The results of a new study have shown that dogs synchronize their behavior with the children in their family. The findings are important because there is a growing body of evidence that dogs can help children in many ways, including with social development, increasing physical activity, managing anxiety or as a source of attachment in the face of changing family structures–yet, there has been no studies investigating whether dogs are truly synchronized with the behavior of children.
“The great news is that this study suggests dogs are paying a lot of attention to the kids that they live with. They are responsive to them and, in many cases, behaving in synchrony with them, indicators of positive affiliation and a foundation for building strong bonds.”
-Dr. Monique Udell, animal behaviorist and lead author of the study, Oregon State
The researchers recruited 30 youth between the ages of 8 and 17 years old — 83% of which had a developmental disability — to take part in the study with their family dog. The experiments took place in a large empty room. Color-coded taped lines were placed on the floor, and the children were given instructions on how to walk the lines in a standardized way with their off-leash dog.
The researchers videotaped the experiments and analyzed behavior based on three things: (1) activity synchrony, which means how much time the dog and child were moving or stationary at the same time; (2) proximity, or how much time the dog and child were within 1 meter of each other; and (3) orientation, how much time the dog was oriented in the same direction as the child.
The researchers found that dogs exhibited behavioral synchronization with the children at a higher rate than would be expected by chance for all three variables. During their assessments, they found:
Active synchrony for an average of 60.2% of the time. Broken down further, the dogs were moving an average of 73.1% of the time that the children were moving and were stationary an average of 41.2% of the time the children were stationary.
Proximity within 1 meter of each other for an average of 27.1% of the time.
Orientation in the same direction for an average of 33.5% of the time.
While child-dog synchrony occurred more often that what would be expected by chance, those percentages are all lower than what other researchers have found when studying interactions between dogs and adults in their household. Those studies found “active synchrony” 81.8% of the time, but at 49.1% with shelter dogs. They found “proximity” 72.9% of the time and 39.7% with shelter dogs. No studies on dog-human behavioral synchronization have previously assessed body orientation.
The researchers are conducting more research to better understand factors that contribute to differences in levels of synchrony and other aspects of bond quality between dogs and children compared to dogs and adults, including participation in animal assisted interventions and increasing the child’s responsibility for the dog’s care.
Journal Reference: Shelby H. Wanser, Megan MacDonald, Monique A. R. Udell. Dog–human behavioral synchronization: family dogs synchronize their behavior with child family members. Animal Cognition, 2021;
Loving an animal feels entirely different from loving a human being. The former—though without a voice—can speak volumes with their actions.
So when a Maine Coon named Marty passed away, his human companions were devastated. They lost someone who was more than just a pet; they lost a family member.
“As a past observer who lived on the summit for four years I can tell you Marty was a special companion, entertainer and so incredibly loved by observers and state park staff and will be sadly missed,” Mount Washington Summit Operations Manager Rebecca Scholand said in a statement.
Marty was a beloved cat who played a very important role in New Hampshire’s Mount Washington Observatory. The structure is situated 6,288 feet above sea level, making the mountain the highest peak in the Northeast.
The meteorologists who work there say they’ve experienced some of the world’s worst weather.
Their job entails collecting weather data every hour of the day. The work they do is important, it becomes especially crucial during the cold winter months. Both interns and meteorologists stay at the summit for a week to make sure the instruments don’t collect ice and remain usable.
The observatory is housed inside a concrete structure built into the mountain. While the meteorologists value their work, the relative isolation they experience can sometimes take a toll on them. That’s where Marty the cat comes in.
The black Maine Coon became Mount Washington’s mascot in 2008. He lived in the observatory for 12 years before succumbing to an “unexpected illness” in November 2020.
Marty was around 14 or 15 years old when he passed away. He served as the staffs’ comfort and connection to the outside world whenever they braved their lengthy and tiring shifts. null
Marty would sit on their laps or rub his body against their legs while they toiled away. Amid their heavy workload, the cat was a constant reminder for them to breathe, smile, and relax.
But just like most cats, Marty was unpredictable. He could be all sweet and cuddly this week and distant the next. Nevertheless, his family in the observatory loved him just the same.
Most cats arrive at a unique location by chance, but not Marty. He was deliberately chosen as the Mount Washington Mascot. The observatory has always had cats since it was established in 1932, and Marty’s tenure was part of that long-held tradition.
The observatory held its first “Mascot Primary” in 2008, and after counting over 8,000 votes, Marty ended up winning as the “Top Cat.” null
He was originally adopted from the North Conway Area Humane Society and moved to the summit in January 2008.
The cat was always featured in the observatory’s social media pages. And in honor of his memory, one of the two 2021 calendars sold by the observatory will feature photos of the feline and be called “Marty on Mount Washington.”
Marty was supposed to retire as the mountain’s mascot in early 2021. In keeping with custom, the observatory will appoint Marty’s successor, although it’s unclear when.
“The summit feline tradition will continue,” the group said in a statement.
But one thing is for sure – that cat will have big paws to fill.
There’s nothing like the heartbreak of losing a pet. After all, these animals are more than just our companions; they’re family.
We know that their time with us is short, and while that’s the poignant reality, it also makes every moment we spend with them a little more special.
The Green-Wood Cemetery in south Brooklyn houses the remains of one of the best boys to have ever lived in New York. His name is Rex, and he’s believed to be buried with his owner, John E. Stow, one of the city’s most prominent fruit merchants who passed away in 1884. Guarding his plot is Rex, who is represented by a bronze statue of his likeness.
While the cemetery houses several famous residents—including artists and musicians such as Leonard Bernstein, Charles Ebbets, and Jean-Michel Basquiat—the dog’s gravesite near the corner of Sycamore and Greenbough Avenues appears to be one of the most-visited tombs in the entire memorial park.
The evidence? The constant pile of sticks and fallen branches placed above his paws. Apparently, people leave them there because they think Rex is still a very good boy, even if he passed away over 100 years ago.
“When it comes to Rex, he obviously stands out. People see him from the road — it’s sort of a prominent spot, right off of the intersection of two roads here,” Stacy Locke, communications manager for Green-Wood Cemetery, told The Dodo.
“It’s right under a tree and there are lots of sticks around,” she added. “People will drop a stick across his little paws. Someone also left a picture of a dog there once, maybe their little pet who passed away, as to say, ‘Rex, look after my little one.’”
The 478-acre cemetery has become a popular destination for people wanting to escape the crowds and enjoy nature trips during the COVID-19 pandemic. With this, Rex’s stick collection has grown notably over the past few months, thanks to the visitors who take the time to collect fallen branches around the park and bring it to his tomb.
Although there’s a “bronze likeness of a dog,” atop Stow’s grave, it’s unclear whether Rex was actually buried there with him or not.
“I think people like to believe that there is a dog interred there and there very well might be,” Locke said. “But it’s hard to say.”
Rex’s grave has attracted the attention of people on social media. Many posts on Twitter and Facebook talk about the dog’s famous burial site.
“In Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn there is a gravestone for a dog named Rex. People bring him sticks and place them at his feet because he is still a good boy,” tweeted @KevinTMorales, along with a snapshot of Rex’s statue.
Aside from Rex, another dog in the cemetery gets a lot of love from visitors.
Many beloved pets were buried with their owners before the cemetery’s board of trustees banned animal burials in 1879.
The Green-Wood cemetery remains open to visitors. Guests can book walks or trolleys, depending on what part of history they’d like to explore in the area.
A dog’s love is forever, and they deserve to be honored even in the simplest ways. If ever you visit Green-Wood one of these days, make sure to leave a stick or toy on the resting places of these beloved companions. It’s the only way we can show them our gratitude, even if they’re already up in doggy heaven.
Sometimes circumstances due to loss of finances, illness,death and even finding a pet, can put pets in great danger… please do your homework first and go through rescues groups or shelter and never put an ad on Craigslist or other social media sites!
Buddy liked dog stuff: running through the sprinklers, going on long car rides, swimming in the lake. He cuddled the Mahoneys—his owners and family—at the end of tough days. He humored them when they dressed him up as a bunny for Halloween. He was a protective big brother to 10-month-old Duke, the family’s other German shepherd. He loved everyone. He lived up to his name.
In mid-April, right before his seventh birthday, Buddy began struggling to breathe.
Medical records provided by the Mahoneys and reviewed for National Geographic by two veterinarians who were not involved in his treatment indicate that Buddy likely had lymphoma, a type of cancer, which would explain the symptoms he suffered just before his death. The Mahoneys didn’t learn that lymphoma was being considered as the probable cause of his symptoms until the day of his death, they say, when additional bloodwork results confirmed it. It’s unclear whether cancer made him more susceptible to contracting the coronavirus, or if the virus made him ill, or if it was just a case of coincidental timing. Buddy’s family, like thousands of families grappling with the effects of the coronavirus around the world, is left with many questions and few answers.
Until now, Buddy’s identity, the details of his case, and his death were not public. A press release issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in early June revealed his general location (Staten Island, New York), his breed (German shepherd), his likely source of transmission (a COVID-positive owner), and his status (expected to recover). Public records for the few other pets to have tested positive in the U.S. are similarly sparse.
Upon announcement, Buddy’s milestone case appeared fairly open and shut, but the Mahoneys’ experience over the two and a half months between their dog’s first wheeze and his death was one of confusion and heartbreak. Their story puts a spotlight on the rare experience of being an owner of COVID-positive pet—a distinction shared by only a handful of individuals around the world. While more than four million people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the U.S., fewer than 25 pets have. There’s no rubric for how to navigate COVID-19 in your pet dog.
“You tell people that your dog was positive, and they look at you [as if you have] ten heads,” Allison Mahoney says. “[Buddy] was the love of our lives….He brought joy to everybody. I can’t wrap my head around it.” The Mahoneys say they are frustrated that health experts didn’t more closely probe possible connections between COVID and the cascading health problems. After Buddy’s diagnosis, Allison’s husband, Robert, asked New York City veterinary health officials, who were in charge of the case, whether they were interested in doing more testing on Buddy. Robert Mahoney says the officials never asked for further testing or exams.
The narrative for the coronavirus in animals has so far been consistent and narrow: They are rarely affected. When they do get the virus, it’s almost always from an owner. They have mild symptoms. They usually recover. In reality, little is known about how the virus affects the average pet dog.
The New York City Department of Health told National Geographic that because Buddy was severely anemic, it did not want to collect additional blood out of concern for the dog’s health, and that confirmation results indicate it was unlikely that he was still shedding virus—meaning he was probably no longer contagious—by May 20, when he was tested the second time. Buddy wasn’t tested after that date.
For humans, the signs and symptoms of infection vary widely. In some, its presence is barely a flicker. In others, it causes total organ failure. For many, it’s somewhere in between. Having an underlying medical condition increases susceptibility, doctors think. We’re learning more every day.
The narrative for the coronavirus in animals, however, has so far been consistent and narrow: They are rarely affected. When they do get the virus, it’s almost always from an owner. They have mild symptoms. They usually recover.
In reality, little is known about how the virus affects the typical pet dog.
The Mahoneys’ detailed accounts and Buddy’s veterinary records now comprise some of the most comprehensive and granular information the public has on an infected animal. Their story also sheds light on the gaps in public knowledge regarding animals and the novel coronavirus, highlighting what may be a need for a more unified, consistent approach to monitoring and investigating positive cases, and bringing that information back to the research community.
When Buddy, who’d never been sick, developed thick mucus in his nose and started breathing heavily in April, no one except Robert Mahoney believed the dog might have COVID-19. Mahoney himself had been suffering through the virus for three weeks—he was weak, had a scratchy throat, and had lost his sense of taste. “They called me on Easter and said, ‘By the way, here’s your Easter gift: you’re positive,’ ” he recalls.
“Without a shadow of a doubt, I thought [Buddy] was positive” too, he says.
At first, it was difficult to find someone to examine Buddy. His usual vet wasn’t seeing patients because of the pandemic. Another local clinic wouldn’t allow Robert Mahoney to come into the office because he had COVID-19, so they prescribed Buddy antibiotics over the phone. Mahoney says the vet was skeptical that Buddy might have the coronavirus, and the office didn’t have test kits anyway.
The next week, Buddy was still struggling to breathe and had lost his appetite, so the Mahoneys’ 13-year-old daughter, Julianna, who had tested negative, was permitted to bring the dog into the office.
From April 21 to May 15, Buddy continued to lose weight. He became increasingly lethargic. The Mahoneys took him to three different veterinarians on Staten Island, none of whom thought the coronavirus was likely. He got an ultrasound and X-rays, which indicated an enlarged spleen and liver, and he saw a cardiologist, who detected a heart murmur. Buddy spent two and a half weeks on antibiotics and two heart medications, and he was subsequently put on steroids. At this point, Robert Mahoney says, Buddy’s doctors were still doubtful he had the coronavirus, and they had not yet identified lymphoma as a probable cause of his illness.
It was at the third veterinary clinic, Bay Street Animal Hospital, where Mahoney was finally able to have Buddy tested for COVID-19. That was on May 15, one month after Buddy’s breathing trouble began.
A few days later, the clinic called. Buddy’s test results were in: He was positive. Mahoney was told to bring both the family’s dogs to the clinic immediately because health officials needed to confirm Buddy’s results and test Duke, their puppy. When Mahoney arrived at the clinic with the dogs on May 20, he says that “they came greeting me looking like space martians with hazmat suits.”
“For us it was a shock factor for a moment there…how do we protect our staff?” says Robert Cohen, veterinarian at Bay Street who treated Buddy, because little is known about infected dogs’ ability to transfer the virus to other dogs or humans. “We were well-PPE’d,” he says, referring to personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves.
Officials collected samples from Buddy and Duke, then sent them home.
First dog to test positive
On June 2, the New York City Department of Health called Mahoney to tell him that Buddy had indeed contracted the virus. They confirmed that Buddy’s original samples collected on May 15 by his vet were positive for SARS-CoV-2, but the additional samples they collected on May 20 were negative, indicating that the virus was no longer present in the dog’s body, a department spokesperson told National Geographic. Duke had tested negative, but he did have antibodies, indicating he had been infected at some point.
Yet Buddy’s health continued to decline. He soon started urinating uncontrollably and had blood in his urine. Later that month, his breathing became so labored that it sounded “like a freight train,” Allison Mahoney says. In early July, Buddy began to have trouble walking.
Robert Mahoney took him back to the vet each time his health seemed to get worse, which was about every two weeks. He and Allison say they were surprised that no one seemed to consider that the coronavirus—though no longer in his system—may have had lasting effects on Buddy’s health.
“If [health officials] had said, ‘Mahoney family, get in the car and come to [a veterinary lab],’ I would have done it,” says Allison, Nobody even mentioned it.”
Cohen, the veterinarian at Bay Street Animal Clinic, said that his team’s focus was on treating Buddy’s symptoms. “We know that we had a very sick patient,” he says, adding that the clinic was only “peripherally involved in the [SARS-CoV-2] case in a lot of ways.”
He says he had three or four conversations with the New York City Health Department and the USDA about Buddy and whether COVID-19 could be related to any of his health problems. “We had zero knowledge or experience with the scientific basis of COVID in dogs,” he says. Even with all the experts on one call, he says, “there was a lot of silence on the phone. I don’t think anybody knew. I really don’t think anybody knew at that point.”
If [health officials] had said, ‘Mahoney family, get in the car and come to [a veterinary lab],’ I would have done it. But nobody even mentioned it.
Allison Mahoney, Buddy’s owner
On the morning of July 11, Allison found Buddy in the kitchen throwing up clotted blood. “It looked like it was his insides coming out. He had it all over. It was coming from his nose and mouth. We knew there was nothing that could be done for him from there. What are you going to do for a dog with this? But he had the will to live. He didn’t want to go.”
She and her husband rushed Buddy to the vet, and they made the decision to euthanize him. No one asked Robert about a necropsy, he says—only if he wanted to do cremation or a burial. He chose to have Buddy cremated. Although that day was a blur, he says he knows that if he’d been asked about a necropsy to learn more about the virus in his body, “I would have said, ‘Take whatever you need,’ because I don’t want any other dog to suffer like he did.”
After Buddy’s death, Cohen says he asked the New York City Department of Health whether they needed the dog’s body for any follow-up research. The city had to consult with the USDA and other federal partners, Cohen says they told him. By the time the Department of Health got back to him with the decision to do a necropsy, Buddy had been cremated.
On the day Buddy was euthanized, the vet told Robert that new blood work results indicated that he almost certainly had lymphoma, which could explain many of his symptoms.
The Mahoneys say they’re confident the team at Bay Street did their best for Buddy. They acknowledge that these are uncharted waters for everyone. “I think they are learning as well. It’s all trial and error. And they tried to help us the best way they can,” Allison says, although they still wonder whether COVID played a role in Buddy’s fatal illness.
Cohen says he personally relates to the Mahoneys’ confusion and heartbreak because his father died of COVID-19 two weeks ago in a Florida nursing home at age 94.
“I was unable to see him. And I could say exactly the same criticisms [as the Mahoneys] about how his case was handled—the people didn’t act fast enough,” he says. But like the Mahoneys, he acknowledges that “everyone has good intentions,” grappling with the challenges of treating a horrific, widespread, and little-understood disease.
Buddy’s case highlights an important question: Are animals with underlying conditions more likely to get sick from the coronavirus, just as humans are? It also highlights just how little information is available about infected pets.
Most of what’s known about the coronavirus in companion animals comes from research done on dogs and cats in labs, says Elizabeth Lennon, a veterinarian who specializes in internal medicine at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine, who reviewed Buddy’s medical records for National Geographic. The coronavirus in dogs and cats in the real world could look and act differently than in a lab, and that’s what Lennon’s research is trying to discern.
Despite this being her area of study, Buddy’s vet records were the first she’d seen of an infected pet. While writing a funding proposal to study the virus in dogs and cats recently, she says she realized “this is the first time in my life I’ve ever written a grant proposal where I’ve cited more press releases and media reports than actual scientific reports.”
Besides the published research on cats and dogs in labs, scientists also have access to the USDA’s public database of every positive animal case in the U.S., with only basic information. The World Organization of Animal Health maintains a similar database of global cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has an extensive toolkit on its website that includes a regularly updated list of known symptoms in animals, but more specific case data is not currently available to the public or the broader research community.
Twelve dogs and at least 10 cats have tested positive in the U.S. Lennon says few case details have been made available to researchers. “What are their signs? How long did they present? What are the blood work changes?” Lennon asks. (Researchers are scrambling to understand which animals the novel coronavirus—which is believed to have originated in bats—can infect.)
Experts involved in these cases will likely publish the details in scientific journals in the next six to 12 months, she says, but while publication of the scientific research on COVID-19 in humans has generally been fast-tracked, “on the vet side of things, we haven’t seen that acceleration yet.”
Buddy’s case also highlights the need to take a more holistic look at all the known cases of infected pets. There has been “no analysis of all cases as a single unit to determine whether there are risk factors other than living in a house with a positive human,” says Shelley Rankin, chief of clinical microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and a colleague of Lennon’s.
It seems that potentially helpful specific case information isn’t always shared among state veterinarians either. State veterinarians typically take the lead when a pet tests positive, and they report details up to the CDC and USDA. Casey Barton-Bahravesh, director of the CDC’s One Health Office in the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, says she has a weekly call with state veterinarians to share what the CDC is learning about the virus in animals. It’s not clear, however, whether states are learning enough details of each other’s cases. When National Geographic contacted state veterinarians in the seven states where dogs have tested positive, several said that each state is focused on its own cases and communicating directly with the CDC and USDA.
‘Cart before the horse’
Lennon says that based on research so far, people can feel fairly confident that healthy dogs and cats don’t pose a big risk of infection to humans or each other in most situations. The primary message from the CDC and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) is similar: There is no evidence that animals play a significant role in the spread of the virus. Because of that, they do not recommend widespread testing of pets.
If we’re telling the world that prevalence [of animal cases] is low, then we have to look at high [test] numbers.
Shelley Rankin, Chief of clinical microbiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine
That doesn’t necessarily make sense to Rankin, who says that broader testing of pets would allow public health experts to say with more confidence that pets aren’t being infected on a broad scale (or playing a significant role in the spread off the virus). “We’ve sort of put the cart before the horse,” she says. “If we’re telling the world that prevalence [of animal cases] is low, then we have to look at high numbers.”
It’s not clear how many animals in the U.S. have been tested. The CDC’s Barton-Bahravesh says her team is working to collect that data, but it’s difficult because reporting of animal testing is not mandatory.
Lennon says more testing would also shed light on whether animals in certain circumstances—such as those with underlying conditions—are more likely to contract the virus or have the virus for longer.
The second dog to test positive in the U.S., in Georgia, and the sixth dog, in South Carolina, have both died, for example, and their deaths were attributed to other conditions. Similar to Buddy’s case, state veterinarian Boyd Parr says that while there was no compelling evidence that the South Carolina dog’s condition made it more susceptible to the virus, there also wasn’t enough data to say that it didn’t.
“Certainly it is likely the underlying condition could weaken the dog’s natural defenses to a lot of things,” he said in an email.
The CDC’s toolkit includes guidance on caring for and treating a positive pet, and safety guidelines for caregivers, but Lennon says it would be helpful to see guidance that specifies what information veterinarians should collect and what tests they perform on a coronavirus-positive animal to build a consistent and complete picture of how the virus affects pets.
There’s also room to create more opportunities for owners of pets with the virus to connect with researchers. In the Mahoneys’ case, they were keen to have Buddy more closely examined but say that they struggled to connect with experts. “It highlights a missed connection for people who are interested in researching this and owners interested in donating samples,” Lennon says.
“My pet was like my son,” Allison Mahoney says. “When he was passing away in front of me, he had blood all over his paws. I cleaned him up before we drove to the vet and stayed with him in the back seat. I said, ‘I will have your voice heard, for all our furry friends. Your voice will be heard, Buddy.’ ”
One of those furry friends is Duke, the Mahoney’s surviving dog. Even though he didn’t get sick, the Mahoneys worry about possible long-term effects of the virus. The puppy has been visibly depressed since Buddy died, the Mahoneys say, and he lies in all of Buddy’s old napping spots.
The Mahoneys hope to pick up Buddy’s ashes this week.
This article is contributed by guest writer, Emily G. (Author of Cattail Gardens).
Temperatures are on the rise signifying the start of summer. While the hot weather gives you a chance to go out and enjoy some sun, be aware that the hot temperatures can be dangerous for your pet.
While humans sweat to remain cool in hot weather, cats and dogs sweat glands provide them with traction to protect their paws while they’re walking rather than thermoregulation. Thus, during this hot weather, your pet will rely on you to keep them cool. Here’s how you can help your furry friend cope with summer heat.
Dogs pant to keep themselves cool. Unfortunately, during hot months the air they are taking in is often too hot, which means panting may be less effective in keeping them cool. Here are a few things you can do to keep your pup cool during this weather.
1. Don’t leave your dog in your car
Every summer, many pets die due to heat exposure in vehicles. Between 2009 and 2018, the RSPCA received 64,443 cases of pet’s heat exposure in England and Wales, and 90% of these cases involved dogs in vehicles. You should never leave your dog in the car even with windows open. On a hot day, a car is like a furnace, and it takes just six minutes for a dog to die in a hot car.
2. Provide your dog with lots of water and shade
Drinking lots of water is one of the ways dogs keep cool in summer. If you are going for a walk, ensure you carry a bottle of clean, fresh water for your dog. If you must leave your pet in the house, provide several bowls of clean, fresh water just in case one of the containers gets knocked over. You can also give your dog more wet food during the hot months to protect them from dehydration. If you have to take your dog for a walk, ensure you do so in the early mornings or late evenings when the temperature is cooler. Further, walk them in shady areas to protect them from the direct heat. Always ensure they are on a leash as they might get lost while running after a rabbit or another dog. Let your dog soak in a shallow swimming pool during scorching hot weather but ensure this is done under supervision to protect them from drowning.
Your pup’s sensitive paws shouldn’t walk on hot pavement, asphalt, or metal. Such hot surfaces will not only burn their paws, but the heat will also increase their body temperature. Even riding with your dog on an open pickup truck is extremely dangerous. The hot dark truck metal surface can result in overheating.
4. Apply sunscreen on your dog’s light-colored nose and ears
Dogs and cats, just like humans, can get sunburn and skin cancer. Apply a dog recommended sunscreen on your pet’s light-colored coat, ears, and nose to protect them from the heat.
Summer safety tips for cats
Cats enjoy sunbathing and lazing around in hot weather. But they still need to keep cool, and this is possible with a little help from their pet parents.
1. Ensure your cat isn’t confined in hot areas
Although cats like to bask in the sun during a hot day, they can also suffer from a heatstroke. This often occurs when they’re trapped in hot areas such as a greenhouse, a car, an apartment, or a conservatory. Ensure your pet isn’t confined in such areas.
If your furry friend is indoors, ensure you have a fan or air conditioning that keeps the house cool. You can also keep the curtains drawn, and the blinds closed to keep the house cool.
If your cat is outdoors ensure you keep a watchful eye on them. There are many temptations during summer and it takes just a second for your cat to get lost or get injured while running on the street.
Your cat’s coat helps to keep them cool during hot weather and warm during the cold months.
You can trim your cat’s fur, but don’t shave it. You’ll note that your cat will regularly groom themselves during hot days. This is nothing to worry about as it’s a cooling mechanism, just like sweating in humans.
3. Check your cat’s paws
Cat’s sweat glands are found on their paws. Wet paws are a sign that your cat needs to cool off. Dipping the paws in water helps to cool your cat’s body temperature. Don’t forget to provide your cat with plenty of fresh, clean water even when they’re outdoors.
Give special attention
Some pets need special treatment during the summer months. Such pets include:
Pet breeds with flat faces
Pets that are overweight
Pets with unkempt hair
Pets with lung and heart diseases
Such animals are more susceptible to overheating. You’ll need to give them extra attention and ensure they’re comfortable during the hot months.
If your pet exhibits any of these signs, take them to a shaded area. You can also apply cool water on their foot pads, abdomen, or ears. You also need to take them to a vet once they have stabilized as a heatstroke can be fatal.
Dr. Bryan Langlois, medical director of the Lancaster County-based Pet Pantry, said the days leading up to July 4 can be a stressful time for pet owners
LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — The Fourth of July weekend is a time of celebration for many Americans, but it can be a stressful time for pet owners who struggle to keep their furry friends calm as more and more fireworks displays happen in the runup to the holiday.
Dr. Bryan Langlois, Medical Director of the Pet Pantry of Lancaster County and past president of the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association, recently offered some advice on what pet owners can do.
“This is always a difficult time of year for many pet owners,” Langlois said in a press release. “In fact, the July 4th Holiday is one of the biggest times when pets go missing or get lost from their homes because they are so frightened by the fireworks displays.
“While some pets seem to adapt just fine, many others will suffer mild to extreme stress and anxiety over it. That can translate into pets causing harm to themselves and your homes trying to escape the noise of fireworks. Fortunately, over the years veterinarians have been able to obtain new medications and methods to help control this anxiety to make the holiday enjoyable for everyone.”
Langlois said some of the things pet owners can do to help reduce anxiety because of fireworks include:
Set them up in a room that has distractions such as an air conditioner going or a TV or radio playing in the background. Many cable and online platforms even have dedicated channels now that are geared towards cats and dogs to keep them entertained. Just providing this type of distraction (sometimes with you spending time in the room with them) helps to keep their focus on what is going on inside, and not outside.
Offering treat puzzles, treat balls, catnip toys, or kongs filled with things like peanut butter can all help act as a distraction for dogs and cats as well.
If your pet is one that gets extremely frightened or anxious to the point of being destructive or harming themselves, then you definitely want to discuss with your veterinarian about getting some anti-anxiety medications for your pet. These medications make can make a world of difference for your pet in being able to remain calm.
Langlois also said that now, and not the day of July 4th, is the time to discuss with your veterinarian about these issues and develop a plan of action.
“It used to be that vets would give a straight sedative for these animals,” he said. “Over the years it became known that, while they were sedating the animal, they were really not taking the anxiety away. Veterinarians now will look to prescribe a true anti-anxiety medication for your pet, and there are many to chose from.
“That is why it is important to talk to your vet about which one is best for your pet, as all pets react differently. Talking with your vet now allows for you to decide which medication is best and provide time for you to get it from your vet or a pharmacy.”
Improvements in the way medications are made is also an important advancement making administration a lot easier, Langlois said.
“Probably the biggest hurdle we have faced in being able to medicate pets properly has been in owners being able to give these medications to their pets without difficulty,” he said. “As we all know many pets, especially cats, can be exceedingly difficult to medicate even if we try to hide the medication in food or treats.
“Fortunately, the world of compounded medications now allows us to create these medications in various forms that can be flavored and therefore become quite easy to give to your pets. It is important that you talk with your vet about this opportunity as well since many compounded medications do take a few days to produce.”
Langlois offered this final piece of advice for anyone with questions.
“As we always say, if you have any questions at all about the health and well being of your pet and how to help keep them stress free this holiday, the only place you should go to is your local and trusted veterinarian.”
If some people wear their hearts on their sleeves, this pup wears hers on her chest!
An adorable black and white dog with a heart-shaped patch of fur on her chest recently got adopted. Last week, Broken Arrow Animal Shelter shared a photo of the unique-looking border collie on their Facebook page. The post has been shared over 27,000 times and got thousands of comments, according to Fox23 News. Broken Arrow Animal Shelter
The shelter got hundreds of messages about the dog – both from people around the country and outside the U.S. Lots of people wanted to give her a home, but one dedicated family went the extra mile to make sure it’s their home she ends up in.
After arriving at the shelter, all stray animals have to stay in the facility for at least five days before they’re put up for adoption.
Also, adoptions are made on a first-come, first-served basis. A Facebook post they made last month explains this policy better: “The shelter is open for adoptions by appointment only. All adoptions are 1st come 1st serve on the date available.
This means: If you are the 1st person in our parking lot for a particular animal. Shelter staff will make contact with you as soon as they arrive at the shelter. We will take your name and number, and you will be asked to return when the shelter opens.”Facebook
Knowing this, a family from Tulsa began camping out the shelter’s parking lot 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday – 27 hours before the adorable pooch was eligible for adoption.
The family’s efforts were worth it – they got her! The shelter shared the good news on Facebook the next day.
“This precious baby girl has touched the hearts of people around the U.S. and we are happy to announce that she has found her new furever home!!! Thank you to everyone that has shared our post,” they wrote.
Many comments poured in from people who felt happy that the dog already found a home.
“This Sweet girl looks just like our doggie that was a stray we rescued. Happy the girl found a good home,” one user commented. Courtesy of Ryan and Liz
“I fell in love with her. Happy she found a home!” another one wrote.
The lucky new parents of the border collie are an engaged couple. We spoke about the adoption with the soon-to-be groom, Ryan, and here is what he said:
“My fiancé and I were excited to get the puppy and really wanted her. My step-brother Kyle kindly offered to wait in line for us so that we could be first in line to adopt her. We adopted Luna and met her days prior to adopting her. Kyle’s wedding gift to us was being a “stand in line” so that we would have the chance to adopt her first. It was a very kind gesture for Kyle to wait in line for us and even my fiancé and I and my parents waited in line with him as well. It was a family effort but Kyle was the trooper.” Courtesy of Ryan and Liz
The fact that this adoption is a family effort just makes this story even sweeter! Kyle Johnson told Fox23 that they’re planning to name the pooch Luna.
The Broken Arrow Animal Shelter also told the outlet that many dogs and cats in the facility are still in need of a forever home. Almost 50 of them that are up for adoption. Just like Luna, they’re hoping that these animals each find a loving family who will take them in. They may not have unique fur patterns, but they’re just as deserving of a home!
You may visit the shelter’s Facebook page to check their list of adoptable pets. For more information about their adoption policies, click here.
Human caretakers of cats have always known this and now it has been demonstrated scientifically: Cats recognize their names when called–but may choose to ignore it (possibly followed by an upwards tail flip and facial expression of ‘uh, you talkin’ to me?‘).
A new study indicates domestic cats do recognize their own names—even if they walk away when they hear them. Behavioral scientist Dr. Atsuko Saito, has previously shown that cats can recognize their owner’s voice. Now, in this latest study, which involved 78 cats from Japanese households and a “cat café,” she honed in on responses to hearing their names.
Researchers first had owners repeatedly say four words that sounded similar to their cats’ names until the animals habituated to those words and stopped responding. Next, the owners said the cats’ actual names, and researchers determined whether individual cats (when living among other cats) appeared able to distinguish their own monikers. The researchers also had people unfamiliar to the cats speak the cats’ names. Although the felines’ responses were less prominent to strangers saying their names than when their owners called them, they still appeared to recognize their names.
Study results overview
The cats had more pronounced responses to their own names—meowing or moving their ears, heads or tails—than to similar words or other cats’ names, according to the study, which was published in Scientific Reports.
The habituation-dishabituation method was used to investigate whether domestic cats could discriminate human utterances, which consisted of cats’ own names, general nouns, and other cohabiting cats’ names. Cats from ordinary households and from a ‘cat café’ participated in the experiments. Among cats from ordinary households, cats habituated to the serial presentation of four different general nouns or four names of cohabiting cats showed a significant rebound in response to the subsequent presentation of their own names; these cats discriminated their own names from general nouns even when unfamiliar persons uttered them. These results indicate that cats are able to discriminate their own names from other words. There was no difference in discrimination of their own names from general nouns between cats from the cat café and household cats, but café cats did not discriminate their own names from other cohabiting cats’ names. We conclude that cats can discriminate the content of human utterances based on phonemic differences.
“Cats are just as good as dogs at learning. They’re just not as keen to show their owners what they’ve learned.” [Me-ooow]
-Dr. John Bradshaw, biologist, human-animal interactions at the University of Bristol’s Anthrozoology Institute
“When we told her she got a letter back, she hugged it.” By Stephen Messenger Published On 04/14/2020
From the very start, 4-year-old Maci and her beloved dog Kendal were inseparable friends.
Where one went, the other was sure to follow.
“She often laid next to Maci while she played,” Crystal Hopkins, Maci’s mom, told The Dodo. “Maci would stop out of the blue and rub Kendal or give a quick hug and say, ‘I love you, you’re a good girl.’”
Hundreds of stolen pets have been rescued from an underground abattoir in central China as animal lovers urge the country to ban citizens from eating dogs.
Pictures provided to MailOnline show frightened, wounded and helpless dogs being driven away from the illegal slaughterhouse in the province of Henan this month.ADVERTISEMENTAd
The news comes as more than 137,000 people around the world have lost their lives to the coronavirus, which has been linked to the eating of exotic meat in China.This picture provided by Humane Society International shows dogs being transported by a lorry on April 3 after being rescued from an underground abattoir in central China this month A rescuer is pictured petting one of the dogs after they were confiscated by local authorities Animal activists and volunteers are pictured helping dogs getting off a lorry after freeing them from an illegal slaughterhouse in Henan. A total of 423 dogs, including stolen pets, were saved
Activists have called on Beijing to bar wild animals, as well as dog and cat meat, from the dinner plate after the global outbreak emerged in Wuhan city in December.
A total of 423 dogs, most believed to be stolen pets, were saved in the operation on April 3, according to animal charity organisation Humane Society International (HSI).
Rescuers then transported 25 of the sickest dogs to Beijing to be looked after by an animal shelter jointly operated by HSI and its Chinese partner, Vshine.
The rescue effort took place after police received a tip-off from animal rights activists and pet owners who had lost their dogs and were looking for them.
‘This is such a typical story in China, bereft pet parents searching for their lost dogs, animal activist and netizens mobilising to help, and a nightmarish dog slaughterhouse being uncovered in the process,’ a spokesperson from HSI told MailOnline.
‘It’s too early to say if any of the rescued dogs will turn out to be the missing pets being searched for, but the majority of the dogs saved will have once been someone’s companion,’ she added. Activists have called on Beijing to bar wild animals, as well as dog and cat meat, from the dinner plate after the coronavirus outbreak emerged in the city of Wuhan in December Activists and legal experts have in the past proposed animal protection law to ban the eating of dogs and cats completely. But so far, no national legislation has been released to ban pet meat In February, China banned all trade and consumption of wild animals in response to the coronavirusShenzhen and Zhuhai have also banned their residents from eating dogs and cats The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs have listed dogs as ‘companion animals’
Several groups took part in the operation, including Vshine’s partner groups in Henan and Zhengzhou Animal Protection Association.
Assisted by volunteers, the charities worked together to apply pressure on local authorities, urging them to confiscate the dogs.
Staff from Vshine led the negotiations with law enforcement officers and participated in the confiscation. Animal charity workers are seen carrying some of the rescued dogs off a lorry on April 15 Volunteers give water to some of the rescued dogs, which have been put into separate cages Those dogs were saved from a slaughterhouse in Henan, central China, this month after police received a tip-off from animal rights activists and pet owners who had lost their dogs
In February, China banned all trade and consumption of wild animals in response to the coronavirus.
Two cities, Shenzhen and Zhuhai, have taken further steps and banned their residents from eating dogs and cats.
Last week, the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs excluded dogs from farm animals in a proposal, which could see canine meat being barred from the dinner plate across the country.
The authority said it recognises dogs as ‘companion animals’ and ‘not suitable’ to be treated as livestock.
Experts have called the Ministry’s proposal ‘a significant step in the right direction’. Volunteers are pictured taking the dog to an animal shelter. Activists have demanded China prohibit the eating of dogs for years, but no law has been passed so far on a national level One volunteer is pictured providing dogs with water in an animal shelter after the rescue While no evidence suggests that dogs can spread coronavirus, the global crisis has prompted the international community to press on their demands for China to halt its dog meat trade Some of the dogs are pictured at an animal shelter after being saved from the dinner plate
Animal rights advocators have demanded the Chinese government prohibit the eating of dogs for years, but no law has been passed so far on a national level.ADVERTISEMENT
The annual Yulin Dog Meat Festival is one of the most controversial food festivals in China.
It sees thousands of dogs cruelly killed, skinned and cooked with blow-torches before being eaten by locals on the summer solstice every year.
While no evidence suggests that dogs can spread coronavirus, the escalating global emergency has prompted the international community to press on their demands for China to halt its dog meat trade.
The exact source of the coronavirus remains unclear.
But an investigation carried out by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in January showed that the virus was passed onto humans by wild animals sold as food at the market, state media Xinhua reported.
The market traded various live animals, including foxes, crocodiles, wolf puppies, giant salamanders, snakes, rats, peacocks, porcupines, koalas and game meats, according to the South China Morning Post.
Wuhan officials ordered the market to shut on January 1 in the wake of the outbreak.
Roger, a rescued rabbit, peers over his owner Kyle Daly’s shoulder.
Photograph by Rebecca Hale, National Geographic
Editor’s note: Amid the coronavirus pandemic, shelters and rescue groups across the U.S. and around the world report a greater need for people to foster or adopt domestic pets, including rabbits. Some shelters even offer remote adoption screening and curbside pickups. If you’re interested in fostering a rabbit, here is a list of rescue groups by state and by country.
It’s the Saturday before Easter weekend at Petland in Fairfax, Virginia. Sixteen baby bunnies sit in three open pens, all for sale. Two teenage girls reach into a pen, scoop one up, and plop down on the floor, squealing over its cuteness: “I need it!”
The rabbits are all very young. No adult rabbits are for sale here.
“What happens to the babies who grow up before they’re sold?” I ask a salesman. “The breeder picks them up,” he says.
“What does he do with them?”
“I don’t know.”
It’s Picture Day for These Adorable Bunnies
Rabbits are the third most popular pet in America, after cats and dogs, according to the Humane Society of the United States—and the third most abandoned. Most Americans have a sense of how long cats and dogs live, the kind of care they need, their behaviors. But rabbits? I asked several of my colleagues how long they think domestic rabbits live. “One to two years?” “Maybe three?” In fact, with proper care, rabbits live 10 to 12 years. People’s understanding of them seems to be out of step with their ubiquity.
This disconnect appears to drive impulse pet rabbit purchases, says Anne Martin, executive director of the House Rabbit Society, the largest rabbit rescue organization in the U.S. Because many people think they’re short-lived, low maintenance, cage-bound animals, rabbits are seen as “starter pets,” akin to goldfish, perfect for kids. This misconception may help drive a glut of baby bunny sales ahead of Easter—and a subsequent rise in rabbit abandonments.
Jennifer McGee, co-manager of the Georgia chapter of House Rabbit Society, a shelter in the southeastern part of the state, says they normally receive one to two calls a week about abandoned rabbits. But in the six weeks after Easter, the shelter gets three to four calls a day. House Rabbit Society chapters in Idaho and Chicago report a more noticeable rise in summer, as “Easter bunnies” hit puberty and reality sets in for owners.
And here’s the reality: Although rabbits can make delightful companions, they’re not easy-care pets. Vets and insurance companies consider them exotic pets, so medical care can be more expensive than for a cat or dog. Rabbits need a lot of exercise and shouldn’t simply be pent up in a cage. This means they need to learn to use a litterbox (yes, rabbits can be potty trained), which takes patience, just as it does for cats. They’re also prey animals, and we’re, well, predators. They generally don’t like to be picked up by humans; they prefer to be in control, their feet on the ground.
“It takes a patient person to become friends with these silent and subtle animals,” says Margo DeMello, president of the House Rabbit Society.
Roger pops his head out of his travel carrier—he smells banana, his favorite treat. Likely around four years old, he was rescued from a park in Washington, D.C, where he’d been left in a cage.
Photograph by Rebecca Hale, National Geographic
Rabbits’ complexity means they often face a grim fate when purchased on a whim. Seemingly cute and cuddly, once baby bunnies mature, at between three and six months old, they can become aggressive and even destructive. Proper exercise, litterbox training, and spaying or neutering curbs the problem for most rabbits. But many new owners assume that the undesirable behaviors are the sign of a problem rabbit and get rid of it. Others may do a little research and balk at the time and money it takes to change bunny behavior. McGee says she’s often met with shock and frustration from parents: “What do you mean I have to spend $200 to fix a $30 rabbit?”
ABANDONMENTS: A YEAR-ROUND PROBLEM
It’s unclear how many rabbits are abandoned in the U.S.—and how many are Easter bunnies. There isn’t a central organization collecting data, DeMello says. Most individual shelters track how many dogs and cats are found, adopted, or euthanized, but they typically lump rabbits in with birds, reptiles, and small mammals in the “other” category.
Rescuers in local rabbit shelters from California’s Bay Area to rural Georgia to suburban Connecticut all tell National Geographic that although abandonments spike in the weeks and months after Easter, they’re a big problem year-round.
According to Martin, about two-thirds of rabbits rescued in Northern California are strays left to fend for themselves. In some cities, Las Vegas and Spokane, Washington, for example, public parks and empty lots have become dumping grounds overrun with hundreds of unfixed, unwanted rabbits. People abandon many rabbits outdoors, likely unaware that this is a death sentence. Domestic rabbits lack the survival instincts of their wild cousins, Martin says, and are unable to fight infection, build safe shelters, or adapt to heat and cold.
Kiba, an 11-year-old Netherland Dwarf, poses for the camera. He was surrendered to a shelter in 2012 in bad condition: underweight, with broken toes. He now has his own Instagram account: @kibabunny.
Photograph by Rebecca Hale, National Geographic
Shelters struggle to keep up. The Georgia House Rabbit Society gets more than 500 requests a year from owners looking to get rid of their rabbits—far more than they have the resources to save. Edie Sayeg, a rescuer with the group, believes thousands of rabbits are simply ditched outdoors in Georgia.
Elizabeth Kunzelman, a spokeswoman for Petland, a major national pet retailer that sells rabbits, says the spring months are “a perfect time for a child to begin caring for a new pet and learning responsibility.” But DeMello believes this mindset is problematic. “Children, honestly, want something cuddlier and more obviously attentive and are often frustrated when rabbits don’t respond to them the way they expect.” Other pet stores, including Petco and Petsmart, stopped selling rabbits several years ago because of concerns about abandonment. Kunzelman says Petland has a take-back policy for rabbits and other animals.
But two years after I visited the Petland in Fairfax, Virginia, the Humane Society of the United States released undercover footage documenting alleged mistreatment and deaths of rabbits at the store. Fairfax County police investigated and found 31 dead rabbits in a freezer in the store in April 2019. Lieutenant Ronnie Lewis, who oversaw the investigation, says that his team seized the dead rabbits as well as 17 living rabbits from the store. Police placed the surviving rabbits in custody of a municipal animal shelter. All 17 rabbits are now in foster homes and will be available for adoption shortly.
Petland has since terminated its franchise agreement with the store, saying in a statement that the company is “saddened and outraged at this alleged gross violation of Petland’s animal care standards.” The store is now closed. The cause of the rabbit deaths remains under investigation by police.
It’s not just pet stores that promote rabbit purchases. Farm stores, 4-H clubs, backyard breeders, and Facebook and Craigslist users across the country advertise baby bunnies ahead of the Easter season. Suzanne Holtz, director of Illinois-based Bunnies United Network, says these sellers can be even more problematic than pet stores because the rabbits often have a misplaced “halo of rescue” about them. Her shelter will get calls from people looking to surrender a bunny they “saved” from Craigslist, where selling animals is ostensibly banned.
It’s a challenge to discourage people from buying rabbits as Easter gifts without discouraging responsible would-be owners from having them at all, Martin says, because for those who understand how to care for them, they make fantastic pets.
I know: I have two rescue rabbits of my own. Roger, a Blanc de Hotot (a French breed notable for black-rimmed “eyeliner” eyes) was found abandoned in a small cage in a park. Rescued by D.C.-area group Friends of Rabbits, he’s curious, fearless, and loving. Penelope, an English Angora, was found on the street as a baby. A Washington Humane Society rescue, she’s bonded with Roger—they’re companions who groom and play with each other—and is opinionated and ornery. They’re litter-trained, have free rein of our apartment, and bring me and my husband joy every day.
Editor’s note: This story was updated on April 19, 2019, to include new information about the Fairfax, Virginia, Petland.
To learn more about rabbit care, visit House Rabbit Society at rabbit.org. If you’re interested in adopting a rabbit of your own, you can reach out to your local HRS chapter, or an animal shelter in your area.
Multiple dogs suffered burns and other injuries after stepping on malfunctioning electrified manhole covers. Some accounts have described dogs exposed to the current for up to 20 minutes. Demand a full inspection of all Chicago’s manhole covers for the safety of animals.
The simple answer is no. It’s understandable that many of us are feeling concerned about the possibility of contracting coronavirus, but to turn our attention towards dogs would be entirely misguided.
Just last month, heartbreaking images of pet dogs and cats emerged from China’s Hubei Province – their eyes glazed over, their bodies lying lifeless on the pavements, some surrounded by a pool of their own blood. The fear of catching the virus had terrified their owners, believing their pets could be carriers – they were thrown from the windows of the high-rise tower blocks. People’s fears were leading to cruel and unnecessary loss of life.
While not common, some authorities have reported pets being killed (either by force or humanely euthanized) or abandoned as a precaution. Thankfully, this doesn’t appear to be the common response, and most people realize this is a completely unnecessary reaction to the coronavirus rumor mill.
Coronavirus is frequently being compared to the SARS outbreak of 2003 as it bears striking similarities. Just like with SARS, there were also fears that pets could spread the disease. By the end of the epidemic, just eight cats and a dog tested positive for the virus, but no animal was ever found to transmit the disease to humans.
Now, the world is turning its attention to Hong Kong, where an elderly, 17-year-old Pomeranian dog has tested ‘weak positive’ for coronavirus. A dog of this age might typically be quite vulnerable to infections, yet it is still showing no signs of disease relating to COVID-19. Experts will be monitoring the dog and will be repeating the test in the coming days, although more tests need to be done.
To put it into perspective, consider that there are around 750 million dogs living in the world, mostly alongside people, and of all these, just one single dog, has tested weakly positive for coronavirus. This is an extremely rare and isolated case. We need to prevent a knee-jerk reaction to our canine companions, preventing any drastic measures.
It’s still early days, and experts are unsure how the disease interacts with other animals. There have been questions on whether the dog has actually contracted the disease, or just that the virus is being harbored in its body. After all, the dog was in close proximity to its owner, who does have the disease. For a dog to contract coronavirus, the disease will have had to mutate to enable it to latch on to dog cells. Right now, we don’t know for sure if this is the case, so this example tells us very little.
It’s also important to consider that the genes of dogs are very different from the genes of humans. While it looks as though the coronavirus might have originated in a bat, it’s a mystery how the virus jumped from bats to humans, and if there was another animal in the middle, bridging this gap.
Even if this case does show that the virus can jump to dogs, we don’t know enough at this stage about its possible transmission to other dogs, animals or even back to humans again. Take distemper, canine parvovirus, and heartworms for example – these are all examples of infections that cannot be transmitted from dogs to humans due to the differences in our genetic make-up among other things.
Pets are great companions and they shouldn’t pay the price of our fear by being abandoned or cruelly mistreated. We’re urging people to continue to protect their pets by trying to avoid crowded places for dog walks and keeping their time outdoors to a minimum where possible until we know more about the transmission of the coronavirus. This should also serve as an important reminder to be a responsible pet owner by microchipping, vaccinating and neutering your animals. For pets belonging to a household with COVID-19 infections, we recommend pets are also placed in quarantined facilities where possible or kept isolated from other animals at least.
Our message is clear – we need to look after our animals and not panic. There is no evidence showing that pets can be the source of infection of coronavirus. All around the world, dogs improve and add value to our lives. They keep us company, protect homes and livestock, and can learn to do extraordinary tasks – so let’s make sure we keep them, and ourselves, protected.
New strain of canine distemper virus arrives in North America | Cornell Chronicle
By Patricia Waldron |
A young dog imported from South Korea into western Canada last October brought along a dangerous hitchhiker: the Asia-1 strain of canine distemper virus (CDV), which until then had not been reported in North America.
Scientists at Cornell’s Animal Health Diagnostic Center (AHDC) identified the virus in samples from the dog, which they suspect was part of a shipment of animals rescued from a Korean meat market by an animal welfare organization. Dogs that are already immunized against CDV likely are not at risk from the Asian strain, but if the virus comes into contact with wildlife, it may take a serious toll on wild carnivore populations.
“Well-meaning people are trying to save animals, but when you move animals, you move their infectious disease,” said Edward Dubovi, director of the virology laboratory at the AHDC and a professor of population medicine and diagnostic sciences. “If this particular Asia-1 strain got out into the wildlife population, then it’s here forever, because you can’t get rid of it once it hits wildlife.”
About two weeks after the sick dog’s arrival in Canada, it developed a cough and was lethargic. Ten days later, it developed muscle twitches, then seizures and ultimately was euthanized. The AHDC tested samples collected from the animal; they were negative for canine influenza virus but gave strong positive results for CDV. Genetic analysis by Randall Renshaw, Ph.D. ’92, a research associate at the AHDC, indicated that the virus was nearly identical to the Asia-1 strain of CDV circulating throughout East Asia.
Canine distemper virus is highly contagious and commonly travels between hosts through the aerosols emitted when dogs bark and cough and through urine and feces. The disease starts with respiratory symptoms, such as coughing and pneumonia, and progresses into gastrointestinal illness and neurological problems. Most dogs in the United States receive vaccines for CDV to protect against native North American strains.
Though CDV outbreaks occasionally pop up in animal shelters, the virus persists primarily in wildlife populations, particularly in the Northeast where canine cases of CDV are extremely rare. It circulates among numerous carnivore species, causing die-offs of raccoons, grey foxes, skunks, coyotes, wolves and other animals.
Though Dubovi was unable to find out more information about how the dog arrived in Canada, he expects that it came from a Korean dog meat farm. Animal rescue organizations have worked for years to remove dogs from farms that supply dog meat markets in South Korea and other Asian countries. Due to changing attitudes toward dogs, the demand for dog meat is dropping, which enables animal welfare groups to buy out farms and help farmers to transition to new careers.
Though well-intentioned, these efforts place animals in North America at risk for foreign strains of disease. The United States receives rescued companion animals from all over the world, and any of these animals could be carrying viruses, bacteria and parasites not commonly seen in North America. Animals raised for meat in countries with lax antibiotics regulations are at especially high risk of carrying drug-resistant strains of bacteria.
The canine influenza virus that first appeared in the Chicago area in 2015 was traced back to rescued Korean dogs.
“The genetic analysis clearly linked the virus to recent Korean H3N2 influenza strains,” said Dubovi. “That particular strain of flu had been circulating in Asia, China and Korea for probably 10 years prior to its arrival in the U.S.”
Dubovi estimates that the recent canine influenza outbreak has cost U.S. dog owners up to $75 million nationwide for diagnostic testing and vaccinations.
Keeping new infectious organisms out of the U.S. is challenging because there is virtually no federal oversight of imported companion animals. The U.S. Department of Agriculture oversees only the trade of livestock products to protect U.S. ranching and dairy operations.
For dogs entering the United States and Canada, a rabies certificate is the sole requirement. In some countries, however, people buy fake certificates, as indicated by a handful of rabies-infected dogs that arrived from India, Iraq and Egypt in the last two decades.
Rescue dogs flown in from other countries frequently pass through airports in New York City and Los Angeles. In theory, California and New York could pass regulations for importing companion animals, but these laws would not apply to border crossing in other states.
“It’s a 50-state free-for-all with regard to companion animals,” Dubovi said. “It’s a very unsatisfactory situation if you’re trying to control infectious diseases in our domestic cats and dogs.”
Concerned pet owners could also pressure rescue groups to enact better testing and quarantine protocols when transporting foreign animals to the United States, Dubovi said.
It is not yet known whether the Asia-1 strain of the canine distemper virus has been contained or if it is here to stay in North America. This case is “the canary in the mineshaft,” Dubovi said.
“There’s probably a whole host of other things we haven’t tested for,” he said. “If we aren’t looking for it, we aren’t going to find it until it’s too late.”
Patricia Waldron is a freelance writer for the College of Veterinary Medicine.
Christmas is the season to have some festive fun and try your hand at a Christmas cat movie. Nubia is already road-testing cat toys for Katzenworld, and I wonder if you know how easy it would be to film your own cat at Christmas? Let’s find out!
Don’t worry about being an ‘expert’ at making movies on your smartphone, just grab a coffee or a glass of wine and check out these cool tips for making your own Christmas cat movie.
Senator Paul deliberately introduced legislation deleting pet food safety law and denying pet owners the right to know what’s in their pet food.
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, a physician that should understand the necessity of food safety, recently submitted an addendum to Congress that resulted in the complete destruction of pet food safety promised pet owners for nine years. Senator Paul’s bill, Section 306 of H.R. 5554 – completely ignored safety laws promised pet owners after the deadliest pet food recall in history and assured a Kentucky-linked private corporation would continue to be allowed to write and profit from law making.
Senator Paul explained away the devastating addendum as conflict of interest telling constituents the 2007 pet food safety laws “has called into question FDA’s longstanding relationship with the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), a voluntary membership association that maintains a…
November 20, 2018 — Giant Food Stores and Martin’s Food Markets are voluntarily recalling certain lots of Nature’s Promise Dog Food because they may contain excessive amounts of Vitamin D, which may cause renal failure.
No graphic was supplied with the official news wire. The following image was retrieved from the internet and is provided in good faith by The Dog Food Advisor.
Nature’s Promise Chicken and Rice Dog Food Recall | Giant/Martins
The following products are included in this recall event:
Nature’s Promise Chicken & Brown Rice Dog Food
Size: 4 lb package
Best By Dates: November 1, 2018 to November 8, 2019
Nature’s Promise Chicken & Brown Rice Dog Food
Size: 14 lb package
Best By Dates: November 1, 2018 to November 8, 2019
Nature’s Promise Chicken & Brown Rice Dog Food
Size: 28 lb package
Best By Dates: November 1, 2018 to November 8, 2019
Giant/Martin’s has removed all affected product from its shelves and urges customers to return the product to their local store for a full refund.
The companies have received no reports of illnesses to date.
About Elevated Levels
of Vitamin D
Dogs ingesting elevated levels of Vitamin D may exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, excessive drooling, and weight loss.
Vitamin D, when consumed at very high levels, can lead to serious health issues in dogs including renal dysfunction.
Customers with dogs who have consumed any of the products listed above and are exhibiting any of these symptoms, should contact their veterinarian.
What to Do?
Customers should stop feeding the products listed above.
Customers may contact Sunshine Mills, Inc. customer service at 800-705-2111 from 7 am to 4 pm Central Time, Monday through Friday.
Or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
In addition, customers may call Giant/Martin’s Customer Support Center at 888-814-4268.
U.S. citizens can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.
Nutrisca Dog Food Recall | November 2018
November 3, 2018 — Nutrisca, of Saint Louis, MO, is voluntarily recalling one formula of Nutrisca dry dog food because it contains elevated levels of vitamin D.
Nutrisca did not include an image with its FDA news release. So, the following image has been copied from the company’s website and provided in good faith by The Dog Food Advisor.
Nutrisca Chicken and Chickpea Dry Dog Food
Package Size: 4 pounds
Bag UPC: 8-84244-12495-7
Best By Dates: February 25, 2020 thru September 13, 2020
Nutrisca Chicken and Chickpea Dry Dog Food
Package Size: 15 pounds
Bag UPC: 8-84244-12795-8
Best By Dates: February 25, 2020 thru September 13, 2020
Nutrisca Chicken and Chickpea Dry Dog Food
Package Size: 28 pounds
Bag UPC: 8-84244-12895-5
Best By Dates: February 25, 2020 thru September 13, 2020
Bags affected have a Best By Date code of February 25, 2020 through September 13, 2020. The Best By Date code can be found on the back or bottom of each bag.
The products were distributed to retail stores nationwide.
What Caused the Recall?
Nutrisca became aware of the elevated levels of vitamin D after receiving complaints from three pet owners of vitamin D toxicity after consuming the product.
An investigation revealed a formulation error led to the elevated vitamin D in the product.
About Elevated Vitamin D
Dogs ingesting elevated levels of Vitamin D may exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, excessive drooling, and weight loss.
Vitamin D when consumed at very high levels can lead to serious health issues in dogs including renal dysfunction.
Consumers with dogs who have consumed any of the products listed above and are exhibiting these symptoms, should contact their veterinarian.
What to Do?
Consumers should stop feeding the products listed above.
Consumers who have purchased any of the products affected by this recall should dispose of it or return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.
Consumers with questions may contact Nutrisca at 888-279-9420 from 8 AM to 5 PM Central Standard time, Monday through Friday, or by email at email@example.com for more information.
No other Nutrisca products, including Nutrisca Chicken & Chickpea wet dog foods are impacted.
All other Nutrisca dog and cat food products are safe to feed to pets.
According to the company…
“This is a voluntary recall and is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“We genuinely regret that this has occurred as we place the highest priority on the health of pets.”
Man nearing death makes miraculous recovery after 3 unwanted dogs come into his life
When Zach Skow crossed path with Tug, Marley, and Buddy from a dog rescue center, he took them home thinking how much of a difference he’s making in their life. Unbeknownst to the young man, it was the other way around…
Zach was only 16 years old when he started drinking heavily. With all of the problems he faced, he always tried to resolve with alcohol. With every great things happening in his life, he always celebrated with alcohol. Working at an Arizona comedy club only escalated his drinking problems. Thus years later, at the young age of 28 years old, his alcohol and drug abuse had consumed his liver. It was so damaged that his doctors only gave him three months to live if he would not be able to get a transplant.
There was another problem though, Zach could not get a transplant unless he could do away with alcohol for at least 6 months. It was during at his darkest days that he met the three dogs who inspired him to be a better man. Zach met Tug, Marley, and Buddy in a rescue shelter and decided to take them home. Little did he know that his decision would give his life a new purpose.
Every animal lovers know that getting a pet is a big responsibility. Thus, no matter how Zach felt like giving up on life, Tug, Marley, and Buddy would remind him that they need him. His life is important because they depend on him. These thoughts gave Zach the motivation he needed back then to continue living.
“My dogs were all looking at me like I was the sexiest man alive,” Zach recalled with fondness. “They didn’t see the desperation, they just saw the person that they love. They were looking forward to a future.”
Zach took his fur-parent role by heart. He did not only nourished the three adorable dogs with food and water. He also spent time with them. He often took the dogs out for their exercising needs as well.
Months later, Zach found himself eating healthier food as well. He took regular blood tests and noticed how the doctors kept looking at him with confusion and amazement in their eyes.
As unbelievable as it sounds, because of Tug, Marley, and Buddy, Zach was able to become a better and healthier version of himself. He was able to turn his life around to the point that he no longer needed a liver transplant to live!
“My kidney function had improved,” Zach recalled happily. “The doctor told me I didn’t have cirrhosis any more.”
Since that fateful day, Zach now calls himself as a professional dog rescuer and people saver. In addition, he founded Marley’s Mutts, a non-profit organization aiming to rescue, rehabilitate, train, and find homes for dogs saved from a high-kill shelter in California’s Central Valley. Since the day it has been established, Marley’s Mutts saved more than 5,000 dogs from being euthanized.
Marley’s Mutts also educates people about the health benefits we can enjoy from owning pets. In line with this, the people behind Marley’s Mutts bring their rescued dogs to visit veterans, hospital patients, and people with disability to let them experience the therapeutic magic of owning a dog or a pet.
The rescued dogs also get to be paired with inmates. This way, their likelihood of finding a new home increases and at the same time, they also help inmates feel a sense of belonging.
Robinson, for example, has been incarcerated since he was a kid. He spent almost 10 years in prison though he is just 27 years old. Thanks to Tyson, the adorable and loving Yorkshire, Robinson was able to transform into a young man with a promising future.
Truly, the best therapist in the world has a fur and four legs! Thanks to Tug, Marley, and Buddy, Zach was able to turn his life around and rebuild himself. Not only that, but he has also inspired numerous people to realize that, in saving a dog’s life, one saves his own as well! In reality we need our loving pets more, if not as much, than they need us.
“He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God’s providence to lead him aright.” - Blaise Pascal. "There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" – George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. We live in a “post-truth” world. According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Going beyond the MSM idealogical opinion/bias and their low information tabloid reality show news with a distractional superficial focus on entertainment, sensationalism, emotionalism and activist reporting – this blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." – George Orwell “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” ― Soren Kierkegaard