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Can Your Dog Think?

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What’s in a dog’s mind?  That has been the age-old question that man has had about the lovable canine species. Dogs and humans have had a long-standing history together that dates as far back as 30,000 B.C. While there are many differences between the two species, there are also some surprising similarities that are worth exploring.

It is estimated by historians that in 30,000 B.C., Paleolithic humans hunted alongside wild dogs. Dogs were buried with humans as far back as 12,000 B.C., which depicts the love between man and canine and that dogs were valued just as greatly as people. Different dog breeds were domesticated and easily distinguished by 10,500 B.C., and then, by 1,500 C.E., the oldest modern dog breeds were formed. These include the mastiff, terriers, herding dogs, sight hounds, chows, Asian Spaniels, the Spitz and Native American dog breeds.

Dogs can also experience a disorder known as separation anxiety, which makes them feel overly anxious when they are not with their owner or the one person they love the best. This disorder can be quite serious and the dog can act out in a variety of ways that will cause grief to the owner.

Dogs, like humans, can experience phobias. The most common include thunder, being left alone, vets, strangers, stairs and even riding in cars. A phobia of course is an irrational fear of something. Dogs can experience dreams around 20 minutes after they fall asleep. You can tell when your pet is dreaming as it moves while asleep or makes soft noises.

Like humans, dogs have the capacity to feel love. This is due to the hormone oxytocin, which is found in both species. Dogs can also feel an array of additional emotions, such as anger, joy, fear, excitement, distress, contentment and disgust. However, unlike the human race, dogs cannot feel shame, guilt, pride or contempt.

Having 4 dogs myself and rescued hundred through our rescue group Green Pets America I can assure you dogs are quite smart. They have a better handle on their emotions than we do. They don’t carry grudges, don’t judge, and accept us crazy humans just as we are. A dog will not try to change you…he accepts you for just who you are and loves you as is.

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Dog Clothes: Protection for Your Dog this Winter

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Dogs are just like humans in that they do not like wet and cold weather and can suffer in winter time if they do not have the correct protection against the cold weather.  Dog clothes are a wardrobe essential for your four legged friend that keeps them warm and most importantly happy no matter the weather.

Dog clothes are well designed garments that are designed with your dog in mind so that your dog can function in his everyday life whilst staying cozy and comfortable.  Dog clothes are ideal for dogs that fall into the categories listed below;

  • Older/senior dogs
  • Injured or recovering dogs
  • Small dogs as they are closer to the ground and easily get wet
  • Dogs with thin or thinning coats
  • Working dogs
  • Dogs living or working in extreme climates
  • Puppies

  A coat for your dog can provide extra protection and insulation whilst they explore the outdoors and most dogs love the fuss of getting dressed in the winter time.   If your dog has been injured or has suffered from an illness they would benefit from an extra layer of dog clothes when they are out and about as they can reach full health again faster. 

 If your dog is hesitant about going outside they may be feeling the cold so it is important to notice the signs and dress them appropriately. You should always ensure that the clothing item works with the shape of your dog’s body and does not prevent him/her from doing anything they would normally do! 

Visit our Logo Store for the dog hoodie shown

The Thanksgiving Cat

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Thanksgiving, for most of us, is a day for family and friends; a pleasant day with lots of great food and often a houseful of guests. However, for your cat, Thanksgiving can be a living nightmare.

With lots of people coming and going, the doorbell ringing constantly, and major changes in the household routine, Thanksgiving can be an extremely stressful time for your cat. Unfortunately, stress and cats do not generally go well together. Stressful situations can make your cat anxious and frightened. They can also cause your cat to become ill. There are many stress-related feline diseases, with interstitial cystitis (urinary tract disease) being among the most common and most well-known of these diseases. Other diseases that can be caused by stress include intestinal diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and even respiratory diseases like asthma can be antagonized by stress. While it may not be practical to keep to your regular household routine on Thanksgiving, there are steps you can take to make your cat more comfortable and reduce the stress level for him.

  • Make sure your cat has a quiet, safe, private area that he can retreat to if he feels the need. This area should be restricted from your house guests so that your cat can rest undisturbed. An unused bedroom or bathroom will work for this purpose.
  • Provide your cat with a litter box and with a food and water station in his safe place. A bed or a soft towel or blanket which keeps your cat comfortable while resting should be provided as well. If your cat is acclimated to his carrier and feels safe there, consider placing his carrier in the safe room with him. Leave the carrier open so that your cat can enter and exit at will.
  • Play a radio, television or CD in your cat’s safe room to provide background noise and mask the sounds of the festivities in other areas of the house. Classical music is a good choice.
  • Feliway is a synthetic pheromone that can be used to reduce your cat’s stress level. It is available as a diffuser or as a spray. Either form is effective and can be used to help calm your cat during stressful periods such as Thanksgiving.
  • There are also other natural remedies, such as Rescue Remedy for Cats, which can be helpful in providing a calming effect for your cat. Never use any remedy for your cat that does not specifically say that is safe for cats on the label. Some medications, natural or pharmaceutical, are safe for dogs but not for cats.
  • If your cat becomes especially anxious or fearful, sedatives such as alprazolam (Xanax) can also be considered, particularly if the natural remedies prove to be ineffective or only partly effective. Talk to your vet about whether this would be appropriate for your cat.

Your cat will thank you for giving him the opportunity to escape from people and activity with which he feels uncomfortable. Of course, there are some cats that enjoy the added attention and the tempting smells that come with Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving dinner. If your cat is in this category, let him enjoy the festivities. Having his own private room or even an open carrier he can sneak away to will still give your cat the opportunity to take a break from the action if he finds it necessary.

 Article Courtesy Dr. Lorie Huston

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2013 Statistics – Cost to Care for a Dog or Cat

Dog Help Wanted

Wonder what it costs to care for a pet?

Buddy came up with these statistics.

He’s now looking for a job to pay his own way…good boy!

According to the 2013-2014 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, basic annual expenses for dog and cat owners in dollars include:

                                                                Dogs      Cats

Surgical Vet Visits                           $621     $382
Routine Vet                                        $231     $193
Food                                                       $239     $203
Food Treats                                          $65       $36
Kennel Boarding                              $327     $337
Vitamins                                                 $64       $77
Groomer/Grooming Aids               $61       $20
Toys                                                           $41       $23

Should You Give a Pet For Christmas?

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Generally those of us in the animal rescue business discourage giving pets as a gift at Christmas. But research show we may have been wrong. We believed it is based on the fact of seeing pets dumped us, or the shelter just 30 or 60 days after Christmas, when the reality of taking care of a puppy or kitten overwhelms some people.

Some rescue groups and shelters also have a long-held belief  that animals not specifically chosen by their new owners may be considered less valuable.

This belief, however, is actually counter to new research by the ASPCA and other experts in the animal-welfare field.

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Research

In 2013, the ASPCA surveyed people who had received their pets as gifts in order to learn more about their attachment to – and the retention of – that pet. They also explored the difference in those factors for those that obtained their gifted pet as a surprise. Research found there is no correlation between getting an animal as a gift and an owner’s love and attachment to the pet even if that pet was a surprise gift and no increased risk of relinquishment for dogs and cats received as gifts.​

An earlier study, identified the source of approximately 2,600 dogs and 2,300 cats relinquished to 12 shelters in four regions of the U.S. They found that dogs relinquished to shelters had most frequently come from friends, shelters and breeders. Relinquished dogs infrequently came from pet shops, as gifts and from veterinarians. That study found that the odds of dog relinquishment were higher when acquiring an animal from a shelter, friend, as a stray, and from a pet shop compared to receiving an animal as a gift (and controlling for other factors such as gender, neuter status, length of ownership and purchase cost).

In addition, Scarlett et al identified 71 reasons given for pet relinquishment. “Unwanted gift” was listed as a reason for only 0.3% of dogs and 0.4% of cats entering the shelters surveyed, compared with “No time for pet” as a reason 10% of dogs were relinquished and “allergies in family” as a reason 18% of cats were relinquished.

And finally Patronek et al examined risk factors for dog relinquishment at one shelter and concluded that dogs that were received as a gift were at significantly decreased risk of being relinquished, compared to dogs who were purchased or adopted.

Bottom Line 

These are exciting findings that may help open new adoption options for rescue groups and animal shelters, allowing more animals to be placed in loving homes. The ASPCA recommends however that the giving of pets as gifts be only to people who have expressed a sustained interest in owning one, and who have the ability to care for it responsibly.

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