Monthly Archives: April 2012

Weekly Trick – Tandem Bike Ride

Now I know that this trick is not something that most people will ever teach their dog, but I found the video and the dog, amazing.

The dog gets on the back of the tandem bike and starts to pedal along with his human parent.  It is amazing that a dog can do something this absolutely brilliant!

If I were to try to teach this trick, I would start with a command word like “bike” or “on” and then “pedal”.  Lots of treats would be involved, and knowing Sasha, a lot of begging and pleading and possibly tears (on my part) would be involved to get her to even attempt this trick.

My point in posting this video (it is the 7th video down in the playlist if it does not start to play automatically), is that dogs are highly intelligent and can learn to do just about anything with time and patience.  I love the idea of this trick and if someone has taught their dog how to do this, I would love to know how you went about it.

 

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Dog Food Recall – Diamond Dog Food Recall Expanded

Here is what I received in my e-mail today:

On April 26, 2012, Diamond Pet Foods has announced the company is expanding its dog food recall to include one production run of Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul Adult Light Formula dry dog food.
Logo for Diamond Pet Foods

Apparently, one bag of the product has tested positive for Salmonella bacteria.

The recall of four production codes of Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul Adult Light Formula is being conducted as a precautionary measure.

No dog illnesses have been reported.

What Products Are Affected

Details of Diamond Dog Food Recall

Distributed in These Ten States

Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul Adult Light Formula dry dog food is manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods and was distributed in Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia.

And these same agents may have further distributed the product to other states, through pet food channels.

The company is working directly with distributors and retailers who carry these products to remove them from the supply chain.

The company goes on to warn:

Pets with Salmonella infections may have decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, pets may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. 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.

Individuals handling dry pet food can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with surfaces exposed to this product. Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, people who are more likely to be affected by Salmonella include infants, children younger than 5 years old, organ transplant patients, people with HIV/AIDS and people receiving treatment for cancer.

What to Do

Consumers who have purchased Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul Adult Light Formula dry dog food with these production codes and best before dates should discard the product.

For more information about this recall, consumers should contact Diamond Pet Foods at 800-442-0402.

Or visit www.chickensoupforthepetloverssoul.com/information.

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

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

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Neutered Cat Spraying

You know how it is sometimes, you get your cat neutered and follow all the proper procedures and your cat still sprays.  How can this be?  Let’s take a look at why your neutered cat is still spraying.

Cats are sticklers for routine, they thrive on it and they will let you know they are not happy if you change their routine.  Did you get another cat and not do introductions properly?  Did you start a new job and are gone most of the day, thus cutting into play time or eating time?  Is there a new person/different kind of pet in the house now?  OR maybe you moved the litter box to a less private spot?  All these things should be considered when trying to solve the issue of your cat spraying.

Many cats will react to anxiety by spraying.  It is an ingrained process and remember, they are NOT doing this to anger or frustrate you.  To ensure your cat is healthy, a trip to the vet is in order, so that they can discuss with you how to stop this behavior before it gets out of control.

To help stop your cat from spraying, make sure that you keep their litter box clean.  Sometimes scooping it twice a day or more can help.  Do not deviate from their routine if you can possibly help it.  Sometimes with cats that are high strung or  anxiety-ridden, Feliway spray around your house can combat the issue.

To read more about cat spraying, here is an article to help you with this issue.

In the end, your neutered cat spraying can be cause for concern and a trip to the vet can’t hurt.  Take care of your cat, make sure that routines are followed, the litter box is clean and in a private place, and that your cat is in good health.  Your cat will thank you for that.

Cat Whiskers – What’s Up With That?

We all know cats have whiskers but do we really know all the intricate details about them?

Did you know that whiskers are made up of sinus hair and they are vitally important for cat survival?

There are normally 12 whiskers on each side of a cat’s face that are used for spacial orientation.

It is very interesting that even domestic cat’s whiskers perform the same acts that cats in the wild do.  If you see a cat and their whiskers are pointed straight out, they may be very relaxed.  On the flip side, cats whose whiskers are very close to their face are usually stressed or trying to process information about their environment.

Cats use their whiskers for instinct, to figure out the size of objects in their environment and to help deduce information about any prey they may be stalking.

If you ever see someone trying to cut a cat’s whiskers, please stop them (some children in the neighborhood were trying to do this to a feral cat the other day).  Without whiskers, a cat cannot survive.

For more information about cat whiskers and their importance to cat survival, here is an interesting article.

 

Interesting Cat Facts

There are many interesting things to know about cats,and many of us have a great love of cats and animals in general, but did you know that a person who loves cats is called an ailurophile; cat haters are known as ailurophobes?

I found a great website that has many interesting cat facts and trivia as well as world records for all things cats.

Want to know how to say the word “cat” in different languages?  Here are some: French – chat; German – katze; Italian – gatto; Spanish/Portugese – gato; Yiddish – kats; Maltese – qattus; Swedish/Norwegian – katt; Dutch – kat; Icelandic – kottur; Greek – gata; Hindu – katas; Japanese – neko; Polish – kot.

Interestingly enough, cats have AB blood groups just like people.

I find this information fascinating, I love learning new facts and trivia about…well anything really, but learning all this new information about cats makes me appreciate Isis all the more.
If you would like to learn some new and interesting information about cats, here is the website.

Weekly Trick – Beg

Here is a fairly easy trick that your dog should enjoy doing not only for treats, but when friends come over.  Surely they will like to show off for your friends how smart they are!

You want to have some treats, which you should give in moderation.  Also time and patience.  Do tricks in short sessions, as your dog’s attention span isn’t long.  Have a target stick to make it easier for your dog to know what you want.

First you want to get them to move upward and any upward movement should be met with a treat.

Keep moving the treat up higher and higher as your dog learns to move upward.

Then, once you have reached the desired height,  you will want to hold the position for a short amount of time.

Then add the verbal cue “beg”.

After a while, once you think your dog understands what you are looking for,  you can stop using the target stick.

Then you will want to just use the verbal cue “beg”.

Now your dog should be able to stand up and beg.

You may be able to teach your dog to go even more advanced and clap their paws together in a begging motion.  That will take time and your own ideas as to how to get your dog to perform this.  I have been trying to work with Sasha to teach her to clap her paws together while in the beg position, she is learning slowly.

Here is a video to teach the trick to your dog.

Recipe Friday – Berry Good Doggie Biscuits

Here is a fresh and yummy recipe for berry biscuit treats your dog is sure to love.  With spring here, berries are fresh and in season and a welcome treat for dogs and humans alike!  Remember to feed in moderation.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pureed Berries (any berries will work)
  • 1/2 cup Plain Yogurt
  • 1 2/3 cup Whole Wheat Flour (if your dog has allergies, you can use rice flour, about 1 1/3 cups should work, if you need to use more to make it doughy, use a bit more).
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2/3 cup Oats (if your dog has allergies, you can get gluten free oats)

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until well combined.

Knead dough into ball and roll onto a floured surface 1/4 inch thick. Cut with cookie cutter of your choice.

Place on greased cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Cool and refrigerate.

 

 

Lameness in Puppies and Younger Dogs?

My vet sent me this article today and asked me to include it in my blog.  It is a bit of a longer read, but it is very important, especially if you have a puppy or a younger dog.  I hope this is useful to many readers:

 

Young puppies are expected to be full of life and energy.  They are enthusiastic about playtime, walks and exercise.  Puppies will often follow you wherever you go, can disrupt your nap or quiet time in their excitement to show you something new, and be always ready for playtime and fun.  When puppies and young dogs are lethargic and demonstrate pain and lameness in their legs, a visit must be made to your veterinarian promptly.

“A puppy that becomes acutely down and out with no specific signs causes extra concern because our expectation is that they are young, vibrant animals. There are two diseases that are only seen in puppies and young dogs that cause pain and lameness in multiple limbs and lethargy. They often have a fever and decreased appetite,” advises veterinarian Christie Long.

Hypertrophic osteodystrophy (HOD) usually affects puppies between 2 and 8 months old.  It is a developmental disease of the bone that occurs when blood supply to the bone’s growth plates is disturbed.  This disturbance can impede production of bone, cause weakening and microscopic fractures.

Panosteitis is another condition that could be present in puppies and young does, suggests Dr. Long.  It typically occurs in large and medium-breed dogs that are younger than two.  “Hypertrophic osteodystropy produces similar signs in even younger dogs, but the pain is localized in the region at the end of those bones and the joint itself. These animals often have joints that are very warm to the touch and swollen,” she indicates.  Dr. Long further shares that both diseases have been extensively studied.  Doctors are still looking for a specific cause and suspect that not feeding foods formulated specifically for large-breed dogs can be a contributing factor in patients with HOD.

Household breeds commonly affected by hypertrophic osteodystrophy (HOD) include:  Saint Bernards, Doberman pinschers, German shepards, Weimaraners, Great Danes and Irish wolfhounds.  Hazel Gregory’s Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy or a Blood Infection shares her experiences with the challenges of identifying HOD while eliminating blood infection in her Great Danes.

Pain and lethargy in your young dog or puppy should be taken seriously and treated promptly by a veterinarian.  Dehydration and serious complications can occur if treatment is delayed.  Be sure to visit your family veterinarian speedily.  During the visit with your family veterinarian, you’ll be asked questions about your pet’s current habits.  Your vet will ask about appetite and eating habits.  Other questions will include weight loss, fatigue, or lack of energy that you’ve noticed in your puppy.  Your vet will examine your puppy or young dog for fever, swelling and check for pain in the legs.  The doctor will determine if the discomfort or pain is severe and will pinpoint the location of pain in your dog’s bones.  During your visit, your veterinarian will talk with you about treatment recommendations for your puppy or young dog.

Food Aggression In Dogs

Many dogs have had to deal with “hoarding” their food or having to protect their food so that they have something to eat at the end of the day.  Depending on whether your dog was in an abusive situation, your dog could have had to eat with several, or hundreds of other dogs.  Breaking your dog of this habit should happen immediately so that the problem does not fester and possibly become worse.

Food aggression usually means your dog growls when he/she is fed, they can snap and snarl, or even bite.  Some will have major issues and may even try to chase or attack someone if they come near their food bowl.

In order to rule out anything physical with your dog, it is a good idea to take your dog to the vet to rule that out.  Also, if possible, you may want to hire a professional trainer that can help you work with your dog to alleviate this issue.

Working with your dog to stop this behavior will take time, patience and help from ALL family members.  Each family member must be involved so that your dog associates the family with good experiences and it helps them to establish their place in the “pack.”

If you need more information or some tips or tricks on how to work with a dog that has food aggression, here is an article to help you on your way.

 

Dogs and Yawning – What’s The Deal?

Does your dog yawn?  Have you yawned lately and noticed your dog followed suit?  Sasha yawns often, sometimes even making a funny little “aarreeeooooo” sound as she does so.

I recently read an article with a study about dogs and yawning and it showed that many dogs yawn when they see people yawning, kind of trying to commiserate with their pet parent.  Some do this because the study suggests dogs are masters at picking up social cues from their owners and are trying to empathize with them.

Wouldn’t that be amazing if that really was the case?  We are more connected to dogs than we (or they) realize.

On the flip side, yawning can also mean a dog is stressed and that they are showing that by yawning.  This can be from observing their owner’s tense or stressed state.

I find it very interesting that dogs can take cues from people and possibly sympathize with us.  I know that dogs are very observant.  Sasha will sense when I am sad or tired or in need of cuddles.  She will jump up on the couch beside me, put her sweet face in my lap and let out a content sigh and fall asleep, which quickly turns to cute little snores.  There is quite possibly nothing better than having an animal fall asleep, content in your lap.