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Prepare Your Home for an Earthquake and Keep You and Your Pets Safe

Tuesday, November 24th, 2020

From:  www.porch.com at:

https://porch.com/advice/prepare-home-earthquake-keep-pets-safe

November 2, 2020

While many homeowners are under the false impression that earthquakes are restricted to certain areas of the U.S., the reality is that an earthquake can strike any location at any time. Although states like California, Alaska, Washington, and Oregon are more prone to the risk of an earthquake, one can happen anywhere without warning. An earthquake can cause tsunamis, landslides, fires, and other disturbances that can wreak havoc on an entire region.

As with any natural disaster, the best time to prepare is before the unexpected happens. Read on to learn about earthquake preparedness tips you can use to safeguard your home, family, and pets.

Earthquake Preparedness Tips for Your Family

While natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and typhoons can be predicted beforehand, even with today’s advanced technology, there’s no fool-proof way for weather departments to detect the location and magnitude of an earthquake. Although scientists do have a general understanding of which areas of the United States are most prone to earthquakes, they’re unfortunately still unable to assess the exact time this type of catastrophe will occur. For that reason, the only way to minimize loss of life and property damage is to prepare beforehand.

No matter where you live, there are certain earthquake safety tips you can implement to ensure your family’s safety.

Earthquake Readiness Planning Begins Inside the Home

The best place to begin planning your family’s earthquake safety measures is within your home. Follow these five earthquake safety procedures to keep your family safe:

  1. Identify both the safest and most dangerous areas of your home. Review these areas with your family members so everyone understands where to go if disaster strikes.
  2. Designate a safe zone where you and other family members can meet if you get separated during or after an earthquake.
  3. Since fires often break out after earthquakes, make sure your family knows where the fire extinguisher is and how to use it properly.
  4. Run regular earthquake readiness drills with your family so they become more familiar with how to respond if a disaster occurs.
  5. Review your community’s earthquake preparedness plans. Identify your city’s safety zones and include an emergency meeting place in your family’s plan in case you get separated.

Build an Earthquake Emergency Kit

After an earthquake, you may have to survive for several days on your own until help arrives. Smart earthquake preparedness means you have enough food, water, and other essential supplies to last for several days. Build a collection of basic household items that you might need if you’re forced to evacuate your home quickly or if you’re unable to leave your home temporarily.

What to Include in an Earthquake Emergency Kit

When assembling your earthquake emergency kit, take your family’s unique needs into account. For example, consider the needs of your pets or senior citizens when building your kit. If you have a baby, don’t forget to pack formula, bottles, wipes, diapers, and other essentials. A basic disaster supply kit safety checklist should include:

  • A gallon of water per person per day to last several days
  • At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food that can be prepared without gas or electricity
  • Flashlights with extra batteries
  • A first aid kit
  • Waterproof matches
  • A battery-powered emergency radio so you can keep up with current information
  • A whistle to signal for help
  • A manual can opener
  • A map of your city
  • Hand sanitizer or moist towelettes
  • Prescription medications
  • Non-prescription medicines such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and antacids
  • Masks to help filter contaminated air
  • Copies of important documents such as ID cards, bank account information, and insurance policies
  • Sleeping bags or heavy blankets to stay warm

Create an Earthquake-Proof Home to Prevent Structural Damage

Prepare your home for an earthquake to keep your family and home safe from seismic activity. Use this home safety checklist to reduce property damage and help ensure safety:

Purchase Earthquake Insurance

If you live in a region that’s particularly prone to earthquakes, purchasing earthquake insurance is critical. Depending on the magnitude, an earthquake can cause extensive damage to property. Most homeowner’s insurance policies don’t cover earthquake-related damage. If disaster does strike, earthquake insurance can help cover the costs of repairing your home or purchasing a new one so you and your family can continue to live life as normal.

Reinforce the Structural Elements of Your Home

Many new properties are built on a strong foundation, but older homes may be held in place simply by their weight. If your home isn’t fixed firmly to the ground, it may be prone to wobbling, cracking, or crumbling if an earthquake occurs. Here are a few ways you can create an earthquake-proof home:

  • Repair any cracks in your walls or roof.
  • Reinforce the cripple wall of your home, which is located between the foundation and the first floor of your home.
  • Reinforce attached structures such as your garage, chimney, and joint shed.
  • Secure anchor bolts or steel plates between the foundation and the house. This small investment can prevent your home from sliding or being overturned during an earthquake.

Secure Items within Your House

After an earthquake, gas leaks can be even more dangerous than the natural disaster itself. Consider investing in automatic shut-off devices or breakaway gas shut-off devices so you can easily turn the gas off. Then, follow these safety precautions to prepare the inside of your home for an earthquake:

  • Fasten taller furniture like wardrobes, armoires, and bookcases to the wall with straps or safety cables.
  • Hang heavier objects such as mirrors and artwork away from couches, beds, or any other furniture where people sit.
  • On shelves, place heavier objects and breakables as low as possible.
  • Secure your water heater to the wall.
  • Install safety film on glass doors and windows.
  • Secure ceiling fixtures like chandeliers and ceiling lights to the permanent structure of your home.
  • Install latches on cabinet doors and drawers to prevent items from spilling out.
  • Identify the locations of your circuit breaker or electrical fuse box and water shut-off valve so you can quickly turn them off if needed.

If you’re unsure about how earthquake-proof your home is, a professional engineer can evaluate your structure. Don’t hesitate to ask about home safety repair and strengthening tips for features like your porch, deck, sliding glass doors, carport, garage door, or other structures.

Earthquake Pet Safety Tips to Practice During and After an Earthquake

After an earthquake, it’s not uncommon for families to deal with the grief of a missing pet that became separated during the catastrophe. Unfortunately, many pets may never be reunited with their family members due to poor earthquake preparedness. In an emergency like an earthquake, your pet will be even more dependent on you for its well-being and safety. Your family’s earthquake disaster preparedness plan should also include the needs of your pet.

What to Include in an Emergency Kit for Pets

Make sure your furry family members are also ready for a major disaster like an earthquake by following these earthquake pet safety tips. When building a disaster preparedness kit for your pets, follow these safety procedures:

  • Pack enough food and water to last for at least five days for each pet. Don’t forget to pack your pet’s bowl and a manual can opener.
  • Make sure your pet is properly identified by a tag, collar, or microchip. Your pet should always wear an ID, even when indoors.
  • Become aware of your pet’s favorite hiding places. If your pet becomes frightened, it may try to hide.
  • Keep a list of your pet’s medical records and medications and store this information in a waterproof container.
  • Keep a leash, harness, and secure carrier close by in case you need to suddenly leave your home.
  • Take current photos of your pet to help others identify it if you become separated.
  • Display a pet alert window sticker on your house to let first responders know there’s an animal inside.
  • Write down information about your pet’s feeding schedule or medical conditions along with the contact information of your veterinarian in case you have to temporarily board your pet or place it in a shelter.
  • Include your pet’s favorite toy and blanket in the kit for increased comfort.

The above guide is primarily about common household pets such as cats and dogs. If you’re looking for earthquake disaster preparedness tips for other animals such as reptiles, birds, or small animals like hamsters or gerbils, follow these recommendations from the ASPCA.

Prepare Now for an Earthquake

Since earthquakes are more unpredictable than other natural disasters, they can be extremely dangerous. The likelihood of aftershocks following an earthquake can make matters even worse. While there’s no way to know when an earthquake will occur, you can do your part to prepare for one beforehand. Keeping every member of your family educated about earthquake readiness is important. Hopefully, these earthquake safety measures will help you keep you, your family, and your pets safe before, during, and after an earthquake.

Surviving the Holidays without Your Pet

Wednesday, November 18th, 2020

TO REGISTER:  https://petlosspartners.com/special-events/

5 Things You May Not Know About Goldens

Wednesday, November 18th, 2020

Mercola Healthy Pets

Analysis by Dr. Karen Shaw Becker
golden retrievers

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Golden Retrievers are hugely popular dogs, but many people don’t realize there are three different types — American, Canadian and British
  • The differences among them are subtle, involving coat colors and body size
  • Earlier this year, the world celebrated Augie, the first Golden to reach the amazing age of 20
  • One of the reasons for the popularity of GRs is their eagerness to please; another is their extraordinary work ethic

Unless you’ve been living on another planet, you can probably pick out the Golden Retriever in a crowd of dogs, because they’re everywhere you look — on TV, in the movies, in videos, in pictures, posters and print advertisements, and in nearly every neighborhood across the globe.

Not only is this breed wildly popular with dog parents (#3 out of 196 according to the American Kennel Club),1 but Goldens are also among the most photographed, videoed and written about dogs anywhere.

Interestingly, a little factoid about GRs that not many people know is there are actually three varieties of the breed: American, Canadian and British. The differences among them are subtle, but they exist!

  • American Golden Retriever — The American GR coat comes in a range of shades from blonde to red, is very dense and neither coarse nor silky. The coat lies close the body, with heavier feathering on the neck, thighs, and tail. The average male American Golden is 23 to 24 inches, and females usually measure 21.5 to 22.5 inches in height.
  • Canadian Golden Retriever — The coat of the Canadian Golden is typically shorter and thinner than its American and British counterparts, with a texture that is neither wiry nor silky, and with less feathering. Like their cousins to the south, the average male Canadian GR is 23 to 24 inches tall; females are typically 21.5 to 22.5 inches tall.
  • British Golden Retriever — The British (aka English) version of the breed has a long, feathery coat like the other two varieties, but unlike them, the British GR is usually cream-colored and slightly smaller. Males typically stand 22 to 24 inches in height, and females an average of 20 to 22 inches.

World’s Oldest Golden Turns 20

Augie (short for August), an American Golden Retriever, became the oldest GR on record when she turned 20 in April of this year. This is quite remarkable when you consider that so many Goldens live only about half as long.

After being rehomed twice (through no fault of her own), Augie was 14 when she found her third and true forever family, Jennifer and Steve Hetterscheidt of Oakland, Tennessee. Jennifer was working as the intake director at a GR rescue in southern Nevada, and she fell in love with Augie the second she laid eyes on her.

“She’s just darling,” Hetterscheidt told CNN. “There’s nothing to not love about her. She’s happy doing something and happy doing nothing. I can’t imagine life without her.”2

The Hetterscheidts have taken Augie on RV trips around the country along with her three Golden siblings — Sherman, Belle and Bruce. She also enjoys playing fetch in the pool and taking daily walks around the yard.

On her big day, though the coronavirus pandemic canceled the 100-person party planned by the Hetterscheidts, Augie still celebrated her 20th with a dog-friendly carrot cake, blueberries and a few other goodies. And decorations, of course. Pics of the birthday bash.

Here’s a short but fascinating interview Rodney Habib and I did with Augie’s dad, Steve Hetterscheidt:

5 More Fun Facts About Goldens

1.The breed originated in Scotland — The Golden Retriever was born in the Scottish Highlands, developed by a man named Dudley Marjoribanks, later known as Lord Tweedmouth. In 1865, Marjoribanks purchased Nous, the only yellow puppy in a litter of black wavy-coated retrievers.

Within a few years, Nous was bred to Belle, a Tweed Water Spaniel (a breed that is now extinct), and several of their yellow puppies became the foundation for a line of yellow retrievers.

2.These dogs have an extraordinary work ethic — Originally bred to be biddable (easy to train and eager to please), calm, and sensible for use as hunting dogs, the Golden Retriever’s physical and mental traits also lend themselves to more modern activities. The breed excels as obedience competitors, tracking dogs, show dogs, guide and assistance dogs, and search and rescue dogs.

3.Goldens are exceptionally eager to please — There’s probably no better proof of this than that the first three AKC obedience champions were Golden Retrievers. This breed is extremely easy to train and comes in fourth in The Intelligence of Dogs by Stanley Coren,3 as one of the brightest dogs ranked by obedience-command trainability.

4.They require lots and lots of exercise — To avoid boredom and weight gain, and to maintain their large, heavy frames in good condition, Goldens need at least one brisk long walk, jog or run each day. Games of fetch (retrieving) can be great exercise, as can swimming. Given the opportunity, this breed is sure-footed on hiking trails and loves the opportunity to explore nature.

5.Not every Golden Retriever is a born retriever — If you want to exercise your Golden with games of fetch, it’s a good idea to introduce him to the sport at a young age. It’s possible he’ll know instinctively what to do as soon as you throw the ball the first time, but some dogs need to learn through repetition and lots of praise each time they return the ball or other toy.

Most quickly learn that in order for the game to continue, they must bring the ball back and drop it. Keep in mind, though, that once your Golden gets the whole retrieving thing down, it can quickly become an obsession!

Making sense of genetic disease in dogs and cats

Thursday, October 15th, 2020

From Journal of the American Veternary Medical Association (JAVMA)

Making sense of genetic disease in dogs and cats

Published on October 14, 2020

Understanding genetic disease in mixed-breed and purebred dogs and cats can bring about more effective treatments and better client service, says clinical geneticist and general practitioner Dr. Jerold Bell.

French bulldog

“If we understand the genetic background of our patients, we’re better positioned to prevent, to mitigate, or to alter the expression of genetic disease, allowing our patients to be healthier in their lifetimes as well as to breed healthier dogs and cats,” Dr. Bell said.

An adjunct professor at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, Dr. Bell spoke about genetic diseases during the AVMA Virtual Convention 2020 this August. In addition to his teaching duties, Dr. Bell works as a solo practitioner, and he sees “dogs and cats all day long and sees genetic disease in our patients all day long.”

He explained that common genetic disorders are caused by ancient disease liability genes that preceded breed formation. Since these mutations occurred long before the separation of breeds, these diseases are seen across all breeds and in mixed breeds.

The most common hereditary diseases in dogs are allergies, followed by hip and elbow dysplasia; inherited cancers such as lymphoma, hemangiosarcoma, mast cell tumor, and osteosarcoma; patella luxation; nonstruvite bladder stones; hypothyroidism; mitral valve disease; inflammatory bowel disease; diabetes mellitus; retained testicles; and umbilical hernias.

In cats, the most prevalent genetic diseases are inflammatory cystitis, then feline urological syndrome, diabetes mellitus, lymphoplasmocytic gingivostomatitis, nonstruvite bladder stones, allergies, eosinophilic skin disease, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Disease is not a function of homozygosity, which happens when identical DNA sequences for a particular gene are inherited from both biological parents, nor is it a consequence of inbreeding. Rather, Dr. Bell explained, hereditary diseases are a result of the accumulation and propagation of specific disease liability genes. Breed-related deleterious genes accumulate in various ways, including direct selection for disease-associated phenotypes, linkage to selected traits, carriage by popular sires, genetic drift, and—most importantly—the absence of selection against deleterious phenotypes.

“If we don’t select for healthy parents to produce offspring, then we have no expectation of health in those offspring,” Dr. Bell said. “Not selecting for health is selecting for disease, and we need to understand that and pass that on to our breeder clients.”

On the topic of disease and extreme phenotypes, Dr. Bell said brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome is frequently diagnosed at veterinary clinics on account of the popularity of certain brachycephalic dog breeds, namely Pugs, French Bulldogs, and Bulldogs. Most breed standards do not call for the expression of extreme phenotypes, he said, nor do they select for the most extreme size or the most extreme brachycephalic trait.

“Moderation away from extremes that cause disease should be the guiding principle in breeding,” Dr. Bell noted, and in judging dog shows.

Common genetic diseases seen in mixed-breed dogs and cats occur randomly because of dispersed ancient liability genes, according to Dr. Bell. Uncommon and breed-specific recessive or complexly inherited disease is far less likely to occur in mixed-breed individuals.

Dr. Bell said designer-bred dogs and cats often have inherited diseases common in random-bred populations. They can also inherit disease liability genes shared by the parent breeds or parent species. “So if you’re breeding short-statured breeds together, it wouldn’t be surprising to see patellar luxation, or in smaller toy size breeds, to see mitral valve disease,” he said.

Hereditary disease manifests as a result of anatomical mismatch between parent breeds. “We see a lot of this in dental disease, where we see crowding of teeth and malocclusions and misplaced teeth,” Dr. Bell continued. “Even in the musculoskeletal, if you breed two breeds with different body types together, we may see degenerative joint disease and poor joints. All of these things, all need to be monitored.”

Sunshine Mills, Inc. Expands Recall Of Pet Food Products Due To Potentially Elevated Levels Of Aflatoxin

Saturday, October 10th, 2020

Sunshine Mills, Inc. is expanding its voluntary recall of certain pet food products that were made with corn that contained Aflatoxin at levels above FDA’s action levels.

Assessing Canine Pain

Tuesday, October 6th, 2020

 

Chronic pain can significantly affect daily living activities in our pets. In a previous blog I posted photos and descriptions to determine pain in cats. Determining pain in dogs can be more difficult, as there can be wide variability between pet owner and veterinarian observations, as well as variability in how dogs express pain. Dogs may act differently at home and in the veterinary exam room.

Currently there are no biomarkers (biochemical or physiologic parameters) that reliably correlate to chronic pain. Physiologic biomarkers, such as blood pressure, heart rate, and cortisol levels, have very low specificity because circumstances other than pain such as fear, anxiety, and stress can also affect these markers.

Objective measurements are not widely used in veterinary practice. These might include force plate measurements, computerized gait analysis, and activity monitors. Unfortunately, even if these were utilized widely, they may only give insight into mobility parameters, with no measurement of internal pain. The most common chronic pain condition encountered in dogs and cats is osteoarthritis (OA); other conditions that can cause chronic pain include intervertebral disk disease, chronic pancreatitis, cancer, and other illnesses.

Things to consider when determining pain level in your dog include:

  • Ability to play
  • Appetite
  • Gastrointestinal function
  • Hygiene (ability to maintain cleanliness, urine or stool incontinence)
  • Interaction with family members
  • Presence of pain (flinching when touched, tension in the body, vocalizing)
  • Sleep (increased, decreased, interrupted by pacing or wandering)

One owner assessment questionnaire that has been widely used was developed in Finland by the University of Helsinki researchers. By filling out the questionnaire weekly, a pet owner can determine whether their dog’s mobility is improving or declining from week to week. Another assessment questionnaire has been developed by the canine arthritis association.

A more complete assessment of pain may be made using the BEAP Pain Scale created for pet hospice patients. By assessing appetite, ability and desire to move around, facial expressions, body weight, and vocalizations a pet owner can determine changes in pain scores from week to week.

Determining quality of life can be difficult for pet owners and veterinarians. By using these tools weekly it is possible to document changes in pet comfort that may help make decisions regarding improved pain management to improve quality of life.

There are many treatment options available for pain. Don’t let your pets suffer in silence.

About Dr. Morgan

Americans are starting to give up their pets because of COVID-19 hardships

Tuesday, October 6th, 2020

We’ve been hearing that  shelters are adopting out many animals as a result of the COVID Pandemic.

Well, this article tells the other side of the sad story about pets during the COVID Pandemic.

Animal shelters and other nonprofits are working to help keep pets at home with the people who love them.

Courtesy Best Friends Animal Society

 / Source: TODAY
By Jen Reeder

When three older Labrador retrievers wound up at Lily’s Legacy Senior Dog Sanctuary this summer, they hadn’t done anything wrong.

Luka, 7, Kona, 9, and Bella, 11, had lived happy lives together as ranch dogs in California. But when their owner lost his business and his home due to the coronavirus pandemic shutdowns, he could no longer afford to care for them. He’d tried for about a month to figure out a way to keep them but realized he didn’t have a choice.

“He was a mess,” Alice Mayn, founder of Lily’s Legacy, told TODAY. “Those dogs were his life. He’d done a really, really good job with them but he had to give them up.”

Because the dogs were so bonded to one another, the sanctuary managed to place them together in a new home. But Mayn is concerned that other senior pets are at risk during the pandemic. Lily’s Legacy, which is located in Petaluma, California, has already had five dogs surrendered due to the pandemic recession, and she knows of two more coming in soon for the same reason.
Three black Labrador retrievers smile from the back of a car.
After being surrendered to Lily’s Legacy Senior Dog Sanctuary in Petaluma, California, due to economic hardships, Luka, Kona and Bella were adopted together to a loving home. Alice Mayn, founder of the sanctuary, is concerned that more senior dogs will be surrendered during the pandemic and is hosting “Saving Senior Dogs Week” from Oct. 26-Nov. 1 to highlight the need for senior dog adoption.Courtesy of Lily’s Legacy Senior Dog Sanctuary

“We’ve had people that have been affected by the recession, and the lack of jobs, and not being able to pay their rent and that sort of thing,” she said. “They’ve lost their homes or have to move and can’t take a dog with them or are moving in with family and they don’t have room. There are a variety of things. I’m very worried about them — and this COVID thing obviously isn’t going to go away tomorrow.”

In August, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals released data estimating that 4.2 million pets will enter poverty in the next six months as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, a 21% increase from pre-pandemic estimates. The total number of animals living in poverty could rise to more than 24.4 million dogs, cats, horses and other animals.

Matt Bershadker, president and CEO of the ASPCA, said the organization is working to address the crisis. In March, the nonprofit launched a $5 million COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Initiative to help families keep their pets at home by improving access to veterinary care, pet food and supplies.

“We are working to reimagine how the animal welfare and veterinary field can best serve pets, owners and communities,” he told TODAY in an email. “Providing access to free pet food, supplies, veterinary care, emergency boarding and information will help keep animals safe and healthy, in their homes and out of shelters, while also sustaining important family bonds for millions of people.”

Volunteers pass pet food for a pantry.
The ASPCA’s $5 million COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Initiative, launched in March, provided $2 million in grant funding to more than 50 animal welfare organizations across 30 states. As part of the response effort, the nonprofit also donated more than 1,800 tons of emergency food for dogs, cats and horses with struggling owners.Courtesy of the ASPCA

Bershadker suggests people facing economic hardships contact their local animal shelter, veterinary clinic, food bank or other community service provider to learn more about available resources.

Sarah Brown, division chief of Manatee County Animal Services, which operates the Manatee County shelter in Palmetto, Florida, said her shelter and others are focusing on individual needs to assist with whatever issues people are facing. For instance, MCAS started offering a drive-up pet food pantry at the onset of the pandemic for anyone in the community who needed assistance. Many people came for food, but others still couldn’t keep their pets.

“While we continue to offer assistance to the community, ownership of a pet has become beyond the capacity for so many,” she told TODAY in an email. “Aside from simply not being able to afford their pets, we have seen many impoundments made because owners are in jail or have been sent for mental assistance.”

A puppy gets loving care at an animal clinic.
Many shelters are working with veterinary professionals to provide free or discounted services like vaccinations, spay/neuter and other medical care to pets whose owners are facing financial difficulties due to the pandemic.Courtesy of the ASPCA

Kristen Hassen, director of animal services at Pima Animal Care Center, the municipal animal shelter in Tucson, Arizona, said the shelter has distributed a million meals to pets in the area since May, a huge increase. While the overall number of pets being surrendered is still down thanks to pet services and retention efforts, there’s an increase in the reason: pandemic-related issues.

A black cat runs toward the camera.
Many leaders in animal services believe the future of animal sheltering will involve increased help from fosters, who temporarily shelter pets in their homes not only when the animal is waiting for a forever home, but while their owners are hospitalized or dealing with a temporary crisis.Courtesy of Best Friends Animal Society

“We are seeing an uptick in intakes due to evictions, intakes due to temporary crises, and intakes due to job loss,” she told TODAY. “We’re seeing an increase in intakes due to people having either mental health crises or needing to go into drug rehab. Those are the kinds of factors that maybe don’t become immediately associated with COVID, but clearly, people are really struggling and everything we’re seeing in our data is pointing to that.”

In March, Hassen co-founded Human Animal Support Services, a network of more than 500 animal services leaders trying to transform the role of shelters.

With grant funding, HASS has started providing not just pet food distribution but free veterinary care to pet owners impacted by the pandemic and boarding for pets whose owners are facing temporary crises or have been hospitalized with COVID-19.

“We’re trying to become pet support centers and resource centers, rather than these intake facilities that all we do is churn animals in and out of the system without addressing the root causes of why they’re coming in in the first place,” she said.

Julie Castle, chief executive officer of Best Friends Animal Society, said housing issues are the second most common reason that people surrender dogs and cats to shelters. So the national nonprofit advocates for affordable, pet-friendly housing without breed, size and weight restrictions on pets and cost-prohibitive pet deposits.

She said renters should learn their rights as tenants and know what resources are available in their community prior to eviction, and mentioned evictionlab.org as a good source for information. She also recommends embracing the power of “neighbors helping neighbors,” whether through the neighborhood social networking site NextDoor or reaching out in person.

A child pets a senior corgi.
Animal shelters and nonprofits across America are working together to try to keep pets with the families that love them.Sarah Ause Kichas / Best Friends Animal Society

“Helping people find needed resources or even providing temporary foster care for the pets of neighbors in crisis can help keep their pets from being relinquished to shelters as they get back on their feet,” she told TODAY in an email. “The amazing outpouring of people fostering and adopting has made a huge difference in the impact to community shelters and ultimately, the animals.”

“We’re just having a marvelous time,” she told TODAY. “They are just delightful and fun, and they listen and they’re very smart. They’re just diamonds.”

Thr
Tara Nicole Weyr adopted Kona, Luka and Bella from Lily’s Legacy Senior Dog Sanctuary after their previous owner lost his home and business.Courtesy of Lily’s Legacy Senior Dog Sanctuary

She said their “dad” did everything right in raising them, and that she thinks about him every day because she knows giving them up must have been so hard. She hopes that people who truly have no other option than to surrender their pets take comfort knowing there is still a chance for a happy ending.

“I know a lot of people who care about senior dogs and will adopt them,” she said. “There is hope out there.”

Billy + Margot Dog Food Recall

Thursday, September 24th, 2020

Billy+Margot Wild Kangaroo Dog Food Recalled For Possible Salmonella

 

How We Can Confuse Our Dogs

Saturday, August 1st, 2020

WHOLE DOG JOURNAL WEEKLY

TIP

So often in training, when a dog doesn’t perform the desired behavior in response to the given cue, we blame the dog. I often hear, “He’s blowing me off!” or “She’s being stubborn!” In reality, the handler just didn’t make it clear enough for the dog to fully understand what the person was trying to teach. Here are ways we confuse our dogs:

DON’T EXPECT YOUR DOG TO AUTOMATICALLY KNOW OUR LANGUAGE. Dogs don’t come with an English software package installed. We must patiently teach them our language, one cue at a time.

NOT TAKING THE TIME TO DEFINE THE CUE’S GOAL BEHAVOIR. Have in mind the specific definition of what you expect. I suggest you create a cue dictionary. Write down every cue you currently use, then define the goal behavior for each cue. Do you want a straight sit with square hips or a sidesaddle sit? A speedy down or a slow down? Defining your cues and the goal behavior for each in writing will help you be clear in your own mind about what you expect, and that will make it more clear for your dog.

AVOID ADDING CUES TOO EARLY. It’s important to teach your dog the behavior and make sure she can perform it reliably before adding the cue.

DON’T USE TWO CUES SIMULTANEOUSLY. For example, a verbal cue and a body cue (hand signal): Dogs are keen observers. They pick up on our body language before they pick up on our words. If you use a verbal cue, but also a body movement with it (such as the word “sit” and then the hand signal for “sit”), I’d bet that if you said the word and didn’t use the body movement, the dog probably wouldn’t understand what you meant and might not give you the behavior you expect.

POOR REINFORCEMENT. Don’t fail to reinforce the newly learned behavior enough for it to become fluent. Some dogs catch on very quickly; others more slowly, but they all can learn if we’re patient and reinforce the desired behavior appropriately.

DON’T CHOOSE CUES THAT LOOKS SIMILAR OR SOUND SIMILAR. Choosing the verbal cues such as Down and Bow for two different behaviors can be confusing for your dog. Instead of Bow, I suggest Bravo or TaDa!

There are other reasons a dog doesn’t respond to a cue: the dog didn’t see or hear the cue; the dog didn’t recognize the cue because it’s too similar to another cue; the dog was distracted by the environment (another dog, person, squirrel); the dog felt unsafe.

So, repeat after me: “Don’t blame the dog.” Take a look at your training techniques and find a way to tweak the process so you can help your dog be successful. When your dog is successful, she earns reinforcement and that behavior you worked diligently to install and put on cue works perfectly. The result is clear communication with your favorite furry friend. Happy dog. Happy trainer!

For more information on cues for your dog, download Whole Dog Journal’s ebook The Recall.

German sniffer dogs show promise at detecting coronavirus

Monday, July 27th, 2020

Researchers in Germany have found that army sniffer dogs can discern between samples from coronavirus-infected and healthy patients. So high is the level of accuracy, they hope this can be used in real-life scenarios.

    
Deutschland Coronavirus Spürhunde der Bundeswehr (Reuters/W. Rattay)

Scientists at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hanover have found that trained sniffer dogs could be used to detect COVID-19 in human samples with a relatively high rate of accuracy, a study published on Thursday revealed.

Eight sniffer dogs from the German Bundeswehr were trained for only a weekto distinguish between the mucus and saliva of patients infected with coronavirus and non-infected individuals.

The dogs were then presented with positive and negative samples on a random basis by a machine.

‘Potential to take this further’

The animals were able to positively detect SARS-CoV-2 infected secretions with an 83% success rate, and control secretions at a rate of 96%. The overall detection rate, combining both, was 94%.

In its conclusion based on more than 1,000 sniffed samples, published in the BMC Infectious Diseases journal, the team said dogs could play a role in detecting infected individuals.

Sniffer dogs that normally look for explosives or drugs have been used previously to smell various cancers and hypoglycemia in diabetics. This medical application motivated veterinary scientists to research the potential ability of sniffer dogs to detect the coronavirus.

“We think that this works because the metabolic processes in the body of a diseased patient are completely changed and we think that the dog is able to detect a specific smell of the metabolic changes that occur in those patients,” said Professor Maren von Köckritz-Blickwede, a specialist in the biochemistry of infections.

“What has to be crystal clear is that this is just a pilot study,” said Holger Volk, chair of the university’s department of small animal medicine. “There’s a lot of potential to take this further — to really use these dogs in the field.”

In their conclusion, the team envisaged using sniffer dogs to detect infectious individuals in certain places.

“In countries with limited access to diagnostic tests, detection dogs could then have the potential to be used for mass detection of infected people,” said the conclusion. “Further work is necessary to better understand the potential and limitation of using scent dogs for the detection of viral respiratory diseases.”

The samples with which the sniffer dogs are being tested were chemically rendered harmless. The question remains whether the canines can detect active coronavirus cases in patients.

The researchers are also looking at how well dogs can differentiate between samples from COVID-19 patients and those with other diseases such as flu.