One of the most popular options to occupy a dog’s time (and mind) while home alone is to offer him a Kong or other dog chew toy slathered with peanut butter.
However, in this age of Keto diets — and with the rise of people diagnosed with diabetes, more and more popular foods and products are being offered in sugar-free forms. Specifically, these foods often contain xylitol. This safe sweetener for people can be found in sugar-free yogurts, chewing gum, mints and toothpaste.
However, xylitol is toxic to dogs. When a dog eats peanut butter containing xylitol, his blood sugar levels plummet and damage to the liver begins immediately. The xylitol causes a dog to vomit, have trouble walking, lose muscle control and worse. Some dogs can experience seizures, liver failure and even death.
By Sarah Zumhofe
Think of the anger and concern that wells up inside you when you spot an unattended dog tethered on a short leash to a parking meter or worse, trapped inside a locked, parked car. I'm betting that you do your best to find the owner and if necessary, rescue a dog from a hot car before he succumbs to heat stroke.
Now imagine if their was a solution to these unsafe canine scenarios. One innovative company thinks it has the answer. When a person wants to dash inside for a cup of coffee or grab a few grocery items while out walking their dog, they can usher their dog inside a modern-looking, climate-controlled dog house located just outside the establishment.
Welcome to the latest in inventions catering to the needs and wants of the 21st century dog: the DogSpot. Branded as a "smart sidewalk sanctuary," this housing unit began appearing in New York City with ambitious plans to expand to more than a dozen more cities within a year.
"New York has been a great place for us to test this service," says Chelsea Brownridge, founder/CEO of DogSpot in an interview with Pet Prodcut News. "For the last two years, we've had people beg us to come to their city next. I'm thrilled to say, 'We're ready.'"
He says that DogSpot is working with city planners as well as businesses and pet advocates to ensure a smooth expansion to these cities: Los Angeles, Washington, D.C.; Boston; San Hose, Calif.; Orlando, Fla.; Kansas City, Mo.; Columbus, Ohio; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Jersey City, N.J.; Charleston, S.C.; Columbia, S.C.; West Palm Beach, Fla.; South Hampton, N.Y.; and New Rochelle, N.Y.
These DogSpots feature an in-app Puppy Cam, 24/7 customer service, air-circulating heat and air conditioning (depending on the weather), auto-sanitizing UV lights and have been deemed legal and have earned approval by dozens of veterinarians. Brownridge touts them as a "safe and cozy home away from home while you briefly go somewhere your dog is not allowed."
In this age of rent-a-bikes and rent-a-scooters that are now littering sidewalks and parkways in major cities, there will be these canine housing units also taking up space on sidewalks. Time will tell if DogSpot is a doggone great solution or creates new problems – such as a dog trapped inside by an owner who forgot he was there or who intentionally abandons this dog. Stay tuned.
By Sarah Zumhofe
Being a great neighbor is all about being aware of your own impact on the environment, including cleanliness, tidiness, and noise level. When you have a dog, you have to try even harder to be conscientious. Being a good dog-owning neighbor isn’t difficult, but in some cases, it requires a little bit of extra work. Here are some fairly simple tips for how you can avoid ticking off the neighbors today.
Build a fence
If you don’t have a solid, dog-proof fence surrounding your property, then the first step to being a good neighbor is to get one built. This is certainly the most expensive and possibly time-consuming step you can take - according to Thumbtack, the average price to install a fence is $500 to $4,500 - but it’s also the most vital. Without a good fence, your dog will inevitably wander onto your neighbor’s property, which can be a problem for so many reasons. Not only that, but a fence prevents your dog’s line of sight. This can reduce their temptation to act out and misbehave.
Always leash up
It doesn’t matter how well-behaved and friendly your dog is. When you’re walking around the neighborhood, it’s just good etiquette to always have a leash on your dog. A friendly dog can be seen as aggressive, even if that “aggression” is just excitement. Some children and adults harbor a deep fear of dogs, especially ones that are large and/or rambunctious. Dogs on leashes are simply easier to control than dogs that are not. To ensure your dog doesn’t frighten someone, tear up someone’s flower bed, or discreetly poop on their lawn, just use a leash. It’s
good manners. And the benefits of keeping your dog leashed are plentiful.
If your dog has never been properly trained to walk on a leash, it’s important that you train him. He can be a danger to others and even himself, especially if he excites easily and tends to jump on people or take off running at any free opportunity. Angie’s List notes that it’s important to get the right gear
including a nylon, non-retractable dog leash and a harness or collar with ID tags. When you’re ready to start walking, Canna-Pet suggests starting inside and teaching him cues to enforce good and discourage bad behavior before taking your first stroll around the block.
Focus on proper training
There’s not a lot you can do to mitigate the misbehavior of a bad dog - so don’t have a bad dog. Improperly-trained dogs will bark, and will not stop when commanded to. Poorly-trained dogs will dig, jump at fences, and attempt to convince neighboring dogs to misbehave as well. You cannot overcome a bad dog through tricks and tips. The only way to avoid this is to focus on training.
The most annoying action a dog can take, in terms of infuriating neighbors, is to bark incessantly. How do you get your dog to stop barking? There are a variety of techniques that, if used in tandem, should make your dog relatively quiet. First, never leave your dog outside if they are barking. Second, remove the motivation. Do not reward your dog with attention when they bark. Ignore it (but ignore it inside). Finally, teach your dog to respond to the “quiet” command. You do this through positive reinforcement (praise and rewards when they are quiet).
Check here for more tips on this.
Pick up the poop
Many dog owners forget this simple fact: dog poop smells. It smells terrible. If you think that your neighbors can’t smell your dog’s waste that is left sitting in the backyard in the hot sun, you’re sorely mistaken. Being a good neighbor means scooping the poop, even if it’s just on your own property.
It’s also good for your dog’s health to clean up after them. As DogTrainingBasics.com points out, “Poop left lying around is just unsanitary. It can also lead to your dog picking up intestinal parasites.”
The key to being a good dog-owning neighbor is to remember than nobody loves your dog as much as you do. Not everyone is a dog person, and even the ones who are have trouble forgiving dog faux pas if they are committed again and again. In the end, if you focus on training, always clean up after your dog, and keep them under control at all times, you’ll be fine.
By Jessica Brody
Photo by Taylor Bryant on Unsplash
During warm months, the nose-sniffing curiosity and predatory nature of your dog could land them on the losing end in a confrontation with stinging insects in your yard or home.
And forget about trying to train an indoor cat, who is hardwired to pursue moving prey, to not chase, swat or even eat a wayward stinging insect flying inside your home.
“In regards to bees and wasps, the real issue is the number of stings the animal gets and whether he or she is allergic to the sting,” says dermatologist William H. Miller, VMD, a director of the Companion Animal Hospital at Cornell University School of Veterinary Medicine.
The Buzz on Bees
Honey bees are work-driven insects on pollinating missions. They are more out and about during the heat of the day, flying from one patch of flowers and ground covers to the next to collect pollen. They tend to sting only when they’re protecting their hives or dogs or cats are aggressively stalking them.
However, killer bees can be provoked enough to inflict a swarm attack on dogs and cats.
If you can easily see the stinger on the dog or cat, slide the edge of your driver’s license or credit card against the stinger to push it out. Refrain from using tweezers or even your fingernails — you can unintentionally rupture the venom sac. Monitor the pet and if necessary, consult a veterinarian about giving the pet a pet-safe antihistamine to reduce mild swelling.
It can take hours for an oral over-the-counter medication to be effective. However, some pets can have a severe allergic reaction to insect stings. If the pet’s throat swells, cutting off his air supply, and begins breathing rapidly, wheezes, vomits, trembles, displays pale gums or collapses, immediately take him to the veterinarian. He could be going into anaphylactic shock, an emergency in which the blood circulation shuts down.
“Be prepared to do CPR if necessary, especially with swelling around the throat that may block breathing,” says Dr. Miller. “And get to the clinic as quickly as possible.”
If a bee enters your home, shuttle the pet into a closed room and then try to usher the bee back out a door. Restrict access to popular bee areas: flower beds with pollen-producing plants and yards with clover.
The Word on Wasps
Unlike honey bees, wasps, including yellow jackets, paper wasps and hornets, tend to be aggressive attackers who repeatedly sting their targets. Heed the same care advice as given for bees.
Wasps tend to make nests in holes in the ground and the eaves, under porches, sheds and even fencing. Regularly inspect these areas for signs of wasp nests, especially during summer. Contact a professional pest control company if you find multiple nests or a large one. For a small nest, don long sleeves and pants, follow the instructions on the pesticide container and spray at night when wasps are less active and more apt to be inside the nest.
By Sarah Zumhofe
Hormone Linked to Canine Aggression? University researchers explore the biology behind canine aggression.
For some dog owners, a leisurely walk can turn stressful the moment their canine companion sees another pup walking by. Dogs with what is known as “leash aggression” may bark, growl or lunge at other dogs during walks, setting the scene for a tense and potentially dangerous interaction.
So why do some dogs lash out on the leash while others don’t? Hormones may be partly to blame, according to new research led by the University of Arizona’s Evan MacLean.
Although a number of studies have looked at the role of testosterone and serotonin in aggression in dogs and other mammals, those hormones may be only part of the story, according to MacLean’s findings, which are published in a special issue of the journal Frontiers in Psychology.
MacLean and his collaborators looked specifically at oxytocin and vasopressin — hormones that are also found in humans -- and found that they may play an important role in shaping dogs’ social behavior.
Better understanding the biology behind canine aggression could help with the development of interventions, said MacLean, an assistant professor of anthropology and director of the Arizona Canine Cognition Center in the UA School of Anthropology.
“Dog aggression is a huge problem. Thousands of people are hospitalized every year for dog bites,” MacLean said. “If there are ways to intervene and affect biological processes that produce aggression - that could have a huge benefit both for people and dogs.”
MacLean was interested in oxytocin and vasopressin — sometimes thought of as “yin and yang” hormones — because of the growing research on their role in the biology of social behavior.
Oxytocin is sometimes called the “love hormone,” as its levels in humans have been shown to increase when we hug or kiss a loved one. Vasopressin is a closely related hormone involved in water retention in the body. In contrast to oxytocin, it has been linked to aggression in humans, with previous research suggesting that people with chronic aggression problems have high levels of vasopressin.
For the study, MacLean and his collaborators recruited pet dogs of varying ages, breeds and sexes, whose owners reported struggles with leash aggression. For each aggressive dog recruited, the researchers found a non-aggressive dog of the same sex, age and breed to serve as a comparison.
During the experiment, each dog was held on a leash by his owner. Across the room, an experimenter played audio of a dog barking behind a curtain, before pulling back the curtain to reveal a lifelike dog model with a human handler. The dogs in the study were presented in the same way with everyday noises and three common objects — a cardboard box, trash bag and an inflated yoga ball.
While none of the dogs in the study reacted aggressively toward the box, bag or ball, many in the leash aggression group had aggressive responses to the model dog, including barking, growling and lunging. The dogs who reacted aggressively showed higher levels of total vasopressin in their systems, suggesting a link between vasopressin and aggression.
The researchers did not observe differences in oxytocin levels between the two groups of dogs. However, when they compared the oxytocin levels of the pet dogs in the study to a group of assistance dogs, which are specifically bred to have non-aggressive temperaments, they found that the assistance dogs had higher levels of oxytocin and higher oxytocin-to-vasopressin ratios. This supports the idea that oxytocin may help inhibit aggression in dogs.
Future research might consider new interventions focused on vasopressin and oxytocin, MacLean said.
A piece of good news for pet owners and their pups: One way to boost dogs’ oxytocin levels and decrease vasopressin is through friendly dog-human interactions.
“Previous work shows dog-human friendly interactions can create a release in oxytocin in dogs, and when dogs interact with people, we see that their vasopressin levels go down over time,” MacLean said. “These are bidirectional effects. It’s not just that when we’re petting a dog, the dog is having this hormonal response — we’re having it, too.”
By Sarah Zumhofe
You see a dog sweating and suffering inside a locked car in a parking lot on a hot day. What do you do?
Keep in mind that the temperature may be 70 degrees outside, but inside a closed vehicle, the temperature can soar up to 90 degrees in just 10 minutes. Each minute that passes means increased danger for pets who can become overheated and suffer from heat stroke in a matter of minutes. Untreated, he can go into cardiac arrest and die. Cars heat up more than you think even if it's overcast outside. Signs of heatstroke include excessive panting, agitation, vomiting, weakness and collapse.
And, what are your legal rights to step in and rescue this pet? It depends on which state you live.
According to the Animal Legal and Historical Center, legislators in 26 states have enacted laws to protect animals left unattended in parked vehicles. These laws allow for people to rescue these dogs, cats and other animals who are distressed due to, but not limited to hot temperatures.
These states are: Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
The provisions of the law in each of these states vary as to what rescuers can legally do. Many require the rescuer to first call 911 or contact local law enforcement before breaking the window to retrieve a distressed pet. Rescuers must remain on the scene with the pet until law enforcement or a first responder arrives. So do the degree of criminal charges. They can range from a warning and a $100 fine for first conviction to a class 1 misdemeanor, fines up to $2,000 and imprisonment up to 1 year.
States currently with no laws to protect animals left in parked vehicles are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wyoming plus Washington, D.C.
For updates, please go to Animal Legal and Historical Center site. Click on this link:
Bottom line: It is illegal in all 50 states to commit animal cruelty, neglect, endangerment and abuse. Experts say whether or not you jump in to rescue a hot pet out of an unattended vehicle is your decision. They suggest that you:
Many of us would happily face criminal charges, fines, and possible jail time if it meant saving the life of a cat, dog or other companion animal.
By Sarah Zumhofe
Sarah Zum Hofe was born in 1987 in St. Louis, MO- and has since then had a love affair with animals!