1. Peanut Butter with Xylitol Many brands of peanut butter are perfectly safe. However, you should always check ingredients before feeding this tasty treat to your pet. Xylitol, a commonly used artificial sweetener, is fatally toxic to dogs. Look for creamy peanut butter without xylitol—or better yet, with no added sweeteners. Dogs love peanut butter; make sure the one you choose loves your dog back!
2. Chicken Wings It’s It’s always tempting to give table scraps to your dog, but cooked bones are extremely hazardous. They can splinter, causing severe internal damage. And even boneless wings shouldn’t be fed to your pet: fried foods aren’t good for a dog’s system. Plus, the seasonings on your wings could contain traces of onion or garlic, which dogs can’t eat. It’s best to avoid feeding chicken wings to your dog altogether.
3. Bacon Extremely fatty foods like bacon should be doled out sparingly. Dogs can’t process fat as easily as humans can, so servings should be limited to occasional treats. And don’t let your dog lick the grease off the plate! You won’t enjoy cleaning up after their next bathroom break.
4. Sweetened Yogurt Plain, unsweetened yogurt is fine for dogs (as long as they’re not lactose intolerant.) However, low-fat yogurt, in particular, may contain xylitol, a sweetener poisonous to your pet. Read ingredients carefully, and keep flavored or sweetened yogurt away.
5. Chocolate-Covered Treats How could a thin layer of chocolate coating harm your dog? Watch out: Tiny doses of chocolate can actually be fatal. Chocolate-covered nuts, pretzels, or candies should be safely stored out of your pet’s reach. Even white chocolate contains compounds toxic to dogs. Any foods that list chocolate, cocoa, cocoa butter, or cacao must be avoided completely.
6. Pickles High levels of sodium are dangerous for dogs, and vinegar can be hard on their stomachs. What’s more, many pickles include spices like onions and garlic that are poisonous to canines. And whole pickles are a choking hazard. Read ingredients carefully, and stick to a slice or two at most—as an occasional treat. Even better, dogs love fresh cucumber. It’s healthy and delicious!
7. Black Licorice Dogs don’t need candy anyway, but black licorice is especially harmful. Licorice root can raise your dog’s blood pressure, and cause muscle weakness and vomiting. Keep anything that contains licorice away from your pet, and contact your vet if your dog does ingest black licorice.
8. Nuts To preserve freshness, nuts should be stored in the freezer. Moldy nuts can cause severe neurological damage to your pet. In addition, certain nuts—like macadamia—are toxic to dogs even when fresh. Nuts offer little nutritional value to dogs, so there’s no reason to include them as a snack for your pet. When you’re walking your dog, watch out for nut trees. Dogs enjoy eating fallen nuts, which are frequently moldy and extremely dangerous. Don’t allow your pet to graze off the ground in the vicinity of a nut tree.
9. Chips & Dip Seasoned chips and flavored dips often contain onion powder, garlic, or both. They’re also high in sodium content. Preserve your pet’s health by avoiding these snacks. Plain, unflavored tortilla chips (without added salt) may be an occasional treat if your dog tolerates them. However, remember that dogs don’t chew their food as finely as we do before swallowing—so always keep an eye on your pet while they’re eating chips.
The Bottom Line Any food that will make your dog sick is better tossed in the trash than fed to Fido. Instead of handing off your leftovers to your dog, look for high-quality pet treats. You can even make your own! Alternately, many vegetables like sweet potatoes and celery make great snacks. Keeping your pet healthy and happy may take a little extra work—but it’s always worth it.
It can be tempting to give your dog leftovers or to share your food with them, but what we consider to be tasty and perhaps even nutritious may be extremely dangerous for our canine companions. Here is a list of popular human foods dogs can’t eat.
1. Chocolate Chocolate contains a stimulant called theobromine — a bit like caffeine — that’s poisonous to dogs. The amount of theobromine depends on the type of chocolate. Theobromine mainly affects the guts, heart, central nervous system, and kidneys and signs of theobromine poisoning will occur between four and 24 hours after your dog has eaten chocolate. You may see vomiting, diarrhoea, restlessness, hyperactivity and seizures. Read our in-depth guide on the dangers of chocolate to dogs here.
2. Caffeine Like chocolate, caffeine is a stimulant. Dogs are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than people. A couple of laps of tea or coffee are unlikely to do any harm, but if your dog swallows a handful of coffee beans or tea bags they could be in danger. Signs and treatment of caffeine poisoning are similar to chocolate toxicity.
3. Onions, garlic, and chives (allium species) Eating these vegetables and herbs can cause stomach and gut irritation and potentially lead to red blood cell damage and anaemia. Onions are particularly toxic and signs of poisoning often only occur a few days after your dog has eaten the vegetable. All forms of onion can be a problem including dehydrated onions, raw onions, cooked onions and table scraps containing cooked onions or garlic. Left-over pizza, Chinese dishes and commercial baby food containing onion, sometimes fed as a supplement to young pets, can cause illness. Many prepared foods (including takeaways), sauces and gravies contain onion or garlic powder.
4. Alcohol Alcohol is significantly more toxic to dogs than to humans. When consumed, even small quantities of alcoholic beverages and food products may cause vomiting, diarrhoea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, blood changes, coma and even death. So, remember to keep alcohol well out of your dog’s reach.
5. Mouldy foods Mouldy food, including bread, nuts and dairy products, contain lots of toxins that could make your dog very ill. Make sure you dispose of leftovers carefully and be careful to keep your food waste bin well out of your dog’s reach.
6. Grapes & raisins While the toxic substance in grapes and raisins is unknown, it can cause kidney failure in sensitive individuals. Dogs that already have underlying health problems are at greatest risk and just one raisin can be severely toxic. Experts agree that there is no “safe” dose of grapes and raisins. Our emergency vets have drawn up an advice guide on what to do if a dog eats grapes or raisins — or foods including them such as hot cross buns, mince pies and fruit loaf.
7. Macadamia nuts Within 12 hours of ingestion, macadamia nuts can cause dogs to experience weakness, depression, tremors, vomiting and increased body temperature. These symptoms tend to last for approximately 12 to 48 hours. If you suspect your dog has consumed macadamia nuts note the possible quantity consumed and contact your vet.
8. Yeast dough Yeast dough can cause gas to accumulate in your dog’s digestive system as a result of the dough rising. Not only can this be painful but it may also cause the stomach or intestines to become blocked. So while small bits of bread can be given as a treat — due to the fact that risks are diminished once the yeast has fully risen — never give your dog yeast dough.
9. Bones While feeding your dog bones may seem like a good idea, it’s important to remember that dogs may choke on them, develop intestinal obstructions after swallowing pieces of bone, damage their teeth chewing them, or sustain internal injury as bone splinters can puncture your dog’s digestive tract. If you do choose to give your dog a bone be sure to keep an eye on him while he tucks in and avoid giving cooked bones, which splinter more easily, or bones that are small enough to get stuck in their intestines. Eating large quantities of bone can often cause constipation, so try to monitor the amount your dog manages to consume. Find out what happened to chocolate Labrador, Archie, when he eat an entire chicken carcass.
10. Corn on the cob Corn on the cob may seem like a healthy table scrap to give your dog, but unlike most vegetables, it does not digest well in a dog’s stomach. If your dog swallows large chunks of the cob, or even whole, it can cause an intestinal blockage due to its size and shape. Signs to look out for are vomiting, loss of appetite or reduced appetite, absence of faeces or diarrhoea and abdominal discomfort.
Often our dogs suffer in silence. Because dogs can’t speak, it can sometimes be difficult to spot when they’re pain, whether it be as a result of injury or an underlying issue. However, there are a number of signs, some more obvious than others, which can indicate pain in dogs.
1. Antisocial or aggressive behaviour Dogs might stop running to greet you at the door, try to avoid contact, or even become aggressive. If your dog is hiding away or appears to be unusually antisocial, it could be an indication that they’re in pain. Any noticeable change in behaviour can be cause for concern.
2. Changes in eating, drinking, and sleeping habit
Dogs that are in pain often sleep more – they may be trying to heal, or it might even be difficult for them to move around and be active. A loss of appetite and noticeable differences in the amount of water they’re drinking are often common symptoms. Difficulty eating, particularly dried food or firm chews, can indicate dental pain.
3. Being more vocal Dogs that are experiencing pain tend to be more vocal. Excessive yelping, growling, snarling, and even howling could be your dog telling you that something isn’t right.
4. Excessive grooming If your pet is licking their paws constantly, it’s likely they’re trying to soothe themselves. When a dog is hurt, its first instinct is often to clean and care for the wound by licking it. Cuts are more obvious, however, sometimes the pain can be internal.
5. Heavy panting or altered breathing Panting is normal. However, a dog that is panting heavily even though they have not been exercising is a warning sign. Also, breathing that is more shallow means that it could be painful to take a breath.
6. Mobility issues Stiffness and limping are two of the more obvious signs of pain in dogs and are likely a result of injury, sore paws, or even arthritis. Your dog might be reluctant to climb stairs or is noticeably slow when getting up. This can also manifest itself as reduced interest in exercise, or not being as active as usual.
7. Signs of agitation Restlessness is an indicator of pain in dogs. If your dog is pacing back and forth repeatedly, difficulty getting comfortable, or is sleeping a lot less, there could be an underlying issue.
8. Changes in their body and posture Swelling of the paws, legs, and face is a sign of pain that could be caused by inflammation, infection or even cancer. When in pain, some dogs have a very rigid and hunched stance while others assume the ‘prayer’ posture with their front legs on the ground and their bottom in the air. Dogs often take the ‘prayer’ position when they are suffering from abdominal pain as it allows them to stretch this area out.
9. Shaking or trembling Don’t assume trembling or shaking is just your dog feeling cold or, indeed, getting old. Both can be a sign of pain — or a symptom of something more serious such as poisoning, pancreatitis, or kidney disease. Dogs who have swallowed large amounts of chocolate, mouldy compost or sugar-free sweetener xylitol, for example, often suffer severe muscle tremors.
Dogs can understand human speech, scientists discover They've been our closest companions for thousands of years. They live with us, work with us, and even become part of our families, but can dogs understand our words and emotions? For a long time, despite dog parents' claims to the contrary, scientists and other experts believed that when a dog appeared to understand his pet parent, this was merely a combination of learned behavior and the parent projecting human qualities onto the dog. But several recent studies have raised the question again, "do dogs understand humans?
"Research on Dog Cognition Despite the fact that humanity has a long-standing close relationship with dogs, research into how dogs think and process information is fairly new. In his book How Dogs Love Us, Emory University neuroscientist Gregory Berns points to Charles Darwin as a pioneer in this field of study in the 1800s. Darwin wrote a lot about dogs and their expression of emotion and body language in his third treatise, "The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animal." Phys.org points to the first major modern-day study conducted in the 1990s by Duke University's Associate Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology Brian Hare, then an undergrad student at Emory University. It wasn't until the 2000s that this field of study really took off, however. These days, it seems like new studies on how dogs understand and relate to people's words, emotions, and body language are coming out fairly regularly. The field of study has become so popular that Duke University even has a special area known as the Canine Cognition Center set up specifically for this purpose, under Dr. Hare's supervision.
Do Dogs Understand Humans? So what has all this new research discovered? Can dogs understand us? It seems that all those dog parents insisting that their dogs do indeed understand them are right–at least partially.
Understanding Speech In 2004, Science magazine published a study about a border collie named Rico. Rico took the scientific world by storm by demonstrating his uncanny ability to "fast-map" new words. Fast mapping is the ability to form a rudimentary hypothesis about a word's meaning after a single exposure, an ability that's common to young children during their speech acquisition years. Rico learned the names of over 200 different items and was able to identify them by name and retrieve them four weeks after first learning them. A more recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Sussex in England found that dogs not only pick up on emotional cues in our speech, but that they're also able to distinguish between meaningful words and gibberish. The 2014 study, published in an issue of the journal Current Biology, showed that dogs, like humans, use different parts of the brain to process these aspects of speech. More specifically, they process emotional cues on the right side of the brain, and meanings of words on the left side.
Understanding Body Language A 2012 study in the journal PLOS ONE found that dogs can also understand human social cues to the point of being influenced by them. In the study, dogs were presented with two servings of food of different portion sizes. On their own, the majority of dogs naturally went for the larger serving. But once people got involved, things changed. It was shown that a person's positive reaction to the smaller portion could convince the dogs that the smaller serving was preferable. In another 2012 study published in Current Biology, Hungarian researchers looked at the ability of dogs to interpret subtle forms of communication in humans. In the study, dogs were shown two different versions of the same video. In one version, a woman appeared to look at the dog while saying, "Hi, dog!" in a motherly tone before directing her gaze to a nearby pot. In the other version, the only difference was that the woman kept her gaze down and spoke in a subdued voice before looking at the pot. When shown the first version, dogs would pay attention to the woman and follow her gaze. Based on this reaction, the researchers determined that dogs have the same cognitive ability as a six- to twelve-month-old human baby when it comes to recognizing when they're being directly addressed and having information conveyed to them. This may come as no surprise to Dr. Hare, the aforementioned head of Duke University's Canine Cognition Center, who conducted his own experiments on dogs and social cues as an undergrad at Emory in the 1990s. According to Phys.org, Dr. Hare's research found that dogs were better than our closest cousins, the chimpanzees, and even than human children at following subtle cues, such as pointing, bodily direction, and eye movement.
Understanding Emotion Earlier this year a study published in the British Royal Society journal Biology Letters made headlines for discovering that dogs have the ability to perceive and understand human emotions. Conducted in a joint effort by researchers from the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom and the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, the study found that dogs form abstract mental representations of positive and negative emotional states. In the study, dogs were shown pictures of both humans and other dogs looking either happy or angry. The pictures were accompanied by audio clips of vocalizations that were also either happy or angry/aggressive. When the vocalization matched the emotion in the image, dogs spent a significantly longer amount of time examining the facial expression in the image. According to Dr. Ken Guo from the University of Lincoln School of Psychology, one of the researchers on the study, "Previous studies have indicated that dogs can differentiate between human emotions from cues such as facial expressions, but this is not the same as emotional recognition," reports ScienceDaily. By combining two different sources of sensory input, however, these researchers have shown that dogs actually have the cognitive ability to recognize and understand emotions in humans.
Why Can Dogs Understand Us? The reason why dogs are capable of understanding us so well remains a mystery, but most researchers chalk it up to a product of evolution and necessity. Dogs and humans have lived closely together for thousands of years, and in that time they've come to depend on us like no other species for their well-being. It's possible that selective breeding played a part, as dogs were chosen for breeding based on certain apparent cognitive abilities. In any case, it makes sense that a species that lives so closely with us and is so dependent on us would over time develop the ability to understand and communicate with us.
What Does This Mean For You and Your Pup? Now that you have a better understanding of your dog's ability to comprehend not only your verbal words and commands, but also your emotional queues, what does this mean for you and your canine pal? First off, it gives you reassurance that your pup has the ability to learn more than just "sit," "stay," and "shake." Dogs have an amazing ability to pick up on hundreds of words such as Rico from above, or more recently Chaser, the dog that has learned more than 1,000 words. Chaser's ability to fast-map is incredible; she can pick out a toy based on context. If she is asked to find a toy that she doesn't recognize the name of from a pile of her regular toys, she understands that the one toy that she doesn't recognize must be matched with the name she doesn't recognize. This ability proves just how smart our canine companions are. The other thing understanding the cognitive ability of dogs involves is their ability to pick up on social queues. Have you ever noticed that when you're having a rough day, your pup seems to stick close and tries to snuggle more? It is his way of saying that I understand that you're having a rough day, and I am here for you. Knowing this about your dog can help strengthen your relationship, as you learn to react to each other's emotional states and share the highs and lows together in true family fashion. Can dogs understand us? Indeed, in many ways, they can. So the next time you catch yourself having a conversation with your dog and he seems to actually be listening, rest assured that it's not all in your imagination. Your dog might not understand every word or the exact meaning behind them, but your dog might get you better than you think. More importantly, your pup is capable of understanding that you love him, so there's no need to feel silly for telling him so.
What Causes Wet Dog Smell (and how can I prevent it?)
by Renee Moen
Spending the day frolicking in the water with a four legged companion can be so much fun! Most breeds love water, splashing and swimming. It’s the horrid smell emanating from a wet dog that causes a fun experience to turn a bit sour, pardon the pun. Why do most dogs smell so bad when they get wet?
Science Some breeds, most notably the hound group, have more oils in their coats than other breeds. The specific oil is called Sebum, it collects on the hair shaft and follicles to protect a dog’s skin from dehydration. When the dog gets wet, like after a day at the beach or a bath, the oil and the water together create a bacteria which causes the unpleasant odor. The dog needs to be properly dried to avoid smelling like a… well… a dog. Prevention There is a way to prevent the stench of a beloved furball, it involves proper drying. Toweling off the dog isn’t enough; a towel can’t get all the way down to the skin. Even dogs with extremely short coats need more. The heat and force from a blow dryer penetrates the densest of coats and is a start to getting to the root of the problem.
Bathing Most veterinarians recommend bathing a dog every couple of weeks. Bathing a dog too often could result in dry, itchy, flaky skin. Wash the dog with a high quality shampoo and rinse well. Shampoo left on the skin due to improper rinsing will bring on skin issues. here are thousands of dogs who have anxiety attacks at the slightest provocation. A hair dryer may cause a dog to have a heart attack. Luckily there are several quiet dryers available on the market that would work for the nervous pooch. Use a quality brush wile drying to get the under coat. Once the dog has been thoroughly washed and properly dried, try spritzing her with a grooming spray. These sprays aren’t designed to eliminate the smell, but they do help the dog smell better.
Helpful Hint No matter how many baths a dog gets, the smell will remain in the dog’s living environment. One of the best natural deodorants is white vinegar. Not only is it a powerful disinfectant, it is completely natural and safe to use around animals. Use two parts water to one part vinegar in a spray bottle to spritz the furniture. Baking soda, another natural cleaning product that is safe to use around animals, is an inexpensive carpet freshener. Vacuum, sprinkle the soda, let it sit for ten minutes or so and vacuum again. Viola, fresh carpets with no wet dog smell. It may take several treatments if the dog has a particular spot he likes to sleep in. The smell may be ground in. It is possible to cut down on the doggy odor, even eliminate it completely. With a little effort and a bit of patience an owner may reclaim their living area and their sense of smell.