Can Dogs Detect Our Emotions and Feelings?

Can Dogs Detect Our Emotions and Feelings?

Scientists have determined that dogs can really tell how we are feeling. Below is the article.

 

Can dogs tell when we are happy, sad or angry?

As a dog owner, I feel confident not only that I can tell what kind of emotional state my pets are in, but also that they respond to my emotions. Yet as a hard-headed scientist, I try to take a more rational and pragmatic view. These personal observations seem more likely to result from my desire for a good relationship with my dogs.
The problem is that studying emotional interpretations and responses across two interacting species is very difficult. For one thing, you can’t ask a dog how it’s feeling. So while many people can describe how their dogs respond to their emotional states – typically in ways we humans consider appropriate and perhaps even desirable – scientific evidence and explanation for this ability has mostly been elusive.

However, a new study, published in the journal Biology Letters, suggests that dogs really can recognise emotions in both humans and other dogs using visual and audio cues. Scientists have already documented chimpanzees’ and Rhesus macaques’ ability to identify emotional states among their own kind. But this is the first study to demonstrate that any animal can tell how members of another species are feeling.

Dogs can also read each other’s emotions.

What we did know already was that dogs can discriminate between different human facial expressions and sounds associated with specific emotional states. By investigating the time dogs spent gazing at images of people and dogs paired with specific sounds, the new study attempted to explore whether dogs could recognise entire emotional states. Each image was paired with an emotional sound that either matched or did not match the facial expression in the picture. Where dogs gazed longer at images with matching sounds, this was interpreted as an ability to put the two things together and identify the emotional state.

One key element of the study was that the dogs did not have prior training or familiarisation with the task, suggesting an intrinsic ability to recognise emotions. But, interestingly, the study dogs did have a more significant response to conspecific (dog) stimuli than to heterospecific (human) stimuli.

It’s well understood that dogs are supremely good at reading and responding to human body language and possible intent (just ask anyone who has picked up a dog lead or dog bowl in front of their pet). Dogs can also demonstrate strong behavioural attachments to owners and react differently in cognitive tests based on the presence and behaviour of the owner. This suggests that dogs have evolved the ability to use their human companions as social support systems in unfamiliar situations. So the ability to identify human emotional cues would be a significant addition to this skill.

However, dogs are also likely to have learned that if they respond to their owners’ sounds and facial expressions they will be treated in a certain way. The classic example is of a dog that has disobeyed an order displaying what appears to be a “guilty face”, as a way of appeasing its owner when scolded. How much this learned behaviour plays a role in dogs’ responses to human emotions is, I suspect, something that we can’t fully determine, although the study goes some way to acknowledge canine abilities in this area.
Humans and dogs have lived and evolved together for at least 15,000 years and probably much longer. Given this, and the close bond that many people have with their dogs, it may not come as any surprise that dogs appear to have developed this skill in recognising human emotions.

This ability is likely to have been very important in helping dogs become accepted by humans and integrate into our society and culture, bringing enormous benefits on both sides. Dogs are likely to receive greater care from their human companions if their bond is enhanced by the dogs’ apparent empathy. The humans, meanwhile, receive unconditional companionship and emotional validation from their canine counterpart. Undoubtedly, this study further adds to our understanding and appreciation of the cognitive abilities of “man’s best friend” and highlights the mutually beneficial relationships we often have with dogs.

 

 

Documents You Need to Have for  Your Pet

Documents You Need to Have for Your Pet

Living in Florida, we are exposed to possible hurricanes, tornadoes and flooding. These potential natural disasters could displace our pets or cause us to have to evacuate where we live. Having these eight documents are essential to preserve your pet’s well being. The following article by Carol Bryant.

 

In a day and age of electronic everything, from iPads to Android phones, there is still a time and place for documents that are tangible, touchable and shareable. There are several documents all pet parents should have on hand to ensure their pets’ wellbeing. Here are 8 documents that every pet parent should keep safe.

1. Rabies Certificate or Waiver

Dogs and cats are generally given a tag to wear after a rabies vaccination is administered. The certificate/proof of rabies vaccine administration is a critical document. The required frequency of rabies vaccinations varies from state to state. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), some states are also beginning to provide exemptions for vaccination requirements if medically necessary as determined by a veterinarian. If this applies to your pet(s), ensure the waiver is a document you have easily accessible.

2. Latest Vaccine Records

Although veterinarians keep this information in their paper and/or electronic files, you should have a copy, too. Admittance to pet-friendly hotels, or getting into certain expos and pet-friendly events, often depends on current vaccination records. If your pet receives an annual blood titer level to show levels of certain vaccines within the bloodstream, have this document at your disposal as well.

3. Proof of Ownership

Although no one ever believes it will happen to them, sometimes divorce or separations happen and custody battles over pets ensue. Since pets are viewed as property in the eyes of the law, whoever can prove they own the pet(s) will most likely receive the rights to keep and maintain that pet. Proof of ownership can be an AKC registration record or something more formal that is legal and notarized. If you share your pets with someone else, ensure ownership is clear in writing.

4. Trust

The only documents that are legally enforceable are those that are prepared accurately prior to your demise. If something happens to you, a trust outlines where your pet goes, who cares for him and what funds are available. A will has many pitfalls that allow for loopholes when a pet’s wellbeing is considered. Will instructions are not enforceable in most cases. With its many pitfalls, a legal trust provides a host of additional protections and advantages. The American Bar Association is a great place to start for legal direction, but always consult with an attorney for such an important document. Never assume a verbal agreement will hold up in a court of law. Get it in writing and have the document secured where loved ones can obtain it upon your passing.

5. License

Many states require a dog or cat license. In addition to a standard tag that most states issue for the pet to wear, keep any document handy that is sent your way by the state/county.

6. Emergency Numbers

Most folks keep emergency numbers in their cell phone, but what if you are hurt or your pet is with a sitter and an accident occurs? In addition to the Pet Poison Helpline (or another reputable poison control center for pets), keep a handy list of phone numbers including the veterinarian, emergency veterinarian and anyone you need to contact in the event of an emergency. We keep a laminated list on the refrigerator and on our home office bulletin board.

7. Photographs

Always have a current printed photograph of your pet along with a photograph of you with your pet handy. Cell phones are great for snapping photos, but in a pinch, having a copy of your pet in a nice glossy 5 x 7 or larger is best to have in the event of an emergency. Nobody wants their pet to go missing, but being prepared will help in the event your pet disappears.

8. Emergency Evacuation and Accommodations Plan

Though I never thought I’d need to utilize emergency evacuation plans, I was grateful to have them when flood waters threatened my home. During a critical time when local authorities implemented a mandatory evacuation, my list of items came in handy. I was able to gather all belongings needed, get them safely stowed away, and leave the area in a hurry.
Bonus points if you have a list of pet-friendly hotels in place ahead of time. When we had to evacuate, a 3-hour ride to find pet-friendly lodging occurred. Have more than one spot in mind incase your first option doesn’t work out.

Be Aware of Possible Heat Stroke in Your Pet

Be Aware of Possible Heat Stroke in Your Pet

It is that time of year again. Living in Florida, as a pet owner, heatstroke is very common here in the Sunshine state and you should know what precautions to take. Also recognizing when heatstroke may be affecting your pet and what steps need to be taken if this occurs are essential.

The following article from the Veterinary Emergency Clinic (Learn About Heatstroke in Pets) provides some basic information about heatstroke.

Heat Stroke

One of the best things about living in Florida is the gorgeous weather we get to experience year round. However, we must also endure month’s humidity and high heat during the hot summer months. Just like it’s important for us to stay hydrated and protect ourselves from the sun, pets need to have certain precautions and care from the sun as well. At the Veterinary Emergency Clinic of Central Florida (VEC), we unfortunately see many animals (mainly dogs) suffering from heat stroke all through the high heat months.

 

Heat stroke in pets’ occur when an animal’s body temperature increases to a dangerous temperature of 105 degrees or over. This is known as hyperthermia. Heat stoke begins with your animal panting, hyper salivating and having difficulty breathing. These symptoms can quickly progress to bloody diarrhea, collapse and even death. Heat stroke in your pet can be extremely dangerous and requires immediate veterinary attention.

 

Heatstroke generally occurs in hot summer weather when:

  • Animals are left with inadequate ventilation in hot vehicles or garages. (Cracking a window is NOT enough!)
  • Animals are left outside without proper shade or water.
  • Animals are exercised in hot/humid weather.

If your animal does become hyperthermic, move your pet to a cool environment, take their temperature (if able) and seek veterinary care immediately. DO NOT put your animal in an ice bath. Cooling an animal too quickly can be harmful. To help avoid heatstroke in your pet, walk them in the early morning and evening time, and keep them inside in the peak hot hours of the day (12pm-4pm). Additionally, make sure they have access to water.

 

Additionally, as of May 2016, Florida passed a law stating that people may break into a locked car if there is reason to believe that a pet or vulnerable person (like an infant) is in immediate danger. The person breaking into the vehicle may not be sued for property damage if:

  • They have checked to make sure the vehicle is actually locked.
  • Have a reasonable belief, based upon the known circumstance, that entering into the vehicle is necessary because the vulnerable person or domestic animal is in imminent danger of suffering harm.
  • Called 911 or law enforcement either before or immediately after breaking into the vehicle.
  • Use only the necessary amount of force to break in.
  • Remain with the person, child or animal until first-responders arrive on the scene.

 

With all the fun that our Florida summertime can bring, an added responsibility to our beloved pets is also required. By paying close attention to their moods and behaviors, and by being aware of how to prevent heat stroke in your pet, you should be able to enjoy the hot months in Florida.

 

If you suspect your pet may be suffering from heat stroke, seek veterinary care immediately. Remember that complications may arise when your regular veterinarian is closed, so it’s important to know where your closest Veterinary Emergency Clinic is located.

 

 

Spreading – Canine Influenza | New Dog Flu Strain

Spreading – Canine Influenza | New Dog Flu Strain

Last year, the dog flu hit Chicago with a vengeance. A new strain of dog flu has been spreading in the United States with the main area of concern at this time is in the West. One recent case has occurred in Montana. Also the Washington State Health Department is warning pet owners about the possible spread of this new strain. Seattle has been affected where at least 90 dogs have been exposed and some dogs testing positive for the disease.

Luckily the disease is rarely fatal but your pet should be seen by your veterinarian if you suspect anything is wrong. General symptoms are coughing, lehtargy, not eating or just being tired. All could suggest your pet has a fever. Dogs get sick just like us when we get the flu. The disease spreads rapidly in dogs that are not immune. Grooming shops, boarding kennels, doggy day care and dog parks are places where the virus can spread rapidly.

From CBS News January 14, 2016, 7:22 AM

 

Heartworms and Heartworm Disease in Dogs and Cats

Heartworms and Heartworm Disease in Dogs and Cats

Heartworms Can Cause Serious Disease that can be Fatal for Pets

Heartworm disease is a serious and possibly deadly disease that affects pet cats and dogs in the United States and elsewhere in the world. Heartworm disease is caused by foot-long worms known as heartworms, that find a place in the heart, lungs and blood vessels of affected pet cats and dogs, and cause lung disease, heart failure as well as serious damage to other organs in the pet’s body.

Common Pets Affected by Heartworms

Dogs are natural hosts for heartworms. Heartworms may live within a dog’s body throughout their life cycles, from birth to adulthood and mating phase, and may leave countless offspring behind. If not identified and treated in time, heartworms cause severe damage to the heart, lungs and arteries of the dog, and have a severe impact on its health.

Heartworm disease in cats is different from that in dogs because the worms don’t survive to adult stage in a cat’s body. So, while dogs have several adult heartworms in them, cats have a very few. But this is not necessarily a good thing because immature heartworms cause as much damage as mature worms, and are more difficult to identify.

Cats with heartworms are usually affected by what is known as heartworm associated respiratory disease (HARD). Also, heartworm disease in dogs can be treated quickly, but in cats, treatment is not so easy. Often, prevention is the only possible cure when it comes to cats and heartworm disease.

Heartworm Disease: Transmission

Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes when they bite a heartworm-infected animal. The mosquitoes carry microscopic versions of the heartworm, called microfilaria, which makes its way into the bodies of pet cats and dogs bitten by them.

The microfilarias make their way to the tissues in a pet cat or dog’s heart, where they live for several years and reproduce in thousands. This way the pet cat or dog gets affected by heartworm disease.

Heartworm Disease: Symptoms

Symptoms of heartworm disease vary in intensity depending on the life cycle of the worms and the age of the pet cat or dog infected by them. Since heartworms live in the heart and lungs of pets, they can have a terrible impact on their health, and may even lead to death.

Here are the common symptoms of heartworm disease.

Dogs – Cough, lethargy, difficulty to breath, fainting episodes, drastic weight loss, fever, swelling in the abdomen (known as Ascite) and even death.

Cats – Cats may or may not exhibit any clinical signs of heartworm disease such as asthma, coughing, vomiting and difficulty in breathing. It is actually better if the heartworm disease symptoms in cats become visible, so that some measure of treatment can be given. Otherwise, it is possible that the heartworms may spread in a cat without being identified and lead to a sudden death.

Heartworm Disease: Diagnosis

Let’s have a look at some of the methods used to diagnose heartworm disease in pet cats and dogs.

Blood Tests: Blood Tests are the principle methods of diagnosis of heartworm disease. The different blood tests done are:

– Antibody tests, that determines if a cat’s immune system has been exposed to heartworms.

– Antigen tests, that detect if any adult female heartworms are present in the pet’s body.

– Testing of the blood sample for microfilaria. This is not a reliable test in cats as only 20% of infected cats test positive for it.

– Determining the eosinophil count in cats suspected to have heartworms. Eosinophils are types of white blood cells that are found in greater numbers when a pet has been infected by heartworms.

Other diagnostic tests involve the use of X-ray and Ultrasound technologies.

Heartworm Disease: Treatment

Heartworm Treatment for Cats

Unfortunately, there are no approved drugs available for the treatment of heartworm disease in cats. So basically, cats are treated for heartworm disease in one of the two ways:

– Giving cats the same drugs as those given to dogs for heartworm disease. This treatment isn’t a perfectly reliable one as the drugs may have serious side effects on cats, possibly leading to lung failure and even death.

– Treating the symptoms of heartworm disease and hoping for the cat to outlive the worm. This would require extensive treatment for two to three years as that is how long heartworms live within a cat’s body. Cats may be given supplies of oxygen and corticosteroids (also known as “cortisone”) to offer relief for some of the pain, which is likely to be quite intense. Also, drugs may be given to eliminate fluids from the cat’s lungs.

– A third technique, which is not yet followed in the United States, but done in Japan and in some European countries is the surgical removal of heartworms from the cat’s body. This technique has been found to be quite effective and will hopefully be used by veterinarians in the US as well.

Heartworm Treatment for Dogs

For dogs, treatment of the heartworm disease depends on how long the heartworms have been in the pet dog’s body. While there are better drugs available today that kill the heartworms present in a dog and have less serious side effects, unlike the drugs of the past, these drugs can only be used to treat dogs if the heartworm disease is quite recent.

If the heartworm disease has been diagnosed early enough, treatment consists of a drug (Imiticide) being injected into the dog’s body to kill the adult heartworms present in the heart as well as the adjacent vessels.

WARING: The following video actually shows a dog receiving a heartworm treatment injection.

 

If the heartworm disease has been diagnosed early enough, treatment consists of a drug (Imiticide) being injected into the dog’s body to kill the adult heartworms present in the heart as well as the adjacent vessels.
Dogs that have had the heartworm disease for years cannot be treated with these drugs as that would risk their lives. Instead, in dogs those have suffered from serious organ damage because of the presence of heartworms for years, the organs – heart, lungs, blood vessels, kidneys, liver – are treated first. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to cure dogs that are at an advanced stage of the heartworm disease.

A month after the treatment that is given to kill adult heartworms, other drugs are used that kill the microfilaria or the baby heartworms still present in its body.

Following the treatment, dog owners are often delighted at how their pet recovers its health, regains lost weight, gets back its appetite and become active again. Dogs that have been treated for heartworm disease successfully can look forward to a healthy and active life ahead.

Heartworm Caval Syndrome

When there are many heartworm, the worms can cause blood flow obstruction, which is classified as stage four heartworm disease. These patients are not good candidates for standard heartworm treatment. Some veterinarians will surgical extract the heartworms to help relieve the obstruction.

WARNING: The following video is very graphic and illustrates how heartworms can be removed surgically. ONLY watch the video if you can handle such material.

 

Heartworm Disease: Prevention

Treatment of heartworm disease in cats and dogs can get complicated. That is why prevention of the disease is the best thing that can be done. Prevention of heartworm disease is safe and easy.

Heartworm Prevention for Cats

In areas where mosquitoes are common, veterinarians recommend for pet cats to be given preventives for heartworm disease. Cats that are given preventive medicine display no signs of toxicity and even kittens that are just a few weeks old stay safe from heartworm disease if given preventive medication at the earliest.

Heartworm Prevention for Dogs

Dogs can be saved from having heartworm disease if given preventive medication at the earliest opportunity. Even after having been just treated for heartworms, dogs have to begin a comprehensive heartworm prevention program.

Preventive medicine for heartworm disease in dogs is very safe, effective and easy to inject. Preventive medication can be given in the form of a chewable tablet or applied topically. Some of the best oral heartworm preventatives for dogs are Heartgard®, Interceptor® and Program®. Revolution™ (Selamectin), which is a topical treatment from Pfizer, is also very effective as prevention for heartworm disease.