Dog Research

What Nutrients Control Shedding in Your Dog

Guest Post by Mark Young

ID-10032366Shedding is a natural process that just seems to come with the territory when you're a dog owner. In some cases, excessive shedding can be a sign of an underlying nutrient deficiency.  When this happens your dog's hair and skin might be more dry and brittle than usual.  This can cause their hair to fall out more easily, and brittle hair is also prone to splitting and breaking.  Continue reading on if you want to learn more about some key nutrients that can help alleviate this problem.

Essential Fatty Acids

Essential fatty acids are some of the most important nutrients when it comes to a dog's overall skin and hair health.  The two main fats your dog will need to keep hair loss under control are Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. 

Most dogs already get enough Omega-6 fats in their regular diet, but in most cases, they won't be getting enough Omega-3 fats from a regular commercial dog food. 

You can either supplement your dog's diet with fish oil or flax seed oil since they are both great sources of Omega-3 fatty acids.  There are also some dog foods out there that have been specially formulated to control shedding. Alternatively, if you really want to spoil your dog you can feed them grass-fed beef which tends to have a higher Omega-3 content.

When you feed your dog enough of these healthy fats their skin will retain moisture better.  In addition, their hair will look more lustrous since a thin layer of natural oil will protect their hair from drying out and becoming brittle.

Biotin

Sometimes excessive shedding can be caused by a biotin deficiency.  The signs of biotin deficiency include dry flaky skin,  excessive shedding, and a lot of itching and scratching.  Your dog's nails may also become brittle, and they can suffer joint problems if the biotin deficiency is not corrected.

Luckily biotin is produced in small quantities in your dog's intestines by beneficial bacteria.  If your dog has intestinal problems, though, then the bacteria in their gut might not be producing enough biotin.  Also, if your dog has recently been on a course of antibiotics the beneficial bacteria might have been killed off.

To play it safe you can feed your dog foods that are rich in biotin so you can be sure they are getting enough of this vital nutrient.  Some foods that are excellent sources of biotin include egg yolks, liver, meat, and some leafy green vegetables.

Protein

When most people think of hair loss they don't tend to think about protein.  In reality, a dogs hair is made of keratin which is actually 60 to 90 percent protein.   Since dogs have a lot of hair a good percentage of the protein they consume is used to produce all of that keratin. 

Most dogs tend to eat a high protein diet, so we often think that our dog is at least getting enough of this nutrient.  There are cases where a dog might have problems digesting protein, so even if it seems like they are eating enough protein they still might not be absorbing it. 

If your dog has problems digesting protein you can add digestive enzymes to their food.  The digestive enzymes will break down the protein into amino acids, which will be much easier for your dog's intestines to absorb.

If your dog is a picky eater that might also lead to a protein deficiency.  In that case, you will have to figure out a way to get them to eat enough protein by offering them treats, or giving them supplements. 

An average adult dog needs to consume at least 18 percent of their calories in the form of protein.  While puppies will need to eat a diet made up of at least 22 percent protein to fuel their rapid development.   As long as you hit these targets you can be sure a protein deficiency is not at the root of your dog's hair loss problem.

Mark Young is an avid pet lover and writer on ThePetSupplyGuy.com. When he is not writing he spends his time taking care of his wide assortment of pets, and he also volunteers his time at local animal shelters.

Image: Anankkml, Freedigitalphotos.net


The Challenge of Renting with Pets

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In the Asheville area, renting a house or apartment with a pet is a challenge. In general, renting with a pet, especially a larger dog, can be challenging, wherever you live. Some rental properties even place restrictions on certain dog breeds. It can be such a tough problem that some renters will even surrender their pets if they can't find pet-friendly rentals. That's why, several months ago, Carolina Mountain Dog published a listing of some local resources for pet-friendly housing.

An infographic from Tails Pet Magazine might also be helpful. "Renting with Pets: The Good, the Bad, and the Frustrating" covers pets and the rental market, pet rental fees, and has suggestions for "finding your perfect pet-friendly rental."

Check out the infographic here: http://www.tailsinc.com/2018/08/renting-with-pets-good-bad-frustrating/ 


How Trained Therapy Dogs can Positively Impact Mental Health

Guest Post by Jennifer Scott

JuliaJaneta-unsplash.comDogs are often thought of as “man’s best friend.” This is especially true with individuals who are suffering from decreased mental health. Therapy dogs or “comfort dogs” have the job of supporting a person who is suffering from a mental disorder by providing comfort and attention. Therapy dogs often have very sweet demeanors and are full of love to give. They often live in homes, but they are also available to visit people in hospitals, schools, nursing homes, and hospice homes. Because they are patient and unbothered by strangers hugging them, they can improve the mental health of just about anyone.

Read on below to see how therapy dogs can positively impact mental health and give you a better outlook on life.

Improve Moods

Therapy dogs are known to be positive mood boosters for anyone suffering from autism, bipolar disorder, depression, ADHD, PTSD, and Alzheimer’s disease. This is because interacting with dogs can raise levels of oxytocin and dopamine, which are the feel-good hormones in our body. A dog has a way of adding unconditional love to your life, even if you’re suffering from a mental disorder. Dogs fulfill the basic human need of touch. In fact, they love to be pet, which only encourages us. Even when we’re stressed, just petting a dog can rapidly calm us down.

Decrease Stress

A side effect of a lot of different types of mental disorders is anxiety. Anyone with anxiety knows how hard it is to control. Therapy dogs can help with that because they decrease stress. Being around a trained cat or dog can lower your blood pressure, which is a big physical measure of stress. When you own a dog, you also get more exercise than people who don’t own a dog. That’s because you’re constantly taking your dog out for walks or outside to play. Exercise can help you greatly reduce stress and depression. Pets also help you stay in the moment and keep your focus on the now instead of worrying about past or future events.

Ease Loneliness

Low mental health can make you feel lonely. Therapy dogs can change that. Not only do pets provide companionship, but they encourage friendly interactions with others, which can lower your levels of depression. Pets change your perception of others -- and their perception of you. Pets make you appear more approachable, and in turn, you view anyone who has a pet to be more approachable. Dogs provide a great ice breaker when meeting strangers.

Go Outside

Whether you’re taking your dog on a walk or going to play fetch in the park, one thing is for sure: dogs get you outside. This is crucial when you’re suffering from low mental health because sun and fresh air can help elevate your mood, along with vitamin D exposure that you probably need. Vitamin D helps fight mental conditions, including depression. Getting outside also exposes you to nature, which has a way of calming us down. Taking a deep breath outside while taking in the view can help us stay present in the moment and give us a sense of calm.

Don’t Forget to Pet-Proof Your Home and Yard

You want your home to be safe for your therapy dog, so make sure to pet-proof it before you bring them home. This includes cleaning up any clutter around your home, putting any meditations in cabinets, putting away toxic chemicals, and keeping foods and plants out of reach. Pet-proofing your home also means making sure your backyard is safe for your pet. Choose dog-safe flowers and plants for your yard. Also, secure your trash cans and garbage from your pet. If you have a swimming pool, be sure to put a fence around it.

Talk to Your Pet

Above all else, if you ever feel like you have to get something off your chest but don’t want to confide in anyone close to you, your dog or cat can be a great listener. You can talk to your pet about your daily struggles, your hopes, your fears -- anything. And, they won’t judge you. It can be a great option for people who are too afraid to bring up issues to their family or friends.

Jennifer Scott has experienced anxiety and depression since she was a teenager. She shares stories about the ups and downs of her anxiety and depression at http://spiritfinder.org/

Image: Julia Janeta, Unsplash.com

 


Introducing Your Cat to a Dog

Guest Post by Mary Nielsen

Dog-2606759_1920Suppose you have a cat and you want to introduce her to a new dog you are adding to your household. Or what if you already have a dog and you want to introduce him to a new cat? It's a challenge, but it is possible with the right approach.

After learning about jealousy in cats, you may want to prevent jealousy by gently introducing your cat to a new cat in the household. But what if it's a dog? "To fight like cats and dogs" is a tired cliché, but based on truth. It stems from a language barrier. What a cat thinks is a friendly greeting, a dog thinks is an unwarranted expression of dominance. What a dog thinks of as a friendly greeting, a cat thinks is a sign of aggression. The best way to overcome this language barrier is to introduce them as puppy and kitten, while they're so naïve that everything seems new and different. Of course, that's not always possible.

Before You Get Started

If at all possible, get a cat and dog with similar personalities. If the situation is due to a blended family or other cohabitation, this may not be an option. It's preferable to start with animals that have lived with other animals before. The dog should know the commands "sit", "no" and "stay" and be leash-trained. Aggressive animals (even if only in play) will not match well with nervous, shy animals. While it's best to introduce a puppy and a kitten to each other, two elderly animals might be able to quietly tolerate each other. In the case of puppies and kittens, supervise their playtime to make sure they don't hurt themselves.

If possible, let the cat and dog take turns roaming freely about the house while the other visits a friend or family member. This way, they'll know each other by scent when they first meet.

The Pavlovian Method

Your cat will need to be isolated for a while with food, water, litter box and bedding. You may come in to visit, but the dog should stay out. For at least a week, the cat and dog must eat on opposite sides of a solid door. If your dog barks, whines or paws at the door, give him a calm but firm "No!" and move his bowl away from the door. Gradually move the food bowls closer to the door over the week until they're practically eating side by side if not for the door. You can also rub one with a rag and put it near the other's bowl so they can smell it while eating. In time, they'll come to see each other's scent as pleasant.

Face to Face

For their first face to face meeting, there should be a handler for each animal. Pets can pick up on fear and nervousness, so try to keep calm. The dog should be leashed and the cat should have access to her safe space, be that a carrier, kitty condo or space under the bed. Calmly and gently let the cat and dog see and smell each other. Speak in a composed, reassuring voice. If things take a turn for the worse (one or both lunges at the other, for example) the dog can be pulled back on a leash and commanded "No! Sit!" The cat will most likely retreat to someplace safe. Repeat this several times, gradually lengthening the time of the visits.

Never punish a pet for a bad reaction to another. You don't want them to associate the other animal with punishment. Do reward them for good behavior. Some dog breeds that have a high prey instinct (hounds, spaniels and terriers) may never acclimate to a cat's presence. Of course, if the dog is of a toy group (such as a Yorkie or Chihuahua) you may have to tell your cat to play nice! Even if your cat and dog do learn to accept each other, keep food and litter boxes where the one who shouldn't use it can't get to it.

Mary Nielsen founded FelineLiving.net and is a passionate cat lover, blogger, and part-time music teacher. She founded her blog to share her ups and downs of being a pet parent to a bunch of adorable kittens and cats. When she is not playing with them or teaching, you can find her experimenting in the kitchen.

Image: Pixabay


How Much Sleep Does Your Dog Need?

Guest post by Brian Morgan

Dog-848390_1280It is no secret that dogs love sleeping. In fact, they spend most of the day laying on the sofa and snoozing. Therefore, we often blame them of being lazy. However, this statement cannot be further from the truth. Because of their biological clocks and sleeping patterns, dogs have higher sleeping requirements.

Generally speaking dogs spend about 12 to 14 hours per day sleeping. Since dogs tend to adjust their sleeping patterns according to the owners’ patterns, their sleeps are not continuous nor equally divided. Usually dogs sleep 8 hours during the night and the remaining 4 to 6 hours occur during the day in the form of naps.

How dogs spend their days

Humans follow a binary sleeping pattern that consists of 12 hours awake during the day and about 8 hours of sleep during the night. Dogs do not have strict and preconceived sleeping patterns.

On average, most adult dogs spend around 50 percent of the day sleeping, around 30 percent of the day resting, and around 20 percent of the day being physically active.

The sleeping portion includes the long night sleep and the short naps during the day. While resting, dogs are awake but physically inactive. The physically active portion of the day includes all physical activities from walking and running to playing fetch and tug-of-wars.  

The dog’s sleeping pattern

The dog’s sleeping pattern is similar to ours. The first phase of sleeping is the slow one and it manifests with slower breathing, blood pressure dropping and heart rate decrease. This phase lasts for 10 minutes. After that, dogs enter the second, rapid eye movement (REM) phase. As the name suggests this phase manifests with fast rolling of the eyes under the closed eyelids.          

The only difference between the human and the canine sleeping pattern is the time spent in REM phase. REM is also the phase in which active dreaming occurs. While humans spend up to 25 percent of sleep in REM, due to their inconsistent sleeping schedules, dogs are in the REM phase for only 10 percent of the total sleep time. Because of the shorter REM phase, dogs need more total sleep make up for the shorter REM.

Simply put, although dogs sleep longer than we do, they do not sleep as soundly and they need to compensate for the lost REM’s.

Factors influencing the dog’s sleeping pattern

Adult dogs spend around 12-14 hours per day on sleeping, while young puppies tend to sleep for more than 18 hours per day. However, the exact time a dog spends on sleeping depends on several factors such as:

  • Breed – large dog breeds sleep longer than small dog breeds. Additionally, how much the dog will sleep depends on what it is bred for. For example, working dogs have lower sleeping needs than dogs bred to be companions.
  • Age – young puppies and senior dogs have higher sleeping requirements
  • Exercise regimen – as contradictory as it may sound, active dogs need less sleep than dogs with sedentary lifestyles
  • Environment – dogs that live in environments with extensive mental stimulations tend to sleep longer.

Changes in the sleeping habits

Sudden changes in the dog’s sleeping schedule may be a cause for alarm and can signalize certain health issues. The most common reasons why your dog’s sleeping pattern can be altered include:

  • Low-quality diet – bad diets make dogs sleep longer because they either do not provide enough nutrients or are hard to digest and require more energy for proper digestion
  • Poor health – cardiovascular conditions, inactive thyroid glands, diabetes and canine depression are all linked to altered sleeping patterns and can significantly influence the dog’s sleeping needs.

Changes in the sleeping habits are normal in older, senior dogs. Senior dogs tend to sleep longer during the day and they also tend to get up more frequently during the night simply because life becomes harder with age. This may seem weird at first, but it is a natural part of the ageing process.  

Doggy sleep disorders

The most common doggy sleep disorders include:

  • Narcolepsy – indicates excessive daytime napping manifested with sudden falling in deep sleep and it usually involves partial or complete muscle paralysis.
  • Insomnia – sleeplessness is quite rare in dogs and it is almost always due to health issues.
  • Sleep apnea – loud snoring caused to heavy and temporarily stopped breathing that causes the dog to wake up. If it occurs frequently it can lead to tiredness during the day.

All dog parents are well aware of how much their canine babies enjoy sleeping. To be honest, when it comes to dogs, extensive sleep is physiologically required. To properly function and stay well-rested, dogs need a good night's sleep and frequent day naps. 

Dogs are flexible sleepers capable of falling asleep out of boredom. They are also capable of waking up easily and becoming alert immediately after the waking. Because of this inconsistent and irregular sleeping pattern dogs need a lot of sleep. Additionally dogs do not sleep deeply and tend to wake up a lot.

If your dog does not follow its usual sleeping pattern, do not hesitate to contact the vet.

Brian Morgan is the editor for DogBedZone a website providing tips, guides, and resources for dog owners.

Image: Mathey, Pixabay.com


"Meet Your Dog" Book Signing - Asheville, June 13

Kim Brophey, a local dog behaviorist/owner of The Dog Door in Asheville with a national reputation, will be appearing at Malaprops Bookstore, 55 Haywood Street in Asheville, on Wednesday, June 13 at 6 PM. She will be discussing her new book, Meet Your Dog, which has received rave reviews. A presentation will be followed by a book signing.

Using cutting-edge research, Brophey has developed a groundbreaking system called L.E.G.S. that allows owners to identify what their dog is struggling with, why, and how they can fix it. Brophey's approach is unlike anything that has been published before and will give dog owners a new understanding of what motivates and affects their dog's behavior. Brophey's innovative technique rethinks the way we categorize dogs, and distills information from over twenty scientific disciplines into four comprehensive elements: learning, environment, genetics, and self. With revolutionary tips for specific dog breeds, her book will change the life of every dog owner and lead to happier human-canine relationships. Asheville Humane Society is the first humane society in the country to be adopting the L.E.G.S. approach.

Her book is available at Malaprops, or through Amazon by clicking on the book cover above.

 


New Dog Book by Local Behaviorist Launches - Asheville, April 14

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On Saturday, April 14 from 3 to 5 PM, Kim Brophey will be reading from and signing copies of her new book, Meet Your Dog, at the Asheville Mall Barnes and Noble on South Tunnel Road in Asheville.

Business owner and dog behavior expert Brophey just released this revolutionary new book that will change the way people view dog behavior. Kim is a nationally-recognized, certified animal behaviorist with her own dog behavior business, The Dog Door in Asheville.

In her book Meet Your Dog: The Game-Changing Guide to Understanding Your Dog’s Behavior she reveals her comprehensive framework known as L.E.G.S (Learning, Environment, Genetics, Self) which explains the four aspects of a dog’s behavior. The knowledge in this book can dramatically change how we view and relate to dogs, with the aim of keeping misunderstood dogs out of shelters and in happy homes. Asheville Humane Society will be instituting the L.E.G.S. system this Spring -- the first humane society in the nation to do so.

No dogs allowed at this event, please!

 


Why Adopt a Shelter Dog?

AngelinaLitvin-unsplash.comTo some dog lovers, answers to the question, "Why Adopt a Shelter Dog?" are obvious. But there are still plenty of people who are uncertain about adopting from a shelter or even have a negative perception about it.

WileyPup.com has come up with an informative online guide that not only answers the question, it presents you with "20 Astonishing Shelter Dog Facts." Did you know, for example, that:

  • About 25 percent of dogs in shelters are purebred
  • Many shelters perform behavioral testing before releasing dogs for adoption
  • Mixed breed dogs tend to be generally healthier than purebred dogs
  • Adoption fees typically cover a range of services adopters would normally have to pay for on their own, including spay/neuter, worm and parasite medication, standard vaccines, and microchipping.

 There's lots more to know about adopting a shelter dog, and it's all in an easy-to-digest format here:  
https://www.wileypup.com/why-adopt-a-shelter-dog/

Image: Angelina Litvin, Unsplash.com

 


Dog Training Presentation - Asheville, Jan. 25

ID-100422868On Thursday, January 25 at 6 PM, Dr. Kathryn Gubista will do a free presentation on science-based dog training.  The presentation will take place in the Lord Auditorium of Pack Memorial Library, 67 Haywood Street, in downtown Asheville. Humans only, please!

Gubista is an evolutionary biologist, college biology instructor, former zookeeper, author and certified professional dog trainer (CPDT-KA) with Lucky Dog Training Asheville and has over 30 years of dog training and human educating experience. Her training philosophy is based on "The Dog's Perspective."  According to Lucky Dog Training: "Our training philosophy and techniques are based on understanding the biology of dogs coupled with learning theory, and is most similar in approach to dog training as Positive Discipline is to child parenting. By understanding the dog’s perspective, humans learn to communicate with dogs on their level instead of making dogs communicate on the human’s level. This makes dog training practical, easy and rewarding for everyone, especially dogs."

Image: jm1366, freedigitalphotos.net


Is a Toy Dog Breed Right for You?


StuartMiles-fdpToy dogs have become very popular pets over the past years and are slowly becoming top choices of dog lovers. As a matter of fact, the American Kennel Club has listed six toy dog breeds in the top 25 of the recent most popular dog breeds in America. The top 25 list includes Poodles (7th), Yorkshire Terriers (9th), Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (19th), Shih Tzu (20th), Pomeranians (22nd), and Havanese (23rd).

Many people are looking to take in small dog breeds because of their adorable features, and perhaps, thinking that there will be fewer responsibilities and lesser work to expend. But toy dog pets go beyond their charms. Even with the popularity of these toy dog breeds, there are still some people who wonder if they make good pets at home. To help you decide, here are pros and cons of taking care of toy dogs.

PROS

Because of their cute size, toy dogs can easily adjust and fit into small and big living spaces. Whether you live in a one-room apartment or a mansion, you are assured that your little pooch has plenty of room to move around. They only require a short walk to get their needed amount of exercise per day.

When you go out or travel, you can easily bring your pet along. You can place them inside your shoulder bag or tote bag and not worry about carrying a load. Moreover, these dogs eat less, need fewer exercises, and their routine vet visits often cost less. Toy dogs show a great deal of love and affection to their owners as well, a common characteristic of all types of dogs. Although it depends on a number of factors, smaller dog breeds tend to live longer than big dogs.

CONS

Small dogs can sometimes have obnoxious personalities. They can be aggressive to larger dogs and responsible for starting fights. Toy dogs feel that they are in charge of the household. They may disobey their owner and feel that they need to be served all the time. They can also be difficult to train, but you, as an owner, should set the tone that you are the boss, being firm yet still showing affection.

In addition to those points, not all small dogs are good around children. If a dog is not taught the proper behavior when they are still a puppy, the owner can experience a number of behavioral issues.

Popular Breeds

There are several popular breeds of toy dogs to choose from. Here are a few options you can consider:

  • Yorkie. The Yorkshire terrier originated in England, and they were used to kill vermins. They are known to have a very strong personality.
  • Poodle. Originally a water dog, the poodle was used to hunt game. They are very intelligent and are easy to train.
  • Shih Tzu. This toy dog breed has its roots in China. It is one of the oldest breeds in existence.
  • Pug. The pug is also from China. This dog has become very popular for their small size and cute features.
  • Chihuahua. A dog breed from Mexico, the chihuahua may have been used in religious ceremonies by ancient tribes.

The Importance of Toy Dog Breed Choice

Before getting a toy dog, it is important to research the different breeds and their specific needs. Don’t rush. Take the time to look at the needs of the dog and figure out if that certain breed fits into your lifestyle. You should also consider your finances since the prices of small dogs can be high, especially if they are purebred. Keep in mind that you can often obtain a small dog at a much more reasonable price from an animal shelter, humane society, or rescue organization. In addition, small mixed breed dogs may have less behavioral and health problems than purebred toy dog breeds.

The bottom line: Try to find out as much information about the breed that you want to have. Once you have finalized your choice, it is important to make sure that you are capable of taking care of it.

Image: Stuart Miles, Freedigitalphotos.net


Free Guide to "50 Most Popular Dog Breeds in the World"

ID-10044688There are plenty of factors determining a breed’s popularity relative to others. However, the only statistic that actually measures breed popularity is the number of dog registrations per breed. So this tells us what is popular without explaining why it’s popular.

A review site, JenReviews.com, has published a free guide to the fifty most popular breeds in the world. For each breed, you'll find the dog group it belongs to (herding group, sporting group, toy group, etc.), temperament, training, key facts about the breed, and celebrities who own dogs in that breed.

This handy guide will give you a quick overview of dog breed characteristics. You can find it here:  https://www.jenreviews.com/dog-breeds/

Image: Happykanppy, freedigitalphotos.net


New Canine Nutrition Resource

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The Pet Food Institute (PFI), whose members make 98 percent of all U.S. pet food and treat products, recently launched a new series of interactive infographics showing the ways the key nutrients found in a complete and balanced dog food recipe help our pets. The new web resource, 'Nutrition from Nose to Tail,' provides fast facts about the essential nutrition that fuels our dogs' growth and supports their body systems, as well as non-essential nutrients that can also serve important functions. 

 "PFI's new 'Nutrition from Nose to Tail' resource was designed to assist pet lovers in understanding how a carefully formulated recipe will help their dog," said Cathleen Enright, PhD, president and CEO of PFI. 'Nutrition from Nose to Tail' shows the ways that the essential nutrients support pet health, for example by providing energy or promoting vision or healthy joints, and also reviews other important non-essential but functional nutrients such as carbohydrates. 

Check out this free resource here: https://www.petfoodinstitute.org/pet-food-matters/nutrition-2/nutrition-nose-tail/


Everything You Need to Know About Pet Insurance

More pet parents today than ever before are showing interest in pet insurance due to the rising cost of pet care. The first pet to be insured in the USA was a female Rough Collie dog and TV star Lassie, back in 1982. As the number of pet owners increase, there has been a huge upsurge in the number of companies offering pet insurance, particularly in North America.
 
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An APPA (American Pet Products Association) study estimates that in 2017, veterinary care in the US cost $16.62 billion to pet owners, and they paid $14.93 billion for over-the-counter medicine for their cats and dogs. Today,an estimated 1.8 million pets are insured in the United States with annual premiums averaging between $163 per pet to $496 per pet, depending on the insurance plan.
 
Pet insurance can be very helpful in saving money on routine check-ups, medicine and vitamins, and surgical bills. But the problem many pet owners face is the abundance of choices, with different rules and regulations, and every company’s plan being slightly different. So do you pick a pet insurance plan that’s right for you and your four-legged companion? 
 
It all comes down to asking the right questions and comparing the most important aspects of each pet insurance policy. TopDogTips.com magazine has put together an infographic with a large list of pet insurance tips and sample questions you can ask your future insurance provider that will help you narrow down the best choices.
 
You'll find this helpful resource here: https://topdogtips.com/pet-health-insurance-tips/ 

The Good News About Exercise and Your Dog

ID-100104460Many dog owners recognize that simply walking their dogs can keep them and their dogs healthier. However, it may surprise you to learn that a significant percentage of dog owners do not walk or exercise their dogs.

According to a recent article in The New York Times, "as many as 40 percent of dog owners in the United States and elsewhere rarely if ever walk their dogs." In searching for reasons why people didn't walk their dogs, researchers came up with one intriguing conclusion: "Interestingly, one of the prime determinants of regular dog walks was affection. People who reported feeling close to their pet generally walked it more often than those who reported a looser bond."

A research study suggests that people are less likely to walk smaller dogs (typically weighing less than thirty pounds), older dogs, and overweight dogs. Contrary to popular belief, all of these dogs need exercise, as long as a veterinarian approves. Dr. Carri Westgarth, a researcher in England, tells the Times that taking a dog on a walk is not just good exercise, it is also stimulating for the dog's senses and reinforces the canine-human bond.

“People who walk their dogs often say they do it for the dog,” said Westgarth. “But there is also an element of what we get out of it in terms of enjoyment, which is the big motivator.”

So get out there and walk your dog... you'll both be better off for it!

Image: Vlado, Freedigitalphotos.net


Does Your Dog Connect with You on an Emotional Level?

AngelinaLitvin-unsplash.comPeople who have owned dogs for a long time are likely to share a very special bond with those pets. Many dog owners may even believe that dogs read and react to their emotional state. Now an emerging field of science called "emotional contagion" -- the spread of emotions between animals and people -- is helping to confirm that dogs really can connect with their owners on an emotional level.

A recent article in The New York Times, "The Empathetic Dog," shares the story of Benjamin Stepp, an Iraq war veteran whose service dog, Arleigh, senses Stepp's emotional distress and takes action to calm him. According to the article, "The dog senses when his agitation and anxiety begin rising, and sends him signals to begin the controlled breathing and other exercises that help to calm him down." This is just one of countless examples of ways in which dogs help humans by understanding their emotional state.

Some of the research being done on the emotional connection between animals and humans is fascinating. For example, one study cited in the story exposed dogs and humans to a baby crying, a baby babbling, and radio static. The babbling baby and radio static did not elicit much of a reaction from either humans or dogs. "But the sound of a baby crying produced a drastic response. Cortisol levels spiked in both people and dogs," according to the article.

So that deep emotional connection you think you have with your best furry friend? It could be very real!

Image: Angelina Litvin, Unsplash

 


What Do You Really Know About Dog Food?

ID-100114357The number of dog food brands and options is overwhelming, and food for dogs has become big business for the pet industry. To keep ahead of the brand "pack," Reviews.com did extensive research into dog food to come up with a very selective list of the best dog food brands. The Reviews.com team invested over 1,400 hours into research, which included surveying experts and dog owners and reviewing the ingredients of more than 100 brands.

The results of this study are both troubling and informative. You will learn quite a bit about what is and isn't in dog foods, and you're also likely to discover that some of what you think about certain brands may not be correct.

The Reviews.com study covers what to look for and what to avoid in dog foods, pros and cons regarding types of dog food, the best dog food formulas, and the best dog food products. There is also some helpful information about dog food recalls.

Check out the complete study here: http://www.reviews.com/dog-food/

Image: Twobee, freedigitalphotos.net


Guide to Dog Ownership Costs

ID-100329003When it comes to owning a dog, you certainly can't put a price on the love and companionship a dog brings to your family. But just as with a human family member, there are costs involved in owning a pet.

TheSimpleDollar.com has put together a helpful, comprehensive and current guide to pet ownership costs. The guide covers the lifetime costs of a pet, including acquisition, medical, grooming, food, equipment, and training costs. The guide also discusses specific costs related to owning a dog, such as most and least expensive dog breeds, typical costs for health-related items including vaccines, flea treatments, and heartworm preventative, emergency medical care, pet insurance, tips for reducing the cost of pet ownership, and more.

Included with the guide is a handy free cost calculator so you can estimate dog ownership costs yourself.

Check out the guide here: http://www.thesimpledollar.com/pet-cost-calculator/

Image: Stuart Miles, freedigitalphotos.net


New Book Focuses on Disaster Preparedness for Pet Owners

Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 3.25.24 PMWhether the wind blows, the ground shakes, the flames rise or snow and water fall from the skies, you must be prepared for your pet’s sake!” says Denise Fleck aka The Pet Safety Crusader™. “Disasters aren’t always on a regional scale. Power could go out on just your street or in only your building.  A tree could fall on your roof or a water pipe could break in your home alone.  Even without your neighbors being affected, your household of two-legged, four-legged, feathered, finned or scaled family members could be in distress.”

In her just released 9th book, “The Pet Safety Crusader’s My Pet & Me Guide to Disaster PAWparedness,” Fleck, who has personally instructed more than 12,000 humans in animal life-saving skills and millions more on national TV segments, lays out the steps your pets need you to know to be READY, REACT and then RECOVER.  “Training, supplies, a positive mental attitude and a plan can make all the difference,” she says.  In addition to preparedness tips for humans and their animal companions, the author provides templates for your family's emergency plan, what to have on hand and skills to possess, suggestions for specific disasters ranging from earthquakes, hurricanes and chemical disasters to tsunamis, power outages and civil unrest. The book concludes with a comprehensive manual covering basic first-aid – should the worst happen – for those who walk on two-legs, four paws or hooves, fly, swim or crawl.

Order the book below:


Free "Pet Friendly" Presentation, Hendersonville, April 29

ID-100280356On Saturday, April 29 from 4 to 6 PM, certified dog behaviorist Kim Brophey will give a free talk entitled "Pet Friendly: We All Deserve to Have a Ball!" at Sanctuary Brewing, 147 1st Ave. East, Hendersonville, NC. It is sponsored by Asheville Humane Society in partnership with the Humane Society of the United States and GoPetFriendly.com.

Kim is the owner of Dog Door Behavior Center in downtown Asheville and will be discussing what “pet friendly” means for the Asheville area. GoPetFriendly.com is a leading pet travel resource that has partnered with HSUS and Shelter Pet Project for a 10-month, pet-friendly tour across the country to raise awareness about adoption and other animal related issues. Asheville has been chosen as one of the stops!

Asheville Humane Society and Blue Ridge Humane Society will be there with dogs available for adoption!

Image: Holohololand, Freedigitalphotos.net


New Study Shows Dogs Help People Improve Their Interactions

ID-100104783Dog lovers rejoice! Recent research conducted at Central Michigan University compared groups of people working together on tasks. Some small groups worked without a dog present, while other groups had the companionship of a dog. The result: The groups with a dog worked more cooperatively and seemed to trust group members more than the groups with no dog in the room.

Researcher Steve Colarelli reports, "When people work in teams, the presence of a dog seems to act as a social lubricant. Dogs seem to be beneficial to the social interactions of teams."

Colarelli adds, “In a situation where people are working together for a long period of time, and how well the team gets along—do they speak together, have rapport, act cooperatively, help one another—could influence the outcome of the team, then I suspect a dog would have a positive impact.”

Read more about this study from the perspective of Jill Suttie, writing for the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley: 
http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_dogs_help_people_get_along_better?

Image: Vlado, freedigitalphotos.net