Category: Science

Oregon wolf pups!

A good news story of recent days!

I will go straight to the story!

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6 wolf pups caught on trail cam in Mount Hood area

Posted Jul 11, 2019

Two wolf pups were observed on the Warm Springs reservation in early August, marking the first time the wolves have successfully bred in Oregon’s northern Cascades since the animals returned to the state.

MOUNT HOOD — Officials say six wolf pups have been born this year to Oregon’s White River wolf pack in the Mount Hood area. Biologists with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs posted footage of the pups from a trail camera that was shared on Facebook by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Oregon.

The White River Pack is located just southeast of Mount Hood and east of Timothy Lake. With five members in 2018, it was one of the few confirmed packs in Western Oregon, along with southwest Oregon’s Rogue Pack.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife carnivore biologist Derek Broman told The Statesman Journal that the current size of the White River pack is 11 animals.

The latest wolf count shows Oregon is home to a minimum of 137 wolves. The majority are clustered in northeast Oregon.
— The Associated Press

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Now it’s a great shame but the video of the young pups, evident if you go to this link, I cannot put into a WordPress blog, namely Learning from Dogs.

Ring home!

A delightful article courtesy of The Dodo.

There was a simply lovely article on The Dodo about a service dog receiving a call from her Mom.

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Service Dog Has The Sweetest Reaction To Getting A Video Call From Her Mom

Photo Credit: Facebook/Adventures with Moxie: Service Dog

Meet Moxie — a very good girl who works every day to make her mom’s life a little bit easier.

Ever since Moxie met Katie Harris, the two have rarely been apart. Moxie accompanies her mom to work and is always by her side at home.

“Moxie helps me every day and truly has been such a huge blessing to me,” Harris told The Dodo. “Very often, when I would bend over, I would either injure myself from a dislocation or pass out from blood pressure issues. Moxie will pick up anything I drop, retrieve my shoes, clothes or anything else I need.”

Photo Credit: Facebook/Adventures with Moxie: Service Dog

Harris suffers from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a connective tissue disorder, and recently had surgery to help ease her symptoms. Unfortunately, that meant Moxie had to stay at home while she was in the hospital for an extended stay.

Harris knew it would be difficult to not be around Moxie — but she had no idea how the service pup would react to the separation.

“I hate being away from Moxie, especially during hard times,” Harris said. “When I knew I was going to be transferred to rehab, I kind of jokingly FaceTimed her, not knowing if she would have any reaction.”

Photo Credit: Facebook/Adventures with Moxie: Service Dog

After 12 days apart, it was clear that Moxie missed her mom, too. The pup seemed overjoyed to see her mom’s face again — even if it was just on a phone screen.

“She immediately recognized my voice and when she started licking the phone — I definitely teared up,” Harris said. “I didn’t quite see the full reaction until my stepmom sent me the video and I couldn’t believe it! I truly do believe she knew that was me.”

The next day, Moxie reunited with her mom, and the pup couldn’t contain her excitement. It was clear that though Moxie is a dog with a job, her love for her mom goes far beyond duty or training.

Even the way she greeted her mom shows just how much she cares.

Photo Credit: Facebook/Adventures with Moxie: Service Dog

“I couldn’t wait to see her, but I was a little nervous about my neck due to my cervical fusion,” Harris said. “But although she jumped in my lap and immediately started licking me, she didn’t hurt my neck at all. We eventually just paused in more of a hug as I just held her.”

Harris understands how life-changing a service dog can be and is now working to raise money to gift service animals to those in need.

“I can honestly say that having Moxie has ‘saved me’ and I am so incredibly thankful for her,” Harris said. “Not only does she help me physically, but we truly are a team as we navigate these challenges and hurdles together.”

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Katie Harris is unfortunate but also incredibly lucky. For her Moxie is the centre of her life and one can hardly imagine life without Moxie.

Moxie has developed an amazing relationship with Katie and it’s a lovely example of how close the bond between a human and a dog can get!

A new dog food alert.

This came in on Saturday.
Dear Fellow Dog Lover,

Pet Supplies Plus is recalling pig ears dog treats in 33 states because they may be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria.
To learn more including which states are included in the recall, please visit the following link: Pet Supplies Plus Recalls Pig Ears Dog Treats in 33 States

That link is the following.

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Pet Supplies Plus Recalls Pig Ears Dog Treats in 33 States

July 5, 2019 — Pet Supplies Plus is recalling bulk pig ears supplied to over 400 retail stores in 33 states due to potential Salmonella contamination.

Bulk pig ears were distributed to Pet Supplies Plus stores in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

Developing Story

The Pet Supplies Plus recall may or may not be related to another developing story.

On July 3, 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the Agency is investigating contaminated pig ear dog treats that may be connected to human Salmonella infections that have sickened 45 people in 13 states.

Twelve patients are hospitalized.

In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating a multistate outbreak of drug-resistant Salmonella infections linked to contact with pig ear treats.

None of the 45 cases are confirmed to be a result of purchasing pig ears from Pet Supplies Plus, according to the company.

The investigation is ongoing. The Dog Food Advisor continues to monitor this developing story.

What’s Recalled?

Bulk pig ear dog treats were stocked in open bins. Prepackaged branded pig ears are not included in this recall.

Because the bulk pig ear dog treats were sold in open bins, the company provided the following image of the related in-store sign.

About Salmonella

Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Individuals infected with Salmonella should monitor for some, or all, of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever.

Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms.

Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting.

Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain.

Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

What Caused the Recall?

Testing by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development revealed that aging bulk pig ear product in one of Pet Supplies Plus stores tested positive for Salmonella.

The company has removed bulk pig ear product from the shelves at all its stores and has stopped shipping bulk pig ears from its Distribution Center.

PSP is working with the FDA as they continue their investigation into what caused the reported Salmonella outbreak.

What to Do?

Consumers who have purchased bulk pig ears should discontinue use of the product and discard it.

Consumers who have further questions are welcome to contact Pet Supplies Plus Neighbor Service team at 734-793-6564 between Monday and Friday 9 am to 4 pm ET (excluding holidays).

U.S. citizens can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to https://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.

Canadians can report any health or safety incidents related to the use of this product by filling out the Consumer Product Incident Report Form.

Get Dog Food Recall Alerts by Email

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Dog Food Advisor’s emergency recall notification system.

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Share this amongst your dog owner friends.

Picture Parade Two Hundred and Ninety-Five

That Chilean eclipse!

From EarthSky:

More amazing images of the July 2 eclipse

Some called it the “astronomer’s eclipse” because it passed near major observatories in Chile. Check out these beautiful images of the July 2, 2019, total solar eclipse.

This composite image captures the drama of totality during the July 2, 2019, total solar eclipse. When – as seen from Earth – the moon passes directly in front of the sun, the sun’s light is blocked and its extended atmosphere or corona can be seen. The processing of this image highlights the intricate detail of the corona, its structures shaped by the sun’s magnetic field. Some details of the lunar surface can also be seen. The image – via European Space Agency (ESA) – was created by the ESA-CESAR team observing the eclipse from ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile, South America.
A prominence seen in the sun’s chromosphere during the July 2, 2019, total solar eclipse. Prominences are made of tangled magnetic field lines that keep dense concentrations of solar plasma suspended above the sun’s surface. They are anchored to the sun’s visible surface and extend outwards through the chromosphere and out into the corona. The red hue of the chromosphere is only apparent during an eclipse. This image – via ESA – was taken by the ESA-CESAR team observing the eclipse from ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile, South America.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Total solar eclipse over Vicuna, Chile, on July 2, 2019 from Alexander Krivenyshev of the website WorldTimeZone.com.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Pablo Goffard caught the July 2 total solar eclipse from Incahuasi, Chile. He wrote: “This is just a photo, a tiny part of the experience. Incahuasi is a small town in the Atacama desert. Here it’s seen the camp installed especially for the eclipse.”
This image of eclipse-watchers was taken by a frequent EarthSky contributor, Yuri Beletsky, on the Chilean coast. It was chosen as an Astronomy Picture of the Day for July 4, 2019. Congratulations on a wonderful photo, Yuri! Note that diffraction spikes (apparent rays from the sun) are effects from the camera lens aperture.

While some observers on the southern part of Earth saw a total solar eclipse, the European Space Agency’s PROBA-2satellite’s SWAP imager in space saw a partial eclipse, as shown in the video below. The images are in ultraviolet light, revealing the turbulent nature of the sun’s surface and corona. ESA said:

During this eclipse the satellite was passing through the South Atlantic Anomaly at the time of the largest occultation [covering of the sun]. In this region the spacecraft is exposed to higher levels of radiation. The increased flux of energetic particles falling on the satellite’s detector is the cause for all the bright dots and streaks in the images.

Bottom line: More amazing images of the July 2, 2019, total solar eclipse.

There is more, much more, on the Smithsonian magazine website. Do go across and see the images.

Dogs are so, so special!

A lovely item on BBC News is being republished.

Sean Coughlan wrote a most delightful piece on the BBC News website the other day.

No matter how many times dogs are referred to it always cheers me up to read about them, especially on a major news website.

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Dogs ‘prevent stressed students dropping out’

By Sean Coughlan, BBC News family and education correspondent

July 2nd, 2019

Therapy dogs are used in more than 1,000 universities and colleges in the US – Getty Images

Stress among students really can be reduced by spending time with animals, according to research from the US.

It has become increasingly common for universities to bring “therapy dogs” on to campus – but claims about their benefits have often been anecdotal.

Now, scientists say they have objective evidence to support the use of dogs.

Patricia Pendry, from Washington State University, said her study showed “soothing” sessions with dogs could lessen the negative impact of stress.

Dogs are also used to help people with post-traumatic stress disorder – Getty Images

The study of more than 300 undergraduates had found weekly hour-long sessions with dogs brought to the university by professional handlers had made stressed students at “high risk of academic failure” or dropping out “feel relaxed and accepted”, helping them to concentrate, learn and remember information, she said.

A children’s hospital in California got its first therapy dog this year – Getty Images

“Students most at risk, such as those with mental health issues, showed the most benefit,” said Dr Pendry.

The dog therapy research team at Washington State University

It has also become more common in the UK, with Buckingham, University College London, Cambridge, Nottingham Trent, London Metropolitan and Swansea among those deploying dogs.

The University of Middlesex has even put “canine teaching assistants” on to the staff, to stop lonely students dropping out.

The university study involved 300 undergraduates at Washington State

Previous research has suggested stroking pets can reduce stress hormone levels.

Students spent an hour with dogs, brought to the university by professional handlers

“There does seem to be something specific about the reducing of anxiety from the petting of animals,” said Dr Pendry.

Middlesex University has put dogs on the staff as “canine teaching assistants”

“Do we fully understand the mechanism? No,” said Prof Nancy Gee, a psychologist at the State University of New York and researcher from the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, also part of the project.

But students appeared to “feel calmer and more socially supported”, giving them more confidence in their studies.

Even just looking at animals could sometimes lighten the mood, Prof Gee added.

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This is such a lovely piece. Professor Nancy Gee sums up what we feel when we are close to a dog and yet ponders on the precise science of it.

It’s true! Even just looking at a dog, or more in our case, definitely lightens the mood.

Just look at the exchange of softness in that third photograph from the top. The one about a children’s hospital in California that took on its first therapy dog.

Yet another dog food alert

This came in yesterday.

The Food and Drug Administration has named 16 dog food brands with an increased risk of a type of canine heart disease known as dilated cardiomyopathy… or DCM.

To learn which dog food brands are affected and 8 things you can do right now to lower your dog’s risk, please visit the following link:FDA Investigating Possible Link Between Diet and Heart Disease in Dogs

Important Best Dry Dog Foods Update

We’ve recently updated our Best Dry Dog Foods page to reflect the FDA’s latest report. Here are 5 of The Advisor’s Top 20 Best Dry Dog Foods for July 2019.

  • Wellness Complete Health Dog Food
  • Victor Hi-Pro Plus Formula
  • Nulo Freestyle Dog Food
  • Eagle Pack Natural Dog Food
  • Canidae Grain-Free Pure

Please be sure to share the news of this alert with other pet owners.

Mike Sagman, Editor
The Dog Food Advisor

Now if one goes to that first link then you will read the following.

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FDA Investigating Potential Link Between Diet and Heart Disease in Dogs

This Report Has Been Updated

June 27, 2019 — The FDA has published its third status report regarding a potential connection between grain-free diets and a type of heart disease in dogs known as dilated cardiomyopathy… or DCM.

The Dog Food Advisor initially alerted readers about this issue on July 12, 2018, the day it was first announced by the FDA… and continues to update this report on an ongoing basis.

About DCM

DCM is a disease of a dog’s heart muscle that results in weakened contractions and poor pumping ability…

Which can lead to an enlarged heart and congestive heart failure.

Even death.

Which Breeds Are Affected?

Although the root cause of DCM remains unknown

And even though initially the condition appeared to be more common in certain breeds…

The FDA has received reports of DCM in a wide range of breeds, including many not genetically prone to the disease.

Likely Linked to Diet

Since announcing its investigation in July 2018…

FDA researchers have observed that most of these DCM cases were associated with animals eating dry dog foods.

However…

Dogs eating raw, semi-moist, and wet diets were also affected.

What Types of Dog Food?

Researchers found that over 90 percent of the reported recipes were grain-free.

And that…

Most of these animals ate diets that appeared to contain high concentrations of peas, chickpeas, lentils… or various types of potatoes.

Yet some dogs consumed diets that contained grain, too.

Which Brands?

Brands named most frequently in these reports are depicted in the following FDA graphic…

The FDA reminds readers…

“It’s important to note that the reports include dogs that have eaten grain-free and grain containing foods and also include vegetarian or vegan formulations. They also include all forms of diets: kibble, canned, raw and home-cooked.

“Therefore, we do not think these cases can be explained simply by whether or not they contain grains, or by brand or manufacturer.

The Agency goes on to assure dog owners…

“To put this issue into proper context, the American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that there are 77 million pet dogs in the United States.

“As of April 30, 2019, the FDA has received reports about 560 dogs diagnosed with DCM suspected to be linked to diet. Tens of millions of dogs have been eating dog food without developing DCM.”

The FDA also makes the following logical observation

The prevalence of reports in dogs eating a grain-free diet might correlate also to market share: these products have become exceedingly popular over the last several years.

Which would certainly explain the higher number of DCM cases associated with these same brands.

What’s the Cause?

Based on its latest update…

The FDA has still not discovered why certain dog foods may be associated with the development of DCM. In fact, the Agency now believes the connection between diet and DCM is a complex scientific issue involving multiple factors.

Still…

Even though it’s not clear exactly what it is about these diets that may be connected to DCM in dogs, there are a number of possible causes.

For example…

Taurine deficiency is a well-documented, potential cause of some cases of DCM. Yet it’s not likely to be the only cause.

In fact…

According to Dr. Lisa Freeman, a veterinary nutritionist at Tufts University, “most dogs being diagnosed with DCM do not have low taurine levels”.

Which means…

It’s not reasonable to assume a taurine deficiency is the definitive cause of DCM.

The One Common Thread

According to the FDA, researchers have uncovered one dietary feature common to a large number of DCM cases…

“The common thread appears to be legumes, pulses (seeds of legumes), and/or potatoes as main ingredients in the food. This also includes protein, starch and fiber derivatives of these ingredients…

“Some reports… indicate that the pets were not eating any other foods for several months to years prior to exhibiting signs of DCM.

Editor’s comment: As previously noted, most of these animals appeared to eat diets that contain high concentrations of plant-based protein “boosters”. These include items like pea protein, dried peas, and potato protein. Or a number of legumes (ingredient splitting) located near the top of the ingredients list.

8 Things You Can Do Right Now to Lower Your Dog’s Risk

Until the FDA completes its study and releases its final report…

The Dog Food Advisor believes it makes good sense to apply science and logic to all your feeding decisions.

So, consider these commonsense tips

  1. Since vegetable protein tends to be incomplete (deficient in certain essential amino acids needed by a dog to sustain life), avoid brands that derive most of their protein from legumes and other plant-based protein boosters
  2. Don’t avoid any brand just because it contains peas, legumes or potatoes. In reasonable amounts, studies have not found these ingredients to be toxic
  3. Avoid brands that list pea protein, potato protein, or other plant-based protein concentrates among their first few ingredients
  4. Avoid brands that use the deceptive practice of ingredient splitting to hide the fact their recipes are dominated by non-meat components… like corn, rice or legumes
  5. Consider switching your dog to a quality grain-inclusive product
  6. Focus on the recipe. Not the brand. To satisfy consumer demand, companies sometimes replace the meat in certain products with cheaper plant-based alternatives. Yet they still offer other recipes with superior, meat-rich designs
  7. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify. Since no dog food can ever be perfect, consider using diet rotation to lower the risk of endlessly feeding your pet the same imperfect product
  8. Need help? Consider switching your dog’s current diet to one of the many found on our best dog foods lists

What We’re Doing to Help

Since the FDA’s latest status report was published on June 27, 2019, The Dog Food Advisor research team has been working on 3 important projects

  1. We’re updating all our Best Dog Foods lists to reflect the FDA’s latest findings. This process is tedious and time-consuming. So, please allow up to 3 weeks
  2. We’re revisiting all our grain-free dog food reviews and making changes (when appropriate). You can expect most recipes to retain their current ratings while others will be lowered by up to 1-star
  3. We’re creating a list of “Best Dog Foods with Grain” to help pet parents find a sensible alternative to grain-free diets

There are hundreds of painstakingly prepared reviews and lists that need to be manually edited. You should expect this total project to take months to complete.

The Bottom Line

Final results are still not available.

And there’s no way to know how long the FDA’s investigation will take. Yet the Agency is hopeful that as more data becomes known, its scientists will gain a better understanding of the possible connection between diet and DCM.

Until we know the answer…

Be patient.

Don’t overreact.

And don’t be frightened by all the well-meaning yet misguided advice you’ll surely encounter on the Internet.

Even from uninformed professionals.

Base your feeding decisions on facts and science.

Including accurate label analysis.

Keep in mind…

The Dog Food Advisor has never favored any recipe just because it’s grain free.

Nor should you.

Instead…

Our ratings are heavily weighted in favor of our estimate of each recipe’s apparent meat content.

In fact…

Ratings are automatically reduced anytime we find excessive amounts plant-based protein “boosters” (like peas, legumes or non-meat protein concentrates) too close to the top of any ingredients list.

Finally…

Many of the very best dog foods on the market are grain free…

And they’re made by some of the most respected companies in the USA and Canada.

We’re confident the industry will quickly adapt its recipes to any decisive conclusions reached by the FDA’s future findings.

And of course, we’ll make any relevant adjustments to our content as needed to reflect these scientific findings (once they become available).

In the meantime…

Our Very Best Advice

Since there’s no such thing as a perfect dog food

And because built-in flaws tend to be magnified when the same food is fed endlessly… day after day for a lifetime.

You may wish to consider diet rotation when feeding your pet.

Most importantly…

Stay informed.

Keep in mind…

We can update you the moment the FDA releases its findings.

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Dog Food Advisor’s emergency recall notification system.


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Sent to You by Email
Click Here to Sign Up Now


Picture Parade Two Hundred and Ninety-Four

About as far away from dogs as one can get!

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Best photos of the Mercury-Mars conjunction

Posted by in ASTRONOMY ESSENTIALS | TODAY’S IMAGE June 23, 2019

It was the closest conjunction of 2 planets in 2019, between Mercury and Mars. It happened low in the evening twilight – and was best seen from Earth’s Southern Hemisphere. Check out these photos from EarthSky Community members.

Dr Ski in Valencia, Philippines, caught Mars and Mercury on the day following their conjunction, June 19, 2019. The nearby stars Castor and Pollux in the constellation Gemini are a great comparison. Those 2 stars are noticeable for being bright and close together. Mercury and Mars were much closer! Thanks, Dr Ski!
Wow! You can really see the color difference between red Mars (on the left) and Mercury in this photo from the day of the conjunction – June 18, 2019 – by Peter Lowenstein in Mutare, Zimbabwe. Thanks, Peter!
Here’s a June 17 photo from Jose Lagos in Vaals, Netherlands. He wrote, “This was the last image I could get before June 18, when it was too cloudy near the horizon, but you can see that the conjunction is nearly perfected. It was beautiful to behold even this much of it. Thank you for your time and your great work at Earth Sky.” Thank you for your photo and kind words, Jose!
Gilbert Vancell caught the planets on June 18, too, and wrote: “Mercury (top) and Mars setting behind Comino Tower. Shot from Armier, Malta.”
Helio C. Vital captured in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on June 18, 2019. He wrote, “Despite the fact that many clouds were floating over my western horizon this evening, I could get some photos of Mercury and Mars only 14 arcminutes apart over Rio de Janeiro at dusk (from 17:45 to 18:30 UTC-3h, June 18, 2019).Forming a beautiful close pair through binoculars, Mercury was an easy naked-eye target while Mars (4.4 times dimmer) required the use of averted vision to be briefly spotted. Hope my images can help give you an idea of what the interesting event looked like.”

Bottom line: Photos from the night of and around the June 18, 2019, conjunction of Mercury and Mars, closest conjunction of two planets this year.

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I hope a few of you enjoyed today’s Picture Parade.

Here’s to July!

Back to those eyes!

A recent item on Healthy Pets offers some more information.

Yesterday Belinda, who is local to us in Merlin, Oregon, sent me a link to a further article about dogs’ eyes.

In an email to me, Belinda wrote:

I read your blog on a dog’s eyes and now I know why they have such expressive eyes.  I read this and didn’t know if you have any interest in a follow-up to that blog.

Well of course we do! 🙂

The only comment I would make is whether or not Dr. Becker is up-to-date with the latest science.

But here is the article.

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What does it mean when your dog gives you the ‘side-eye’?

by Dr. Karen Shaw Becker

June 25, 2019

Story at-a-glance

  • The term side-eye denotes a greater amount of “white” in a dog’s eyes, which is more pronounced when the dog averts his head slightly, but keeps his eyes fixed on something or someone at the same time
  • Some dogs, particularly brachycephalic dogs (dogs with short muzzles), appear to show the whites of their eyes most of the time, which doesn’t necessarily mean they’re feeling anything in particular
  • The side-eye may be a way for dogs to say “Back off,” and may precede some sort of aggression, especially if they’ve been guarding something like a toy — or food — and suddenly feel threatened
  • In studies of other types of canines, dingoes were found to initiate eye contact with a familiar human more often than wolves, but the duration was found to be shorter than the eye contact between humans and dogs
  • Dogs’ demeanor might appear to be excitement when they bark, whine, pant or pace, so it’s important to know your dog but also assess the situation that might be causing it

It’s been called the “whale eye,” that sidelong glance your dog gives you that communicates very strongly that something’s up. Also called the “side-eye,” it’s when the color white appears in a half-moon shape on either the right or left side of their eyes.

You may have seen dogs and their cute side-eye looks on social media. They can be quite comical, especially when the accompanying expressions match the captions. Nevertheless, it’s wise to know what your dog’s body language is trying to tell you, because as much as dogs might want to speak in human terms, they’re not able to.

So what does the whale eye mean? Trainers are said to use the term to describe a greater amount of “white” in a dog’s eyes as a means to communicate. It’s more pronounced when the dog averts his head slightly, but keeps his eyes fixed on something or someone at the same time.

Some dogs, particularly brachycephalic dogs (dogs with short muzzles), appear to show the whites of their eyes most of the time, which doesn’t necessarily mean they’re feeling anything in particular. Other examples of a dog’s body language, especially if you know what to look for, signify very specific things. Depending on the situation, you might be able to discern what it means fairly quickly.

Side-eye may be a way for dogs to say “Back off,” and usually precedes some sort of aggression, especially if they’ve been guarding something like a toy — or food — and suddenly feel threatened.1 According to Bark Post:

“This is pretty common behavior for dogs to exhibit. Obviously, that doesn’t mean we want them to keep doing it, but it’s important to realize this doesn’t mean you have a defective pup. He’s still the adorable, hilarious, wonderful … little guy or girl you love.

When coming across this sort of behavior, you should definitely give your pup the space they’re asking for. Back up and analyze the situation. Did you get too close to the bone they’ve been hiding for 72 hours?”2

Signs your dog is trying to tell you something

If your dog is giving the side-eye to another person the dog may not be familiar with, experts advise dog owners to be aware of the behavior and try to diffuse it. “Much of what’s required in mitigating this behavior is just removing the cause from the situation.”3

If your dog’s side-eye response is accompanied by a rigid stance or visible tension, it happens more than once and it’s evident it’s not just a sidelong glance, it could be stress-related, and it wouldn’t hurt to contact a positive dog trainer or behaviorist. In many ways, like people, there are a number of ways dogs communicate stress, tension and anxiety.

Sometimes their demeanor might appear to be excitement, such as behavior like barking, whining, panting or pacing. Dogs that feel uncomfortable or nervous might communicate it by hiding, relieving themselves in the house, cowering or shaking. At times, however, the signs may be much more subtle, such as if you notice them blinking, yawning, licking, swallowing or shedding more than usual.

If your pup shows the side-eye or other signs of stress, petting him gently with long, smooth strokes from their chest, shoulder and base of their tail will help relax him.4,5 It helps relieve tension and could even serve as a sort of “maintenance” to help keep them calm in out-of-the-ordinary situations.

How eye contact in other canine species denotes communication

While wolves (Canis lupus) and coyotes (Canis latrans) may not seem to have much in common with domestic dogs (Canis familiaris), experts place them in the same species. That great Danes and Chihuahuas are related to each other, not to mention these feral varieties, seems hard to believe, but domestic dogs came from wolves, and scientists say some wolf varieties may be coyote hybrids.

Dingoes, placed for years in the same canine designation as dogs, wolves and coyotes, have been deemed their own distinct species. They’re now formally called Canis dingo,6 even though they bear a remarkable resemblance to other canines. Over the last few centuries, their scientific names, such as Canis lupus dingo and Canis familiaris dingo, wrongly related them to the others.

Interestingly, a study7 on the origins of dog and human eye contact included all of the above species. It determined that dingoes establish eye contact less often than dogs do, but more often than wolves. In addition, dingoes were found to initiate eye contact with a familiar human more often than wolves, but the duration was found to be shorter than the eye contact between humans and dogs.

While words are the preferred mode of communication between humans, your dog may pay more attention to your posture, gestures and eye contact, possibly because they often use body language to communicate more than any other tool. They’re also in tune with your tone, and pick up from you more of your mindset than you might imagine.

Dogs’ body language changes around humans

Not only do dogs communicate with their humans with body language, they also do so with other dogs, especially when there’s more than one dog or several in a household. But the journal Nature cited a study8 showing that a dog literally “produces” more facial expressions when they’re looking straight at their significant humans. In fact, it:

“Support(s) for the idea that dogs do indeed produce facial expressions to communicate with people — although perhaps just to engage us, rather than to manipulate us. The dogs in the study produced more than twice as many facial expressions (‘puppy dog eyes’ was one of the most common) when a researcher was facing them than when she was turned away …

(It) adds to a growing body of work that shows how sensitive dogs are to human attention. It also provides the first evidence in a non-primate species that facial expressions can be used actively to communicate.”9

Psychology Today affirms that eyes are the “window to the soul.”10 If you’re a dog lover, you know you can share thoughts and feelings just by looking into your beloved pet’s eyes. It’s one of the signs that the bond between you is strong, and communicates mutual respect, as well. One more thing those eyes reveal is that the love your dog has for you is unconditional. Just watch out for those side-eyes.

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The numbered references do not appear to relate to any further details as a footnote to the article. Maybe one has to be a subscriber to gain access to them?

Anyway, the article was of interest and follows on very nicely to the article published on June 22nd: Those Eyes.

32,000 years ago!

A wolf became buried.

This is a wonderful story and one that I shall go straight into. Reason I have software problems that I’m trying to fix today!

This article was first published by The Smithsonian magazine.

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A Perfectly Preserved 32,000-Year-Old Wolf Head Was Found in Siberian Permafrost

Given the head’s state of preservation, researchers are hopeful that they can extract viable DNA and use it to sequence the wolf’s genome.

Screen Shot 2019-06-14 at 11.38.50 AM.png
The specimen is the first (partial) carcass of an adult Pleistocene steppe wolf—an extinct lineage distinct from modern wolves—ever found (Courtesy of Dr. Tori Herridge)
smithsonian.com

Last summer, a mammoth tusk hunter exploring the shores of the Tirekhtyak River in Siberia’s Yakutia region unearthed the fully intact head of a prehistoric wolf. Preserved by the region’s permafrost, or permanently frozen ground, for some 32,000 years, the specimen is the first partial carcass of an adult Pleistocene steppe wolf—an extinct lineage distinct from modern wolves—ever found.

The discovery, first reported by the Siberian Times, is poised to help researchers better understand how steppe wolves compared with their contemporary counterparts, as well as why the species eventually died out.

As Marisa Iati writes for the Washington Post, the wolf in question was fully grown, likely aged 2 to 4 years old, at the time of its death. Although photographs of the severed head, still boasting clumps of fur, fangs and a well-preserved snout, place its size at 15.7 inches long—the modern gray wolf’s head, in comparison, measures 9.1 to 11 inchesLove Dalén, an evolutionary geneticist at the Swedish Museum of Natural History who was filming a documentary in Siberia when the tusk hunter arrived on the scene with the head in tow, says that media reports touting the find as a “giant wolf” are inaccurate.

“It is not that much bigger than a modern wolf if you discount the frozen clump of permafrost stuck to where the neck would [normally] have been,” Dalén explains to Smithsonian.com.

According to CNN, a Russian team led by Albert Protopopov of the Republic of Sakha’s Academy of Sciences is currently building a digital model of the animal’s brain and the interior of its skull.

David Stanton, a researcher at the Swedish Museum of Natural History who is leading genetic analysis of the remains, tells Smithsonian.com that given the head’s state of preservation, he and his colleagues are hopeful that they can extract viable DNA and use it to sequence the wolf’s genome. This work, expected to last at least another year, will eventually be published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

A Russian team is currently building a digital model of the animal’s brain and the interior of its skull
A Russian team is currently building a digital model of the animal’s brain and the interior of its skull (Albert Protopopov)

For now, it remains unclear exactly how the wolf’s head became separated from the rest of its body. Speaking with Smithsonian.com, Tori Herridge, an evolutionary biologist at London’s Natural History Museum who was part of the team filming in Siberia at the time of the discovery, says that a colleague, Dan Fisher of the University of Michigan, thinks scans of the animal’s head may reveal evidence of it being deliberately severed by humans—perhaps “contemporaneously with the wolf dying.” If so, Herridge notes, the find would offer “a unique example of human interaction with carnivores.” Still, she concludes in a post on Twitter, “I am reserving judgment until more investigation [is] done.”

Dalén echoes Herridge’s hesitancy, saying that he has “seen no evidence convincing” him that humans cut off the head. After all, it’s not uncommon to find partial sets of remains in the Siberian permafrost. If an animal was only partially buried and subsequently frozen, for example, the rest of its body could have decomposed or been eaten by scavengers. Alternatively, it’s possible that shifts within the permafrost over thousands of years led the carcass to break into multiple pieces.

According to Stanton, steppe wolves were “probably slightly larger and more robust than modern wolves.” The animals had a strong, wide jaw equipped for hunting large herbivores such as woolly mammoths and rhinos, and as Stanton tells USA Today’s N’dea Yancey-Bragg, went extinct between 20,000 to 30,000 years ago, or roughly the time when modern wolves first arrived on the scene. If the researchers successfully extract DNA from the wolf’s head, they will attempt to use it to determine whether the ancient wolves mated with modern ones, how inbred the older species was, and if the lineage had—or lacked—any genetic adaptations that contributed to its demise.

To date, the Siberian permafrost has yielded an array of well-preserved prehistoric creatures: among others, a 42,000-year-old foal, a cave lion cub, an “exquisite ice bird complete with feathers,” as Herridge notes, and “even a delicate Ice Age moth.” According to Dalén, these finds can largely be attributed to a surge in mammoth tusk hunting and increased melting of permafrost linked with global warming.

Speaking with Smithsonian.com, Stanton concludes, “The warming climate … means that more and more of these specimens are likely to be found in the future.”

At the same time, he points out, “It is also likely that many of [them] will thaw out and decompose (and therefore be lost) before anyone can find … and study them.”

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It’s an ill wind that blows no-one any good. That saying comes to mind when I read about the warming climate and more specimens being found.

Fascinating!

Those eyes!

The science.

This story has been carried by numerous magazines and journals and well it should.

It reveals that the eyes that dogs have are an evolution as a result of their long association with humans.

But let me shut up and let The Atlantic carry on with the account.

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Dogs’ Eyes Have Changed Since Humans Befriended Them

Two specialized muscles give them a range of expression that wolves’ eyes lack.

HALEY WEISS

JUN 17, 2019

English Springer spaniel dog called Twiglet poses on June 30, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. JAMES D. MORGAN / GETTY

Dogs, more so than almost any other domesticated species, are desperate for human eye contact. When raised around people, they begin fighting for our attention when they’re as young as four weeks old. It’s hard for most people to resist a petulant flash of puppy-dog eyes—and according to a new study, that pull on the heartstrings might be exactly why dogs can give us those looks at all.

A paper published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that dogs’ faces are structured for complex expression in a way that wolves’ aren’t, thanks to a special pair of muscles framing their eyes. These muscles are responsible for that “adopt me” look that dogs can pull by raising their inner eyebrows. It’s the first biological evidence scientists have found that domesticated dogs might have evolved a specialized ability used expressly to communicate better with humans.

For the study, a team at the University of Portsmouth’s Dog Cognition Centre looked at two muscles that work together to widen and open a dog’s eyes, causing them to appear bigger, droopier, and objectively cuter. The retractor anguli oculi lateralis muscle and the levator anguli oculi medialis muscle (mercifully known as RAOL and LAOM) form two short, straight lines, which connect the ring of muscle around a dog’s eye to either end of the brow above.

These researchers have long been interested in the ways dogs make eye contact with humans and, in particular, how they move their eyebrows. In 2017, Juliane Kaminski, the lead author of the new paper, found that dogs moved their eyebrows more often while a human paid attention to them, and less often when they were ignored or given food (which, sorry to say, is a more exciting stimulus for them than human love). That suggested the movement is to some degree voluntary. On our side of these longing glances, research has also shown that when dogs work these muscles, humans respond more positively. And both man and mutt benefit from a jolt of oxytocin when locked in on each other.

This isn’t simply a fortuitous love story, in which the eyes of two species just so happen to meet across a crowded planet. Like all the best partnerships, this one is more likely the result of years of evolution and growth. If dogs developed their skill for eyebrow manipulation because of their connection to humans, one way to tell would be to look for the same capacity in wolves. Because dogs split off from their wolf relatives—specifically, gray wolves—as many as 33,000 years ago, studying the two animals is a bit like cracking open a four-legged time capsule. Divergence between the two species marked the start of dogs’ domestication, a long evolutionary process influenced—and often directly driven by—humans. Today, researchers can identify and study differences between the species to gain an understanding of exactly how dogs have changed over time.

In this case, those eyebrow-raising muscles do appear to be an addition to dogs’ anatomy. In the four gray wolves the researchers looked at, neither muscle was present. (They did find bundles of fibers that could be the precursors to the RAOL and LAOM.) In five of the six breeds of dogs the researchers looked at, both muscles were fully formed and strong; in the Siberian husky, the wolflike, oldest breed of the group, the researchers were unable to locate a RAOL.

Sometimes, the origins of changes like these aren’t immediately apparent. Certain physical dog traits—including floppy ears and short snouts—likely originate from the same set of developmental cells that code for tameness, a preferable trait in household pets, for instance. In the case of this new research, though, the connection between the physical trait and the related behavior is a bit more direct. “Previous work—and much of it by these same authors—had shown that these muscles were responsible for enhancing positive responses in humans,” Brian Hare, the director of Duke University’s Canine Cognition Center and the editor of the paper, told The Atlantic via email, “but the current suggests the origin of these facial expressions is after dogs split from wolves.”

By evolutionary standards, the time since this split has been remarkably short for two new facial muscles to have developed. For a species to change that quickly, a pretty powerful force must be acting on it. And that’s where humans come in. We connect profoundly with animals capable of exaggerating the size and width of their eyes, which makes them look like our own human babies and “hijacks” our nurturing instincts.

Research has already demonstrated that humans prefer pets with more infantlike facial features, and two years ago, the authors of this latest study showed that dogs who made the facial movement enabled by the RAOL and LAOM muscles—an expression we read as distinctly humanlike—were more likely to be selected for adoption from a shelter than those who didn’t. We might not have bred dogs for this trait knowingly, but they gained so much from having it that it became a widespread facial feature. “These muscles evolved during domestication, but almost certainly due to an advantage they gave dogs during interactions with humans that we humans have been all but unaware of,” Hare explained.

Tim Smith

“It’s such a classically human system that we have, the ways we interact with our own infants,” says Angie Johnston, an assistant professor at Boston College who studies canine cognition and was not involved with the study. “A big theme that’s come out again and again in canine cognition and looking at the domestication of dogs is that it seems like they really just kind of dove right into our society in the role of being an infant or a small child in a lot of ways. They’re co-opting existing systems we have.”

The same humanlike facial gestures could also be a dog’s way of simply securing attention in the first place. Eyebrow raising is one of the most well-understood examples of what researchers call ostensive cues, a family of nonverbal signals (often facial movements and expressions) humans send one another to convey their intention to directly communicate. Dogs’ uncanny ability to mimic this human expression likely leads us to project certain human emotions onto them in ways we don’t with other animals, regardless of what they might actually be feeling.

The movement of the RAOL and LAOM muscles is particularly open to interpretation. “In different contexts we’ll call that something different,” says Alexandra Horowitz, a senior research fellow at the Barnard College Dog Cognition Lab. “In one case, I might say it’s sad, but in another case I’ll say, He’s really paying attention. It can look wry, like a questioning or unbelieving look.” According to Horowitz, dogs are the only animals aside from our primate cousins that are expressive in this eerily familiar way. Horses alone share the ability to twist their eyes into the same doleful shape, but their overall expressions don’t strike us as humanlike in the same way that dogs’ do. With dogs, Horowitz points out, we’re so driven to connect that we often search for “smiles” in the shapes of dogs’ mouths. The new research, she says, “makes me think it’s more about being able to move the face in a way that humans move the face. We don’t like unexpressive faces.”

Both Horowitz and Johnston suggested that similar studies looking at populations of dingoes (which Johnston researches) and Siberian foxes could provide yet another time capsule of sorts for understanding eyebrow movements and other evolutionary traits. Both species live near humans and are some of the closest living relatives to the earliest dogs. Why did they stay wild while dogs drifted into domestication? “Anything to do with getting to the bottom of why we as a species picked out this one animal can carry a huge amount of information,” Horowitz says. “In some ways, it’s discovering something about ourselves.”

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There is only one way to close this post!