Monthly Archives: October 2013

Why Do Dogs and Cats Like Non-Pet People?

By Linda Cole

Those of us who share our homes with pets can’t understand how anyone wouldn’t love being owned by a dog or cat. Non-pet people have their reasons, however, for preferring to live in a pet-free zone. They may have pet allergies, work a lot of overtime hours, like to travel, or have children with allergies or asthma. Some people are scared of dogs or cats because of previous encounters that didn’t end well. Yet people who don’t necessarily want to be around pets seem to be a magnet for cats and dogs. Ever wonder why?

As responsible pet parents, we take the time to properly socialize our dogs to people of all ages, different environments, situations, other dogs and sights and sounds, so they are comfortable and relaxed in any surrounding. When we do our job right, most dogs are fine approaching new people, even though not everyone is as eager to meet him.

Cats, on the other hand, tend to be suspicious of anyone they don’t know, although there are some people-friendly cats that will approach a stranger to say “Hi.” People who don’t like pets believe a well socialized dog comes to them because the animal knows they don’t like dogs, or that cats are just being annoying when they try to rub against their legs. Some people believe the animal’s actions are done on purpose to irritate them, which just isn’t something dogs or cats think about. It’s all about body language!

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Dog Breed Profile: The Intelligent and Adorable Pumi

By Suzanne Alicie

There are some dogs that, when they look at you, their personality just shines from their face. This is true of the Pumi. If you’re looking for an adorable fur baby that is loyal and fun, then look no further. If you want a dog that is intelligent, eager to please and excels in agility and working tasks, then a Pumi also fits that description. This is a truly well rounded breed that makes an excellent pet and a great working dog. Since I’m not a very active person, I’m pretty sure it’s a good thing I’ve only seen photos of the Pumi breed, because I know that if I looked into one of those lovable, expressive faces I would want to take the dog home!

The Pumi is a Hungarian herding breed that originated in the 17th and 18th centuries as an adapted version of the ancestral Puli breed. These dogs were used to herd farm animals including sheep, goats and pigs. They were very versatile and intelligent on the job, being equally useful for gathering, driving and keeping stock within boundaries.

Not a large dog, the Pumi is a square shaped breed, meaning that the height at the withers is the same as the distance from the prosternum to the buttocks. They are typically between 15 to 18 inches tall and weigh between 22 to 29 pounds, with the males being on the larger end of these ranges.

The Pumi has been recorded in the Foundation Stock Service classification since 2001, but the breed has been recognized around the world as show dogs, agility dogs and working dogs for many years.

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The Amazing Loyalty of Guardian and Herding Breeds

By Linda Cole

There are very few dog breeds that aren’t loyal to an owner who has earned their trust and respect.  Stubbornness and independence are common characteristics in many breeds, along with the ability to think for themselves. But when it comes to loyalty, it’s the herding and livestock guardian breeds that display a unique devotion to those they bond with.

One trait wolves passed on to domesticated dogs was a strong sense of loyalty to their pack members – their family. In the early history of our relationship with dogs, warring humans utilized the size, aggressiveness and loyalty of large dogs to fight alongside soldiers on the battlefield. Since that time, dogs used in battle have been refined and tempered through selective breeding to fit into our more civilized world.

Guardian dogs, however, have remained much like they were when they were first created centuries ago to guard flocks from large predators. It’s thought that most livestock guardian dogs (LGD) are descendants of the extinct Molossus dog. These dogs were mastiff-like, big, powerful, courageous and loyal. Because guardian dogs are usually large breeds, it’s essential to make sure they get a proper diet formulated especially for big dogs, like the CANIDAE Life Stages Large Breed formulas for puppies and adults.

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Lil BUB’s Lil Book Will Charm Your Socks Off!

By Julia Williams

A few of the things I love most are: reading, writing, books, blogging and cats. So you can imagine how delighted I was when pet blogger extraordinaire Layla Morgan Wilde, of Cat Wisdom 101 fame, notified me that I’d won Lil BUB’s Lil Book in her recent giveaway. Score!

I am a big fan of BUB. Well, to be honest I can’t imagine how anyone could look at this cat’s adorable face and not be smitten with her. BUB is a “perma-kitten,” which means she will always be kitten sized and have a kitten-like face no matter how old she gets. BUB was born with several genetic mutations that give her a unique appearance, but she wasn’t bred to be that way – it was Mother Nature’s doing. Adding to BUB’s charm are her extra-large, expressive green eyes and a tongue that is usually hanging out because her teeth never grew in. Despite looking a little different than most felines, BUB’s doting human (her “Dude”) says she’s a healthy, happy cat.

BUB is also quite the witty kitty, and her new book is a testament to that. Along with lots of beautiful full color photos of BUB, the book showcases a feline with a quirky sense of humor, one who isn’t afraid to declare herself “The Most Amazing Cat on the Planet.” Now I ask you, what other cat could get away with that?

After a two-page foreward from BUB’s Dude and a one-page introduction by BUB, the book presents a series of cleverly captioned photos of BUB in all sorts of different environments: traveling through space, exploring Earth, sleeping in a cute little BUB-sized bed, meeting up with Colonel Meow and other famous friends, skateboarding, and just doing what she does best —looking so darn cute it makes you melt!

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Ashes the Fire Dog Fuels Up with Help from CANIDAE

Ashes 2By Langley Cornwell

Sometimes CANIDAE gets the honor of helping out truly special pets and their amazing owners. It’s even more amazing when the duo goes further than just making a phenomenal team, but actually helps save lives and solves crimes together. That’s why I would like you to meet Ashes, a five-year-old chocolate Labrador fire dog, and her owner and partner, Brooktrails Fire Chief Daryl Schoeppner, of California.

What makes this story even more unique is the outpouring of community support and hard work—by both Ashes and Schoeppner—that it took to form their partnership. In fact, the community has stayed involved and continues to do what’s necessary to keep it going strong. You see, Ashes is a completely donation-driven dog, meaning that taxpayers are not charged for her upkeep or training.

Ashes herself was a gift. Schoeppner lost his first fire dog and partner of ten years to cancer. That special dog was an accelerant-detecting golden retriever named Eddie, who was also sponsored with dog food from CANIDAE. When sympathizers in Devonshire, England, heard about Eddie’s death, they gifted Ashes to the program.

It’s Hard Work Being a Hero

“She definitely earns her groceries,” says Chief Schoeppner, when asked about Ashes’ workload.

Having already helped to investigate over a dozen arson cases in 2013 alone, one memorable case Ashes and Schoeppner worked to solve wrapped up last year in Mendocino County. In this case, a 52-year-old mother was found guilty and sentenced to 13 years in prison for setting fire to her home while her quadriplegic son was inside. The fire was particularly dangerous to local firefighters, as propane and oxygen tanks were used as accelerants.

And it’s not just major local arson cases the duo work to solve. They are a shared resource for the Mendocino, Lake and Sonoma County region. Ashes also recently helped with a weapons search in a local high school, searching over 600 lockers after a weapon was discovered at the school.

ashes 3Rigorous Training Required

There is a lot of training – for both dog and handler – that goes into making an arson dog worthy to carry the title. Considering that what these canines discover is used for court evidence in cases like the one above, the evidence has to be solid enough to withstand the courtroom environment. The work is so rigorous and scrutinized that there are less than a hundred canines in the U.S. that do this type of work.

Ashes has always proven more than worthy of the challenge, though. When she was almost a year old, she was flown to Texas to attend the Canine Academy Training Center for three months of intensive training. It’s not easy detecting accelerants when you’re talking parts per billion. As part of her testing, she would have to identify one syringe drop of accelerant, such as 50 percent weathered gasoline, in a mixed matrix of materials, explained Schoeppner.

For example, containers mixed with carpet fibers, wood and plastics would be presented to Ashes and she would have to locate which one contained the tiny drop of fire accelerant. That alone is amazing, but Ashes had to identify the substance correctly within a six-inch area. Ashes can detect specific substances in vehicles, on the clothing of suspects and in large open areas, such as parking lots.

After her individual training course, Chief Schoeppner joined Ashes for an additional two weeks of intense training. They had to prove that they could pull their own weight, singularly and as a team, and meet every criteria with a 100 percent correct rating. “She’s a multi-disciplined dog and quite the working girl,” said Schoeppner.

The initial thorough training isn’t all there is to it, either. They have to be re-certified every year in order to work together. Ashes and Schoeppner will soon be traveling to San Diego to do just that. There they will be joining other arson dogs, including three others from the state, although Ashes is the only public agency dog in Northern California. Washington and Colorado are also expected to have dogs present.

Giving Back to the Community

In addition to firefighting, Schoeppner and Ashes participate in grade school fire safety education by visiting local elementary schools. Ashes is a hit with the children. “She’s a great tool to get the attention of the kids,” said Schoeppner. “We even have trading cards with Ashes’ photo and stats to hand out.”

This is fitting, considering the community support it takes to adequately see to Ashes’ care. Their initial training and travel costs were covered by the Mendocino County Fire Chiefs Association, who is a big supporter of the program. The community at-large also donates, through fundraisers and a special dog house, as well as collections taken at local merchants’ counters.

Ashes is so well recognized in the community that Schoeppner says people always come up and ask him, “Hi, how’s the dog?” and then inquire after him. Not that he minds. “She’s the rock star and I’m the roadie,” Schoeppner jokes.

Fueling a Fire Dog

CANIDAE has been happily providing food for Ashes for five years. For ten years before that, they supplied the food for Eddie. It all started 15 years ago when Schoeppner contacted a member of the CANIDAE sales team, who was always supportive of making sure he had what he needed.

Even his vet is pleased with the use of CANIDAE dog food for Ashes, citing good weight and health. “Without CANIDAE’s sponsorship, it would be very difficult for us,” said Schoeppner. “I’ve always liked the food and it’s a great working dog food. I would like to extend a special thank-you to CANIDAE.”

Photos by Daryl Schoeppner /Brooktrails Fire Department

Read more articles by Langley Cornwell

Causes of Bad Breath in Pets

By Linda Cole

It’s hard to resist doggy kisses when you get home from work, or a close-up meow from your kitty just before dawn when she’s ready for breakfast. If your pet has bad breath, though, it could indicate that they have a health issue you need to be concerned about.

Periodontal disease is by far the most common reason why a pet has bad breath. Plaque buildup can cause gingivitis, and if left untreated can turn into periodontal disease. It can cause pets to lose their teeth, develop gum disease, and can cause damage to the kidneys and heart.

Teething puppies will often have a fishy smelling breath. This is not the same thing as puppy breath, however. Teething pets will chew on anything they can find. A piece of food, string, wood or bits of a chewed up toy can get lodged in the mouth or between the teeth and cause an infection of the gums. Teething pups and kittens have a tendency to drool, which can lead to halitosis.

Sometimes a pup or older dog can have breath that smells like they’ve been eating feces, which is very possible, especially if there’s a cat litter box in the home and it’s accessible to the dog. Pets also groom themselves around their anal glands which can produce a fishy or dead smell in their mouth. Intestinal problems or worms can also cause bad breath. In older pets, a bad tooth that needs to be pulled, an obstruction stuck in the throat or mouth can cause an infection and produce an odor. Pawing at the mouth is a good indication something is bothering them.

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