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Dogs Die in Hot Cars!

Every year, depressingly, dogs die horrific deaths being slowly roasted alive! It’s shocking and it happens in this country – a nation of supposed dog lovers.

These dogs are killed by owners who have just popped to the shops or stopped on the motorway for a break and left their dog to cook in the oven that a car becomes when stationery in warm weather – and it doesn’t even need to be particularly sunny.

Leaving a window open simply doesn’t help alleviate distress or death. Why not try it yourself and experience just how hot it gets – and how quickly – when you’re sitting inside your car in a fur coat!

In a survey of 2,000 adults across the UK earlier this year, canine welfare charity Dogs Trust found that:

More than 1 in 10 people know a dog that has come to harm left in a parked car ion warm weather

Almost half the people mistakenly believe it is okay to leave a dog in a car if counter measures are taken (for instance a window is left open or the car is parked in the shade).

People are more likely to leave their dog in a car alone for a few minutes than their phone!

Over a quarter of dog owner s in the UK admit to having left their dog alone in a parked car

In addition to the Dogs Trust’s research, the AA has disclosed that the number of potentially fatal incidents involving dogs trapped in cars has risen by more than 50 per cent in the last 6 years!

AA patrols are frequently called out by worried owners who have accidentally locked their car keys in the car with their pet. Since the start of April this year the AA has attended more than 200 breakdowns because of a pet locked in a car.

Dogs Trust vets have issued the following advice to pet owners and concerned animal lovers:

  • Don’t leave your dog in a parked car – even for a few minutes. It may seem cool outside but your dog can become extremely hot very quickly. Parking in the shades and/or leaving windows open does not make it safe!
  • If you see a dog in distress in a parked car call the police on 101 or the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 (SSPC Scotland on 0300 999 999)
  • Make sure you keep your dog as cool as possible when driving – avoid travelling during the heat of the day, use sun blinds on windows and open a window to allow a cool breeze to circulate
  • Make sure you have a supply of water and know where you can stop off en route for water breaks. Dogs are not able to cool down as effectively as humans so could suffer from heatstroke and dehydration very quickly
  • If you are present at the rescue of a distressed dog from a hot car, seek immediate veterinary advice. Then first priority is to prevent the dog from getting any hotter so provide shade from the sun and move the dog to a cooler area. Dampening the dog down with cool (bit not freeing) water will help bring his body temperature down.
  • Wet towels can be used to cool a dog but these must be regularly changed or sprayed with water and placed in front of the air conditioning vent to enhance evaporation on the way to an emergency veterinary appointment

www.dogstrust.org.uk

RSPCA on 0300 1234 999

SSPC Scotland on 0300 999 999

Weight Control

Alfie

Hello everyone. Alfie here!

I’m always picking up bits of useful information, so I thought I’d share some with you each month.  This month, it’s all about…

Weight Control!

A report by the pet food manufacturers association (PFMA) suggests Britain is facing an epidemic of overweight cats and dogs!

Although owner’s awareness of pet obesity has improved, vets still feel up to 45 per cent of dogs they see are overweight although worryingly, 63 per cent of owners think their pet is the correct weight.

As to the main causes of weight gain in dogs, these are thought to be:

  • Exceeding manufacturers feeding guides – two in three owners don’t follow the guidelines when deciding their pets portion size
  • Feeding left overs
  • Giving too many treats – nearly half of owners feed pets treats more than twice a day and one in three uses ‘human’ food to treat
  • Insufficient exercise

Three in four UK vets now run obesity clinics and welcome questions from owners about their pet’s weight, so contact your vet to see what support is available.

To complement its ‘Weigh-in Wednesday’s’ initiative: www.pfma.org.uk/weighinwednesday, the PFMA has now launched the #GetPetsFit Facebook campaign to help support owners who are doing their best to tackle their pets weight issues.

Find out more at www.facebook.com/GetPetsFit

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Dogs pay more attention to us than you think!

Dogs pay more attention to us than previously thought, with new research showing that they remember our actions and other events even when the occurrences didn’t hold any particular importance at the time they happened.

The discovery, reported in Current Biology, adds dogs to the short list of other animals — including rats, pigeons and primates — that are known to have what’s called “episodic memory.” This is opposed to “semantic memory,” which is a recollection of facts and rules that an individual knows without the need of remembering a specific event.

“So the difference between episodic and semantic memory can be thought of as the difference between remembering and knowing,” lead author Claudia Fugazza of MTA-ELTE Comparative Ethology Research Group in Budapest, Hungary, told us.

People use episodic memory all of the time, she said. For example, if someone asks you, “What did you do first when you woke up this morning?” you could think back to that time, like rewinding video, and play the moment back in your head.  Now it’s known that dogs can do something very similar.

The skill is usually tied to self-awareness, so the findings intriguingly hint that dogs could possess that form of cognition too, although Fugazza says it’s “extremely challenging to design a study to test for it in dogs.”

As it stands, she and her colleagues Ákos Pogány and Ádám Miklósi had to overcome difficulties in testing canine memory skills. They took advantage of a dog trick called “Do as I Do.” Dogs trained to “Do as I Do” can watch a person perform an action and then do the action themselves. For example, if their owner jumps in the air and then gives the “Do it!” command, the dog would jump in the air too.

Successfully performing the trick is not enough to prove that a dog has episodic memory, though. That’s because they had to demonstrate that dogs remember what they just saw a person do even when they weren’t expecting to be asked or rewarded.

To get around this problem, the researchers first trained 17 dogs to imitate human actions with the “Do as I Do” training method. Next, they did another round of training in which dogs were trained to lie down after watching the human action, no matter what it was. Examples included silly things like grabbing a purse covered with dog photos, or touching an umbrella.

After the dogs had learned to lie down reliably, the researchers surprised them by saying “Do It!” and the dogs did what they saw the person do earlier. In other words, the dogs recalled what they’d seen the person do beforehand, even though they had no particular reason to think they’d need to remember.

In addition to showing that dogs have episodic memory, the study is the first “to assess memory of actions performed by others, not by the subjects themselves,” Fugazza said, adding that it also suggests dogs remember much of what we do all of the time, “although it may seem irrelevant for them.”

“This is a skill,” she continued, “that might be useful for a species living in a rich and complex environment where there is so much to discover, and their human companions can be considered as knowledgeable partners to learn from.”

Next, she and her team plan to investigate whether dogs understand the goals of others, or if they are just imitating the observed movements, regardless of the goal. They are curious about such matters, Fugazza said, because dogs may prove to be a great model for studying the complexity of episodic memory “especially because of their evolutionary and developmental advantage to live in human social groups.”

Fostering dogs at Christmas

Fostering dogs at Christmas

Battersea dogs and cats home is looking to recruit new foster carers who can take animals home and look after them while they recover from operations or to give them a break from life in kennels.

The charity hopes the scheme might particularly appeal to those who live alone and are looking for companionship over the festive season. Battersea are looking for foster carers who live within about 2 hours drive of one of the Battersea’s 3 centres. Ideal candidates need to  have time to spend with their animal at home, a willingness to learn about animal behaviour and welfare and be able to bring their foster animal to Battersea when needed.

All foster cares receieve full training in dog or cat welfare, all food and equipment and medication the foster animal needs, reimbursement of travel expenses and advice & support from Battersea’s foster coordinators.

To find out more about fostering visit www.battersea.org.uk/dogs/fostering or call 0843 509 4444. If you can’t foster but would still like to support animals this Christmas, you can donate a meal, treat or toy for a homeless animal to enjoy on 25th Deccember. The gifts can be donated online at www.battersea.org.uk/christmas and they will be given to the animals on Christmas day.

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Fostering dogs at Christmas

Fostering dogs at Christmas

Battersea dogs and cats home is looking to recruit new foster carers who can take animals home and look after them while they recover from operations or to give them a break from life in kennels.

The charity hopes the scheme might particulalry appeal to those who live alone and are looking for companionship over the festive season. Battersea are looking for foster carers who live within about 2 hours drive of one of the Battersea’s 3 centres. Ideal candidates need to  have time to spend with their animal at home, a willingness to learn about animal behaviour and welfare and be able to bring their foster animal to Battersea when needed.

All foster cares receieve full training in dog or cat welfare, all food and equipment and medication the foster animal needs, reimbursement of travel expenses and advice & support from Battersea’s foster coordinators.

To find out more about fostering visit www.battersea.org.uk/dogs/fostering or call 0843 509 4444. If you can’t foster but would still like to support animals this Christmas, you can donate a meal, treat or toy for a homeless animal to enjoy on 25th Deccember. The gifts can be donated online at www.battersea.org.uk/christmas and they will be given to the animals on Christmas day.

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Spaying and Neutering Pets

Spaying and neutering pets is a big decision for pet owners. Although the idea of a pet having surgery can be scary, spaying and neutering is a common practice performed by veterinarians that can be beneficial to both you and your pet. In fact, the decision to spay or neuter your pet may be the best decision for your pet’s overall health.

Spaying is the removal of reproductive organs in female dogs and cats. According to professionals, spaying has a few general benefits, such as owners not having to tend to heat cycles or surprise litters of puppies or kittens. Benefits to neutering male pets—or removing the testicles—include decreased urine marking and aggression toward other males. In addition, neutered male pets are less likely to roam—a behaviour that typically occurs when females of the same species are in heat. Roaming also puts your male pet at risk for getting lost, hurt, or injured by a car. It is also beneficial to neuter males and spay females to combat pet overpopulation.

In addition to the general benefits of spaying and neutering your pets, there are also specific health benefits. In female pets, spaying eliminates pyometra—an infection of the uterus of older dogs that can be life-threatening. Pyometra also requires emergency surgery in many cases. Spaying also reduces the risk of breast cancer, the most common cancer of female dogs, especially when performed before the first heat cycle. In males, neutering eliminates BPH—benign prostatic hyperplasia—which can cause difficulty urinating and defecating later in life. Neutering also eliminates the risk of testicular cancer.

Spaying or neutering your pet can also cut down on veterinary expenses. Caring for puppies, kittens, females with pyometra or breast cancer, and aggressive or injured male dogs as a result of roaming can be expensive compared to the cost of spaying or neutering. In fact, there are health risks associated with pets that are not spayed or neutered. The cost of caring for a pet with reproductive system cancer or pyometra can easily surpass the expense of spaying or neutering your pet.

Female pets can develop mammary cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, and pyometra if they are not spayed. Dystocia during whelping—or trouble giving birth—is another potential risk spaying can decrease or eliminate. Male dogs can develop testicular cancer, a condition called testicular torsion in which the testicle twists on itself, and benign prostatic hyperplasia—or an enlarged prostate—if they are left intact.

While there are many reasons pet owners should consider spaying and neutering their pet, there is also a reason to leave the pet intact. The pet may be purebred, has desirable traits that the owner wishes to pass on to the offspring, and has no genetic defects. Breeding to maintain a bloodline or for desirable traits is perfectly reasonable. In any other case, there are plenty of dogs and cats available to adopt and no reason not to have a dog or cat spayed or neutered.

Additionally, some pet owners may choose not to spay or neuter their pet because they fear their pet will gain weight or have stunted growth. Spaying and neutering does reduce the metabolic rate by about 25 percent, so if you’re pet is an adult and no longer growing, you should reduce the amount you feed the pet by a fourth to maintain a healthy body weight. Some people are concerned that spaying and neutering will not allow their dog to grow to its full genetic size, but a lot of other factors influence this, including nutrition and environment.

Sighthounds

What is a sighthound?

A sighthound in its most basic form is a dog that hunts by sight, rather than using the more common canine skill of scent hunting. The eyesight of the sighthound is in fact generally rather keener than that of the average dog, but a large part of how they spot their prey in the first place is due to movement. While the sighthound can identify prey such as rabbits by their moving against the backdrop, if the animal in question was to simply keep still, the sighthound would stand a much smaller chance of spotting it at all.

An example of some sighthound breeds are…

How to tell if your dog is a sighthound

Sighthounds do not have to be pure bred or listed above to be classed within the type; one of the best known sighthounds types that is not in fact a pedigree dog at all is the Lurcher. The Lurcher is a dog composed of the crossing of any pedigree sighthound dog with any other dog breed at all; so if your dog contains partial sighthound ancestry, then they will likely be classed as a sighthound as well. If your dog’s breeding is totally unknown but they tend to be on the leggy, slender side, have keen vision for movement and are fast on their feet, the chances are that they are a sighthound too.

There is some debate over whether various other pedigree dog breeds not mentioned, such as the Rhodesian Ridgeback, should also be considered as sighthounds despite their also falling into other type categories, as they are also relatively adept sight hunters too.

Exercise requirements for sighthounds

If often comes a surprise to people learning about sighthounds that sighthounds do not require multiple prolonged periods of strenuous exercise to keep them happy. While sighthounds are very fast on their feet and will enjoy the opportunity to go for a flat-out run, they are designed for short bursts of very high speeds, rather than prolonged endurance exercise. Providing that you can make provision for a couple of on the lead walks per day with the opportunity for a period of free running with plenty of space and freedom, your sighthound will generally be perfectly happy and not overly energetic the rest of the time! Sighthounds are particularly good at walking to heel, and do not have a great tendency to pull at the lead or be a pain to walk. You do not need to be a sprinter or an exercise junkie to keep a sighthound happy!

Feeding sighthounds

Sighthounds are not among the biggest eaters, and while they enjoy treats, are not the most food-motivated of dogs, and do not have a marked tendency for begging or scrounging, unless they are insufficiently fed. Sighthounds are lean by design, and while they require high-energy foods to support the short bursts of activity they display when running flat out, generally their portions will not be huge, and should be tailored to the size and weight of the dog.

Bonding and communication with sighthounds

Sighthounds can, at first glance, appear to not be among the most personable and enthusiastic of dogs, and they are generally very quiet and laid back rather than demanding a lot of attention. However, they are also very loving and loyal dogs, and very affectionate with their owners. They greatly enjoy petting and attention, and will love to curl up on the sofa with you! They often like to stand leaning against their owners, letting you know that they are there! They are sometimes referred to as the couch potatoes of the canine world, and they very much like their creature comforts, such as comfortable beds and warm rooms.

Dogs Are Even More Like Us Than We Thought

Alfie

Hello everyone. Alfie here!

I’m always picking up bits of useful information, so I thought I’d share some with you each month. This month, it’s all about…Dogs Are Even More Like Us Than We Thought

It’s likely no surprise to dog owners, but growing research suggests that man’s best friend often acts more human than canine.

Dogs can read facial expressions, communicate jealousy, display empathy, and even watch TV, studies have shown. They’ve picked up these people-like traits during their evolution from wolves to domesticated pets, which occurred between 11,000 and 16,000 years ago, experts say.

In particular, “paying attention to us, getting along with us, [and] tolerating us” has led to particular characteristics that often mirror ours.

Eavesdropping Dogs

Social eavesdropping—or people-watching—is central to human social interactions, since it allows us to figure out who’s nice and who’s mean. According to a study published in August in the journal Animal Behaviour, our dogs listen in too.

In a new study, scientists tested 54 dogs that each watched their owners struggle to retrieve a roll of tape from a container. The dogs were divided into three groups: helper, non-helper, and control.

In the helper group, the owner requested help from another person, who held the container. In the non-helper group, the owner asked for help from a person, who then turned their back without helping. In the control group, the additional person turned his or her back without being asked for help. In all experiments, a third, “neutral” person sat in the room.

After the first round of experiments, the neutral person and the helper or non-helper both offered treats to the dog.

In the non-helper group, canines most frequently favoured the neutral person’s treat, shunning the non-helper. However, in the helper group, the dogs did not favour either the helper or the neutral person over the other. Scientists have previously observed similar results in human infants and tufted capuchin monkeys.

So are dogs taking sides by ignoring the people who are mean to their owners? Only future research will tell.

Last Word from Alfie…

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Why Adopt an Oldie?

Alfie

Hello everyone. Alfie here!

I’m always picking up bits of useful information, so I thought I’d share some with you each month. This month, it’s all about…

Why Adopt an Oldie?

The puppy or young dog lying in your living room will one day become old.

God willing, he will still be with you, loved and given every consideration until his dying day. But there is always ‘what if?’.

People get ill, families split up, dogs stray and get lost. What if it was your dog with the arthritic joints and the fading eyesight waiting in a cold kennel day-in, day-out for months on end? Wouldn’t you want someone to take care of him and restore all the home comforts that you allow for him now?

The alternative for these dogs is bleak.

The ageing process will accelerate rapidly in a stressful environment; concrete floors are not designed for old bones and joints. The bustle of day-to-day life in kennels is not always compatible with an old character who just wants to curl up by the fireside, content in the knowledge he is loved and safe. The tragic reality is that the old dog will spend his last days in kennels, wondering why he is there and not in the arms of a human who loves him.

Enrich Your Life With an Oldie

There’s no such thing as a typical oldie, and there’s no such thing as a typical home.

Maybe you want a companion but your own health means you are unable to satisfy the exercise needs of a young dog. Oldies are often quite happy with a potter around the garden and a 20 minute slow-paced stroll around the neighbourhood.

Some oldies are ideal for families/couples who are active, but out for some of the day. These dogs thrive in a lively household with a couple of brisk walks each day and longer walks at weekends, but enjoy the peace and quiet when their owners are at work, and they’re left alone to snooze by the radiator.

How many of us know what we will be doing in five years time, or ten? Many people could offer a fantastic home to a dog but ‘would like to travel in a few years’ or ‘will go back to work when the kids start school’. When you take on a pup or a young dog you need to be as sure as you can that you can honour that dog with a home for life, which can be anything up to 18 years or more. With an older dog, the commitment is just as immense, but the time-frame is likely to be shorter.

Obviously oldies are not for everyone but they do have so much to offer. They are generally less problematic than younger dogs that still need guidance and training, given that very few oldies will not have spent at least some of their life in a home environment. For this reason, they make ideal choices for first-time dog owners. Myself, I will always have an oldie (or four!) around my home. The reward of knowing that you have given a noble and faithful dog a warm, loving home for the last few years of his life is incalculable.

Contact oldies@oldies.org.uk

www.oldies.org.uk/why-adopt-an-oldie

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5 Ways To Prevent Dog Sunburn

Alfie

Hello everyone. Alfie here!

I’m always picking up bits of useful information, so I thought I’d share some with you each month. This month, it’s all about…

5 Ways To Prevent Dog Sunburn

While most dogs do just fine out in the sun, there are a few important things you should know about. Following are 5 simple things you can do to prevent your dog from getting a sunburn:

Most people don’t realize that dogs with short legs are more susceptible to sunburn than other dogs. Why? Because their bellies are closer to the ground, therefore it’s easier for the tummy area to get sunburn from the sunlight being reflected off the ground.

How to prevent dog sunburn:

1 – Apply a dog sunscreen: When should sunblock be applied? You’ll want to put a quality dog sunscreen on each time before your dog goes outside — especially if your dog will be spending a lot of time out in the sun.

Where should sunblock be applied on a dog? Put it on your dog’s nose, belly, ears, and groin. Any spot that is normally “pink” on your dog — including any skin that shows when your dog is shaved — should be protected with sunscreen prior to being outdoors for long periods of time. Avoid using dog sunscreen around the eyes. (see #5 below)

It’s not always a good idea to use a human sunscreen on your dog. The reason? Many human-grade sunscreens are toxic to animals, especially those that contain PABA or zinc oxide. That said, as long as your dog doesn’t lick the sunscreen itself, then baby sunblock and those made for sensitive skin would probably be fine for your dog.

2 – Keep your dog indoors during the hottest part of the day: That generally means from 10AM to 3PM and applies year-round — because sun exposure is sun exposure, regardless of whether it’s summer, winter, spring, or fall. If your dog will be in the backyard for long periods of time, make sure to provide some shade for your dog.

3 – Don’t cut your dog’s fur too short: Your dog’s hair is one of the things that helps to protect the skin from sun exposure. If your dog has at least half-an-inch of fur, then it would be highly unlikely that sunburn would ever occur. However, if your dog is shaved, then be very careful whenever he is exposed to the sun. That said, fur alone isn’t the best source of sun protection.

4 – Buy sun protection dog clothes: In addition to mid-length dog shirts, look for a full-body dog sunsuit. Ideally, you want at least 30+ UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor). Dog sun suits with 50+ UPF are best.

5 – Protect your dog’s eyes: The eyes are a common spot for canine melanoma. That’s why doggie sunglasses, like Doggles, are so popular. They’re the world’s only eyewear made just for dogs.

What if your dog gets sunburned:

If your dog does happen to become sunburned, 100% pure Aloe Vera gel is the best way to quickly and easily soothe your dog’s skin.

Here’s what you need to know about the different types of dog sunburn, and how to professional treat it.

Last Word from Alfie…

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