Dingoes have gotten bigger over the last 80 years, and pesticides might be to blame

The average size of a dingo is increasing, but only in areas where poison-baits are used.

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Episode 811 – The New Normal: Distance Learning & Telecommuting

Victoria and Aly talk about how to be more effective when learning and working from home. Social distancing is the thing these days, but how do we keep from going nuts and what are the best practices to stay productive and efficient when working or learning from home. Dealing with the social aspect of isolation. Aly shares some top tips for how to be productive while staying home, including staying engaged and avoiding passivity. The use of rituals of physical, technical and mental preparation in staying efficient at home.

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Do Dogs Know How Big They Are?

A study of body-size awareness in dogs seems to indicate that the answer is yes.
big and small dog

Who among us has not been stepped on by a dog who seemed completely unaware that her paws were on our feet? So many dogs do this that it’s hard to guess what kind of general body-awareness dogs have.

A recent study, “That dog won’t fit: body size awareness in dogs,” looked into this very question and found evidence that dogs do indeed have an awareness of their own body. Essentially, the scientists asked if dogs understand their body as an object of a particular size. If so, they should react differently to wall openings of different sizes.

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Uncertainty Surrounds Canine Covid Diagnosis

More research is needed in how the coronavirus affects animal health

In mid-April, not long after Robert Mahoney learned that he had Covid-19, his dog Buddy—a seven-year-old, 130-pound German Shepherd—started having breathing problems. Four weeks later, Buddy became the first dog to test positive for the coronavirus in the United States. Though the big shepherd was expected to recover, sadly, he died on July 11, but it’s unclear if the virus caused his death.

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Meet Koda

Koda brings me an overwhelming sense of calm the minute I come home to him. The first thing he gets every time I come home is a big hug that I know we’ve both been waiting for all day!

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Top Ten Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe & Calm this Fourth of July

 

 

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Meet Mango

Mango lived on the street in Kingston, Jamaica and got scraps of food from a man who didn’t have much for himself. She was rescued and found a loving home with plenty of space to play.

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Majority of Pet Owners Give Their Pets Some Homemade Food

Pet owners are taking the time to learn exactly what their pets are eating.
more pet owners feeding homemade diets

A new study discovered some surprising news about how we are feeding our pets…a significant majority of worldwide pet owners give their pets some real food each day.

The study—published by researchers from University of Guelph Ontario Veterinary College in Canada, with ties to Trouw Nutrition, Royal Canin and Petcurean—discovered through pet owner surveys something that surprised them (and probably concerned the pet food industry manufacturers). After surveying “3673 English-speaking dog and cat owners in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the USA” they learned that…

Only 13% dogs and 32% cats were fed conventional foods (kibble or can) exclusively.

Put another way, the study discovered that…

87% of dogs and 68% of cats are provided some real food in their diet.

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How To Get Your Dog To Wear A Life Jacket

Summer is in full swing, and with the hot weather comes swimming and boating – activities often mutually enjoyed by dogs and humans. Despite the swimming prowess of many canines, dogs can drown; it is estimated that thousands of dogs die in the water every year.

Dogs drown for many reasons. Some breeds, especially brachycephalics like Bulldogs and Boston Terriers, are physically maladapted to swimming. Many of them, even if they try to swim, simply sink like rocks to the bottom of a pool. Even competent canine swimmers tire quickly, and if they fall into a swimming pool unsupervised, may be unable to find the steps that allow them to climb out. In open waters dogs also tire quickly. A boating accident, or lack of human attentiveness, can put a dog at high risk for drowning.

Keep your dog safe in the water

Take the time to find out if your dog can swim. Maybe give him swimming lessons! Teach him how to locate and use a pool ramp to reduce his risk of drowning. To prevent accidental fall-in drowning tragedies, provide close adult supervision and/or a solid fence around the pool with no dog-access unless accompanied by a responsible human. Always have your dog wear a flotation device if he’s hanging out around the pool, actually playing in the wet stuff, or joining you on boat rides.

Canine life vests come in a variety of styles, ranging in price from $15 to as much as $80. Quality is important, so Google “dog, life jacket” and read all the information for the various brands before buying, rather than just opting for “cheap.” You don’t want buckles to fail when you are counting on the vest to save your dog’s life. Look for one with a sturdy handle on the back, so you can lift him out of the water when you need to save him!

dog life jacket
Photo: Ирина Мещерякова/Getty Images

How to get your dog to wear a life jacket

You’ve done your research, purchased the life jacket – now it’s time to toss it over your dog’s head and go for a test swim, right? Wait a minute… slow down!!

You want your dog to love his vest. Even if he’s a resilient soul who tolerates just about anything, take time to make sure he isn’t spooked by the bulky thing going over his head, with all the straps and buckles that have to be adjusted and snapped closed. Here’s how to ensure your dog loves his swimming gear:

1.     Fit the vest carefully before even approaching your dog. There will still be some adjustments needed, but minimize them.

2.     Show him the vest. While he’s looking at it, feed him a high-value treat. (Boiled or baked chicken is good!)

3.     Hide the vest, pause, then present it again, and feed chicken.

4.     Repeat several times until the appearance of the vest causes your dog to get happy and look for the chicken.

5.     Now (super-important!) hold up the vest by the handle with the straps unbuckled and invite him (with a treat) to walk under it. He’s choosing to put it on himself, rather than you putting it on him. If this part worries him, go slow – one step at a time – until he’s happy to have the vest resting on his back. (Or – leave the chest strap buckled and invite your dog to step forward and put his head through the opening. Do not just plop it over his head – be sure he volunteers to move through the opening.)

6.     Now take some time to pair the sound of the buckles with chicken, so he also thinks that “snap!” equals chicken!

7.     When he’s comfortable putting himself into the vest and hearing the “snap!” sound, you can buckle him in. Have someone feed high-value treats while you snap the buckles closed, or use Lickimats to keep him happily occupied with peanut butter, squeeze cheese or yogurt mashed into the grooves. (See Play With Your Food, April 2019). Alternatively, you can smear gooey foods on your refrigerator door or vinyl floor while you buckle.

8.     At first, keep the vest on for short periods – 10 to 15 seconds. Gradually increase the length of time he wears the vest, until it’s clear he isn’t bothered by it.

9.     Now you’re ready for the water! Again, take it slow. Even if your dog is an accomplished swimmer, it may feel strange to him to be more buoyant. Introduce him slowly to the water and convince him that swimming with a life jacket is fun.

This might seem like a lot of effort just to get your dog to wear a life vest. It will all be well worth it someday when it saves his life.

Top photograph: marekuliasz/Getty Images

Read Next: Swimming is Great Exercise for Dogs

The post How To Get Your Dog To Wear A Life Jacket appeared first on Whole Dog Journal.

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Three Secrets to Safe & Effective Exercise for Your Dog

It’s no secret that exercising your dog can lead to a happier and healthier pup – not to mention a quieter house and a happier you. The complication is that exercising your dog takes time and sometimes we struggle to find time to exercise ourselves. However, without safe and effective exercise, your dog can gain weight, risk costly injury, and tear apart the house in response to pent up energy. Consider how you exercise your dog now: perhaps you play tug with your Chihuahua in the living room, jog or play fetch with your active retriever, or ask your senior mixed breed to sit in the kitchen — all of these activities can exercise your dog both physically and mentally. Let’s further explore how you can make the most of your time with your dog while safely and effectively gaining the benefits of exercise.

Here are three secrets to safely and effectively exercising your dog through activities and games that you probably already play.

1. Discuss with your veterinarian

Before beginning any exercise (even training class!), it’s important to get a full health check with your local veterinarian. Let your vet know which activities you are thinking about pursuing, and ask which activities would be most appropriate for your dog’s age, musculoskeletal structure, and preferences. Remember, just like with children, jumping from high places or playing on hard surfaces can be detrimental to joints. Be sure to ask how long the activities should last, how intense they should be, and about any necessary equipment or weather precautions. Just because your dog wants to fetch constantly, doesn’t necessarily mean that this high impact, sustained exercise is healthy. Describe the activity and environment to your vet in detail, and be sure to get clearance before enjoying with your pup.

2. Explore variation

After speaking with your veterinarian about appropriate activities for your dog, plan to vary the types of activities each day. If your veterinarian approved some shorter distance jogs for your pup, perhaps the next day you could spread his food in the backyard as a scavenger hunt. Varying high intensity with low intensity workouts is just as stimulating for your pup, and the variation will keep him engaged. You can also vary exercises within the activity itself. For example, if you frequently throw a ball or disc for your dog until she lies down and pants, consider asking for tricks between different types of throws. By varying distances and body movements you can help your dog regulate her arousal and stay safe.

3. Remember warms up & cool down

Before beginning any activity, it’s important to set up your dog for success. Dogs have the same basic musculoskeletal components as people, and therefore they can sustain similar injuries from rigorous use or clumsy accidents. However, dogs are more athletic compared to humans (even your couch potato probably has a higher VO2max than you!), and they can exert a lot of energy at playtime. It’s important to warm up and cool down your dog’s muscles before use. Consider the type of exercise and what body parts are involved, and plan for a warm up. For example, if you’re about to open the back door for your dog to dash out with his powerful hind legs, take a couple walking laps around the living room first. Ask for a few repetitions of sit and put a treat in front of his nose to lure him in a few circles before opening the door. Much like a short jog, squats, and plyometrics before a sprint, these exercises can help protect your dog’s soft tissue before dashing off. The easiest part is that the same exercises can be performed in reverse for a quick cool down.

Using these three secrets, you can safely and effectively exercise your dog in the same amount of time and help you and your pup enjoy the benefits. Through warms ups/cool downs and varying your dog’s activities you can tire your pup out in no time at all. Talking to your veterinarian about the type, duration, and intensity of activity can also tailor the exercise to your dog and avoid costly injury. 

Many caretakers believe that their dog needs to sprint in order to get tired, when in reality sniffing, training, or a combination can be just as taxing. Check out the table below for more ideas! Challenge yourself this week to change one thing about your dog’s exercise routine, and see if you enjoy a calmer, healthier dog!

 

Activity

Variation

Warm up/cool down

Hide a treat/toy in the house

High/low places, obstacles, multiple rooms

Walk laps, sits, crawls

Sniffy walk

Hide treats, change route

Walk laps, sits

Tug

Side to side, stop/go, 2 tugs

Jog laps, play bow, weight shift

Fetch

Short/long distances, walking breaks, sit/down/spin/beg/back

Jog laps, downs, circles

Jog

Walk/run, canicross, sniff breaks

Sniff, walk laps, sits

 

 

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