Do Dogs Have a Sixth Sense That Helps Them Read Your Mood?

By Sarah Wooten DVM as seen in PetMD and comments by Diane Weinmann

 

Whenever I am sad, my dog Alma never fails to sit by my side, put her head into my lap and bring comfort. Conversely, when she has done something naughty, Alma has this uncanny ability to slink away as soon as I look at her.

Do you ever feel like there’s a dog sixth sense that allows your pup to read your moods and react accordingly? I can imagine you reading this right now, vigorously nodding your head yes!

If you have ever wondered about this phenomenon, or if you like you are losing it for thinking that your fur friend has supernatural dog senses, you are not alone. Pet parents across the globe have the same question: Can dogs pick up on our subconscious cues, and essentially, read our moods?

The Love Hormone Helps Process Those Emotions

It turns out that animal behaviorists have the same question, and this very concept has been studied in both dogs and cats. Dogs, who have been evolving alongside humans for thousands of years, have clearly demonstrated an ability to recognize and respond to human emotions, and scientists now know that they use ordinary and extraordinary dog senses to do this. A 2009 study found that dogs gaze much longer at happy versus sad human faces, indicating that they may be sensitive to human emotions.

Dogs preferentially look to our eyes to read our emotions, and the hormone oxytocin is also involved in this connection. Secreted by the mammalian brain, oxytocin is nicknamed “the love hormone,” and it affects social behaviors and cognition, among other things.

In a 2017 study, researchers used eye-tracking technology to follow gaze patterns of untrained dogs in response to human faces. The faces displayed positive or negative emotions in order to investigate the effect of oxytocin on eye patterns in the dogs. What they noticed was that in order to process the emotions of humans, all of the dogs looked at the eye region of the human faces.

Researchers found that oxytocin decreases the amount of time that dogs looked at the angry human faces and also decreased the dogs’ preference for gazing at the eye region altogether, even with happy human emotions. While more research needs to be done, oxytocin is definitely involved in our fur friends’ ability to read our emotions.

Dogs Avoid Angry Humans

Another study, published in 2016, found that dogs process human emotions from gazing not just at the eye region, but also the midface and mouth regions. Dogs are a highly social species, and they are evolved to evaluate social threats rapidly, including threats the come from humans.

This study found that when dogs viewed images of other threatening dogs, they reacted with increased attention to the image. However, when they viewed images of threatening humans, they responded by avoiding the image.

This makes a lot of sense when you think about it—if you come home and you chew your pup out for chewing on the couch, they are going to slink away to avoid you. Your pet isn’t feeling guilty, but is afraid of you.

This has massive implications on the way we interact with and train our canine companions. The fact is, expressing anger by yelling, shouting or frowning at your dog creates conflict within your relationship and can severely damage the human-animal bond.

Some dogs are more sensitive than others; at the slightest hint of displeasure, my dog Alma slinks away from her human family and hides.

A dog that is afraid is more likely to have behavioral problems, a reduced attention span, increased stress, fear-based aggression, anxiety and a shortened life span. They are also more likely to be relinquished to a shelter and have an overall reduced quality of life.

So How Do I Use This Information?

Knowing how your dog interacts with your emotions and facial cues is empowering. You can modify your interactions with your dog to create a healthy relationship that is based on mutual trust and love—both of which dogs give in spades when they feel safe.

First, be extraordinarily mindful of your emotions around your dog and emotions that you direct toward your dog. This is especially important in high-stress situations like veterinary visits, where the dog is already likely to be triggered.

You can use this information to your benefit when training your dog. Your dog is always looking for positive reinforcement from you to guide behavior development. When your dog does something right, make sure to communicate this with your whole face and your voice; that way, your dog will be more attune to your signals and more likely to repeat the desired dog behavior.

If your dog is engaging in undesirable behaviors that you want to stop, in order to avoid conflict in your relationship, you will need to communicate in a way that is not threatening. Simply by lowering the tone of your voice when you say, “No” can be enough to get a dog to stop what they are doing and look to your face for cues.

As soon as they stop what they are doing and look to you, smile, praise your dog and give a dog treat, or provide some fun playtime! That communicates clearly to your dog what is and what is not desired by you.

The more you work with your dog in a non-threatening manner, the closer your bond will become and the easier it will be to communicate. Remember—your dog can read your facial cues, so keep it positive, and enjoy all the benefits that a healthy relationship with a dog can bring.

As an animal communicator for close to 20 years, I can assure you that your pets, indeed know when you are sad, lonely, upset or happy and share all those emotions with you in an attempt to help your situation/mood or to join in the gladness with you!

7 Signs of Tummy Troubles in Your Pet

7 Signs of Tummy Troubles in Your Pet

By Dr. Karen Becker DVM

Just like us, dogs can get the occasional upset stomach that makes them feel lousy. And since they can’t talk to us, often the first we know of a dog’s discomfort is when he suddenly starts vomiting. When it happens in your car, while you’re driving, it’s especially stressful for both you and your woozy furry friend.

Symptoms of Nausea in Dogs

The most common signs of upset stomach in dogs are diarrhea and vomiting. Many dogs will also eat grass given the opportunity, to either quell their nausea or induce vomiting. Other signs of an upset stomach include:1

Decrease in or loss of appetite Appearing depressed
Fatigue Gulping to combat reflux
Drinking less water Licking their lips, the air, or objects
Looking uncomfortable and stretching a lot

If your dog tends to suffer with sporadic bouts of nausea and vomiting, the first thing you should do, if you haven’t already, is make an appointment with your veterinarian. There are many disorders that have vomiting as a symptom, so it’s important to rule those out before assuming your dog’s nausea is the result of motion sickness or another relatively harmless cause.

As long as he receives a clean bill of health from your vet and your dog is bright, alert and responsive (and otherwise acting normal) your vet will probably suggest some at-home remedies to help resolve the gastrointestinal (GI) upset. Here are my favorites:

6 Natural Remedies for An Upset Stomach

1.Bone broth fast — When the GI tract is irritated or inflamed, allowing the stomach and colon to rest is a wise idea. The body can’t digest, process or assimilate food while simultaneously attempting to heal and resolve inflammation. Skipping one or both of your dog’s daily meals and replacing regular food with bone broth can provide the much-needed GI tract rest needed to quickly recover from the incident.

2.Bland diet with slippery elm — When vomiting or diarrhea is noted, resting the GI tract allows the body time to heal a bit. When it’s time to introduce food again, a bland diet is wise. My favorite is canned or steamed pumpkin and cooked turkey (click here for directions).

Adding slippery elm (“nature’s Pepto-Bismol”) helps soothe irritated bowels and can be easily mixed into a bland diet, using ½ teaspoon for every 10 pounds of body weight.

3.Activated charcoal — If your dog has diarrhea, activated charcoal (active carbon, the carbon residue derived from vegetable material) can offer at-home help. The adsorptive ability of this natural substance is a function of its massive surface area. Activated charcoal is not absorbed by the body — it stays in the GI tract binding aggravating substances and irritants, excreting them in feces.

The only time it’s not safe to use activated charcoal is when a dog is constipated or may have consumed caustic materials (in which case you should be at the veterinary ER anyway). Recommended dose is 1mg/kg twice daily of coconut charcoal for intermittent episodes of diarrhea.

4.Homeopathic remedies — By far the most popular homeopathic remedy for nausea caused by motion sickness is cocculus (Indian cockles). It can be given right before you put your dog in the car. Other remedies that are often very beneficial, depending on her particular symptoms, include Nux Vomica, Carbo Veg, China, Arsenicum Album, Argentum, and Ipecac.

When giving homeopathic remedies, try not to touch the pellets with your fingers. Instead, shake 3 of the large pellets or a ½ capful of the smaller granular pellets into the cap and try to pop them into your pet’s mouth (they taste sweet, so most dogs don’t mind). Alternatively, you can dissolve the pellets in pure water and give orally. Make sure to give remedies away from food.

5.Herbs — Catnip is a very effective herb for calming a pet with an upset stomach. I recommend using a glycerine tincture, about 12 to 20 drops for every 20 pounds of body weight. You can also combine fennel with catnip to treat your dog’s nausea.

Other herbs that help with indigestion and nausea include peppermint, chamomile, fennel, and one of my personal favorites, ginger. I recommend using fresh ground ginger or the dry herb, in the following amounts mixed into a delicious meatball or in canned pumpkin:

  • Dogs under 10 pounds — 1/8 teaspoon
  • Medium-size dogs — ¼ teaspoon
  • Large dogs — ½ teaspoon
  • Giant breeds — ¾ to 1 teaspoon

Give the ginger 1 to 3 times a day as needed, mixed into bone broth or a bland diet. If you’re using it to help with motion sickness, be sure to give it to your dog at least an hour prior to travel. Alternatively, you can add ¼ cup ginger tea per 20 pounds to food daily as needed.

6.Kefir — Some pet parents swear by the benefits of kefir to soothe their dog’s indigestion. Kefir is a fermented milk beverage that contains beneficial probiotics. Although regular, pasteurized cow’s milk can be irritating to pets’ gastrointestinal (GI) tracts, fermented milk is different.

It’s easy to convert raw milk to kefir yourself. All you need is one-half packet of kefir starter granules in a quart of raw milk (preferably organic and if possible, unpasteurized), which you leave at room temperature overnight.

You can offer the kefir once an hour over the course of 3 hours after your pet stops vomiting. Give 1 to 2 teaspoons to small dogs, 1 to 2 tablespoons for medium-sized dogs, and 2 to 4 tablespoons for large dogs. Going forward, you can add 1 to 3 teaspoons of this super probiotic to your pet’s food once or twice a day for overall improved GI defenses.

What if My Dog’s Upset Stomach Doesn’t Resolve?

It’s important to keep a close eye on your dog’s symptoms, and if her tummy issue doesn’t improve throughout the day or the signs worsen at any point, call your veterinarian. Be alert for:

  • Ongoing or increasing discomfort
  • More than two episodes of vomiting or diarrhea
  • Blood in vomit or stool
  • A toy or other foreign object in vomit or stool
  • Weakness or collapse

Any of these can be a sign that something more serious is going on, including bloat, pancreatitis, a foreign body, a severe allergic reaction or internal parasites. If at any point your pet exhibits additional symptoms or a worsening of symptoms, it’s important to seek medical care immediately.

If you know or suspect your dog has ingested something she shouldn’t have (e.g., a toxin of some kind or a foreign object), or if the problem is bloat, it’s important to seek immediate emergency veterinary care and not wait.

In the case of a potential poisoning, you can also call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control hotline at 888-426-4435.

 

9 House Hunting and Moving Resources for Pet Owners

By Cindy Aldridge

 

Moving is stressful on we humans — and it’s no easier for the animal companions we share our homes and lives with. However, there are some steps we can take to make the house hunting and moving process a whole lot easier on ourselves and our beloved animal companions. For some tips on finding a pet-friendly home, planning a safe move, and helping our animal companions to settle into their new living environments, check out the nine resources below!

Find a Pet-Friendly Home

Looking for a Rental? 13 Steps to Finding Pet-Friendly Housing

Tips for Buying a Home With Pets

Parma Housing Market: House Prices & Trends

Plan a Safe Moving Day

Find a Moving Service Online

Tips on Moving With Your Pet

Find the Top 10 Pet Sitters Near You

Help Your Pet to Settle In at Home

Diane Weinmann Animal Communication and Healing Services

Tips for Settling Pets Into a New Home

10 Quick Tips for Conquering Pet Odors

 

When looking for a pet-friendly home or apartment, don’t underestimate the importance of working with an experienced real estate agent — even if you’ll be renting. Your agent can help you to find a home that meets the needs of you and your animal companions — whether you need parks and trails nearby, a fenced-in backyard, or a specific type of flooring for your pet. Whatever you’re looking for in your new home, an experienced real estate agent can help you to find it!

How to Tell if Your Dog Has a Fever and What to Do About It

By Cathy Meeks, MS, DVM, DACVIM as seen in PETMD

Dog fevers are defined by having a higher-than-normal body temperature, and they have a variety of causes.

So how can you tell if your dog has a fever? How do you take their temperature, and what’s considered a fever in dogs? What causes dog fevers and how do you treat them?

How to Tell if a Dog Has a Fever

Dog fevers can be very difficult to detect at home and are often discovered at the veterinary office. This is because a dog’s temperature is naturally higher than a human’s, and it is almost impossible to detect a fever by touching a dog’s skin

How Do You Take a Dog’s Temperature?

The only way of accurately knowing if your dog has a fever is to take their rectal temperature with a digital thermometer. This is done by lubricating the tip of the thermometer and inserting it into the rectum approximately 1 inch. It is important to have another person holding your dog’s head while you do this, as some dogs may not be tolerant of this at home.

If a dog does not seem ill, there is no benefit to taking your dog’s temperature at home on a regular basis, because it can also go up with overactivity or if your dog  has been outside in a warm environment.

What Temperature Is Considered a Fever in Dogs?

The normal range for a dog’s body temperature is between 100ºF and 102.5ºF. Anything above 102.5ºF is considered a fever or hyperthermia (overheating). A true fever is the body’s response to a disease process, whereas hyperthermia is caused by exposure to excessive heat or overheating from overexertion.

What Are Some Symptoms of Dog Fevers?

Dog fever symptoms can vary from mild to severe depending on how high the temperature is and what disease is causing it. Symptoms can include:

What Causes Dog Fevers?

There can be several different causes of dog fevers, but they generally fall into one of these categories:

  • Inflammation
  • Infection
  • Immune-mediated
  • Cancer

In some cases, despite extensive diagnostics, a cause is not found. This is called “fever of unknown origin.”

Anything that can stimulate the immune system can cause a fever. For example, it is not uncommon for pets to get a low-grade fever after being vaccinated. This is because the immune system is being stimulated to protect the body against different diseases.

Bacterial infections, fungal infections, or viral infections can all stimulate an immune response and cause a fever as well. Cancer is another disease process that usually stimulates the immune system, resulting in a fever.

The most common cause of fever from inflammation is pancreatitis. This is an inflammation of the pancreas that can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, and a painful abdomen. The cause is not clear and thought to be different in dogs than in cats and humans.

Autoimmune diseases are a group of diseases that can stimulate the immune system to attack a part of the body with no underlying cause. Examples of autoimmune diseases include lupus, uveitis, and rheumatoid arthritis. These diseases can also result in dog fevers.

What to Do if Your Dog Has a Fever

If you feel that your dog may be ill, taking their temperature at home is a good start if you can do so. If your dog has a fever above 102.5ºF, that warrants a visit to the veterinarian. It is considered an emergency if your dog is extremely lethargic, has blood in their stool or vomit, stops eating, or has a fever above 104.5ºF.

It is extremely important to never give your dog over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen, to reduce the fever. These medications are toxic to pets and can result in serious harm or death.

Getting a diagnosis for dog fevers as soon as possible and instituting treatment will usually result in more favorable outcomes. Most causes of fever can be treated if caught early.

How Are Dog Fevers Treated?

Treatment of a fever in dogs is largely dependent on the cause of the fever. Oftentimes several diagnostics, such as bloodwork, radiographs (x-rays), and ultrasound, are necessary to determine the cause. In some cases, a cause cannot be identified.

In dogs that have infections, the treatment is usually a course of antibiotics or antifungal medications. In other diseases, such as pancreatitis, there isn’t one anecdotal treatment, and medications are given to alleviate the symptoms until the inflammation subsides. This can take days to weeks and will depend on the level of severity.

Cancer is treated with either chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy depending on the type of cancer that is diagnosed. Some types of cancer respond well to these treatments, where others may not respond as well or at all. Autoimmune diseases require drugs that suppress the immune system so that it stops attacking the different areas of the body.

Most of these diseases are manageable but not usually curable.

 

How to Create Quality Pet Time, Even if You’re Crazy Busy

How to Create Quality Pet Time, Even if You’re Crazy Busy

By Dr. Karen Becker

 

In case you hadn’t noticed (and how could you not?), you are the center of your dog’s universe. You are the sun, the moon and the stars to your canine companion. Given their lifelong devotion to us, we often wonder how we can ever repay our dogs for their unconditional love — especially when, in terms of time and energy, we’re already stretched to the limit.

Most of us have experienced periods in life when the days, weeks, or even months are just one long, busy blur of work and other commitments. Eventually it occurs to us that we haven’t been paying much attention to our precious furry companion, and yet there he sits — accepting, patient, and ever hopeful.

Unlike a cat who tends to get right up in your face (literally!) when she wants some attention, your dog is more likely to lie quietly at your feet when he can see that you’re busy, or simply sit and wait till you acknowledge him. And let’s face it — there are few things more guilt-inducing than realizing you’ve been ignoring the one friend in your life who would happily follow you off a cliff.

The good news is you don’t need to carve huge chunks of time out of your already overscheduled day to give your dog the undivided attention he needs and deserves. Instead, consider making a few minor adjustments to your usual routine that allow you to include him. With a little imagination, you may be surprised how much quality time you can spend doing things with him that let him know he’s the best dog in the whole wide world.

12 Inventive Ways to Improve Your Dog’s Life in a Hurry

1. Greet the day together — Try waking up 5 or 10 minutes early each morning to cuddle or play with your dog before you get out of bed. Most dogs are wildly happy in the morning and getting a few minutes of cuddle time with you will get your pup’s day off to a delightful start.

2. Be present — This is really just about remaining aware of your dog’s presence and observing his actions, behaviors, and emotions. Your pup is always communicating with you, and he feels loved when he knows you’re tuned into him. When you have two minutes to focus on your pup, really focus.

3. Include her in daily rituals at home — No matter what you’re doing around the house, try to make your dog a part of it. Talk to her in soothing tones as she follows you around or plays with a favorite toy while you get ready for work. Invite her to sit on your lap or lie at your feet while you work, read or watch TV.

4. Take 5-minute play breaks — Look for opportunities to play a quick game of tug while you’re doing chores or getting ready for work. Play hide-and-seek with your dog while you’re doing housework. Roll a ball down the stairs and have him retrieve it. When you bring home a new toy, make it extra-special by spending a few minutes playing with it with your dog.

5. Break out the brush — Many dogs really love to have their coats gently brushed. Be sure to avoid the face and go easy on the tail and the tender skin across the belly.

6. Make like a masseuse — Try spending 30 to 60 seconds gently stroking and massaging alternating areas of your dog’s body, avoiding the paws, tail, and backside. You’ll know he’s digging it when his body relaxes and his eyes close.

7. Do 5-minute training sessions — This is a great way to reinforce or refresh your dog’s obedience or trick training and provide her with mental stimulation as well. It’s also an opportunity for you to give her praise, affection, and a few yummy treats.

8. Take speed walks — Dogs absolutely love walks, so even if you only have 5 or 10 minutes to spare, the more often you can take your dog out for a walk, the better. Of course, when you have more time, it’s important to take longer walks to allow him to sniff, pick up his pee-mail, and do some exploring.

9. Take him along — Whenever possible bring your dog with you — to work, when you’re running errands, on road trips, and in any situation where he’ll be safe and welcome. This will not only strengthen the bond you share, it’s also an excellent way to maintain your dog’s socialization skills.

10. Minimize her time alone — Even the easiest going, non-destructive dog will feel isolated if she’s left alone for long stretches several days a week (not to mention she needs the opportunity to relieve herself). If you can’t get home to walk and play with her for a few minutes during the day, I recommend enlisting a friend or neighbor to do it. Another option is to hire a dog walker or consider a few days a week at doggy daycare.

11. Exercise together — If you can’t make the time every day to get your own workout in, much less exercise your dog, consider becoming workout partners. Dogs today don’t get nearly the exercise they need, and like us, they require an incentive to be physically active.

The best way to make sure your dog gets moving is to provide her with the companionship and motivation she needs to stay active. Healthy dogs should be getting an absolute minimum of 20 minutes of sustained heart-thumping exercise three times a week. Thirty minutes or an hour is better than 20, and six or seven days a week is better than three.

12. Beat back boredom — Most dogs have a strong “work mentality,” but in today’s world, we don’t give them fun and engaging “jobs” to do. Boredom is especially a problem for dogs left alone for long periods of time (which as I mentioned earlier, isn’t recommended). Bored dogs can develop annoying or destructive behaviors, for example, gnawing on furniture or chewing holes in carpet.

The very best hedge against boredom is lots and lots of exercise. Dogs who are well-exercised every day typically don’t get bored. Some great activities to consider doing with your dog include hiking, jogging, swimming and fetching a ball or playing Frisbee. Obedience training, nose work and interactive toys are excellent ways to keep your dog challenged and mentally sharp.

Improving your dog’s quality of life today can pay both immediate and future dividends in terms of his health and well-being. As an added bonus, you can shed those feelings of guilt that you aren’t doing enough for your furry best friend.

 

The 10 Funniest Questions Pet Nutritionists Have Been Asked

 

Animal nutritionists and experts know that their clients love their pets, and sometimes, they can ask some interesting questions. Needless to say, if you’ve ever felt silly asking something about your dog or cat, don’t — you’re certainly not alone!

 

We asked dozens of pet professionals from around the world the funniest question they’ve ever been asked, and the results are definitely entertaining. One thing we have to add, though: you should never feel strange asking your vet or pet nutritionist your questions because chances are, they’ve heard it all!

 

Don’t have a pet nutritionist yet? That’s okay! Check out How To Find The Right Pet Nutritionist For You & Your Pet to find the perfect match and have all your burning questions answered.

 

 

1. “Is it okay for my dog to eat cat food?”

 

Lynes Downing of Pet Sitting Professionals in Novato, California said he’s heard this question before. The short answer is, if Fido sneaks a few bites of your feline’s food, it’s probably fine; however, cat food will not provide a balanced diet for dogs, and should never be given as a meal.

 

 

2. “Can I eat this dog food?”

 

“We sell a dry food that it is made fresh monthly, a customer asked if they could eat it themselves,” says Carlos Deleon of Pet Wants San Antonio North in San Antonio, Texas. “I said, ‘There’s nothing bad in the food, all good, high-quality ingredients, so it should be fine … she proceeded to eat it. She said, ‘it tastes good!’ I was crying!”

 

How’s that for some human-grade kibble?

 

 

3. “Can my dog eat the same meals that I do?”

 

There are some healthy human foods that can add nutrition to a dog or cat’s diet, but the nutritional needs of pets are not the same as humans. “It still boggles my mind that some people believe that their pets can eat the same meals that their owners eat,” says Concetta Ferragamo of King’s Cages International, LLC in East Brunswick, New Jersey. She continues, “and, they seem to usually be a poor choice of meals, such as hotdogs or beans and rice (with nothing else) … Yikes!”

 

 

4. “Can I neuter my female puppy instead of spay her?”

 

“One time a client asked us if she could neuter her puppy instead of spay her since it was much cheaper,” recalls Kyle Goguen of Pawstruck.com.

 

Neutering is for males and spaying is for females, so needless to say, that would be impossible.

 

 

5. “Can my pet be vegan?”

 

Lisa Bliss of Fluffy Mustaches Pet Grooming in Mustang, Oklahoma was once asked by a client, “Can my dog live on strawberries? I think I want him to be vegan.”

 

It’s not natural for pets to live without meat, especially cats, who are obligate carnivores. That means they’ll eventually die without meat in their diets. This is because meat provides more than protein; it’s full of other essential nutrients, too.

 

 

6. “Is bread nutritional?”

 

This question was asked to Richard Nowak of Avian Sanctuary and Protection in Utah.

A bite of bread won’t hurt your pet, but it’s not very nutritional (and all those carbs can back on the pounds), so they should only enjoy small bits, if any at all.

 

 

7. “What’s a bully stick made of?”

 

According to Diana Farrar of Fifi & Fidos Pet Boutique & Holistic Nutrition Center in San Antonio, Texas, the funniest part about this question is the answer.

 

Farrar remembers a hilarious exchange with customers that went something like this:

 

“What’s that?”

“A bully stick.

“What’s it made of?”

“A bull penis!”

 

 

8. “What food would help calm my dog?”

 

Margaret and Steve Gelinas of Market Pet Shop recalls hearing this question from a customer. In actuality, diet can sometimes help with hyperactivity in pets. However, most naughty or anxious behaviors must be addressed through training.

 

 

9. “Why should your animal be fed human-grade food?”

 

George Craft of GGC Healthy Paws in Willingboro, New Jersey has heard this question before. Pets should be fed humane-grade food because it’s the safest, most nutritious way to maintain a healthy diet. Also, they’re family!

 

 

10. “My dog likes to eat cat poop. Should I feed it to him every day?”

 

A client asked this to Chris White of The Urban Zoo in Hamilton, Ontario … and his answer was likely a resounding “no!”

 

Eating cat poop is a common habit of dogs who live with felines, however indulging in this “snack” should definitely be discouraged.

 

 

We hope you found these questions entertaining, and more importantly, we hope you don’t feel silly asking your own questions after reading them!


The next article in our pet nutrition series is called 7 Healthy Dog & Cat Homemade Treats Recommended By Vet and Pet Nutritionists, containing ideas from experts around the world. If you’ve ever wondered about the healthiest snacks to feed your dog or cat, stay tuned for lots of amazing ideas!

 

Written by:
Suzie Cyrenne

CO-FOUNDER OF HOMEOANIMAL

Suzie Cyrenne co-founded HomeoAnimal over five years ago, and has worked in naturopathic pet medicine for more than six. Day-to-day, she works as the lead manager for the homeoanimal staff and specializes in training the team to have thorough knowledge of pet health and the company’s extensive line of naturopathic remedies.

Although Suzie has gained a lot of experience from years spent in the pet health field, she is studying at the School of Classical Homeopathy in Quebec, Canada, (a partner of the European Academy of Natural Medicine (AEMN) in France), in order to earn her degree.

Feel free to contact me anytime at support@homeonanimal.com

 

                                       

 

 

 

Trail Etiquette and Safety Tips for Hiking With Your Dog

Reviewed for accuracy on May 13, 2019, by Dr. Katie Grzyb, DVM

Nothing beats hiking with a dog. A brisk walk or even a stroll through natural surroundings can be great exercise for two-legged and four-legged family members.

 

And, because hiking exposes your canine companion to new and interesting things, it’s mentally stimulating for your pup too, says Katherine Aromaa, avid hiker and owner of Cooper’s Dog Training and Behavior Modification in Portland, Oregon.

 

Before you hit the trails, you want to make sure that you and your dog enjoy the park responsibly by following both safety and hiking etiquette rules. That way, everyone else can enjoy the park, too.

 

Keep Your Dog’s Safety In Mind

 

During hot or humid summer days, take your dog hiking in the early morning or late evening when the weather is cooler. This is especially important if your dog has a short snout (like French Bulldogs, Pugs and Boxers).

 

In colder months, hit the trails midmorning, recommends Katy Chadwick, owner of Brightside Dog Training and Boarding in Dacula, Georgia. Always remember to take water or food breaks.

 

Also watch out for unfamiliar terrain if you’ve got a newbie hiking dog—cliffs and drop-offs to fast streams or icy ponds. “Lots of young and inexperienced dogs can get perilously close to the edge or think that they can go down just fine. Sometimes that is true, but then they can’t get back up! Keep your inexperienced dog on a leash in these situations,” says Aromaa.

 

Practice Trail Etiquette When Hiking With Dogs

 

With these tips, you’ll be prepared with the right knowledge, training and dog supplies so you can enjoy hiking the trails with your pup.

 

Follow Dog Leash Rules

 

Make sure you always adhere to the rules for each hiking trail. Many state parks and nature preserves allow hiking with dogs, but only if they’re leashed. Do not ignore this guideline.

 

The leash rule is there for a reason. It makes it safer for other hikers that are there with or without pets, says Aromaa. Having all dogs on leashes eliminates the potential for negative interactions between dogs or between your dog and other people.  

 

The leash rule is also in place to protect the environment. Many parks are preserving habitats and animal species, so a loose dog could end up disrupting nesting sites, trampling natural flora or getting injured themselves.

 

There are many off-leash hiking trails available to dogs, but that still doesn’t mean you should just let your dog run free, especially if your dog is reactive to strangers or other dogs. You need to make sure that your dog is properly trained to be loose in a public space.

 

Let Other Hikers Pass

 

It is also important to remember that you are not the only ones enjoying public hiking trails.

 

If you pass other pups or people, step to the side and let them go by. “It avoids so many problems, especially on single-track trails,” says Aromaa.

 

To help other hikers or dogs pass, Aromaa has her dog come to her and sit. Chadwick likes to keep her dog’s attention by offering dog treats. 

 

“A dog with basic training and manners will greatly improve your experience,” says Chadwick. Your pooch must be able to obey the commands “sit,” “come,” “stop” and “leave it,” even with distractions.

 

Help Prevent the Spread of Disease

 

It also important to make sure your dog is all up-to-date on their vaccinations, flea and tick prevention, and heartworm prevention. The National Park Service says that by keeping your dog up-to-date on these, you can prevent the spread of disease to and from wildlife. Tick-borne diseases are especially concerning in certain regions.

 

Make Sure to Bring These Hiking Dog Supplies

 

Having the right hiking supplies with you can ensure that both you and your pup have a safe and fun hike. Here are a few of must-have hiking supplies when out with your dog:

 

Dog Leash

 

Chadwick recommends a durable 6- to 9-foot dog leash that easily lets your hiking dog explore but keeps him close by so that you still have control.

 

You will want to steer clear of retractable leashes because they can break or tangle if your pup takes off after something.

 

A dog leash like the Hertzko hands-free running dog leash is a great option because it allows you to have free hands but also keeps your pup close and under control.

 

Fresh Water

 

Always make sure to bring enough water for you and your dog. (along with portable water bowls to drink from) so she can stay hydrated.

 

“I try to avoid letting my dogs drink from unknown water sources as it can cause an upset stomach, diarrhea or diseases like giardia,” says Chadwick. 

 

Dog Treats

 

It is always smart to have dog treats with you—they can help to get your dog’s attention. Treats are great for rewarding your pup when she comes back to you or sits quietly by your side as other dogs walk by.

 

Dog Poop Bags

 

Yes, your dog’s poop is biodegradable, but dog poop can also transmit diseases that can affect local wildlife and ecosystems.

 

The National Park Service suggests you use the “Leave No Trace” principles when hiking with dogs, so it is super important that you always remember to bring dog poop bags, and pick up after your dog while hiking.

 

It’s the polite thing to do, and it will help to ensure that you keep the local wildlife safe and healthy.

 

Dog First Aid Kit

 

Finally, you will always want to make sure you have a dog first aid kit on hand. This will help to make sure you are prepared for any unplanned circumstances while out hiking with your dog.

 

Your dog first aid kit should include:

 

·         An emergency contact card

·         Blunt-tipped scissors

·         Bandages

·         Sterile eye solution

·         Latex or rubber gloves,

·         A plastic syringe

·         Tweezers

·         Antiseptic wipes

·         A thermometer

 

You should also have a stash of your dog’s medications just to be safe and prepared.

 

By: Linda Rodgers

 

Bunnies are great Pets!

Bunnies are great Pets!

 

By Dr. Becker and comments by Diane Weinmann

What small animal is shy, has luxuriously soft fur and is surprisingly intelligent? One might add that it’s also one of the most popular 4-H project animals, and a wonderful critter for almost any kid — or adult — to enjoy. Those attributes could be true for many potential pets, but it fits the bill for bunnies.

There are many more reasons why a rabbit makes an excellent house pet. When well taken care of, they can live for 5 or even 15 years. They enjoy being around people and are very affectionate, playful, clean and can even be litter trained.  Diane’s experience has been that her bunnies never lived past 10 years and I had one that didn’t live much past 2 years old.  As I was grief stricken at this loss, I was told that many rabbits don’t get past 2 years of age because of heart problems.  This information was given to me by a person who raised them for many years.  Nevertheless, I love bunnies and have had many thru the years.  Most lived at least 8 years and are wonderful pets for younger children to learn how to care for a pet.

But if you’re interested in getting a rabbit as a family pet, it’s always important to take into consideration what’s good for the animal. It’s fun having such a cute and cuddly animal to hold, but knowing what to expect and how to keep your bunny happy and healthy as he gets bigger is crucial.

If you have expectations about what having a bunny (or any other pet) will look like without gathering the facts, you may be disappointed, and that’s one of the leading reasons why so many pets are surrendered back to shelters or just given away.

It’s also why, if you’re a first-time rabbit owner, your lifestyle is an important factor to consider, especially since rabbits tend to be more fragile than dogs and cats. In fact, they’re a whole ’nuther animal! Knowing how a rabbit will fit into your household space and family is important because like any other pet, rabbits have their own foibles, tendencies and personalities.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Rabbit as a Pet

Once you’ve decided that a rabbit would be a great pet for your family (or just you), it may come as a surprise to learn there are about 60 breeds to choose from. Size and color can vary widely, but in the U.S., the Dutch rabbit, usually either black and white or brown and white, is one of the most common. There are also dwarf varieties and the kind with droopy “lop” ears rather than the erect ears you typically think of in regard to rabbits.

Males (bucks) and females are both very tame and sociable, but if you decide on a pair (rabbits are social creatures who tend to be happier if they have a buddy), unless you want to start up a bunny factory (please don’t), you’ll want to adopt a same-sex pair or arrange for well-timed spaying/neutering before they are put together).

Angora rabbits with long fur should be groomed often, and loose hair can be an issue. Again, like many other pets, if they’re not used to having people and especially children around, socializing rabbits gradually, including with other pets, is good for everyone. 

One thing to make sure of beforehand is if someone in your home has an allergy that a rabbit might make worse. While children seem to gravitate toward them, the fragility of rabbits whether they’re small or more mature is something to consider carefully if you have small children in the household. Some rabbits don’t like being picked up, carried around or held closely, and may respond by scratching, and in their struggle to get away, could be dropped.

Rabbits need to be picked up carefully so their back and hind legs aren’t injured. Ask your veterinarian about the best way to handle rabbits, especially large ones. One thing prospective rabbit owners should know is that they love to chew. While some may love the idea of giving their bunny free reign in the house or even the yard, it’s imperative that you keep an eye on them at all times.

Untreated grass and carrots might be fine for Snowball to nibble on, but keep in mind that electrical cords, furniture, indoor and outdoor plants and papers, magazines, books … if it’s on her level, it’s fair game! Instead, keep your rabbit corralled in a known environment for her own safety, and rotate appropriate, non-toxic chew toys.  Diane still has nightgowns with chew holes in them as her bunnies loved to sit on her lap and chest but still felt the need to chew!

What Should You Look for When Choosing Your Forever Bunny?

Speaking of eating, when you bring a pet home, one of the things families with children need to talk about and make clear is who will be responsible for feeding him or her. That’s also true if your new pet is a rabbit. A good diet assures that your bunny will have shiny, lush fur and bright eyes, and that’s what you should look for the first time you go looking for your forever bunny, ideally from a rescue organization near you.

When you take your fluffy bunny home, you should already be prepared for him, with hay ready, and pure, filtered water should be available to her at all times. Although it may take a little longer, you should start litter training your bunny the day you bring her home. My House Rabbit explains:

“Fresh hay should make up the bulk of your rabbit’s diet and needs to be readily available at all times. Adult rabbits can eat timothy, grass, and oat hays, while younger rabbits should be fed alfalfa. Alfalfa should not be given to adult rabbits because of the higher protein and sugar content.

Hay is important for rabbits because it provides the essential fiber needed for good digestive health and it helps wear down a rabbit’s teeth (which continuously grow) for good dental health. Placing hay at one end of a litter box will also encourage the use of the litter box, as rabbits tend to eat hay and poop at the same time.”1

Vegetables are another staple food for rabbits, such as celery, lettuce, bok choy and carrot tops (sparingly). Leafy greens and herbs are a definite prerequisite for rabbits to eat and can include a wide variety, including cilantro, dill, kale (sparingly), broccoli leaves, mustard, collard and dandelion greens. Treats like apples, raspberries, bananas, pineapples and strawberries are enjoyed by many rabbits, but organic is best, and limit the amount because too much sugar for rabbits isn’t good, either.  Diane’s rabbit, Cinnamon, LOVED blueberries and would throw everything out of his bowl to get to those berries or to search for them!  Let’s just say that in the winter months we had many conversations as to why I was not supplying these preferred berries.  Cinnamon didn’t seem to understand the cost of buying out of season!!!

Don’t feed rabbits cabbage or the “trees” of broccoli because they can cause gas. As mentioned, like the veggies you feed your family, look for organic varieties and wash them thoroughly before letting Thumper eat. Fresh pellets are acceptable as a supplement for rabbits’ diet, especially if they’re low in protein and high in fiber, but processed pellets should not be fed as a sole food source.

Rabbits Have Special Needs, Too

There’s also shelter and exercise to think through, in addition to knowing what food is appropriate. Along those lines and according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA):

“As its owner, you will ultimately be responsible for your rabbit’s food, shelter, exercise, physical and mental health for the rest of its life. While families should involve their children in caring for a rabbit, youngsters need the help of an adult who is willing, able, and available to supervise the animal’s daily care.

Rabbits are well-known for their ability to produce large numbers of babies. Purchasing and breeding a rabbit for the purpose of allowing children to witness the birth process is not responsible rabbit ownership. If a female rabbit becomes pregnant, it is your responsibility to find good homes for the offspring.”

In regard to rabbit sizes, The Spruce lists several breeds, including dwarf bunnies, which can be as small as 2.5 pounds, and the largest ones (Flemish Giants), which can weigh 16 pounds or more. For comparison purposes, an American fuzzy lop will weigh in at 3.5 to 4 pounds, an American sable might be 7 to 10 pounds, a Flemish Giant 13 pounds and higher and a New Zealand from 9 to 12 pounds.2

Consider Where You’ll Keep Your Rabbit

Many people like the idea of placing their rabbit in an outdoor hutch, but knowledgeable rabbit guardians know that the safest place for their pet is indoors. While wild rabbits are accustomed to temperature extremes, domestic bunnies are not. In addition, rabbits are prey for many animals, so even in a safe outdoor enclosure your pet is vulnerable to predators. Sadly, just the presence of a wild animal nearby can cause so much stress in a rabbit that he may suffer a heart attack and die of fear. The AVMA emphasizes:

“Keeping a rabbit outdoors in a hutch may seem more ‘natural,’ but it can be harmful for the rabbit. An outdoor cage exposes it to weather extremes and predators such as cats, dogs, and foxes. Even if a predator cannot get access to the rabbit, the rabbit could die from the stress of an attempted attack.

Many condominium associations allow their residents to keep rabbits as pets since most no-pet clauses apply only to dogs or cats. However, be sure to consult your association bylaws before you decide to bring a rabbit into your unit.”3

Inside your house, a large cage or an area strewn with newspapers or with a low litter box and food and water bowls will work for your rabbit’s home, but she’ll need plenty of time outside of her cage, in a bunny-proofed area, for exercise and mental well-being.  Don’t  forget the climate control is important as your bunny does not do well in extreme heat and humidity or cold.

Once your bunny settles in, you’ll find she makes a good companion, and needs to have exercise, which gives you a chance to engage and interact with your new fluff ball. He will show how much he appreciates you, and the feeling will be mutual.  Diane was exercising her lop eared bunny using a harness and leash and traffic pulled over in the development to see what type of pet it was…the people thought it was a puppy!  Crazy!!!

 

 

 

Pets and Moving

By guest blogger John Cho

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Are you a pet owner looking to relocate to a new home? As most of us have already experienced, moving is very stressful and takes up a lot of your time. For dog owners, however, it is also important to understand that moving can be very stressful for your pets as well. This applies especially to both cats and dogs as they are innately territorial animals (even domesticated pets). Fortunately, there are certain steps you can take to make the pet moving experience a seamless one. In the below infographic by Moving FC, you can learn about quick tips on moving your dogs before, during, and after the move.

Before You Move

Research, research, and do more research. The more research you do, the more likely it is that you will find the dream home for both you and your furry friend. First, confirm that the apartments in your moving shortlist are pet-friendly. On top of that, make sure these pet-friendly apartments have no disagreements over your dog’s breed and size.

Once you have identified the home you would like to move to, make sure you locate a trustworthy vet in the area. Some vets may not be as comfortable with dealing with specific dog breeds. Your best bet to finding a good vet is by asking your existing one to see if he or she knows of anyone within his network.

During the Move

Keep your dog well away from all the moving activity. Your dog can get stressed out when he or she sees all the boxes and household items being moved out from the apartment. Ideally, you should ask your friends or family members to take care of your dog while the boxes are being moved out. If that isn’t an option then find a “safe” room in the apartment where your dog can be situated while things are being moved out.

If you are doing a long distance move then don’t forget to also look for pet-friendly hotels if overnight stays are needed.

After the Move

You are almost there! Before you introduce your dog to the new home, make sure you check out the whole apartment and store away any household items that could be hazardous to your dog. For example, items like household chemicals should be securely stored in a cabinet that’s out of your dog’s reach. When your move in is complete, be sure to check-in with the new vet to make sure your dog hasn’t suffered from any mental or physical-related conditions during the move.

 

Check out John’s website at:

Moving a Dog to Your New Home – Checklist

12 Great Reasons to Adopt Your Next Pet from a Shelter

12 Great Reasons to Adopt Your Next Pet from a Shelter

Homeless need Family-- can you help?
Homeless need Family– can you help?

By Dr. Becker with comments by Diane Weinmann

 

  1. Every dog or cat not purchased from a pet store or backyard breeder improves the pet overpopulation problem created by irresponsibility and greed.
  2. Adopting a dog or cat from a no-kill shelter can free up space for older or special needs pets that may not find new homes before the end of their natural lives. It also helps when pets must be rehomed due to financial difficulty.
  3. There are plenty of animals to choose from at most shelters. They come in every age, shape, size, coat color, and breed mix, and you can find purebreds at shelters as well. In fact, many breeds have their own rescue organizations, so if you’re looking for a purebred, make sure to check both your local shelter and breed rescue organization. If you don’t see a pet that tugs at your heart strings, check back in a week —the turn over is usually great in shelters thanks to many pets being adopted and the animal wardens doing a terrific job of helping the lost/homeless pets off of the streets.
  4. Compared to the cost of purchasing a pet, adopting one from an animal shelter is relatively inexpensive. And if you get a slightly older dog or cat, there’s a good chance he is already fully vaccinated and neutered and may be even cheaper if the shelter is running a promotion.
  5. Adopting an older pet allows you to skip over the time consuming, often frustrating puppy or kitten stage of development. The chewing and potty training is very work intensive so adopting an older pet may be ideal for your situation.
  6. Adopting a mature dog or cat also takes the guesswork out of determining what your pet will look like as an adult – what size she’ll grow to, the thickness and color of her coat and her basic temperament, for example.
  7. Depending on his background, your older pet may already be housebroken or litter box trained and know basic obedience commands like come, sit, stay, and down and know how to walk with a leash.

8.Most shelters and rescue organizations do assessments on every new pet taken in, to determine things like temperament, whether the pet has any aversion to other pets or people, whether he is housebroken, has had obedience training, etc. Many of these organizations also have resources to help pets with lack of training or behavioral issues. So when you adopt a pet from one of these organizations, you have a pretty good idea what to expect from your new dog or cat when you bring him home.   As an animal communicator, I do assessments of the dogs at the Parma Animal Shelter to help establish the dogs background and likes/dislikes.  It’s all about placing the right pet with the right owner!

  1. Many shelters and rescues also provide lots of new owner support in the form of materials about training, common behavior problems, nutrition, basic grooming, and general care. In some cases there are even free hotlines you can call for questions on behavior, training, and other concerns.
  2. If you have kids, and especially if the new pet will belong to a child, adopting a shelter animal can open a young person’s eyes to the plight of homeless pets. It can also help him learn compassion and responsibility, as well as how wonderful it feels to provide a forever home to a pet that might otherwise live life in a cage, or be euthanized.
  3. An older adoptive pet can be the perfect companion for an older person. Many middle-aged and senior dogs and cats require less physical exertion and attention than younger animals.
  4. An adopted pet can enrich your life in ways both big and small. The unconditional love and loyalty of a dog or cat can lift depression, ease loneliness, lower blood pressure, and give you a reason to get up in the morning. A kitty asleep in your lap feels warm and comforting. A dog that loves to walk or run outdoors can be just the incentive you need to start exercising regularly.

There are countless benefits to pet ownership, and when you know you saved your furry companion from an unpleasant fate, it makes the bond you share that much more meaningful.  Adopt today, you will be so happy you did and your new family member will reward you with love and affection.  Who would not want that?