Friday, 19 September 2014

Reasons Why A Dog Will Make Your Life So Much Better

Anyone who owns and loves a dog knows it becomes hard to live without their consistent and utter devotion to you. And even though they may love you at least partially because they literally rely on you to do things like eat, it's a two-way road when you own a dog. You may keep them alive by feeding and taking care of them, but they are also taking care of you. Numerous studies have shown that owning a dog benefits a person's physical and mental well-being. So thank your dog for making your life so much better.

You get exercise too when you take your dog out

Walking your dog helps you stay more active than people who don't have to walk the dog. A 2006 Canadian study found that dog owners were more likely to participate in moderate physical activity than those who didn't own a dog. They walked an average of 300 mins per week, compared with non-dog owners, who walked an average of 168 mins per week.

Dogs can strengthen the bonds between humans

recent study at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University found that people who have strong connections to their pets also have social and relationship benefits. The researchers surveyed 500 18-26yr-olds and found that those who had "strong attachment to pets reported feeling more connected to their communities and relationships." They also found that the more attached a person was to an animal as a teenager and young adult, the more empathetic and confident he or she was.

Some dogs can detect if you have cancer or not

A black lab named Marine could save your life. The specially-trained eight-year-old dog can detect when a person has colorectal cancer 91% of the time just by sniffing the person's breath. And if she smells stool, she can detect whether the person has colorectal cancer with 97% accuracy. It's estimated that a dog's sense of smell is up to a million times better than a human's.

Dogs can also help make sure you don't eat things you are allergic to

Pups trained at the Florida Canine Academy can smell even the slightest hint of peanut in a room. This comes especially handy for people who have intense peanut allergies. These dogs are so good that they can detect peanuts in a cookie or in a candy bar that is wrapped in a lunch bag. In Texas, a place called "Southern Star Ranch" provides trained dogs to people who are suffering with severe peanut allergies. 

Just looking at your dog will make you feel happier

2009 study by Miho Nagasawa of Azabu University in Japan found that one's level of oxytocin (the neurohormone that elicits feelings of happiness) raised intensely after interacting with their dogs. And the only interaction they needed was to stare into their dog's eyes. Those who looked longer into their dog's eyes had the bigger dose of oxytocin. Fun fact: A dog's willingness to meet eyes with humans is one of the things that separates them from wolves.

A dog's face could bring out the caretaker in you

Homans writes that Austrian zoologist Konrad Lorenz, speculated that a dog's face could possess an "infant schema" - meaning that its "high forehead, big eyes, short snout and floppy ears might have evolved to take advantage of human's innate responses." The features are known as "social releasers" and can elicit a human caregiver's response.

Dogs seriously calm you down in high-stress situations

Karen Walker, a psychology professor at the University of Buffalo, performed a series of tests that proved dogs help reduce people's everyday stress. She wired volunteers to blood-pressure monitors and had them count rapidly backwards by threes from a four-digit number (a task that seems simple, but is actually pretty challenging. Just try it.) She found that the subject's stress response was significantly lower if there was a dog in the room. 

They help us recover psychologically from a crisis

Dogs have been proven to help the recovery process of soldiers going through post-traumatic stress disorder. One army veteran, Robert Soliz, a former army specialist who served in Baghdad, found that engaging with dogs in a program called "Paws for Purple Hearts" helped him get his life back to the way it was before he left for war. When he returned, Soliz was so traumatized that he couldn't show any affection and struggled to even hug his kids. After spending 6wks with a golden retriever, Soliz began to feel more comfortable with his family.

Your dog could help prevent your child from developing eczema

In 2010, a study found that children who were allergic to dogs but lived with at least one of them during their first year of life had a lower risk of developing the chronic skin condition eczema by age four. Interestingly, the complete opposite is true for cat ownership. Researchers found that children with cat allergies were 13 times more likely to develop eczema if they lived with a cat within their first year.

Your pooch could be your cure for loneliness

Loneliness is common among the elderly. Studies have shown that in people 60yrs of age and older, owning a dog were four times less likely to be diagnosed as clinically depressed. "The Waltham Book of Human-Animal Interactions: Benefits and Responsibilities" cites a study on medical visits by elderly people. The study proved that, compared with non-owners, pet owners made fewer medical visits over the course of a year.

Your dog will force you to be social, for better or for worse

When you own a dog, you are forced to interact with people because you have to walk that dog in public. People are more likely to stop and say hello to you because you have a cute pup bouncing alongside you. In some cases, these interactions could change the rest of your life.

Owning a dog could make you more attractive to potential love matches

According to a study conducted by Dog's Trust, the United Kingdom's largest dog welfare charity, when they surveyed 700 people, 60% said that owning a dog can make people more attractive, while 85% think people are more approachable when they are with a dog. Even more, it could matter what kind of dog you own. 

A dog makes us appreciate the simple things in life

Homans presents one of the best arguments for why a dog is a great asset to one's life: The dog "takes us back to simpler modes of interaction." Homans writes "In a world of email and texting and videoconferencing, a relationship with a dog is unmediated by technology." Couldn't we all use a cuddly canine to tear us away from our smartphones?

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Major Summer Hazards for Your Pet

1. Heat and sun exposure
Dogs and cats become dehydrated quickly, so make sure they have access to plenty of fresh water and shade when outdoors. In fact, dog houses aren't ideal, as they trap heat.

American Kennel Club (AKC) recommends filling up an inflatable pool for your pooch if he or she is spending the day outside. If it's over 80 degrees and/or humid, avoid long walks and asphalt or other hot surfaces, which can burn paw pads. Walk your dog early in the morning or in the evening, especially if you plan to run or play.

Signs of heatstroke and dehydration include heavy panting, difficulty breathing, bright red gums or tongue, thick salvia, and unsteadiness. If you suspect your pet has heat stroke, act immediately. Give your pet water or ice cubes, move her to a cool location, and immerse or spray her with cold water - just be careful not to overdo it.
Just like you, pets can get sunburned. "Dogs can get sunburned on their noses where they have no fur, in areas where they've been shaved, or if they're older and have a sparse coat," says Dr. Bonnie Brown, founder of the Gotham Veterinary Center in New York City. "You do need to put sunscreen on them." Consider using a kiddy sunscreen if you don't want to splurge on doggy SPF. 
Finally, never, ever leave your dog in the car, even if it's parked in the shade and the windows are open. 
2. Toxins in and around the house
Commonly used lawn products may be poisonous if ingested, so look for natural, non-toxic garden care products if your pet likes to nibble. Steer clear of treated areas on walks. 
For a complete list of toxic plants for pets, check the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)'s database.

Keep bug repellent, Citronella candles, and other insect-killing products away from pets. If you suspect your dog or cat has eaten something toxic, call the ASPCA/RSPCA Poison Control Center hotline or head to the vet immediately. 
3. Parties 
While your pooch may love socializing as much as you do, you're less likely to be watching him closely at a busy party. Hot grills and barbecues are a hazard for pets as well as open pools. Beware of human foods that are poisonous to pets, including alcohol, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, chives, avocado, chocolate, macadamia nuts, and products sweetened with xylitol. And always avoid feeding your dog raw or undercooked meat and bones as they may contain harmful bacteria.

4. Water
Never leave your dog unsupervised around a swimming pool - even if he's a swimmer, he may not be able to get out of the pool without help. Luckily, it's okay for dogs to drink some pool water! "Just like kids, dogs do sometimes ingest chlorine water or salt water, but they don't usually ingest enough of the water to be a problem... though sometimes it will make them vomit," says Dr. Brown. She also recommends rinsing off your pooch after swimming in a pool or ocean as both chlorine and salt can irritate a dog's skin.

5. Open windows at home
When it gets hot outside, we tend to open the windows, but it poses a serious hazard to pets, especially if not on the ground floor. People should not open a window without a screen.


6. Traveling
Planning to take your pet with you on a summer road trip? Never leave a dog or cat in a parked car or trailer. Dogs should not ride in the front seat, where they could be thrown against the car if you stop short or get under your feet. Dogs should have pet seat-belts. And don't forget that they need bathroom breaks, too.

If you're planning to fly with a pet, be very conscious of potential overheating. Make sure your pet's crate is stocked with water and possibly even ice packs. 
And always talk to the airline about their safety procedures.

Plan for your flight with your pet
  • Choose the most direct flight to your destination. This will help reduce the stress on your pet.
  • Contact the airline you and your pet will be traveling on. Make sure your pet has a reservation and find out if there are any new travel restrictions or issues you need to be aware of. You will want to inform the airlines as early as possible as some limit the number of pets on a flight.

When you choose a kennel/carrier for your pet make sure:
  • It is sized correctly. There should be enough room for the animal to stand and sit in a natural position, turn around, and lie down. Some airlines require brachycephalic, or pug nosed dogs, to have a kennel an extra size larger for their safety.
  • The kennel door closes securely. A major cause of pet injury during airline travel is the animal getting out of the kennel. The door must not be locked as federal regulations require that your pet is accessible in the event of an emergency.

Approved for air transport
  • You should begin crate training as early as possible to ensure that your pet is comfortable in the kennel. Trying to escape and actually escaping from the kennel during the flight is the most common cause of injury for pets that fly. Some pets may take up to 6mths to become comfortable in a kennel, and some may never completely accept the kennel. If your pet does not become comfortable with the crate before the flight, you may want to reconsider flying your pet.
  • If you are traveling to a foreign country, make sure that you have met all the quarantine and health requirements of your destination. In some cases failure to do so may cause your pet to be destroyed.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Plastic Bottle Recycling Booth doubles as a water and food dispenser for Homeless Dogs

How great is this!

In Istanbul, Turkey, where an estimated 150,000 stray dogs and cats reportedly wander the streets, a Turkish company called Pugedon believes it has come up with a way to feed the animals: “Smart Recycling Boxes,” a machine that dispenses food and water in exchange for recycled plastic bottles.

The benefits of the vending machine are two-fold: encourage recycling and feed the city’s strays. Recycling is put on top and food is dispensed out the bottom within easy reach for animals in need. There’s even a water dish attached so users can pour the remaining water from a plastic bottle before recycling it. The recycled bottles are supposed to cover the cost of the food.

The problem of managing stray dogs in international cities most recently came to light during the 2014 Winter Olympics, when stray dogs roamed the streets of the Games’ host city, Sochi, Russia. When it was reported that some of the Sochi strays were going to be culled, animal rights activists sprang into action to rescue the homeless pups, and even some of the athletes brought them back to the United States.

Here’s how it works:
  1. Empty the rest of clean water from bottle.

2. Place bottle in opening.

3. Water and food becomes readily available for any hungry dog!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Victoria Stilwell

One of my all-time favorite dog trainers Victoria Stilwell is one of the worlds most recognized and respected dog trainers. Stilwell is best known for her role as the host of Animal Planet's hit TV series:

“It's Me or the Dog”, where she shares her insights and passion for positive-reinforcement dog training

Reaching audiences in more than 45 countries, Stilwell helps counsel families on their pet problems.

She has a particular fondness for rescue animals in need of behavior rehabilitation and devotes much of her time and energy to a number of animal rescue organizations in New York and Atlanta, serving as a behavior adviser and giving regular seminars on the subject of dog rescue, training and rehabilitation.

Stilwell is a passionate advocate for positive-reinforcement training methods that enhance a dog's ability to learn while increasing his confidence. The results are a healthy, well-adjusted pet. She is a vocal opponent of punitive, dominance-based training techniques, which often result in quick fixes but ultimately cause more long-term harm than good.

She is committed to helping the cause of animal rescue and is heavily involved with rescue groups around the world, including Paws Atlanta, Stray From the Heart (NYC), Hong Kong Dog Rescue and Greyhound Rescue of West England. She works closely with the Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project, Humane Society, Puppy Mill Awareness Day and Waterside Action Group to increase awareness of the horrific practice of puppy-farming globally.

Stilwell has worked as a volunteer adoption counselor for the ASPCA, and regularly features in numerous magazines and journals, such as The New York Times, Cosmopolitan, The Daily Mail,, USA Today and Psychology Today.

Stilwell is a regular columnist for The Bark, Dog World, American Dog and Dogs Today magazines. She has appeared on countless talk shows, news broadcasts and radio shows in the United States, Europe and Asia as a dog-training expert, and her popular Positively Podcast series is heard by listeners worldwide. Named 2009's Dog Trainer of the Year at the Purina Pro Plan Dog Awards, Victoria is certified by Animal Behavior and Training Associates and is a proud member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers.

Her two best-selling books, It’s Me or the Dog: How to Have the Perfect Pet and Fat Dog Slim: How to Have a Healthy, Happy Pet, have received much praise and detail her core rewards-based training philosophy: "There's a better way to train - Positively."

For more information, visit Victoria's official site: or Watch videos of Victoria Stilwell in action.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Shelters refuse to take homeless man In because of his dog, George

Just a little over a year ago, Alex had a nice life going for himself. He had a steady job, a home and had found love, but when all of that suddenly disappeared, his life was understandably turned upside-down.
Alex and his best friend George
Many people don’t consider exactly what must have happened to homeless persons to get them to such a desperate place. Relationship and money issues are things each and every person likely experiences at some point in life, but for Alex the burden was too much to bare and he was left with nothing but his loyal dog on the streets. Professionals 4 People and Jewish House decided to help Alex get off the streets of Sydney and transform his life back around.
Turned down by homeless shelters when he refused to leave his best friend, his dog George, the organizations finally gave Alex a warm place to lay his head. Even George benefited from the transformation, as he saw a vet, while Alex was pampered. Alex seemed to have truly gone from rags to riches, going from having nothing to eat to eating at the best restaurant in town overnight. After receiving a new wardrobe, a massage and even a new job, Alex is finally able to turn his life back around.

Read more at 

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

International Assistance Dog Week 3-9 August 2014

International Assistance Dog Week (IADW) was created to recognize of all the devoted, hardworking assistance dogs helping individuals mitigate their disability-related limitations.
Assistance dogs transform the lives of their human partners with debilitating physical and mental disabilities by serving as their companion, helper, aide, best friend and close member of their family.
International Assistance Dog Week
recognizes and honors the hardworking assistance dogs
  • to raise awareness and educate the public about how these specially trained animals are aiding so many people in our communities
  • to honor the puppy raisers and trainers of assistance dogs
  • recognize heroic deeds performed by assistance dogs in our communities.
  • The celebration takes place each year, starting on first Sunday of August

International Assistance Dog Week was established due to the efforts of Marcie Davis, a paraplegic for over 35 years and CEO of Davis Innovations, a consulting firm based in Santa Fe, NM. 
Davis is the author of Working Like Dogs: The Service Dog Guidebook, a resource book that captures personal stories, checklists and practical tips to provide the reader with an A-Z guide about service dogs and she is the host of the Internet radio program, Working Like Dogs, at
As a member of a service dog team, she founded Working Like Dogs to honor assistance dogs around the world and is sponsoring International Assistance Dog Week.

Marcie & Betty

For more information about assistance dogs, please visit:
Assistance Dogs International
ADI is a coalition of not for profit organizations that train and place assistance dogs.

International Association of Assistance Dog Partners
IAADP is a non-profit, cross-disability organization representing people partnered with guide, hearing and service dogs.

Working Like Dogs
WLD is a resource for people with working and service dogs, or who would just like to learn more about them.

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