Dog Research

What Does a Dog's Tail Tell You?

Guest Post by Rachel Hudson

Happy-47816_1280Discover essential information about a dog's tail. Learn what it says about your pet and better understand what to do and how to react in certain situations!

Even though animals are unable to talk, it is possible to interpret their behaviors and thought-process through certain physical aspects. This applies to dogs and cats, but many people are wrong more often than not, making a straightforward assumption. For example, people misinterpret a dog wagging its tail as a sign of friendliness while it is also misunderstood for being happy. However, it is not always the case, since multiple meanings can be conveyed through dog tail signs.

Dog Tail Position and Meaning

A dog can communicate its feeling and thought-process through the position of its tail. There are four common positions.

1. Dog Tail Held High with Wagging

This is a sign of happiness, but it also includes a higher degree of alertness within the animal. Even though a dog in this state is showing cautious excitement, it also has a certain degree of dominance.

2. Dog Tail Held Still and High

This is a sign of dominance while the dog is also super-alert to its surroundings.

3. Dog Tail Between Legs and Pointing Down

This is a sign of submission from the animal, which may also have a fear of its current situation.

4. Dog Tail Held Straight

This is a sign that a pet is in a neutral state, and it is trying to take in as much information from its environment as possible.

One should remember that each breed of dog has its own nature, and tail signs differ from one animal to the other.  Some breeds have curly and stubby tails that may not be able to provide exaggerated expressions as tails in other breeds. Hence, it is important to look very carefully into these tails to understand animals. For example, Chinese Shar-peis or Chow Chows do have a curved rear that is quite high. Greyhounds and whippets have a significantly lower tail.

The 'height tail’ sign is used as an emotional meter. A pet is considered being in a relaxed state when the tail is kept at middle height. When held in a horizontal position, the dog is quite alert and attentive. If it goes up, it is an increasing sign that an animal is being agitated and one can expect a confrontation anytime soon. At the same time, an animal is showing signs of submission if the rear position goes lower. It is also an indication of fear.

However, scientists promise to soon invent an apparatus that will translate animal sounds into human language. It is a pet translator. So, gadgets and electronic reviews can help you in the future.

Additional Aspects of Tail Wagging

Just like there are numerous dialects of human language, different dialects also exist when it comes to a dog's tail. One should not make the mistake of taking certain positions as the reference for every breed. Once this awareness is achieved, it is possible to read more accurately about the feeling and behavior of each animal. Does a wagging tail mean a dog is happy? No, because position alone is not a reference to the pet’s state, as even the speed of wagging can give plenty of detail.

For example, slight wags can indicate the dog's desire to greet or say hello. Only broad wags can be taken as a friendly move, as it gives out signs that the animal will not threaten or challenge at that point. It is the closest movement that is associated with happiness, unlike the common perception. Even if there is wagging in the tail down position, it does not generally signify a happy animal.

A slow wag should not be taken as a sign of happiness. Instead, it is used to signify a neutral state of the animal. It could also denote signs of insecurity – especially when the rear end is not in an unusually high or low position. There are instances when tiny movements are made at high-speed. It is an indication that the animal is about to fight, run, or do something quite active. If the dog manages to hold the rear end quite high while bringing about vibrating action, it is a visible sign of threat intended to scare.

Subtle differences can be observed even with the direction of wagging. There are preferences to the direction in which tail wags. If this direction is on the right side, a pet is having positive thoughts about the situation, and the reverse is true when the wagging happens on the left side.

The Bottom Line

There is a lot more information hiding behind a dog. It is probably the place where the pet has its conversation. The emotional indicators given out by the rear end alone are so subtle, but they can give a massive insight into the animal's communication process. However, it takes a lot of experience to judge the animal accurately. It does not take long to pick up the cues and start assessing a dog well before a situation gets out of hand.

What are your thoughts about dog tails? Let us know in the comments!

Author's bio: Dutch origins. Animal rights advocate. Rachel H.moved to the US at 28 after getting her Teacher Certification in the Netherlands. She decided to move on and start a new life in Los Angeles and start to work on https://besttechexpert.guide. 

Image: Pixabay.com


Teaching Kids to Deal with the Death of a Pet

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Between one and five children experience the death of a close loved one before the age of 18. Losing a family pet may be the first time they experience death or even process the concept of what it means. This can make the initial conversation especially confusing for them, so it’s important to consider a few tips for helping them through the grieving process.

There’s no denying that losing a pet is one of the hardest experiences for any family. It is hard enough for adults to cope with the death of a beloved pet, but for children, losing a pet can be very traumatic. Insurance provider Bestow's free guide, "What to Do When a Family Pet Dies: Teaching Kids About Grief," is a comprehensive resource that could prove to be very helpful.

This guide includes a section on how to start the conversation, provides resources specifically designed for children to learn about pet loss, identifies specific questions that may be asked by your child or that you can ask, suggests ways to celebrate a pet's life, details signs that your child may be struggling with your pet's passing, and offers additional resources for parents.

Check it out here: https://hellobestow.com/blog/when-a-family-pet-dies/


How to be an Environmentally Responsible Dog Owner

Dog-2228595_1920Guest Post by Angie Hill

Are you looking for environmentally friendly ideas that you can use as a pet-loving dog owner? Whether you realize it or not, the choices you make as a dog owner have the potential to impact our environment. Dogs are still animals by nature and this means striking the right balance between being eco-friendly and serving the best interests of your four-legged friend. This post will help you learn how you can do your own good work for the environment while also giving your dog a happy, healthy life.

Walk More

Taking your dog for walks is a sure-fire way to keep him or her happy, healthy and content.

You can also use walking with your dog as a great excuse to skip driving to a store or to a friend’s house. Fewer carbon emissions mean you are doing something good for the environment, your own health and your dog’s too, so reach for the leash and take more walks!

Switch to Sustainable Pet Food

According to the American Pet Products Association, $30.32 billion was spent on pet food in 2018 in the U.S. The food you feed your dog should be balanced but protein-heavy. Regular dog food you buy will contain 20-40% protein. A lot of this protein comes from animal sources and just like humans who live on a meat-based diet, there’s a big ecological footprint left as a result.

You don’t have to turn your dog vegan, but if you want to be eco-friendlier you have two other options:

  •     Buy sustainable pet food
  •     Make your own

If you want to make your own food at home, here are some simple recipes to use: https://themotherhuddle.com/making-your-own-dog-food/

Two valuable dog food tips that can help to reduce your environmental impact are:

Less Processed: Typically, if food has gone through more processing, it has taken more energy to produce. Therefore, try to feed dogs food that is less processed.

Dry & Wet Food: It might not even have crossed your mind, but wet food is heavier due to having more water content - this means that there are higher emissions when wet food is transported, so dry food is better for the environment in this instance.

Your pet’s health comes first and you should consider this before you switch their diets. When deciding on what food to buy, consult your veterinarian before making a big change in your pet’s diet.

Choose Toys Wisely

A large number of toys on the market are made from plastic, and it can be hard to move away from them when you’re on the hunt for a new one for your dog. If you have a pet that is full of life and gets through toys, you will end up tossing them away all the time. Try to choose toys made from recyclable materials or natural fibers as this will have a positive effect, environmentally. You could also try one of these homemade brain games .

Buy Non-Toxic Shampoo

If your dog runs a mile at the mere mention of a bath you aren’t alone! But baths are a necessity, so when it comes to bath time, switch to using a natural, organic dog shampoo. Ensure it is non-toxic and is free from parabens and dyes, too, as this is better for the environment (no excess chemicals end up going down the drain and into the environment) and your dog’s coat and skin.

Your vet will be able to help you make the right choice of shampoo; many companies advertise their products as “all-natural” but they aren’t!

Use Biodegradable Waste Bags

Those little poop bags that often get used to pick up and dispose of a dog’s waste are part of the global plastic epidemic.  They require hundreds of years for them to biodegrade. Avoid this issue by opting to use only compostable bags which take three to six months to fully decompose.

Angie Hill Angie is a dog-loving, outdoor enthusiast who writes for WoofDog.org, a site that offers dog-centered health, food and behavior advice.

Image: Pixabay.com


Pet Ownership for Seniors

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There are lots of seniors in Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina, and for many of them, a pet provides essential companionship. Of course, dogs make great companions -- but it's important for seniors to choose the right type of dog that fits their lifestyle and needs.

The website "A Place for Mom" has published an infographic about pet ownership for seniors. It contains helpful information about pet benefits, choosing the right pet, best dog breeds, and things to consider before adopting a pet. You'll find it here: https://www.aplaceformom.com/resources/pets-for-seniors/#infographic 

In addition, "A Place for Mom" offers a comprehensive guide to pet ownership for seniors that includes a wealth of free information, available here: https://www.aplaceformom.com/resources/pets-for-seniors/


Is CBD Good for Dogs?

Screen Shot 2019-06-15 at 2.03.37 PMAs a dog owner, you likely have your ears to the ground for the latest and greatest ways to treat your dog, from actual treats and food to enrichment toys and doggie daycare. If your dog’s health suffers at all, however, you may be looking for more serious options to improve their quality of life and wellbeing.

One such option is CBD. Short for cannabidiol, CBD is a cannabis compound that provides health benefits without the high of marijuana. Many dog owners are increasingly turning to CBD to treat a variety of canine conditions, from anxiety to arthritis.

CBD is legal in all 50 states and it is becoming widely available in Western North Carolina, but the research around its effects on dogs is still developing. However, a growing number of veterinarians are recommending it to their clients. While the research is not yet definitive, many believe CBD offers several therapeutic benefits to dogs.

The CBD Awareness Project has created a comprehensive guide that will help you evaluate CBD for dogs. You'll find it here: https://www.cbdoil.org/cbd-oil-for-dogs/


Do Dogs Suffer from Depression?

Dogs-2195708_1920What do dog owners do if they think their pet might be depressed? Is it even possible for a dog to become depressed? The simple answer is yes, but you need to find out the why behind it and how you can fix it.

Why Do Dogs Suffer from Depression?

Dogs can become depressed, just as easily as their owners. This might shock you considering you are used to your tail-wagging friends jumping and licking on you the second you walk through the door. But what if he isn’t doing that all of the sudden? It may be depression. But why? Of course, if your dog's behavior changes, you need to talk to your vet. For now, here are a few reasons why dogs become depressed:

  • The absolute biggest reason a dog may find himself depressed is the loss of a pet owner or companion. Dogs become incredibly attached to their owner, so not having them anymore can cause separation anxiety and a great deal of trauma on a pet’s mind and behavior. They are also very connected to their companion, and a loss of a companion dog can bring them to a deep level of depression as well.
  • Dogs can also pick up on any grief that their owner is feeling. If you’re struggling with a traumatic event in your life and are grieving because of it, your dog may be able to sense these feelings and also feel them for themselves as well.
  • Moving to a new house can have a lot of impact on a dog that does not like change. This big change and not having his stuff in a usual location can bring on a bout of doggy depression.
  • Bringing a new baby or pet into his situation can also bring on depression in your dog as he begins to receive less and less attention. He will also feel a bit of jealousy over the new baby or other pet as they don’t feel like the prized possession any longer.
  • A big change in the routine of your dog’s life can cause depression, as well as stress and anxiety. Dogs tend to be routine creatures, so switching up his everyday life can be a huge hurdle for your dog to get over.
  • Did something happen to your pal that left him injured? Dogs, like humans, don’t like to be injured or have pain or discomfort from an injury. If your dog has had a recent injury that has left him in pain and hasn’t allowed him to do his normal routine, this can cause depression.

Symptoms of Doggy Depression

The symptoms of depression found in humans are generally the same as in dogs. Some of the symptoms you will notice in a dog that is suffering from depression include:

  • Being withdrawn. Dogs with depression will appear to be withdrawn, not wanting to engage in social or physical activities like they used to.
  • Decrease in energy. All of a sudden, your rambunctious buddy doesn’t want to go for a walk or play, right? It could be due to depression.
  • Change in eating habits. Big eater not eating? You might want to see if he is struggling with depression and has lost his appetite because of it.
  • Change in sleeping habits. Perhaps he is oversleeping obnoxiously or hardly getting any shut-eye. Both are common effects of depression.
  • Anxiety typically goes hand in hand with depression, so this isn’t a big shock.
  • Aggression. A once nice and gentle pup can turn to a more sporadic, howling mess if he is dealing with an ample amount of depression.
  • Excess whining. All dogs will whine here and there, but if you notice a big increase in the amount of whining or he is apparently whining for no reason at all, he may just be dealing with depression.

Treatment for Dog Depression

  1. You need to give your pet extra attention. Much like a human suffering from depression wants to have more love and affection shown to them, so does your dog. Make sure you are not giving into your dog while they are moping or whining, though. When you see them showing any sign of happiness, reward them with love and treats so they know that is the right behavior to show.
  2. Make sure you give your dog enough time for exercise. Without adequate time to play, going for walks, or doing any other special activities they enjoy, they won’t be able to conquer their feelings of depression.
  3. Consider doing some more activities that include other dogs. This might be a special class where dogs meet and greet, going to the dog park to get some exercise and communication, or just hanging out at a specified doggy daycare.
  4. If all else fails, you might want to consider a natural remedy such as CBD oil, which can be found in our FOMO bones. While CBD oil hasn’t been tested greatly, it has shown to reduce anxiety and depression levels in humans as well as dogs. Make sure you only buy dog products containing the right amount of CBD oil to prevent over-consumption.

Image: Pixabay

This post was provided by FOMOBONES, dog treats for anxiety. Visit their website at www.fomobones.com


10 Reasons Dogs and Cats can Get Along

Guest Post by Ron Wolff

Friends-1149841_1920Cats and dogs may seem like natural enemies, but it doesn’t have to be that way. A lot of times, you can have both pets living together in the same house and have almost no problems. If you are apprehensive that adding a new pet to your family might cause trouble, then here are some reasons to lay your fears to rest.

  1. They Can Be Best Friends

Cats and dogs really can get along and look out for each other and even be buddy-buddy. They don’t even have to grow up together. Just living in the same house and having similar temperaments can make them best buddies. Many times, you won’t even have to work at making them like each other. They will just naturally gravitate toward the companionship the other offers, and you will find yourself with two very close pets who hardly ever fight.

  1. They Can Sleep Together

There are few things more adorable than a dog and a cat cuddling up together on the floor. They may cuddle in the dog’s sleeping area or the cat’s, but two pets that are friendly with one another will often lie right next to each other for warmth and comfort. They find the company of one another soothing, so don’t be surprised to see them in bed with each other.

  1. They Share the Same Food

Many times, dogs and cats will eat some of the same food. Now, we know that some animals can be very selfish when it comes to mealtime, but others will actually share what they have. You might see your dog waiting patiently for the cat to finish its food before the dog jumps in and eats the leftovers. This kind of behavior is wonderful to see and not as rare as you might think.

  1. They Watch Out for One Another

Dogs and cats can both be protective of each other. If you have a young dog and an older cat, the older cat may be protective of the dog and make sure it doesn’t get into trouble. Large dogs can protect smaller cats as well, chasing away strange cats or dogs to protect their friend.

  1. They Can Go to the Vet Together

A trip to the vet can be quite scary for your pet. However, if they have their friend along, it won’t be quite so traumatic. They can provide comfort and friendship for one another to make the visit more pleasant.

  1. They Can Get into Trouble Together

Dogs and cats that get along will do all sorts of things together. They may even make a mess of your home together! They can dig in the flower garden, knock over the trash can and get into other mischief as partners in crime. You may not like the mess they made, but you will love that they are teaming up as pals and getting along with each other.

  1. They Can Both Look to You for Attention

As their owner, you hold a special place in the hearts of your pets. Because both your cat and dog will adore you, they will often get along for your sake, putting aside petty bickering to show you affection, come when you call and play with you together.

  1. They Can Chase Animals Together

As your pets pal around together, they will get involved in some of the same activities. If a bird, squirrel or other small animal gets into the yard, your dog and cat may both go chasing after it. This is true whether your dog and cat are roughly the same size or the dog is far bigger than the cat. It’s hilarious to see them both go bounding after their prey and then watch them both look sad when it gets away.

  1. They Provide Warmth for Each Other

If the weather gets cold, cats and dogs may snuggle against one another for warmth. The dog may not get much warmth from the cat, but it’s enough to make a difference, and the dog may not mind providing a shield against the cold for its feline friend.

  1. They Can Love You Together

Cats and dogs may actually compete for your affection and work together to show you how much they love you. If your cat sees the dog getting attention from you, it may join in and purr as it rubs up against your leg. The dog may feel left out when you are holding the cat and want some of that loving as well.

These are just a few of the many reasons why cats and dogs do not have to be enemies. Your dog and cat can get along just like this and in so many other wonderful ways.

Ron Wolff is the content editor at pupjunkies.com – a site for happy, healthy, and adventurous dogs who are fueled by nature.


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/