Monthly Archives: November 2009

Do Dogs Sense Fear?

By Linda Cole

I have never been afraid of dogs, but I have friends who are terrified of them. Is their fear warranted? Can dogs sense when someone is afraid of them and if so, does it cause them to react differently towards someone who is fearful? Can dogs feel other human emotions too, or is it just a figment of our imagination, or wishful thinking?

Fear is a natural reaction to situations where we feel we have no control. Animals know when to run and when to fight. If dogs sense fear from us, does that mean a dog who is normally submissive can become aggressive towards us? Yes, if he knows you are afraid.

Because dogs are experts at reading body language, they can quickly pick up on someone who is afraid of them. They can actually smell fear. When we are scared, sweat glands are more active which will produce “body odor” a dog can smell. There’s even evidence dogs can see fear as well as other emotions on our face. However, our body language sends the strongest and most significant signal to a dog.

Dogs sense fear and can read us like a book. People who are afraid of dogs often stare at them, which the dog interprets as being confrontational. Instead of staying calm, a fearful person will tense up, which also tells the dog this person wants to fight. Someone who is afraid of dogs will likely have no idea what a dog’s body language means; therefore, their body language may be telling the dog all the wrong things. A fearful person can put the dog in a defensive state of mind.

If dogs sense fear through body language, the best way to defuse a situation is by understanding both the body language of dogs and your own. Avoid making eye contact, stand still with your arms loosely at your side, remain calm, keep your side toward the dog and never run away. Don’t yell or kick at the dog, or try to hit it with a stick or your hands. Slowly back away and keep an eye on the dog without giving it direct eye contact. If you see a dog sitting on the sidewalk ahead of you, walk around him. This tells him you mean him no harm and you’re just passing by. A straight on approach signals to the dog you want to meet him.

So if dogs sense fear, do they also know when we are happy or sad? Most scientists who study animals say no, but most pet owners who interact with their pet every day would disagree. I’ve lived with dogs and cats my entire life, and have always been amazed by their ability to know when I am in a good mood, upset or angry. They react differently depending on my mood. Researchers agree dogs can show primary emotions like anger, fear or anxiety, but other emotions are beyond a dog’s range of feelings because they believe dogs don’t have a sense of “self.” They theorize that jealousy or empathy could not be felt by dogs. I’m not sure I agree. My dogs do show jealousy and I have the scars to back me up, from breaking up dogfights over who was going to sit next to me.

A video of two dogs was shown on the news last winter. One dog had fallen into a frozen pond when the ice broke under him. The other dog would leave, but kept coming back to check on the one in the water. Did the dog sense fear from his companion? It seemed like he knew the dog in the water was in trouble. He would run up to people standing on the bank as if he was pleading for help. Was he showing empathy for the dog stuck in the freezing water? Both dogs were rescued and returned to their owner. The one in the water had no injuries other than shivering from a dip in a frozen pond.

Those who live with dogs and cats see every day how their pet reacts to them and the world they live in. Dogs who share our homes with other dogs or cats are as individual as humans are. Some dogs are smarter than others and may show more emotions than others. Dogs sense fear as well as anger and anxiety. As for love, empathy, jealousy or other emotions, the jury is still out – but don’t be surprised if your dog snuggles up to you the next time you’re in a sad mood. It’s their way of saying “I love you and I know something is wrong. Can I help?” They may understand us better than we thought.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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Breed Profile: Irish Wolfhound, the Gentle Giant

By Ruthie Bently

The Irish Wolfhound breed has an interesting past. One of the earliest records of the Irish Wolfhound comes from the Roman Consul Quintus Aurelius, in 391 A.D. He wrote about seven that he received as a gift, though there is some thought that the breed may have arrived in Ireland as early as 3500 B.C. They were used by the Romans as guards for their stock, castles and families. They were also used as warriors in battle to drag men off horseback or out of chariots, as well as for hunting game like the very large Irish elk and wolves. Irish Wolfhounds were also considered a family pet, and were allowed to play with children.

With the extinction of the Irish elk and wolves, the breed almost became extinct itself. Because there was such a worldwide demand for the Irish Wolfhound, Oliver Cromwell created a law to ban their export from Ireland. Nevertheless, by the nineteenth century there were not many Wolfhounds left in Ireland. Enter Captain George August Graham, who in 1862 began to restore the breed. He gathered the last specimens of the breed, and by using a Borzoi, Tibetan Mastiff, Great Danes and Deerhounds was able to recover the size and style of the original Irish Wolfhound. Under his supervision, in 1885 with the founding of the Irish Wolfhound club, the first breed standard was made. In 1981, the Irish Wolfhound Society was founded by Mrs. Florence Nagle, and every year both the society and the club hold a rally and a championship show and open.

The Irish Wolfhound is the tallest and largest of the hound group, with a rough coat. He has keen sight, is very swift and powerful with a commanding appearance and a strong muscular frame. The size range for height should be between 30 and 34 inches at the shoulder with the minimum for females being 30 inches and a weight of 105 pounds; males should be 32 to 34 inches at the shoulder and weigh about 120 pounds. They should have good symmetry and power while being active and showing courage.

While Irish Wolfhounds are known as “gentle giants,” it should be remembered that they are historically a hunting dog. They are usually friendly and even tempered, but socializing them early is very important. They are generally good with other dogs and people, and most Wolfhounds love children. However, they may not do well around other types of animals because of their natural instincts. One good outlet for this behavior is lure coursing, which also helps with their need for exercise.

Because of their size and exercise requirements, you should carefully consider whether a Wolfhound is the right breed for you. Although they can be kept in a city, it is not the best place for them. The ideal situation for them is a property that is fenced and has sufficient room for them to run and gallop, as their size demands. As an adult, these dogs are a calm, loving family member and do best with daily human companionship.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Fascinating Facts About Dogs and Cats

By Anna Lee

Dogs and cats are the most common pets that people own. There are, however, other pets out there sharing life with loving families. Although a snake would not be my first choice as a pet, there are many folks who own them. A pet is what you consider a pet to be, whether it is a pig, a cow, a horse, a hamster, a frog or a lizard. If you (or your children) take care of it, feed and interact with it, then it is a pet. Following are various pet facts for your reading pleasure.

Dogs bark to give a warning or an alarm. Dogs in the wild will bark as a means to send messages to the pack. Dogs bark when they are anxious, excited or when they are bored. They also bark to attract attention from humans. However, dogs do not bark when they attack. If you want a dog that does not bark, there is such a dog. It is the Basenji dog from the Congo. Although it doesn’t bark, it makes a yodeling sound that could possibly be more annoying than barking!

If your dog bays at the moon don’t let it upset you, it is just the dog’s natural urge to call the pack together. If your dog howls when you leave it home alone, turn on the TV or radio to keep it company.

If you’ve seen a scared dog run, you know that he puts his tail between his legs. A dog’s anal glands carry “personal” scents that can identify him or her. By putting the tail between the legs it is similar to a human covering his or her face in an effort to hide it.

Dogs pant to cool their bodies; they do not sweat like a human. Dogs take anywhere from 10-30 breaths a minute and their hearts beat between 70 and 100 times a minute, much more often than a human heart beats per minute.

The average dog has 42 teeth, which is more than I have! Now I have an urge to count Abby’s teeth. She is 11-1/2 and still has not lost one of her teeth. If you brush your dog’s teeth on a regular schedule the dog will get used to it, or so they say. A dog’s mouth can exert 150-200 pounds of pressure per square inch.

Did you know that two dogs survived the sinking Titanic? Dogs are mentioned 14 times in the Bible. One in three households own at least one dog, and the Labrador Retriever is the number one dog in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

There are an estimated 5 million cats in the world. The largest cat is called a Ragdoll, with the male weighing up to 20 pounds. The domestic cat is the only feline species that can hold its tail vertical while walking. All wild cats hold their tails horizontal or tucked between their legs.

It is possible for one female cat to have up to 100 kittens in her lifetime. A cat’s normal body temperature is 101.5. Cats prefer their food to be room temperature. Do not feed dog food to your cat, but do change its water bowl at least once a day. Cats have either round, slanted or almond shaped eyes, and can see up to 120 feet away.

The biggest frog in the world is a Goliath from West Africa. It is about a foot long and can weigh as much as a house cat. That is one big frog. A frog can jump 20 times its own length, whereas a flea can jump 150 times its length.

If you want a pet that is small but multiplies fast, a hamster is the answer. A hamster can have 4 to 12 young at one time, and the word hamster is German for “storing food.”

Finally, a puppy will sleep up to 14 hours per day, which reminds me – it’s time for Abby and me to take our naps. Good night! Sleep tight!

Read more articles by Anna Lee

Find CANIDAE Retailers Near You!

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

The Michigan Pet Expo is a “Doggone Purrfect” Event!

By Julia Williams

If you love dogs and/or cats, and you live near Detroit, Michigan, then the place to be November 20 to 22 is the 2009 Michigan Family Pet Expo. In fact, this three-day showcase for pet products and services is so big and promises to be so much fun, you might want to attend even if you don’t live in Michigan! Besides being a one-stop shopper’s paradise for all things pet-related, the Michigan Pet Expo is slated to offer a great mix of entertainment, artwork, demonstrations and attractions, including a cat show, a Petting Zoo, and a “Dancing with Dogs” competition.

CANIDAE will be at this exciting event (of course!), handing out free pet food samples and helping to raise funds for cancer research in pets. As part of their ongoing mission to foster Responsible Pet Ownership and aid animals in need, CANIDAE will once again hold a charity raffle, with a fabulous Felt Bicycle as the grand prize. Proceeds from the raffle will directly benefit cancer research projects at the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

One of the highlights of the Michigan Family Pet Expo is sure to be the Dock Diving competition, where CANIDAE-sponsored Team Air Gunner will participate in the Ultimate Air Games. In this sport, dogs run down a 40-foot dock and into a swimming pool to retrieve a toy that’s tossed in by their handler. “Dock Diving” dogs can reach speeds of more than 30 miles per hour and jump over 28 feet.

Also scheduled to appear at the Pet Expo:

Johnny Peers and the Muttville Comix will amuse pet lovers of all ages with their comical canine routine. Johnny Peers performs as a Charlie Chaplin-like clown with a personable pack of mutts that skateboard, walk the tightrope, climb ladders, jump rope, knock Johnny down and walk all over him (in a lovable sort of way).

Rock-N-Roll K-9’s Performance Team will enthrall crowds with their amazing athletic dogs and trainers. Cheer on your favorite canine as they race around, over, under and through the custom-made agility course, perform a hilarious musical mat routine or try their paw at flyball and high jump. Combining energetic dogs with rock-and-roll music and incredible tricks, this show is sure to leave audiences begging for more.

Cat Show & Seminars hosted by G.L.A.C.E. (Great Lakes Area Cat Enthusiasts).The club will have a special display of cats, seminars and exhibits, along with cat agility, a parade of cats, cat presentations, cat grooming and care seminars.

Paws With A Cause will demonstrate how this national agency serves people with disabilities through custom-trained Assistance Dogs. PAWS staff and their clients will demonstrate some of the many tasks dogs can be trained to do, which provides invaluable help to those with disabilities.

First Aid 4 Paws will present pet first aid & CPR training demonstrations.

Animal Adoptions: many local rescue groups are planning to participate in the Michigan Family Pet Expo. You can view different breeds of dogs and cats that are available for adoption, and speak with educated volunteers to find out which animal would best suit you and your family.

Now in its second year, the 2009 Michigan Family Pet Expo takes place at the Rock Financial Showplace in Novi, Michigan on November 20 to 22, 2009. Admission is $9 for adults and $5 for children (ages 3-12); parking is $5. Please visit their website for more information, including a complete schedule of entertainment and a list of vendors.

If you’re in the area next weekend, you won’t want to miss this family-friendly event – and while you’re there, come by the CANIDAE booth to say hello and buy a raffle ticket to support cancer research in pets.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Canine Diabetes: Four Symptoms to Watch For

By Linda Cole

Just like people, dogs can suffer from a variety of diseases. Some are more severe than others. Since our pets can’t tell us when they don’t feel well, it’s up to us to be able to see when there’s a change in their routine, eating and drinking habits, or behavior. Canine diabetes is a common disease in dogs that can be controlled if caught in the early stages.

Insulin is produced in the pancreas and is a hormone that regulates blood glucose. Canine diabetes results from the destruction of cells called beta pancreatic cells. These cells are responsible for the secretion of insulin. If they are destroyed, the dog is no longer able to produce insulin, which will then create hyperglycemia (elevated blood glucose levels).

There are four main symptoms related to canine diabetes: drinking a lot of water, excessive urination, weight loss, and an increase in appetite even though the dog keeps losing weight. A dog with diabetes may develop cataracts even before other symptoms are noticed, but not always. They may also have problems with infections that keep coming back.

German Shepherds, Poodles, Beagles and Schnauzers are more susceptible to canine diabetes than other breeds. Females, especially obese ones, seem to be affected more than males, and larger dogs have a greater chance than smaller dogs of developing this disease. However, any sex, size or age of dogs can develop diabetes. Canine diabetes doesn’t usually begin to show up until the dog becomes older, but younger dogs can develop this hereditary disease. Cats can also develop diabetes, and have the same symptoms as dogs.

There are two types of this autoimmune disease, but the more serious one that requires daily insulin is called Diabetes Mellitus. It’s important to catch this form of diabetes in the early stages in order to control the disease and stabilize your dog with insulin shots, proper diet and adequate exercise. Regular monitoring by your vet also helps keep canine diabetes in check.

A simple blood sugar test can determine if your dog has diabetes. A vet can perform this test right in his office. By understanding symptoms associated with canine diabetes and getting the dog to your vet when you begin to notice any of the symptoms, your dog has a good chance of living a full and healthy life.

My mom had two dogs that developed diabetes at different times. Mom’s first dog, an American Eskimo named Heidi, enjoyed a long, healthy life even with diabetes. Tony, also an American Eskimo, had a harder time dealing with it. He was a young dog when he developed this disease and had underlying health issues due to under nourishment and poor living conditions as a puppy, before Mom got him. His diabetes brought all his other health problems to the surface. Dogs are like us, and lack of exercise, poor diet and not enough food early in life can make a difference as they grow older. If possible, knowing your dog’s family history can give you insight into hereditary diseases like diabetes, that could develop as they grow older.

Helping your dog stay fit and knowing what to look for can help them better handle canine diabetes if they should develop it. Most dogs can live long, healthy lives when it’s caught early. If you suspect your pet may have developed diabetes, don’t hesitate to talk with your vet. He can quickly determine if your dog has diabetes and can answer any questions you may have. Canine diabetes does require proper diet and exercise, and the dog may need regular insulin shots, but with proper care, your pet can lead a normal life. If you notice even one of the four symptoms, it’s a good idea to have your dog checked out by your vet as soon as possible.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

Find CANIDAE Retailers Near You!

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Save a Life: Adopt a Retired Racing Greyhound

By Ruthie Bently

An associate of mine in Colorado mentioned recently that two of the dog tracks in the state had gone out of business. He was concerned about where the greyhound dogs would be going. Now there are organizations that will try to get the racers from the track so they can help the dogs live out their lives in a good home. I have had personal experience with retired racing Greyhounds, and they are wonderful dogs. However, as retired racers they do need some special consideration due to their unique characteristics.

While all dogs are pack animals, track Greyhounds are used to being with large groups of dogs since birth. It is very important to let them know early on that you are the alpha dog, as they will take over if you let them. It is not uncommon for a Greyhound to follow you, the pack leader, from room to room.

A Greyhound is related to Salukis, Afghans and other sight hounds, and is descended from southern wolf strains. They have an independent nature due to originally being raised to hunt with other hounds and develop pursuit strategies spontaneously while chasing prey. Their eyesight and senses of smell and hearing, are all very keen. They are not predators, though they have been trained to chase lures, which is in their nature.

It has been reported that some retired Greyhounds no longer wish to race. Don’t let that fool you and trust them off leash; it is a Greyhound’s natural instinct to run. They can sprint for short periods of time at a speed of 45 miles an hour. No matter how well-behaved you may think the dog is, if a Greyhound sees something to chase, nothing will bring them back to you if they are off leash. It can even be a challenge when they are leashed, since they are so strong.

Because they have never known a breed other than Greyhounds, they may be shy, frightened or confused around other dogs, and they are usually not familiar with cats. Most have never been able to be carefree puppies. As such, you may find they have some behaviors that need to be acted out (like chewing), but they do outgrow them. They also do not know how to play games, climb stairs or sit, because they were never taught; they can learn, however.

Greyhounds are very smart dogs. Though sensitive, they can be independent, are sometimes shy, inquisitive and gentle. They love walking (always leashed!), are usually used to a leash, and can learn simple commands quickly. Since they are taught to race at a very young age, a class in obedience training is recommended. You may also have to reinforce their house training by walking them outside several times a day, until they understand that the house belongs to you so they don’t mark there. Though they may be several years old when you adopt them, there are things they didn’t have a chance to learn as puppies, so remember to be especially patient with them.

Greyhounds are great learners, and like cats they will rub up against you. They need to wear a coat or sweater when outside, because they are so lean they don’t have a layer of fat, and can be affected by rain or cold weather. They are used to being crated from a young age and you should continue the practice, since they see their crate as a safe haven. Depending on what they were being fed at the track, they may not be used to eating kibble and may need a period of adjustment. This deep-chested breed can be susceptible to bloat, so it’s best to feed them at least twice a day.

Since they will probably not be getting the same exercise at your house that they did at the track, watch the food and treats closely so you don’t overfeed them. A small dog treat like CANIDAE Snap-Bits™ has few calories and is a tasty addition to the biscuit jar. Due to their height they can knock things off tables with their tail and may want to counter surf. It’s also a good idea to put the garbage can out of reach, and put a gate up when they are in a room by themselves.

Greyhounds love to sleep with their owners if they are allowed. Just make sure there is enough room on the bed for both of you. I have known several Greyhound dogs, and they make wonderful companions. When you take the time to adopt a retired racing Greyhound, you have not only made a friend for life, you have saved a beautiful creature.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.