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Sunday, May 5, 2014

15 Amazing Things Your Pet Can Sense About You

1.  Dogs Know When You Are Sad - When you feel sad,

your dog will immediately pick up on this and adjust his

behavior accordingly. He may become more subdued than

usual, lose interest in his toys and even refuse his food.


2.  Dogs Can Sense Your Intentions - We’ve all

experienced a dog’s almost psychic ability to sense when

something unpleasant is about to take place. Even before

you turn on the shower or touch his towel, your dog knows

you intend to give him a bath and will immediately run for

cover. The same goes for haircuts, nail trims and

administering medicine.  


On the other side, your dog will also understand if your intentions are pure and you are performing the task for his own good.  Most dogs will submit to unpleasant experiences, such as nail trims, if their owner is close by to offer some reassuring words and gentle encouragement.


3. Dogs can Sense Any Diseases You May Have - If your dog has been paying particular attention to a certain area of your body, you may want to visit your doctor to make sure everything is okay.  Various studies have confirmed that dogs have the ability to detect certain diseases such as cancer through their keen sense of smell.  A dog’s ability to sense disease comes down to an ability to detect chemicals known as volatile organic compounds or VOCs. VOCs are what allows us to sense odor and though some are toxic, the term generally applies to any chemical that can get into your nose because it is a gas. While humans can detect certain potent VOCs, our limited sense of smell is no match for what dogs can do.


Depending on the breed, a dog’s sense of smell can be anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 times stronger than a human’s. That means that a dog can pick up a scent that is up to 100,000 times weaker than any scent a human can detect.


4.  Dogs Understand When You Feel Scared - If you feel scared, your dog will know about it in an instant. A dog’s sensitive nose can pick up on subtle scents, such as adrenalin, that he associates with fear and danger.  If you have a Rottweiler or Doberman, then your burly protector will most likely spring into action and come to your rescue.Smaller dogs, or those with nervous temperaments, will follow your lead and start to feel scared themselves.  


Your dog will always look to you for guidance on how to react in certain situations, so if you want your dog to be brave you will have to lead by example.  Fear is an emotion shared by a large number of animals, dogs included. While it is true that dogs can “smell” fear, it is also true that they intuitively understand the body language associated with it.


5.  Dogs Know When You Are Being Unfair - Your dog will immediately understand if you are playing favorites.  Many animals have a sense of justice. Chimps, for instance, have a very strong sense of right and wrong and even take pleasure in punishing those who break the rules. Dogs have their own sense of fairness and it results from their social structure.  One reason that dogs understand fairness arises out of their roots as wolves. Researchers have found that, because wolves must coordinate as a pack to hunt, they depend upon rules of fairness to survive.


6.  Dogs Understand If You Suddenly Have Other Priorities - Dogs that have spent the vast majority of their lives being spoiled and adored by their owner will understand, to some extent, if attention suddenly shifts to a new priority. A new baby, boyfriend, hobby or even a new pet can lead to feelings of jealousy and resentment from your pampered pooch.  Some dogs have even been known to physically insert themselves between two lovers in order to shift the attention back onto them.  Having pointed out that dogs are able to recognize and cope with shifts in your priorities, remember that they don’t want to be neglected.


The most important thing in the life of your pet is you.  Your dog relies on you to feed and care for his most basic needs. To let your dog know that you still care, do your best to keep his routine intact. A disruption in a dog’s routine will not only trigger feelings of jealousy, but will also play on your pet’s sense of justice.


7.  Dogs Sense When You Are Angry - Owners that have been with their dog for several years often do not have to utter a single word to show that they are annoyed.  


If you come home and find your dog knee-deep in the garbage can, placing your hands on your hips and issuing a disapproving stare is often enough to convey your anger.  When on the receiving end of discipline, a dog will often crouch down, tremble, whine and occasionally lose bladder control.  A recent study found that dogs will display this behavior when reprimanded even if they haven’t actually done anything wrong.


It is clear that dogs can sense anger, but it is also clear that they can’t always understand its source.  Dogs often don’t know if you are angry at them or as the result of something else. This can be a disastrous situation because a dog may change his behavior in response to your anger, even if he has done nothing wrong. If this happens often enough, your dog may become frustrated with the lack of consistency in the rules and start to act out. Once again, this harkens back to a dog’s sense of justice.  Your pet will try to please you, but if he feels you are treating him unfairly and that he can do no right, he will start to act out.


8. Dogs Know If You Are A Generous Person - Just as we judge other people based on their actions, dogs will also pay attention to how you act toward others.


Generosity is about justice as much as it is about kindness. It is also about tone of voice, anger, and all of the things previously discussed. The bottom line is that your dog knows when you are being generous and when you are being stingy.If you are stingy too often, your dog may begin to take things behind your back, act out, or otherwise let you know he is disappointed. Dogs expect reciprocity, they expect kindness, and they expect fairness.  Dogs have a strong moral compass, which is what makes them such outstanding companions. They expect you to live a moral life and will react accordingly.


Dogs Know If You Are A Generous Person.  Just as we judge other people based on their actions, dogs will also pay attention to how you act toward others.Generosity is about justice as much as it is about kindness. It is also about tone of voice, anger, and all of the things previously discussed. The bottom line is that your dog knows when you are being generous and when you are being stingy.If you are stingy too often, your dog may begin to take things behind your back, act out, or otherwise let you know he is disappointed. Dogs expect reciprocity, they expect kindness, and they expect fairness. Dogs have a strong moral compass, which is what makes them such outstanding companions. They expect you to live a moral life and will react accordingly.


9. Dogs Immediately Know When Your Back is Turned - If you leave food on a table or kitchen counter within reach of your dog, you had better develop eyes in the back of your head if you want it to remain there.Many dogs would not dream of stealing food in front of their owner, but doing it behind their back is another situation entirely.


10. Dogs Understand If You Are A Pushover - Some of the more energetic breeds of dog, such as Labradors and Pit bulls, require a firm disciplinarian to reign in their wild behavior.  Larger breeds sometimes don’t understand their own strength and can be dangerous if they suddenly decide to surprise a child or an old person with a hug.  However, just because a dog is well-behaved for its master or trainer does not mean it will act the same way for everyone else.


Dogs like to test the boundaries on a regular basis. If they find someone who does not punish them for pulling on the leash, digging up the garden, or eating the garbage, they will take advantage their new-found freedom.  Dogs rely heavily on social hierarchies to determine what they are and are not allowed to do in a setting. If you want your dog to behave, then he or she needs to see you as the alpha in the relationship.


11. Dogs Can Sense If A Woman Is Pregnant - While there has been no scientific proof that dogs can sense when a women is expecting, there are hundreds of stories of women who noticed changes in their dog’s behavior during their pregnancy.  Many owners report that their dogs suddenly become much more protective, attentive, and loving.They also report that the dogs begin escorting them everywhere they go. Your dog may also sniff or nuzzle your belly and rest his head on it.  Dogs pick up on hormonal changes, such as when a woman is menstruating, so the ability to sniff out a pregnancy is not so far-fetched.It should come as no surprise that your dog may feel put out by the new bundle of joy in your home.


To ensure that dog and baby are happy together, you need to start preparing your canine friend for the new baby as soon as you know you are pregnant.Most experts recommend that you give the pet a special place that belongs only to him, that you take time each day to spend only with your dog, and that you don’t change routine if it you can avoid it. If you must change your dog’s routine, then start early and do it gradually.


12. Dogs Know When You Are Taking Them To The Vet - How a dog can tell the difference between a trip to the vet and a car ride to the park is a mystery to humans.  As soon as you load him into the car, your dog will already know what is going on. He may stare worriedly out of the window, pace back and forth, or eye you suspiciously.


Once you get to the vets, then most dogs develop a set of anti-lock brakes that makes them impossible to move.  Even if they are visiting a new vet for the first time, as soon as the door opens, they already understand that what is in store isn’t pleasant. A dog knows that he is going to the vet thanks to his sense of smell and his ability to read body language. You probably can’t make a trip to the vet fun for your dog, but you can make it less anxiety-provoking.Most experts recommend that you acclimate your dog to the vet by taking him there on visits (no shots or prodding during these times). You should also “play doctor” with your dog. That means touching him on the pads of his feet, looking in his mouth, and otherwise doing things that a vet would do.


13. Dogs Understand When You Are Grieving - How much dogs can understand about death is still not fully understood.There have been many stories of pets grieving for their dead owners, and many have kept up vigils next to their owner’s grave or previous home.  Losing a loved one brings a deep sadness that is very unlike other kinds that result from the breakup of a relationship or disappointment at work. Your dog will understand when you are mourning a loved one and will most likely go through a grieving process of his own. He may become clingier or more attentive. Some dogs have been known to howl when experiencing bereavement. To help your dog deal with grief, start by maintaining his normal routine. Believe it our not, too much affection can be a bad thing. Some dogs will see it as a sign of weakness and take it that they need to assume the alpha role.


14. Dogs Know If You Are A Good Person - Good, honest, trustworthy people have an aura of good energy around them.


New science suggests that, contrary to what neurologists previously believed, the heart actually has a stronger electromagnetic field than the brain. It also sends messages to the brain, through neurotransmitters, that influence thoughts and behavior.  Dogs will also know if you are a good person based on your body language and how you treat others. If your dealings with others are just and fair, your dog will pick up on that based on how people react to you. Just as the dogs above were drawn to the more generous individuals, dogs are also drawn to those they perceive as more fair or trustworthy.It isn’t entirely clear how dogs make these moral judgments, but it is clear that you need to be consistently fair, both to your dog and to those around you, to let your pet know that you are a good person.


15. Dogs Understand When You Do Not Like Someone - When we gaze at something or someone we love, a chemical reaction takes place within our body. Dopamine and serotonin are released into our system and cause a chemical reaction that leads to feelings of happiness, joy, infatuation and ecstasy. The same thing happens when you look at a person you do not like. Except in this case the body releases a completely different set of hormones that are associated with hate, resentment and fear.  Your dog can detect these changes in you, and will most likely begin to dislike the person that caused your reaction.


Of course, body language plays a role in whether your pet

thinks you like someone or not. Keep in mind that any dog,

even a gentle dog, may try to protect you from people it

perceives as a threat.If you are avoiding a person, watching

that person closely, or are otherwise sending out signals that

you distrust someone, don’t be surprised if your dog barks,

growls, or lunges at that person if he or she tries to

approach you.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Top 10 Health Benefits of Owning a Pet

A pet is certainly a great friend. After a difficult day, pet owners quite literally feel the love.  In fact, for nearly 25 years, research has shown that living with pets provides a number of proven health benefits for people, including physical, mental and emotional improvements, from enhancing social skills to decreasing a person's risk of heart attack.


Keep reading to find out the top 10 reasons to open your home to a furry friend, and why doing so might be just what the doctor ordered!

1.  Decreases Stress - Animals and our pets can be a great way to

reduce our everyday stresses and anxieties. It is not easy to deal with

our fears and anxieties, however, spending time with animals can makes us feel better.


2.  Lowers Blood Pressure - The American Heart Association (AHA) recently issued a statement that owning a pet may help lower blood pressure, obesity and cholesterol, as well as reduce the risk of heart disease and increase survival among patients. Chair of the AHA committee that issued the statement, Glenn N. Levine, M.D., professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, says that “there are plausible psychological, sociological and physiological reasons to believe that pet ownership might actually have a causal role in decreasing cardiovascular risk.”


3.  Eases Pain - Believe it or not, pets can be the best medicine, especially when a person is dealing with chronic pain such as migraines or arthritis, says Dr. Becker. “Just like Valium, it reduces anxiety. The less anxiety, the less pain,” he says. One study from Loyola University found that people who use pet therapy while recovering from surgery may need significantly less pain medication than those who do not.


4.  Lowers Cholesterol – According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they state that owing a pet can lower your cholesterol by about five points and reduce your blood pressure. It is also known that male pet owners in particular, have lower triglyceride and cholesterol than non-pet owners.


5.  Improves Mood - A lot of the health benefits of owning a pet may stem from the mental and emotional benefits.


6.  Helps People Socialize - While it may seem a bit counterintuitive, owning a dog actually increases a person’s opportunities to socialize. A recent study found that pet owners were more socially engaged than non-pet owners. In addition, an Austrian study found that pet ownership led to an increase in social contact, more socialization within neighborhoods and even a greater perception to observe that their neighbors seemed friendly.


7.  Prevents Strokes - Although dogs are often touted for their health benefits, cat owners can see gains, too. Felines are just as beneficial to your health as dogs. “If you have a cat, you’re 30% less likely to have a heart attack, and you’re 40% less likely to have a cardiovascular incident like a stroke,” Dr. Marty Becker, DVM (veterinary consultant for Good Morning America) says. In addition, pets can aid in the recovery of a heart attack. “If you have a heart attack and you have a dog, you are [significantly more] likely to be alive a year later,” Dr. Becker says.


8.  Monitors Blood Sugar Levels for Diabetes - According to the American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Forecast magazine, a 1992 study found that one-third of the pets living with diabetics (mostly dogs, but other pets included cats, birds and rabbits) would change their behavior when their owner’s blood sugar level dropped. Most likely a reaction to chemical changes in the owner’s body, the behavior noted in the study has resulted in organizations like Dogs4Diabetics, which trains dogs to be companions for patients at risk of unstable blood glucose levels.


9.  Prevents Allergies and Improves Immunity - Dr. Becker says pets can dramatically improve immunity and prevent allergies. “A study found that children ages 5 to 7 from pet-owning households attend school three weeks more per year than those who don’t have pets,” he says. He also says that the more pets you have earlier in life, the fewer allergies you will develop. “Kids who grow up on farms and around animals don’t have allergies,” he says. “That dander on that hair, that’s natural immunotherapy.” But he notes that this effect is not reversible: Getting a pet as an adult will not minimize allergies, it only helps prevent certain allergies from developing in children.


10.  Helps Children Develop - Children who grow up in a household with pets benefit in myriad ways, especially in their emotional development. When a child is attached to a dog or cat, they learn to express themselves in more ways and they learn to relate better. Pets are also hugely beneficial to children suffering from autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). For children with ADHD, taking care of a pet can encourage them to focus on responsibilities through a predictable routine. While the sensory experience of holding and petting an animal can be soothing for children with autism.



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Better Overall Health 


Research presented at the 10th International Conference on Human Animal Interaction found that pet owners simply experience better health than non-pet owners. The survey of more than 11,000 people over a five-year period showed:· Pet owners made 15-20 percent fewer annual visits to the doctor than non-pet owners.· Those who went to the doctor the least were those who continuously owned a pet.· The next healthiest group was people who got a pet during the study.


Remember, healthy pets=healthy people!


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Friday, March 7, 2014

Best Grooming Practices

Good pet health is closely related to grooming. Just as humans require good grooming habits, so do our dogs. Besides being a healthy habit for our dogs, grooming is an important part of the relationship we have with them. Regular grooming sessions are beneficial because they:


  • Allow you and your dog to have quiet time together

  • Promote your dog’s good health in terms of his coat, skin, feet, ears, teeth, etc

  • Allow you to become very familiar with all parts of your dog’s body and you’ll notice early on anything unusual that may require veterinary attention.

  • Promote good health for both humans and puppies – this type of interaction can actually lower stress levels and reduce blood pressure for both you and puppy.


Whether you groom your pet yourself or decide to take them to a salon, here are some things that you should consider doing on a regular basis in order to ensure the best overall health of your pet:

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Brushing (hair) - Regular brushing (every few days regardless of the length of the coat) is great, regardless of the length of your dog’s coat, because it removes dead hair, distributes the natural oils for a clean and healthy coat, stimulates the surface of the skin, sloughs off dead and dry skin, and helps you become very familiar with your dog’s body.


Bathing – Veterinarians recommend you bathe a dog a dog with normal skin once a month. There is no medical need to bathe your pet more often unless they have skin problems or just smells little more than you’d like. A mostly indoor Yorkie will require less bathing than say a Labrador Retriever who loves to romp in the weeds and roll in the mud, and a wiry-coated Jack Russell may be able to go a couple of months without a bath. Experts recommend that you use a shampoo specifically formulated for your pet and while many owners use a human shampoo – human shampoos can easily dry our your pets skin leaving them unhappy and irritable.


Nail trims – Nails should be checked and clipped every two weeks. Since dog’s nails grow in a curve, allowing them to get too long will cause their “fingers” and “toes” to splay or twist when the dog walks. This can be very uncomfortable and can ultimately lead to broken fingers and toes not to mention when they are caused to walk in an unnatural state, can aggravate joint pain if your pet suffers from arthritis. Regular nail clipping can prevent this, as well as reduce the risk of torn nails. It can also save on wear and tear of your floors and carpeting. The rule of thumb is, if you can hear your dog’s nails ‘click’ as they walk on the floor, they are probably too long.


Ear cleaning - Keeping the inside surfaces of your dog’s ears clean will not only feel good to your dog, but is good way to help prevent ear infections. Examining the outside surface will also alert you to the presence of ticks, fleas, infection or anything else that is out of the norm. Experts suggest cleaning your dog’s ears at least once a week with an approved pet ear cleaning solution. For the right solution that should be used on your pet, contact your vet.


Eye Cleaning - Eyes are very delicate but surprisingly durable. There are steps you can take now to care for your pet's eyes so they aren't prone to infections and traumas later. One important thing you can do for your pet is to observe their eyes, so you can catch any problem early and prevent it. Prevent eye infections by trimming the hair from around your pet’s eyes and making sure the corners of your pet’s eyes are mucus-free.


Teeth brushing – One of the most overlooked and preventative things we can do for our pets is taking care of their teeth on a regular basis. Dogs can suffer from many of the same dental problems as humans (i.e., cracked teeth, abscess, periodontitis, cavities, gum disease, tartar buildup, etc.). Bacteria from gum disease can also get in your dog’s bloodstream causing other health problems. Toxins from bacteria in your pet’s mouth are absorbed into their bloodstream. As the kidneys, liver, and brain filter the blood, small infections occur causing permanent and at times fatal organ damage. Regular teeth cleaning will help your pet’s health, save you vet expenses and eliminate the stress of having your dog anesthetized for the cleaning procedures. Brushing your dog’s teeth 2-3 times a week with pet approved toothpaste (DO NOT use human toothpaste on your pet) will ensure good overall health. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Top Pet Poisions

Most people know the basics on what things can harm their pet’s health. But what most people DO NOT know is that some of the items humans might feel as being healthy, are seriously toxic for pets. Avoid some of the common pet poisons and dangers by finding out what they are below.

Prescription Drugs


Most prescription drugs are meant for humans. Ingestion of any medication not specified for that individual pet is reason to go see a veterinarian. The drugs listed below are some of the more dangerous substances for pets, but any ingestion of human medications should be investigated.


  • Antidepressants such as Effexor, Cymbalta, Prozac and Lexapro

  • ADD/ADHD medications such as Concerta, Adderall and Ritalin Benzodiazepines and sleep aids such as Xanax, Klonopin, Ambien and Lunestra

  • Birth control such as estrogen, estradiol and progesterone

  • ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors such as zestril and altace

  • Beta-blockers such as Tenormin, Troprol and Coreg Thyroid hormones such as Amour dessicated thyroid and Synthroid

  • Cholesterol lowering agents such as Lipitor, Zocor and Crestor

  • Human supplements, nutraceuticals or herbal remedies that haven’t been recommended



Household Drugs


  • NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories) such as Advil (Ibuprofen), Aleve (Naproxen) and Motrin

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)



Poisonous Plants for Dogs


  • Autumn Crocus

  • Azalea

  • Cyclamen

  • Daffodil

  • Dieffenbachia

  • Hyacinth

  • Tulips

  • Kalanchoe

  • Lily

  • Oleander

  • Sago Palm

  • Foxglove

  • Rhododendrom

  • Compost

  • Mushrooms

  • Jimson Weed

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Household Chemicals


  • Antifreeze

  • Paint

  • Paint thinner

  • Expandable foam insulation

  • Tar

  • Pool chemicals

  • Drain cleaners

  • Lead (lead paint chips or dust)

  • Zinc (pennies made after 1982)· Mothballs


Human Foods Dogs SHOULD NOT eat


  • Sugarless products that contain xylitol (gum or other food products)

  • Chocolate

  • Foil wrappers

  • Coffee grounds, or any products with caffeine

  • Avocados

  • Fatty foods such as fat from meat & many nuts

  • Pan drippings

  • Macadamia nuts

  • Grapes or raisins

  • Alcohol

  • Garlic

  • Onion

  • Raw meat

  • Dairy products

  • Baby food

  • Yeast dough

  • Unripe tomatoes



Garden Items


  • Bait traps for rodents, snails and slugs

  • Rodenticides

  • Insecticides

  • Blood meal

  • Fertilizers





  • Salt water

  • Toads in certain areas of the country

  • Fabric softener sheets

  • Batteries

How to Safeguard Your Pet


So how can you prevent your pet from an accidental poisoning? Start by visiting the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center website to learn about other potential poisons, how to poison-proof your home and what to do if you suspect that your pet may have been poisoned.


It's also a good idea to post your vet's phone number or the closest 24 hour emergency veterinarian hospital on your refrigerator for easy reference in the event of an emergency.


To poison-proof your home, don't keep medications where pets can get at them. Keep cleaning products in cabinets or behind doors, and place your medication in a secure, safe place away from your pet.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Most Popular Puppy Names for 2013

The end of the year is a great time to sit back, reflect and be grateful for all the wonderful things that have happened in the past year. Like puppies. And their names.


As we looked at Vetstreet's website, they looked through a database of 925,000 puppies born since January 1 to determine what the most popular puppy names of the year are. While the top 10 don't yield too many surprises, Vetstreet is noticing a few trends and have their eyes on a few rising stars.


Check out the infographic below or click on this link for a larger version.

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