Move Over Pigs – Truffle Hunting Dogs Are Taking Over!

By Linda Cole

Truffles are one of the most expensive culinary delicacies used in cooking. This highly prized tubular fungi grows underground and can only be found by pigs or dogs trained to sniff them out. Female pigs have been the traditional truffle hunters because finding them is something they do naturally with no training, but they are apt to eat the pricey mushrooms. Truffle hunting dogs have been used in Italy and France for years, and now American hunters are also relying on canine noses to root out these elusive and expensive treats.

The Lagotto Romagnolo, an Italian water dog, has been the breed used by Italian truffle hunters since the 1800s. Retrievers, setters, pointers and dogs used in detection work – including the Belgian Malinois, German Shepherd and Beagle – all easily adapt to hunting truffles. Poodles, Fox Terriers and Dachshunds also have a good nose for finding the hidden gems. But any dog, mixed or purebred, can be trained to sniff out truffles. Like pigs, dogs will eat the truffles; however, it’s much easier to stop a dog from eating one than it is to convince a 300 pound pig to drop her favorite treat.

Truffles are among the world’s most expensive natural foods. They are found in Europe, North America, Asia and North Africa. Warty and irregular, truffles can be as small as marbles up to the size of a fist. They’re often found around the base of pine, willow, hazelnut and oak trees, although pretty much any tree can have one of these prized treats hidden underneath.
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The Best Halloween Costumes for Pets

By Langley Cornwell

Which one are you – a pet owner who dresses up the family dog or cat for Halloween, or a pet owner who thinks it’s a silly practice? Most people fall into one category or the other, without a lot of gray space in between. Even if you’re in the “it’s silly” camp, you have to admit that sometimes Halloween costumes for pets are funny, sometimes they’re clever and sometimes they’re downright brilliant.

Let’s Pretend

It’s popular to dress up your dog or cat as another animal. There are some precious pandas, penguins, pigs, bumblebees and sharks out there. Another standby is a lion mane costume for a cat. This Halloween costume is especially effective if the cat is an oversized orange tabby. I recently saw a plush lion’s mane on a Golden Retriever which was also cute, especially considering the dog’s loving, wistful stare (very un-lion like).

I always thought my Samoyed mix looked like a polar bear, and apparently I’m not alone. A local animal shelter recently held a Halloween costume fundraiser and the winner was a white, fluffy dog dressed like a polar bear.

There are spider costumes for every size dog. The best I’ve seen is a black Pug with black spider legs, but there was a German Shepherd dressed like a big spider with a hairy spider body and hairy spider legs. Horrifyingly cute!

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Are Pets Affected by the Daylight Savings Time Change?

daylight savings marioBy Linda Cole

Daylight savings time reverts back to standard time on Sunday, November 2, except for most of Arizona and Hawaii that don’t participate in the time change. We lose an hour (spring forward) in the spring and gain it back (fall back) in the fall. These yearly time changes may not be that big of a deal to us, but to pets it can be confusing and stressful. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help your pet adjust and hopefully avoid having your extra hour of sleep interrupted by a hungry cat or anxious dog wondering why you’re still in bed.

Humans, animals, plants and even fungi have a biological clock on an approximate 24 hour cycle. Our circadian rhythm (internal clock) tells us when it’s time to sleep, wake up and eat. It’s how bears and other hibernating animals know when it’s time to find a nesting site for the winter, and it’s what signals migrating butterflies and birds that it’s time for their seasonal journey. The circadian rhythm is based on periods of light and darkness, and it doesn’t matter if light is natural or artificial. Animals know when the seasons are changing and our pets do notice an increase or decrease in daylight when we change times each year.

A dog or cat’s daily routine is something they would prefer to be written in stone. Unfortunately, things happen that can alter schedules, and a simple time change can be perplexing for some pets. Because they live in the human world, we are the ones that decide when it’s time for our pets to go for a walk, play or eat their CANIDAE, and also when it’s time to go to bed and wake up. In the fall when we gain an hour and can sleep in, our pets are still on daylight savings time and don’t understand why we’re still in bed when they are up and ready to go. Their internal clock is saying morning has arrived and it’s time to get moving (and get fed!).
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Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe on Halloween

halloween safety donelleBy Laurie Darroch

Although Halloween festivities are fun for people of all ages, they are sometimes stressful and dangerous for a dog. Taking some precautions will help keep your dog safe during trick or treating and Halloween gatherings.

Candy and Goodies

No matter how well trained or well behaved your dog is, sometimes temptation can be overpowering for a dog. Given the opportunity, they might give in to the siren call of delicious smelling goodies sitting in easy reach. Eating items like chocolate or wrappings can be particularly dangerous for a dog. They won’t stop at one piece of candy either, if they get into an easily accessible bowl of sweets. A dog may try to eat as much as they can get away with before they get caught.

Keep the treats out of your dog’s reach, and don’t give them little bites of even the harmless treats. That is an open invitation for them to try and get more. Instead, make sure they’ve had a full meal of their own healthy CANIDAE dog food before the festivities begin. Your dog will be less likely to be tempted if their hunger is already sated. Keep a bag of CANIDAE dog treats handy as well, so if they are tempted by the sweets you can substitute something more appropriate for them.
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Dear Cat: (Things Your Human Needs You to Know)

dear cat cloudzillaBy Julia Williams

Last week my cat, Rocky, shared his “Dear Human” list with you. Since I am the sole two legged servant for this cheeky feline, one can reasonably assume I was the human he was addressing. Although amusing, Rocky’s anecdotes weren’t really what you’d call “fact based reporting.” To be clear, he made most of that stuff up. That cat does seem to like telling tall tales (tails?). I, on the other hand, have a journalism degree and so I have a code of ethics to uphold. No fables from me!

Right.

So…just as felines obviously have lots of things they want their human (aka the Butler) to know, we Cat People have things we need our furry companions to know. Here are a few.

Dear Cat: I have a very dependable alarm clock. If I need to get up at 5 a.m., the clock will let me know. I do NOT need your help. I don’t need you to lick my face, jump on my stomach, pull my hair, scratch the carpet, whine incessantly, or knock things off the dresser in an attempt to rouse me. When it’s time for your CANIDAE breakfast, you’ll be the first to know.

Dear Cat: Please stop swishing your big fluffy tail in my Caramel Macchiato coffee drink. I happen to like the taste of the caramel foam FAR more than I like cleaning it off the wall after you flick it there with your tail. I know you’re just trying to help me diet, but come on… the caramel foam is off limits!

Dear Cat: I appreciate that you want to help me with my housework by licking all the dirty dishes in the sink. I really do. But – and this is a BIG but – you leave a slimy residue on them, which pretty much defeats the purpose.
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Icelandic Sheepdog: The Dog That Traveled with Vikings

Icelandic Alan LevineBy Linda Cole

The Icelandic Sheepdog is Iceland’s only native dog breed. A member of the Spitz family of dogs, this ancient breed traveled with the Vikings when they sailed from Norway and other Scandinavian countries to settle in new lands. Considered one of the oldest breeds, this primitive herding dog dates back to between 874 and 930 AD. They adapted so well to Iceland’s challenging environment and farming techniques, they were invaluable to farmers who used them to manage and move livestock.

The breed is known by other names such as the Iceland Spitz, Iceland Dog, Friaar Dog, the “dog of the Vikings,” or simply ISD. Legends tell the story of a loyal and noble dog that worked side by side with Icelandic farmers. The climate was harsh and the terrain difficult to traverse. The Icelandic Sheepdog, a crucial partner to those who worked the land, was a hard working and beloved companion of farmers.

Isolation from other dogs allowed the Icelandic Sheepdog to evolve over the centuries through natural selection and development by man. Well suited to work in and withstand the harsh Icelandic environment, these hardy dogs have changed little over the centuries. They were so respected and cherished by their owners, archaeologists have found many primitive grave sites of ISD indicating ancient farmers felt their dogs were worthy of being honored with a proper burial.

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