Monthly Archives: October 2010

What Causes Sterility in Dogs?

By Ruthie Bently

Not every dog is capable of creating progeny to leave behind. Either the male or female can be sterile. What causes a dog to be sterile or to become sterile? Canine sterility can be caused by a myriad of things. Some causes of canine infertility can happen to either sex, and some are gender specific.

A female dog comes into heat twice a year for approximately three weeks. A first heat can occur between the age of six weeks and fifteen months, depending on the dog’s breed. Normal heat cycles occur at six month intervals, but can occur from five to eight months apart. If there is more than one female dog in a household, one is dominant and their heat cycle can control the cycles of the other females in the household. Many professionals suggest waiting until a female is over two or has had several heats, as she may not be able to carry the puppies to term. A male dog doesn’t come into “season” like a female, but if he is sexually mature he is capable of fathering puppies.

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Black Cats and Halloween

By Julia Williams

The jubilant holiday known as Halloween is a great time to be a kid – or a fun-loving adult. Halloween is not, however, a particularly good time to be a black cat. Like ghosts, bats, jack-o’ lanterns, skeletons and witches, black cats are a classic Halloween symbol. The difference is that black cats are also living beings. This opens the door to all sorts of problems for the black cat, ranging from teenage mischief to outright cruelty, to people using real black cats as part of their “spooky” Halloween décor.

It can be hard for responsible pet owners to fathom how such things could occur, because we’d never dream of doing them ourselves. It’s not hard for your local animal shelter to imagine, though, because many of them have seen it firsthand. The threat of danger to black cats on Halloween became so prevalent that a decade or so ago, many shelters instituted a policy that still stands today: no black cat adoptions during the entire month of October.

Before the ban, many shelters saw an increase in black cat adoptions just before Halloween. They also noted that many of those same black cats were returned to the shelter after the holiday, often with vague excuses. One can reasonably assume that these thoughtless humans simply wanted a “cool” Halloween decoration for their house or their witch’s costume. These types typically regard pets as property rather than living beings that would be traumatized by being adopted for a few weeks and given up once the holiday was over.

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How to Desensitize a Scared Dog

By Linda Cole

Dogs can show a fear of storms, fireworks or loud voices. Their fear can be mild to severe and when a storm is on the horizon, your dog may disappear or hunker down until the storm has passed. Fear of storms or loud noise adds stress to their life and yours. Sometimes it’s hard to understand dog behavior, but once we do, we can set up a program to desensitize a scared dog and teach him there’s nothing to fear from thunder or loud noises.

Fear of loud noises is only one type of fear dogs can show. Some become anxious around strangers or other dogs. I had a dog who didn’t like to be around men. Some dogs are scared of objects like vacuum cleaners or grooming combs, and some dogs don’t want their paws touched for any reason. Since dogs can’t tell us why something scared them, the only thing we can do is pay attention to our dogs during stressful times to figure out what is scaring them. Desensitization is one way to help change a dog’s behavior and help him get rid of his fear.

The last thing you should do when your dog is scared is tell him everything is alright, because you’re telling him it’s okay to be fearful. By ignoring his reaction to thunder or loud noises, he sees you remaining calm and nothing bad happened to you, so it must be okay.

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Live Animal Sports Team Mascots

By Suzanne Alicie

There are many animals that are known for their jobs, including the famous Bud Light “spokesdog” Spuds Mackenzie, the Taco Bell Chihuahua and the Geico gecko. These are popular advertising animals that are easily recognizable. For sports fans, there are some animals that are even more recognizable. Those are the live animal sports team mascots that are known and loved by fans across the country.

A sports team mascot often travels with the team and spends time with the players, coaches, cheerleaders and sports fans. Some of the most well known real live sports mascots are beloved by college teams such as the University of Georgia Bulldogs. The bulldogs are represented by Uga, an American bulldog. There are several college teams that use live animals as their sports team mascots. Dogs, alligators, mules and bears are all out there representing their teams, interacting with fans and boosting morale and spirit for their teams.

When it comes to working animals, being a sports team mascot sounds like a pretty good deal. These animals have trainers, and caretakers who look after their nutrition, exercise and health care, as well as handling travel arrangements and appearances for the mascots. Special care is given to these mascots because they are live animals, and they deserve to be treated well – even sports teams can be responsible pet owners. Animal mascots are respected and well cared for by all who are involved.

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Could Your Dog Ace the “Canine Good Citizen” test?

By Julia Williams

Having a well-trained feline is not something most cat owners care about. Not because cats can’t be trained – they certainly can – but it’s really not necessary for everyday life. Dog owners, on the other hand, do need to make sure their canine buddy is well trained and well behaved. Trained dogs make better companions, and the training process helps you build a stronger bond with your dog.

Many pet owners use the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen® (CGC) certification program as the first step in training their dogs. Passing the 10-step CGC test ensures that your dog has good manners both at home and out in the world. Having a well behaved dog makes you a better neighbor, and makes it more likely that your dog is welcomed in your community.

What is the Canine Good Citizen program?

The American Kennel Club started the CGC program in 1989 as a way to promote responsible dog ownership and to encourage the training of well-mannered dogs. A dog and his owner (or handler) must take a short behavioral evaluation consisting of ten objectives. Dogs who pass earn the Canine Good Citizen certificate from the AKC, which some owners use after the dog’s name, e.g., “Rover, CGC.”

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Responsible Pet Care is a Lifetime Commitment

By Linda Cole

So many pets find their way to shelters for one reason or another. Sometimes an owner decides that they can’t or don’t want to take care of their pet any longer. For most responsible pet owners, every single day spent with our pet gives us an unconditional love that’s hard to beat. Deciding to bring a pet into your life is a commitment that should never be done lightly, and if you do decide to offer a pet a home, it’s should be for the pet’s lifetime. Responsible pet ownership means promising to take care of the pet through sickness and health – in good times and bad – for the life of the pet.

When you decide you are ready to share your home with a pet, it’s important to make sure the pet is the right match for your lifestyle. But the first thing you need to consider is if you are ready for a lifetime commitment of responsible pet care. Adopting a dog or cat means you have considered the expense for a lifetime of quality pet food, veterinary care, vaccinations, spaying or neutering, toys, beds, leashes, collars and any other expense that may be associated with your pet. Taking care of a pet isn’t cheap, but every dollar spent is well worth the investment because they will give you a lifetime of love, loyalty and companionship no matter where you live, who you hang out with, what your income level is, or how nice (or clunky) your car is. A pet will stick with you through thick and thin, and it’s only fair we do the same for them.

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