In 1928, a Scottish bacteriologist named Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin while tidying up his lab. He was about to toss a moldy petri dish into the trash when he noticed something strange about the bacteria – it wasn’t growing as well as it should have been. However, it would be another twelve years before penicillin would become a lifesaving drug; two Oxford scientists – Howard Florey and Ernst Chain – produced a brown powder capable of retaining the antibacterial properties in 1940.
The new drug was rushed into mass production and sent to the war front during the early years of WWII. Today, penicillin is used to treat anything from minor wounds to tonsillitis and pneumonia. Unfortunately, some people are allergic to penicillin. Is it possible for dogs and cats to have an allergic reaction too?
Penicillin works by inhibiting bacteria from building a sustainable cell wall. Fleming noticed that mold on the petri dish was attacking bacteria surrounding it to get more space and nutrients it needed to grow, by releasing a bacteria killing compound that prevented some bacteria from forming new cell walls. This process is called antibiosis, which is where the word antibiotic comes from. Once Fleming isolated and identified the antibacterial compound, he named it penicillin. The discovery of penicillin was hailed as the first miracle drug, and has saved countless number of human and animal lives over the years.
We went to the animal shelter last weekend to visit with the shelter pets and give them some one-on-one attention. We do this fairly often and it always pulls on my heart strings; I want to bring carloads of the sweet, homeless animals home with us, but I know it’s not feasible so I stay strong and do what we’re there to do.
On this visit, however, my heart strings were nearly ripped out of my chest. The puppies! Our local shelters are bursting with loveable little puppies. When I got over the initial cuteness-overload response, this made perfect sense. One of the most common reasons dogs are taken to animal shelters is because of excessive barking. This time of year, many puppies that were given as gifts over the holidays are now being relinquished to shelters for things like barking and biting and generally being a puppy. It’s reported that one-fifth of all the dogs adopted from shelters are returned within a few months. What a sad statistic.
Our recent shelter visit compelled me to review my previous article on Tips to Curb Puppy Biting and Aggression and expand the subject to include excessive puppy barking. My goal is to educate new puppy owners on what to expect from young, precocious pups and offer suggestions to curb or even prevent these unwanted behaviors.
Why does my puppy bark so much?
Dogs bark for a variety of reasons, but it usually boils down to some form of communication, boredom, a request for attention, or a response to a perceived threat. Your dog wants to be a contributing member of the family and they often assign themselves the role of the protector. Everything is new to a puppy, so his barking may be a warning that a garbage truck is nearby or a neighbor is walking past the house or your hat is on crooked.
Playtime with your dog is not just playing. Playtime is an ideal time to bond with your canine companion, a chance to continue or reinforce training and a good way to give your dog exercise. Last but not least, playtime is simply a fun way to show your dog you care.
You are, after all, the one they look up to. Your dog trusts you implicitly, and you are who they want to spend time with more than anyone. Take some time each day to play with your dog. Like children, our dogs flourish with positive attention and one-on-one time.
Here’s a poem about playtime, written from a dog’s point of view:
Working with your dog to teach him how you want him to behave is a fun and exciting part of dog ownership. It helps to build a tighter bond while you spend quality time with your pet. However, some dogs are grabbers and the fun ends when you offer him a treat as a reward. For most dogs a treat is the best motivator, but you don’t want to have to count your fingers each time you offer a treat. It is possible – and not that difficult – to teach your furry friend to be gentle and not grab treats.
There are various reasons why a dog will grab treats or toys from your hand, and it’s important to figure out if the behavior is due to fear, frustration, anxiety or aggression. Anytime a dog that is usually good about not grabbing treats suddenly begins to snatch a treat from your hand, it’s a sign something could be bothering him. You may need to figure out what’s causing him to be anxious or fearful. Any sudden change in a dog’s behavior indicates you may need to talk to your vet or get help from a professional trainer or animal behaviorist. Some dogs may grab the treats because they’re afraid that another dog, or even the cat, will take it first. A dog that’s overly excited is also more apt to snatch a treat.
As with all training, you need to stay calm, be patient and use positive reinforcement. It’s important to be consistent and keep reinforcing a “gentle” command each time you give a treat. Understanding who your dog is as an individual is also a plus. Don’t give your dog a treat if he’s pawing at your hand, mouthing or trying to snatch it.
Ask any cat lover to show you a photo of their feline friend in a box, and they can probably produce dozens (hundreds even!) of cute shots they have taken over the years. Big boxes, little boxes, long skinny boxes, empty boxes and boxes with stuff in them; it doesn’t matter – they’re all going to be irresistible to your cat. I’ve never known a cat who didn’t love sitting, sleeping and playing in boxes. Same goes for other things that have box-like qualities, such as baskets, buckets, bags, laundry baskets and suitcases.
I am reminded of a hilarious cartoon that had about a half dozen boxes lying in the middle of a deserted country lane. Each one had a cat in it, and the caption was “The cat traps are working.” Hilarious…but so on point.
So we all know that cats love boxes. But what you might not know is that there is supposedly some “science” behind the reason why felines have such an infatuation with the almighty box. Now, I’m a bit skeptical of any scientist that attempts to get into the mind of a cat. After all, felines do tend to defy being typecast. They’re not called independent creatures for no good reason. Nevertheless, I decided I should at least see what the science experts say about why cats love boxes.
Aging is an inevitable fact of life that can sometimes cause us to long for the days of our youth. But with age comes – hopefully – wisdom and an appreciation for what’s good in our lives. Our pets don’t have our level of knowledge about what lies ahead, and they can’t tell us what they are going through as they grow older. Some changes can indicate a medical issue, and some are just normal changes that can alter your pet’s behavior.
The average lifespan of dogs is around 7 to 14 years, but many canines live well past the average. Cats have a lifespan around 14 to 16 years, with many felines living into their 20s. Proper vet care, a premium quality diet like CANIDAE natural pet food, daily exercise, and mental stimulation can add years to a dog and cat’s life.
As responsible pet owners, we need to recognize when our four legged friends have reached their twilight years and understand that there will be changes which can affect their behavior.
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, firm, corporation or brand names, in this blog is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. All opinions in this blog are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company.