Archives for January 2017

Winter Pet Safety

Brrr, it’s cold out there! Help your pets remain safe during the colder months by following these simple guidelines.

  • Repeatedly coming out of the cold into the dry heat of your home can cause itchy, flaking skin. Keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as he comes inside, paying special attention to his feet and in-between the toes. Remove any snow balls from between his foot
  • Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. If your dog is long-haired, simply trim him to minimize the clinging ice balls, salt crystals and de-icing chemicals that can dry his skin, and don’t neglect the hair between his toes. If your dog is short-haired, consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.
  • Bring a towel on long walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws. After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach to remove ice, salt and chemicals—and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.
  • Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin. If your pooch must be bathed, ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing shampoo and/or rinse.
  • Massaging petroleum jelly or other paw protectants into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemical agents. Booties provide even more coverage and can also prevent sand and salt from getting lodged between bare toes and causing irritation. Use pet-friendly ice melts whenever possible.
  • Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol; if swallowed in small amounts, it will not hurt pets, wildlife, or your family.
  • winter-carePets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime. Feeding your pet, a little bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories, and making sure they have plenty of water to drink will help keep your pet well-hydrated and their skin less dry.
  • Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
  • Be prepared. Cold weather also brings the risks of severe winter weather and power outages. Have enough food, water and medicine (including any prescription medications as well as heartworm and flea/tick preventives) on hand to get through at least 5 days.
  • Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside. If left outdoors, pets can freeze, become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured or killed. In addition, don’t leave pets alone in a car during cold weather, as cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold and cause animals to freeze to death.

10 Cool Things Science Taught Us About Dogs in 2016

From how dogs understand our words to proof that you can indeed teach an old dog new tricks, here’s 10 cool things science taught us about dogs this year.

1. Your Dog Understands Words More Than You Think

A new study found that dogs respond not only to the tone in which we use, but that they understand many of the words we’re saying. Researchers used brain scans from 13 dogs and recorded their responses to their owner’s voice. The dogs heard both meaningful words (good boy) and meaningless ones. When analyzed the research found that dogs process meaningful words in the left hemisphere or their brain, just like humans do – yet they didn’t use the same process for meaningless words.

2. Study Finds That Dogs May Have Episodic Memories

Researchers studied 17 dogs and found that they were able to remember & imitate their owners actions up to an hour later. The dogs were trained to imitate their owner’s actions with the do as I do method. The results found that dogs could recall their owners actions when unexpectedly requested to imitate them up to an hour later.

3. Stress Can Make Dogs go Grey Just Like Humans

Earlier this year we found out that stress can make dogs go grey early. The study found that dogs who suffered from anxiety were more likely to show signs of premature greying. The study focused on 400 dogs, age 1-4, and the researchers found that a fear of noises & unfamiliar people were significant predicting factors in early greying. The researchers did not find any predictors of premature greying when looking at a dogs age, sex or spay/neuter status.

4. Playtime After Training Can Improve a Dogs Memory

recent study found that dogs who engage in play immediately after learning something new seems to enhance their memory. The dogs in the study were split into two groups; those that got to play after learning and those who rested after. When the dogs were tested on the same task the next day the dogs who had engaged in play performed much better when re-learning the task than those in the rest group.prettywhite

5. Vocal Praise Means Just as Much to Dogs as a Food Reward

New research found that vocal praise means as much to dogs as food, if not more. The study analyzed dogs in groups of 15 who were trained to sit in MRI machines for three 10 minute sessions. After the first session, the dogs were given a hotdog, verbal praise for the second, and nothing for the third. For 13 of the 15 dogs their brains lit up just as much for verbal praise as they did for food.

6. Your Dog Will Learn to Ignore Bad Directions

Earlier this year a study found that if you give your bad directions he’ll learn to ignore you pretty quick. The study involved 40 dogs who were given a puzzle with a treat inside. The puzzle itself only required one step to get the treat – lifting the lid of a box. But the researchers added in an unnecessary step – pulling a lever. The researchers showed the dogs how to get the treat by lifting the lid & pulling the lever, but it didn’t take long for the dogs to figure out the second step was unnecessary.

7. Dogs May Have Been Domesticated Twice in Eurasia

A new study found that dogs may have been domesticated twice, once in Asia and once in Europe. Researchers looked at genetics & archaeological records, including some partial DNA from 59 European dogs that lived 14,000 to 30,000 years ago. They compared those records with genetic data from over 600 modern dogs. Archaeologists previously found dog remains in Germany that may be 16,000 years old, suggesting that dogs had already been domesticated in Europe before the dogs from Asia arrived.

8. Dogs Reduce Stress in Families with Autistic Children

Research found that having a dog in the home can reduce stress in families with Autistic children. The study was a follow up to a previous study that looked at the short term benefits a dog can have on families with autistic children. 2.5 years later the researchers found that thos

e short term last years beyond their initial findings, and that the stress levels of those families continues to decline.

9. Our Dogs Don’t Trust Us When We’re Angry

A recent study found that dogs have a delayed response when receiving instructions from someone whose angry. The study had dogs follow the lead of someone pointing to a hidden reward. The person pointing would either smile & talk in a happy voice or frown and speak in a negative tone. The study found no difference between the response time of the dogs when following gestures from a happy or neutral person, but when the person was angry the dogs showed a significant delay in response time.

jackson10. Science Proves That You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

A new 3 year study found that not only can old dogs learn new tricks, but that they perform certain tricks even better. The study looked at 95 Border Collies that ranged in age from 5 months to 13 years old. The dogs were put in front of a touch screen and shown two photos at a time. There were 8 photos total, 4 of which would give a treat when touched and 4 that gave nothing. When the older dogs were shown one of the previous “bad” photos (one that didn’t reward a treat) next to a brand-new photo they hadn’t seen they were able to determine which one was the “good” one better than their younger counterparts.