Does a dog owners stress level affect their dog?

According to a study conducted at the Linköping University, Sweden dogs mirror their owners stress level. The study is just the beginning and more research is needed. The dogs in the study were Border Collies and Shetland Sheepdogs owned by woman. The researchers did note that the higher level of stress did not influence the dog’s personality but it did affect the owners. They also took into consideration that the two breeds studied are bred to respond quickly to commands from their owners. Additional studies are planned to

explore other breeds with the goal of being able to match dogs and people more successfully. They want to see if other breeds are not as affected by their owner’s stress level.

Sue’s Note: It is critical that the climate of a household and the people in it are seriously considered when selecting a breed or type of dog to add to the family. Certain breeds are more active than others. It is never a good idea to introduce a highly excitable dog into a very active household. For example, some terriers may not be a good match for a home where there are young, highly active children. Just like people, dogs can reach their tolerance level and if pushed too far may withdraw or bite.

How old is your dog, really?

The old standard that one year of a dog’s age equals seven years in human age, is not true. Consider that some dogs live to be 20 and others are very short-lived. Dogs also share many of the medical issues associated with aging that people have. To further understand the aging process in dogs, a team of scientists are studying “normal” aging in dogs to unravel the aging process. They want to understand what makes one dog live longer than another.

The Dog Aging Project, (DAP) will conduct their studies for at a minimum of ten years to unravel the mysteries of canine aging. So far, they have studied more than 32,000 dogs, all pets privately owned.

They are especially interested in studying 300 of the oldest dogs. Pet owners can join the project by going to: https://dogagingproject.org

Very shortly the research team plans to open their huge data base which will be completely anonymized, to scientists around the world. As usual, new information about aging and health issues in dogs will help with medical research in people, and perhaps other animals as well.

What you feed your puppy can cause adult skin problems

A team of researchers from the University of Helsinki have studied over 4000 dogs to determine how the food a puppy eats influences their likelihood of having skin allergies as an adult dog.

They found that a diet that does include raw tripe, organ meats and human meal leftovers resulted in the adult dog being less likely to have skin issues. Puppies that ate only prepared food such as kibble, heat dried meat, canned food, sausage packed food and fruit had a tendency to have more adult skin problems.

According to the research, it only takes adding 20% of raw food and human leftovers in a puppy’s diet to help protect the puppy from adult skin issues.

While the study did say that sweet fruit is included as a negative for puppy’s, it does not mention vegetables. I personally have always fed my dogs raw vegetables and some fruit as well as leftovers. No pet food has the human grades prime meat that humans eat, so leftovers are healthy for a dog to eat and should be added to the diet.

It is also very important to feed you dog and any other pet the highest quality food that you can find. I personally like Wysong and Annamaet.

COVID in dogs and cats

A study in the Veterinary Record, has reported a few cases of dogs and cats contracting the SARS-CoV-2 variant in England. In these cases, the pets caught the variant from their owners who had shown symptoms several weeks before the pets became ill. Heart problems were manifested in the pets who contracted the variant.

While this is not widespread and actually rare, it is a good idea for pet owners to be aware of the possibility since COVID-19 is so widespread. At this point the research does not indicate that people can catch the variant from pets.

Household noise and stress in dogs

We all know that some dogs seem to be more stressed than other dogs. Part of the reason is the genetics of the dog. Certain breeds tend to be more noise sensitive than others. But all dogs can be stressed by certain types of noise. Researchers at the University of California found that dogs are often stressed by common household noise. Particularly noises that are high frequency or very loud. Examples are smoke detectors, microwave ovens, and vacuum cleaners.

Many loud and high pitches noises actually hurt a dog’s ears. Most owners recognize obvious signs of fear or stress, such as trembling, hiding, howling, barking and running away. However, owners often miss a dog’s more subtle signs and therefore do not help their dog when stressed.  Some of the subtle signs are panting, licking their lips, turning their head away, a rigid body, ears turned back or flattened against the head, and lowering their head below their shoulders.

By watching your dog or cat carefully you can learn to recognize their relaxed body language. This will help you recognize when your pet is not relaxed.

Babs, totally relaxed

Whenever a stressful noise occurs, a concerned owner will remove the dog from the area. It is important to watch the dog’s body language to see how far away the dog needs to be to avoid being stressed.  

Cats are also stressed by noises therefore cat owners should also be aware if noise bothers their cat.

Pluskat totally relaxed

Help for pets with dementia

I have had dogs who suffered from cognitive decline or dementia in their old age. Often these dogs are put down because they can no longer function properly. I wish this product had been available years ago.

Noted Veterinary Surgeon Dr. Theresa Fossum Adds CogniCaps, a cognitive function supplement, to her Popular Line of Natural Animal Supplements

Noted veterinary surgeon Dr. Theresa Fossum DVM, MS, Ph.D., Diplomate ACVS, and author of the most referenced book on its topic, Small Animal Surgery, has added a new product to her popular line of natural animal supplements Dr. Fossum’s Pet CareCogniCaps, to support healthy brain function in aging dogs.

Dr. Curtis Dewey, a veterinary neurologist with extensive knowledge of the brain concerns aging dogs often experience, collaborated on the development of CogniCaps with Dr. Fossum. The supplement, a combination of eastern and western modalities, was created in an easy to administer capsule format and contains a proprietary blend including our own BioCog formula (registration pending) plus vitamin E, zinc, naturally occurring phytochemicals such as curcumin, oral S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe), and phosphatidylserine, a membrane phospholipid. In addition, the supplement contains a number of herbs from Traditional Chinese Medicine that have been shown to support cognitive function.

According to Dr. Dewey, the estimated prevalence of cognitive concerns in older dogs generally varies between 14% and 35% of the pet dog population; however, these numbers are likely an underestimation. As with people, cognitive decline in dogs can increase dramatically with age; as many as half of all dogs 11-12 years old are likely experiencing age-related decline, and nearly 70% of dogs over the age of 15 are affected. Importantly, dogs may show evidence of brain changes as early as 4-6 years of age.

Even mild or moderate changes in cognitive ability can make living with affected pets difficult. Dogs may become disoriented and frequently become “stuck” in a corner of a room, they may urinate or defecate in the house because they may be temporarily confused about where the appropriate place to go is. They may seem stressed, they may bark at inappropriate sounds or objects, and they may become less interactive with their owners. Affected dogs often develop sleep disturbances (they are active and may vocalize at night, but they sleep during the day). In a word, these pets show signs of senility.  

Dogs affected with changes in cognitive ability typically respond well to intervention, especially if instituted early in the process. Precautionary measures such as dietary changes and environmental enrichment can both help, and slow the progression of cognitive decline due to aging. This suggests that simple changes including health supplements as provided in CogniCaps may be generally advisable in pet dogs as they approach middle age.

Because there are so many individual health supplements for cognitive decline, veterinarians and their clients are often faced with the prospect of recommending multiple separate supplements to produce a positive response. It is also common practice to separate the recommendation into the categories of western and eastern medicine. Again, this conceptualization leads to the necessity of multiple supplements-both western (conventional) and eastern (non-conventional, holistic, etc.). Although pet owners often will administer multiple supplements to their senior dogs, it can be challenging. Also, it is unlikely that the average pet owner will administer multiple supplements to a well seeming middle-aged dog. CogniCaps is a truly integrative health supplement, combining a mixture of both western and eastern ingredients in one small capsule, allowing for ease of use for pet guardians to support keeping dogs’ minds sharp as they age.

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For more information on CogniCaps, please see https://drfossums.com/product/cognicaps-cognitive-function-supplement/. For information on Dr. Fossum’s full line of natural pet wellness products please see https://drfossums.com.

Canine hookworms resistant to treatments

            Hookworms are a common problem in dogs. These worms have a hooklike mouth that attaches to the dog’s intestinal tract. There are serious consequences if a dog in highly infested. Currently the most prevalent breed to have hookworms are Greyhounds. The conditions that they are raised and raced in is conductive to the spread of hookworms.

            Because of the widespread adoption of racing greyhounds’ hookworms are spreading to other dogs as well. A dog does not have to ingest the worms to become infected. The larvae live in the soil and can burrow through the dog’s skin and paws. Also, a female can pass the worm to their puppies through their milk. Hookworms also can infect people.

            What is upsetting is that veterinarian researchers have found high levels of hookworms in dogs that were treated. It is important that dogs are retested after a treatment to ensure that all of the worms have been killed.

            The most upsetting thing about hookworms is that they are becoming resistant to the three medications used to deworm a dog. The researchers are concerned that only the drug resistant hookworms will be left and will spread. Right now, the only deworming medication that is successful in killing the resistant hookworms is emodepside. However, that medication is only approved for cats.

            What a dog owner can do is avoid dog parks, where hookworms can live. Have your dog tested for worms frequently, especially if it is an adopted Greyhound, and make sure if your dog has hookworms, retest after treatment.

Does my dog have separation anxiety?

Separation anxiety is a genetic issue. This means that owners do not cause it, however, they can bring it out in a dog and intensify it. Research has shown that dogs that are noise shy, such as a fear of thunderstorms tend to also have separation anxiety.

Separation anxiety is a panic attack and is very similar to a panic attack in people. It is not fun to have and if it happens often enough, such as when a dog is left alone frequently, can cause the dog’s quality of life to degrade. Imagine being afraid for eight to ten hours, five or more days a week. It is also important to understand that separation anxiety is very stressful, and a dog’s health is affected the same as a person from constant stress. Therefore, separation anxiety not only destroys a dog’s mental health, but can also harm their long-term physical health as well.

Riley – Parsons Russell Terrier

Before you determine that your dog has separation anxiety, you must rule out medical issues that can cause the same symptoms. This will require a thorough examination by your veterinarian. The examination should check for the following:

CBC, Chemical profile, thyroid profile, urinalysis and fecal exam, dental health, GI distress, diabetes, renal failure, colitis, and inflammatory bowel disease.

After you have ruled out any medical reasons for your dog’s behavior you can then examine the behaviors.

Before you label your dog as having separation anxiety, you must determine if your dog is simply behaving as a normal dog. Puppies, chew and destroy things. Is your dog completely housebroken? Is something teasing your dog outside of your home, making him bark? Is your dog marking? Did you change his food or give him a treat that made him unable to wait to eliminate?

A dog can have various levels of separation anxiety. Like any fear or anxiety, it gets worse the longer the dog has it. Older dogs tend not to respond to treatment as well as younger dogs. Therefore, the behavior associated with separation anxiety will not just “go away” or get better with time. It will get worse until it could reach a level were the dog harms himself.

The symptoms are:

Pacing, drooling, vocalization, destructive behavior and inappropriate elimination of urine and feces, usually randomly throughout the house. Often the feces will have mucus in them and do not appear the same as normal stools.

If you determine that your dog does suffer from separation anxiety, it is best to contact a certified canine behavior consultant because the treatment can vary widely and should be tailored to your living arrangements and the dog’s needs. In some cases, medication may be necessary and, in that case, you would need to consult with a veterinarian behaviorist who understands which medications are best and how to administer the medications and how to wean your dog off of them. A non-veterinarian behavior consultant who understands the medications can work with your veterinarian.

The question that I am often asked is how can a person determine if a puppy is prone to separation anxiety. There is no hard and fast rule, but typically if a young puppy cannot be crated, it is often a good indication that the puppy is prone to separation anxiety.

Remember, the sooner you address the problem the better the chance you will be able to get it under control. All behaviors are learned very quickly. An example is a dog who becomes frightened of thunderstorms and as he experiences more storms, he learns that as the barometric pressure changes, a storm is coming and starts to shake before the storm arrives. He will even act as if a storm is coming when the pressure changes and no storm comes.

The breeds that are most likely to have separation anxiety are:

            Labrador Retriever

            Border Collie

            Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

            Jack Russell Terrier

            German Shepherd

            Australian Shepherd

            Bichon Frise

            Vizsla

To find a qualified behavior consultant go to www.iaabc.org

Stem cell therapy for dogs

Associate Professor Shingo Hatoya from Osaka Prefecture University, and his team have developed a more reliable way to develop easy stem cell therapy for dogs.

Dempsey

This has paved the way for more research that will enable veterinarians to treat otherwise untreatable chronic and degenerative health issues in dogs. In the past, this was not as critical because dogs did not live as long. But with modern medicine, dogs are living longer and thus are suffering from age related conditions that exist more today than in the past.  

The research team feels that because dogs and humans share much of the same environment, the results of their research may have a ripple affect to humans since they share some genetic diseases.

Heavy mixed breed dogs have greater health risks

Benjamin Hart, a professor emeritus at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, did a comprehensive studyon health issues in mixed breed dogs weighing 44 pounds and over. He found that if these dogs were spayed or neutered prior to one year their health risks increased.

Scout SAR training wood pile

The study analyzed 15 years of data from thousands of dogs at the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. They found that joint disorders including hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia and cranial cruciate ligament tears, and knee injuries jumped from 4% in intact dogs to 10 – 12% in those neutered or spayed prior to one year.

The problem which the study pointed out, is that when someone adopts or purchases a mixed breed dog as a puppy, they may not know who the parents are and thus will not know for sure how big the dog will get as an adult.

In an earlier study, the scientists determined that health risks due to the age of neutering varied a lot depending upon the breed of dog. In this case the common belief that a mixed breed dog is generally healthier than a purebred does not seem to be the case.

My question is, why is there a difference between mixed breed and purebred if the injuries are a result of weight.

The bigger issues as pointed out in the article is that the common practice of early spay and neuter needs to be reviewed and possibly modified. This is also important information for people who train working dogs.