Pet News

Do Our Dogs Get Jealous? Yes, they do!

We know that our dogs love attention from their pet parents and all kinds of affection.  And if you spend time with one dog and not another member of your pet family, the other ‘member’ will want your affection and love as well.  But, do our dogs get jealous of this affection?  Apparently, they do.

Dogs do get jealous

Christine Harris, a psychologist at the University of California at San Diego, was playing with her parents’ border collies when she got the idea to study jealousy in dogs. Adapting a jealousy study used on 6-month-old human babies, Harris and colleague Caroline Prouvost set up experiments with 36 dogs in their homes.

The team videotaped the dogs’ reactions while their owners ignored them and instead paid attention to a stuffed animal (a realistic-looking dog that whined, barked, and wagged its tail), a jack-o-lantern pail, and a pop-up book that they read aloud.

 

The resulting behaviors suggest the dogs assessed each “rival” and decided whether it warranted action. If it did, they did their best to break the bond that left them out, according to the new study published July 23 in the journal PLOS ONE.

A variation of 36 dogs were observed for the study.

More specifically, of the 36 dogs observed—a varied lot including a Boston terrier, Yorkshire terriers, Chihuahuas, a pug, and mutts—78 percent would push or touch the owner when that person was petting and sweet-talking the fake dog; 42 percent were upset over attention toward the pumpkin pail, and just 22 percent were bothered when the book was the focus.

Nearly a third of the dogs tried to place their bodies between the owner and the stuffed dog, and 25 percent snapped at the toy. (Only one dog snapped at the pail and book.) And 86 percent of the dogs sniffed the stuffed animal’s rear end as they would a real dog. It appeared, the scientists say, that the dogs saw the doglike interloper as a true threat.

“These behaviors would seem to be motivated from a jealous emotional state”—though of course, she pointed out, the findings don’t speak to the subjective state of the dog’s mind.

Dogs probably don’t get jealous for too long

“Humans and dogs are different in a number of ways,” Harris said. “For example, I would doubt that the dog ruminates on the transgression after the fact, whereas humans do. Humans also ask themselves all kinds of questions about the meaning of an infidelity (am I boring? unlovable?) and about the relationship (will this be the end of my relationship?). These types of thoughts are obviously going to impact the experience and feelings of jealousy.”

Instead, what she imagines is shared across both species “is the urge to stop the interaction, to engage in behaviors that reestablish the loved one’s attention. The appraisal that a loved one is interacting with a rival seems sufficient to motivate this state.”

The findings “are another step in dispelling myths about what dogs supposedly cannot do,” said Marc Bekoff, a fellow at the Animal Behavior Society and an expert in dog behavior.  There are compelling reasons based on solid evolutionary theory that even complex emotions like envy and guilt aren’t exclusive to human beings, said Bekoff, who wasn’t involved in the study.

It’s perhaps not surprising that in the study of human infants this dog study emulated, the babies, like the dogs, were much more likely to exhibit jealous behaviors when their mothers were attending to a realistic doll than when reading a book—a nonsocial activity.

The real outcome of this study is that jealousy is not just for humans

Not only does the study show more broadly that jealousy is not a human construct, it also suggests the emotion does not have to be based on sexual rivalry—which is the way people often think about it.

Dogs seem like the perfect species in which to look for something like envy: They are cognitively sophisticated, form bonds with humans and with each other, and will try to manipulate the way we give them attention (as the collies did). But what about other animals?

The official studies still need to be done, but Bekoff said to expect a lot more evidence showing how sophisticated the emotional lives of nonhuman creatures can be.

This is just opening the door on what could potentially be more studies on other animals and shows how dogs are emotional with feelings.   As for our cats, well, they might feel jealousy as well, but they are a little more solitary and less emotional than dogs.  More studies and time will tell.

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Can Your Dog or Cat Have Food Allergies?

Just as in humans, dogs and cats can have certain allergies to a specific type of food.  In fact, food allergies account for about 10% of all the allergies seen in dogs and cats. It is the third most common cause after flea bite allergies. Food allergies affect both males and females and can show up as early as five months and as late as twelve years of age.  Food allergies in dogs and cats can be cured with a little time, effort and change in diet.

The difference between food allergies and intolerance to food

There is a difference between food allergies and food intolerance. Food allergies are true allergies and show the characteristic symptoms of allergies such as itching and skin problems associated with canine and feline allergies. Food intolerances can result in diarrhea or vomiting and do not create a typical allergic response. Food intolerances in cats or dogs would be similar to people who get an upset stomach from eating spicy foods or sometimes dairy. Fortunately, both food intolerances and allergies can be eliminated with a diet free from whatever food it is that is causing the allergy.

The most common food that causes allergies

Several studies have shown that some ingredients are more likely to cause food allergies than others. The most common food that causes allergies in dogs and cats are beef, dairy products, chicken, lamb, fish, chicken eggs, corn, wheat, and soy. Unfortunately, the most common offenders are the most common ingredients in dog and cat food. While some proteins might be slightly more allergy inducing than others, many proteins are similar and therefore the allergic reactions are associated with the amount of each in the food.

Symptoms of food allergies in cats and dogs

The symptoms of food allergies are similar to those of most allergies seen in dogs and cats. The most common symptom is itchy skin affecting primarily the face, feet, ears, forelegs, armpits and the area around the anus. Symptoms may also include chronic ear infections, hair loss, excessive scratching, hot spots, and skin infections that respond to antibiotics but reoccur after antibiotics are discontinued.  It is sometimes difficult to distinguish food allergies from the more common allergies. One sign is if the allergies last all year round, it is probably a food allergy.

Diagnosis for food allergies in cats and dogs

The diagnosis for food allergies is very straightforward. But due to the fact that many other problems can cause similar symptoms and that many times animals are suffering from more problems than just food allergies, it is very important that all other problems are properly identified and treated prior to undergoing diagnosis for food allergies.  Your vet can determine if your dog or cat is just have a normal skin allergy.

Try to feed your dog or cat a new source of protein

A way to get rid of a food allergy is to feed your dog or cat a new food source of protein and carbohydrate for at least twelve weeks i.e. a protein and carbohydrate that your dog or cat has never eaten before. Examples would include be rabbit and rice, or venison and potato. There are a number of such commercial diets available on the market. In addition, there are specialized diets that have the proteins and carbohydrates broken down into such small sizes that they no longer would trigger an allergic response. Regardless of the diet route you choose, the particular food needs to be the only thing that your dog or cat eats for 12 weeks. This means no treats, no flavored medications, no rawhide, cat nip, only the special food and water.

Treatment for food allergies in dogs and cats

The treatment for food allergies is avoidance. Once you have been identified the offending food through a food trial, then they can be eliminated from the diet. Short-term relief may be gained with fatty acids, antihistamines, and steroids, but elimination of the products from the diet is the only long-term solution. .

If you choose to feed your dog or cat a homemade diet, then you can periodically change the ingredients off your food and determine which ingredients are causing the food allergy. For example, if your dog or cat’s symptoms subsided on a diet of rabbit and potatoes, then you can add beef to the diet for two weeks.

If your dog or cat still showed no symptoms, then you can add chicken for two weeks. If your beloved dog or cat now has symptoms, then chicken is clearly one of the things your dog or cat was allergic to. The chicken could be withdrawn and after the symptoms cleared up, a different ingredient could be added and so on until all of the offending ingredients were identified. A diet could then be formulated that was free of the offending food sources.

You can also you the same principal with very pure pet foods that are on the market and are chicken or beef based, and then add or switch accordingly.

As with all diets, make sure to check with your veterinarian to make sure that they agree with your basic diet and that all other allergies have been ruled out.

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The Persian Cat – Beautiful, Sweet and Fluffy!

The Persian cat is a beautiful, calm, and one of the friendlier cats. They are known to be not only easy on the eyes (aren’t all our felines, but have a calm, friendly disposition.  They aren’t necessarily lazy cats, but love to lounge and aren’t known for their athletic prowess.

The Persian has two types

The Persian comes in two types: show and traditional. The show Persian has a round head enhanced with a thick ruff, small ears, a flat nose, big round copper eyes, a broad, short body with heavy boning atop short tree-trunk legs, and a thick, flowing plume of a tail. The traditional Persian, also known as the Doll Face, does not have the extreme features of the show Persian, and his nose is a normal length, giving him a sweet expression. Both have a long, glamorous coat that comes in many colors and patterns, and both share the same wonderful personality.

The Persian is a true lap cat

The Persian’s sweet, gentle face communicates with his expressive eyes and his soft, melodious voice. The Persian is the epitome of a lap cat, with a restful and undemanding personality. He loves to cuddle, but he’s also playful and curious. He’s not a jumper or climber, instead posing beautifully on a chair or sofa or playing with a favorite feather toy. Persians prefer a serene, predictable environment, but they can be adaptable enough to weather a loud, boisterous family as long as their needs are understood and met

The Persian Cats’ Personality

The lovely Persian Cats are gentle, quiet cats who like a calm environment and people who treat them kindly. Unlike more athletic cats, they prefer lounging on a sofa to scaling the heights of your bookcase or fireplace mantel. Persians and children can get along nicely as long as the kids pet these lovely felines and don’t drag them around. In general, just make sure children treat this cat with the gentle respect he deserves or any other cat for that matter.

A little Persian fun

The Persian may greet you with a quiet meow, but in most cases he lets his eyes do the speaking for him. He doesn’t mind spending time alone, but your presence will always make him happy. When you go on a trip, it may be better to have a pet sitter come in and care for him in his own familiar surroundings than to board him in a strange place.

The Persian Cats require a lot of grooming

A Persian cat is high maintenance in terms of grooming. The Persian’s fur must be groomed daily with a stainless steel comb to remove mats, tangles and loose hair. Mats and tangles can be painful to a cat, and loose hair gets all over your clothes and furniture, so you can see the benefit to spending the time needed to care for the coat.

Depending on his or her color, a Persian can have a silky, shiny coat or one with a soft, cotton like texture. The drawback to the soft coat is that it tangles more easily and requires additional grooming time.

Try bathing your Persian weekly

In addition to daily combing, the Persian should be bathed weekly. It’s a good idea to start this practice as soon as you get your kitten so hopefully he will come to look forward to it as a special part of spending time with you. Blow the coat dry (using a very low heat setting to avoid burning your kitty), combing as you go.

Because of his pushed-in face, the Persian’s eyes can have a tendency to tear. To prevent ugly staining, wash or wipe his face daily, particularly beneath the eyes. As with other cats, try to trim her or his nails and check your Persians’ teeth for cleanliness.

While they are somewhat high-maintenance in the grooming department, a Persian cat will make up for it in his serene, calm and loving demeanor.

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Cats and Your Vacation – The Best Care Options

Summer is here and a lot of us plan our vacations during the warm summer months when the kids are on summer break and have time off.  When you go on a vacation, there are many things to plan.   If you are a pet owner, or specifically have a cat or cats, you probably won’t bring them along with you.  Therefore, you want to consider the best option to make you and your kitty feel comfortable when you are on your vacation.

Cats are fairly low maintenance

While it’s not advisable to leave your cats alone for a long time, most cats will be fine if they have a litter box, fresh food and water.  However, if your trip is more than a day or so, there are various option for you and your kitty.

Have a family member or neighbor watch over your cat

If you have a family member or friend stop by on a daily basis, this is a great option as most cats like to stay home and in their routine.  Cats are creatures of habit and not a lot of effort, so all your friend or family member has to do is make sure that your cats have enough food, some water, and they need to scoop out the necessities from the litter box.  And, of course, a little rub down and attention to your cat is also required.  Hopefully, whoever is watching your cat has a pet so you can return the favor.

A pet sitter is another great option to take care of your cat

If you don’t have a friend that can take care of your kitty, there are numerous pet sitters that can stop by or some who even spend the night.  A pet sitter is a viable option (make sure to get some recommendations) as they are trained to be with pets or specifically cats and therefore have the knowledge of what your cat needs and/or any special care for your kitty.  If you do have a cat that needs medication of any sort, a pet sitter is the way to go.  It is too much pressure for a friend or even family member to know how to give your kitties medication when you are away.

 

As always, make sure your pet sitter (or anyone who watches over your cat) is given all the emergency telephone numbers, just in case. Leave a number where he or she can reach you, and write down your veterinarian’s telephone number and the nearest emergency hospital as well.  You can tell your pet sitter, also, the special needs of your cat or cats and/or preferences.  And, of course, since you are paying a pet sitter, he or she needs to attend to those needs as well as cleaning the litter box on a daily basis.

If you can’t find a pet sitter or neighbor, you can take your cat to a pet boarding facility

If you don’t have any other option, try to locate a pet boarding facility where your cat will be housed away from dogs. A nice large confinement area is preferred. At a minimum, a litter box should be provided along with other essentials such as toys and food games to help keep your cat comfortable and occupied. A hiding place within the confinement area is also a good idea so your cat can have his privacy if he prefers.  Some of the larger pet stores, such as Pet Smart offer boarding facilities where other cats are nearby yet each gets his or her own home.  Or some veterinarians offer in house boarding and are trained to really take care of your cat’s special needs.

You can take your cats with you on your vacation

You could take your cats with you on a vacation, particularly if it is an extended trip. If you do this, make sure that any housing arrangements you’ve made (hotels, motels, etc.) are pet-friendly.  There is a great new site, called goddoggyvactions.com where you can book your vacation and find a pet friendly hotel for your cats or dog all through one site. They also give some of the proceeds to various pet rescues groups!

If you plan in advance the best option for your cat and make sure that all his or her needs are taken care of while you away, your kitty will be fine.  You can go on your vacation and feel comfortable that your beloved feline(s) is in good hands.

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11 Safety Tips for Your Pets on the 4th of July

While we pet owners love the 4th of July and relish in the celebrations, our pets feel differently. A lot of dogs and cats are afraid of the fireworks and/or just even the loud sounds that they might hear outside. And if you decide to take your dog with you to an outdoor event, you need to keep an eye on your dogs at all times.

Below are some safety reminders for you and your pets.

1. Make sure all pets, even indoor cats, are wearing a collar with an identification tag that includes your name and telephone number. A microchip is also a good idea. Terrified animals may end up miles from home or deep under a neighbor’s porch. This simple precaution will save a lot of anguish, time, and energy.

 

2. Walk your dogs in the early evening, before the evening falls, to prevent stress from noises and to tire them out so they can sleep the night away (hopefully).

 

 

3. During neighborhood firework displays, keep all cats and dogs safely inside. Dogs and cats who are scared of noises should be put into a bathroom or other room with a secure door no windows. A screen door will not keep in a fearful dog. It is better not take a dog to watch a large commercial firework display as it only increases the chances of him or her becoming lost in an unfamiliar area.

 

4. It is safer to keep your pets at home during Fourth of July celebrations instead of bringing him to your neighbor's party. Keep your pets in the house, rather than in your yard. He will be a lot happier indoors, and not tempted to leap over a fence to find you.

 

5. Dogs can be startled by the loud noise of fireworks. Once the festivities begin, keep your pet in a safe room where he can feel comfortable. If he is crate trained put your dog in his crate covered with a blanket to make him feel secure.

 

6. Block outside sights and sounds by lowering the blinds and turning on the television. Play soothing music in the background to counteract the noise of the fireworks.

 

7. If your dog or cat seems overly anxious, spend some time with your beloved, speaking soothingly to help your dog or cat to relax.

 

8. Avoid spraying your dog with insect repellent and only use special sunscreen that is intended for your pets. Keep your pets away from matches and lighter fluid. They can be extremely irritating to the stomach, lungs and central nervous system, if ingested. When striking up the barbeque, make sure your dog or even outdoor cat is far away.

 

9. Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where cats or dogs can reach them. Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets. If ingested, your dog or cat could become very intoxicated and weak, severely depressed or could go into a coma.

 

10. Keep sparklers, candles, insect coils and oil products out of reach. If inhaled, the oils could cause aspiration pneumonia in pets.

 

11. Never use fireworks around pets! While exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws of curious pets, even unused fireworks can pose a danger. Many types contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals.

 

Just remember that loud, crowded fireworks displays are no fun for cats or dogs, so it’s best not to take them along to your 4th of July festivities. Keep them safe at home in a quiet, sheltered area where your cat or dog can’t escape. They will be fine if you just make sure they have a safe place to reside during the short-lived firework celebration.

 

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