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Five tips to stop puppies from biting

 by bora on 31 Aug 2020 |
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Nibbling can be cute in puppies, but can lead to problem behaviors down the road. Nip biting in the bud with these five tips. As puppies begin to teeth, it’s natural for them to chew on things—including your hands. As cute as this can be in young pets, it often leads to problems down the road as dogs become larger adults. Here are some tips for to nipping biting in the bud early in your pet’s life: 1. Redirect your dog’s attention. In the same way parents of human children use distraction to redirect youngsters’ unwanted behaviors, so can you use distractions to stop your puppy from nipping. If you see him moving toward your hand, quickly pull it away before he can make contract and replace it with a treat, chew toy or other acceptable object to chew on. 2. Work on training. As with any behavior, practice makes perfect when teaching your dog to stop biting. Begin teaching him commands such as “leave it” or “let go” early in life so it becomes easy to remove any object from his mouth without sparking an aggressive response. 3. Speak a language he understands. Puppies often use their mouths during play, but this can easily escalate into painful bites. When a pup bites too hard, his peers let him know by letting out a yelp. Imitate this behavior to draw clear limits for your pet. When he bites your hand too hard, let the hand go limp and imitate the yelping sound dogs make when they are in pain. Your pet should release your hand immediately. After a 10 or 20- second time out, you can resume play, showing your dog you have clear limits when it comes to nipping. Remember not to pull your hand away, as this can turn into a game of chase and exacerbate the problem. 4. Stop ankle biters. Puppies sometimes bite ankles, too, especially if they are members of a herding breed. If this happens with your youngster, keep a toy in your pocket. When he nips at your heels, stop in your tracks and wave the toy around as an alternate to latch on to. If you are caught without the toy, simply stop moving and wait calmly until your dog stops biting, then fetch his favorite toy. Offering praise and a reward will show your pet good things happen when he stops biting. 5. Provide plenty of playtime. One of the best ways to stop a mouthy companion is to provide ample opportunities for him to burn off excess energy. Play games such as tug- of-war with your pet to help satisfy his urge to bite in acceptable ways and take him to socialize him with other dogs when possible. You can also consider enrolling in an obedience class, which will strengthen the bond your share with your pet.

Why does my dog stare at me?

 by bora on 11 Oct 2019 |
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An act of devotion or a request to refill the food bowl? Staring can hold a multitude of meanings for our canine companions. In the human world, making eye contact is a way of social bonding and this is no different in our canine companions. Multiple studies have shown that eye contact between two people helps strengthen their bond and researchers have found that, in dogs, this behavior activates the same hormones that are released when they gaze into their owners’ eyes. However, as with most types of body language, staring can hold multiple meanings depending on its context.
 Eye contact is one way our pets get our attention. Whether he wants you to take him out for a bathroom break, refill his water bowl, or give him a tasty treat, staring can be an effective way for Fido to alert you that he wants something. Pay attention to the context of his behavior to help you understand what your dog is trying to say. If he stares at you with his leash in his mouth, for example, he’s almost certainly asking for a walk.

 In other instances, staring is a sign your dog is thinking and processing input from his surroundings. Often accompanied by the classic head tilt, Fido may look into your eyes while attempting to make sense a new command or pondering an unfamiliar sound you made. Our dogs wants to please us, so this type of behavior is your companion’s way of doing his best to follow your commands and avoid being scolded. There are, of course, instances when dogs stare in an aggressive way. In the animal kingdom, making eye contact is often hostile behavior and an invitation for attack. Watch your pet’s body language to understand what his eye contact is saying—it may help you avoid putting yourself in harm’s way with an aggressive animal. In most cases, staring is a normal behavior in dogs. However, prolonged periods of gazing into space or at walls can be a symptom of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction, or CCD, a condition similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans. If your dog is getting lost in familiar places, failing to respond to normal commands, trembling, or walking aimlessly, take him to your veterinarian for an exam to diagnose the condition. While there is no cure, your vet can offer advice on the best ways to help your companion if he is experiencing CCD. 

It’s important to pay attention to context when figuring out what Fido’s gaze means. While often a sign of affection, staring can hold a number of other meaning for your pet. By paying attention to contextual clues, you can better understand your pet and his needs, strengthening the bond you share.

Are dogs really color blind?

 by yunus on 14 Aug 2019 |
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Researchers once thought dogs were colorblind, but new evidence is showing our canine companions see the world very similarly to how we do. For a long time, we believed our canine companions were colorblind, but new scientific research is shedding light on pets’ perception of color. Though Fido’s range of vision is limited compared to the range of colors humans see, our dogs do, in fact, see color. Unlike people, who have three types of color-detecting cells—called cones—in their retinas, dogs only have two. This is why our pets’ range of color vision falls between the yellow and blue spectrum. But how can we be sure of what our pets see? Experiments by a University of Washington scientist found that dogs’ perception of color is comparable to that of people with red-green colorblindness, a common abnormality in humans. What most of us see as red probably appears to be dark brown to our dogs, while green, yellow and orange probably to take a yellow hue. A study by researchers at the University of Bari backs these findings. In the experiment, the team used a variation of the Ishihara Test for Color Deficiency, which is used to test for colorblindness in humans. The test involves a series of colored circles depicting numbers, which are imperceptible to those with red-green colorblindness. To adapt this test for canine participants, the researchers designed plates showing a series of silhouettes of running cats. Based on results, they concluded that dogs could easily spot a bright red cat on a green background, but their perception of the silhouette dropped off when the cat was comprised of speckled light- and dark-red circles.   Dogs may be less able to distinguish color than humans,  but this does not mean their vision is inferior. Compared to ours, canines’ eyes contain more light-sensitive photoreceptors, allowing them to see well in dim light. From an evolutionary standpoint, this provided benefits such as allowing our pets’ ancestors to see better during dawn and dusk, when they were most likely to hunt and color vision was less crucial. Much like people with colorblindness, dogs developed other heightened senses to make up for their limited range of vision. Take, for example, Fido’s impeccable sense of smell, which is roughly 40 times great than our own.   While their vision capabilities are slightly different than ours, dogs see the world in a way that is comparable to what we see. Combined with Fido’s keen nose and other senses, our pets are more than adept at navigating their daily lives—even if their world does look slightly different than our own.  

This is why you love your pet so much

 by alex on 07 Jan 2019 |
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Caring for pets is a uniquely human behavior and researchers have struggled to explain why humans are so close to their companions.  According to the 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey, 68 percent of U.S. households own at least one pet. It’s clear that we love our four-legged friends, but researchers have struggled to explain why humans are so close to their companions. Whatever the reason, however, we’re unlikely to give up our roles as pet parents anytime soon.   It’s unclear how far back into history humans began keeping pets. Thousands of year ago, our ancestors likely discovered wolves’ utility as hunting companions, leading them to domesticate young pups. Cats share a similar history with humans, which may have begun when our ancestors starting farming and storing grains. As felines took to hunting the rodents that frequented granaries, farmers were likely to reward the cats for their work with food scraps, reinforcing a mutually beneficial relationship. Gradually, these animals became tamer and wolves evolved into dogs, though cats retained more of their original nature. According to a 2015 study published in “Current Biology,” ancestors to our modern-day dogs may have evolved from wolves as early as 27,000 years ago, pointing to a long history alongside humans.   At some point, humans began actively keep pets as companions. It’s a tradition in many cultures, and a strange practice when one considers the costs of caring for animals compared to the relative lack of benefits. Though our four-legged friends provide companionship, they also require time-consuming care, costly food, and regular veterinary visits. Several theories have attempted to explain why this seemingly impractical partnership is a mainstay in many societies. Some propose that pets increase our longevity and quality of life, though these theories have been largely debunked by scientific research. Others theorize that in the past, sharing our lives with animals was beneficial and we evolved together in a partnership that remains today. Culture plays a large role in our penchant for keeping pets, so other theories suggest pet ownership is a learned behavior. Not all societies raise pets and some that do keep them strictly for utilitarian purposes or treat them in ways that others view as inhumane. There is some evidence to backs theory, as an analysis of American Kennel Club registrations published in “Animal Behavior and Cognition” showed. Researchers found fluctuations in popularity of different breeds of dogs that implied pet owners’ choices follow those of their peers. Whatever the reason, however, data back what every pet owner already knows: We love our four-legged friends, regardless of the time and resources it takes to care for them.

How to treat hot spots

 by yunus on 01 Nov 2018 |
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Hot spots aren’t just painful for your pet, but can also be stressful to treat.  These tips may help you. Hot spots aren’t just painful for your pet, but can also be stressful to treat. Whether they’re caused by a flea allergy or emotional distress, it’s important to get to the root of the problem so you can stop it at its source.   Hot spots are an immune response that causes parts of your dog’s skin to overproduce natural bacteria, producing red, irritated or even oozing lesions. While any pet can develop the painful condition, hot spots are most common in breeds with thick coats, pets with poor grooming and those suffering from all types of allergies. Left untreated, they can spread fast, so it’s important to address the problem as soon as you notice your pet is suffering from these irritations.   Treating the wound should be first on your list of priorities after you notice your pet is suffering from hot spots. Begin by carefully removing the hair in and around the infected area, and then disinfect the spot with diluted povidone-iodine or another antiseptic. Continue cleaning the wound as often as needed to keep it clean, dry, and pus-free—at least twice daily in the early stages of treatment. Because hot spots can spread quickly and cause fever or serious skin conditions, take your pet to the vet if his sores continue to grow after several days of at-home treatment. Be sure to prevent your companion from licking or chewing the infected area by covering it or outfitting him with an e-collar.   Once you’ve cleaned your pet’s hot spots, watch him closely to determine what’s causing the problem. Insect bites, including from fleas, can cause irritation, as can allergic reactions to everything from food to pollen, grass, or mold. Hot spots can also arise from emotional stress, such as separation anxiety, changes in living situation or even boredom. Pay attention to what seems to trigger your dog’s condition. Note any changes in his environment, such as moving house or introducing a new pet to the home, that could be causing your dog stress and if you suspect his hot spots are due to emotional upset, work to minimize upheaval from these changes. Some dogs experience hot spots as a reaction to flea bites, so groom your pet with a flea comb regularly and ensure his flea treatments are up-to-date. A good grooming routine can also help ensure your dog doesn’t suffer from hot spots. Though less common, underlying conditions, such as sciatica, can cause pets to chew on their skin above the painful spot, too.  

Here’s how to build your dog’s confidence

 by yunus on 25 Oct 2018 |
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Dogs that struggle with their confidence aren’t just harder to train; their quality of life suffers, too. There are a few tricks to overcome this issue. Here’s how to build your dog’s confidence Just like humans, your dog’s sense of self-worth can be impacted by factors from his personality or a lack of socialization to stressful situations and past abuse. If your pet is wary when it comes to new situations, chances are he’s suffering from low confidence. Not only does a lack of self-esteem interfere with Fido’s quality of life, but it can lead to problems training your dog and other behavioral issues. Here are a few tips to help boost your pet’s self-esteem:   Start simple: One tell-tale sign your dog is suffering from poor confidence is balking when he’s asked to learn something new. Low self-esteem makes training harder, so start with simple commands that will boost your pup’s confidence. Always use the same command for the same trick and be sure to lavish your pet with praise every time he gets the trick right. Practice often, and eventually you can move on to more difficult types of training like bath time.   Stay positive: Dogs suffering from poor confidence already feel doubtful, so it’s important to avoid negative corrections whenever possible with your pet. Instead, focus on praising him for the things he does right. If your dog is afraid of new places, for example, don’t scold him for stopping mid-route on a walk; instead, praise him for taking a few steps forward. Dogs are experts at picking up on our emotions, so try not to show your frustration when working with a timid pet.    Give your pet something good to remember: Every time you form positive associations with something that causes your pet fear, you take part of that fear away. Whether it’s offering a treat after he successfully performs a trick or playing with his favorite toy during an outing to a new location, you can help your pet overcome his anxiety by giving him something good to remember after facing a scary event.   If you’re not sure whether your dog is suffering from low confidence, look for signs such as following you obsessively, standing between you and an unfamiliar person, heavy panting or drooling in a new situation, and pacing or chewing at his tail or paws. Consider whether any changes in his environment may have triggered your dog’s stress, or if a past experience has shaped his anxiety. Once you’ve discovered the root of his fearfulness, you can begin working slowly and consistently with your pet to expose him to small amounts of the stressor, using positive reinforcement to work up to more intense versions of this trigger over time.

Tips for Outdoor Flea Control

 by yunus on 22 Oct 2018 |
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A huge range of flea treatments is available these days, but sometimes infestations spread beyond the help of topical treatments. You can treat your pet for fleas religiously, but dogs with flea sensitivity will not respond to treatments unless they also include environmental controls. If your companion spends a good deal of time outdoors, it’s important to treat these areas to manage for fleas and other pests.   When making a list of steps you should take in addressing Fido’s outdoor flea problem, you should first account for which areas need treating. These should include any spot where your pet sleeps, such as his doghouse, kennel, carport, and even under the deck. Other areas to be treated include moist, shady spot where fleas breed; gardens; shrubs; and mulched areas. To rid these areas of fleas, many pet owners use pyrethroid sprays famous for killing fleas and ticks fast. These can be applied through a sprayer attached to a hose, allowing rapid treatment of large areas, or can be diluted and applied with a watering can on smaller spaces. Make sure to remove any pet or children’s toys before beginning this process.   Although pyrethroids are chemical imitations of pyrethrins—naturally occurring compounds that incapacitate insect nervous systems—not all pet owners are comfortable spraying them in their yards. Alternatives include desiccants, which are naturally occurring substances that pull water from fleas, causing them to dry up. Diatomaceous earth, silica gel, and sodium borate are all desiccants that can be applied in your yard to control fleas and other pests. Another natural solution to outdoor flea infestations are beneficial nematodes. Microscopic roundworms available at many garden centers, nematodes kill pests and other insects by entering the body and releasing a bacteria that kills fleas quickly. While they can be highly effective in some situations, nematodes have a limited area and season of usefulness, as they die in temperatures above 95 Fahrenheit and below 45, and are sensitive to light and drought. Cedar wood chips are another natural alternative to fighting fleas, as fleas are repelled by their scent. Sprinkle chips in shady areas, such as under the porch, and in dog bedding and outdoor furniture.   To keep a serious flea infestation at bay, repeat your outdoor treatment every two to three weeks, for at least six weeks. Once your pest problem is under control, you can drop to regular maintenance treatments every four to six weeks throughout the flea season. You should continue using your regular flea treatments on all of your pets throughout the process, and be sure to consult your veterinarian before treating your yard to make sure your pest prevention program won’t harm you or your canine companion.

Can dogs feel humans’ emotions?

 by yunus on 22 Oct 2018 |
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Dog owners have long suspected that their pets can sense what they’re feeling. Now, research is backing up what pet parents have long known. Dog owners have long believed their pets can pick up on their feelings, but this was just a theory until recently. Thanks to animal behavior experts, we now know once and for all that our canine companions are, in fact, masters when it comes to sensing human emotions.   Just like us, dogs are highly social creatures. They live in tight-knit family groups and have a strong instinct when it comes to protecting and being loyal to their social circles. Just like us, too, our canine companions use a complex series of body language, facial expressions and vocalizations to communicate with other members of their species. It’s no surprise, then, that when early dogs and humans began interacting, our four-legged counterparts were able to hone in on their ability to anticipate our thoughts and feelings. In reward for this intuitive bond, dogs were given more opportunities to receive food, shelter and affection that humans provide.   Our dogs spend a great deal of time watching us, so it’s no wonder they’ve learn to look for cues about how we feel—especially when a good mood can mean extra playtime and cuddles, while a bad mood might be good reason for Fido to hide. Our pets use more than sight to determine how we’re feeling, though. With his astounding sense of hearing, your pet easily picks up on the tone of your voice. Even more impressive, dogs actually use their sense of smell to pets pick up on some emotions, such as fear, or illnesses, which can show up as chemical changes in the breath or sweat.   In experiment by researchers at the University of Lincoln and University of Sao Paulo, a team of animal behavior experts and psychologists presented 17 untrained, domesticated dogs with images and sounds that conveyed either positive or negative emotional expressions in both humans and dogs. They found that dogs spent much longer looking at the facial expressions that matched with the emotional state of the vocalization, whether the subject was human or canine. This evidence seems to back what pet parents have long known: That by looking and listening, our companions are keenly tapped into our emotions. And when Fido feels what you feel, you’re sure to share a strong bond.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Hiking with Pets

 by yunus on 19 Sep 2018 |
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By following a few simply tips, you can make the most of hiking with your companion while being good trail ambassadors for all four-legged friends. Every pet owner loves bringing Fido along on adventures and dogs can make excellent hiking companions, regardless of their size. Before you hit the trail with your pet, however, there are a few things you need to consider.   Just as you choose trails that match your fitness level and abilities, you should also consider Fido’s physical fitness before hitting the trail. Hiking is more strenuous than walking and often involves uneven terrain and vertical climbs. Take into account your dog’s normal level of activity when planning a hike. If a typical walk is less than a mile, for example, an 8-mile climb should be out of the question. Be sure to check the weather the day of the hike, too, because no matter how fit you and your companion are, a hot, humid day can wreak havoc on your health. You should also note any health issues, such as hip dysplasia or arthritis, that may affect your dog’s ability to enjoy a hike. While it’s obvious why senior pets may not be up to the climb, it’s important to remember that puppies’ bodies are still developing and may not be suited for hiking on uneven terrain, either. After considering your pet’s fitness, it’s equally important to take note of his obedience and behavior when planning a hike. You’ll be sharing the trail with other people and animals, so it’s important to bring only well-socialized pets on popular routes. Hiking companions should also be experts at sit, stay, heel and come and feel comfortable walking both on- and off-leash. Aggressive or timid pets will not be good at sharing the trail, so it’s best to work on socializing these dogs before taking them hiking. On the trail, you and your pet will be ambassadors for other hiking dogs, so always practice good etiquette by giving dog-free hikers the right of way and maintaining control of your pet. If you encounter a loose dog on the trail, put your own pet on a leash to avoid any potential confrontations. And remember: Always pick up after your pet both on and off the trail.   Ensure your companion stays safe by choosing hiking routes without exceptionally steep climbs or ladders. Do your best to stop your pet from drinking standing water by packing his own water and dish. Especially on longer treks, plan on bringing plenty of fresh water and food for both you and your pet. You should consider buying a doggy “backpack” so your pet can carry his own supplies, making him feel useful and taking some of the burden off of your own back. Make sure your dog is up-to-date on vaccinations and has been adequately treated for fleas, ticks and heartworms before visiting your favorite hiking spot.   With some planning, you and your four-legged friend can enjoy hiking together. It’s important to choose routes based on both of your fitness levels, maintain control of your pet at all times, and follow the “leave no trace” rule when it comes to picking up after your pet. By adhering to these simply guidelines, you can make hiking the best experience for you and your pet and act as positive ambassadors for other four-legged friends on the trail.

Is it healthy to feed my dog a meat-free diet?

 by lucy on 10 Sep 2018 |
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Many pet owners choose to eat plant-based diets, but it’s less clear whether their dogs can thrive on vegetarian or vegan meal plans. Fortunately for plant-based pet parents, dogs are highly adept at getting the nutrients they need from a variety of foods. Many pet parents choose to live vegetarian or vegan lifestyles, but it’s less clear whether their canine companions can thrive on similar diets. Owners’ main concern when switching Fido to a meat-free meal plan is whether their pet will get all the nutrients he needs to stay healthy. Fortunately for plant-based pet owners, dogs can lead healthy lifestyles without consuming meat.   Canines belong to the order Carnivora, but in reality, our companions are omnivores and scavengers adept at eating a variety of foods. This means the canine body is able at transform certain amino acids—the building blocks of proteins—into others, so dogs can get the amino acids they need without eating meat. However, dogs process food differently from humans and will have a few special needs when eating vegetarian diets. Dogs cannot produce vitamin D in their skin, for example, so they must receive this nutrient from their food.   As with any diet, buy only commercial pet foods that have undergone feeding trials and meet Association of American Feed Control Officials standards when switching Fido away from eating meat. If you plan to make your own vegan or vegetarian pet food, it’s essential to consult a veterinary nutritionist to ensure your pet is getting the nutrients he needs. While replacing meat with eggs and dairy is a relatively easy switch to make in your pet’s diet, owners wishing to feed their dogs a vegan diet—one completely free from animal products—will need to pay close  attention to their pet’s nutritional intake. The right balance of different plant-based proteins, such as from beans, corn, soy and whole grains, can still provide the needed amino acids when carefully monitored.   Potential problems to watch for when switching your pet to a meat-free diet include low protein intake, imbalance of certain amino acids such as taurine and L-carnitine, and deficiencies in other vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus and iron that are obtained through eating animal products. If nothing is done to fix these deficiencies, they can lead to serious medical problems, such as reproductive or growth failure. It’s best to avoid feeding puppies or breeding dogs a vegetarian diet to avoid potential complications from these deficiencies. You should also schedule more frequent wellness exams—at least two per year— to ensure your pet is thriving on a meat-free diet. Skipping the chicken and beef can be highly beneficial, however, for certain dogs that suffer from food allergies.   After making sure your pet will get the vitamins and minerals he needs eating a meat-free diet, the only hurdle to overcome is with picky eaters who are accustomed to beef, chicken or other animal proteins in their food. If Fido turns his nose up at his new food, try gradually mixing increasing amounts of the new food into the old, until he switches seamlessly to his new, plant-based diet.
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