Sunday, 26 March 2017

Separation Anxiety In Pets - Did You Know This?

Have you noticed the increase in products that 'keep an eye' on your pets when you can't be with them?

The growing array of apps and cameras available to pet owners to monitor their pets alone time is growing all the time and reflects an interest in the well-being of our pets when we can't be around. 

It's a healthy and common concern among many pet owners to wonder if their absence may affect their pet and whether their cat or dog experiences separation anxiety.

Separation anxiety can cause behavioral problems in dogs and cats and behavioral problems are the number one reason that cats and dogs are euthanized.

We felt it important to put some information out that may help increase an owner's knowledge of this increasingly talked about subject.

Some Key Facts About Separation Anxiety In Cats And Dogs 
  • Cats and dogs of all ages and breeds can have or develop separation anxiety
  • Separation anxiety in cats and dogs can be prevented or cured.
  • Having more than one pet is no guarantee that your pet won't be anxious when an owner is absent...we're talking about anxiety not loneliness.
  • A pet can develop anxiety gradually.
  • Some pets can develop separation anxiety after a period of boarding.
  • Pets with separation anxiety often get worse rather than better without help.
  • Separation anxiety in pets is generally at its worst in the first 15 minutes after an owner has left home and in some cases can persist during the whole time that an owner is absent.
Something I find particularly interesting is that some owners think that the introduction of another pet will alleviate anxiety in their pets. Studies have shown that it is the removal of an owners companionship that is most likely to be the root cause.

The removal of a pet companion can cause anxiety too and highlights the complexity of separation anxiety and the importance of establishing the route cause or trigger.

Common separation anxiety behaviors such as destroying furniture, barking, howling and scratching in an owners absence should be seen as a cue to investigate for the root cause of a pets anxiety and not as a punishable offence.

Looking for the cause, being aware of early stage behavioral changes and being prepared to consult a veterinarian or behavioral expert to help alleviate the anxiety suffered by a pet is the kindest and best advice an owner can take.
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Sunday, 19 March 2017

Five Interesting Things You Maybe Never Knew About Dogs

Regular readers will know that I'm an avid researcher of the weird and wonderful when it comes to our canine friends and this week have been trawling through the archives to bring you some hopefully interesting things you maybe never knew about dogs.
  • Short legged dogs - Dachshunds, basset hounds and corgis all share the characteristic of having short legs due to a single growth-related gene mutation that affects their early fetal development. In studies, scientists found that this growth gene known as FGF4  appears to be a copy of a wolf gene that somehow got spliced back into our short-legged friends DNA some time after modern dogs diverged from wolves.
  • Talking of wolves... Both dogs and wolves are functionally blind until they are around a month old. Wolf puppies begin to walk and explore at around the two week mark while dog pups wait until around four weeks before they exhibit the same behaviours.
  • On the subject of puppies.... Different breeds are known to show vastly differing developmental behaviours and it may surprise you to know that beagle and cocker spaniel puppies almost never argue over food. Basenji puppies on the other hand have been known to aggressively continue to argue with each other for up to a year.
  • Rabies - Rabies kills around 55 thousand people a year and around 95% of these cases are caused by dog bites.
  • Hunting and herding in dogs - You may be surprised to learn that despite hundreds of studies, researchers have yet to gain a defined understanding of why hunting dogs hunt and herding dogs herd.
The Dog Solution

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Tips For Excessive Meowing In Cats

To understand if your cat's meowing is 'too much' it is necessary to understand a little as to why cats use this vocal range to communicate with us.

Cats generally meow for the following reasons.
  • As a greeting - Not much you can do about this except enjoy it. A cat that excessively meows to greet you will calm down in time after a little attention.
  • To gain attention - Some cats will meow excessively for attention and a good tip is to teach your cat that you will pay attention to them when they are quiet. Wait until the meowing subsides and as soon as there is a brief moment of silence reward this with attention. Remember we are only talking about excessive meowing here and cats, if you are patient and consistent, can learn a healthy association between what they meow for and what you do about it.
  • To ask for food/basic needs - When cats excessively meow for food a good tip is to only feed them at prescribed times and don't feed at all outside of these times. This will encourage your cat to understand that meowing outside of these times is a futile exercise. If your cat wakes you with excessive meowing and it bothers you it may be worth investing in an automatic feeder that is scheduled to open at specific times. Always be alert to your cat trying to communicate their basic needs, their water bowl may have been knocked over or litter tray may need cleaning are good examples of this. Your cat may have become trapped in a cupboard and be alerting you that they need your assistance.
  • To attract a mate - Female cats during their heat cycle can be prone to excessive meowing and a good tip to curb this is to have the cat spayed. Male cats are known to excessively meow around female cats when the female felines come into heat and if you can't prevent an intact male cat from detecting females in heat it may be a good idea to have the male cat neutered.
  • To ask to go out or be let back in again - Cat flaps are the obvious solution to a cat excessively meowing to go in and out but if you prefer your cat to remain indoors then building an annexed enclosure on the side of your home with permanent access to it is another option. If you're considering keeping your cat indoors when they've previously roamed outside then it would be reasonable to expect a temporary amount of excessive meowing at doors and windows and most cats will settle down and adjust to their new routine over time.
  • When they're experiencing mental confusion or cognitive dysfunction - This can often happen with older cats and veterinary attention should always be sought, a trip to the vets should also be a priority if your cat suddenly starts meowing excessively outside of their normal habits and the potential reasons outlined above.
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Saturday, 4 March 2017

What If This Was You And Your Dog?

I'm not a political person and simply try to use my 'social influence' to help cats and dogs and their owners to live a happy and healthy life together but I just wanted to let you know about something that you may be interested in 'influencing' yourselves.

When you've had a tough day and are relaxing at home enjoying the companionship of your loyal dog or dogs have you ever considered what your life might be like if your dog is all you had?

Many of us are aware that in the current economic climate that it has never been easier to 'slip through the net' by simply losing your job, your home and maybe your family and health. I just wanted to tell you about about some people that care about what happens to you and your four-legged friends should you ever find yourself in this sad scenario.

A project in London UK Dogs On The Streets is helping the homeless by organising vet care, grooming, food and foster care should the owners become hospitalised etc. It is entirely run by volunteers. Vets and pet professionals are also giving their time free of charge to help the often overlooked canine victims.

This narrative isn't just about the specific project above, there are many people worldwide working tirelessly free of charge to help people that have lost their homes, families and much more maintain a little dignity and self-respect by being able to look after their dogs properly and maybe keep the only friend that they have in the world.

Some points to ponder

  • It could be you
  • Help isn't always about money, sharing this post promotes awareness of the great people carrying out the unpaid work of caring about the well-being of the dogs...who are innocents.
  • Simply following the social accounts of the street dog volunteer groups and sharing their posts will be helping the unfortunate dogs and owners.
  • Message me personally through this account and I will add the name of any volunteer group that seeks support in helping street dogs to the bottom of this post and ensure they get publicity.
  • If you are a pet business and donate to any street dog charity worldwide, ask them to message me through this account and I will acknowledge your action and ensure free publicity of it to my 80+K worldwide subscribers and followers.
  • Large companies are coming on board and donating food and a growing number of pet professionals are helping by giving their time free of charge.
Please help if you can, if you take just a few seconds and follow accounts such as Dogs On The Streets (send me any that you would like me to promote) then you have done something really good today. Be that 'somebody' who could help and appreciate that there are less fortunate people who live less 'ideal' lives that love their dogs just as much as you do. Thank you for reading this.