Dogs are good for kids

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I like to think I have a great relationship with my children. While I can’t brag that my 19 years with my son and 16 years with my daughter have been perfect, I can chalk them up as pretty darn good. Is it because I’m (ahem) a great mother? Or, rather, should I be thanking our family dog?

A recent study found that children who feel close to their pet dogs are also more securely attached to their parents and have better bonds with their best friends. Researchers at Kent State University looked at 99 children ages 9 to 11 who owned pet dogs. These children answered questionnaires about their relationships with their dogs, parents and friends.

The study found if one type of relationship was strong, it’s likely the others were, too. In general, children with strong bonds with their dogs also had strong bonds with their parents and best friends.

But which came first?

Kathryn Kerns, a psychology professor at Kent State and one of the lead researchers, says they don’t know. It could be that caring for pets makes children feel closer to the significant humans in their lives, or it could be that their human relationships model how they should treat their pets. It could also be a reciprocal jumble: A positive experience with the pet leads to being more cooperative with parents, and that positive experience with parents leads to being closer to the pet, and so on.

The researchers also watched how the children interacted with their dogs. They found that those who had more physical contact with their pets had better relationships with their mothers — but not necessarily with their fathers (or friends).

“Given that mothers play a bit more of a role as a safe haven, as the one to go to for comfort, than dad, perhaps that’s why we found that effect,” Kerns says. “The close relationship with the mother might be more of a model for closeness with others, including the dog.”

Kerns and her team also did another study: How do pet dogs affect children’s emotions during stressful events?

The same 99 pre-adolescents were asked to deliver a five-minute autobiographical speech. The speech would be watched live by the experimenters, and, to up the stress factor, videotaped to be supposedly evaluated later.

Half the children had their dogs in the room, while half didn’t. “Kids who had their dogs present felt much happier throughout the whole process,” Kerns says. And having physical contact with the dog — its chin on the child’s lap, or the dog leaning against the child’s leg — made the experience even less stressful.

“When people are around pets and petting them, oftentimes they just feel calmer inside,” Kerns explains. The children may be in a better mood around their pets, which helps them cope better with stressors. The child may have had past calming experiences with his or her dog, which now makes it easier to relax. With a loyal buddy at the child’s side, the situation may feel less threatening.

In an unrelated study, children did a similar stress test either with a pet dog, with a parent or alone. The stress level was lowest when the children were with their dogs. Then there is a study on adults, who performed a stressful task with a pet dog, with a friend or alone. They were least stressed when they had their pet dogs with them. When alone, the stress level went up. And when with a friend, the stress level was highest of all.

Why can dogs offer better support than humans? “Humans can be judgmental in a way that dogs aren’t,” Kerns says. While we might worry a friend is silently evaluating our performance, we know a dog couldn’t care less. Read more…

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Can Dogs Get Colds?

Sick beagle dog on soft chair

 

 

 

Fido’s Feeling Under The Weather

 

 

It’s hard to watch our children suffer when they are sick, and the feelings can be similar when it’s our canine kiddies who are under the weather. Doggie coughs, sneezes, and goopy eyes can cause concern. Your dog may also not be eating as much and just seem kind of sick. We know that in the winter the common cold can be enough to bring a normally healthy adult down for a week, but can dogs get colds, too?

Actually, yes dogs can get colds. Though they may not catch the same virus as humans, they are still a legit illness. Dr. Sara Joseph, a veterinarian in Massachusetts, tells Romper that dogs can catch respiratory infections from other dogs, and the illnesses can be bacterial and/or viral. Dr. Joseph says, “The most common ones are referred to broadly as kennel cough.”

Kennel cough passes from dog to dog, usually through nose to nose contact, and is a bacterial infection. Its biggest symptom is, of course, a cough. The Dog Health Guide said that dogs can also get this from being exposed to the secretions of an infected dog at a kennel, vet’s office, groomer, or training class. It’s hard to know for sure if your dog has been exposed to this, but the incubation period for kennel cough is usually around two weeks, according to Dog Health Guide. At first it might just sound like your dog is clearing his throat, but as time goes on, he could get symptoms that more closely resemble a cold, like fever, lethargy, and in more extreme cases, vomiting.

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Some lice products work better

Delousing products generally require two treatments about three weeks apart to kill all the lice that hatch out from the eggs that weren’t affected by the first treatment.

“There is one new product that does seem to work if you can only pour cattle once,” according to Dr. Dave Barz, a veterinarian in Parkston, S.D. “It’s called Clean-Up II and contains a pyrethroid, which kills adult lice, plus an insect growth regulator that keeps the nymphs and newly hatched lice from maturing.”

It has enough residual effect to thwart the lice that hatch out after the treatment.

“We’ve been using that for several years and are seeing better results,” he said. “This might be something to try if cattle are continuing to have lice problems after traditional treatments. In our area, if you start to have problems, the company you bought the product from will usually give you more, so you can get them re-poured. That’s been their guarantee, at this point in time.”

Many ranchers in his region pour cattle with an avermectin product at turnout time to kill internal as well as external parasites, and again in the fall at roundup to kill lice.

“Most of these cattle are moved with trucks now, so a lot of them get poured as they come off or get on a truck. Any time you are handling the animals, you can think about using a pour-on,” he says. “We’ve talked about rotating the pour-on products, using different ones different years, but we are seeing lice resistance to all of them. The only one that is really helping us right now in terms of thwarting a new hatch of lice is the Clean-Up II.”

Some feedlots now are using injectable and pour-on products at the same time — a full dose of each — and in those groups of cattle we haven’t seen as much problem with lice recurring.

“Hopefully we are getting a better kill, and maybe more residual effect,” Barz says. “We can’t scientifically explain it, but it seems to help.”

For best control, it’s very important to treat all of the animals at the same time, with a proper dose, and not skip any.

“This is why the treatments work so well in the feedlot, because the whole pen is treated. There are no animals skipped, that would re-infest the treated animals,” he says.

The important thing is to have a good lice control program in terms of when to pour the cattle, and how best to break the life cycle. Lice are a bigger problem when animals are confined and grouped together (in terms of spreading lice to one another) as for winter feeding, calving, etc.

“A few years ago, some ranchers decided to use natural products rather than insecticides,” Barz says. “The old way, before we had insecticides, was to use the back-rubbers with oil on them, so the cows’ hair was oily, which tends to deter the lice. But these are only spot treatments. Also, in every herd it seems like there’s a cow or two that act as carriers; they have heavier infestations and may have lice even after treatment, spreading lice to the other cattle.”

Lice are often a problem on young calves.

“If the cow has lice, some are readily transferred to the calf through direct contact, and the lice population explodes on the calf because it is small and thin-skinned,” Barz says. “If you at them closely, some of the lighter-colored calves will almost be black with lice. This is why controlling lice on cows is important, so they won’t spread lice to their calves. Otherwise we have to pour the calves fairly soon also, to decrease their lice populations.”

Some lice are always there, in any herd of cattle. They multiply most readily on the young, the weak, the old and any thin, sick ones. Any animal that is compromised tends to have more lice.

“If an animal is weak, and parasites are taking blood, that animal is more susceptible to pneumonia, scours and other secondary infections,” Barz says. “This is why lice control is so important — not just because the cattle are scratching/rubbing the fence down. Lice are nibbling away at the potential profit from your herd!”

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Wondering how to keep your furry pal healthy?

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Getting yourself to the gym can be a significant challenge. It’s even tougher when you can’t drive, you lack opposable thumbs, and your primary skills are “Sit” and “Stay.”

Yes: Dogs need to focus on their fitness, too. And like any good workout partner, they depend on their fellow friends to keep them in shape.

For a primer on keeping your dog healthy, we talked to Ernie Ward, D.V.M., a veterinarian and founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. Ward is also the creator of K9 Fit Club, where personal trainers, dog trainers, and dog owners can take classes to exercise with their dogs. (They have over 46 locations around the country. You can check out other dog fitness centers near you.)

Ward walked me through the best exercises you can do to get your dog moving, and the exercises you should probably avoid. Here are a few workout scenarios for different types of canines.

When your dog thinks kettlebells are toys

Kettlebell swings make for a great at-home workout, until your 10-month old Labrador-mix puppy (like mine) decides to jump up and get involved.

“I’m kind of anti-kettlebells-around-dogs,” Ward says. “It’s critical to evaluate [how dangerous the exercise you’re doing] could be to your dog when you’re doing swift movements or you’re moving weight. Sometimes you can’t overcome that movement instantly—like the arc of a kettlebell swing—and if your dog is in the same room, you could injure them,” he said.

Before you start any exercise or activity, take a step back and ask yourself: What are the potential risks here for my dog or myself?

“We do lunges in K9 classes, but we actually have the dog under restraint when we’re doing big movements, because your dog may dash underneath you—then everybody gets injured.”

If you’re exercising near your dog, keep them on a leash. Knowing how your dog reacts will help you determine what exercises you can do while they’re around.

When your dog loves to tackle you (especially during planks and crunches)

Plenty of pet owners have found they can do workouts with their dogs out of their crates. But when I get on the floor to do planks or abs routines on a mat, my dog thinks this is the perfect opportunity to jump on me or barrage me with licks.

If you have a calmer dog that can lie nearby and chew a bone or relax while you’re on the floor, go ahead with one of our core routines. Otherwise, doing floor work may lead to injury—or, at the very least, a lackluster abs workout.

When your large dog gained weight and you’d like to help him shed the pounds

Veterinarians often see “spring-training injuries” in dogs that hibernated all winter, then started running again, Ward says. If your dog spent all winter on the couch, then they “aren’t ready to spring forward and play Frisbee, do agility exercises, or even swim.”

So, as with any new workout routine, ease yourself and your dog back into action.

“We see a lot of knee ligament tears in the spring from deconditioned dogs who have put on a few extra pounds or just lost muscle and strength,” Ward says. “Sometimes it’s a trauma injury where the dog falls off because their agility isn’t there. They’re just out of practice, so be aware this “spring-training” scenario is real for dogs…as well as people.”

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Natural Options That Work for Dog Skin Cancer

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Skin cancer isn’t just a disease in people … and it isn’t just caused by too much time spent in the sun without sunscreen. Half of all dogs get cancer, and all forms of cancer are on the rise, including dog skin cancer.

In fact, skin tumors are the most common tumors found in dogs.

Let’s look at the most common types of dog skin cancer, then we’ll look at two natural treatment options that will help your dog safely, without surgery.

Types of Dog Skin Cancer

There are several different types of dog skin cancer. Three of the most common are:

  • Melanoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Mast cell tumors

1. Melanoma

Melanomas are abnormal growths that involve melanocytes – the cells that produce pigments (color). These cells are found throughout your dog’s entire body, wherever tissues are colored. Melanomas can either be benign or malignant.

Benign melanomas:

  • Typically range in size from very small to 2.5 inches or more in diameter.
  • Are usually less concerning than malignant melanomas because the risk of them spreading is not very high.
  • Are black, brown, gray or red in color.
  • Usually found on areas of the skin that are covered with hair.

Malignant melanomas:

  • Are a more aggressive, invasive type that usually spread fairly quickly to other areas of the body.
  • Can spread to any area of the body, including the lymph nodes and lungs, making them a much more serious threat than benign melanomas.
  • Are most often in a dog’s mouth, around the lips, or on the feet (in toenail beds or on the pads).

The cause of melanoma in dogs isn’t clear. While melanoma in humans is usually caused by damage to the DNA of skin cells (especially by UV light), this isn’t likely with dogs since many of the melanomas occur in areas not directly exposed to UV light.

Genetics also seem to play a role. The breeds most at risk include:

  • Vizslas
  • Schnauzers
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Airedale Terriers
  • Bay Retrievers
  • Scottish Terriers

 

2. Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma is a type of cancer that originates in the outer layer of the skin, the squamous epithelium. Carcinomas are characteristically malignant and particularly invasive.

Squamous cell carcinomas:

  • Typically grow quickly, getting bigger with time.
  • Are usually resistant to healing.
  • May appear as crusty, bleeding sores that don’t heal for months, or hard, white-colored wart-like growths.
  • Are usually found on the belly, around the genitals, or the feet.

As with melanomas, there’s some debate over what causes squamous dog skin cancer. Extended exposure to sunlight, which is known to damage cells, is the most commonly accepted one. A weak immune system may help these cells become malignant. There may also be some association with the papilloma virus as a cause.

Genetics may also be a factor. The breeds most at risk are:

  • Keeshond
  • Standard Schnauzer
  • Basset Hound
  • Collie

 

3. Mast Cell Tumor

Mast cell tumors are the most common type of dog skin cancer. They occur in the mast cells, the immune cells that play a role in allergic reactions and inflammatory responses. These cells contain histamine, heparin and enzymes to fight off predatory foreign invaders, but damage from allergies or inflammation can cause problems.

Mast cell tumors:

  • Usually develop in the skin, but they can also develop internally, but this is less common.
  • Can vary widely in size, shape, appearance, texture and location.
  • May show up as an isolated lump or mass, although they can appear in clusters.
  • May grow in size, then shrink.
  • May appear red in color, could be hairless or could be ulcerated (an open wound).

Aside from the lump, most dogs won’t have any symptoms of irritation or illness.

Unfortunately, the causes of mast cell tumors in dogs are not clear. The sun is a potential culprit, but genetics also seem to play a role. The dogs most at risk include:

  • Boxers
  • Bulldogs
  • Pugs
  • Boston Terriers
  • Beagles
  • Bullmastiffs
  • Dachshunds
  • Schnauzers

 

Why Not Surgery?

If it’s cancer, why not just have it surgically removed? There are several reasons.

Surgery’s invasive. Any time you cut into your dog’s body, there are risks from the anesthesia, blood clots and post-op infections.

Also, to attack any of the remaining cancer cells, the conventional veterinary approach is to bombard an already compromised body with chemical poisons and radiation through chemotherapy and radiation.

Natural Solutions for Dog Skin Cancer

Here are the two most effective natural treatment options for dog skin cancer.

1. Neoplasene

Neoplasene is a cream made from bloodroot extract. It works by causing apoptosis (cell death) in cancer cells. Once applied to the tumor, the tumor cells actually die and the tissue will eventually slough off.

The Pros: It works and it’s not as invasive as surgery. With surgery it’s really hard to get all of the microsopic cancer cells but neoplasene seeks them out and helps the immune system seek and destroy them.

The Cons: It can only be used under veterinary supervision. Because the cancerous tissue sloughs off, a hole is left and proper wound management is crucial. It can also be painful for the dog which is hard for some dog owners to accept.

 

 

2. Turmeric

Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin – which is essentially its active ingredient. Curcumin has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, wound healing and anticancer activities.

There have been literally thousands of studies done on turmeric, and nearly 1/3 of the studies done on it are cancer research … and the results are very promising. It’s been shown to not only kill cancer cells and prevent more from growing but to stop precancerous changes from becoming cancer in the first place. And, not only does it kill tumor cells, it does so selectively, leaving healthy cells alone.

The American Cancer Society has said “Curcumin interferes with cancer development, growth, and spread.”

The Pros: Turmeric works, it’s inexpensive, it isn’t painful and you can use it to treat dog skin cancer at home.

The Cons: Turmeric stains your hands, carpets and furniture so you have to wrap it after each application.

 

 

One of the easiest ways to use it is with a salve. Here’s a recipe

Recipe For Healing Salve For Dogs

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 part organic turmeric powder
  • 1 part raw coconut oil (cold pressed)
  • 1 part organic lecithin powder

Mix the ingredients together to form a paste and store in a glass jar. Keep it refrigerated.

Here’s how to use it:

  • Apply it once a day for 7 days
  • After 7 days, let it air for 24 hours
  • If there is still a lump, reapply for 2-5 more days, until the lump pops or falls off

 

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Is there such a thing as Cat Acne?

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Turns out teenagers aren’t the only ones at risk for acne! Believe it or not, your furry feline friends can get it too. Cat acne is not dangerous but can require lifelong treatment to keep flare-ups under control. Here’s everything you need to know, straight from a vet.

What is cat acne?

Cat acne, also called chin acne, is just that. Acne. Just like the kind people get. It can appear as small blackheads on the chin called comedones or can progress into pimples that may or may not develop a whitehead or rupture. Some cats are unaffected by acne, meaning it doesn’t bother them at all or cause any pain, while others show obvious signs of itchiness or discomfort. There is no one specific cause, but cat acne can be triggered by several things. Stress (kenneling or a move), dirty food bowls, allergies, or oily skin are all known to cause acne flare-ups in cats.

Does my cat have chin acne?

No particular breed of cat is predisposed to chin acne. It is more visible in hairless cats and those with white or light colored coats, so it may be diagnosed more frequently on these types of felines.

Cat acne should be diagnosed by a veterinarian. Many skin conditions present with similar symptoms, and it’s important that your vet rule out more serious problems before prescribing medication or beginning treatment. Some medications, if used incorrectly, can exacerbate skin conditions, and some skin problems are symptoms of a more serious disease process at work. Veterinarians can perform different tests, looking at both skin cells and blood work, to determine if there is anything more serious to worry about.

How to prevent and treat cat acne

Once your veterinarian has diagnosed your cat’s chin acne, there are a few different things he or she may recommend to control and prevent future breakouts. Changing from plastic food bowls to ceramic or stainless steel is the simplest. Plastic bowls have a porous surface and harbor bacteria and dirt. Every time your cat eats or drinks, she recontaminates her skin. Stainless and ceramic bowls have solid surfaces, so they are much easier to clean and are more sanitary.

Your veterinarian will also recommend daily cleaning of the affected area with mild soap and warm water or an antimicrobial solution like betadine or chlorhexadine. Care must be taken using chlorhexadine near the eyes as it can cause severe ocular damage.
For more serious cases, antibiotics (oral, injectible, or topical) or corticosteroids might be used as an adjunct to other treatments.

If you suspect your pet has cat chin acne, make an appointment for a physical exam with your veterinarian before beginning treatment.

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Health is in the eye of the #cow you are beholding

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Q. Is it true that light colored cows have more eye problems than darker colored cows?

A. Yes, this can be true. Breeds with light pigment around their eyes do have more trouble with diseases such as cancer eye and sunburn. The same can be said for light pigment in the udder region. However, within breeds there are also individuals that have dark pigment around the eyes and udders, which certainly helps to protect these areas and lessens the chance for disease. When possible, it is good to select cattle that have dark pigment around their eyes and udders. In doing so, treatment costs will be minimized. read more…