If you’ve got a well-behaved dog, then it’s possible that you’ve been tempted to walk him off-leash before. Your dog loves it, and you feel like there’s really no reason to use that pesky leash anymore so what could possibly go wrong?
A lot, as it turns out. Here are seven big reasons why you should always keep your dog on a leash:
Convinced yet that you should always leash your dog? If not, think about it this way: even if your dog is the most well-behaved little dude in the whole world, do you really want to take that chance and put his life in jeopardy if he happens to act out of the ordinary?
Photo courtesy of Cesar's Way.
It’s easy to take our canine friends for granted when they’ve been by our side virtually since the dawn of humanity. But have you ever stopped to consider how on earth your hyper, loyal (and maybe not so smart) furry friend was originally descended from the wild, clever, and fearful wolf?
It all started with the gray wolf tens of thousands of years ago. The theory goes that humans began taking in and taming wolf pups that would rummage through human trash, and since wolves are pack animals, it was relatively easy for them to fit in with their new human “packs.” Somewhere down the line, we humans realized that a relationship with these tamer wolves was extremely beneficial for hunting, and the rest is history.
We know that dogs were descended from wolves through DNA evidence, but other than that, the specifics of domestication history is actually not very well understood. For example, where exactly were they first domesticated? Some claim the Middle East, while others say Europe or East Asia, but no one really knows for sure. Greger Larson, an archaeologist and geneticist, says that because dogs were domesticated so long ago and have cross-bred so many times throughout history, that their genes are like “a completely homogeneous bowl of soup.”
And here’s another interesting tidbit: in the 20th century, a Russian geneticist named Dmitri Belyaev attempted to find out why domesticated dogs look and act so much different from their wolf ancestors. To do this, he bred tame foxes for several generations until he noticed that they began to display similar typical features of dogs that are normally absent in wild foxes, including floppy ears, shorter snouts, spotted coats and the tendency to bark.
Based on DNA, we know that dogs were descended from wolves and not foxes, so what the above information tells us is that the these specific dog characteristics cannot be a product of natural selection, but rather that the genes that account for tameness must also carry a code for things like barking or spotted coats.
To complicate matters even more, some researchers, like Larson, believe that dogs may have even been domesticated twice. His theory on this says that humans in western Eurasia domesticated the gray wolf, while at the same time, humans farther east in Asia were also domesticating gray wolves. Around the time of the Bronze Age, humans from the East began migrating, with their canine companions, westward. Upon meeting, the western dogs mated with the eastern dogs, resulting in a new branch in the domestication tree.
Confused yet? Don’t worry, no one really knows all the answers to this mystery, and at this point Larson says that the only way we’ll ever know the full truth about the domestication of dogs is “to go back in time.” Just be happy that your furry companion is (hopefully) much more cuddly and playful than a gray wolf!
It’s no secret that we’re pretty progressive when it comes to marijuana here in Washington state. Everyone’s jumping on board the weed train: your teachers, your parents, and even your grandma is taking a newfound interest in the previously illegal substance. But what happens when your dog happens to find your stash that you accidentally left sitting out on your coffee table? Let’s take a look.
The first thing you’re probably wondering is, can dogs actually get high? Why yes, they can. Not unlike humans, dogs can get high through ingesting marijuana directly or consuming edibles. But while marijuana leaves many of us humans with a pleasant sense of euphoria and perhaps a never-ending fit of the giggles, dogs could end up with some severe effects that can even lead to death if they ingest too much of it.
Typical, less-serious signs that your dog has ingested marijuana include pacing back and forth, panting, loss of balance, or even paranoia. Symptoms will tend to show up between 30 and 60 minutes after the substance has been ingested.
Sometimes just packing away your weed securely isn’t enough to make sure that Fido doesn’t get the negative effects of marijuana. As it turns out, secondhand smoke can also be quite harmful to dogs. Inhaling causes marijuana to hit the bloodstream more quickly, so symptoms will show up faster that way than if ingested.
So how can you tell if your dog has had a little too much fun with your weed stash? There are several symptoms of marijuana poisoning that include lethargy, dilated pupils, seizures or a low heart rate. And of course, if you suspect that your dog has ingested marijuana, contact your veterinarian or Animal Poison Control right away.
Unfortunately there hasn’t been a ton of research conducted on dogs and marijuana, so we don’t have all the information yet. Some researchers even believe that a small amount of marijuana could be beneficial to dogs! But when in doubt, it’s probably better to keep your pot in a secure spot far away from your dog until more research has been conducted on the topic!
Whether you think it’s adorable or incredibly annoying, you’ve probably heard your dog howl before and wondered why on earth he does that. The reasons are numerous, as it turns out. In the simplest of terms, howling is just another way for dogs to communicate, just like barking, growling or whining. But let’s get into the science of it.
In the wild, wolves may howl in order to communicate to other packs that they’re approaching forbidden territory, or to guide a pack member back home who may have lost his way. Howling is incredibly difficult to study organically, however; it’s almost impossible to research in the wild because the behavior and movement patterns of wolves is so vast. Dr. Arik Kershenbaum, a zoology research fellow at the University of Cambridge, says that trying to study wolf howls “is like trying to follow a whale underneath the ocean. We simply cannot keep up with them.”
Additionally, studying howling in captive wolves and dogs is nearly pointless because they simply don’t howl for the same reasons that their wild counterparts do.
Instead of howling to ward off an opposing pack, your dog likely howls when he hears a loud noise that’s hurting his ears (like an ambulance siren or you breaking out your old trumpet from high school), or to try to get your attention when you (the pack leader) leave - in other words, he misses you when you’re gone!
Another theory is that your dog might be howling along with your loud music because he wants to fit in with the pack and imitate the group’s behavior.
Past that, we don’t really know much else about why domesticated dogs howl, as most behavioral research on dogs has focused on barking and human-dog interactions - dogs do much more barking than their wolf cousins.
Lastly, if you’re thinking about getting a dog and you want to avoid the doggy singing, it’d probably be wise to stay away from the following breeds: Alaskan Malamute, Beagle, Husky, Hound breeds, and the Tamaskan Dog to name a few.
We may not know that much about howling in the grand scheme of things, but one thing researchers do know is that wolves and dogs don’t actually howl at the moon!
Test your dog health IQ!
Did you know that the following foods are toxic to dogs?
Hops: unknown compound causes panting, increased heart rate, elevated temperature, seizures, and death.
Iron Supplements (Vitamins): can damage the lining of the digestive system and be toxic to the other organs including the liver and kidneys.
Liver (in large amounts): can cause Vitamin A toxicity, which affects muscles and bones.
Macadamia nuts: contain an unknown toxin, which can affect the dog's digestive and nervous systems and muscle.
Marijuana: can depress the nervous system, cause vomiting, and changes in the heart rate.
Mushrooms: can contain toxins, which may affect multiple systems in the body, cause shock, and result in death.
Onions and Garlic (in all forms): contains sulfoxides and disulfides, which can damage red blood cells and cause anemia.
Potato, Rhubarb, and Tomato leaves; Potato and Tomato stems: contain oxalates, which can affect a dog's digestive, nervous, and urinary systems.
Raw eggs: contain an enzyme called avidin, which decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin). This can lead to skin and hair coat problems. Raw eggs may also contain Salmonella.
Raw fish (in large quantities): can result in a thiamine (a B vitamin) deficiency leading to loss of appetite, seizures, and in severe cases, death.
Tobacco: contains nicotine, which affects the digestive and nervous systems. Can result in rapid heartbeat, collapse, coma, and death.
Xylitol: a natural low-cal sweetener derived from Birchwood that's found in many chewing gums.
Yeast dough: can expand and produce gas in the digestive system, causing pain and possible rupture of the stomach or intestines.
Think your dog may have eaten something poisonous?
Call the Animal Poison Control Center at 1-(800)-213-6680 or visit their website at www.petpoisonhelpline.com.
($39 per incident fee applies)
What started out as a game, somewhere along the line, has become serious.
“Throw it! You are supposed to throw it!” He’s panting and foaming at the mouth, his body coiled like a spring. He looks at you, then the ball, then at you, then the ball. You toss his favorite toy into the air and he leaps, with a slapping sound he snatches it from the air. An instant later it is at your feet. He looks at you, then the ball, then at you, then the ball… After 45 repetitions, he looks exhausted, but the intensity of his ping-pong gaze begs otherwise.
Where is the line between intense play and obsessive behavior? The reward system in a dog’s brain is similar to that in humans. Dogs can become literally addicted to certain activities much like humans do, often engaging in a behavior long after it have become pleasurable to do so.
Here are some warning signs that your dog may be an ball junkie.
What not to do?
What to do?
Final Note: Each dog’s personality is different, know your dog and consult a certified trainer for advice. I hope these tips have been helpful.
Thanks to all our clients and friends that helped raise money to support PAWS - Progressive Animal Welfare Society this weekend at their yearly 5k fundraiser! Bowen, Root Beer, Madigan, and Nala look quite dashing in their green bandanas, don't they? — at Marymoor Park.
We exceeded our fund-raising goal, adding to the over $150,000 donated to the cause of rehabilitating injured and orphaned wildlife, adopting homeless cats and dogs, and educating people to make a better world for animals. We also had a pretty great time in the process.
Visit PAWS for more information about their work in the Pacific Northwest. Information on the 5K walk can be found here: PAWSWalk2014. Thanks again for everyone's generous support!
Yes. Freckles are common in certain breeds of dog and often become more prominent with age or after a dose of summer sun. Often referred to as Ticking, freckles are caused by a series of dominant genes that effect the melanin production of your doggie’s eyes, coat, and skin.
A Cattle Dog’s roan markings, as well as a Dalmatian’s spots, though technically different from freckles, are also controlled by this T-Series gene.
If you are looking to unravel the mix of your mutt, it may be useful to know that ticking is most often found in Dalmatians, Cattle Dogs, English Setters, as well as many spaniels and hounds. Australian Shepherds, Border Collies, and Corgis are some of the herding breeds that also carry ticking.
Check out some fascinating information on Coat Color Genetics from our friends across the pond.
Final Note: though a dappled doggie can be adorable, if your dog's skin seems itchy or irritated, it can be a sign of something more serious. Some basic information on canine skin problems can be found on the ASPCA website, but always consult your veterinarian if you have any concerns.
Many of my clients swear by a raw food diet for their dogs. They often report that their dog has a thicker shinier coat and increased energy, or that their joints seem less sore after play, or that a pesky unidentified allergen has stopped bothering them. Now, while I can't substantiate all of these claims, I can attest to one thing that a raw food diet can offer: dogs love it!
When feeding a group of dogs, it's a frequent occurrence: dog looks down at his bowl full of bland dry pellets, looks up and glances next-door to the dog with her gushy-mushy bowl of raw food. He looks up and sighs, “man, I want what she's having!”
When house-sitting for a pet on a hunger strike, a tablespoon of raw food is the lord of all enticements. If you've got a finicky pet or if your dog seems bored with the same ole food, give raw food a try.
Keep in mind that some canine stomachs can be sensitive to certain foods or changes in diet, so consult your vet if you have any questions. More on raw food diets can be found here, in an article written by our friends at All The Best Pet Care: Raw Food 101.
Also check out an interesting service from the peeps that inspired this article at Darwin's Natural Pet Products: get a free Menu Consultation for your pet.