Category: Education

The doggie language course continues!

Another delightful insight from Lea.

On the 6th September last I offered a guest post from Lea of the blog Paws Give Me Purpose that carried the title More Doggie Language. It was well-received by all of you.

So it was easy for me to say “Yes” to Lea offering an update. Here it is.

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September 1, 2017, by Lea

Doggie Language Continued

Lately, I have seen many articles written on dog language and what your dog may be telling you. I published my own post entitled “Doggie Language” back on June 25th, the link can be found here:

http://www.pawsgivemepurpose.com/doggie-language/

There are just so many ways our dogs speak to us that one post will never be enough. Even when you think you have it all covered you suddenly think of something else, see your dog do something new, or read something else from another individual’s perspective. That is why today I am writing about this subject once again.

So here’s an interesting question that I have been asked a few times, and it makes me laugh every time I see someone on Facebook, or another site posting a joke or photo about it. Why do dogs follow you into the bathroom?

(image courtesy of Pinterest.com)

Having a loyal dog in your household ensures an incredible amount of love between you and your pup. Understanding your dog can be easy and it’s not hard to understand that your pup wants to give you some love with kisses, however your pup may often behave in more subtle manners as well.

Now, most of us aren’t mentalists or even Dr. Doolittle, so here are some things your dog may do and what they are trying to say to you:

  • Puppy dog eyes – puppy dog eyes are often used by young children whenever they really want something. Your pup may use them to show love and it enforces a greater trust between you both.
  • Following you around – you must agree that it is absolutely adorable when your pup follows you all over the house. According to some Veterinarians, following behavior is a dog’s instinct, to always do things with their pack/family.
  • Giving you gifts – I have had my dogs bring me dead birds, squirrels, and even once a live baby squirrel into the house. The gift is not always as interesting or gross, sometimes it’s a ball to play fetch or a stuffed toy, but turns out that our pups simply want to share their joy with us and there’s no better person to share it with!
  • Cuddle time after dinner – most of us are used to our dogs cuddling at bedtime or on the couch when we watch tv, but cuddling with you after their bellies are filled with a hearty meal shows that your pup is truly comfortable around you.
  • Licking your face and body – there are some people who love it, others find it gross, but all dogs like giving licks once in a while. Licking is actually a submissive behavior and it actually helps your pup ease their stress level as well as of course being a sign of loving you.
  • Going “crazy” when you come home – the second your dog hears you coming back home, chaos ensues. I know at my house it starts the minute I pull into the driveway, I can hear them even before I put my key in the lock.. Your pup is just happy you’re home, happy to see you! This enthusiastic response is just their way of saying “I missed you”.
  • Knowing when something is wrong – Your pet doesn’t need to be able to actually talk to you to sense that something is wrong or if you’re feeling sad. They read your body language and use their senses to detect if something is wrong. They are also more than willing to help you feel better.
  • Crawling into your bed – not everyone sleeps with their dogs, it’s a personal preference. Perhaps once every so often, your pup will join you in your bed, they won’t just sit there, they keep you close. Often they will cuddle you, they lay on you. When you’re not home and away for work, they may just want to smell you so they climb in the bed because they miss you.
  • Raising a single paw or tapping you with a paw – raising one of two paws usually means your dog is in the mood for some playtime or wants attention. Sometimes, they’ll do this when they see something interesting in their environment, they will sit with one paw raised like a statue.
  • Leaning against you – if your dog is actively leaning against you, it means he or she is looking for some extra love, hugs, pets from you. Dogs always love to have your undivided attention!
  • Try to get your opinion – have you ever had the feeling that your dog was looking for your approval? Your pup actually really appreciates and values your opinion. A little love and affection go a long way!
(image courtesy of Pinterest.com)

Whether you have a new dog or you and your pup have been together for a while, it’s helpful to know the meaning of their communication signals so that you can adjust your own behavior as needed and also you know how your pup is feeling.

Dogs make vocalizations and gestures using their face and body just as us humans do in order to express their feelings. While some of these gestures can appear similar to ours, they can have very different meanings. It is my hope that my original post on the subject and in this follow up, I have helped you learn a little more about how to interpret your dog’s various actions and that you’ve learned something new about how to communicate more effectively with your own pup!

Sources and further reading:

http://moderndogmagazine.com/articles/how-read-your-dogs-body-language/415

http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/dog-body-language

http://stories.barkpost.com/dog-body-language-charts/

When I was reading this I was struck by Lea reminding me, and all other dog lovers, that the role of the gestures and faces of our dogs so closely matches how we humans communicate non-verbally. No wonder the bond between dog and human can be so close and wonderful.

So who is Sam?

You loved Sam Grant’s photos of Casper and Scotland. Learn more about her.

Last Sunday my Picture Parade was primarily a recent item that appeared on the BBC website.

Meet Scotland’s ‘most well-travelled dog’

By Ewan Murrie, BBC Scotland news website, 3rd June 2017

After photographs of her West Highland Terrier received more “likes” on social media than even the most stunning Glencoe landscapes she could capture, Sam Grant conceded that “the wee white dug” should star in her Scottish travel blog.

I went on to republish a wonderful set of photographs that had been taken by Sam. You all loved them and that led me to ask Sam if I could republish her About Me page on her blog. Sam very kindly said that would be fine.

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Scotland with the Wee White Dug

A Scottish travel blog showcasing the best of Scotland. Scotland with the Wee White Dug is a comprehensive and informative guide to Scotland, covering history, outdoor activities, events, visitor attractions, accommodation, eating out and more.

About Me

A little bit about me

Hello and welcome to my Scottish travel blog which I hope you’ll find informative and interesting, but most of all fun.

I’m Samantha but am generally known as Sam, Mrs G or Mum.  I’m married to Alex (Mr G) and we live in Edinburgh with a well travelled wee white dug called Casper.  We also share our home with the The Teen, Casper’s sloth like and gadget obsessed big sister.

All of my free time is spent road-tripping around Scotland.  I’ve travelled extensively throughout the country and never tire of its jawdropping and diverse beauty.

I have a vast knowledge of where to stay, eat and what to do in Scotland. Whether it be an afternoon out, a day trip or an extended tour. I also know all of the best places to go with your four legged friend.

I’m a Visit Scotland Ambassador and I helped launch their online Community in the spring of 2016.  The Community is a Scottish travel forum for sharing insider hints and tips about visiting Scotland.  Visit Scotland’s Ambassadors were selected for their expert knowledge of the country.

In January 2017 I took up the role of resident blogger for East Lothian Council on their Visit East Lothian website.  I write a fortnightly post for their blog, highlighting the delights of East Lothian.

I’m passionate about the history, language, literature, customs and myths of Scotland. I read History at the University of Edinburgh and during my time there I studied Scottish History, Literature and Politics which gave me an excellent understanding of how Scotland became the country that it is today.

I absolutely adore the great outdoors – it’s my happy place.  I love hiking, have been known to summit a Munro or two and am happiest when surrounded by lochs, moors and mountains.

My photography

I’ve been an avid hobby photographer since joining Instagram several years ago.  I’m part of a diverse group of Scottish Instagrammers with a passion for sharing Scotland with the World.

My feed @bean_nighe has appeared on Instagram’s prestigious Suggested User list.  You’ll find the Wee White Dug on Instagram too @theweewhitedug.  His feed is also dedicated to sharing our Scottish travels.

I’ve featured in articles recommending the best Scottish Instagram accounts to follow by The ScotsmanMatador Network and the award winning travel blog Stories my suitcase could tell.

My photos appear regularly on various social media channels including those of Canon UK, BBC, Skyscanners, Scottish Memories Magazine, Scotrail, Historic Scotland, Visit Scotland and The Guardian.

I share my Scottish travels on Facebook and Twitter too so if you’re on those sites stop by and say hello.

I’m passionate about promoting Scotland as a wonderful place to visit.  It’s a country with a rich history and heritage. A country full of stories just waiting to be told.

I appreciate you taking the time to stop by my blog to join me on my travels.  I hope ‘Scotland with the Wee White Dug’ inspires you to visit Scotland, helps you to plan for a forthcoming trip or makes you reminisce fondly about a past visit.

If you’re interested in working with me you can find out more here.

Sam

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Just glorious!

Visiting the Vet – Ruby’s Urine Culture

At last we have the details.

On September 1st, I published an update on Ruby’s condition with regard to her UTI. This was because Ruby had had a re-occurrence of blood in her urine. Dr. Jim took an xray and also wanted Ruby’s urine sent across to Three Rivers Hospital for a culture. As I explained in that post, using information found online:

A urine culture is a test to find germs (such as bacteria) in the urine that can cause an infection. Urine in the bladder is normally sterile. This means it does not contain any bacteria or other organisms (such as fungi). But bacteria can enter the urethra and cause a urinary tract infection (UTI).

A sample of urine is added to a substance that promotes the growth of germs. If no germs grow, the culture is negative. If germs grow, the culture is positive. The type of germ may be identified using a microscope or chemical tests. Sometimes other tests are done to find the right medicine for treating the infection. This is called sensitivity testing.

Late on Tuesday afternoon, the Clinic rang to say that the full results were in.

So yesterday morning, the air still heavy with the smoke from the forest fires, we called in to Lincoln Road.

The report from Rogue Regional Medical Center, as in Three Rivers Hospital, offered the following:

VET URINE CULTURE

SPECIMEN SOURCE: URINE

COMMENTS TO MICRO: URINE

CULTURE RESULTS: 20,000 CFU/ML PROTEUS MIRABILIS

REPORT STATUS: FINAL 09/02/2017

(My emphasis)

That translated into Ruby’s medicine being changed from her present course of Amoxicillin antibiotic to Enrofloxacin (Two 136 mg tablets by mouth every 24 hours for 10 days.)

A quick web search produced this (in part):

Enrofloxacin (ENR) is a fluoroquinolone antibiotic sold by the Bayer Corporation under the trade name Baytril. Enrofloxacin is currently approved by the FDA for the treatment of individual pets and domestic animals in the United States.

Jeannie reading the details on the label.

Onwards and upwards!

Returning to diet!

Another fabulous guest post.

Just a few days ago I was contacted by June Frazier who offered me (and all of you!) a couple of topics for a guest post to be written by June. The two topics were 5 Common Winter Illnesses in Dogs (And How To Treat Them) and Why Now Is The Right Time To Change Your Dog’s Diet.
Of course I said ‘Yes’ and chose the second one thinking it was a tad too early for a post about Winter illnesses.

Here it is.

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Why Now Is The Right Time To Change Your Dog’s Diet.

3 Critical Signs That You Need To Change

by June Frazier.

Today, 96% of all dog owners in the world feed their dog’s commercial pet food. A good number of this population believes that the dried pet food is all their dog needs to stay healthy. Hence, the dogs are fed one type of food all the time.

In fact, they never consider introducing their dog to the many homemade dog food recipes available. Many dog owners are unaware of the fact that as a dog’s body changes, it requires different diets to stay healthy. If you are one of these dog owners, it is time to change your dog’s diet.

Three major reasons why now is the right time to change your dog’s diet:

1. The Age of the dog

As your dog ages, he needs extra diet considerations to stay nimble. At the age of 5, your dog is considered to be middle aged. You need to change their diet at this point as they need fewer calories and more fiber. This is because middle aged dogs are less active and their new lifestyle does not require the same diet they were on when they were younger. In addition, high calorie foods may do them more harm than good. Also, avoid giving your dog too much protein since it can damage his liver and kidneys.

Feed your dog with the right food that will benefit his joints to stay stronger, or foods that have plenty of antioxidants. Your middle aged dog may also need supplements to keep his joints and organs working optimally.

2. Obesity

Most dog parents do not realize that even in moderation, some food types contribute more to their pet’s weight than others. When your dog starts to put on a few extra pounds in their midsection, this is a clear indication that you need to change his diet.

The additional weight can easily slow down your dog. Obesity in dogs also opens them up to a variety of potential health problems. Change his diet to foods that can give them all the essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals without adding some extra kilos.

There are special diets for dogs that are specially designated for weight loss. These diets take advantage of the latest research in pet weight management, to ensure your dog leads a healthy, happier life. If your pet dog is extremely overweight, you are advised to consult with your veterinarian for a detailed and therapeutic nutritional solution.

3. Allergies and Skin conditions

On average, an itchy dog is an allergic dog. Most times, the reason behind their allergy and skin condition is their food or environment. You need to switch your dog’s diet to something a little simpler or less processed food.

In a case of an allergy, vets prescribe non-allergen diets or foods that do not trigger your dog’s allergic reaction. Homemade dog food recipes are ideal as you can mix the ingredients on your own as well as do an easy control experiment to figure out which foods cause his allergy. Also, make sure to alter one food ingredient per time until you get the culprit.

Although the transition may take a long time before you figure out what your dog is allergic to, the diet you end up with will be far healthier and nutritional to help him lead a better life. You can also take your dog to the vet to find out more about their allergy and skin condition.

Sometimes, the reason behind your dog’s skin condition may be due to a deficient diet. If your dog has a dull, matted coat, make sure you feed your dog foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids to help improve their coat quality and gastric health.

Choosing the right food for your pet is essential for your dog’s long-term health. However, it is not a substitute for medical care.

Make sure you visit a veterinarian on a regular basis to ensure your pet is healthy and happy. Along with your new diet, make sure your dog has plenty of fresh, clean water available at all times.

It is also advisable that you change your dog’s diet gradually and systematically. Substitute a little of the new diet with the old food. Swap out a little more of the old with the new until your dog is comfortable with the new diet.

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No question in my mind that this was a useful and informative article. I did ask June to offer a little about herself and this is what she wrote me:

June is the founder of the blog Toby’s Bone where she shares her passion for writing and love for dogs. She wants to help you deal with your dog’s behavior issues, grooming and health needs, and proper training. Through her blog, you can find informative and reliable posts, tips and tricks, and a lot of interesting reads that will help you maintain a close bond with your furry companion.

Well this gets my vote and I sincerely hope this isn’t the last time we hear from June.

Visiting the Vet – More on Ruby

A need to re-check Ruby.

On Tuesday the Visiting the Vet post was about our Ruby. As was explained in the early part of that post:

Back on the 11th August Jean and I took Ruby into Lincoln Road Vet because there was blood in her urine. Ruby is one of our six dogs that we have at home. Ruby is the last of the Mexican ex-rescue dogs and is an eleven-year old Sharpei mix.

Dr Jim thought that Ruby had a straightforward Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) and that a course of antibiotic would fix that.

All of that was reported in my previous post and, indeed, it did look as though it was all resolved.

Then on Tuesday night we discovered a pee in the house that had blood in it. Repeated yesterday. Although we hadn’t caught Ruby in the act, so to speak, we were pretty sure that it was her with the blood in her urine (again).

So yesterday morning back we went to Lincoln Road Vet Clinic to be seen by Dr. Jim.

Jim and his assistant, Cianna, first took Ruby through to a lab at the back of the clinic to take an X-ray and draw some of Ruby’s urine directly from her bladder.

That urine was going to be cultured by Three Rivers Hospital in Grants Pass for that was the only reliable way of seeing what might be the cause of the infection. A quick web search found more information about a urine culture:

A urine culture is a test to find germs (such as bacteria) in the urine that can cause an infection. Urine in the bladder is normally sterile. This means it does not contain any bacteria or other organisms (such as fungi). But bacteria can enter the urethra and cause a urinary tract infection (UTI).

A sample of urine is added to a substance that promotes the growth of germs. If no germs grow, the culture is negative. If germs grow, the culture is positive. The type of germ may be identified using a microscope or chemical tests. Sometimes other tests are done to find the right medicine for treating the infection. This is called sensitivity testing.

In no time at all the images from the X-ray were available to be viewed.

Jim was delighted to report that there was no sign of stones or a tumor. Ruby is an eleven-year old dog and what Jim did see on the X-ray was ‘bridging’ along parts of Ruby’s spine. The technical term for this is spondylosis and, again, a quick web search found more:

Spondylosis in dogs, also called spondylosis deformans, is a degenerative condition that usually occurs most along the spine in older dogs. There, degenerative disks cause bone spurs to develop. These bone spurs can form bridges from one vertebrae to the next, limiting flexibility and range of motion.
Most cases of spondylosis require minor pain relief, and dogs can live out healthy, comfortable lives with this condition.

It’s not a very good image but here is an enlargement of that first X-ray picture (or rather my photograph of same) showing that bridging.

Jim offered some general information regarding idiopathic cystitis that is more commonly seen in female cats but can also be seen in dogs. In cats the cause is more likely to be stress but in dogs the more likely cause is an infection; as in a UTI. In both cats and dogs the signs are frequent peeing but cats are more likely to incur some pain when urinating compared to dogs.

Back to Ruby.

The second X-ray image (below) did nothing to change Jim’s mind that Ruby might have a UTI that requires a change of antibiotic to accurately combat the infection.

While waiting for the results of the urine culture, Jim recommended putting Ruby on a second course of Amoxicillin.

When we get those results I will add the details to this post.

Visiting the Vet – Ruby’s UTI

This one is closer to home!

Back on the 11th August Jean and I took Ruby into Lincoln Road Vet because there was blood in her urine. Ruby is one of our six dogs that we have at home. Ruby is the last of the Mexican ex-rescue dogs and is an eleven-year old Sharpei mix.

Here she is staring up at me to the right of Oliver in the picture below .

In clockwise order: Oliver; Sweeny; Ruby; Pedy.

Because of Ruby’s age and background and the fact that there was significant blood in her urine we were bracing ourselves for some bad news.

Once checked in it wasn’t too long a wait before we were shown in to Dr. Jim’s room.

There Jim took some urine for analysis and then started examining Ruby. Jim was worried that Ruby might have kidney stones.

However, and thankfully, the urine test revealed an infection, nothing worse! A urinary tract infection or UTI.

Therefore, the first move would be to start Ruby on a course of Amoxillin.

Jim explained that Amoxillin was an antibiotic that he thought would be good for Ruby and would quickly determine whether or not Ruby had a simple urinary tract infection (UTI) or if it was something more challenging (my words).

Wikipedia offers a good description of Amoxicillin, from which I offer the opening paragraph.

Amoxicillin, also spelled amoxycillin, is an antibiotic useful for the treatment of a number of bacterial infections.[2] It is the first line treatment for middle ear infections. It may also be used for strep throat, pneumonia, skin infections, and urinary tract infections among others.[2] It is taken by mouth, or less commonly by injection.[2][3]

Maybe my initial reluctance to publish this Visiting the Vet post was down to me not wanting to do that before the results of the antibiotic treatment were clear.

Ergo, Jean and I are overjoyed to report that the Amoxicillin course did sort everything out and that Ruby is over her UTI and back to being her normal, healthy, happy self.

When Jim called us at home a week later he was just as pleased to hear the good news!

It’s in the language!

A comprehensive guide to the body language of our beautiful dogs.

Back in August 2016 I shared a post with you all from Vetstreet.com about interpreting the growls of a dog. It seemed to be liked by many of you.

Now fast forward to eleven days ago and an email that came in from Emma.

Dear Learning from Dogs Team,
My name’s Emma, a blogger at Hello Cute Pup.

I have been reading your blog for some time, and I absolutely love what you have been doing! Your content inspires me on a daily basis, and I’m really in love with your website.

I’ve been thinking about how I could help add value to you and your blog and I would love to contribute a guest post on your site.

I was inspired to write this article after reading your great piece “Why Dogs Are Friendly”.

I promise that I will provide HIGH-quality content that you won’t find anywhere else.

As a pet parent myself, I’ve had tons of amazing experience that I could bring to your audience.

Here are some links to other pieces that I have written to give you an idea of the quality that I am bringing to the table.

Dog Express
http://www.dogexpress.in/how-to-choose-the-best-dog-food-for-pugs
Imagine Forest
http://www.imagineforest.com/blog/baileys-best-buddy/

Safe and Healthy Life

http://www.safeandhealthylife.com/food-diet-for-dogs-the-ultimate-guide/

Let me know if you are interested. I already know your blogging style, plus I understand what your readers love as I am one.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Cheers and have a good day!

Emma

Well you all know me sufficiently well to know that I couldn’t resist. Especially after seeing how nicely Emma had presented those pieces she linked to above.

Here is Emma’s article.

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A Comprehensive Guide to Basic Dog Body Language

Understanding your loved ones’ body language is always important. If you understand how your partner, sister, mother, or father acts when they feel a certain way, you can more accurately meet their emotional needs. This is the same as it is with the canine members of your family.

Understanding how your dog behaves when he or she feels certain things will help you bond, and help build trust, as well as make both you and your dog happier.

How do you decode dog behavior? There are a few ways, and a few certain body signals that your dog will give you that you should understand. Here are a few of them.

Play Bow

You may have noticed that when a dog is feeling frisky and energetic, he or she will bow their front end to the ground and push their rear end into the air. Typically, this means that the dog wants to play.

Tail Wagging

It’s a common belief that tail wagging means that a dog is happy. While this can be true, tail wagging can also mean a few other things.

  • A tail that wags low can mean your dog is scared or unsure.
  • A high and stiff tail wag can mean that your dog feels irritated, scared, or unsure. This kind of tail wagging can often lead to a dog becoming aggressive if pushed.

Freezing

Dogs often “freeze” when they are scared or guarding something like food, water, a toy, or their owner. This means that the dog will stop what he or she is doing and stand in one position without moving. When a dog is frozen, he or she is more likely to bite.

Rolling

When a dog rolls over, it usually means that he or she is submissive- but it’s important to pay attention to the dog’s whole body. If your dog’s tail and mouth are hanging loose, it can mean that he or she wants a belly rub or some attention. If the tail is tucked in or his or her mouth is stiff, it can mean that your dog is scared or nervous. Before you touch a dog who is rolled over, look for the signs of comfort.
Perked Ears

Chances are, if you own a dog, you’ve seen him or her with his ears perked up. This means that your dog is alert and attentive.
Tail Between Legs

When a dog tucks his or her tail between his legs, this is a classic sign of fear. Dogs who are scared, as a general rule of thumb, are prone to becoming aggressive in an attempt to protect themselves- so be careful when getting too close to a dog who is acting fearful.
Signs of stress

Like humans, dogs can become stressed. Stress in dogs can make them act in certain ways and exhibit specific body language. Some of the signs that mean that a dog is stressed are:

  • Yawning in new situations
  • Panting when it isn’t hot
  • Licking their front paws as someone new approaches
  • Licking of the lips despite not recently having eaten or drank
  • Scratching
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Shaking himself off after someone new touches him
  • Highly audible exhales that can be accompanied by whining or avoiding eye contact
  • Lying down and refusing to participate

Signs of fear

Dogs exhibit easy-to-read signs of fear. Some of these signs are:

  • Drooling
  • Pacing
  • Tucking his tail while moving away from something
  • Whining
  • His or her feet start to sweat
  • Growling and moving away
  • Curling his or her lips and showing teeth
  • Trying to hide
  • Running away

Signs of Happiness

Along with taking up the play bow position, dogs offer us other physical signs that they are happy. These include:

  • Energetic tail wagging
  • Tail thumping on the floor or ground
  • Lying in a relaxed, one paw tucked under, position
  • Bumping or pressing against you
  • Initiating physical contact
  • Jumping up
  • Smiling (yes, sometimes it really does look as if your dog smiles)
  • Playful barking to get your attention

Although the above behaviors are common in most dogs, it’s important to remember that dogs have individual personalities – what one dog does in a situation, isn’t necessarily what another does in that same situation. For example, if your dog reacts well with some dog shampoo, another dog might hate it. This shampoo might make him panic and he could fear baths forever.
To truly understand what your dog’s body is trying to tell you, pay attention to how he or she acts. He may react in the ways that are listed above, or he may have his own unique way of expressing to you how he feels.
Context is also a key point to focus on when you’re trying to determine how your dog feels based on his body language. For example, if your dog is being cornered by another, bigger and more intimidating dog and he wags his tail, chances are that he isn’t happy. In this situation, he more than likely is gearing up for a fight or is feeling scared.

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My hopes are that Emma will be writing many more guest posts for this place.

Oh, want to know a little more about Emma?

Emma is the founder of HelloCutePup. As the owner of 3 dogs, Emma has had the pleasure of learning the ins and outs to becoming a pet owner. With years of experience working on training, at-home dog health care, and aesthetic maintenance, she has the real-world experience that every pet owner is looking for. She is an avid blogger who enjoys giving realistic tips and tricks to help dog owners understand their pet’s personalities and to help pets easily become a part of the family.

Fabulous!

Enhancing the life of our dogs!

We truly do want our dogs to live to a grand old age.

In recent posts I have included photographs of Cleo and Brandy. (As I will now do again!)

Cleo, the listening dog par excellence!

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Brandy – as pure as it gets!

However, one of the sad aspects of our bigger dogs is that their lifespan is usually shorter than our smaller dogs.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they could live longer lives.

That is the reason that I didn’t hesitate for a moment in wanting to share an essay that was recently published on the Care2 site.

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Want Your Dog to Live to 30? Add This to Their Bowl

a Care2 favorite by Lisa Spector

About Lisa Follow Lisa at @throughadogsear

As I watched pet nutrition blogger Rodney Habib’s TedX video below, I found it simultaneously jaw-dropping and not surprising. After his dog, Sammie, was diagnosed with cancer, Habib went on a mission to find out why canine cancer is a growing epidemic. Currently, one out of every two dogs will be diagnosed with cancer at sometime in their life, mostly between age 6 and 12.

I have a 13-year-old Labrador. Admittedly, I’m obsessed with my awareness that he’s approaching the end of his life. But, what if he weren’t? What if he could live until he’s 30 like Maggie, the Kelpie, from Australia. Maggie was possibly the world’s oldest dog.

During Habib’s trek around the world, he spoke with researchers and scientists. He learned that dogs have a higher rate of cancer than any other mammal. In the ’70s, dogs lived to age 17; today the average life span is 11. Why?

Diabetes is up 900 percent in dogs in the last five years. Obesity is up 60 percent. While 10 percent of all cancer cases are genetic, 90 percent are the results of lifestyle and environmental influences, including stress, obesity, infection, sedentary lifestyle, toxins, pollution and most importantly diet.

Habib spoke with Norwegian scientist, Thomas Sandberg, who is conducting a 30-year-old study (the longest observational study to date). Sandberg is hoping to prove that poor quality food may cause cancer to develop in dogs and cats, mainly due to a compromised immune system.

Natural and dry dog's food

Here’s the part of Rodney’s TedX Talk that was jaw-dropping for me: Research shows that dogs on a diet of dry commercial pet food fed leafy green vegetables at least three times a week were 90 percent less likely to develop cancer than dogs that weren’t. And dogs fed yellow/orange vegetables at least three times a week were 70 percent less likely to develop cancer.

I feed Sanchez and Gina organic kale, spinach, green beans and carrots, along with many fruits. Personally, I wasn’t surprised by the benefits, but by the research showing that just a little bit of produce added to kibble could have such a profound effect on canine health.

Thomas Sandberg has Great Danes, who typically live only six to eight years. In a 6-year study of 80 dogs fed a completely raw diet with low amounts of carbs, only one dog developed cancer.

Another study at Purdue University showed a 90 percent decrease risk of cancer when they added green leafy vegetables to a bowl of processed food three times a week.

Remember Maggie, the world’s oldest dog? In addition to a diet that included raw fed grass milk, she also self fasted some days. She lived on a dairy farm and exercised all day long, often getting in 9 kilometers (5 1/2 miles ). Obesity is also now known to be a contributing factor to canine cancer, which is why exercising with your pet is so important.

We have dogs because we love them. We bring them into our human world and expect them to adjust. They do, because they want to please us. We expect them to follow our house rules, listen to the music we choose,  build their life around our schedules, and accept the food we choose for them. But, what if we knew more and chose differently for them? How long would they live?

Do your pets eat green leafy veggies?

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Now if you have read down to this point but not yet watched Rodney Habib’s talk then …. STOP!

Go back and watch that talk!

Then you can truly appreciate the value of looking at the diets of our beautiful dogs!

Love to hear your thoughts on this!

Oh, and both Brandy and little Pedy are great vegetable eaters. But we will be following the recommendations of Rodney Habib and will share our findings with you all later on.

 

Those deeper ways of listening

How humans and animals communicate with each other has more than an edge of mystery to it!

We sleep with our bedroom door open to the main run of the rest of the house. Generally, all six dogs sleep in our bedroom unless it is a very warm night when some of them may choose the cooler tiled surface of the kitchen floor.

Cleo, our female German Shepherd, has a bit of a sensitive stomach and it is not unknown for her to need to be let outside in the middle of the night. Just a couple of nights ago her need for a ‘poo’ break came at 02:40!

But the point of this is that no matter how deeply I am sleeping, all it takes is a short, quiet whimper next to my side of bed and I am instantly awake. I need no time at all to know that Cleo has to be let outside from our bedroom door that opens out onto the deck. A few minutes later I hear her feet padding along the wooden boards of the deck and she is let back in to the bedroom.

Thus this demonstrates how well I understand her and in turn how well she acutely listens to me.

Just look at this photograph.

The connection, the intensity, of her attention towards me. And this was just from me pointing the camera at her and ‘click, clicking’ my tongue.

Moving on!

My introduction today was inspired by an article that I recently read on the Care2 site and that I want to share with you. Here it is.

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Can Humans Understand When Animals Are in Distress?

By: Laura Burge   August 13, 2017

About Laura   Follow Laura at @literarylaura

Have you ever jumped at the sound of birds fighting or a squirrel screaming? Heard an animal make a sound somewhere nearby that made your heart race?

More than one hundred years ago, Darwin suggested that there was a universal understanding of certain animal vocalizations — a way of expressing emotion that went all the way back to the Earth’s earliest animals. Now, researchers are re-examining that theory, and they’re making some interesting headway.

In a study published in the journal “Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences,” researchers decided to explore the idea that animal vocalizations, including distress calls, might be recognizable across different species — and even into different animal classes.

Earlier research delved into whether or not humans could detect which emotion, or signal, another mammal was using, but this study is the first to examine other vertebrates as well. Amphibians and reptiles joined the club, and, perhaps surprisingly, humans did pretty well determining what these animals were trying to communicate.

The researchers primarily looked into whether or not people listening to certain animal sounds would be able to detect the level of arousal — high or low — that an animal expressed vocally. High arousal indicates an animal in distress, expressing desperate or negative screams, who might be calling out because of a fight, a predator in the area or another perceived danger. Scientists believe that these sounds are part of an old signaling system.

Researchers asked 75 college-aged individuals to listen to sounds from nine different species. In order to account for language differences, these people included English, German and Mandarin speakers.

Scientists collected 180 recordings of animal vocalizations, reflecting high or low levels of excitement, such as “the sounds of frogs in competition for mates, monkeys reacting to danger or ravens confronted by a dominant bird,” and included humans in that list, instructing actors to react neutrally or with different, heightened emotions while speaking Tamil.

The 75 people were then asked to identify which vocalization out of paired sounds from the same species represented the higher level of arousal.

In this study, the results showed that people identified the correct “emotion,” roughly speaking, better than expected by chance. Here is how the accuracy broke down across species:

  • Humans: 95 percent correct
  • Giant panda: 94 percent correct
  • Hourglass tree frog: 90 percent correct
  • African bush elephant: 88 percent correct
  • American alligator: 87 percent correct
  • Black-capped chickadee: 85 percent correct
  • Pig: 68 percent correct
  • Common raven: 62 percent correct
  • Barbary macaque (monkey): 60 percent correct

It seems strange that people were less able to identify the distress call of a monkey than a frog, but Harold Gouzoules, a bioacoustician and animal behavior expert at Emory University, posits that the monkey calls may have sounded less extreme in intensity than those of the other species, making it harder to tell the difference.

“Our study shows that humans are naturally able to recognize emotional arousal across all classes of vocalizing animals,” said Piera Filippi, who studies the evolution of cognition and communication at the Vrije University Brussels in Belgium.

This doesn’t mean that humans should feel confident in interpreting animal emotions or body language in general, though. Those behaviors can vary greatly, and humans are prone to misinterpretation and anthropomorphism. You wouldn’t, for example, want to assume a wolf baring its teeth is simply smiling at you.

Naturally, much remains to be studied in the effort to understand a wider range of animal emotions. Filippi hopes to repeat the experiment, but with the black-capped chickadees taking the place of the college-aged humans in interpreting the distress calls. It will be interesting to see if this understanding between humans and other animals goes both ways.

Could there be a beneficial reason for animals to understand each other’s distress calls? What do you think?

Photo Credit: Valentino Funghi/Unsplash

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Just so long as too many different animals don’t all sound out distress calls at the same time around here!

 

Why Dogs Are Friendly

Yes, we know that they are but the science as to why this is nonetheless is fascinating!

Inevitably when you think about my cultural roots you would not be surprised to hear that I use the BBC News website as a key source of staying in touch with the world. But very rarely would I think of sharing a news item with you via these pages.

One of those rare exceptions greeted my eyes back on July 20th. It was an article published by Helen Briggs of the BBC under the Science & Environment news classification. I can’t imagine any reason why I can’t republish it here.

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Why dogs are friendly – it’s written in their genes

By Helen Briggs – BBC News, 20 July 2017

Some wolves are more sociable than others.

Being friendly is in dogs’ nature and could be key to how they came to share our lives, say US scientists.

Dogs evolved from wolves tens of thousands of years ago.

During this time, certain genes that make dogs particularly gregarious have been selected for, according to research.

This may give dogs their distinctive personalities, including a craving for human company.

“Our finding of genetic variation in both dogs and wolves provides a possible insight into animal personality, and may even suggest similar genes may have roles in other domestic species (maybe cats even),” said Dr Bridgett vonHoldt of Princeton University.

The researchers studied the behaviour of domestic dogs, and grey wolves living in captivity. They carried out a number of tests of the animals’ skills at problem-solving and sociability.

Captive wolves gave humans only brief attention.

These showed that wolves were as good as dogs at solving problems, such as retrieving pieces of sausage from a plastic lunchbox.

Dogs, however, were much more friendly. They spent more time greeting human strangers and gazing at them, while wolves were somewhat aloof.

DNA tests found a link between certain genetic changes and behaviours such as attentiveness to strangers or picking up on social cues.

Similar changes in humans are associated with a rare genetic syndrome, where people are highly sociable.

Dr Elaine Ostrander of the National Institutes of Health, who was a co-researcher on the study, said the information would be useful in studying human disease.

“This exciting observation highlights the utility of the dog as a genetic system informative for studies of human disease, as it shows how minor variants in critical genes in dogs result in major syndromic effects in humans,” she said.

Wolves playing at Yellowstone.

Dogs were domesticated from wolves between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago.

New story for domestication of dogs

This process began when wolves that were tolerant of humans sneaked into hunter gatherer camps to feed on food scraps.

Over the course of history, wolves were eventually tamed and became the dogs we know today, which come in all shapes and sizes.

The finding of genetic changes linked to sociability in dogs shows how their friendly behaviour might have evolved.

“This could easily play into the story then of how these wolves leave descendants that are also ‘friendlier’ than others, setting the path for domestication,” said Dr vonHoldt.

The research is published in the journal, Science Advances.

Follow Helen on Twitter.

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When it comes to sociability in dogs, try this one for size!

Brandy – as pure as it gets!