Monthly Archives: November 2012

Should You Leave Your Dog In the Dark?

By Tamara McRill

Know that feeling when pulling into the driveway at night, flush with shopping success, only to be slammed with guilt because you didn’t leave any lights on for your dog? Yeah, me too. After I run inside to pet the dogs, I always wonder: Are dogs okay with being left in the dark?

Not just that, but is it also safe for dogs to be in the dark? Can they see?

Generally Better Night Vision

Obviously, that can depend on your dog, but it turns out it may also depend on just how dark it is in the house. Dogs do have better night vision than people in very low light situations. This is because they have a special structure in the back of their eyes that reflects more light to the retina.

So your furry housemate is going to make out more looking out the window at night than you will, but that is due to their eyes being able to better utilize the small quantities of light available. Say, from other lit up windows, streetlights or the moon.

Pitch Dark Navigation

When it comes to pitch black darkness, though, dogs can see about as well as we can. Which is pretty much nothing. Wait, but your dog can navigate the living room with absolutely no light? I believe you, but chances are it is because of his ability to quickly memorize the layout of the room.

For example: We had a town-wide blackout for five nighttime hours this summer. The dogs walked around just fine, until I moved some pop boxes in the kitchen. Dusty tripped over them on his way through, because he couldn’t see them and they weren’t there the last time he was in the kitchen.

So your dog can probably navigate your home in the dark, just from memory. It’s even easier for them if a streetlight or other light source is shining in the window. Same goes for them being outside at night.

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What Causes Leash Aggression in Dogs

By Linda Cole

We’ve all seen the dog that’s pulling on his leash, lunging and barking at other dogs as they walk by. His owner appears to be just as frustrated as the dog. Leash aggression is a common behavior problem created by us when we don’t understand why our normally friendly dog is acting in an aggressive way.

The cause of leash aggression

Leash aggression is a behavior problem that should not be overlooked. When a dog exhibits any kind of aggression, it’s not something they’ll grow out of, and ignoring the problem only makes it worse. The dog’s aggression is created when he becomes excited, frustrated or fearful, and all three are reasons for his behavior. Lack of socialization or proper training can also contribute to leash aggression.

Excitement and frustration

Some dogs become so excited when they see another dog, they try to pull their owner towards the other dog. Off leash, he’s one of the friendliest dogs around, but put him on a leash and he lunges and frantically barks at other dogs or people. What he wants to do is have a “meet and greet” with the other dog, but his leash is making him frustrated. Leash corrections to try and rein the dog in and control him will only add to his frustration. Because he can’t get to the other dog, he becomes aggressive when he hits the end of the leash that’s restraining him from doing what he wants to do.

Fear

A dog that is fearful may show signs of leash aggression if they are forced to be closer to other dogs or people when they would otherwise avoid them if they were off leash. Not all dogs enjoy meeting other canines or people they don’t know. Fear can cause a dog to lunge at another dog in an attempt to keep him at bay, and his snarling bark shouldn’t be ignored. In his mind, the fearful dog is trapped by his leash, which causes his aggression.

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Life-Saving Service Dog Wins Free CANIDAE!

By Julia Williams

Where else can you win a stockpile of premium-quality pet food just by subscribing to a blog? I don’t know, but I love that the sponsor of this blog, CANIDAE Natural Pet Foods, awards one new reader every quarter with their choice of a six-month supply of CANIDAE dog food or FELIDAE cat food. I can only imagine how exciting it would be to get THAT email!  I’d probably fall off my chair…wouldn’t you?

I always enjoy getting to know the winners and finding out their unique story. Our latest lucky winner was Deborah Van Gelder, who lives in California with her canine friend Denver, a purebred Australian Shepherd. Denver is both a Service Dog and a Therapy Dog, and he and Deborah go to visit the veterans every Friday at the VA Hospital in Loma Linda, California. “Denver and I LOVE going to the VA hospital,” said Deborah. “He will pull me down a certain hallway so that he can visit his favorite patients.”

Deborah and Denver also participate in a fun reading program at local libraries called “Sit, Stay and Read,” which is very popular with both children AND adults. During the summer, they volunteer at a special Kids Kamp helping children who have been abused or neglected. Deborah is a K9 Specialist who trains Service Dogs and Therapy Dogs, and has been doing this for several years.

Since Deborah and Denver do so much for others, I was particularly pleased they won this fantastic prize. I was also happy to find out that Denver has been a “CANIDAE dog” for about three years, and that Deborah credits the food with helping to save Denver’s life!

As Deborah told me, “A while back, Denver suffered from intestinal shutdown (I almost lost him) and had to be placed on bedrest. During that time, I gave him the CANIDAE grain free pureSKY formula. That’s what kept him from being sicker, and it stabilized his system. Since then he’s been doing great!”

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The Margay, a Rare Wild Cat Breed

By Langley Cornwell

Often mistaken for the Ocelot, the Margay is a smaller breed of wild cat that shares the same territory. In fact, the Margay is also known as a tree Ocelot. There are many differences between the two breeds, however. Sadly, these differences have led the Margay breed to become endangered, which is why it’s so important to learn about this fascinating cat. Below, you’ll find information about the Margay’s habitat, some unique facts about this rare breed, and the reason that this special wild cat is endangered.

Description

The Margay has a beautiful black-spotted golden brown coat along with a white chest. Their spots usually feature a lighter colored center and appear to have a darker ring around the edge. The Margays are one of the smallest wild cats; fully grown, they measure 17-25 inches and weigh between four and nine pounds. In the wild, Margays can live up to 10 years, but do much better in captivity with lifespans reaching 20 years. Their diet in the wild consists of reptiles, birds and small mammals. Sexually mature at the age of one year, gestation for the Margay lasts around 3 months and results in a small litter of one or two offspring.

Habitat

While the Margay shares the same habitat as the Ocelot, the breed stays in the forest and prefers to lounge in the trees. During the day, Margays rest in caves or other dark areas. At night they spend their time jumping from branch to branch and tree to tree, hunting for their evening meal. Margays are independent cats; they prefer to live alone and usually stake out their territory by marking their scent. This may be done with urine, feces or scent glands. The Margay breed has scent glands located between their toes, and males have more scent glands than females. While territories may overlap, the Margay maintains a solitary lifestyle.

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Why Pet Owners Need a Great Sense of Humor

By Linda Cole

Facebook has some really great cat and dog pictures. The other day I saw one with a sad looking dog sitting on a sofa. Scattered around him was the remains of a couch pillow. According to the words on the picture, “it wasn’t his fault” – the darn pillow just exploded on its own! That picture reminded me of the time I came home and discovered the tattered remains of a couple of couch pillows that had mysteriously “exploded,” scattering feathers all over the living room, scaring my dogs half to death. Anyway, I’m sure that was their story. I learned a long time ago that pet owners need to have a really good sense of humor!

What’s in the sacks, Mom?

It doesn’t matter if you’re carrying in CANIDAE pet food or sacks of groceries. Pet owners have the doggie/kitty two step down, and the one legged kick back on the door to close it before a pet can make it through the open door. We’ve also perfected the pet waltz. The one, two, three dance around the pets on your way to the kitchen, skillfully missing paws while keeping inquisitive noses out of the bags of food.

Muddy paws

OK, I know it’s not my dogs’ fault when it rains, and they still need to go outside to do their business. Now, my dogs hate going out in the rain and they tippy toe outside as if their feet will melt the minute they touch wet grass. However, that all changes if there’s something to bark at. My question is, why do they always end up in the one muddy patch in the yard? And what is it about rain and muddy paws that makes a normally quiet dog go berserk and race around on a clean floor after coming back inside?

Hairy guests

Enter the home of a pet owner at your own risk and never wear dark clothes. I’m convinced that a guest in your home will find the hairiest chair or section on the couch. It’s almost as if the pet hair fairy swooped in just as the person was sitting down and dumped a sack full of hair under them.

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How Dogs Make Babysitting Easier – and More Fun!

By Tamara McRill

Living with dogs doesn’t just make me a better babysitter – it also makes the job easier and way more enjoyable. At least that is my experience from watching a passel of nephews and other young ones. Of course there are safety issues to consider, but on the whole it is a win-win-win, for me, my pets and the children.

Here a several ways my dogs and I share the work that comes with babysitting:

Turning Off the Cartoons

This is a big one for me, since I don’t like to watch most things twice and kids seem to love watching endless repeats of their favorite shows. I also worry about too much time spent in front of the television. Turning off the TV requires coming up with activities, something that isn’t easy if you are unexpectedly pressed into service.

With a dog, however, there is always something to do. That is a big help when parents are in too big of a hurry to bring anything for their child to play with. So the dog toys become “kid toys” too, and everyone gets some quality playtime.

Safety tip: Don’t let a child and your dog play in an open yard if your pet has protective tendencies. Any stranger that walks up could be seen as a threat to the child, and your dog could get aggressive.

Playing Companions

I was in a situation a few years ago where my nephew Isaiah would be at my house through the day, but the neighborhood children were in school. While we enjoy playing together, he would get sad that there wasn’t anyone young to run around the yard with him. Enter Wuppy. My chocolate lab was just a pup then, full of boundless energy and surprising antics that delighted Isaiah.

And frankly, that delighted me too, as I wore out a lot quicker than my nephew did and way before my Wuppy did. I could supervise the two of them running through the backyard and not be too exhausted to work when done babysitting.

Safety tip: Make sure your pet is trained not to jump on people, especially children, as they could accidentally knock them over or claw their playmate. Also, don’t let children play tugging games with objects close to your dog’s mouth or with sticks. This is to prevent a dog bite or getting your pet’s gums injured.

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