Researcher Mark Hauber a professor of evolution, ecology and behavior at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and other scientists have made an unusual discovery. They found that Tufted Titmice and Chickadees will use animal hair to line their nests. While this may not seem unusual, what he found by studying videos, was that the birds braved landing on sleeping mammals to pluck out their hair. It seems the mammals did not mind having the birds do this and some did not wake up. The fact that these birds use animal hair was not new to the researchers, but it was always assumed that the birds obtained the hair from carcasses, not from live animals.
The researchers have named this behavior “kleptotrichy” which is Greek for “theft” and “hair.” As the researchers further studied this behavior, they found that the birds plucked hair from 47 humans, 45 dogs, three cats, three raccoons and a porcupine. I wonder if the humans were aware of the plucking birds.
What came to mind for me was a parakeet (budgie) that I owned years ago. While I was working in my office, I would let the bird fly around. My small Havanese would sleep in her bed next to my desk. The keet would sit on my lamp and watch the dog. Then he would fly down, landing on the floor and tilt his head back and forth as birds do, watching her sleep. He would take a few hops toward her until he reached her tail and then he would grab one hair and pull it. The dog would wake up, half rise and growl at the bird, who would squawk bird laughter, as he flew back to the lamp. When the dog went back to sleep, he would do it all over again. I always felt that he did it for fun but who knows?
Many people love to offer seed in bird feeders and watch the birds who come to the feeders. I personally have gotten many great photos of unusual species that came to my feeders. Like many people, I worried when I was not able to fill the feeders, especially in the winter, that the birds would be hungry and not be able to find food.
A recent study conducted by animal ecologist Jim Rivers at Ohio State University found that feeding birds did not cause any negative effects. It was determined that there was enough natural food available for the birds to sustain themselves.
Since this study focused on Black Capped Chickadees, I would like to point out that Chickadees will store food, especially seeds from feeders, in tree crevices and other places, to eat later. The brain of Chickadees grows from late summer to fall in order to remember where they hid the food.
One of the major problems people have when they feed birds is that squirrels and other rodents eat the bird seed. As an avid bird feeder and watcher, I have tried every squirrel proof feeder on the market. As a result, I have found that there is only one truly squirrel proof feeder. These feeders are made by Brome. What I also like about these feeders is that they are guaranteed for life and that they are so well made that they last. Some of my Brome feeders are over fifteen years old. Three of my feeders even survived a black bear attack. I strongly suggest if you like to feed the birds to invest in these feeders.
If you live in an area where you have bears, you need to bring them in at night or only provide food in the winter. I have included some photos I have taken of birds at my feeders.
Within two years, 2018 – 2020 1.4 million EU citizens signed a petition to end the caging of farm animals. As a result, the European Parliament initiated a study conducted by Utrecht University researchers to study how to accomplish this goal.
The research included behavioral biologists, animal scientists, veterinarians and ethicists. Their main focus was on laying hens and pigs. However, they will look into other animals such as bovines used for milk and meat. In order to accomplish their goal to eliminate cages, the researchers must find a way to assist farmers in transitioning from traditional animal housing to more humane housing.
I personally hope that they can reach this goal and that it will spread to the rest of the world. When I raised chickens, they were always free-ranged and had a hen house to stay in at night.
I was given an article to use for my blog site by Your Dog Advisor and it think it is a great article. Unfortunately, it is too long for my blog. I urge you to go to their link and read the whole article. It is very informative.
Global Positioning System or GPS made for dogs is a way to track your dog’s activity, and/or location. There are many kinds of GPS devices and this article explains, with excellent photos, the types available. Many people in K9 SAR use them to show where their dog has searched in an area.
The canine GPS system is critical if your dog gets lost. The GPS can locate your dog for you. Many times, a dog that is lost will wander or will hide if they are frightened. A small dog can be hidden under debris or brush within a few feet of where you are looking. If they are frightened, they may not come out even for their owner.
In all environments, rural, suburban and urban, it is almost impossible to search every place where a dog could go. It is time consuming and manpower intensive. The GPS tracker will allow you to find your dog quickly.
Here is a list of topics that the article covers. I strongly urge you to click on the link and read their article.
What is a Dog GPS Tracker?
How Does a Dog GPS Tracker Work?
Are There Different Types of Dog GPS Trackers Available?
Which Types of Dogs Should Have a Dog GPS Tracker?
Top 6 Dog GPS Tracker Products We Love
Whistle Go & Go Explore Dog GPS and Health Tracker
Tractive LTE GTPS Dog Tracker
PetFon Pet GPS Tracker
Link AKC Smart Dog Collar
4 Pack Smart Pet Finder GPS Tag
Black and Decker 2-Way Audio GPS Dog Tracker
Does a Dog GPS Tracker Take Place of a Microchip?
Other Tips for Keeping Your Dog Safe
Sue’s Note: A GPS tracker may also work for a cat if it is small enough.
Cat owners are often torn between keeping their cat an indoor cat only or allowing them to go outside. Those who allow their cats to be indoor/outdoor cats feel that their cat needs the activity and exercise going outdoors affords them. However, outdoor cats will hunt and kill prey. Some cat owners are not fond about this. If a cat kills wildlife and eats their kill, they are subjected to various infestations including worms and fleas.
A team of researchers found that by feeding cats a diet rich in meat protein instead of non-meat sources, and by playing with their cats, hunt behavior was reduced significantly. The food had to be from a high-quality brand, and by using it reduced hunting by 36%. Added to the diet, playing with a cat for five to ten minutes a day further reduced the hunting behavior by 25%.
The play behavior had to include stalk, chase and pounce games and allowing the cat to have a toy mouse or similar toy at the end, to mimic a real kill.
This change in diet and behavior is beneficial in more ways. It increases bonding between the cat and his owner and is fun for both. The study noted that the restrictive methods previously used, such as putting a bell on a cat, did not reduce hunting as much as the diet/behavior change.
Losing a dog can be devastating. A person’s first reaction is usually fear, confusion and panic. However, with a good plan in place, looking for a lost dog can be less stressful and more successful. There are a few simple points to consider when looking for a lost dog. However, prevention is the key ingredient. The most important thing you can do is have your dog microchipped and have a collar on your dog with his name tag that includes a way to contact you. If someone in your area finds your dog, they will not have a microchip reader and will rely on a name tag.
1) If you organize a group of people to look for the dog, use all safety precautions so that the volunteers do not become lost as well. Stay in touch using cell phones or handheld radios. The radios can be purchased for a nominal fee at any store that sells outdoor equipment. Radios will work in areas that cell phones may not, however, they have a limited range so be sure that a chain of people can relay messages over distance. Also, establish radio protocol so that one person does not tie up the frequency preventing communication with others. Communication is essential to let the other volunteers know what is going on, if the search is being suspended, or the dog has been found. Because people feel safer and calmer if they know what is going on, this will allow the volunteers to do a better job.
Be sure that volunteers wear the appropriate clothing, (long pants and long sleeves), hats, and substantial footwear. Each volunteer must carry a snack, water, leash, bath towel, bowl, enough water for themselves and the dog, canned cat food or treats and a flashlight. Flashlights are necessary during the day to check dark places.
The canned cat food should have the strongest aroma, (or a similar treat) to lure the dog. Small cans of cat food work well because they can be carried easily and kept fresh.
A bath towel can be used to carry the dog if he is injured, exhausted or to wipe the dog if he is wet or dirty. If the dog is cold, he can be wrapped in the towel.
Volunteers must always work in pairs for their own safety, and in the event two people are needed when the dog is found. A meeting area and time should be established in case communications break down. No one should leave until all are accounted for.
2) A dog that ran away because he is frightened will bolt in any direction, but usually to the least noisy, darkest area. Given the choice of an open field or woods, the dog will go for the woods. If the dog is lost in the city or suburbs, the dog will look for a dark, quite spot to hide after it has run to exhaustion.
Therefore, try to estimate how far the dog will run (this varies with the dog’s size and condition) and add a mile to that. On a map of the area mark where you last saw the dog as the center of a circle and draw a perimeter around that point, based on the furthest point where the dog could be. The circle will encompass the area to start looking for the dog. If you saw the dog run, you can focus in that direction. Be sure to check small dark areas: under porches, stairs, garages, sheds, etc. If you have several people helping to look, have some start at the perimeter of the circle and some from the center. Be sure to look for the dog, never assume that the dog will come when called.
3) If a dog runs away, they usually run into the wind. That means that the wind will be blowing toward the dog, into the dog’s face. Check with a local airport to see what the wind direction was when the dog ran away. Then start looking into the wind from the point where the dog was last seen.
Dogs who wander away will usually meander along unless they find something to chase or something that interests them. This means that the search area will be smaller. If searching in the woods or a park, look for a game trail and look for fresh dog tracks to see if the dog went that way. If you do find tracks, you will not be able to tell for certain if they are from your dog, so do not give up searching in the rest of the area. If you are searching in an urban or suburban area, listen carefully if neighborhood dogs are barking. Often, they will bark at a stray dog. If you hear a lot of barking in one direction, check that area first.
4) When searching for a dog, travel slowly and make frequent five to ten-minute-long stops. Many people will drive around in a vehicle, calling to the dog. Unless the dog is within a few seconds of your location, he will not be able to find you if you move too quickly. Keep in mind that a dog can hear you calling from quite a distance away. They need time to determine the direction of the sound and then get to it. Wind and other environmental elements can distort the direction of sound (tall buildings, large hills, etc.) making it difficult for the dog to find the source of the sound. By stopping and continuing to call for about five to ten minutes, the dog will have time to find you.
5) When you sight the dog, do not act excited and/or run toward the dog. Sit down or stand still and let the dog approach you, even if it is your dog. Sometimes a dog can become so frightened, hurt, or weary that they may not think straight. Their survival instincts may take over, making them more cautious than they would be at home. Depending upon the direction of the wind, you could be downwind, and the dog may not recognize you right away.
Give the dog time to feel safe. Running to the dog may make him run away from you and lose what little trust in humans that he has left. If you feel it will work, you can, at a distance, slowly move so that you are upwind of the dog, and then open the can of cat food, but still let the dog come to you. When the dog comes to you do not try to grab the dog. Let the dog stay there and relax. Slowly pet the dog until you can attach a leash without frightening the dog. If the dog does not want to be caught, you will most likely not be able to grab the dog fast enough to catch him, even if he is next to you.
6) If the dog does not approach you, do not give up. Stay in that area and/or return to that area. You can leave food etc. but do not try to catch the dog.
7) If you leave food for the dog, do not assume that because the food was eaten that it was eaten by the dog. Other animals may eat the food, so continue to search the area. If you can, spread sand around any food that you leave so that you can check for footprints to determine if a dog ate the food. If sand is not available, loose soil will work as well.
8) If you have to search for the dog over a period of time, keep a log of the weather and the location of water sources. The dog will generally head into the wind and seek water.
9) Never forget to advertise. Use every means possible to let the people in the area know that there is a lost dog. Contact all veterinarian clinics, shelters, pet supply stores, and rescue groups. Also post signs in stores with bulletin boards, on telephone poles, especially where children congregate, by public transportation and any other place that you can think of. Be sure to post on social media. If your dog is not found right away, about every two weeks call everyone you notified, such as the local rescue groups, to let them know that the dog is still missing. This will keep your dog fresh in the minds of the employees.
Always have an up-to-date photo of your dog. If the dog is a breed that looks like others in the breed, a similar picture will do. Remember, the average pet lover will not notice the fine differences between your dog and others of the same breed. So do not panic if you do not have a recent photo. Be sure to expand the area that you advertise to at least five miles from the point where you last saw your dog.
Keep all your bulletins up to date. If the lost signs that you post look old or weathered people will think the dog was found. When you find your dog, it is important to call all the organizations that you originally notified to let them know that the dog was found. Also remove all your postings.
10) Lastly, never give up. Dogs have been found months after they disappear.
Occasionally I will post some dog training tips to help people successfully train their dogs. I started professionally training dogs in the 1960’s and have learned a lot over the years. I hope these tips will help you. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or suggestions.
Dogs do not speak English, therefore you must SHOW your dog what you want. Your actions speak louder than your words. All of your body language speaks to your dog. Therefore, your ATTITUDE, FACIAL EXPRESSION, TONE OF VOICE AND MOVEMENT communicate to your dog.
You cannot try and tell your dog that he is not doing the right thing while you are hiding a laugh because you really think your dog’s behavior is cute or funny. Your dog will laugh right along with you. And yes, dogs do laugh.
You cannot ask your dog to obey you if you hesitate in your movements. Your dog will not believe that you are the leader. On the other hand, you cannot bully your dog or physically punish him and expect your dog to respect and trust you. A good working relationship with your dog is built on trust and leadership. This is communicated to your dog by giving commands in a tone of voice that says, “I expect you to do this, no discussion.” Then move in a steady, yet gentle way to convey leadership. Too many people ask their dog to obey, their tone of voice is “sit, will you please sit? Do you feel like sitting?”
Never re-command your dog. If your dog knows what the word means, re-commanding him only teaches your dog that a) he does not have to listen to you; b) he can do it when he wants and c) you are not the leader. For every command there should be an action.
Either you coax the dog into doing what you want or reward him when he does it on his own. If your dog does not know the “sit” command, and you tell your dog, “Sit . . . Sit . . . SIT!”, then make the dog sit on the third sit, your dog will learn not to sit until the third command. He will think that the command is “sit-sit-sit.”
Most people repeat commands to their dog’s because they are being polite (according to human standards) and assume that the dog did not hear the first or second time. I can assure you that if your dog does not respond the first time, and does not acknowledge you, he DOES HEAR you. He is just IGNORING you. Therefore, politeness to a dog translates into “My owner is wimpy, wimpy, wimpy! Why should I listen?”
So, speak clearly and in a direct manner to your dog. For every command expect or initiate an action. Do not repeat commands. Do not hesitate when you move. Show your dog that you are a leader, not a follower.
The two most important things to remember (which is true for people too) are: 1. obedience is not a question of knowing what to do or what not to do, but the ability to exercise self control to do it or not do it. You have to give your dog time and practice to develop self-control. Punishment or harsh training methods should never be used.
2. Your dog knows how to do everything you want him to do. He only has to learn to associate the word or command with the action. For example, before you even obtained your puppy, he knew how to sit, come, and lay down.
In a study by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), an affiliate of the City of Hope, and The Ohio State University and published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research, researchers found that dogs and humans have the same gene, HER2, that women get with a certain type of breast cancer.
The good news is that the researchers found that the drug neratinib used for human breast cancer may also help the almost 40,000 dogs in the U.S. that annually develop the most common type of canine lung cancer, known as canine pulmonary adenocarcinoma, or CPAC.
Dr. Hendricks stated, “For humans, we already have drugs that can inhibit many dysregulated proteins. We hope to show that we can provide the same benefit for dogs with canine cancers.”
This is another example where human and canine medicine and studies can help both humans and their pets live a healthier life. Perhaps this will lead to more treatments for other pets such as cats.
My name is Brandon – I work for an organization called Consumers Advocate that strives to protect consumers (and their pets!) online. Part of protecting the four-legged dudes and dudettes of society is knowing what options are available for them.
Brandon Kelly and Frida
My lil pupper’s name is Frida (Kahlo). She’s a scrappy middle-aged rescue with eyebrows like her namesake. When I found her 4 years ago she had been injured by other dogs, and the vet said she had pre-existing asthma. She’s a tough girl, but there is a lot that goes into taking care of her. I wish there was an app that translated my dog’s thoughts into text messages. Something that allowed her to interrupt my writing of this article with a “Hey, miss you; I’m hungry; Pick up tennis balls on your way back – the fresh ones please!”.
Navigating insurance policies is always tricky. Our researchers have put in months into finding out what pet insurance companies are out there and what they are offering. Further, we have taken that information and made it transparent and accessible to the consumer. Hopefully, this will help your followers and community to be better informed.
Here is our pet insurance guide: www.consumersadvocate.org/pet-insurance
Not everyone believes or can afford pet insurance, but it is important and, in some cases, responsible to at least consider. As you will see in our guide, some policies can be very flexible and affordable. I hope this helps you find the right insurance for your pets.
What is Glyphosate? It is the active herbicide widely used in weed killers like Roundup. Although the latest reports show that the levels are safe for human consumption, this does not mean that the levels are safe for pet consumption. After all, most dogs and cats weigh much less than an adult human.
Annamaet dog food
How did it get into our pet’s food? It is absorbed by genetically modified crops (GMO) engineered to be resistant to this particular herbicide. This includes most corn, soy, sugar, sugar beet, cotton and canola that is grown in the US and in imported rice. It is also used to desiccated (all of the moisture removed) wheat and other crops before they are harvested.
Some of the health problems that can be a result of GMO’s are inflammatory bowel disease, allergies, skin and organ problems. Some of the pet foods that tested positive are Purina Cat Chow Complete, Purina Dog Chow Complete, Purina Beyond Natural-Simply Nine, Rachel Ray Zero Grain, Rachel Ray Nutrish Super Premium, Iams Proactive Health, 9 Lives Indoor Complete, Friskies Indoor Delights.
The best thing you can do is only feed your pet high quality food that is from a reliable manufacturer. No supermarket or discount stores that I know of carry the brands that I recommend. Most discount pet shops also do not carry the highest quality foods. I recommend Annamaet and Wysong.