Must-Have Smartphone Apps for First-Time Dog Owners by guest blogger Penny Martin

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Photo Credit: Pexels

 

There are some basic materials  you need to be a great dog parent. This includes the right dog food, a quality leash and collar, ID tags, and a supportive, cozy bed, just to name a few. And in this day and age, there are apps that can help you keep your dog safe, organize information, and stay on top of health concerns.

However, you also need a reliable smartphone that is compatible with the latest dog apps and that provides fast internet service. If your current phone is not up to the task, consider getting an upgrade. There are plenty of options to choose from, so you’re bound to find a model that’s easy to use, fits your budget, and allows you to access your favorite apps.

If you want the highest-performing model, consider something dynamic with enhanced features—something with exceptional battery life that helps you to stay constantly connected. The new iPhone 11 Pro is such a device. It comes with impressive battery capacity, a triple-camera and a 5.67-inch display height, among many other features that makes it an excellent choice for dog owners. Or you might consider the Samsung Galaxy S10+, an Android option that includes a dual-aperture camera, long battery life, and enhanced integration with Windows systems.

THE APPS

Now, since using apps is a major benefit of having a good smartphone, let’s discuss some of the best dogs apps on the market:

FitBark

It’s exactly what it sounds like—the dog version of FitBit. When used in conjunction with FitBark dog activity monitors,  PCMag notes the FitBark app helps you to keep track of your pup’s daily activity and health status. Also, it tracks their sleep and will alert you of any activity that suggests your dog is dealing with stress and anxiety. It will even monitor how much your dog scratches in certain areas so that you can check them for a skin condition. And yes, you can connect the app to FitBit and exercise with Fido!

Whistle

Used with a tracker, the Whistle app  can monitor your dog’s daily activity and health. But its primary function is GPS tracking. By attaching the tracker to your pup’s collar, the Whistle app allows you to always know where your dog is, whether Fido is just in the backyard or has wandered off of your property. The app uses AT&T nationwide LTE-M network and Google Maps for easy and accurate tracking.

Chewy

As Best Company explains, the Chewy app  makes getting supplies for your dog as easy as possible. With more than 1,000 brands to choose from, Chewy will sell and deliver food, toys and other supplies to your door; and for orders of $50 or more, they provide free two-day shipping. When you create a profile for your pup, the app will show you the right kinds of food for his breed, and you can even set up automatic shipments to come each week or each month.

Pet First Aid

When it comes to preventing emergencies, and dealing with them if they happen, Pet First Aid  is the best app for dog owners. Developed by the American Red Cross, this app offers simple, step-by-step guides on how to treat Fido from home and routinely check on his health—including videos and graphics for some of the most common emergency and first aid situations. Furthermore, Pet First Aid provides information on preventative care and can direct you to nearby veterinary hospitals in the event of an emergency.

Becoming a dog parent is a big step in life. With the joys of your newfound companionship comes a host of responsibilities you may not be used to. But don’t worry, as long as you love dogs, you can be a great dog owner! Just make sure you have all your essentials and remember to take advantage of all the great dog apps available.

Dogs and bones

UCLA evolutionary biologist Blaire Van Valkenburgh has spent over 30 years studying broken teeth in carnivores of all kinds. She has come to the conclusion that broken teeth in carnivores that lived thousands of years ago to the present, are linked with food availability. Her conclusion is that as food becomes less available, carnivores will eat more of the kill, leaving less of it. This includes eating the bones. She maintains that when there is enough food a carnivore will not eat bones to protect their teeth. If a carnivore has broken teeth, they cannot kill and eat food as well.

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Why is this important to us? Her study shows that given a choice; carnivores will not chew on bones. This includes wolves, coyotes, foxes and other similar canids. So it brings up the question, is it wise to give our pet dogs bones to chew on? I have always maintained that it is not a good idea to give dogs bones to chew on. That it is not what they would do given the choice. Most dog bones are scented or stuffed to get the dog to chew it. Dogs that are aggressive chewers have broken their teeth on bones.

Some of the risks to giving a dog bones are:

Broken teeth

Mouth or tongue injury

The bone can get caught on the lower ja

The bone can get stuck in the esophagus, windpipe, stomach, and/or the

Intestines

Bones can cause constipation

Bones can cause severe bleeding from the rectum

Bones can poke holes in the stomach and intestines causing a bacterial     infection

And while I am writing this article, I will warn my readers that it is also dangerous and unnatural to feed dogs any form of rawhide from any type of animal, as well as antlers. These things can kill your dog or cause intestinal blockage requiring surgery. There is also the risk of toxins and decay that is associated with the processing of rawhide. The main source of rawhide is from slaughterhouses where cows and horses are butchered. Much of it is processed in China where they do not have the regulations that exist in other countries. So the best thing is to be careful about what you let your dog chew.

Cats do bond to humans

A recent study by Kristyn Vitale of Oregon State University showed that cats’ bond to their human caretakers the same as dogs and human infants (attachment security). In this study cats were put in a novel room with their caretakers for two minutes, then they were left there for two minutes alone. After that the caretaker returned and the cat’s reaction was observed.

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The findings show that a cat’s attachments to humans are stable, and present in adulthood. As a result of this finding, the researchers are currently looking into how this impacts the many cats and kittens that are in shelters. They want to see how socialization and fostering influence a cat’s ability to have attachment security.

I am personally glad to see that researchers are finally exploring this aspect of a cat’s personality. Those of us who own cats know how attached they can be to us. For years people have misunderstood cats, labeling them as aloof because they show their affection differently than dogs.

Life-threatening heart arrhythmia’s in dogs

Although it is rare, some dogs, often Labrador Retrievers, suffer from life-threatening, arrhythmia caused by atrioventricular accessory pathways (APs).

APs are abnormal electrical circuits in the heart that can become activated and overcome the heart’s normal current pathways, severely impairing the heart’s ability to pump.

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Accessory atrioventricular pathways are atypical muscle bundles that connect the atrium to a ventricle outside of the regular atrioventricular system. The traditional treatment is life-long medications and frequent trips to the veterinarian. However, Dr. Kathy N. Wright and her colleagues at MedVet, a family of emergency and specialty veterinary hospitals around the United States have used a technique that is successful in humans, to treat dogs.

What she has demonstrated is that radiofrequency catheter ablation is a safe and highly effective alternative to successfully treat dogs. RFCA uses radiofrequencies to destroy those rogue circuits and allow the heart’s normal function to resume. In her study, dogs were cured with one or two treatments.

Again, this is a case of human medicine benefitting dogs. It is encouraging to think that veterinarians and human doctors will continue to work together to make all of us healthier.

Metacognition in Dogs

Metacognition is knowing when you don’t know. For example, if someone asks you a question that you do not know the answer to, you will know that you do not know the answer. Another way to put it is knowing what you know.

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Researchers at the DogStudies lab at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History have determined that dogs have metacognition abilities. Their tests showed that dogs checked more often when they did not know where a reward was hidden. This illustrated to the researchers that dogs do tend to actively seek extra information when they have not seen where a reward is hidden which is an indication that the dogs knew that they did not know where the reward was.

A famous example of this is Chaser the Border Collie when she was asked to find a toy that she was not taught to find. Although it took her longer, she examined each toy in a group and finally, by process of elimination, picked the correct toy. She knew that she did not know the toy she was asked to find.

Scientists must research carefully, eliminating all possible flaws in their research. They must also design tests to prove or disprove their hypothesis which is not an easy task. But those of us who work with dogs and see what they can accomplish, do not need tests to prove their abilities. Dog and animals in general, have many more mental abilities then scientists can prove at the present. However, it is good that they do continue their research.

Millions of dogs affected by canine leishmaniasis

Canine leishmaniosis (CanL) is a major zoonotic disease found in more than 70 countries and has recently emerged in the United States. It appears that the breed most affected are Fox Hounds. The parasite is transmitted to dogs through the female sand fly and can be transmitted to humans as well.

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The country most affected by this disease is Brazil where millions of dogs are affected. It can be transmitted to puppies through the mother. This how researchers think that the Foxhounds in the US were infected, through breeding’s with infected bitches.

The good news is that the first clinical trial of the vaccine LeishTec™ in infected dogs shows that it can cure them of the disease. Previously LeishTec was used to prevent the disease. This discovery was made by the Morris Animal Foundation-funded researchers at the University of Iowa.

It is always good news when we learn of a treatment that not only saves dog’s lives and has secondary benefits to humans as well.

Treatment for Lung Cancer in Dogs

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.

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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.

Pet Health Insurance by guest blogger Brandon Kelly

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.

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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.

Glyphosate may be in your cat and dog food

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.

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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.