Reasons To Act More Like Your Pet

Pets aren’t always easy to take care of, and they often require a substantial time commitment (something you’re all too aware of at, say, 3 a.m., when Bing Clawsby is finally ready to go outside and do his business). But pets provide an amazing return on that time investment, especially when it comes to your health. Case in point: According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pet owners tend to have lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels than non-pet owners. But that’s not all. Pets also model many surprisingly healthy behaviors that humans would do well to emulate. Here are just a few, according to veterinarians, dog trainers, and other pet experts.

 

1. They focus on what matters most. You may get grumpy after a bad day at the office, but your pooch never does. “Companion animals mostly care about food, love, and shelter (not always in that order). As long as they have those things, they don’t need much else,” Mary Gardner, DVM, a veterinarian and cofounder of Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice tells Yahoo Health. “Pets also don’t complain much at all. People believe they hide their pain; I simply think they manage it differently.” If humans could model these behaviors, Gardner adds, we’d be healthier, happier, “and more people would want to be around us.”

 

2. They practice portion control (even if not by choice). Snowball might not want to limit her kibble intake any more than you want to limit your tortilla-chip intake. Nonetheless, she typically eats reasonably sized helpings of nutritionally balanced food — and never gets to eat straight out of the bag. Follow her lead. “Both animals and people need structure and regulation when it comes to portion size,” says Jme Thomas, executive director of Motley Zoo Animal Rescue based in Redmond, Washington.

 

3. They know how to de-stress. Your pooch doesn’t pour a glass of cabernet when the going gets rough (though, yes, it would make a very popular YouTube video if she did). She may, however, start begging for a walk or to play a game. Smart dog! “Actively seeking healthy activities — that function as de-stressors when stress levels are high — helps to reset people as well as dogs, and bring us back to a productive and functional status, from which many things feel a lot more ‘do-able,’” Marisa Scully, a certified dog behavior specialist in Philadelphia, tells Yahoo Health.

 

 

4. They hit the hay. People don’t get enough sleep: According to a 2014 survey by the National Sleep Foundation, 45 percent of Americans said that a lack of sleep had impaired their activities at least once in the previous week. Learn from your cat or dog, who knows just how important it is to get enough shut-eye, says Jeff Werber, VVM, president and chief veterinarian of Century Veterinary Group in Los Angeles. “Whether it’s a lazy dog day afternoon, or a quick cat nap, you won’t find them burning the candles at both ends.” 5. They stretch! There’s a reason one of the most common yoga moves is named downward dog. Dogs (and cats) stretch constantly — and we should do the same, notes certified dog behavior consultant Russell Hartstein. Why? Stretching can improve flexibility and reduce your risk of injury.

 

6. They’re open to new things. Animals are naturally curious. “Open a box or empty a bag and before you know it, your cat will have climbed in to investigate. Walk your dog past a gardener planting flowers and chances are she will check it out before moving on,” Werber says. “And they’re always up for some fun. A game of catch, a walk, a visit — bring it on.” Since research has found that seeking out new experiences can keep people feeling young and healthy, we’d do well to follow suit.

 

7. They’re comfortable getting zen. Numerous studies have found a correlation between mindful meditation and reduced stress, decreased heart disease, and a stronger immune response — and that’s something your cat already knows how to do instinctively. “Each morning I sit on the sofa with my cat, Turtle, while I drink my first cup of coffee,” says Kristen Levine, a pet living expert. “We spend about 10 minutes together, her getting neck and head rubs, me enjoying her purring and having a few meditative moments at the start of the day.It sounds simple, and it can be, but depending on the activity, it can have a powerfully relaxing or invigorating effect for both human and critter.”

 

 

Source: https://www.yahoo.com/health/7-health-lessons-our-pets-teach-us-112252958927.html

Scents and Sensitivity: Dogs Know When We’re Happy or Angry

Science is proving what pet owners have long believed: Dogs understand what we’re feeling. Specifically, dogs can recognize the difference between a happy and an angry human face, a study published Thursday in Current Biology suggests.

It’s the first research to show definitively that dogs are sensitive to our facial expressions, says coauthor Ludwig Huber, head of comparative cognition at Messerli Research Institute at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna.

In the Austrian study, 20 pet dogs of various breeds and sizes were taught to play a computer game through a series of exercises. In the first, the dogs were shown two touch screens, one with a circle and one with a square. Through trial and error, they learned that a treat would appear if they chose the right geometrical figure.

Eleven of the 20 dogs were able to catch on to rules of the game and make it to the next phase, where they were shown photos of faces. Half the dogs were rewarded for picking a happy expression and half for choosing an angry expression. The interesting catch: the dogs were shown only the upper half or the lower half of a face.

It was easier to teach the dogs to choose a happy expression than an angry one, suggesting the dogs do indeed understand the meaning behind the expression, Huber says.

As a test, the dogs were then were presented with:

the same half of the faces they saw during the training, but from different people
the other half of the faces used in training
the other half of new faces
the left half of the faces used in training
In the vast majority of cases the dogs chose the right answer 70 to 100 percent of the time.

Dogs who had been trained to recognize an expression of anger or happiness on the upper part of a face could identify the same expression when shown only the lower part, and vice versa, Huber says, adding “the only possible explanation is that they recall from memory of everyday life how a whole human face looks when happy or angry.”

Dog owners know their pets not only recognize emotions but also feel empathy.

Delilah, a 3-year-old Chihuahua, always seems to know when her owner Eva Shure is having a bad day.

Delilah knows when her owner is having a bad day.
Making eye contact and cocking her head to the right, the little dog will stare at Shure’s face as if trying to assess her feelings. “It’s weird, I can see her thinking and processing,” says Shure, a 35-year-old New York City business owner. “I’ll say, yeah, it’s not a great day and she’ll come up and sit next to me.”

Beverly Levreault, 57, says her 6-year-old Australian Cattle Dog mix is always tuned in to her moods. “If I’m not feeling well, like when I have the flu, Lacey is definitely lower key and will not leave my side, ” says Levreault, a graphic designer from Williamstown, New York. “If I take her for a walk, she’s not as rambunctious as she usually is.”

Lynette Whiteman says she’s not sure that her 5-year-old Yorkie-Maltese cross is using facial expressions to gauge how she feels. “But she definitely reads my emotions,” says the 58-year-old from Toms River, New Jersey. “I run a therapy dog program and the dogs are just amazing. They go into a room and immediately pick out the person who needs help.”

Behavioral experts say the new findings, while important, wouldn’t surprise anyone with an intimate knowledge of dogs.
Coco and Lynettte
“This new work continues to build the case for just how sensitive dogs are to our subtle behaviors,” says Dr. Brian Hare, chief scientific officer at Dognition and an associate professor of evolutionary anthropology at Duke University. “This is the strongest evidence yet that dogs are even reading our facial expressions.”

That sensitivity may be the result of generations of selective breeding for a true partner, says Dr. Carlo Siracusa, director of the behavior service at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. “We have selected animals that are able to perceive our emotions and communicate with us at a level that no other animal can,” Siracusa says.

Dogs may not talk, but they are very good communicators, says Dr. Nicholas Dodman, a professor in the department of clinical sciences at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University and director of the animal behavior clinic at Cummings.

“Just as we are masters of the spoken word, dogs are experts at reading body language,” Dodman says.

“It’s almost impossible to hide your feelings from a dog.”

Turns out, reading facial expressions isn’t the only thing dogs have in common with us.

They can be bitten by the computer gaming bug. “They can really become freaks for it,” Huber says with a chuckle. “They don’t want to stop playing. It’s incredible. They’ll play till they are exhausted and fall asleep.”

 

Source: http://www.today.com/pets/dogs-know-when-were-happy-or-angry-2D80489190

Christmas Decoration Safety

While you’re decorating for the holiday season, make sure your home remains safe for your pets. Glass ornaments, tinsel, garland, ribbons, and artificial snow products all can be harmful if swallowed.  Choking and toxins are also potential problems.  Don’t forget about poinsettia plants.  These highly toxic plants could seriously harm your pets if they chew on the leaves. Consider safe, silk plants instead.

Thanksgiving Safety Tips for Pet Owners

Most pets do not tolerate spicy seasonings very well or large quantities of food. Avoid giving pets a sampling of everything on the human menu.

 

On the morning of the holiday, exercise the dog to try to wear it out before guests arrive.

 

Make sure to dispose of turkey bones where the pet cannot get to it. These bones will splinter when chewed. Bones can get caught in a pet’s esophagus or intestinal track and could be life threatening.

 

Rancid food is full of bacteria and can make a pet very sick, so make sure garbage is not accessible to the pet.

 

Turkeystuffing may contain onions, garlic, or raisins—all toxic to dogs, so resist the urge to feed your dog human food.

 

Remind guests not to offer table scraps or appetizers to the dog.

 

If the family pet is skittish around people, noises, sudden movement then containing the dog away from the stimulation is recommended.

 

Offer special chew toys during the time people are buzzing around.

 

An open door or open garage may be an invitation for your pet to bolt. Keep your pet contained while guests are coming or going.

 

Make sure your pet has ID and license on a collar just in case it bolts out an open door.

 

Source: http://veterinaryteam.dvm360.com/10-thanksgiving-safety-tips-clients-and-pets

Sentinel Spectrum

Northside Animal Hospital offers Sentinel Spectrum! In addition to providing heartworm protection, you’ll also be protecting your dog against fleas and the most common intestinal parasites — roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms. Contact us today if you have questions about Sentinel Spectrum and how these chewable tablets can protect your canine this fall season.

Three Essential Summer Tips For Dogs

It’s summertime and the living is easy, but summer fun also brings some inherent dangers to be aware of. Dog owners need to take extra responsibility to make sure their pup is safe when temperatures heat up and outdoor activity beckons.

 

Everyone knows you should never leave a dog in a hot car, but it’s also important to be aware that your pup can get heatstroke while they’re outside.

 

Heat Hazards 

If your dog is outside on a hot day, make sure he has a shady spot to rest in. Doghouses are not good shelter during the summer as they can trap heat. You may want to fill a child’s wading pool with fresh water for your dog to cool off in. Never leave your dog in a closed vehicle on a hot day. The temperature inside a car can rise to over 100 degrees in a matter of minutes. Always provide plenty of cool, fresh water. Avoid strenuous exercise on extremely hot days. Take walks in the early mornings or evenings, when the sun’s heat is less intense. Try to avoid prolonged exposure to hot asphalt or sand, which can burn your dog’s paws. Dogs that are brachycephalic (short-faced), such as Bulldogs, Boxers, Japanese Chins, and Pekingese, have an especially hard time in the heat because they do not pant as efficiently as longer-faced dogs. Keep your brachycephalic dog inside with air-conditioning. Lisa and I just got back from visiting our friends inWilmington,N.C.where we were lucky enough to spend a few glorious days boating and going to the beach. You would be amazed at how many boating dogs there were, it seemed everywhere I looked there was a dog on a boat. While on the beach an endless number of dogs were running, playing, and splashing around. So, next I thought it would be a good idea to go over some safety tips for those planning on taking Fido to the beach.

 

Beach Tips

Make sure your dog has a shady spot to rest in and plenty of fresh water. Dogs, especially those with short hair, white fur, and pink skin, can sunburn. Limit your dog’s exposure during the day and apply sunblock to his ears and nose 30 minutes before going outside. Check with a lifeguard for daily water conditions. Dogs are easy targets for sea lice and jellyfish. Running on the sand is strenuous exercise. A dog that is out of shape can easily pull a tendon or ligament, so keep a check on your dog’s activity. Do not let your dog drink seawater; the salt will make him sick. Salt and other minerals in ocean water can damage your dog’s coat, so rinse him off at the end of the day. Not all beaches permit dogs; check local ordinances before heading out. Since we’re talking about the beach this naturally leads us to our final tip, water safety. Remember, while you may enjoy swimming, your dog may not. For those that do, it’s important they are not allowed to swim without supervision. It sounds obvious, but every year dogs drown due to owner negligence.

 

Water Safety 

Most dogs enjoy swimming, but some cannot swim, and others may hate the water. Be conscious of your dog’s preferences and skills before trying to make him swim. If you’re swimming for the first time with your dog, start in shallow water and coax him in by calling his name. Encourage him with toys or treats. Or, let him follow another experienced dog he is friendly with. Never throw your dog into the water. If your dog begins to paddle with his front legs, lift his hind legs and help him float. He should quickly catch on and keep his back end up. Don’t let your dog overdo it; swimming is very hard work and he may tire quickly. If swimming at the ocean, be careful of strong tides. If you have your own pool, make sure your dog knows where the stairs or ladder are located. Be sure that pool covers are firmly in place; dogs have been known to slip in under openings in the covers and drown. Never leave your dog unattended in water.

 

Summer is the time when ticks and fleas are out in full force, it’s important that your pets be treated. If you’re not sure about what to use contact your veterinarian for advice. Dogs can also have more allergies in the summer so you need to be aware of the signs so you can seek proper treatment. Lastly, with more outdoor activities comes more accidents. Knowing how to care for your dog in case of an emergency can potentially save his or her life.

 

Source: http://www.dogster.com/the-scoop/three-essential-summer-tips-for-dogs 

 

Two National Pet Stores Pulling China-Made Treats

Two major national pet stores are pulling all dog and cat treats made in China off of their shelves as years of complaints to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration pile up that jerky treats from China were possibly making pets sick.

Vice President of Merchandising for Petco John Sturm said they are voluntarily removing these products after consumers voiced concerns.

Another major pet food retailer, PetSmart, is pulling Chinese-made jerky treats from its stores in the U.S.and Canada.

The treats have been linked to more than 1,000 dog deaths and nearly 5,000 other pet illnesses.

The FDA said it’s still working to determine the exact causes of the illnesses.

While the products won’t actually disappear from PetSmart shelves until March of 2015, Petco plans to pull the products by the end of this year.

http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/bestoftv/2014/05/22/newday-petco-pulls-china-made-dog-treats.cnn.html

Source: http://newday.blogs.cnn.com/2014/05/22/two-national-pet-stores-pulling-china-made-treats/