Monthly Archives: October 2012

Why Do Dogs Lick People?

By Langley Cornwell

Our dog is a licker. I won’t go so far as to say she’s an obsessive licker, but she likes to lick. She can get fixated on a spot, either on herself or on me or my husband, and lick as long as we can stand it. I asked our veterinarian about it —because it seems excessive— and the vet thinks that since our dog is somewhat anxious, she’s probably using licking as a relaxation technique. The vet said some dogs enjoy licking because the act releases endorphins that allow the dog to feel pleasure and a sense of security and comfort. A dog’s licking is like a person biting their fingernails; basically they do it to relieve stress.

This makes sense because our dog also yawns a lot, and we’ve learned that yawns are a canine’s calming signal. Yawning is an important part of a dog’s communication toolbox; they often yawn when they are in what they believe is a stressful situation. For example, dogs are not hugged or petted in the wild so it probably doesn’t feel natural for them. When we give our dog a big hug or get expressive with a scratch on the head, she very often starts her yawning repetitions. She uses these short yawns to comfort herself so when she starts self-licking, it’s likely for the same reason.

But why does she lick us? Why do dogs lick people?

Here’s a typical evening scenario. We’re all piled up on the sofa, relaxing and talking about the day. Our dog and cat are in the mix because they have to be the center of everything. Then our dog will find a place on my exposed arm or leg and start the licking. If I would sit still I think she would lick me indefinitely.

As kids, we were sure that a dog’s lick was a canine kiss. We thought that the more your dog licked you, the more she loved you. There’s a part of me that still believes this is true, but I couldn’t find scientific evidence to back me up.

There is some logic to that universal childhood theory, however. From the day pups are born, their mother licks them to clean them and stimulate breathing as well as to encourage elimination. Mother’s licks (kisses) are vitally important for a newborn puppy’s survival. Furthermore, when puppies lick one another it serves an important social function which strengthens the bond between littermates. The act of licking is a natural instinct that dogs learn from their mother at an early age. Since one of their earliest social bonds involves licking, that action has become a significant canine social device.

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Top 5 Preventable Pet Ailments

By Linda Cole

As pet owners, we try to ward off potential health problems before they become serious by knowing symptoms to watch out for and paying attention to how a pet acts. When a dog or cat isn’t acting like their normal self, we know something is wrong. We can’t prevent some diseases from happening, but there are five common pet ailments we can control that can affect our pets’ health and shorten their lives.

Dental Disease – Taking care of our pets teeth is just as important as our good dental hygiene. Bad teeth can affect the heart, kidney and liver, and has been linked to some types of cancer. Anytime infection is present in the body, there’s always a risk it can spread to other parts of the body via the bloodstream. Infection in the teeth and gums is painful, which makes it hard for a pet to eat. Mouth pain can also be a contributing factor in a pet’s bad behavior or aggression.

The best way to prevent dental disease is with regular brushing, vet exams and cleaning the teeth by a vet, when necessary. Brushing your pet’s teeth may be a bit of a hassle in the beginning, but with patience and practice, a few minutes of your time spent brushing a pet’s teeth can help prolong their life.

Trauma/injuries – Accidents happen, and you can’t always control a particular situation. However, you can take a look around your pet’s environment to make sure it’s dog or cat proofed to help eliminate preventable injuries. Electrical and window blind cords, loose fencing around an outside enclosure, or debris lying around in a yard can all injure a pet. A loose window screen that pops out while your cat is sitting in an opened window can pose a danger, especially if the window is high off the ground.

Dogs can get pulled muscles, sprain an ankle, and even break a leg racing around the yard playing and jumping. Most soft tissue injuries and trauma can be prevented by keeping a dog on leash when not in a secured enclosure and not letting your dog get overly excited during playtime. Bites from other animals or snakes, falls off steep banks or being hit by a car are dangers for both dogs and outside cats. Keeping your pet at a healthy weight can help reduce the risk of injuries.

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How to Carve a Pumpkin that Looks Just Like Your Dog

By Tamara McRill

Have the perfect pumpkin sitting in front of you and out of ideas on what to carve? Just look to your favorite canine companion for inspiration! Carving a pumpkin in my dogs’ images is hands-down my favorite Halloween tradition. It’s even a project that can be tackled by the less than artistic among us. There are three basic options you can use to carve the exact likeness of your dog:

Dog Breed Pumpkin Templates

If your dog is the poster child for his breed in looks, then chances are you can do a quick online search and come up with a pumpkin template or stencil that looks remarkably similar. Just type the breed plus “pumpkin template” into your browser. For example, my Wuppy is a Chocolate Labrador, so I would search for “chocolate lab pumpkin template.”

There are plenty of sites and articles online to find these, such as Better Homes and Gardens. Once you find the best template for your dog, you’ll need to print the template.

Altering Templates for an Exact Look

For mixed dogs that look mostly like one breed, you can use a template and add the minor changes. Our dog Dusty is a Dalmatian and Pitbull mix, but mostly resembles the first in the face. So for him I can get away with printing out a Dalmatian stencil and drawing in slightly wider cheeks and perkier ears. Altering the template is also an excellent way to personalize pumpkins for purebred dogs. This way you can get the spots in the same place or make sure fringe placement is exact.

Exact Dog Portrait Template

Templates are wonderful for breed-specific dogs, but maybe you have a mixed masterpiece like our Cody. We have a good idea of his mix, but I have never been able to find a pumpkin carving template that looks just like him. So I came up with a simple way to make my own.

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Meet the Pets of CANIDAE Staff Members

By Julia Williams

Two animal loving friends, John Gordon and Scott Whipple, started the CANIDAE Natural Pet Food Company in 1996. These “ordinary guys” and their families founded CANIDAE with a desire and a plan to make the finest natural pet food products possible. Today, the company is still family owned and operated, and still very much committed to providing dogs, cats and horses with premium quality pet food. It stands to reason, then, that everyone who works at CANIDAE is also an animal lover. Many employees even bring their dogs to work with them – because any task becomes infinitely more enjoyable with a canine friend by your side! We thought you might enjoy getting to know some of the “Pets of the CANIDAE staff,” so here they are:

Greg Henley: Max, 4 year old Maltese
What do you love most about your pet?  I love everything about him – he loves me unconditionally.
Does your pet have any quirks?  He is grouchy in the morning – don’t try to get him out of bed before he is ready.
What are your pet’s favorite activities?  He loves to play with his rope tug toy.
What one word best describes your pet’s personality? Playful
If your pet could talk, what would they say about their CANIDAE food? “More canned food and TidNips please!!”

Kristine Matsuura: Hailey, 3 year old yellow Labrador

What do you love most about your pet? She is the sister I never had.
Does your pet have any quirks? She is a Princess and all the toys are hers.
What are your pet’s favorite activities? Going jogging with me, and going with me wherever I go.
What one word best describes your pet’s personality? Princess
If your pet could talk, what would they say about their CANIDAE food? “May the bag never go empty!”

Diane Matsuura: Breezie, 6 year old yellow Labrador

What do you love most about your pet? She gives the best hugs.
Does your pet have any quirks? She hogs the bed or couch.
What are your pet’s favorite activities? She loves Splash Dogs Dock Diving.  Right now she is on maternity leave from sports and is home taking care of 6 puppies.
What one word best describes your pet’s personality? Mushy
If your pet could talk, what would they say about their CANIDAE food? “The best food ever!”

Scott Whipple: Koda, 1 year old Yorkshire terrier

What do you love most about your pet? She cuddles with me on the couch.
Does your pet have any quirks? She doesn’t like baths and brushing.
What are your pet’s favorite activities? She loves to chase squirrels and lizards in the back yard.
What one word best describes your pet’s personality? Cuddly
If your pet could talk, what would they say about their CANIDAE food? “Treats are my favorite!”

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Tips for Controlling Cat Litter Scatter

By Langley Cornwell

This is an area I need help with.

My husband and I are accustomed to sharing our living space with our pets. I freely admit that there are no restrictions in our home; our dog and our cat are allowed in every room and on every piece of furniture. We’d feed our animals high quality pet food like CANIDAE with our last nickel. I’m used to wearing a top layer of pet hair over my fleece or jersey clothes. When we’re going out in public, we’re used to quickly rolling a lint brush over our outfits before we leave. I could go on but the point should be clear, I love animals and everything that goes along with living with them.

Except for cat litter. It drives me nuts! Our cat is an indoor/outdoor guy so he mostly does his business outside now. When we first started letting our cat go outside, he would come back in to use the litter box and then immediately want to go back out and play. For the longest time he thought he could only “go” in the box. One day new neighbors moved in with an older cat. Our cats became friends and that mature cat taught our teenaged kitty it was okay to eliminate outside, that the whole big world could be used as a litter box. So now he goes out when he needs to “go” most of the time.

There are times, however, when he still uses his box and boy does he make a mess! He spreads cat litter all over the house. He’s a robust digger and it takes him a long time to get the litter organized just right. Then, when he’s done, he flings and slings the litter everywhere. We’ve found litter in our shoes, in our beds, even in our cars. It’s remarkable how far that litter spreads. We’ve tried the obvious solutions; litter boxes with high sides, covered litter boxes, but nothing changed. We’ve tried two types of mats that are designed to brush off a cat’s paws and contain the litter, but those haven’t worked. It was time to further my research. Here’s what I learned.

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The Intelligent and Happy Brussels Griffon

By Linda Cole

A member of the toy group, the Brussels Griffon has a terrier-like attitude packed into a compact, square and sturdy body. He has a pushed-in nose and expressive eyes that sparkle with the confidence of a larger breed, and the Griffon definitely has the attitude of a big dog in a little body.

Their coat comes in two different types, smooth or rough, and both coats require weekly grooming. The rough coated Brussels Griffon has an impressive wiry mustache and beard, giving him a look that resembles an Ewok, one of the lovable characters from Star Wars. This Griffon has appeared alongside some of the biggest stars in show business, such as Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt in As Good as it Gets. The breed was also featured in The First Wives’ Club and Gosford Park.

The Griffon has been described as a little dog with a monkey or elf-like face. However, they have such an expressive face, they are often said to have an almost human-like face. The breed originated in Brussels, Belgium in the 1800s where their main duty was to catch rats in and around horse stables. This spunky and intelligent breed was developed primarily by crossing the Affenpinscher with the Griffon d´ecurie, a Belgian street dog that was similar to, but heavier than, the Fox Terrier. The black Pug, King Charles Spaniel, Ruby Toy Spaniel, Irish and Yorkshire Terrier also contributed to the development of the Brussels Griffon.

Because of their small size and charming attitude, the Griffon became a favorite of working class people and nobility. Cab drivers of the time used the little dogs to attract riders and discourage thieves; however, the dogs were much better at drawing customers in than keeping thieves at bay. By 1880 the breed had enough interest to be shown at a dog show in Belgium and its popularity began to grow. Unfortunately, the breed declined in numbers during WW I and II and was on the verge of becoming extinct. They had been completely eliminated in their homeland of Belgium, and the only reason the breed survived was because of breeders spread out across Europe.

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