Author: midget74

Is your dog part of your family?

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By Lisa Spector, Juilliard Graduate, Canine Music Expert and co-founder of Through a Dog’s Ear. A recent article in Pshychology Today by Stanley Coren, PhD referred to a recent online survey by Kelton Research. Of 1,000 people tested, more people are considering their dogs as part of their family and are also referring to them as children. Here are some of the results: Nearly 60 percent say that their dogs play a different role than the dogs of their childhood 54 percent call themselves “pet parents” instead of “pet owners” 58 percent have nicknames for themselves, such as “mommy” and “daddy” 35 percent call their dog their “son” or “daughter” 62 percent of the dogs have their own chair, sofa, or bed 81 percent of dog parents know their pets’ birthdays 77 percent have celebrated their pets’ birthday by buying him or her a birthday present 23 percent of pet parents have a photo album dedicated to only pictures of their dogs 16 percent have started scrapbooks for their pets 71 percent of pet owners admit that they have at least one picture of their dog that they carry with them (although the convenience of storing photos on mobile devices may have added to this percentage) Personally, even though I do consider my dogs as part of my family, I’ve never called myself a pet parent or referred to myself as mommy. However, Sanchez and Gina do have their own dog beds, I celebrate their birthdays (you are invited to a virtual party for Sanchez’s 8th birthday), have scrapbooks dedicated to them, and a picture of my dogs is both my screen saver on my laptop and on my iPhone.

By Michelle Liew

How to Manage a Hyperactive Dog

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A Hyper Dog can be a Real Handful!

Some dog owners may say that their four legged family member has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder!
He never sits still, and is constantly on the move. As much as you love them, these dogs can be difficult to live with. Is there really such a thing as a hyperactive dog? There certainly is, but it’s very uncommon.Hyperactivity in dogs is a genuine medical condition which is ultimately a diagnosis of exclusion: every other possible cause of your dog’s symptoms needs to be eliminated before you can say your dog is hyperactive.
hyper dog

Many people confuse the term “hyperactive” with “overactive”. It’s quite normal for some dogs to be overactive. Herding breeds and other working dogs are very active and require heaps of exercise and mental stimulation. They will walk for hours and still want to play ball. Other dogs are overactive because they’ve never learned good behavior. Theyjumpbark and are generally difficult to control. Adolescent dogs are full of mischief and can appear to have excessive levels of activity, but this is to be expected for their age.
A hyper dog is almost frantic in his activity. He pants constantly, and his heart rate is always above normal. He often doesn’t stop his abnormal behavior until he is completely worn out.

Other Causes of Overactive/Hyperactive Behavior

There are other reasons that your dog may appear to be hyperactive, both medical and behavioral.

The most common cause is that your dog just isn’t getting enough exercise, and has pent up energy he needs to release. This often leads to behavioral problems such as digging which can be a nuisance. It also can make him restless, and he will find it hard to relax and settle down.
Another reason is lack of training. We’re all guilty of giving our dog attention when he’s being naughty; we tell him to stop barking, or jumping, or pulling at the corner of the carpet. It shouldn’t be surprising then when he repeats what he was doing, because he likes it when we do pay attention to him. Our busy lifestyles can also make it hard for us to keep up with our dog’s basic training, and he may have learned some bad manners.
Some dogs suffer from anxiety and are constantly stressed. They often pace the floor and pant heavily. Similarly, dogs may have a compulsive disorder and can repeat the same behavior over and over again, and can’t be distracted from what they’re doing. These dogs aren’t hyperactive; they just need help to settle down.
Less frequently, dogs have periods of frantic behavior as part of a seizure disorder. When the appropriate treatment is started, lo and behold, you no longer have a hyperactive dog.

Treating Your Hyperactive Dog

To get to the bottom of your dog’s behavior problems, you firstly need to visit your veterinarian. It’s a great help if you can videotape your dog’s behavior; a picture paints a thousand words, and she can see exactly what’s happening rather than having to rely on a verbal description.

Based on your conversation and a full examination of your seemingly hyper dog, she can come to a conclusion about the reason for his excess activity levels. She may prescribe medication to treat any medical causes of his behavior.
You may need to exercise your dog more, and teach him to settle on a mat or a crate. There is no need for medication. It can take time to see any change in his activity level. Behavior problems in dogs don’t get better without a dedicated owner who is willing to put the time and effort into their pet’s treatment.
If your vet thinks your dog may really have a hyperactivity disorder, she will refer you to a board certified behaviorist for further evaluation and possibly a trial of stimulant medication such as Ritalin.
If you own a dog that is always active, it can really wear you down. Fortunately, there is help at hand, and with some time and effort, you can restore calm to your home.

To read more, please go to this link.
By Michelle Liew

Attention Seeking Dogs

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Attention-seeking behaviour in dogs are often shown in puppyhood initially, when care soliciting from a parent and the need to play and interact with littermates is quite normal of course.
But once they are grown up more and have established more adult relationships with their owners, as well as other dogs, jumping up, pawing, barking or dropping a toy into a lap uninvited and other demands for interaction are not always seen as being cute or fun all the time. However, such demands are often nonetheless inevitably rewarded with the owner’s full attention – a cuddle, a game, and verbal chat in that voice we reserve for babies and puppies and so these behaviours are reinforced, learned and maintained perhaps long after they should have naturally been lost or used more sparingly in social encounters by dogs when older!
Dogs value human attention throughout their lives – especially from their owners, on whom they dote, but clearly also need to learn to become more functionally independent and less constantly dependent on us. There’s nothing wrong with giving attention to our dogs, of course. After all, what’s the point of having a dog if you’re going to spend the entire time ignoring your best friend?! But if you reward behaviour in a puppy continuously and don’t help him to learn to be less dependent on direct contact when he is in your company and to develop his own independent interests, all that attention demanding can become a real nuisance when he’s fully grown, and does nothing to help him develop into a more restrained and contented adult.
For example, if an eight-week-old Newfoundland pup jumps up at you for attention or when you feed him, it’s all pretty harmless. But if that same dog as a three-year-old heavy hairy monster jumps up, he could easily dangerously floor a child or elderly person, or even a strong adult. Equally in a smaller dog, nudging or pawing for your attention as a pup can start off as being very cute but if your adult dog does it over and over again, whenever you are busy and unable to give him attention, it can become very annoying indeed.
In all cases, giving the demanding dog the attention he’s seeking will stop the behaviour only briefly. The moment you turn your focus to something else, it will be repeated again… and again. Pushing your dog away or giving any other negative response, even telling him off, will be equally unsuccessful, as it all still involves giving him some attention. From a dog’s viewpoint, anything is better than nothing, so even such negative attention is valued.
The key, then, is to ignore the attention-seeking, and to reward good manners instead. So if he nudges you for a pat or uses another attention-seeking behaviour, ignore him. Don’t look at him, speak to him or touch him. Completely ignore him and get up calmly and walk away if he persists (as he often will, initially). Instead, when he is quietly undemanding – perhaps busy with a chew toy, or watching the world go by in his bed, call him to you and give him a fuss. This establishes that lots of attention is available but mainly at your behest, not his.
Safety must come first, of course. If your dog’s attention-seeking involves stealing something forbidden and running off with it, assess any dangers. Dogs learn what will quickly get us leaping from our seats, eager to chase them for their prize. Generally, the more prized or dangerous the object, the more intense our reaction – and the dog will soon learn seek out such objects again in the future! If your dog has run off with something that could harm him, you have to remove the item from him. But make sure it doesn’t happen again by keeping all scissors, remote controls, shoes and other ‘stealable’ items out of reach if your dog seeks attention through theft! That way, you won’t reinforce the behaviour by ‘playing’ chase!
Do be aware that nuisance attention-seeking will generally get worse before it gets better when you try to treat it. If you ignore your dog when previously you’ve given him your attention for a particular behaviour, your dog will become frustrated as to why he is no longer able to elicit what he thought was a predictable response from you. So he’ll do what he knows more intensively and nudge harder, or bark louder, or jump higher to get your attention. Be strong and ignore all his attempts, or walk away as required or you’ll soon be back to square one!
If the nuisance attention seeking continues despite your best efforts, do seek professional help from a behaviourist via a veterinary referral. It could be that there is an underlying reason for the behaviour, such as intense insecurity, which will need delicate handling and a broader approach to your dog’s social husbandry.

By Michelle Liew

Hamsters are mammals that belong to the rodent family having large incisor teeth that are continually growing necessitating gnawing to prevent the teeth from overgrowing. The word ‘rodent’ is derived from the latin word ‘rodere’ which means ‘to gnaw’.
Hamsters form the Family Cricetidae which is broken down into different Genera (including Cricetulus, Phodopus and Calomyscus). Within each Genera are various species of hamster. There are many differentspecies of hamsters throughout the world and most hamsters inhabit semi-desert areas where they live in burrows. These burrows consist of many tunnels and separate chambers including chambers where the hamster will store food and sleep. Hamsters are nocturnal, sleeping during the hot days and waking in the cooler evenings. They have very poor eyesight but a keen sense of smell and excellent hearing.
Most species of hamsters have expandable cheek pouches in which they can carry food and bedding back to their burrow where they will store food. The word ‘hamster’ comes from the German word ‘hamstern’ which means ‘to hoard’.
Only a few hamster species are widely kept as pets but the hamster is the most popular of the smaller rodents kept as a pet in many countries today.
By Michelle Liew

Dogs & Liver Disease

By Sarah Tidwell, eHow Contributor

Dogs & Liver Disease thumbnail
Dogs & Liver Disease
    • Causes
      A variety of factors can cause liver disease in canines, including ingesting poisonous substances and being exposed to bacterial infections. Dogs that have health issues such as heart disease have an increased risk for liver disease. Some species of dogs simply do not rid their bodies of copper properly and therefore become at risk.


    • Dogs may experience one or more symptoms, including jaundice, pale gray stools, gastrointestinal deficiencies, bleeding disorders and ascites. Jaundice will cause a yellowing of the skin that is the result of an obstruction in the gall bladder causing toxin buildup. Pale gray stool reflects the color of a dog’s feces if he is experiencing liver problems. The bile duct can get obstructed and cause a discoloration in stool. When the liver cannot metabolize nutrients, gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting, diarrhea and lack of appetite will arise. This creates lethargy and can lead to weight problems and other ailments caused by lack of nutrition. Bleeding disorders happen when clotting is interrupted due to the liver disease. Inability of a dog’s wound to scab over can be a sign of liver ailments. Ascites is a collection of fluids in the abdomen and is presented as an increased lower stomach cavity.


      • Upon suspicion of liver disease, a veterinarian will examine the abdomen to feel for an enlargement of the liver and review the color of the dog’s oral membrane for signs of jaundice. If there are no signs of liver disease after a physical examination, the veterinarian can screen the dog’s blood to check enzyme levels. In severe cases, a liver biopsy may be done to learn the condition of the dog.


      • The treatment for liver disease is determined by evaluating the cause. Some canines will be given antibiotics to kill an infection that bred the disease. If the disease was caused by trauma, the dog can be hospitalized for constant care or released to the owner and instructed to discourage activity for a number of days.

      Dietary Care

      • Providing the proper diet can be the best treatment method for dogs suffering from liver disease without an underlying cause. Optimal levels of vitamins, minerals, fats, carbohydrates and proteins promote liver health and aid in repairing any damage. These substances only require the liver to do minimal work because they do not contain the material of some processed foods that need extra energy to break down and digest.

    By Michelle Liew