Monthly Archives: January 2015

Saying Goodbye To Your Dog

Scoop The Poop!

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The loss of a pet is a truly tragic, heartbreaking, and unparalleled experience. We look to our pets for support, comfort, camaraderie, affection, and love that knows no bounds. So what do you do when it is time to let your best furry friend go? The number one thing you must understand is that you are not alone in your grief. Even if those around you do not understand why you are so upset because its “just a dog,” don’t forget that there are people like you all over the world who love their pets with all their hearts and grieve their loss just like the loss of any other loved one.

First, with an aging or critically ill dog, you must decide when it is time to euthanize. After the passing of your beloved pet, you must understand how to handle your grief, how to help your family through…

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” Mommy, May I Please Have A New Puppy?!”……What’s The Cost?

Scoop The Poop!

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You go shopping with your kids in a mall, or strip mall and all of a sudden , one of your kids scream ,” Mommy, May I Please Have A New Puppy?!” Of course, you love giving your son or daughter their hearts desire. And for two seconds, you get excited too! Then you walk into a pet store, and the breeder says, “$2000.” . You get jolt back to reality quickly! Not only are you considering the price of a new puppy, but now you have to worry about how much you’re going to have to spend per year in caring for the puppy.

Believe it or not, some people don’t think that far, then next thing you know , the puppy becomes more of a liability because of the incurring costs you weren’t expecting. Then we either have more stray dogs on the street, shelter or Euthanasia line…

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Understanding Your Dog’s Body Language : 7 Types To Familiarize Yourself!!

Scoop The Poop!

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Stressed Dog

Dog body language can tell us what dogs are feeling, how they are handling a given situation and what they are about to do. Handed down from the complex body language of their wolf ancestors, the body language of dogs is easy for humans to understand, given some practice and careful observation.
By knowing dog body language you can avoid fearful situations and aggressive behavior, prevent dog bites, react when problems occur and provide a happy life for you and your dog.

Relaxed dogs

Relaxed dogs do not feel threatened by other dogs or their environment. They are friendly and approachable. Relaxed dog body language traits:
dog standing erect on four legs;
tail hanging down straight (or in some breeds, curled upward) and wagging in a slow, sweeping motion;
mouth open, tongue out, gentle panting (but not due to heat or stress);
ears erect and facing forward;
eyes…

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Coping With Storm Anxiety

Scoop The Poop!

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Does your dog panic in the hours before and during a thunderstorm? Storm anxiety can be displayed with relatively minor symptoms like trembling, panting, and drooling; more intense symptoms like hiding, whining, and inappropriate elimination; or even extreme symptoms like destructive behavior, and self injury. It is estimated that one third of dogs exhibit some form of storm anxiety.

It is not known exactly what part of a thunderstorm triggers dogs with storm anxiety; whether it’s the wind, rain, thunder, lightening, ionization, drop in barometric pressure, or the low-frequency rumbles that precede a storm. It has, however, been established that certain dogs are more susceptible to this form of anxiety. Many experts believe that herding breeds, hound breeds, and working breeds are more likely to develop this form of anxiety. It is believed that these dogs, as a result of breeding, react quickly to outside stimuli, but suppress certain undesirable…

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2015 Pet Holidays!

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Are you looking for pet holidays that recognize the special role that dogs, cats, and other pets play in our lives? You’ve come to the right place. This extensive calendar, updated throughout the year, features fun pet holidays as well as serious pet awareness days, weeks and months that focus attention on challenges in the pet world.

January

National Train Your Dog Month

Walk Your Pet Month.

Adopt a Rescued Bird Month.

Jan. 2, 2015: National Pet Travel Safety Day.

Jan. 14, 2015: National Dress Up Your Pet Day.

Jan. 22, 2015: National Answer Your Cat’s Question Day.

Jan. 24, 2015: Change a Pet’s Life Day.

Jan. 29, 2015: Seeing Eye Guide Dog Birthday.

February

Spay/Neuter Awareness Month. (Humane Society of the United States)

Pet Dental Health Month.

Responsible Pet Owners Month.

Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month.

National Prevent a Litter Month.

Unchain a Dog Month.

Feb. 7-14, 2015: Have a Heart for Chained Dogs Week.

Feb. 16-17, 2015: Westminster Kennel Club Annual Dog Show. Held at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, this event is televised.

Feb. 14, 2015: Pet Theft Awareness Day.

Feb. 15-21, 2015: National Justice for Animals Week.

Feb. 20, 2015: Love Your Pet Day.

Feb. 22, 2015: Walking the Dog Day.

Feb. 23, 2015: International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day.

Feb. 24, 2015: World Spay Day. Annual campaign by the Humane Society International and The Humane Society of the United States; held the last Tuesday of February.

March

Poison Prevention Awareness Month.

Adopt a Rescued Guinea Pig Month.

March 7, 2015: Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race begins. Called “The Last Great Race on Earth,” this grueling race travels along a path that alternates between two paths, changing in even and odd years. The race crosses two mountain ranges in conditions that range from 30 degrees above to 30 degrees below zero.

March 3, 2015: If Pets Had Thumbs Day.

March 1-7, 2015: Professional Pet Sitters Week.

March 5-8, 2015: Crufts. Held in Birmingham, England, this is the world’s largest dog show, featuring nearly 28,000 canines in its four days.

March 15-21, 2015: National Poison Prevention Week.

March 23: National Puppy Day.

April

National Pet First Aid Awareness Month. This event is an effort by the American Red Cross to draw attention to the need to know specialized pet first aid.

Prevent Lyme Disease in Dogs Month.

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month. (ASCPA)

National Pet Month. (UK)

April 12-18, 2015: Animal Control Officer Appreciation Week.

April 11, 2015: National Pet Day.

April 18, 2015: Pet Owners Independence Day.

April 22, 2015: Earth Day.

Third week in April. Animal Cruelty/Human Violence Awareness Week. An effort by the Humane Society of the United States.

Third week in April. National Pet ID Week.

April 26, 2015: National Kids and Pets Day.

April 25, 2015: World Veterinary Day. This event from the World Veterinary Association is always celebrated on the last Saturday in April.

April 25, 2015: Hairball Awareness Day.

May

National Pet Month (US)

Responsible Animal Guardian Month.

Pet Cancer Awareness Month. Sponsored by Pet Cancer Awareness and the Blue Buffalo Foundation for Cancer Research. (Also see November events.)

Chip Your Pet Month.

National Service Dog Eye Examination Month. The American College of Veterinary Optholmologists hosts this annual event when over 200 veterinary optholmologists donate their services to provide eye exams to service dogs in the US and Canada.

May 1: National Purebred Dog Day

May 4-10, 2015: American Humane’s Be Kind to Animals Week. This week-long event has been celebrated since 1915. Always the first full week of May.

May 3-9, 2015: National Pet Week. Always held the first full week of May by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

May 4-10, 2015:American Humane’s Be Kind to Animals Week . An initiative of the HSUS, this week is always scheduled to begin the Monday before Mother’s Day.

May 18-24, 2015: Dog Bite Prevention Week. This event by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) along with the United States Post Office (USPS) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) focuses attention on preventing dog bites.

June

Adopt-a-Cat Month®. From the American Humane Association.

Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat Month. From the ASPCA.

National Pet Preparedness Month. This month, timed for the first month of hurricane season, urges people with pets to make preparations in case they should be hit by a disaster…and that includes making plans for what you would do with your dog in case of a hurricane, tornado, flood or other natural disaster.

June 4, 2015: Hug Your Cat Day.

First week in June. Pet Appreciation Week.

June 9, 2015: World Pet Memorial Day.

June 10-14, 2015: World Dog Show, Milan, Italy. This large show is hosted by a different county every year.

Mid-June: Animal Rights Awareness Week.

June 26, 2015: Take Your Dog to Work Day.

July

Dog House Repair Month.

July 4: Independence Day. This US holiday is no holiday for dogs; the sounds of fireworks causes many dogs to panic and run, resulting in many lost dogs every year.

July 15: National Pet Fire Safety Day. Sponsored by the The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), ADT Security Services and the American Kennel Club® (AKC).

July 21: National Craft for your Local Shelters Day.

July 31: National Mutt Day. Also see Dec. 2.

August

Aug. 1: DOGust Universal Birthday for Shelter Dogs. The North Shore Animal League America, the world’s largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization, declared August 1 as a birthday for all the shelter animals whose birthdays are unknown. Happy DOGust!!

Aug. 5: Work Like a Dog Day.

Aug. 2-8, 2015: International Assistance Dog Week.

Aug. 15: National Check the Chip Day. AVMA and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) joined together to create “Check the Chip Day.”

Aug. 15, 2015: International Homeless Animals’ Day®. From the International Society for Animal Rights.

Aug. 17: National Black Cat Appreciation Day.

Aug. 26: National Dog Day.

Aug. 30. National Holistic Pet Day.

September

National Disaster Preparedness Month. Led by FEMA’s Ready Campaign, Citizen Corps and The Advertising Council, this effort encourages individuals, families, businesses and communities to work together and take action to prepare for emergencies. Visit Ready.gov and CitizenCorps.gov.

Second Sunday in September. National Pet Memorial Day. Established by the International Association of Pet Cemeteries (IAPC).

Last full week in September: National Dog Week.

Last full week in September. Deaf Pet Awareness Week. By Petfinder.com.

Sept. 13, 2015: Pet Birth Defect Awareness Day. A day dedicated to the issue of pet birth defects including information on identification, prevention and treatment. Sponsored by the MBJungle Foundation.

Sept. 23: Dogs in Politics Day (also known as Checkers Day). Recognizing the dogs of politicians.

Sept. 28: World Rabies Day. Sponsored by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control.

October

Adopt-A-Dog Month®. By American Humane Association.

Adopt-a-Shelter Dog Month. By ASPCA.

National Animal Safety and Protection Month.

National Pet Wellness Month.

1st Week of October. National Walk Your Dog Week.

October 4: World Animal Day.

1st Full Week of October. Animal Welfare Week (AVMA)

Oct. 11-17, 2015: National Veterinary Technician Week. Sponsored by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians of America.

Oct. 16: National Feral Cat Day.

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Oct. 16: National Feral Cat Day.

Last Saturday in Oct.: National Pit Bull Awareness Day.

Oct. 28: Plush Animal Lovers Day. A day that most dogs will be happy to celebrate…as they unstuff them…

Oct. 29: National Cat Day.

Oct. 30: National Black Cat Day in the UK.

November

*MORE November holidays; observances

Adopt a Senior Dog Month. By ASPCA.

National Pet Awareness Month.

National Senior Pet Month.

Pet Cancer Awareness Month. Sponsored by Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) and the Animal Cancer Foundation. (Also see May events).

Pet Diabetes Month.

National Dog Show. Always broadcast in the US on Thanksgiving, this event is held at The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pennsylvania and is hosted by the Kennel Club of Philadelphia. Sanctioned by the American Kennel Club, the event features 2,000 dogs.

First full week of Nov: National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week. by The Humane Society of the United States.

Nov. 17: National Take a Hike Day.

Nov. 17: National Black Cat Day.

December

Dec. 2: National Mutt Day. Also see July 31.

Does Your Dog Have A Dirty Little Secret?

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Over a year ago, I wrote a blog called, “Why Do Dogs Eat Poop”?!.
It’s a mystical phenomenon that many of us do not understand . This year is a follow up . I will give you solutions to help deter this gross habit that the fur baby we are in love with has. I decided to post this because I’ve had many clients, as of late as well as professional pet sitters asking me for solutions. I will share some of my homemade solutions as well as solutions from professionals in the pet care industry .

HOMEMADE DETERRENTS

The more common sense approach to deterring your dog from eating poop is to make it taste bad. Lets see what’s in our house that will help us with this solution .

1) Where as lemon juice and hot sauce are great health benefits to us( master cleanse diet) coating these ingredients in stool is a very bad taste.

2). How many of us love pumpkin pie, pumpkin cake or just fresh pumpkin? Mm Mmm delicious . Yet coating two tablespoons into feces, yuck yuck yuck to the palate.

3) For all you meat lovers , share that meat tenderizer in your dog’s food. By the time it comes out as excrement , it leaves a very bad taste to make your dog think twice.

FROM A VETERINARIAN‘S POINT OF VIEW

1) When a dog begins to eat poop, that’s a big red flag that they are are not getting the nutrients needed from their diet. Switch to a healthier diet for your pet’s sake. You can cook or buy quality food that is formulated for the dog’s age, breed and any medical issues. Check out our food by Flint River Ranch.

2) Coprophagia is also a sign he’s not eating enough. Increase the amount of nutritious food your dog is eating . Flint River Ranch had good quality that you can feed with out the worry of weight gain.

3) Take your fur baby to your veterinarian for an examination for underlying medical and health problems, parasites and other problems that may be compelling him to eat feces.

4) Stop the access to poop. There are many reasons we encourage pet owners to havedoggy bags or a pooper scooper while walking. It not only keeps our neighborhoods clean but it stops the access of feces.

5) Walk your dog more and give him better exercise regimen . During the walks you can train him and control his proximity to other feces on the ground. Don’t have the time for those walking routines and know it’s necessary? Call us, Happy Walk Happy Dog for daily mid-day walks and daily twice a day walks/run.

6) As soon as your dog starts approaching excrement, tell her ‘nah-ah-ahhh’ or ‘leave it!’, and distract her with praise supported with a treat, clicker click, playtime or other action or activity that is appealing to the dog. This will convey the idea that it is more rewarding to attend to you than to attend to poop. As soon as she turns her attention to her, praise her (‘Good dog!’) and reward her. A wise practice is to always carry appealing tidbit treats, a favorite toy, clicker – something you can always use to effectively gain your dog’s attention and reinforce desired behaviors. Once you get her attention, give her something positive to do. For example, tell her to ‘Sit’, reward her for listening, then proceed to an enjoyable activity such as playing or walking together. Distract her from undesired things like feces, and substitute a good, desired behavior such as sitting and attending to you. A dog who is interacting with her owner can’t be investigating poop at the same time.

7) If your baby is pooping in the house, it’s another reason to call Happy Walk Happy Dogto get them on a regular schedule and decrease the loneliness.

I hope these tips help all of you to deal with the issue of Coprophagia and resolve it.

Til Next Time….

Pets At The Office : A Positive Or A Negative ?

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Hanging out with man’s best friend is a huge part of our daily routine, and for many families a dog or cat is like another child. But as much as we pamper our furry friends, we can’t take them everywhere with us. And when it comes to those 8 hours (or more) we spend on the clock, it seems like our family pets are just never welcome to spend time with us while we are at work.

But not all professions believe in working without their trusted animal friends. For centuries, cats have been prowling breweries and farms to kill rats and mice. K9 units couldn’t function without their canines, of course, and many hospitals and nursing homes have on-staff dogs or cats to comfort patients. Even some bookstores have cats prowling the stacks.

And increasingly, “regular” offices are encouraging pets to become a part of the work day. But are animals in the office a source of distraction, or a legitimate tool for increasing productivity?

The Challenge

If anyone in your office suffers from allergies, bringing a pet to the office would be inconsiderate, even if you are at the top of the food chain. But respiratory conditions aside, there are plenty of other problems with having an animal in the workplace that could severely impact your productivity.

For one thing, an ill-behaved pet can cause havoc in all kinds of ways, from “accidents” to jumping up on your desk and knocking over your computer or stacks of papers. An animal that is too energetic should not be constrained to an office environment, for the sanity of you, your co-workers, and the pet itself.

Sick pets should stay at home; no one wants to walk into your cube and see a pet dragging its back end across the floor. And it should be obvious that animals with aggression problems should not be in an office….unless you want to get sued.

Therapy animals or service animals, on the other hand, should always be welcome in an office setting.

By the Numbers

According to one study conducted by Christopher Honts and his colleagues at Central Michigan University, dogs in the office can help to boost productivity.

And according to a survey conducted by the American Pet Products Manufacturers, 17 percent of Americans work at pet-friendly companies and 23 percent believe pets should be allowed in the workplace. The survey also found that 70 million Americans believe having pets in the workplace reduces stress, and 46 million believe having pets in the workplace creates a more productive work environment.

Since 1996, people have been celebrating Take Your Dog to Work Day every June, with over 10,000 companies participating in the United States. The next Take Your Dog to Work Day is June 24th, so start buttering up your boss now to get them to take part.

Success Stories

In Portland, Oregon, the local opera company has a resident cat named Nerissa. The Opera’s general director Christopher Mattaliano also allows dogs at work.

“I feel a happy staff is a productive staff,” says Mattaliano.

“During stressful times here, I get people coming in from a different floor just to connect with [my pet]” adds Noelle Guest, the director’s executive assistant.

Elsewhere in the country, Linda Goldstein Dunay, president of a marketing and public relations firm, is also a fan of pets in the workplace.

“From the beginning, I wanted my company to feel like a community,” she says. “I find that having dogs around, and allowing people to have their pets with them, is a big morale-booster.”

Murray Low, director of The Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center at Columbia Business School, adds that allowing employees to bring pets to work can be an inexpensive way to bolster productivity and reduce stress. “If the pet’s at work, it’s not as difficult for the employee to stay till 10 at night.”

Accepting When It’s Time To Let Your Dog Go……

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I have to admit, I am not very good at handling the issue of when it’s that time for dog to die. I think about every single pet I’ve ever had and can relay so many stories about each of them . All of them, at different times of my life ,have been my pet soulmate . I know every true dog lover feels the same. One of the questions I constantly get asked is “how can I adopt another dog , when I was so in love with the one that just passed?” It’s because my heart will always have enough room to love another dog and give them the best quality of life I can.

The loss of a pet is a truly tragic, heartbreaking, and an unparalleled experience. We look to our pets for support, comfort, camaraderie, affection, and love that knows no bounds. So what do you do when it is time to let your best furry friend go? The number one thing you must understand is that you are not alone in your grief. Even if those around you do not understand why you are so upset because its “just a dog,” don’t forget that there are people like you all over the world who love their pets with all their hearts and grieve their loss just like the loss of any other loved one.

First, with an aging or critically ill dog, you must decide when it is time to euthanize. After the passing of your beloved pet, you must understand how to handle your grief, how to help your family through this difficult time, and what you can do to make it all a little easier.

How Do I Know When Its Time?

Euthanasia is the act of ending your dog’s life with a quick and painless injection given by your vet. This is, of course, not an easy decision. It is not to be taken lightly and it is best you discuss your choice at length with your vet before making a final decision.

The best way to gauge if it is time to say goodbye to your dog is if his quality of life has declined to the point where the bad days outnumber the good. At this point, keeping your dog alive is only forcing him to live in pain.

If your dog still enjoys the company of his companions, if he still gets excited about his favorite toys and tasty snacks, if he can move about without pain, and still readily participates in play, euthanasia is probably not the right choice. However, if your dog has to endure difficult and stressful treatments on a regular basis, has trouble moving about, is generally uninterested in life, is unaware of his surroundings, does not want to be petted or played with, or if he soils himself regularly, it might be time to make the choice of euthanasia. It is important that you be honest and unselfish with yourself and your family when making this choice. Deciding to let your suffering pet linger may feel like the easier option because you do not yet have to say goodbye, but really it is just a means continuing the agony of your pet and your family.

Grieving

Whether you’ve chosen to euthanize your dog or you’ve lost your dog to a sudden accident or illness, you must be prepared to go through several of the completely normal stages of grief.

A common, early stage of grief is denial. You might not want to admit your dog is gone. You might wake up in the morning expecting Rover to be wagging his tail at the foot of your bed. Allowing yourself to grieve is the best way to get through this stage. Don’t try to just shove your feelings away; this will hurt far more than it will help in the long run.

You might also experience anger. This might be directed at your pet for getting sick, at the vet for not being able to make him better, at your loved ones for not doing more to help. Your anger can also be directed towards yourself in the form of guilt. You might be upset with yourself for not having done more, not spending as much time with your dog as you think you could have, or not taking him for that long daily walk he would have liked so much. The best thing you can do is let go of these feelings. Whenever you feel angry, try to think of something your pet did that made you smile or something you two liked to do together, and how it made you feel. Remember that although your dog is gone, no one can ever take those happy memories away from you. Instead of holding on to anger, hold on to those good feelings.

Often following denial and anger, you might find yourself in a period of depression. You might lose interest in day to day activities, have trouble sleeping, and feel generally lethargic; you might even experience headaches, shortness of breath, and other symptoms of extreme stress. This is ok, but you must not let it snowball out of control. If your depression gets to the point where it interferes with work or caring for your family, you should seek professional help. There is absolutely no shame in seeking help in this situation; strong, intelligent people do so every day. Sometimes the strongest choice is asking for help.

Eventually, you will find yourself in the acceptance phase of your grief. You will understand that your pup is gone and not coming back; that he is safe and no longer in pain; and that this is for the best. This phase might feel exceptionally far-off if you have just lost your dear friend, but just like any other heartbreak or sadness, it will fade, and the sun will shine again.

How to Deal

You must understand that you are not over-sensitive, silly, or crazy for being miserable because your dog is gone. These feelings are completely normal. A good way to work through your feelings is to talk to a friend or close family member. However, many of us do not have friends or family who understand the unassailable bond of a dog and owner. If this is the case, seek the guidance of your vet, local humane society, or the club that represents the breed of your late pooch. There you will find supportive, kind individuals who appreciate how you feel, many of whom have been through the same experience. You can also visit our forums which have a specific category for stories and conversations In Memory of beloved pets.

You can also try moving things around in your home. Especially if Rover had a certain corner where he liked to curl up, and it breaks your heart every time you look in that direction and he’s not there—redecorate your living room and stick an end table or a lamp in that corner. You’ll be surprised how simple changes can help with the grieving process.

Helping Yourself and Your Kids Through

When it comes to children, you absolutely must be honest. Telling your kids that Rover went to a farm may seem like the gentle way to help them through the loss, but it is counterproductive. Not only does it do nothing to help them understand the natural processes of life, about which they will have to learn eventually, but when they do find out the truth, it will breed in them a mistrust and anger that may be difficult to counteract.

When you explain the situation to your children, avoid euphemisms like “put to sleep” or “passed on.” These expressions are confusing and misleading, especially to young children, and can even be frightening. If you tell a young child that Rover has been “put to sleep” without explaining exactly what that means, he or she may themselves be afraid to go to sleep for fear that they might not come back. Speak to your children gently, but frankly. Delicately explain that living had become painful and difficult for Rover in the end and that saying goodbye was the kindest thing you could do for him, even though it is so hard.

Do not feel as if you need to “be strong” for your children. Crying in front of or with them over the loss of your dog will show them that it is ok to feel sad about the loss and that it is ok to cry. But try to bring conversation back to a positive angle by finding ways to smile through your tears. Reminisce with your family with funny stories about your dog, or silly things he used to do. Encourage your children to draw pictures or write stories about the good times with your dog.

The lack of control in the situation of losing a pet is difficult for a child, especially if he or she was not involved in the choice to euthanize. Help him or her gain a sense of control by letting them plan a memorial service, or decorate an urn or burial marker. This will give children an important sense of closure, and will help you with your grief as well.

If this is your children’s first experience with death, they will probably have quite a few questions. Do your best to be extremely patient and forthcoming. The more information they seek and find, the more comfortable they will be with what has happened, and the more ready they will be when they inevitably face death again later in life. Think of it as a learning experience that they will look back on with appreciation as they grow up.

Absolutely do not try to replace the pet who has passed. It is more than ok to get another dog eventually, in fact it is recommended, but this new dog is NOT a replacement. Avoid getting another dog of the same breed or naming him the same thing. This will be confusing to children and can breed resentment towards the new dog. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and it is not fair to expect a new dog to take the place of a beloved, deceased friend.

If your children are having an exceptionally difficult time handling the death of your dog, take this as a sign that you have raised compassionate individuals with huge hearts. After all, those with the biggest hearts have the greatest capacity for heartbreak. There is no shame in seeking clergy, support groups, or grief counselors to help you and your family through this difficult time. Just remember that, as Edna St. Vincent Millay said, “sadness flies away on the wings of time.”

The Trend Towards Using Pet DNA For Crime Solving

Which of my followers love channels like Investigation Discovery or shows like Forensic Files? It’s one of my addictions! My family doesn’t like the fact that I love watching all of these because let’s face it , they can be depressing. But I find an alternative reason to watch. Watching the world evolve as quickly as it does is fascinating. And now there is more new technology to help society advance in resolving crime mysteries.

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The Veterinarian Forensic Lab at the University of California, has changed the way crimes are investigated and prosecuted worldwide.
The lab has been called the “CSI of the four-legged world,” and it is the nation’s first laboratory dedicated to animal DNA profiling. It’s accredited by the prestigious American Society of Crime Lab Directors because the VFL conducts animal-related forensic tests as rigorously as any lab dealing with human DNA.

Simply put, the VFL uses DNA from animals to help solve a variety of crimes — from burglary and animal abuse to sexual assault and murder. They analyze crime scene evidence that, decades ago, might have been overlooked by detectives. Today, investigators automatically collect any animal fur or hairs, feces, urine stains and tissue samples found at a crime scene. They also take mouth swabs from pets after they defend their owners against attackers.

The case that helped establish the lab came from New Hampton, Iowa, in 1999. A sexual assault victim was not able to pick her attacker out of a police lineup. But she remembered that, as she stood near the man’s truck to answer his request for directions, her dog had lifted his leg and urinated on one of the tires. Two days later, police found the truck, swabbed the tire and the lab (then the foremost test center for bloodtyping cattle) was able to place the suspect where he insisted he had never been — alongside the victim. That conviction convinced everyone of the need for a full-time animal DNA testing lab.

How fascinating is this? You have to admit, very fascinating . Another case, where The VFL played a significant role was a grisly triple homicide case out of Indiana. The suspect insisted he had not stood at the spot where three workmen had been shot execution style. But police found a shoe print left behind in a poop patty and scooped up the evidence for evaluation. The lab was able to genetically match the droppings to the property owner’s dog and to a pencil eraser-sized specimen taken from the suspect’s shoe. Bingo! The suspect was convicted and is serving life in prison.

Besides its work in the U.S., the VFL has worked criminal investigations in several countries including Japan, Ireland, Canada, Australia and Argentina. Scotland Yard approached the lab to help solve the stabbing death of a bouncer outside a pub. Drops of non-human blood had flummoxed the Brits.

The VFL did the testing and qwere able to match the blood on the sidewalk to the suspect’s dog, which had apparently had his ear nicked during the altercation.” It was the first time dog DNA was used in a U.K. trial.

The lab works lots of dog-on-human attack cases, many of them involving children. In fact, one such case was upgraded to homicide after the female victim was taken off life support and died. But the staff at VFL knows first hand that what humans do to animals can be just as vicious.

Law enforcement in Florida had their eye on a suspected serial animal abuser and sent items to the lab for testing. Police believed this man had started out torturing hamsters, graduated to shooting razor arrows at livestock and then began killing goats and llamas in hideous ways. The lab was able to link the suspect to the grisly crimes when they identified the blood on his shirt as being from a llama. After the arrest, the lead detective breathed a sigh of relief.

Law enforcement in Florida had their eye on a suspected serial animal abuser and sent items to the lab for testing. Police believed this man had started out torturing hamsters, graduated to shooting razor arrows at livestock and then began killing goats and llamas in hideous ways. The lab was able to link the suspect to the grisly crimes when they identified the blood on his shirt as being from a llama. After the arrest, the lead detective breathed a sigh of relief

All of us with pets have a special bond — a special way of communicating with our beloved animals. Now, thanks to the Veterinarian Forensic Lab, whether the animal is the victim, the perpetrator or simply a witness to a crime, they can communicate to the courts as well.

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Is My Dog Truly A Carnivorous Mammal?

I’ve been blogging a lot about dogs and eating habits. My three Shih tzus are truly the most challenging pets I’ve ever had when it comes to their diet.  I usually keep up to date about the brands of foods , prescription foods and homemade foods that are healthy for pets. If any of my pets died because of something I may have neglected, it would be a guilt I would never get over. I’ve always known some of my purposes in life belong to caring for animals. I want to always make sure I go above and beyond.

I cook for my dogs to give them variety of what they are eating.   I mean who wants to eat a hamburger everyday? Scratch that! Some people may love it. My dogs , however , like spice and variety in their life. I read and research a lot on the debate of whether dogs are true carnivores or not. I want to share the information I’ve learned to help you make better informed decisions about your dog’s diet.

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Carnivore, herbivore or omnivore? Well, since you’re this post, I assume you’re a human, therefore ,an omnivore. Now, you may prefer a rack of ribs over lets says just plain broccoli, but that doesn’t mean you’re only a carnivore. We human beings are omnivores and are well equipped to eat a wide variety of foods. But what about our dogs? Are they carnivores or omnivores? We already know they’re not herbivores, as there’s not a dog in existence who would turn down a nice piece of meat and only eat vegetables all the time. But there’s been a huge debate as to whether our dogs are true carnivores or omnivores. Let’s take a look at some of the facts to help us make the distinction.

In this post, we sourced some useful information from Dog Food Advisor that provides you with the answer to the question “are dogs true carnivores?”

Are Dogs True Carnivores?

From DNA studies, we know dogs evolved directly from the timber wolf somewhere around 15,000 years ago. And, of course, it should come as no surprise. Wolves are clearly carnivores.
So, by their very genetic pedigree, dogs also demonstrate similar and noticeable carnivorous traits. Their teeth, their digestive systems and their behavior clearly confirm this fact. Yet dogs must also be recognized for their significant omnivorous ability. Their proven ability to digest carbohydrate-based foods has been known for many years.
After all, modern genetic research has proof that ten canine genes play key roles in starch digestion and fat metabolism. However, a dog still shows unmistakable evidence that its body is optimized for eating meat.

Dogs Don’t Grind — They Chop

For comparison, think about a typical herbivore. A dairy cow. Now, picture the way they “chew their cud”. Cows chew widely from side-to-side. And they have broad, flat back teeth. And flat teeth are ideal for grinding grains and plant material into finer particles.

True omnivores (like humans) share this same combination of boxy back teeth and sideways grinding motion common to herbivores. Think of your own mouth and how you chew.

Dogs, on the other hand, don’t have flat teeth. Like all carnivores, they have narrow pointy back teeth. Plus dogs can’t chew from side-to-side. Their jaws can only move in an up-and-down, chop-chop motion. It’s the perfect combination for cutting meat into smaller chunks.

No Salivary Amylase

Herbivores and omnivores have one powerful digestive weapon carnivores typically lack. Carnivores do not produce amylase in their salivary glands. Amylase is a specialized enzyme most herbivores and omnivores produce in their saliva. It helps begin the breakdown of starchy carbohydrates into simple sugars — before they enter the stomach.

Although dogs do produce amylase. the enzyme is added further down the digestive tract — in the small intestine. So, without salivary amylase, a dog’s carbohydrate digestion can be decidedly more difficult.

Digestive Anatomy Reveals the Truth

Since they consume fewer but larger meals, carnivores have bigger stomachs than their grazing, plant-eating counterparts. What’s more, meat-eating animals exhibit a higher concentration of stomach acid. This allows faster digestion of animal protein. And the stronger acid kills the disease-causing bacteria abundant in decaying meat.
What’s more, herbivores have an unusually long gastrointestinal tract — exceeding ten times the animal’s body length. Longer systems like this are needed for consuming a plant-based diet.

Today’s Confusing Dog Food Marketplace

Yet in spite of this natural carnivorous design, dogs have still managed to evolve over thousands of years — even surviving on the meat and non-meat scraps and leftovers of human existence. So, over time, dogs have proven to be fully capable of thriving on a variety of foods.  Are you confused? Let’s say 80% carnivore and 20% omnivore.

Today, the dog food marketplace has become a living, breathing witness to the animal’s adaptive ability — and is abounding with an astonishing array of product designs. Some favor meat. Some feature vegetables. And others are made almost entirely of cereal grains and beans.
Source: Dog Food Advisor

While experts are still weighing in on either side of the debate, I think we can all safely say that our dogs are either carnivores with omnivore capabilities or omnivores with strong carnivore leanings. Regardless of how you cut it, it’s a sure thing that our dogs have the telltale signs of being carnivores, but have some physical features that allow them to eat an omnivore-like diet.  Are you confused? Let’s say, 80% carnivore and 20% omnivore.

When we feed our shih tzus , we feed a mix of meat with cooked veggies. What should you feed your diet challenging pet? I suggest that you stick to the basics when it comes to feeding your dog. More than 80 percent of what your dog eats should be meat-based. Enough meat in your dog’s diet will ensure that he/she is getting plenty of protein and enough of the essential fatty acids. Are you questioning if your dog can eat some vegetables ? Of course they can! They can eat it along with fruit. If you have picky eaters in your bunch, I’m sure by now you know they won’t be inclined to consistently eat the veggies and fruits. Carnivore or Omnivore, be sure to research the safest foods, and consider what the right balance of nutrients are needed to ensure a great diet that lends itself to a great quality of life.

til Next Time….