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BY SHERRY DAVIS, Contributing columnist | Sunday, Jan 09 2011 05:00 PM

Last Updated Sunday, Jan 09 2011 05:00 PM

Problems in multi-dog households often occur when owners are ineffective leaders and attempt to manage their dogs by treating them like human children.

Wendt Worh Corgis Low Riders 2011

Wendt Worh Corgis Low Riders 2011

Kathi and Karen have four dogs: Bella, a 1-year-old dachshund/chihuahua mix; a 10-year-old fox terrier/papillion mix; and a 4-year-old chihuahua/papillion mix.

Everything was fine until about five months ago when they brought home Penny, a basset/dachshund rescue, who is now about 9 months old.

That’s when the trouble started.

Kathi says, “They play together fabulously, but whenever there is food involved, Bella will growl and lunge at Penny, and it seems to be getting worse. Now, if Penny is on the bed, and Karen or I sit on it, Bella will come up and start snarling and growling at Penny, then try to attack her. If we are not quick enough to grab Bella’s collar to stop her she will hit Penny with her mouth hard enough to make Penny cry out. This behavior is making us crazy, and it seems to be ramping up more and more over the last month. Putting Bella in a closed room stops it, but that doesn’t seem fair to her.”

“At times Bella and Penny are best friends, playing and chasing each other. None of the animals gets preferential treatment. When one gets a toy, they all get a toy. Same with a treat.”

So what’s going on here?

It is not unusual for rescues to be resource guarders.

With no challenge from the two older dogs, Bella assumed leadership in the pack dynamic.

With Penny’s arrival and approaching maturity, that dynamic has changed.

Dogs do not understand the concepts of sharing, equality, or time-outs and confident and self-assured dogs do not use aggressive displays to maintain their position.

Because Bella has no rules or boundaries for her behavior and is acting out of insecurity, she sees the younger female’s attempts to gain access to the bed and proximity to the owners, which are high value resources, as a threat and punishes her aggressively.

Putting Bella in another room when this happens does nothing to solve the problem or teach her that the behavior is unacceptable, and depending on Penny’s personality, the time may come when she no longer backs down from Bella’s attacks.

Dogs will get injured and people will be bitten.

I recommended the following steps to get this behavior under control:

* Both Bella and Penny should receive basic obedience training, which should be practiced in the home environment, and specifically taught to “leave it” or turn away in any situation on the owner’s command.

* Any posturing must be corrected immediately.

* The dogs should be fed in crates or in different areas.

* Both dogs should be blocked from getting on furniture with the owners until obedience is proficient at which time they can be invited up in turn while the one on the floor holds a stay position.

* Leashes should be used initially to correct any disobedience as collar grabbing will often redirect aggressive behavior toward the owner.

* During the training period, each dog must be taught to hold position while being praised or while attention is given to another.

* Finally, the owners must understand that Bella’s problems started with her insecure personality, and all the love in the world is not going to turn her around without consistent rules and boundaries to give her confidence and parameters for her behavior.

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By Tom Kandt helenair.com | Posted: Friday, November 5, 2010 12:00 am

During the last hundred years or more, dogs have been used to meet specific human needs more than any other domestic animal. Among those needs have been companionship, which has led to the evolution of the household dog. Humans have benefited immensely from this relationship. Has there been a mutual benefit to the companion dog? A look at the issue suggests maybe not.

Some experts on canine behavior think our modern culture in America is producing pet dogs that are not physically or emotionally well adjusted. Veterinarian behaviorist Dr. Myrna Milani believes pet dogs have bigger challenges than working dogs and need more time growing up. She suggests that companion dogs should not be removed from their litters until 12 weeks so they can continue learning the necessary social skills to cope with increasing environmental pressures.

These pressures are numerous and can result in behavior problems. Two-income families mean dogs are abandoned many hours a day and are more prone to separation issues and nuisance barking. Fences, leashes and laws restricting canine access to public places have helped produce aggressively reactive and poorly socialized dogs that have difficulty coping with environmental change. In some households, the desire for cleanliness and order has relegated the household dog, a true social species, to a backyard fixture with no connection to its human pack.

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Anyone and Everyone: salons, groomers, individuals can sign up to donate hair and fur clippins and nylons for our Oil Spill Booms. Our Excess Access program sign up is free, fast and helps us to coordinate the masses of donations.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP TO DONATE HAIR / FUR / NYLONS

Thousands of pounds of hair and nylons are coming in by UPS and FED EX from every State in the US and from Canada, Brazil, France, UK… Booms are being made all along the Gulf Coast near beaches and marshes. What a community feeling! We all get it. We shampoo because hair collects oil! More Info

OIL SPILL HAIRBOOMS AND HAIRMATS
Here we look at fibers (hair, wool, fur, feathers…). Thousands of salons mail us hair clippings, swept up off their floors, and the fibers are stuffed into booms or woven into hair mats. We all know about shampooing our oily hair, but it took Phill McCrory, a stylist from Alabama, to realize that hair was also an efficient and abundant material for collecting and containing petroleum spills. More

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A new study suggests that college students may handle stressful situations better if they have a pet.

Research has already shown that pets can improve the quality of life for people who are aging or those who are chronically ill. But researchers at Ohio State University recently found that many college students may also benefit from owning a cat or a dog.

A survey of students at a large university and other adults in the area found that nearly a quarter of college students surveyed believed their pets helped them get through difficult times in life. Students who chose to live with at least one dog, one cat, or a combination of the two were less likely to report feeling lonely and depressed; something they directly attributed to their beloved pet.

These findings highlight how even younger, healthier young adults can benefit from living with our four-legged friends, said Sara Staats, lead author of the study and professor emeritus of psychology at Ohio State’s Newark Campus.

“We might not think of college students as being lonely, but a lot of freshman and sophomores are in an early transition from living at home to living in dorms or off-campus. College is a very stressful environment for them and sometimes they can feel isolated or overwhelmed with the change,” she said.

“We found that a lot of young adults are choosing to have an animal companion for important reasons. Many feel their pets will help get them through these difficult and stressful situations, and many more say that without their pet, they would feel lonely.”

The study was based on survey responses from nearly 350 college students at a Midwestern commuter campus and nearby community members. Only those people who currently or previously owned a cat, a dog, or a combination of the two were included in the present study. People who were 18 to 87 years of age were all surveyed to study the differences between adults and students.

Participants were asked to indicate their current level of health, the type of pet(s) owned, and whether they believed a pet affected their overall health. They were then asked to identify their top reasons for owning a pet in both multiple-choice and open-ended surveys. The results were recently published in the journal Society and Animals.

The results showed that most adults and college students chose to own a pet for similar reasons. Although the results were based on self-reports, many of those surveyed believed their pet contributed to their overall health in a number of ways.

Nearly a quarter of all college students and adults reported that their pet was useful in keeping them active. This answer was more common for those who owned dogs, but those who had feline friends also reported their cat helped keep them active.

Likewise, 18 percent of college students and 13 percent of adults said their pet was important to helping them cope during difficult times. This belief was far more likely among those who were single rather than married, but it was listed by both groups in both open-ended and multiple choice questions.

But the results showed that avoiding loneliness was the top reason given by both students and adults. Nearly identical percentages of married and single persons gave this response, but students and those over 50 years of age were far more likely to list this as their top reason.

While previous work has demonstrated that the elderly benefit from animal companionship, this study is the one of the first to suggest that animal companions help those younger than 30 years of age, Staats said.

“Most of the studies on pet ownership focus directly on those adults and older generations who have heart problems or special needs. But there hasn’t been much recognition of that fact that young, healthy college students also derive benefits from pet ownership such as hedge against loneliness and improved ability to cope,” she said.

While the reasons for keeping a pet may be similar among adults and college students, the lifestyles differences between the two may provide clues as to why students rely on their pets more often, Staats said.

Many people in their late twenties to mid-forties have established circles of friends. Adults usually live in areas with friends, colleagues, and family nearby, making their lives more stable than those beginning to build their lives. Many more adults are married or have started raising a family, and have years of experience learning how to cope with difficult situations.
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Pet owners who are serious about pet-proofing their home should start with their own medicine cabinet. Pet Poison Helpline™ is a 24-hour service available throughout North America for pet owners and veterinary professionals who require assistance treating a potentially poisoned pet. Nearly half of the calls received by Pet Poison Helpline involve human medications – both over-the-counter and prescription. Whether Fido accidentally chewed into a pill bottle or a well-intentioned pet owner accidentally switched medication (giving their pet a human medication), pet poisonings due to medication are common and can be very serious.

Pet Poison Helpline is the only animal poison control with board-certified internal medicine specialists, emergency critical care specialists, and human pharmacologists on staff. With expert staff in both animal and human medicine, Pet Poison Helpline provides a unique advantage since more than 50 percent of all pet poisonings involve human drugs.

Below is a list of the top 10 human medications most frequently ingested by pets, along with some tips from the veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline on how to prevent pet poisoning from human medications.

1. NSAIDs (e.g. Advil, Aleve and Motrin)
Topping our Top 10 list are common household medications called non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), which include common names such as ibuprofen (e.g., Advil and some types of Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve). While these medications are safe for people, even one or two pills can cause serious harm to a pet. Dogs, cats, birds and other small mammals (ferrets, gerbils and hamsters) may develop serious stomach and intestinal ulcers as well as kidney failure.

2. Acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol)
When it comes to pain medications, acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol) is certainly popular. Even though this drug is very safe, even for children, this is not true for pets—especially cats. One regular strength tablet of acetaminophen may cause damage to a cat’s red blood cells, limiting their ability to carry oxygen. In dogs, acetaminophen leads to liver failure and, in large doses, red blood cell damage.

3. Antidepressants (e.g. Effexor, Cymbalta, Prozac, Lexapro)
While these antidepressant drugs are occasionally used in pets, overdoses can lead to serious neurological problems such as sedation, incoordination, tremors and seizures. Some antidepressants also have a stimulant effect leading to a dangerously elevated heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature. Pets, especially cats, seem to enjoy the taste of Effexor and often eat the entire pill. Unfortunately, just one pill can cause serious poisoning.

4. ADD/ADHD medications (e.g. Concerta, Adderall, Ritalin)
Medications used to treat Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder contain potent stimulants such as amphetamines and methylphenidate. Even minimal ingestions of these medications by pets can cause life-threatening tremors, seizures, elevated body temperatures and heart problems.

5. Benzodiazepines and sleep aids (e.g. Xanax, Klonopin, Ambien, Lunesta)
These medications are designed to reduce anxiety and help people sleep better. However, in pets, they may have the opposite effect. About half of the dogs who ingest sleep aids become agitated instead of sedate. In addition, these drugs may cause severe lethargy, incoordination (including walking “drunk”), and slowed breathing in pets. In cats, some forms of benzodiazepines can cause liver failure when ingested.

6. Birth control (e.g. estrogen, estradiol, progesterone)
Birth control pills often come in packages that dogs find irresistible. Thankfully, small ingestions of these medications typically do not cause trouble. However, large ingestions of estrogen and estradiol can cause bone marrow suppression, particularly in birds. Additionally, female pets that are intact (not spayed), are at an increased risk of side effects from estrogen poisoning.

7. ACE Inhibitors (e.g. Zestril, Altace)
Angiotensin-converting enzyme (or “ACE”) inhibitors are commonly used to treat high blood pressure in people and, occasionally, pets. Though overdoses can cause low blood pressure, dizziness and weakness, this category of medication is typically quite safe. Pets ingesting small amounts of this medication can potentially be monitored at home, unless they have kidney failure or heart disease. All heart medications should be kept out of reach of pets.

8. Beta-blockers (e.g. Tenormin, Toprol, Coreg)
Beta-blockers are also used to treat high blood pressure but, unlike the ACE inhibitor, small ingestions of these drugs may cause serious poisoning in pets. Overdoses can cause life-threatening decreases in blood pressure and a very slow heart rate.

9. Thyroid hormones (e.g. Armour desiccated thyroid, Synthroid)
Pets — especially dogs — get underactive thyroids too. Interestingly, the dose of thyroid hormone needed to treat dogs is much higher than a person’s dose. Therefore, if dogs accidentally get into thyroid hormones at home, it rarely results in problems. However, large acute overdoses in cats and dogs can cause muscle tremors, nervousness, panting, a rapid heart rate and aggression.

10. Cholesterol lowering agents (e.g. Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor)
These popular medications, often called “statins,” are commonly used in the United States. While pets do not typically get high cholesterol, they may still get into the pill bottle. Thankfully, most “statin” ingestions only cause mild vomiting or diarrhea. Serious side effects from these drugs come with long-term use, not one-time ingestions.

Wendt Worth Corgis...Keep kids and pets safe!

Wendt Worth Corgis...Keep kids and pets safe!


Always keep medications safely out of reach and never administer a medication to a pet without first consulting your veterinarian. The following are some tips from Dr. Justine Lee and Dr. Ahna Brutlag at Pet Poison Helpline to help prevent pets from getting into over-the-counter or prescription medication:

• Never leave loose pills in a plastic Ziploc® bag – the bags are too easy to chew into. Make sure visiting house guests do the same, keeping their medications high up or out of reach.
• If you place your medication in a weekly pill container, make sure to store the container in a cabinet out of reach of your pets. Unfortunately, if they get a hold of it, some pets might consider the pill container a plastic chew toy.
• Never store your medications near your pet’s medications – Pet Poison Helpline frequently receives calls from concerned pet owners who inadvertently give their own medication to their pet.
• Hang your purse up. Inquisitive pets will explore the contents of your bag and simply placing your purse up and out of reach can help to avoid exposure to any potentially dangerous medication(s).

It is also important to note that while a medication may be safe for children, it may not be safe for animals. Pets metabolize medications very differently from people. Even seemingly benign over-the-counter or herbal medications may cause serious poisoning in pets.

If your pet has ingested a human over-the-counter or prescription medication, please call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline’s 24-hour animal poison control center at (800) 213-6680 immediately.

Pet Poison Helpline

About Pet Poison Helpline
Pet Poison Helpline is a service available 24 hours, seven days a week for pet owners, veterinarians and veterinary technicians that require assistance treating a potentially poisoned pet. Staff can provide treatment advice for poisoning cases of all species, including dogs, cats, birds, small mammals, large animals and exotic species. As the most cost-effective option for animal poison control care, Pet Poison Helpline’s fee of $35 per incident includes follow-up consultation for the duration of the poison case. Pet Poison Helpline is available in North America by calling 800-213-6680. Additional information can be found online at www.petpoisonhelpline.com
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Thanks for spreading the word on pet safety! I also wanted to make people aware of another animal poison control: Pet Poison Helpline based out of Minneapolis, MN. They are a 24/7 animal poison control and are more cost effective ($35/case vs. ASPCA’s $60).

I also wanted to inform you of their more frequent calls – 50% of their calls come from human medications – help spread the word on this too!

Thanks again,
Dr. Justine Lee, DVM, DACVECC
Associate Director of Veterinary Services

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Clever pet-owners prefer cats to dogs, a study claims.

Researchers say people with degrees devote more time to their careers and find a cat easier to care for.

The survey reveals pet ownership in the UK has almost doubled since 1989 – with 10.3 million cats and 10.5 million dogs.

Around 26% of households have cats and 31% dogs, figures show.

Dr Jane Murray, of the University of Bristol, said: “The level of education seems to be a factor in which pet people choose.”

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WWC Note: I may be biased but I don’t believe it!!!

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