The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Pet Health The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Pet Health
Showing posts with label Pet Health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pet Health. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Animals and COVID-19


What You Need to Know

  •  The risk of animals spreading SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, to people is low.

  •  The virus can spread from people to animals during close contact.
  •  More studies are needed to understand if and how different animals could be affected by COVID-19.
  • People with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should avoid contact with animals, including pets, livestock, and wildlife.

To read more on this story, click here: Animals and COVID-19


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Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Komodo Dragon


Komodo dragons, or Komodo monitors, are the largest, heaviest lizards in the world — and one of the few with a venomous bite. These stealthy, powerful hunters rely on their sense of smell to detect food, using their long, forked tongues to sample the air. They can spend hours waiting for a sizable meal to wander within range before launching a deadly attack with their large, curved and serrated teeth.

To read more on this story, click here: Komodo Dragon


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US: This Gorilla Is Addicted To Smartphones, So Now His Screen Time Has Been Cut Down


Amare, an eastern lowland gorilla who is a resident at Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo is apparently so fond of staring at a phone screen that he didn’t notice when another gorilla charged him. Now, his addiction to smartphones has cost him screen time. 

Till now we'd heard of teenagers being addicted to their smartphones, even parents at times. But imagine a gorilla having this addiction. 

The gorilla obviously doesn't have his own smartphone but zoo-goers keep showing the creature pictures and videos on their phones through the glass divider. That keeps him captivated.

To read more on this story, click here: US: This Gorilla Is Addicted To Smartphones, So Now His Screen Time Has Been Cut Down


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Monday, April 18, 2022

April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month: Do You Have a Pet First Aid Kit?


April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month. First aid care is not a substitute for veterinary care, but it may save your pet's life until it receives veterinary treatment. Our handy checklist tells you all the supplies to have on hand for pet first aid. 

You can download, print and save the full checklist at  

                                    PET FIRST AID



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Saturday, February 12, 2022

Information about COVID-19, Pets, and Other Animals


A number of animals worldwide have been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, including pets like cats and dogs, farmed mink, and large cats, gorillas, and otters in zoos, sanctuaries, and aquariums. Reptiles and birds have not been affected by this virus. The risk of animals spreading the virus to people is low, but people with COVID-19 can spread the virus to animals during close contact. The information linked to below provides guidance for pet owners, public health professionals, animal health and wildlife officials, veterinarians, and others on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 between people and animals.

To read more on this story, click here: Information about COVID-19, Pets, and Other Animals


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Our Pets Can Feel the Daylight Savings Shift More Strongly Than We Do


While pushing the clocks back only one hour might seem like business as usual for us, our pets’ are sometimes not as amenable and might act up!  Just by switching the clocks to Daylight Savings Times, our dogs and cat’s schedules can be completely off-kilter!  Our fur children are so in tune with when they are going to be fed, what time to go to sleep and eat, that we need to be prepared!

Dogs and cats have internal clocks that affect their rhythm

Just like humans, animals have internal clocks that tell them when to eat, sleep and wake up. This biological timekeeper, also known as circadian rhythm, is set in motion by natural sunlight. However, for pets this effect is minimized by the artificial environment they live in, where light comes on not with the rising sun but with the flip of a switch.  Household pets might get grumpy when they show up to an empty food dish at their perceived dinner time.

Our dogs and cats are used to their routine so we need to ease them into the new time

A dog or cat’s daily routine is something they would prefer to be written in stone. Unfortunately, things happen that can alter schedules and a simple time change can be perplexing for some pets. When we gain an hour and can sleep in, our pets are still on daylight savings time and don’t understand why we’re still in bed when they are up and ready to go. Their internal clock is saying morning has arrived and it’s time to get moving (and get fed!).

Our dogs and cats are more affected by daylight savings than we are

Our pets, however, might feel the daylight savings shift more strongly than us. Pay attention to them this week; they might be cranky themselves. Sleepy dogs might not want to end their naps to go out on a walk earlier than expected. Or some cats might turn their noses up at food if that comes an hour before the normal time.  In the wild, animals pattern their lives around the phases of the sun, but domesticated pets follow their own versions of our schedules. Daylight savings can really mess with our pets internal rhythms for a few days, or even a week, until they readjust.

Try to change their schedule in increments and they will adjust quickly

The good news is most pets will adjust to the time change fairly quickly.  A few things you can do to make the transition easier is to keep them on their normal schedule and slowly begin to change their daily routine by 5-10 minutes each day.  Keep doing this until you make up for the hour change adjustment. Moving their feeding times, play time and walks back a little each day can make it easier for dogs and cats to adjust.

Most cats won’t be as affected as dogs will while some pets won’t even notice.  
But, don’t be surprised if your dog or cat wakes you up earlier to be fed and might be a bit cranky this upcoming week!


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Friday, February 11, 2022

The Benefits of Spaying or Neutering Your Dog


Picture of dog
Billions of dollars are spent annually on companion animals - we buy toys, treats, food, leashes, collars, food bowls, beds, crates and pay veterinarians, trainers, groomers, pet sitters, dog walkers, professional poop-scooping companies, pet psychics, pet masseuses, and pet health insurers thousands of dollars over the course of a single pet's life.


We do all these things because animals make our lives better. Most pet owners would agree that the money we spend on pets pales in comparison with the amount of joy they bring us.

All of these expenditures are directly related to improving the lives of the animals we share our homes with. While it is important to care for your pet in the best manner that circumstances allow, it is also important that we remember the one simple thing each of us can do to improve the lives of not only our own dogs and cats, but dogs and cats throughout the nation and internationally - spaying and neutering dogs and cats.

Why You Should Spay Or Neuter Your Pet
There are many benefits of spaying or neutering your pet. One of the most important is that spaying dogs and cats ensures that your own pet will not contribute to the pet overpopulation crises. Unaltered cats and dogs can be prolific breeders, and there are many more cats and dogs needing homes than there are homes for them. Pets without homes are often euthanized in shelters or left to fend for themselves, often unsuccessfully, in the search of food and mating opportunities.

Others spay/neuter pets for health reasons. Here are some of the benefits of neutering male dogs:

  • Eliminates the small risk (probably <1%) of dying from testicular cancer
  • Reduces the risk of non-cancerous prostate disorders
  • Reduces the risk of perianal fistulas
  • May possibly reduce the risk of diabetes

And here are some benefits of spaying female dogs:

  • If done before 2.5 years of age, greatly reduces the risk of mammary tumors, the most common malignant tumors in female dogs
  • Nearly eliminates the risk of pyometra, which otherwise would affect about 23% of intact female dogs; pyometra kills about 1% of intact female dogs
  • Reduces the risk of perenial fistulas
  • Removes the very small risk (.5%) from uterine, cervical, and ovarian tumors
  • Spaying and neutering also can reduce roaming behaviors, territorial marking behaviors, intersex aggression, etc. in dogs.

The Spay/Neuter Debate
As with any major surgery, there are both benefits and risks associated with spaying and neutering. While spaying and neutering pets seems to reduce the risk of many cancers and illnesses, there is evidence that it can contribute to others, and there is research that indicates that spaying and neutering can decrease some behavioral problems while contributing to others.

Most veterinarians advise spaying and neutering around six months of age. Some dog owners, particularly those with large breed dogs, prefer to wait until the dog has physically matured until neutering or spaying. Dogs that are neutered/spayed after reaching full maturity tend to be more muscular than early spay/neuter dogs, which is important in working dogs.

Some dogs may have health problems which might prohibit spaying or neutering. Educate yourself about the behavioral and physical health benefits and risks associated with surgery and have a discussion with your veterinarian about what is best for your dog.

If You Decide Not To Spay Or Neuter Your Pet
As of right now, the law cannot force you to spay or neuter your pet (although legislation to this effect has been proposed). If you choose not to spay or neuter your pet, it is imperative that you do not allow your pet breeding opportunities. If you have an unspayed female, she must be on leash at all times during a heat cycle and not be given the opportunity to interact with intact males. If you have an intact male, it is your responsibility to contain him safely so that he does not run through the neighborhood creating the next batch of puppies that will end up dying in a shelter because there are no homes for them.

Dogs should only be bred intentionally to other similarly accomplished purebred dogs if they have conformation championships, all health testing appropriate for the breed, are over two years of age, in top physical condition, display no behavioral problems (shyness, aggression, reactivity), if the breeder is prepared to spend a LOT of time and money whelping and socializing the litter, carefully interviewing potential adopters and educating them on the breed. Breeding should be left to those with a good working knowledge of canine genetics, the history of the breed and their goals for improving the breed.


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When Petting Your Dog Always Check for Lumps and Bumps


There are very few surprises that will startle you more than discovering a lump or bump on your dog. As your hand wanders over your canine pal in affectionate scratching or petting, your fingers just may chance upon a lump that “was not there before."

It will scare the biscuits out of you ... that nagging "C" word drifting about the back of your mind, your first fear is that your dog might have cancer. Setting in motion your search for an answer as to what this lump is you make a quick trip to the…I hope that lump isn't serious.

"How long has this been here?" the veterinarian asks. "Just found it yesterday, doctor," you respond.

"Let’s see if we can find any others," says the doctor as experienced and sensitive hands work the dog over.  Sure enough, "Here’s another one just like it!" says the doctor as she places your hand right over the small, round, moveable soft mass under the skin of the dog’s flank.

"I think these are what we call Lipomas, just fat deposits under the skin. They are very common and usually present no problems," says the doctor. Your relief at hearing the good news is cut short as the doctor continues …

"However, we honestly do not know what these lumps truly are unless we examine some cells under the microscope. So I’d suggest that we do a simple needle biopsy, place some cells on a slide and send the slides to a veterinary pathologist for a definite diagnosis."

The doctor in this case is being thorough and careful. How true it is that a definitive diagnosis of "what it is" simply cannot be made without microscopic examination of the lump’s cells. A veterinary specialist in pathology is the final authority and judge when it comes to shedding light on these lumps and bumps that we too often find on our canine pals.

The lipoma is one of the most commonly encountered lumps seen by veterinarians during a physical exam. These soft, rounded, non-painful masses, usually present just under the skin but occasionally arising from connective tissues deep between muscles, are generally benign. That is, they stay in one place, do not invade surrounding tissues and do no metastasize to other areas of the body. They grow to a certain size and just sit there in the tissues and behave themselves.

Most lipomas do not have to be removed. Occasionally, though, lipomas will continue to grow into huge fat deposits that are a discomfort to the dog and present a surgical challenge to remove. And even more rarely, some lipomas will be malignant and spread throughout the dog’s body.

IS IT A TUMOR?

And therein lies the true challenge in dealing with lumps and bumps on dogs -- we simply cannot predict with 100% accuracy just what any of these foreigners will do. So we do the best we can by removing them when indicated or keeping a close guard over them so that at the first sign of change they can be removed.

Not every lump or bump on your dog will be a tumor. Some superficial bumps are due simply to plugged oil glands in the skin, called sebaceous cysts. Skin cysts can be composed of dead cells or even sweat or clear fluid; these often rupture on their own, heal, and are never seen again. Others become chronically irritated or infected, and should be removed and then checked by a pathologist just to be sure of what they are. Some breeds, especially the Cocker Spaniel, are prone to developing sebaceous cysts.

And yes, the sebaceous glands in the skin do occasionally develop into tumors called sebaceous adenomas.  According to Richard Dubielzig, DVM, of the University of Wisconsin, School of Veterinary Medicine, "Probably the most commonly biopsied lump from dog skin is a sebaceous adenoma. This does not mean it is the most commonly occurring growth, just that it is most commonly biopsied." Fortunately this type of skin growth rarely presents trouble after being surgically removed.

So how are you to know which lumps and bumps are dangerous and which can be left alone? Truthfully, you are really only guessing without getting the pathologist involved. Most veterinarians take a conservative approach to the common lipomas and remove them if they are growing rapidly or are located in a sensitive area.

However, caution needs to be observed because even the common lipoma has an invasive form called an infiltrative lipoma. For example, when a nasty looking, reddened, rapidly growing mass is detected growing on the gum aggressive action is indicated.  Also, keep in mind that not all lumps and bumps are cancerous, and some are fairly innocent and do not warrant immediate surgery.

Non-cancerous lumps

Cysts, warts, infected hair follicles, hematomas (blood blisters) and others do cause concern and can create discomfort for the dog, though non-cancerous lumps have less health impact than cancerous growths.

Cancerous lumps

Cancerous growths can be either malignant or benign, and occasionally even share characteristics of both.  Malignant lumps tend to spread rapidly and can metastasize to other areas of the body. Benign growths tend to stay in the place of origin and do not metastasize; however they can grow to huge proportions (see such an example of inoperable tumor pictured on the right).

Mammary gland tumors, mast cell tumors, cutaneous lymphosarcoma, malignant melanoma, fibrosarcoma and many other types of tumors with truly scary names command respect and diligent attention on the part of dog owners and veterinarians.




DIAGNOSIS

Below are the most common methods of finding out "what it is" …

Impression Smears

Some ulcerated masses lend themselves to easy cell collection and identification by having a glass microscope slide pressed against the raw surface of the mass. The collected cells are dried and sent to a pathologist for staining and diagnosis. Sometimes the attending veterinarian will be able to make a diagnosis via the smear; otherwise, a specialist in veterinary pathology will be the authority regarding tumor type and stage of malignancy.

Needle Biopsy

Many lumps can be analyzed via a needle biopsy rather than by total excision. A needle biopsy is performed by inserting a sterile needle into the lump, pulling back on the plunger, and "vacuuming" in cells from the lump. The collected cells are smeared onto a glass slide for pathological examination. Usually the patient isn’t even aware of the procedure. Total excision of the mass is attempted if the class of tumor identified warrants surgery.




CT Scans

Superficial lumps and bumps do not require that CT Scans be done, so this procedure is usually reserved for internal organ analysis. If a superficial malignant tumor is diagnosed, however, a CT Scan can be helpful in determining if metastasis to deeper areas of the body has occurred.







Radiography

As with CT Scans, X-ray evaluation is generally reserved for collecting evidence of internal masses. Most lipomas are superficial and reside under the skin or skeletal muscles. There are other lumps that can be palpated by the veterinarian via manual examination; however, the extent and origin of that mass will often be best revealed via CT Scanning.



TREATMENT

Since every type of cell in the body potentially could evolve into cancerous tissue, the types and ferocity of tumors that develop in the dog are numerous and highly varied. Each case needs to be evaluated on its own circumstances and variables. For example, should surgery be done on a 16-year-old dog with what appears to be a 3-inch wide lipoma? Maybe not. Should that same dog have a quarter inch wide, black, nodular mass removed from its lower gum. Probably should! That small growth may be a melanoma that could metastasize to other areas of the dog’s body.

Surgery

An important basic tool in eliminating a nuisance or dangerous lump is to surgically excise it.

Chemotherapy

Chemicals that are highly toxic to rapidly dividing cells make up an important mode of treatment for fast growing tumors. A combination of surgery and radiation/chemotherapy can help the veterinarian gain the upper hand in achieving a cure. Chemotherapy is often employed as an additional precautionary procedure after a mass has been "removed" via surgery.

Radiation

For invasive tumors that do not have well defined borders and for tumors that tend to spread rapidly, radiation therapy can be a lifesaver. Available at most veterinary medical schools and some veterinary specialists in radiology, radiation therapy is appropriate for certain types of tumors. Radiation is often employed in addition to surgical excision.

Experimental


Emerging science such as gene therapy and immunotherapy hold promise for some amazing ways to combat tumors. The future looks promising for these new methods of dealing with tumors.

According to Dr. Dubielzig, the best approach to understanding what to do about a lump or bump on your dog is to be vigilant and treat each situation individually. "In cases where vigilance for tumors is part of the animal’s care, such as in animals where a malignant tumor has been removed and the veterinarian wishes to keep abreast of the stage of disease, then every lump should be submitted for histopathology," Dubielzig said. "In other cases where the clinician is sure of a benign diagnosis such as lipoma or a wart-like skin mass then it might be understandable to use discretion. The clinician also has to take into consideration the risk of surgery compared to the risk of health problems from a particular lump or bump."
  
Take a good surface inventory of your dog today, then at least once a month from now on. If you find any imperfections, take heart in knowing that modern veterinary medicine has some very effective remedies for almost all of these lumps and bumps.
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Thursday, February 10, 2022

How to Care for a Pet Mouse


Pet mice are entertaining to watch, are easy to care for, and make very few demands on their owners. They are a bit skittish and harder to handle than some larger rodents, such as rats, but they can learn to be comfortable with handling, especially if tamed from a young age. Pet mice come in a wide array of colors with fairly short fur. Their rounded ears and long tail have minimal fur. As nocturnal animals, mice will generally be most active at night and sleep through the day. In terms of their care, they require a quality rodent food and regular habitat cleanings.

To read more on this story, click here: How to Care for a Pet Mouse


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Dog Breeds Banned By Home Insurance Companies


Aside from natural disasters and water, the three things that give home insurance companies agita are dogs, pools and trampolines. Basically anything fun.

The problem with dogs is the expensive liability claims against the dog owners. Homeowners insurance pays out for dog bites or other dog-related injuries—such as a fall when a dog jumps on someone or runs at them. The average dog bite claim has been around $44,760, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

To rein in costs, many home insurance companies have lists of banned dogs—cases where the insurer won’t provide coverage if a customer owns the breed. Not all home insurers have strict lists of banned dog breeds. Some take dog bite problems on a case by case in deciding whether to offer insurance to the owner.

To read more on this story, click here: Dog Breeds Banned By Home Insurance Companies


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Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Hong Kong dog causes panic – but here’s why you needn’t worry about pets spreading COVID-19



A Pomeranian dog in Hong Kong grabbed the international media’s attention this week after scientists found traces of coronavirus in the canine. Following confirmation that the dog’s owner was positive for the virus causing COVID-19, the dog was taken from Hong Kong Island to a nearby animal quarantine facility. Subsequent tests performed on swabs collected from the dog’s nose and throat unexpectedly revealed coronavirus.

These results have raised many questions and concerns. Can our dogs really catch the virus? Should we be worried about our pets getting sick? Could dogs spread coronavirus between people?

To read more on this story, click here: Hong Kong dog causes panic – but here’s why you needn’t worry about pets spreading COVID-19



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Monday, January 3, 2022

Betty White was a trailblazing animal rights activist


Betty White had a wild side.

The legendary “Golden Girls” star — who died Friday at age 99 — was a pioneering animal rights activist devoted to saving endangered species and improving conditions at the Los Angeles Zoo.

The beloved actress worked for decades to champion animals in her charity work, along with publishing a book on the subject and starring in the nature-boosting 1971 show “Pet Set.”

“Betty White demonstrated a lifelong commitment to helping animals in need, including dedicated support for local shelters and animal welfare endeavors, fiercely promoting and protecting animal interests in her entertainment projects, and personally adopting many rescued animals,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA president and CEO.

To read more on this story, click here: Betty White was a trailblazing animal rights activist



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Elephant in circus for 50 long years collapses after being freed


After so long, she was free.

Elephants are famous for their intelligence, unique personalities, and familial bonds. Unfortunately, though, some elephants don’t get to follow their natural instincts and instead are forced to perform for people.

Two circus elephants named Sita and Mia are a good example of this.

To read more on this story, click here: Elephant in circus for 50 long years collapses after being freed


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'Very unsettling': Scientists see troubling signs in humans spreading Covid to deer


Humans have infected wild deer with Covid-19 in a handful of states, and there’s evidence that the coronavirus has been spreading among deer, according to recent studies, which outline findings that could complicate the path out of the pandemic.

Scientists swabbed the nostrils of white-tailed deer in Ohio and found evidence of at least six separate times that humans had spread the coronavirus to deer, according to a study published last month in Nature.

About one-third of the deer sampled had active or recent infections, the study says. Similar research in Iowa of tissue from roadkill and hunted deer found widespread evidence of the virus.

To read more on this story, click here: 'Very unsettling': Scientists see troubling signs in humans spreading Covid to deer


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'Her Legacy Will Have a Lasting Impact': Animal Groups Remember Betty White's Lifelong Support


 

Following the death of Betty White, the Golden Girls star is being remembered as a lifelong champion of animal welfare and conservation

Betty White is being remembered for her decades-long work in animal welfare and conservation, following her death at 99 on Dec. 31.

On Friday, the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA), the nonprofit partner of the Los Angeles Zoo, shared a tribute to the late Golden Girls star, who started working with the California zoo in 1966 and officially joined GLAZA's Board of Trustees in 1974.

"We are incredibly saddened to hear about Betty's passing this morning and want to offer our deepest condolences to her family and friends as we collectively mourn the loss of a true legend, on and off the screen," Tom Jacobson, president of GLAZA, shared in a statement obtained by PEOPLE. "Her work with the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association spans more than five decades, and we are grateful for her enduring friendship, lifelong advocacy for animals, and tireless dedication to supporting our mission."

To read more on this story, click here: 'Her Legacy Will Have a Lasting Impact': Animal Groups Remember Betty White's Lifelong Support


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Here's what happened to animals rescued in Dixie, Lava, Antelope, Fawn fires in 2021


Three bear cubs, a bobcat and a pig rescued from Northern California fires in 2021 went safely home or will soon be released.

In October, the Redding Record Searchlight published stories about animals who were victims of the state's raging wildfires, including the 1,500-square-mile Dixie Fire.

They and other animals were rescued by wildlife experts and caring neighbors. Injured wildlife received medical attention, then bunked at animal refuges where volunteers fed them and helped them keep their specialized skills and wild ways.

As 2021 wrapped up, we circled back with people who care for five of the animals we featured to see how they were doing.

To read more on this story, click here: Here's what happened to animals rescued in Dixie, Lava, Antelope, Fawn fires in 2021



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The danger of ‘Petfishing’ - and how to stop it happening this Christmas


 

Wannabe pet owners hoping to bring a new puppy or kitten home this Christmas are being urged to research the seller behind the pet to avoid being 'petfished'. 

A recent survey of UK cat and dog owners by the' British Veterinary Association (BVA) and British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA), found over a quarter (27%) had come across a seller or advert that made them feel suspicious of the welfare of the pet, while purchasing their last cat or dog.

It seems soon-to-be pet owners aren't taking appropriate care in checking out the person selling a prospective pet, with less than half (43%) of UK dog or cat owners saying they visited the seller in-person in the animal’s home when researching their recent pet purchase.

To read more on this story, click here: The danger of ‘Petfishing’ - and how to stop it happening this Christmas


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Monday, September 27, 2021

Recent discoveries reveal how dogs are hardwired to understand and communicate with people - even at birth



  • Recent findings reveal that dogs are born ready to communicate with and understand people.
  • Studies show puppies can reciprocate human eye contact and follow gestures to locate food.

  • Research also suggests puppies raised with little human contact can understand gestures without training.

Dogs often seem uncannily shrewd about what we're trying to tell them.

A handful of recent studies offer surprising insights into the ways our canine companions are hardwired to communicate with people.

To read more on this story, click here: Recent discoveries reveal how dogs are hardwired to understand and communicate with people - even at birth


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Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Do Dogs and Cats Recognize their Owners? The Many Ways Pets Tell Us Apart


Dogs and cats have many cues to help them recognize us. Learn about all the different ways our pets know who we are.

When you watch your dog bounding across the dog park, or when you see your cat perched atop her scratching post, you recognize your pet by her shape, the color of her coat, and the way she moves. You may find yourself wondering, “Does my cat know me?” or, “Can my dog tell me apart from everyone else?” Our pets certainly know who we are, but they often know us in ways that humans, with our different set of senses, can only imagine: scent, sound, and subtle cues of movement and touch.

To read more on this story, click here: Do Dogs and Cats Recognize their Owners? The Many Ways Pets Tell Us Apart



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Monday, September 13, 2021

A Pair of Barn Owls Have Been Snapped Sharing a Kiss before Snuggling Together in the Fork of a Tree


A pair of barn owls have been snapped sharing a kiss before snuggling together in the fork of a tree. The birds stayed close to each other as they preened, 'kissed' and flew together in woodland in Lea Marston, Warwickshire.

The barn owls, who found a spot in the trees where they began showing their affections to each other, are not a mating pair but sisters. The moment was captured by Leslie Arnott. 'They are quite hard conditions in the dark woodland and the pair flew for a while before sharing their special moment.' said Leslie. 'They started rubbing heads and getting quite affectionate. Then came the moment they appeared to kiss each other.

'They 'kissed' twice. 'They certainly looked like they tried to kiss but I guess we will never know for sure. 'These owls are very affectionate towards each other and work well together however they are not a breeding pair they are actually sisters. 'They continued their tender behaviour towards one another for around three minutes but the kissing happened twice within that period. 'It was luck as much as skill to catch the split second moment and I'm very glad I did.' said photographer.

Ghostly pale and normally strictly nocturnal, Barn Owls are silent predators of the night world. Lanky, with a whitish face, chest, and belly, and buffy upperparts, this owl roosts in hidden, quiet places during the day. By night, they hunt on buoyant wingbeats in open fields and meadows. You can find them by listening for their eerie, raspy calls, quite unlike the hoots of other owls. Despite a worldwide distribution, Barn Owls are declining in parts of their range due to habitat loss.

Barn Owls swallow their prey whole—skin, bones, and all. About twice a day, they cough up pellets instead of passing all that material through their digestive tracts. The pellets make a great record of what the owls have eaten, and scientists study them to learn more about the owls and the ecosystems they live in. Up to 46 different races of the Barn Owl have been described worldwide. The North American form is the largest, weighing more than twice as much as the smallest race from the Galapagos Islands.

Barn Owl females are somewhat showier than males. She has a more reddish and more heavily spotted chest. The spots may indicate the quality of the female. Heavily spotted females get fewer parasitic flies and may be more resistant to parasites and diseases. The spots may also stimulate the male to help more at the nest. In an experiment where some females' spots were removed, their mates fed their nestlings less often than for females whose spots were left alone. The Barn Owl has excellent low-light vision, and can easily find prey at night by sight. But its ability to locate prey by sound alone is the best of any animal that has ever been tested. It can catch mice in complete darkness in the lab, or hidden by vegetation or snow out in the real world. The oldest known North American Barn Owl lived in Ohio and was at least 15 years, 5 months old.






Video: An Introduction to the Barn Owl



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