food products possible. Today, the company is still family owned and operated, and still very much committed to providing dogs, cats and horses with premium quality pet food. It stands to reason, then, that everyone who works at CANIDAE is also an animal lover. Many employees even bring their dogs to work with them – because any task becomes infinitely more enjoyable with a canine friend by your side! We thought you might enjoy getting to know some of the “Pets of the CANIDAE staff,” so here they are:

Greg Henley: Max, 4 year old Maltese
What do you love most about your pet?  I love everything about him – he loves me unconditionally.
Does your pet have any quirks?  He is grouchy in the morning – don’t try to get him out of bed before he is ready.
What are your pet’s favorite activities?  He loves to play with his rope tug toy.
What one word best describes your pet’s personality? Playful
If your pet could talk, what would they say about their CANIDAE food? “More canned food and TidNips please!!”

Kristine Matsuura: Hailey, 3 year old yellow Labrador

What do you love most about your pet? She is the sister I never had.
Does your pet have any quirks? She is a Princess and all the toys are hers.
What are your pet’s favorite activities? Going jogging with me, and going with me wherever I go.
What one word best describes your pet’s personality? Princess
If your pet could talk, what would they say about their CANIDAE food? “May the bag never go empty!”

Diane Matsuura: Breezie, 6 year old yellow Labrador

What do you love most about your pet? She gives the best hugs.
Does your pet have any quirks? She hogs the bed or couch.
What are your pet’s favorite activities? She loves Splash Dogs Dock Diving.  Right now she is on maternity leave from sports and is home taking care of 6 puppies.
What one word best describes your pet’s personality? Mushy
If your pet could talk, what would they say about their CANIDAE food? “The best food ever!”

Scott Whipple: Koda, 1 year old Yorkshire terrier

What do you love most about your pet? She cuddles with me on the couch.
Does your pet have any quirks? She doesn’t like baths and brushing.
What are your pet’s favorite activities? She loves to chase squirrels and lizards in the back yard.
What one word best describes your pet’s personality? Cuddly
If your pet could talk, what would they say about their CANIDAE food? “Treats are my favorite!”

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Tips for Controlling Cat Litter Scatter

By Langley Cornwell

This is an area I need help with.

My husband and I are accustomed to sharing our living space with our pets. I freely admit that there are no restrictions in our home; our dog and our cat are allowed in every room and on every piece of furniture. We’d feed our animals high quality pet food like CANIDAE with our last nickel. I’m used to wearing a top layer of pet hair over my fleece or jersey clothes. When we’re going out in public, we’re used to quickly rolling a lint brush over our outfits before we leave. I could go on but the point should be clear, I love animals and everything that goes along with living with them.

Except for cat litter. It drives me nuts! Our cat is an indoor/outdoor guy so he mostly does his business outside now. When we first started letting our cat go outside, he would come back in to use the litter box and then immediately want to go back out and play. For the longest time he thought he could only “go” in the box. One day new neighbors moved in with an older cat. Our cats became friends and that mature cat taught our teenaged kitty it was okay to eliminate outside, that the whole big world could be used as a litter box. So now he goes out when he needs to “go” most of the time.

There are times, however, when he still uses his box and boy does he make a mess! He spreads cat litter all over the house. He’s a robust digger and it takes him a long time to get the litter organized just right. Then, when he’s done, he flings and slings the litter everywhere. We’ve found litter in our shoes, in our beds, even in our cars. It’s remarkable how far that litter spreads. We’ve tried the obvious solutions; litter boxes with high sides, covered litter boxes, but nothing changed. We’ve tried two types of mats that are designed to brush off a cat’s paws and contain the litter, but those haven’t worked. It was time to further my research. Here’s what I learned.    

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Intelligent and Happy Brussels Griffon

By Linda Cole

A member of the toy group, the Brussels Griffon has a terrier-like attitude packed into a compact, square and sturdy body. He has a pushed-in nose and expressive eyes that sparkle with the confidence of a larger breed, and the Griffon definitely has the attitude of a big dog in a little body.

Their coat comes in two different types, smooth or rough, and both coats require weekly grooming. The rough coated Brussels Griffon has an impressive wiry mustache and beard, giving him a look that resembles an Ewok, one of the lovable characters from Star Wars. This Griffon has appeared alongside some of the biggest stars in show business, such as Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt in As Good as it Gets. The breed was also featured in The First Wives' Club and Gosford Park.

The Griffon has been described as a little dog with a monkey or elf-like face. However, they have such an expressive face, they are often said to have an almost human-like face. The breed originated in Brussels, Belgium in the 1800s where their main duty was to catch rats in and around horse stables. This spunky and intelligent breed was developed primarily by crossing the Affenpinscher with the Griffon d´ecurie, a Belgian street dog that was similar to, but heavier than, the Fox Terrier. The black Pug, King Charles Spaniel, Ruby Toy Spaniel, Irish and Yorkshire Terrier also contributed to the development of the Brussels Griffon.

Because of their small size and charming attitude, the Griffon became a favorite of working class people and nobility. Cab drivers of the time used the little dogs to attract riders and discourage thieves; however, the dogs were much better at drawing customers in than keeping thieves at bay. By 1880 the breed had enough interest to be shown at a dog show in Belgium and its popularity began to grow. Unfortunately, the breed declined in numbers during WW I and II and was on the verge of becoming extinct. They had been completely eliminated in their homeland of Belgium, and the only reason the breed survived was because of breeders spread out across Europe.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Throwing a Howl-O-Ween Party for Dogs

By Tamara McRill

Want to give canine trick-or-treaters a ghoulish good time this Halloween? Of course you do, and one fun way to do so is to host a Howl-O-Ween party designed just for dogs. It’s a great way to let dogs socialize, and for you and your friends to have some fun, too. Here are some tips – from venue to treats and more – to make sure your pet’s Halloween party is safe and they have a howling good time.

Perfect Pawty Venue

The first thing you will have to decide is where to hold the party. Outside is best, but not always possible if the temps are starting to dip in your area. Consider getting together in a dog park or a fenced in backyard. You’ll want lots of room for the four-legged guests to run and play games.

If you do need to hold the party indoors, make sure you have enough floor space and easy access to the outside. If you don’t want to use your own home, check into pet schools or other indoor facilities.

Wherever you host the party, you’ll need separate spaces for food, bathroom and quiet time.

Not So Chilling Decorations

Don’t go too frightening with the decor. You don’t want a bunch of nervous or stressed dogs on your hands, but there are still plenty of other options. Think more along the lines of "interesting things to sniff" rather than something that makes scary noises or pops out. Hay, pumpkins and leaves are always interesting to dogs.

Incorporating dog bones and skeletons into the theme would be perfect for a doggy Halloween. You can also set up a graveyard for them to wander, with a few loose “body parts.” Just make sure there are enough to go around – you don’t want to start a dog fight over a plastic foot!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Why do Some Dogs Stop Getting Along?

By Linda Cole

One of the most commented articles here on the CANIDAE RPO blog is “Jealousy and Possessive Behavior in Dogs.” It's easy to believe a dog is acting out and has bad behavior because he's jealous of another dog in the family or he's being possessive. Both may be true, but there are other reasons why dogs might suddenly stop getting along, as I discovered with my own pack.

Sometimes, dogs just don't like each other

When we agreed to foster a friend's dog, it was just supposed to be for a short period of time. But since he would be sharing space with ours, we socialized him with our pack. Dozer is a lovable terrier mix, and he adjusted well to his new environment. That is, until Dozer made a move to challenge Max, one of my dogs who is twice his size. We began to notice a change in Dozer's body language around Max. Since they weren't getting into fights, we decided it would be best to let them sort out their differences.

One day Max walked past Dozer and brushed against him. That was all it took; Dozer whirled around and latched on to Max around the ears. We got them separated and gave them time to calm down before letting them interact with each other. All was well for about a month before another fight broke out, then another month before the next fight. These were full-fledged fights, and we decided the best thing to do was to separate them and work on re-socializing them.

So far our attempts have failed. Dozer and Max just do not like each other, and I have my doubts they will ever be able to be together in the same room again without fighting. Sometimes the only thing you can do is adopt a management program to keep dogs separated permanently. Since Dozer isn't ours and my friend is still not in a position to take him back, we will most likely continue to keep them separated to avoid more fights and keep them from hurting each other, or us.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Real Men Do Love Cats! 7 “Cat Guys” Tell All


By Julia Williams

If you think there aren’t any men willing to profess their love for cats…think again!  For this article, 7 Cat Guys talk openly about all things feline.

What’s the best thing about being a Cat Guy?
Dan: Having a Cat Lady to share our seven cats with! Not to mention the fringe benefits of the unique love, loyalty and companionship each cat freely gives to me on a daily basis.
Doug: Snuggling with a purring kitty on a cold day.
Eddie: They're very cool, no barking, low maintenance, they bring home exotic “things” and they're the only ones that “understand” me.
Kevin: I think there’s a certain sensitivity and self-awareness that cat people generally have. Being a cat guy also allowed my wife Tracey and I to reconnect (we had worked together at the same company many years ago).  I had been volunteering at PAWS for years, and then she started volunteering there, too. It was a total chance meeting of a crazy cat guy and a crazy cat woman. We’ve been a crazy married cat couple for five years now!
Michael: Cats are low maintenance and cuddly.
Scott: Saving a life.
Terry:  The best thing about being a Cat Guy is interacting with one of the most fascinating species on the planet. I love the time I spend with my cats. I also always try to fully exceed their expectations of me.

When you leave the house, on a scale of 1 to 10, how covered in cat hair are you?
Dan: 10+. On a recent trip, I even noticed that my luggage was covered with cat hair. I guess it's their way of giving you something to remind you of them.
Doug: Well, that's hard to say because I don't take the time to count the dog hairs and then subtract for the number of cat hairs that are left.
Eddie: 7 on a good day, but usually 9
Kevin: It depends upon where I’m going.  In the morning during the workweek, I’m probably a “2.” Once I’m dressed in my work clothes, I don’t dare sit on any of the upholstered furniture, so as not to get cat hair all over me. On the weekends, I’m probably anywhere from a “3” to a “6.”  Thank goodness for lint rollers!
Michael: 2. Lots of laundering.
Scott: Not too much – I put on a clean shirt right before I leave!
Terry:  Listen, if I leave the house with a cat hair ranking of 7 or less I have really ignored the cats.  Up close and personal with your cats is something serious and there is cat hair involved.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

What’s the craziest “Cat Guy” thing you’ve ever done? 
Dan: Fell in love with my crazy cat lady and encouraged a household of seven cats.
Doug: One of the neighbor's cats got stuck on the roof of my house and I went up to get her down. It was cold, rainy and dark, and she kept moving around. We were both unhappy campers by the time I finally caught her.
Kevin: I definitely think non-cat people think much of what I do is crazy. Like volunteering for 15+ years with the cats at PAWS. Or having framed pictures of our cats in my office at work. Or making photo cards of the cats every holiday season for the past 10 years. Or having pictures of some of the PAWS cats on our wedding table cards.
Scott: I brought home cat #13, Sylvester.  He had lived two years in a cage at the vet.
Terry: I actually thought it was pretty crazy three years ago when, as a “Cat Guy” I attended the first Barkworld Expo, a social media event marketed to critters that bark instead of meow. Given the audience and the nature of the four-legged attendees, I took the “Flat” version of my cat Brian. As it turned out, the event was terrific and I made many new friends.

What cat-themed items are in your wardrobe?
Dan: I'd likely be arrested for divulging that information!
Eddie: No way. This article is about guys, right?
Kevin: I have a couple cat-themed t-shirts, a baseball cap, and a necktie.
Scott: I have a tie-dyed shirt featuring a cat's paw.
Terry:  I can never have too many cat tee shirts or cat sweatshirts, and during the Christmas season I look forward to wearing my tie with Santa and the kitty on it.  Cat Guy items are not as easy to find as Cat Lady items.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Creative Ways to Entertain a Dog during Bad Weather

By Langley Cornwell

A few years ago, there was a serious tropical storm that resulted in it pouring rain in Charleston for over a week. As luck would have it, this happened the very month we rescued our puppy. To make matters worse, I was under a tight deadline to finish up an important project that week. As you might imagine, our dog was going bonkers. I needed to entertain her to the point of exhaustion so I could get some work done, and we couldn’t go outside.

At that time our dog was young, but dogs of every age need exercise and mental stimulation regardless of the weather. In fact, this past summer it was so hot and humid that we didn’t think it was healthy to let our dog romp around outside for too long. We needed to help her burn off energy in the confines of our air-conditioned home.

My point is, there are days when you can’t offer your dog the necessary exercise and mental stimulation she needs in the great outdoors. Here are a few creative ways to entertain your dog when you can’t run around outside:

Find a friend with a dog and a basement. Seriously, my neighbor has a small dog and a large basement. When the weather isn’t conducive to outside play, she always wants me to come over with our dog so they can play together. We let the dogs wrestle and chase one another around until they wear themselves out. It’s great for them and fun for us too; we just hang out and chat. When I load our pup back in the car and get home, she takes her rightful place on the sofa for a long nap. On the flip side, if you have the space you can have the “play date” at your house. I can assure you that your friends will be grateful!

Stuff your dog’s toys. We have a few treat dispensing toys that help relieve boredom. I’ll stuff a rubber toy tightly with CANIDAE TidNips and let our dog entertain herself for hours. I’ve gotten good at packing the dog treats in so they’re hard to get out and it drives her crazy, in a good way. There are lots of puzzle toys and treat dispensing toys that can keep your dog occupied while indoors.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Changing Face of Animal Shelters

By Linda Cole

For many years, animal shelters have been a place where pet owners could take their dog or cat when they could no longer care for them. That's still the case, but today's shelters have expanded to become more than just a shelter by providing other pet related services in addition to finding new homes for pets.

Animal Education 

Shelters are developing humane education programs to help teach kids how to respect animals and have compassion for all life. Children are taught how to handle a pet, the proper way to pet them, and when they may need to give a pet their space. Responsible pet ownership is the focus in each program, and some shelters include responsible stewardship for all animals, domesticated and wild. These programs help teach kids empathy and why it's important to have compassion for the animals we share our environment with. Programs vary from shelter to shelter, with some offering classes on pet first aid and disaster preparedness for pets.

Safe Haven

Since the downturn in the economy, some shelters have come up with a way to help struggling owners keep their pets. Instead of surrendering a pet to a shelter and adding to their population, safe haven programs are giving pet owners a better option and hope by boarding or fostering pets for people who are in a temporary situation. Home foreclosures or a loss of a job is already a stressful situation. Surrendering a pet to a shelter only adds to a family's devastating economic loss. Safe haven programs also give military personnel preparing to deploy overseas a way to keep their pets while they're away. Instead of worrying if a pet they had to surrender to a shelter has found a good home, soldiers can concentrate on their job knowing their pet is safe and waiting for them to return.

Training Classes and Behavior Evaluations

One reason many pets are surrendered to shelters is because their owner doesn't know how to correct a behavior problem. However, most behavior issues can be easily resolved once you know how to help a pet. Even aggression can be corrected. Some bad behavior is due to medical reasons and some is simply a matter of the owner taking the lead role with a pet. Many shelters now have an animal behaviorist on staff to help with pet behavior issues. Training classes give pet owners the tools they need to teach basic commands and learn how to control their dog.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Why Do Dogs Find Leaf Piles So Fascinating?

By Tamara McRill

“Hi, my name is Cody and I am a leaf-aholic.” At least that’s how I imagine the meeting would start, if we could get our dog to admit he has an unhealthy obsession with brightly colored piles of leaves. Okay, he even finds the brown, beaten down crispy ones fascinating.

Of course it’s unhealthy only in the sense that we, his humans, worry about what unsafe things might be under there and like to have his attention during most of the walk. Cody, like most dogs, is pretty sure it’s just super fun and important.

Eau de Rotting Stuff 

Why are leaf piles so fascinating to dogs? Because of all of the glorious outdoorsy smells of decomposing vegetation, rich dirt. And other interesting scents.

Olfaction, smelling something, is the primary sense dogs use. They rely on it to interpret the world, much like people rely on sight. Dogs have more than 220 million scent receptors in their noses. In comparison, humans have only five million.

So when they smell something particularly pungent, like rotting piles of leaves, they just have to investigate.

Getting Away from the Leaves

A well-trained dog may not have any trouble passing by something interesting if they aren’t on leave to explore. They may also leave it alone on command. If you’re dealing with impulse control issues, like we are, you’ll have to work with your pet until he follows commands. Make sure you have some tasty goodies, like CANIDAE dog treats, on hand as rewards.

Monday, October 15, 2012

8 Celebrities and Their Rescued Dogs

By Linda Cole

Celebrities have one advantage the rest of us don't: fans and paparazzi who watch their every move. That may not seem like an advantage to those of us who have no desire to live life under a photographer's lens. However, the attention gives celebrities an opportunity to speak out for causes that are important to them. Dog loving celebrities not only speak up for shelter dogs, many also rescue dogs from shelters.

Sandra Bullock

Not everyone is emotionally capable of caring for a disabled dog, and most special needs dogs in shelters will never find a forever home. Sandra Bullock is not only an advocate for special needs dogs, she adopted three from shelters. Poppy is a three legged Chihuahua/Pomeranian mix that Bullock adopted in 2005. Ruby is a two legged Chihuahua born without front legs. She walks around standing up straight on her back legs. BeBe, Sandra's third special needs dog, is a one eyed Chihuahua.

Orlando Bloom

I have been a fan of Orlando Bloom for a long time. He is also a huge dog lover, and actually rescued his dog off the streets of Morocco while on location during the filming of Kingdom of Heaven. Sidi is a Saluki mix, and he goes everywhere with his famous owner.

Drew Barrymore

In 1998, a fire devastated her Beverly Hills home. Drew credits Flossie, her rescued Chow/Lab mix, with saving her life and her then husband, Tom Green. Flossie barked frantically and alerted them to the fire. Flossie crossed over the Rainbow Bridge in 2010 at the age of 16. Drew also has a 2½ year old mixed breed named Douglas, rescued from a shelter when he was six months old. He had been surrendered to the shelter when he was only two weeks old. Her other dog, a shepherd mix named Oliver, had been left in a box with his siblings outside a shelter in Los Angeles. Barrymore isn't the only actress that has been in Oliver's life; his foster home was with Nikki Reed of Twilight fame.

Jake Gyllenhaal

Gyllenhaal proudly named his two shelter dogs after characters in his favorite book, To Kill a Mockingbird. Atticus Finch is a German Shepherd, and Boo Radley is a Beagle/Pug mix. Atticus is Gyllenhaal's running partner. An advocate for shelter pets, Gyllenhaal recently helped an animal rescue organization in Mississippi raise money.

Friday, October 12, 2012

“Cats in Boxes” Photo Contest - Win Free Cat Food!

By Julia Williams

Last week, CANIDAE announced an awesome photo contest for dog owners, with the winner receiving free food for a year and a chance to appear on one of their pet food cans or kibble bags.

Now…that was all well and good, but what about the kitties? Never fear! The kitties get to have their very own contest revolving around the one thing cats love more than anything – boxes!

Yep. Everyone knows cats simply can’t resist the allure of a box. It’s a magical, unexplained attraction that is universal among all cats. We’ve all seen hundreds (if not thousands) of funny photos of cats in boxes. There are pictures of big cats squished into teeny tiny boxes, cats stretched out in long boxes, cats on top of boxes, underneath boxes, peeking out of boxes, and all sorts of other mind boggling cat-and-box combos.

Moreover, I’m betting that every cat owner on the planet has countless pictures of their own furry feline friend in a box! Am I right? Well, now’s your chance to cash in on this kooky kitty obsession. Just enter your favorite photo of your cat in a box, and you might be one of ten lucky winners. What can you win? Read on…


1st place: (2) 15 pound bags of FELIDAE dry cat food + 1 package of FELIDAE TidNips treats

2nd place: (1) 15 pound bag of FELIDAE dry cat food + 1 package of FELIDAE TidNips treats

3rd place: (1) 8 pound bag of FELIDAE dry cat food + 1 package of FELIDAE TidNips treats

4th thru 10th place: 1 package of FELIDAE TidNips

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Exasperating Things Dogs Do

By Langley Cornwell

If you’ve ever lived with a dog, you probably have at least one funny story to tell about the dog doing something “wrong” (according to human rules). On popular social networking sites, I bet I read one or two status updates per day about funny pet antics. There’s even an entire website devoted to sharing crazy things dogs do, called Dog Shaming. One of the things that make the Dog Shaming site so funny is the photographs, but just hearing the stories is entertaining enough.

Prompted by the popularity of Dog Shaming, I asked a group of friends to share the most exasperating thing their dog has ever done. The response was tremendous. Here is a sampling of their stories:  

Starr talks about Brandy, their first Golden Retriever. Her husband Joe patiently taught the dog to retrieve his newspaper from the yard each morning. The family was proud of their dog, and loved showing everyone just how smart she was. When Brandy retrieved the newspaper she always got a lot of praise and her favorite CANIDAE treat. Everything was fine until Starr and her husband decided their lives were too busy to read the paper each day, so they canceled their subscription. The thing is, nobody told Brandy. Ever faithful to her one and only job, the dog would go around the neighborhood collecting newspapers to bring to Joe in trade for her treat and the affection and praise. Joe had to go door-to-door every morning, trying to find out who each paper belonged to!

Amanda says that when her dog Honey Bear was younger, she would take out her frustration or anger towards the family by stealing their dirty socks out of the hamper. She would then proceed to carefully chew the top of the socks and pull out each strand of elastic. She wouldn't touch any other part of the sock, but she would work until all of the elastic was pulled out. After Honey Bear was done, their socks never stayed up.

Frankie’s dog seems to like an audience. One time the Chocolate Lab entertained their guests by urinating on the Christmas tree in the middle of a party. Another time, the same dog decided that a neighborhood get-together/cookout was a good time to make puppies with their other lab.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Dog Breeds of Ireland

By Linda Cole

I love digging into the history of dog breeds and where they originated. Our relationship with canines began centuries ago, and understanding the needs of our ancestors tells us we haven't really changed all that much in terms of how we use specific breeds to do certain jobs. Many of today's breeds began in Asia and other areas of the world. Ireland can also lay claim to dog breeds that originated on the Emerald Isle.

Irish Setter

This beautiful chestnut red dog is a breed most people associate with Ireland. In the early years, the dog had shorter legs and a red/white coat. The solid red color didn't begin to show up until the 1800s and soon became the color signifying a well bred, quality dog with excellent hunting ability. Popular throughout England and Ireland in the 1700s, the breed was likely developed by mixing the Irish Water Spaniel, Irish Terrier, English Setter, Spaniel, Pointer and Gordon Setter.

The sporting dog was originally bred to crouch low next to a bird to “set” his game and wait for a hunter to walk up and toss a net over the dog and bird. After firearms improved, the Irish Setter became a complete hunting dog that could point, retrieve and hunt game birds in different types of terrain. The dog has an exceptional nose and can quickly find game hiding in the brush. He's an affectionate, smart and energetic family pet.

Irish Terrier

During WWI, the Irish Terrier was used to run messages and as a sentinel to warn soldiers of any surprise attacks. This dog is thought to be one of the oldest terrier breeds and could possibly be around two thousand years old. No one knows which breeds were used to produce the Irish Terrier, but they originated in Country Cork, Ireland in the 1700s where they were used as a retriever and to hunt otter, water rats, fox and other vermin. At one time during the early 1900s, the Irish Terrier was very popular in the U.S., but for some reason, their popularity died out and they are now rare. This dog has a long body and long legs. He is a loyal, brave, inquisitive, adventurous, playful, energetic and kid friendly dog.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Does Your Dog Make Your Family Stronger?

By Tamara McRill

We love our dogs like they are part of the family, but they are more than just cute rambunctious balls of fur offering endless amusement. They can actually make a family unit stronger, on emotional and physical levels. Sometimes I think we can only aspire to give as much back to those we love as our pets enrich our lives.

How do dogs make a family bond stronger and help us live better lives? Let’s count the ways.

1. Creating Memories and Milestones

If you’ve ever been around a tightly knit family, then you have probably heard a few stories about their shared recollections and probably a few pet memories. Having a dog creates a shared being to love, and we tend to note the things those we love do. And dogs seem to provide endless antics for us to notice.

Beyond their antics, milestones in our pets’ lives become ones in our own. When my family begins reminiscing about past Christmases, the first one brought up is almost always the Christmas Eve our family dog, Daisy, had puppies. She brought extra joy to the holiday and added to our family history.

2. Bonding Over Common Ground

It’s these moments and what people have in common that make them close. People are so diverse in interests, and just plain busy doing their own thing, that common ground can be hard to find, even if they are related. Even when family members feel like they have little to say to each other, they can still talk meaningfully about their pets, or work together to feed or play with them.

This can open the channels of communication and lead to further conversation on other topics, instead of everyone retreating behind closed bedroom doors.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Can Quality Pet Food Curb Misbehavior?

By Linda Cole

When training for a marathon or any other sporting event, a human athlete won't get very far if all he or she eats is junk food. Diet is so important to keep the body working smoothly, and what we feed our pets matters just as much as what we eat. A poor diet can seriously affect a pet's health, and can also be a reason for your pet's bad behavior. Dog training, housebreaking, hyperactivity and aggression issues are some of the things that may be affected by the food your pet eats.

Dog Training 

If you don't have your dog's attention, you aren't going to be able to teach him. Lower quality pet food makes training a puppy or dog harder if they are hungry all the time and have no energy. Training requires a dog to focus, and if he's hungry or feels sluggish, learning a command is more difficult. Cheaper food may actually require a pet to eat more to feel full, and with lower quality nutrients, he may struggle with his learning. A dog that doesn't understand basic commands can be harder to control.


It's harder to housebreak a puppy or dog if they need to go more because they have to eat more. Fillers in lower quality pet foods are there to help fill pets up. In order for food to be effective, it needs to be absorbed into the body. Poorer quality foods aren't absorbed as well, and the end result is that a puppy or dog needs to “go” more often. On average, adult dogs should only have one to two bowel movements each day, and puppies are old enough to control their bladder and bowels by the age of six months. If they are going more than that but have no health issues which could cause this, it’s wise to evaluate the food your pet is eating.

Cats eating a lower quality pet food may stop using the litter box if they are using it more often and you find it hard to keep it clean because of more frequent use. Like dogs, a healthy cat should have a bowel movement one or two times a day. Diet can affect a pet's coat, skin, eyes, muscle development, overall health and energy level.


Pica is a compulsive eating disorder, and it can be due to a poor diet. A hungry pet may try to satisfy their hunger by eating non food items like rocks, socks, plastic bags, dirt or anything they can find to munch on. A pet that eats non food items should be checked out by a vet to make sure there are no medical problems.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Do We Find Our Pets, or Do They Find Us?

By Julia Williams

Whenever I read adoption tales, I marvel at the many different and circuitous ways people find a certain pet that turns out to be a perfect match for them. Many times, they were looking for a completely different pet than the one they ended up with, and sometimes they weren’t looking for a pet at all. Yet everything fell effortlessly into place, and another fortunate pet found his forever home.

Some people might say “Oh, what a coincidence that was, and now we have the best pet ever!” I don’t believe in coincidences, though, so I am not at all surprised when something completely unexpected brings a family and their beloved pet together. I believe it was meant to be.

Haven’t we all experienced a time when we felt we just had to adopt a certain pet but didn’t really know why? In every case, these pets become such an integral part of our life that we can’t imagine being without them. But did we find our pet, or did they find us?

I ask this after reading a touching tale about a troubled shelter dog who behaved very badly, and as a result no one wanted to adopt him. That is, until his true and forever family finally walked through the door.

A couple had gone to their local shelter with their adult daughter to help her pick out a pet. She had lost a cherished pet a few months earlier, so they were waiting until it felt like the right time for her to adopt again. The man and his wife were not looking for a pet for themselves, but this one plucky little dog caught their eye, and they asked about him.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

What is the Smartest Cat Breed?

By Langley Cornwell

It’s easier to measure a dog’s intelligence than a cat’s intelligence. I hope that statement doesn’t raise my cat-loving friends’ ire, but think about it: how do we measure a dog’s intelligence? Usually by noting how well a dog interacts with humans. How long it takes us to train a dog to learn what we want him to is another intelligence gauge. Same for cats. We rank a cat’s intelligence based on the interest he has in interacting with us and doing what we want him to do. Because this is the most common way of determining smart cat breeds, the breeds that are known to be more comfortable interacting with humans are often considered the smartest.

Are breeds that are commonly social, curious and active really more intelligent, or are we measuring them with an anthropomorphic prejudice?

Because cats use their acumen to solve problems relevant to cats (and not to humans), accurately measuring their intelligence or determining which breed is the smartest is difficult. We can train cats to perform simple tricks, using standard cat-training techniques coupled with healthy treats like FELIDAE TidNips. Still, humans may think some cat breeds are unable to learn on their own, but usually it’s just that the subject matter doesn’t interest the cat. Moreover, cats aren’t known to be good research subjects because, as most cat guardians know, they are not particularly cooperative. This fact makes measuring a cat’s problem-solving abilities nearly impossible.

Even so, Animal Planet took a stab at ranking the intelligence of most of the well-known cat breeds, giving each a score from one to 10. Of course, because it’s so hard to rank the intelligence of cat breeds, their data is subjective. And just like humans, there are substantial variations within a breed. Some cats are smarter than others within a breed. Those of you who have lived with more than one cat in the same house can attest to this.

Animal Planet’s Smartest Cat Breeds 

The only cat breed to achieve 10 out of 10 was the Sphynx. The list of cat breeds that received a high 9 out of 10 include (in alphabetical order, not order of intelligence):
• Balinese (essentially a long-haired Siamese)
• Bengal (a wild Asian Leopard Cat/domestic cat cross)
• Colourpoint Shorthair (a breed developed from the Siamese, and American and British Shorthairs)
• Havana Brown (a cross of Siamese and black British or American Shorthairs)
• Javanese (an Oriental Shorthair-Balinese cross)
• Oriental (developed from numerous breeds, including the Siamese)
• Siamese (a naturally occurring breed)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Your Photo Could Win Free CANIDAE for a Year!

Wouldn’t it be cool to see your favorite canine featured on a bag or can of CANIDAE Natural Pet Food? Well, now’s your chance!

Yesterday, CANIDAE announced an exciting new photo contest for dog owners. If your photo is selected as the winner, you might get to see your four legged friend on a CANIDAE pet food package.

That would certainly be something to brag about, right? But wait, there’s more! The winner will receive a one year free supply of CANIDAE dog food, too!


Submit your best photos of your dog. CANIDAE is looking for only high quality photos with your dog looking directly into the camera. Large file sizes preferred with 5MB as the maximum size. You can submit as many photos as you like until the contest closes on October 31, 2012. During the contest you and everyone else can vote for your favorite entries. CANIDAE staff will select the final grand prize winner.


The grand prize winner receives FREE Pet Food for One Year!! All photos submitted become property of CANIDAE and may be used for commercial purposes including packaging, websites and any type of marketing or advertising material.

What are you waiting for? Submit your best photo today via the CANIDAE Facebook page.

Terms and conditions apply. See contest for details.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Laser Pointer Games that are Safe for Dogs

By Tamara McRill

I’ll admit it: watching a dog happily chase a pinpoint of light can be hilarious. But it turns out laser pointer games have a dark side that can actually harm a dog’s mental wellbeing. It was a heart-stopping moment when I discovered this, having enjoyed just such a romping good time visiting a Pitbull pup we had rescued at his new home.

I was quick to let his new owner know the ramifications of his puppy’s favorite game and suggest some better ways to play with the laser pointer, if he wasn’t willing to completely stop using it as a toy.

Haywire Prey Instincts

The problem with letting a dog chase after a laser pointer beam is that it triggers their prey drive – what makes them hunt and chase after small things that move – without the satisfaction of ever catching the red dot. This may sound like a small thing, but it can actually cause an obsession in dogs to chase light. As in, it actually makes them a bit crazy. Many dogs will begin pouncing on any beam of light they see, just dying to finally catch it.

Safety Precautions

Before suggesting any laser pointer games to play that will satisfy your pet’s need to be a predator, I would like to emphasize that not playing with a laser pointer at all is really the safest option.

Also keep the beam out of their eyes, as it can cause blindness in dogs just as it does humans. Since a lot of dogs will bite at and pounce on the red dot, keep it off of other pets and people. Oh, and never point the beam at anything you don’t want to see broken.

Monday, October 1, 2012

How to Deal with a Stressed Out Dog

By Linda Cole

We don't always stop to consider how our dogs feel when they're left home alone. Since we aren't there to supervise what's happening in their lives, “things” may happen while we're at work that can cause your canine friend to feel stressed out.

Dogs do like routine, but doing the same thing day after day can be boring. Before you can help your dog, you need to first recognize why he's feeling stressed and then deal with what's bothering him.

As dog owners, we need to take a look at how our pets see life through their eyes. We leave home and may leave our pets alone for hours. If there are multiple pets in the home, they may be able to keep each other company, as long as they get along. But sometimes when a dog feels trapped inside or becomes bored, stress can cause him to misbehave; however, those aren't the only reasons why your dog may be stressing out.

Below are some of the things that can cause stress in dogs, and what you can do to help.

Change in a routine. Even though dogs enjoy spontaneous playtime, walks or an afternoon at the beach or park, they want to know “what's next” in their daily routine. When you wake up in the morning and begin your day, your dog knows exactly what's going to happen and when it's going to happen each day. You can keep your dog on his regular schedule and spice up his life by spending some additional time with him doing things he enjoys.

Being restrained or confined. Chained dogs deal with a lot of stress when they only have the length of their chain where they can roam. Living on a chain can cause a dog to become stressed out and more aggressive. A sturdy dog pen, on the other hand, gives a dog the freedom to investigate his surroundings safely. Make sure he has a proper shelter with plenty of fresh water, and take him on walks to help him get rid of extra energy. If you have to leave your dog confined in a crate while you're away, let him out as soon as you get home and make sure he gets plenty of playtime and exercise. Being locked up in a crate can cause a lot of stress.

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