Dog Research

The Many Benefits of Dog Ownership

Tamara-bellis-n00UuCMzVgM-unsplashIf you read this blog, you are surely a dog lover -- and you are more than likely to know there are many benefits of owning a dog. According to HonestPaws.com, there are at least 95 of them! Here are just a few of the intriguing ones:

  • A dog’s gaze (think of those puppy eyes!) induces a release of oxytocin, “the love hormone,” which is linked to a strengthened emotional bond between mothers and babies.
  • Babies exposed to dogs are less likely to develop common allergies.
  • Kids who grow up around dogs have a more positive youth development versus kids who don’t grow up around dogs. 
  • Dog owners have a 24% lower risk of death from any cause than non-dog owners. 
  • Owning a pet, including dogs, reduces the harmful effects of stress for senior citizens.
  • Petting dogs for as little as 10 minutes reduces cortisol levels, “the stress hormone.”
  • Fifty-five percent of Americans would rather quarantine with their dog than their significant other.

Check out lots more fun facts here: https://www.honestpaws.com/blog/benefits-of-having-a-dog/

Photo by Tamara Bellis on Unsplash 


ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center

Did you know that Weaverville, NC is home to the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center? The state-of-the-art facility can house up to 65 dogs at a time. It includes a dormitory and several teaching spaces where shelter professionals can learn behavior modification techniques, to further help behaviorally challenged dogs across the country become suitable for adoption.

Homeless dogs of all ages and backgrounds are eligible for the program, as long as they are physically healthy and meet the behavioral inclusion criteria. Only dogs whose fear is so severe that it compromises their quality of life and makes adoption challenging or impossible are accepted.

The Weaverville facility has individual kennels, along with “real-life rooms,” designed to help dogs get used to life in home environments, outdoor play areas, and a large indoor training area where our behaviorists and trainers work with dogs in the program. On average, rehabilitation requires 13 weeks of treatment. However, that timing depends heavily on the severity of each dog’s behavior problems and how responsive he or she is to treatment. Once the dogs have completed the program, the transformed graduates are placed within the ASPCA's network of partner shelters and rescue groups to be made available for adoption. 

Screen Shot 2021-04-10 at 1.15.15 PMYou can watch a free film about the project here: https://secondchancedogsfilm.com/

The Center is seeking foster homes for dogs, as well as volunteers. For more information visit:
https://www.aspca.org/animal-placement/behavioral-rehabilitation-center

 


Testing Your Dog's DNA

Dog-2520857_1920One of the most popular dog breeds isn't a breed at all -- it's the mixed breed, sometimes affectionately known as a "mutt." The mixed breed is found throughout dogdom, very often available at animal shelters and rescue organizations. It turns out that mixed breed dogs are typically healthier than pure-bred dogs, so they are among the best dogs to own. Still, many dog owners would like to know the breeds that actually make up their dogs. This is the main reason dog DNA tests have flooded the market.

Testing your dog's DNA is likely to be the most accurate way to determine the breed mix. Yourdogadvisor.com has put together a helpful, comprehensive guide to DNA testing. It includes:

  • Why Do a Dog DNA Test?
  • How Dog DNA Test Work
  • The Best Dog DNA Tests - Our Thoughts
  • Reviews of four DNA test brands

You can access this free guide here: https://yourdogadvisor.com/best-dog-dna-test/

Image by Manfred Richter from Pixabay


How to Enrich Your Dog's Life

Lena-balk-Jh7mx7fMXzE-unsplash"Canine enrichment" is a phrase dog behaviorists use to define specific ways for how to make a dog's life happy and healthy. In a recent article for The Bark, animal behaviorist and dog trainer Karen London discusses tips which she discovered in the book, Canine Enrichment for the Real World: Making It a Part of Your Dog’s Daily Life by Allie Bender and Emily Strong. London highlights the following important points about enrichment:

  • "Ideal enrichment varies by individual as well as by breed"
  • "Providing choices to a dog is a great form of enrichment"
  • "Physical exercise affects the brain, mood, digestion, memory, appetite" and more
  • "Safety and security are critical elements of enrichment"
  • "Mental stimulation is an important part of enrichment"
  • "Let them be dogs!"

The article is worth reading -- and the book is a must if you want to really enrich your dog's life!

Photo by Lena Balk on Unsplash


Pros and Cons of Pet Insurance

Matthew-henry-2Ts5HnA67k8-unsplashIf you've taken your dog to the vet recently, you know that the cost of veterinary care can be substantial. Some pet owners might find it beneficial to purchase a pet insurance policy, especially if their pet has chronic health conditions or is older.

Money.com has put together a helpful guide to ten of the pet insurance providers they consider to be the best. The guide covers pet care (urgent vs. routine check-ups), Covid-19, important facts about pet insurance plans, pet insurance companies’ pros and cons, and detailed FAQs.

The guide is a must if you are considering pet insurance. You can find it here: https://money.com/best-pet-insurance/
 

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash


"The Genius Dog Challenge"

Screen Shot 2020-11-23 at 9.19.39 AMThe Genius Dog Challenge is an international competition originating in Hungary that aims to test six of the world's smartest dogs. The combination contest/scientific experiment will be streamed live every Wednesday at 1 PM Eastern time until December 16 on Facebook and YouTube.

In the first stage of the contest, dogs will have one week to learn the names of six toys. In the second stage, dogs will have one week to learn the names of twelve toys. Six dogs have already been chosen to take the challenge.

Check out all the details here: http://geniusdogchallenge.com/


Your Dog's Sleeping Position Actually Means Something

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Ever watch your dog sleep? Ever notice that your dog's sleeping position changes now and then? Well according to dog behavior experts, each sleeping position means something a little bit different. For example, dogs who sleep on their side with their legs extended feel safe, relaxed and are at a comfortable temperature. On the other hand, dogs who sleep all curled up with their limbs tucked in want to protect themselves and preserve body heat.

Ready to learn more about your dog's sleeping positions? Check out this cute infographic of ten sleeping positions and what they mean, courtesy of Casper.


How Dogs Improve the Lives of Humans

Cassiano-psomas-EVjghVvLJTc-unsplashThere has been quite a bit of research done on the mental and physical health benefits of dogs to humans. With the increase in loneliness and depression associated with the pandemic, Greater Good Magazine thought it would be a good idea to remind us of why our dogs help us cope with life.

Here are four specific science-backed benefits of being a dog owner:

  1. Dogs stave off loneliness
  2. Dogs reduce stress and anxiety
  3. Dogs help us get along with others
  4. Dogs keep us healthier.

Each of these benefits is discussed in further detail, along with references to scientific studies to back them up. Read the article here: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/the_science_backed_benefits_of_being_a_dog_owner

Photo by Cassiano Psomas on Unsplash


Smart Ways to Save Money on Pet Costs

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A 2019 survey indicated a surprising fact... Nearly 25 percent of American pet owners found themselves in pet-related debt. That means it's more important than ever to manage costs related to owning a dog -- or any pet.

Mint.com has some smart advice for pet owners in a feature called "23 Ways to Save Money on Pet Costs." It has some great tips, many of them easy, to save you money, including:

  • Buy in bulk and store properly
  • Strategically plan your pet's vaccination schedule
  • Don't neglect dental care
  • Join pet store loyalty clubs.

These and lots more tips are included in the free article.


Dogs and Cats Get Along...Adopt a Cat Now with No Fee Through Sept. 22!

Friends-1149841_1920A new research study confirms what many dog owners already know: Dogs and cats can get along in the same household. In a survey of 1,270 dog/cat owners, 62.4 percent of respondents said their dogs and cats play together, and 68.5 percent said their dogs and cats sleep together at least occasionally. Most dogs and cats living together are playful with humans, according to 76.2 percent of respondents. Most cohabitations were reported as "peaceful." You can see the complete study here

So if you're a dog owner without a cat, now's the time to adopt one!

Asheville Humane Society is OVERFLOWING with felines in need of loving homes! With over *385* cats and kittens currently in their care (in the Shelter, Adoption Center and foster homes), they need your help to make space and save lives! Asheville Humane is waiving adoption fees for all cats and kittens through September 22, so if you've been thinking about adoption, NOW is the time! If you can't adopt, please spread the word! 

Currently, the Asheville Humane Society adoption process is by appointment only. Please follow these steps to schedule your visit:

Step 1: View adoptable cats and kittens on AshevilleHumane.org .(Check back often!)

Step 2: Please email customerservice@ashevillehumane.org if you have questions or are interested in meeting a certain feline!

Step 3: Receive a response within 72 hours. Adoption counselors are working hard to make matches and will be in touch to answer your questions, and to schedule an appointment. Please be aware that limited appointment slots are available, and they will do their best to schedule your meet-and-greet as soon as possible! The Adoption Center is located at 14 Forever Friend Lane, Asheville (off Brevard and Pond Roads, near the WNC Farmers Market).

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay


Best Joint Supplements for Your Dog

Guest Post by Jim Smith

Harrison-kugler-d2hWXEV8J-8-unsplashAre you looking for the best joint supplements for dogs?

Watching your once happy and lively dog in pain can be heartbreaking. Arthritis, joint, and hip issues have become increasingly common in senior dogs. Joint supplements can help reduce symptoms.

But are they safe to use?

In this blog post, we’ll go through everything you need to know about joint supplements for dogs and help you pick the best ones.

Let’s get started.

As with humans, when dogs start getting older, they develop certain health issues associated with old age. Joint pain and inflammation are becoming increasingly common in all breeds.

Why is that so?
One of the biggest reasons is that our dogs are getting fatter. Overweight and obese pets are more likely to develop hip and joint pain as the weight puts more pressure on your dog’s joints.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Joint Pain

Not sure if your pooch has joint pain?
Our furry friends won’t be able to tell us they’re in pain. Dogs are especially good at hiding their pain and won’t let you know they’re hurting unless it’s unbearable. In the wild, showing pain can be a sign of weakness. So, dogs are programmed to hide it.

Common signs of joint pain in dogs include:

  • Hesitation in climbing stairs
  • Not jumping up and down the furniture
  • Swollen joints
  • Joint stiffness
  • Standing up can be challenging
  • Overall bad temper
  • Low energy

If your dog is showing any of these signs, take him to the vet for a proper check-up and diagnosis.

Best Joint Supplements

Joint supplements can be a boon for dogs with limited mobility. They help alleviate most of the symptoms and bring back your happy-go-lucky pooch.

So, let’s take a look at some of the best joint supplements.

1. Cosequin Maximum Strength Joint Supplement Plus MSM

It comes in a yummy chicken flavor and is manufactured in the US using globally-sourced ingredients. Helps improve joint health and mobility.

2, Nutramax Dasuquin with MSM Soft Chews

These come in easy to chew tablets and helps support joint health. Decaffeinated green tea provides antioxidants.

3. Petlab Co. Joint Care Chews for Dogs

This helps improve joint mobility and improve blood flow to the joints, providing your dog with flexibility, strength, and comfort.

Here's the Deal: Common Joint Supplement Side Effects

While dog supplements for joints do help alleviate symptoms, they can have harmful side effects of their own, such as:

  • High doses cause excessive urination
  • Diabetes (in case of sugar-based supplements)
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Allergies
  • Bald spots
  • Constant licking
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Itchy skin
  • Gassiness

Some of these symptoms are easy to deal with, while others are more serious. So, it’s best to stick to natural supplements for your pooch. These are safe, effective, and easy to use. More on those in a moment.

A Note on Cheap Chinese Supplements

You’ll find several cheap supplements on the market when looking for the best joint supplements.

While these look like a great deal, they can end up making your pet extremely sick! The FDA is investigating 600+ pet deaths and 3600+ injuries linked to Chinese supplements. Products imported from overseas are not regulated by the FDA. This means that they aren’t legally obliged to disclosing where the products are sourced from. In fact, some supplements may be advertised as “Made in the US” but can be sourcing their ingredients from China and other countries.

Isn’t that terrifying?

That's why it is safer to stick to natural joint supplements for dogs.

Choosing Natural Joint Supplements

Natural supplements for dogs are safe, effective, and easy to use. They help reduce joint inflammation and the pain that comes with it.

And, they don’t have harmful side effects!

  1. CBD Oil for Dogs
    CBD Oil For Dogs finds its origin in the cannabis plant. CBD oil has anti-inflammatory properties and helps treat chronic pain conditions like hip and joint dysplasia. It helps reduce pain and doesn’t have harmful side effects.

    CBD oil isn’t just great for hip and joint issues. It helps with a plethora of issues like anxiety, chronic pain, epilepsy, and helps improve a dog’s overall quality of life. You’ll find many CBD products online, most of them are low-quality. So, you should choose organic, natural, and lab-tested oil like Relievet’s CBD oil for dogs for effective results.

  2. Collagen
    Collagen is a type of protein found in cartilage, tendons, bones, ligaments, and joints. As your dog grows older, collagen production slows down, causing problems like mobility issues, joint and hip pain, weakened teeth, etc. You can boost your pet’s collagen production using collagen supplements.
  3. Turmeric
    Turmeric has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to treat a variety of issues. It’s safe to use with pets and helps reduce joint inflammation and pain. For the best results, choose organic Turmeric.

Did we answer all of your questions?

You’ll find several dog supplements for joints on the market, but not all of them are safe for your pooch. Some have serious side effects, while others are imported from questionable sources.

So, it is safe to stick to natural supplements when possible.

CBD oil for dogs is heavily researched scientifically proven to reduce joint pain--and it is safe to use. But, with the market saturated with CBD products, it’s important to choose the right one for your pooch.

Relievet’s CBD oil for dogs is natural, organic, and lab-tested to ensure quality.

Do you have any questions? We'll be happy to answer them if you visit https://www.relievet.com/.

Jim Smith has a passion for animals -- he lives with his cat and two dogs in San Diego. He has been writing about animals for the past 5 years, specializing in natural and alternative health.

Photo by Harrison Kugler on Unsplash


How Old is Your Dog in Human Years... Really?

Harrison-kugler-d2hWXEV8J-8-unsplashMost dog owners have always done simple math to determine the age of their dog in "human years" -- multiply each dog year by 7 and you have the answer, right?

According to new scientific research, that may not be quite right. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) recently reported, "Dogs are much older than we think, and researchers devised a more accurate formula to calculate a dog's age based on the chemical changes in the DNA as organisms grow old."

Here's a new formula that, according to scientists, will be much more accurate than the 7 dog years = 1 human year we are all used to:

"The new formula, which applies to dogs older than one, says that a canine’s human age roughly equals 16 ln(dog age) + 31. (That’s the natural logarithm of the dog’s real age, multiplied by 16, with 31 added to the total.)"

If you can't figure that out, don't worry. The AAAS has created a handy calculator where you can just fill in your dog's age and find his or her age in human years. You'll find it half-way down on this page:

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/11/here-s-better-way-convert-dog-years-human-years-scientists-say

Photo by Harrison Kugler on Unsplash


Hot Weather and Dogs

Bulldog-1275760_1920Every dog owner knows that summer temperatures can be dangerous to their pet, especially when a dog is left in a hot car. What you may not know is that some dogs are much more susceptible to the heat than others.

Reporting on a British study, The New York Times recently indicated that "Big dogs, older dogs, dogs with flat faces and certain breeds are all at higher risk of illness or death in hot weather. ... Nine breeds were at significantly higher risk than others, and five of them have flat faces: Bulldogs, French bulldogs, dogues de Bordeaux, chow chows and pugs. Greyhounds, English springer spaniels, Cavalier King Charles spaniels and golden retrievers were also at higher risk."

Care should also be taken with dogs older than twelve, since they have a 75 percent higher risk for illnesses caused by excessive heat. Dogs that weigh over 110 pounds are also at higher risk. And for all you mixed breed/shelter dog owners, you'll be happy to know that purebred dogs have an 85 percent higher risk than mixed breeds.

Image: Pixabay.com


COVID-19 Canine Scent Detection Study Launched in U.S.

The following is news from "Penn Today," published by the University of Pennsylvania, dated May 1, 2020.

Screen Shot 2020-05-27 at 2.10.58 PMA pilot training program utilizing scent detection dogs to discriminate between samples from COVID-19 positive and COVID-19 negative patients is the focus of a new research initiative at the School of Veterinary Medicine

With up to 300 million smell receptors—compared to six million in humans—dogs are uniquely positioned to aid in disease detection. This pioneering study—that will explore the sensitivity and specificity of scent—sets the stage for dogs to be a force multiplier in the mission to detect COVID-19, particularly among asymptomatic patients, or hospital or business environments where testing is most challenging. Preliminary screening of live humans by trained dogs could begin as early as July.

Penn Vet will initially begin the study with eight dogs to perform this precise detection work. Over the course of three weeks through a process called odor imprinting, the dogs will be exposed to COVID-19 positive saliva and urine samples in a laboratory setting. Once the dogs learn the odor, the investigators will document that the dogs can discriminate between COVID-19 positive and COVID-19 negative samples in a laboratory setting, establishing the platform for testing to determine if the dogs can identify COVID-19 infected people. The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Chemical Biological Center will be lending their expertise during the study as well.

“Scent detection dogs can accurately detect low concentrations of volatile organic compounds, otherwise known as VOCs, associated with various diseases such as ovarian cancer, bacterial infections, and nasal tumors. These VOCs are present in human blood, saliva, urine, or breath,” says Cynthia Otto, professor of Working Dog Sciences and Sports Medicine and director of Penn Vet’s Working Dog Center. “The potential impact of these dogs and their capacity to detect COVID-19 could be substantial. This study will harness the dog’s extraordinary ability to support the nation’s COVID-19 surveillance systems, with the goal of reducing community spread.”

Image: Penn Today


The Most Popular Dog Breed is...

Young-2293890_1920Carolina Mountain Dog is a bit biased, but we believe the most popular dog breed in America is the mixed breed! Any "mutt" is #1, as far as we're concerned, especially if he/she is adopted from an animal shelter or rescue organization.

Still, if you're interested in knowing the "official" results of the AKC's annual ranking of the most popular dog breeds, here are the top 10 for 2019:

  1. Labrador Retriever
  2. German Shepherd
  3. Golden Retriever
  4. French Bulldog
  5. Bulldog
  6. Poodle
  7. Beagle
  8. Rottweiler
  9. German Shorthaired Pointer
  10. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

The list was released on May 1, 2020. To see the rest of the list, visit https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/dog-breeds/2020-popular-breeds-2019/

Image: Pixabay.com


Free Support from "Fear Free Happy Homes"

Screen Shot 2020-04-16 at 11.03.36 AMFounded in 2016, Fear Free provides online and in-person education to veterinary professionals, the pet professional community, and pet owners. Courses are developed and written by the most respected veterinary and pet experts in the world, including boarded veterinary behaviorists, boarded veterinary anesthesiologists, pain experts, boarded veterinary internists, veterinary technicians (behavior), experts in shelter medicine, animal training, grooming, boarding, and more.

"Fear Free Happy Homes" offers free membership to pet owners. Once you sign up, you can get free access to:

  • Videos with fun, easy-to-implement tips
  • Articles reviewed by board-certified veterinary behaviorists
  • Discounts on pet products & services
  • Downloadable handouts with games, tips & tricks
  • The Fear Free Certified® Professionals Directory

Check it out here: https://fearfreehappyhomes.com/


Financial Responsibility and Dogs

Screen Shot 2020-04-24 at 2.55.03 PMSadly, during challenging economic times, more pets are surrendered to animal shelters simply because their owners can no longer afford them. Dogs make wonderful family companions, but being a responsible dog owner also means recognizing the financial responsibility of owning a pet.

Intuit Turbo offers some helpful information about the costs of dog ownership. For example, the annual cost of owning a medium-sized dog is estimated to be almost $900. Veterinary care can add up -- especially when it's estimated that 1 in 3 pets require an emergency vet visit every year. And, here's a statistic that may shock you: 42 percent of millennials have been in debt for a pet.

In its financial guide, Intuit Turbo displays a table of common pet expenses and a pet adoption decision chart, along with detailing six tips to help pay for your pet. Check it out here: https://turbo.intuit.com/blog/financial-planning/pet-financial-responsibility-6172/

Image: Intuit Turbo


Participate in a "Dog Choices" Study

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Would you like to take advantage of being home and spending lots of time with your dog -- while contributing to dog research? Then participate in a "dog choices" study by the Horowitz Dog Cognition Lab at Barnard College, Columbia University in New York.

Designed to understand dog choice-making, this study is a game you play with your dog, wherein you offer him or her 7 choices each day for 7 days. It uses materials, food, and spaces in and around your home: all the choices can be incorporated in an ordinary day with your dog and it should take less than 30 minutes per day.

If you are interested, you must complete an online form, as well as a spreadsheet, by Wednesday, May 20. Start by filling out the form linked here.


Is Grain-Free Food Safe for Your Dog?

Golden-retriever-puppy-2706672_1920Grain-free dog food is very popular: By 2017, it accounted for nearly half (44 percent) of the dog food market. Yet there have been concerns about grain-free food expressed by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) as recently as February 2019

The Doggypedia has published an authoritative article about grain-free food. It contains the following information:

  • What is a grain-free dog diet?
  • The growing popularity of grain-free diets
  • Connection to allergies
  • What is dilated cardiomyopathy(DCM)?
  • Genetic predisposition to DCM
  • DCM Signs
  • Why the FDA is investigating a grain-free dog diet
  • Is grain-free food safe for your dog?
  • What should dog owners do now?

Check out this free resource here: https://thedoggypedia.com/should-you-feed-your-dog-grain-free-dog-food/

Image: Pixabay.com

 


Results from a Pet Parenting Survey

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How good a pet parent are you? Porch.com surveyed over 1,000 people to learn whether men or women think their pets are more attached to them, how often couples argue over pet-related responsibilities, and how many people modify their homes for the sake of their furry family.

Here are some of the results:

  • Over half of women (54.7%) and men (52.4%) say they're "equally good" pet parents as their partners.
  • Women seem to be more confident pet parents: 44.2% of women said they were their pet's favorite parent, while only 35.8% of men said they were their pet's favorite parent.
  • 1 in 5 (20%) of pet parents said they get jealous when their pet pays their partner more attention.
  • Women were twice as likely as men to say they do more for their pet than their partner.
  • Couples who live with both cats and dogs were the most likely to share pet-related responsibilities equally.
  • 64% of respondents had added home features specifically for their pet(s).

Check out more results and information here: https://porch.com/resource/whos-better-pet-parent