Veteran Tearfully Reunited With Dogs He Had To Say Goodbye To

The effects of war are no secret. Many veterans are living with the physical and mental anguish brought on by their time spent defending freedom. For a lot of veterans, dogs seem to be one of the best remedies to help ease their transition to civilian life. “Just from going from a war zone to a civilian life and coming back, you feel totally isolated. You feel totally alone. You feel cut off from everything. My dogs were the only … Read more
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The Healthy Hound Newsletter #2

In This Issue: ● Recent Recalls ● Treating Dogs With Stem Cells ● Affordable Meds For Separation Anxiety ● Turn Leftover Chicken Into Dog Treats ● Do Dogs Use Tools? ● Coping With Canine Deafness ● Promising Vaccine For Canine Cancer Recent Food Recalls 9/26/19 – Performance Dog Raw Pet Food 8/31/19 – Aunt Jeni’s Frozen Raw Dog Food 8/14/19 – Texas Tripe Raw Dog Food 7/31/19 – ALL Pig Ear Dog Treats IN THE NEWS Should You Bank Your … Read more
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Long-Lost Caretaker Rushes To Mastiff’s Rescue After 9 Months Apart

Charlie the senior Mastiff was the longest resident at the Rancho Coastal Humane Society. For 9 months, the 174-pound couch potato was overlooked because of his size. He had been put up for adoption after his loving mom passed away, so he just wanted somewhere safe and comforting to live out the rest of his life. As much as the shelter staff adored the sweet dog, they were just as eager for him to have his happily ever after. So, … Read more
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Pet Fostering Sees Bump

The post Pet Fostering Sees Bump by Jackie Brown appeared first on Dogster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on Dogster.com.
It seems the COVID-19 pandemic had at least one positive outcome: Many shelters found themselves emptied of pets as homebound pet lovers stepped up to adopt and foster pets. Related: How to Become a Dog Fosterer Fostering especially saw a big uptick, with many people fostering pets for the very first, but hopefully not last, …
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Paralyzed Dog Forcibly Quarantined At JFK Airport And Assumed A Risk

Despite what many seem to think, paralysis does not mean a death sentence for dogs. Dogs with limited mobility still live happy, fulfilling lives with their people. This type of thinking brought a paralyzed Border Collie mix named BlackBerry from Jordan over to a new life in America. However, when Berry finally arrived in New York, CDC workers at the airport refused to release her. Lara Abdallat, an animal advocate who flew Berry across the world, issued a plea for … Read more
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Boost Your Dog Petting IQ With These Insider Tips

Dog parents who are closely bonded to their pets spend a lot of time being affectionate with them because, simply put, it feels good! And scientific evidence proves us right.
30 Minutes of Bliss for You and Your Dog

In a 2011 Swedish study, researchers found that people who kissed their dogs frequently had higher levels of oxytocin (the “cuddle hormone”) than other owners.1 And along with kissing, there were two other very important factors that contributed to elevated levels of oxytocin.
Number one, the owners perceived their relationship with their dog to be pleasurable rather than difficult or a chore; and number two, they offered fewer treats to their pet, preferring to offer attention and affection instead.
In an earlier 2003 study, dog parents were put in a room and asked to sit on a rug on the floor with their pet.2 The owners were instructed to focus all their attention on their dogs for 30 minutes by talking softly to them, and stroking, scratching and petting them. The owners’ blood was drawn at both the beginning and end of the 30-minute session.
The results showed that the dog owners’ blood pressure decreased, and they showed elevated levels not only of oxytocin, but also several other feel-good hormones, including:
Dopamine, which heightens feelings of pleasure
Beta-endorphins, which are associated with both pain relief and euphoria
Prolactin, which promotes bonding between parent and child
Phenylethylamine, which is increased in people involved in romantic relationships
The researchers discovered that the same hormones were also elevated in the dogs, which suggests the feelings of attachment are mutual.
Based on all the happy hormones surging through the dogs, it’s obvious the owners in the 2003 study knew how to touch their pets in a way that increased their pleasure and contentment. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
How Petting Feels from a Dog’s Point of View

Dog-to-dog interaction is a contact sport. They interact physically to show affection and a desire for play, but they also make contact when trying to goad or threaten another dog. This is why sometimes human petting elicits pleasure and a sense of calm in dogs, while other times it sends the wrong message.
Unless you’re really tuned into your dog while you pet him, it’s easy to unknowingly trigger negative emotions in him. Different types of petting, for example, a scratch behind the dog’s ear or a pat on the head, feel pretty much the same to us. The dog, however, isn’t necessarily having the same experience.
In a 2014 study, researchers evaluated physiological and behavioral responses in dogs to determine which types of petting felt good to them, and which didn’t.3 The study involved 28 privately owned dogs of different breeds, ages, and backgrounds. Some dogs were obedience trained; others were not. Each dog was fitted with a heart rate monitor and brought into a room where both the owner and a stranger were present.
The owner was instructed to ignore what was going on while the stranger interacted with the dog, touching him or her in 9 different ways for 30 seconds at a time. The 9 different touches included:
Petting the shoulder
Petting the lateral side of the chest
Petting the ventral part of the neck
Petting and holding the lying dog on the ground
Holding a forepaw
Petting on the top of the head
Scratching at the base of the tail
Holding the collar
Covering the muzzle with one hand
What Not to Do While Petting Your Dog (or Any Dog)
When the dogs were petted on the head or paw, they showed appeasement signals and redirected behaviors. The researchers interpreted those reactions as signs the dogs were uncomfortable. For the record, appeasement signals aren’t always indicators of stress. Professional dog trainer Pat Miller writing for Whole Dog Journal, describes canine appeasement signals explains:

“They are important everyday communication tools for keeping peace in social hierarchies, and are often presented in calm, stress-free interactions. They are offered in a social interaction to promote the tranquility of the group and the safety of the group’s members. When offered in conjunction with other behaviors, they can be an indicator of stress as well.”4

When the dogs in the study were constrained — held while lying on the ground, held by the collar, or having their muzzle covered, unsurprisingly, they showed freezing and displacement behaviors. These included lifting a paw, looking or moving away, and lip licking. All the dogs also had elevated heart rates — a clear sign of stress.
When the interactions were over, the dogs immediately shook their bodies and stretched, which are signs of relief and further proof they didn’t enjoy being constrained, no matter how gentle the touch. The touches the dogs liked best? Having their chests and shoulders petted and getting a nice scratch at the end of the spine just in front of the tail.
It’s important to note the dogs in the study were being handled by strangers. Most dogs tolerate a lot more from their immediate human family members, including touching that is decidedly unnatural for canines, such as hugging.
However, it’s not uncommon for a dog parent to miss their own dog’s stress signals, which can include a quick head turn or lick of the upper lip, as well as freezing in place. It can be easy to miss or misinterpret some of the more subtle canine expressions of distress. Unfortunately, the result can be a difficult relationship between human and dog that in a worst-case scenario can even become dangerous.
Fine-Tune Your Dog Petting Skills

The following are six tips for enhancing your relationship with your dog through touch:
Let your dog initiate contact most of the time, rather than invading his personal space. Some dogs need a little time to settle themselves before getting physically close enough to be touched.
Pet your dog gently on the chest or behind the ear closest to you (to avoid reaching over her head for the other ear). Avoid petting that involves reaching over or across your dog, move to different body areas without breaking light contact, so your dog knows where your hands are.
As a general rule, it’s never a good idea to hug a dog. Some dogs tolerate it, but it’s a form of constraint, which feels threatening to them.
Stop petting your dog after a short time and see if she asks for more or seems relieved and/or moves away. Ideally, discontinue all touch before you think your dog has had enough.
Watch for stress signals, including looking away, lip licking, yawning, ears back, “whale eye” (the white of the eye is showing at the corners and/or rim), lifting a paw, tail tucking, freezing, or urination. If your dog is doing one or more of these things, stop touching him and give him some space.
Always ask the dog’s human before interacting with a pet you don’t know.
In all interactions with our animal companions, we should pay attention to the impact we’re having on them. Each dog is an individual, and while one dog may love a vigorous rubdown, another may be completely stressed out by that type of handling and prefer short, feather-light touch only on specific areas: honor your dog’s preferences.
Additionally, there are some dogs that have anxiety and fear being approached by strangers, in general. There’s an organization trying to promote the identification of these dogs from a distance by using a yellow ribbon on a leash, through the The Yellow Dog Project, which I wholeheartedly endorse.
By observing your dog’s reaction to physical contact and following his lead, you can enhance your bond with him and forge a more positive relationship.Sources:Bark July 2020 Comments (7)

RECALL UPDATE: More Dog Food Products Test Positive For Deadly Aflatoxins

Not more than one week ago I wrote about a recall of dog food products produced by Sunshine Mills. Now, even more Sunshine Mills products have been recalled, but this time the concern is not related to salmonella. The company issued a voluntary recall following a single positive test for elevated aflatoxin. Aflatoxin is a mold byproduct that can be harmful and possibly deadly to dogs. An excerpt from the official statement reads: “While no adverse health effects related to … Read more
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Guide Dog Raised By Hockey Team Helps His Handler Swim Professionally

Radar the Labrador Retriever started his life as a part of a hockey team. The New York Islanders helped socialize him so he could become the best guide dog ever. He quickly got used to crowds after meeting with the fans during hockey games. These experiences helped him finish his training at the Guide Dog Foundation with ease. The service dog has since been paired with Anastasia Pagonis, a professional swimmer. The 16-year-old is currently training to compete in the … Read more
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This Dog Shows How Being Different is a Good Thing

The post This Dog Shows How Being Different is a Good Thing by Melissa L. Kauffman appeared first on Dogster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on Dogster.com.
Looking to be inspired during these tough times? Follow Hannah, a special-needs rescue dog with the neurological disorder cerebellar hypoplasia @WobblyHannahtotheRescue. Found at 10 months old on the streets of San Antonio, Texas, Hannah spent her first three years in foster and rescue care before finding her furever home in November 2019 with Cassidy and …
The post This Dog Shows How Being Different is a Good Thing by Melissa L. Kauffman appeared first on Dogster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on Dogster.com.

When Senior Dogs Act Like Grumpy Old Men

My senior dog, Otto, is nearly 13 years old. He often acts like a big grump around any puppies or foster dogs I have here, but honestly, he goes out of his way to snark at them. There are many foster care providers who stop fostering during their dogs’ senior years, because many dogs who […]
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Working From Home in Harmony With Your Pet

It’s estimated that 42% of the U.S. labor force is working from home full-time — an unprecedented number triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic that created, essentially overnight, a working-from-home economy.1 What’s more, the historic shift is expected to become a more permanent reality for many workers.
If you’re among them, you may have realized that your pet adores having you home more often and has gotten used to some extra pampering in the form of extra walks, belly rubs and daytime companionship.
Your furry friend, whether of the canine or feline variety, or other pet, including of the feathered or scaled variety, however, may become a time-consuming distraction when it comes to getting your work done on time. Taking a few proactive steps can ensure that you’re able to not only cohabitate but also work productively while home with your pet.2
Six Top Tips for Working From Home With Your Pet

1. Keep to a Routine — If your schedule has been upended by the pandemic and changes to your work schedule and location, now’s the time to get back into a routine. This will help your work life as well as your pet, who will get used to the routine right along with you.
He’ll then know that breakfast time happens right before you start work, and walks occur twice a day — or whatever schedule you dictate. Try to keep your pet’s mealtimes and activity times the same each day, and he’ll be less likely to interrupt you for a play session or snack while you’re in the middle of a meeting.
2. Make Your Work Zone Pet-Free — If your cat likes to nap across your keyboard or your dog likes to bark at you until you give him some attention, it’s a good idea to make your workspace a pet-free zone. Create your home office in an area of your home where you can close the door or put up a gate to keep your pet out when necessary. When you set aside time to work; work. This makes the pet-centric breaks you take even more enjoyable.
3. Get Your Pet’s Energy Out — A tired dog is a well-behaved dog — and this is especially true if your dog is high-energy. Going for a rigorous run or an intense ball-playing session in the morning before you start work for the day may satisfy your dog’s need for activity for a good part of the day, so you can work uninterrupted. The key is to make your dog tired prior to starting your work day.
The same goes for kitties, who may enjoy a robust play session before settling in for a nap. Once you’ve given your pet some physical activity and mental stimulation, he’ll be up for a period of rest. This is a perfect time to tackle your deadlines without any distractions.
4. Build in Time for the Unexpected — Even the best routine should be flexible to account for the unexpected. With pets, the unexpected is, well, expected. Whether it’s a trip to the veterinarian, an accident to clean up or a regular potty break outside, build extra time into your work schedule to account for pet care tasks you may not have anticipated.
When you take work breaks, really focus on being present with your pet, setting aside five minutes for a quick brushing or express massage.
5. Be Proactive During Meetings — When you have an important video call or phone call, and need a quiet background, that’s the time when your dog will spot a squirrel outside and bark up a storm, right? Being proactive is again key to a successful meeting. Provide your pet with a high-level interactive toy or a long-lasting chew or bone just before your meeting. Food puzzle toys are a good choice and work well both for dogs and cats.
6. Watch for Signs of Boredom — If your pet is bored, it can lead to attention-seeking or destructive behaviors, both of which can make it difficult to have a productive work day. Excessive vocalization, knocking items off the counter, playing “keep away” with your belongings and general rowdiness are all signs of boredom in pets.
You can prevent this head-on by giving your pet plenty of exercise at least twice a day, as well as ongoing mental stimulation in the form of obedience training, enrolling in a tricks class or a nose work class.
For cats, set aside time for active play sessions every day — a few minutes away from the computer will be good for both you and your cat — and consider leash training your cat to provide some additional sensory stimulation.

There Are Benefits to Working With Your Pet

Working from home with your pet isn’t all about distractions — there are benefits too. For instance, in a Rover survey of pet owners who are working from home due to the pandemic, two-thirds said they feel happier working from home due to the company of their pet.3
What’s more, 70% said they’re getting more exercise while working from home because they’re walking or playing with their pet more often. And one of the greatest benefits of all is stress relief.
Eighty-six percent of the pet parents said spending time with their pets alleviates stress, which means having your cat curled up on your lap, or your dog by your feet, may, in fact, be the best work environment of all.
Prior to the pandemic, an increasing number of companies were actually letting their employees bring pets into the workplace, which led to increased cooperation, friendliness and enthusiasm compared to when no pets were present.4
So if you’re lucky enough to be able to work from home with your pets, recognize that, when done correctly, it may lead to a more enjoyable and productive workday — and make a point to make the most of the experience and enjoy the newfound time together.

Integrative Veterinary Game Changer Helps Florida Pets

As part of our ongoing Pet Game Changer series, I had the honor of interviewing Dr. Jaime Gonzalez, who was nominated for his dedication to providing integrative veterinary care to his patients.

Dr. Jaime and his wife, Susan Blake Gonzalez, are the owners of Bear Creek Veterinary Alternatives in Sarasota, Florida, a practice that combines alternative modalities with conventional medicine to provide a wide variety of options to protect pets’ health and wellness.

Dr. Jaime has an interesting story, having grown up in Mexico where he graduated as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. After being diagnosed with cancer and given a poor prognosis, he learned from indigenous healers and took advantage of the many herbs, acupuncture and homeopathy offered at local markets in order to treat himself.

After he returned to the U.S., he worked in zoos, where he developed a love for wild animals as well, and then ended up at a specialty veterinary clinic and did a year of rotation at the University of Missouri.

“I got to experience the talks that we got given once a month by the big pharma and the big processing of food companies. And so I saw how my colleagues minds were channeled and molded into a certain way of thinking,” he said.

Offering Alternatives for Pets’ Well-Being

Not satisfied with the modalities offered by conventional veterinary medicine, Dr. Jaime first opened a functional, integrative veterinary hospital in 2003, with Bear Creek opening in 2010. “I’ve been very fortunate and I’m happy to do what I do,” Gonzalez said. They offer a range of care, from integrated care to hospice care to wellness, including the following modalities:

Acupuncture
Herbal treatments
Homeopathy
Nutritional therapy
Glandular therapy
Prolotherapy
Bear Creek also offers homotoxycology, which is a form of healing that combines homeopathy with allopathic medicine with a goal of detoxifying the body and restoring the body’s natural biorhythms. Functional therapies are becoming increasingly accepted in veterinary medicine, in part because pet owners are demanding them. In our interview, Dr. Jaime noted:

“I find that all in all, the public is pushing. Because they are able to have the technology of the internet on their hands, they become knowledgeable and they are challenging conventional and traditional medicine into alternative modalities.

And so, I think more and more of us veterinarians are becoming more open minded and we’ll have to do it, even if they’re doing acupuncture or laser therapy, any of the other things.”

Learning From ‘Animal Guardians’

Dr. Jaime has channeled his deep Native American spiritual beliefs into his practice of functional, integrative medicine to create a partnership with pet owners, who he calls animal guardians. While he was initially skeptical of functional medicine, the results he’s seen over the years have guided and encouraged his practice. He also cites relationships with animal guardians and others in the field as what he loves most about his work:

“What I love the most, and I had come to appreciate, is the one-on-one with the animal guardians. They’re relationships that I get to build in all this time. They are the ones who would challenge me every day.

The relationships with the animal guardians and with the other veterinarians, nowadays with the internet, the relationships that I get to build with them, with other MDs, nurse practitioners, chiropractors all over the world, speaking Spanish and English has making it easy for me. And so, I think I love that the most.”

It’s the pet owners themselves who often push Dr. Jaime to learn new things:

“The relationships that we build and then the ability to be challenged by the guardian of the animals into seeking new things. There’s always something to learn, and then seeing the animals respond very well to these things, since there is no placebo effect with them. I’m able to see if they respond or not, and that has made me a believer in each one of the modalities that I have learned over time.”

‘We’re All Connected’

At the core of Dr. Jaime’s practice is a deep love for nature and, as his website reads, “our integrative approach to healing takes into account the spiritual and emotional state and the body’s condition as a whole.”1 As such, he stresses the importance of remembering that we’re all connected:

“We’re all connected to our animal companions, but we’re all connected with Earth, with our planet. We tend to forget about this and we need to connect again with the wilderness, with the wild animals and realize that, well, we are only stewards of this planet and we need to honor and to respect it.

It’s our duty to continue nourishing this relationship with us and the animals, and the wild plants. Not aside only our animal companions, but the wild animals and in the nature around us.”

Thank you to the pet lovers in Florida who nominated Dr. Jaime as one of our Healthy Pets Game Changers. If you would like to nominate a veterinarian, rescuer or other person who works with animals for Healthy Pets’ Awesome Recognition Award, you can nominate your Pet Game Changer here.

This Stray Puppy Got The Training He Needed Because Of You

When you purchase items from the iHeartDogs store, some of that profit is donated to GreaterGood. GreaterGood is an incredible organization that helps many at-risk dogs get a second chance at life. Thanks to loyal customers like you, many dogs have gotten a better life because of these donations. One of those dogs is a puppy named Scooby. Scooby was a stray when he arrived at the Refurbished Pets of Southern Michigan with his brother. Both puppies were only a … Read more
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Dachshund Left Behind During COVID Travels 10,000 Miles Home

For the Eilback family, a life of travel is normal. Zoe and Guy Eilback, along with their children and their Dachshund named Pipsqueak, were on a four-year sailing trip around the world when COVID hit. With no warning, they had to pack up their 40-foot yacht and fly back to their home in Australia. The only problem was that Pip wasn’t allowed to come with. Australia has strict import rules for animals, so bringing Pip was impossible with so little … Read more
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