By Linda Cole
Search and rescue dogs, police dogs and military dogs are by their handler’s side through some of the worst conditions nature and man can create. We don’t think of dogs as having the same sort of reactions to conditions that can affect a person, but dogs in war zones or those who work in difficult surroundings can have Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), just like a person. However, these aren’t the only conditions that can cause a dog to experience this anxiety disorder.
Dogs have been going into war zones with humans for centuries. They’ve been used to run messages, search out the enemy, warn of intruders, guard prisoners and, in recent warfare, sniff out hidden explosives. Military dogs aren’t prepared for the real conditions of war. They may have experienced gunfire with their handler during training, but exploding bombs and battlefield conditions aren’t felt until a dog gets to the war zone. The same sights, smells and trauma experienced by soldiers are also felt by dogs, and it can cause a well balanced and happy dog to withdraw as anxiety overtakes him.
PTSD also affects dogs and cats that have gone through the traumatic and stressful aftermath of natural disasters, like Hurricane Katrina or an abusive home. A severe thunderstorm or fireworks display can also cause a pet to become overwhelmed by anxiety. A dog that was attacked by another dog or wild animal can show signs of anxiety. To make matters worse, an owner who fails to understand why their pet has suddenly withdrawn from them or is showing signs of aggression may do the worst thing for the pet and just abandon him or surrender him to a shelter.
By Julia Williams
Many of you had a lot of fun with the Kitty Cat Trivia Quiz I posted a few weeks ago, so now it’s time for Dog Trivia! I’m making this quiz a wee bit harder, because I know how many devoted dog lovers there are out there, and I think most of you know a lot about dogs. We’ll see!
1. Which dog breed is sometimes referred to as “the Little Lion,” and why?
C. Chow Chow
2. What does the phrase “three dog night” refer to?
A. Dogs fighting
B. A pack of wild dogs roaming at night
C. A Jazz Band from the 1920s
D. The temperature
3. What did psychologist Sigmund Freud’s dog supposedly do?
A. Barked at anyone Freud didn’t like
B. Saved Freud’s life by alerting him to an intruder
C. Attended all of Freud’s therapy sessions
D. Nothing – Freud hated dogs and did not own any
By the Drs4pets Team
Dogs scratch. Some dogs scratch a lot. Why do dogs scratch, and when should you intervene?
Let’s first talk about why dogs do not scratch. One myth is that dogs begin to itch when something changes in their diet. This is rarely the case. First, food allergies make up the smallest percentage of allergy cases in veterinary medicine; less than 10% of dogs with allergies have an allergy to food. Allergies develop over time, typically after a dog has eaten a particular food for 2 or more years.
Dogs can be itchy because of allergies though. The most common type of allergy is flea hypersensitivity, followed by atopy or inhaled allergies. Instead of coughing and sneezing, dogs get itchy when they breathe in molds or pollens that they are allergic to. Food storage mites and dust mites are known to trigger an allergic response in pets, and are found in almost every household. They thrive in dry, warm environments, like a pet food bin.
By Linda Cole
New technology is always fun, especially when it’s in a phone. Today’s iPhone has apps for pretty much anything a phone user could want. And if you’re a pet lover, there are apps especially for you. If you need to find the nearest dog park or just want to catch up on the latest pet news, there’s an app for that. The following apps are all compatible with the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
Pet Acoustics: this app gives you streaming music designed especially for your dog, cat or horse. For pets that are afraid of thunderstorms, firework or other loud noises, this app plays soothing music to help keep them relaxed. Helps relieve stress while you wait at the vet’s office as well. Requires iOS 3.1.2 or later. $1.99.
Pet Notebook gives you one place to keep your pet’s important information like birth dates, medications, vet number, ID information and microchip number. It can store information for multiple pets. Requires iOS 3.0 or later. $.99.
PetMD Pet Services Finder helps you locate pet friendly hotels, dog parks, emergency clinics, veterinarians and more. Requires iOS 2.2.1 or later. Free.
By Julia Williams
If you have more than one feline in your household, there may come a time when your ears are assaulted with the awful screeching noise of two cats fighting. Most of the time, these are merely playful tussles that sound a lot worse than they actually are. The noise fighting cats make can seem like they are in a fight to the death, even if they’re really just engaged in a mock battle or trying to assert their place as Top Cat in your household. As a responsible pet owner, it’s important to be able to distinguish between a real cat fight and a “play” fight. Play fights don’t require human intervention, but all-out cat brawls do, lest one or both of your cats get injured in the fight. Learn about the body language of cats and the signals that indicate a fight is for real.
The best way to break up a cat fight is to not let one get started in the first place, and understanding a cat’s body language is a great help. The problem is that with some cats, there is a bit of a “gray area” between play and fighting. Generally speaking, growling, hissing, arched backs, flattened ears, puffed up fur and big fat tails are not good signs. Subtleties aside, if you really take the time to observe your cats’ posturing and sounds, you can usually distinguish between the mock battles and a serious fight.
By Suzanne Alicie
If you haven’t ever attended a pet expo, you should make it a point to do so. There are organizations all over the country that host pet expos throughout the year. The world’s largest and most well known is the America’s Family Pet Expo held each spring in Southern California.
So, what exactly is a pet expo? Basically, it is a showcase for pet products and services all set up in one location for a certain amount of time. But believe me, it’s a lot more exciting than walking through the pet store. Just imagine booths and tables set up, stages and videos all over the place. A pet expo is a pleasurable attack on the senses that is lots of fun for pet lovers of all ages. There are demonstrations of pet products, attractions and competitions as well as helpful and informative representatives from each of the companies involved to answer your questions. Simply put, if you are a dog or cat owner, you should definitely check out a pet expo.