Yearly Archives: 2014

Does My Dog Need a Canine Companion?

dog companions siniBy Langley Cornwell

We’ve been conditioned to believe that dogs are pack animals, but do domestic dogs really need canine friends? I’ll admit it – I was the type who believed the answer was a resounding yes. My firm stance on this was partly influenced by the “dogs are pack animals” theory and partly by the fact that all of my pups have thrived when there was a second dog in the house. The dogs I’ve shared my life with have all been family-oriented, and I felt like we were a big, happy pack.

My commitment to this belief was challenged by a friend who rescued a dog named Mia. The relationship between Lisa and Mia made me wonder if my long-held beliefs about having a second dog might be a combined result of 1) blindly accepting the pack animal theory and 2) attempting to assuage my guilt.

The Pack Animal Theory

Because dogs derived from wolves, and wolves live and hunt in packs, most people believe that dogs are hard wired to want canine companionship. I always thought the social structure of wolves included allegiance and reliance on one another within a pack, so it stood to reason that domestic canines would yearn for the same type of species-to-species bonding.

Researchers at Washington State University at Pullman shed more light on the subject, however. Traci Cipponeri and Paul Verrell studied the intricate relationships within wolf packs and likened their interactions to that of people who work within the same corporation. They noted that wolves not related to one another form what could be called an “uneasy alliance” because they have both shared and conflicting goals. They work cooperatively to obtain food and shelter, but they compete with one another for dominance.

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10 Ways to Donate to Your Local Animal Shelter

By Laurie Darroch

During the season of giving, we often think about what we can do for others. When you are preparing your holiday gift list, why not include something for the homeless pets at your local animal shelter? Here are a few ideas on what to donate.

Money

Money is the number one need for a shelter. The costs for upkeep, care and supplies are great and never ending. The advantage to giving cash is that the shelter can buy precisely what they need when they need it, or use it to pay the bills that come with running a shelter.

Food and Treats

Shelters need plenty of food to keep all their animal residents fed. A high quality pet food such as CANIDAE is ideal, because it provides all the nutrients these stressed pets need to heal and maintain their good health.

Don’t forget that all those dogs and cats will enjoy the CANIDAE treats that you love to give your pet as well. Their behavior may need modification, and treats make a nice reward during training.

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How to Decipher the Coded Language of Vets

vetspeak  HaPe_GeraBy Linda Cole

Veterinarians have their own coded language that pet owners may have to try to decipher. “Vetspeak” can be confusing, but if we don’t comprehend everything a vet tells us, it’s up to us to ask questions so we can understand what’s wrong with our pet and follow the directions for medication and care. Some of the more common terminology you might hear at the vet or read on a prescription label is listed below.

ADR – This is an acronym that means “ain’t doing right.” When seen on a report or heard, it’s an indication that a pet isn’t doing as well as they could be or not as well as a vet expected. The phrase describes a pet with symptoms that have yet to be diagnosed. You might take your dog or cat in for a checkup if you’ve noticed he isn’t eating like he usually does or isn’t acting like himself. Everything may be alright, but it’s always a good idea to have a pet checked out anytime he isn’t acting like normal. It could be a serious problem that’s just beginning.

BDLD – You may see this abbreviation if your dog had a run in with another dog. It means “big dog/little dog” and indicates the severity and type of injuries a smaller dog may have from an encounter with a bigger dog.

BID – This is actually three Latin words – “bis in die” – that mean if your pet requires medication it’s to be given twice daily. TID means three times a day, and QID means four times daily.

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What to Do If Your Pet Goes Missing

lost pet kent wangBy Julia Williams

That moment when you realize your beloved pet is missing is horrific.  It can happen to even the most diligent, responsible pet owner, and it’s beyond scary. It can be hard not to go into full-on panic mode once you realize your pet is not where they should be, but that’s Rule Number One. Staying calm and having a plan will help you find your lost pet as quickly as possible. To that end, I’ve put together a few tips on what to do if your pet goes missing.

Be Prepared

Make sure your pet always wears his collar and tags, and that the information is current. Microchipping can be an additional and worthwhile form of identification. I’ve read countless stories of microchipped pets being reunited with their family – some after many months or even years – so it really can help.

Keep some clear, close-up photographs of your pet in an easily accessible place. It’s also a good idea to write down your pet’s unique markings and things that could help identify them – such as “small, white patch of fur underneath left front leg.” It might seem silly to do this now, but you may not be able to think clearly while distressed.

I also recommend creating a “lost pet poster” template on your computer, which will save you valuable time. All of the basic information will already be there, so updating it will be quick and easy.

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Can Dogs Really Understand Simple Math?

dogs count tanakBy Linda Cole

Skidboot was an extraordinary dog that entertained people everywhere he went as the World’s Smartest Dog. A crowd pleasing trick involved Skidboot listening to his owner, David Hartwig, count to three before retrieving a ball, but Hartwig mixed up the counting in an attempt to stump his dog. In the end, Skidboot eagerly focused on the ball and pounced on it when Hartwig said three. People were convinced the dog could count. Jim the Wonder Dog was also famous for his ability to recognize numbers, but can canines really understand simple math?

Quantitative thinking is something most people don’t believe dogs are capable of. It’s the concept of analyzing mathematical data in relation to quantity or number and having the ability to figure out if one thing is larger than another. One early experiment that researchers conducted was to see if dogs understood quantity. They used a large and small ball of hamburger, each on a separate plate, and tested dogs to see which one they would choose. When the plates were set at different distances, the dogs took the one closest to them regardless of its size, but when both plates were of equal distance they always chose the larger ball of meat.

Researchers concluded dogs didn’t understand quantitative thinking and couldn’t determine the difference in size. However, what they failed to account for is the opportunistic nature of canines and seemed to discount the fact that dogs picked the large ball of meat when the two plates were side by side.

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Xoloitzcuintli, One of the Oldest and Rarest Dog Breeds

xolo micyBy Langley Cornwell

A few months ago, I wrote an article about Unusual Cat Breeds. One of the breeds profiled was a hairless cat known as the Ukrainian Levkoy. While unusual, it’s not the only hairless breed in the feline family; there are several others including the Elf Cat, the Bambino, the Peterbald, the Donskoy and the Sphynx.

As unusual looking as hairless cats are, can you imagine what hairless dogs looks like? There is a dog breed called the Xoloitzcuintli, also known as the Mexican hairless that is – you guessed it – hairless. This is one of the oldest and rarest dog breeds in existence.

Background

Many modern dog breeds are the result of crossing two breeds or some other type of manipulation by human interference. Xoloitzcuintlis, on the other hand, are considered an original breed shaped by natural selection.

The word Xoloitzcuintli is a combination of the word Xolotl, the Aztec god of fire and the deity responsible for escorting the dead to the underworld, and itzcuintli, the Aztec word for dog. You pronounce Xoloitzcuintli like this: show-low-eats-queen-tlee. The breed is also referred to as the Xolo (show-low).

These unusual looking dogs are thought of as “healing” dogs or “doctor” dogs because people with arthritis or other similar conditions find relief when they cuddle with a Xolo; apparently they give off intense body heat. I’ve even seen Xolo’s referred to as living hot water bottles. They are also said to have the magic of a healing touch, with special abilities to help people with things like rheumatism, asthma and even insomnia. Another otherworldly gift, they are said to have the power to frighten off evil spirits.
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