The Meaning of Your Dog’s Barks

Does your dog understand you better than you understand him? Or do you have a good grasp of what your dog is trying to say? Dog owners spend a great deal of time and effort training their dogs to understand humans, but they don’t always put the same energy into learning the language of their canine companions. Dogs communicate in many ways, including body language, scent, and of course barkswhines, and growls, but barks are likely the first thing you think of when you consider dog communication. And according to Dr. Stanley Coren’s book“How to Speak Dog: Mastering the Art of Dog-Human Communication,” there is far more complexity involved than you might realize.

 

Barks made in different situations sound different and likely have different meanings. They are not a one-size-fits-all vocal signal, and they definitely serve a greater purpose than simply saying “hey” or “look out.” They are also emotionally complex. Dogs don’t just bark when they are excited, although it can seem that way when they are trying to get your attention. They bark when they are frightened, lonely, surprised, irritated, and more. That means there are different barks for different moods, as well.

Read the rest of the article here 

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Animal Poison Control Center-List of toxic people foods to avoid feeding your pets

ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Phone Number: (888) 426-4435

Our Animal Poison Control Center experts have put together a handy list of the top toxic people foods to avoid feeding your pet. As always, if you suspect your pet has eaten any of the following foods, please note the amount ingested and contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

Alcohol
Alcoholic beverages and food products containing alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death. Under no circumstances should your pet be given any alcohol. If you suspect that your pet has ingested alcohol, contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center immediately.

Avocado
Avocado is primarily a problem for birds, rabbits, donkeys, horses, and ruminants including sheep and goats. The biggest concern is for cardiovascular damage and death in birds.  Horses, donkeys and ruminants frequently get swollen, edematous head and neck.

Chocolate, Coffee and Caffeine
These products all contain substances called methylxanthines, which are found in cacao seeds, the fruit of the plant used to make coffee, and in the nuts of an extract used in some sodas. When ingested by pets, methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. Note that darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate. White chocolate has the lowest level of methylxanthines, while baking chocolate contains the highest.

Citrus
The stems, leaves, peels, fruit and seeds of citrus plants contain varying amounts of citric acid, essential oils that can cause irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression if ingested in significant amounts. Small doses, such as eating the fruit, are not likely to present problems beyond minor stomach upset.

Coconut and Coconut Oil
When ingested in small amounts, coconut and coconut-based products are not likely to cause serious harm to your pet. The flesh and milk of fresh coconuts do contain oils that may cause stomach upset, loose stools or diarrhea. Because of this, we encourage you to use caution when offering your pets these foods. Coconut water is high in potassium and should not be given to your pet.

Grapes and Raisins
Although the toxic substance within grapes and raisins is unknown, these fruits can cause kidney failure. Until more information is known about the toxic substance, it is best to avoid feeding grapes and raisins to dogs.

Macadamia Nuts
Macadamia nuts can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs. Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and can last approximately 12 to 48 hours.

Milk and Dairy
Because pets do not possess significant amounts of lactase (the enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk), milk and other dairy-based products cause them diarrhea or other digestive upset.

Nuts
Nuts, including almonds, pecans, and walnuts, contain high amounts of oils and fats. The fats can cause vomiting and diarrhea, and potentially pancreatitis in pets.

Onions, Garlic, Chives
These vegetables and herbs can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage. Although cats are more susceptible, dogs are also at risk if a large enough amount is consumed. Toxicity is normally diagnosed through history, clinical signs and microscopic confirmation of Heinz bodies.

Raw/Undercooked Meat, Eggs and Bones
Raw meat and raw eggs can contain bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli that can be harmful to pets and humans. Raw eggs contain an enzyme called avidin that decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin), which can lead to skin and coat problems. Feeding your pet raw bones may seem like a natural and healthy option that might occur if your pet lived in the wild. However, this can be very dangerous for a domestic pet, who might choke on bones, or sustain a grave injury should the bone splinter and become lodged in or puncture your pet’s digestive tract.

Salt and Salty Snack Foods
Large amounts of salt can produce excessive thirst and urination, or even sodium ion poisoning in pets. Signs that your pet may have eaten too many salty foods include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, elevated body temperature, seizures and even death. As such, we encourage you to avoid feeding salt-heavy snacks like potato chips, pretzels, and salted popcorn to your pets. 

Xylitol
Xylitol is used as a sweetener in many products, including gum, candy, baked goods and toothpaste. It can cause insulin release in most species, which can lead to liver failure. The increase in insulin leads to hypoglycemia (lowered sugar levels). Initial signs of toxicosis include vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination. Signs can progress to seizures. Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure can be seen within a few days.

Yeast Dough
Yeast dough can rise and cause gas to accumulate in your pet’s digestive system. This can be painful and can cause the stomach to bloat, and potentially twist, becoming a life threatening emergency. The yeast produce ethanol as a by-product and a dog ingesting raw bread dough can become drunk (See alcohol).   

 

Homeward Bound Total Wellness

Thanksgiving for your Pets Too!

Thanksgiving is a time for friends, family and holiday feasts—but also a time for possible distress for our animal companions. Pets won’t be so thankful if they munch on undercooked turkey or a pet-unfriendly floral arrangement, or if they stumble upon an unattended alcoholic drink.

Check out the following tips for a fulfilling Thanksgiving that your pets can enjoy, too:

  • Talkin’ Turkey: If you decide to feed your pet a small bite of turkey, make sure it’s boneless and well-cooked. Don’t offer her raw or undercooked turkey, which may contain salmonella bacteria. Do not give your pet the left over carcass–the bones can be problematic for the digestive tract.
  • No Bread Dough: Don’t spoil your pet’s holiday by giving him access to raw yeast bread dough. When a dog or cat ingests raw bread dough, the yeast continues to convert the sugars in the dough to carbon dioxide gas and alcohol. This can result in bloated drunken pets, which could become a life-threatening emergency, requiring hospitalization.
  • Don’t Let Them Eat Cake: If you plan to bake Thanksgiving desserts, be sure your pets keep their noses out of the batter, especially if it includes raw eggs—they could contain salmonella bacteria that may lead to food poisoning.
  • A Feast Fit for a King: While your family enjoys a special meal, give your cat and dog a small feast of their own. Offer them made-for-pets chew bones. Or stuff their usual dinner—perhaps with a few added tidbits of turkey, vegetables (try sweet potato or green beans) and dribbles of gravy—inside a food puzzle toy. They’ll be happily occupied for awhile, working hard to extract their dinner from the toy.

A few small boneless pieces of cooked turkey, a taste of mashed potato or even a lick of pumpkin pie shouldn’t pose a problem. However, don’t allow your pets to overindulge, as they could wind up with a case of stomach upset, diarrhea or even worse—an inflammatory condition of the pancreas known as pancreatitis. In fact, it’s best keep pets on their regular diets during the holidays. Please visit the ASPCA page for more info.  

https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/thanksgiving-safety-tips

Homeward Bound Total Wellness

Rawhide Safety – You Never Know …

Rawhide Safety

So even when you know better, accidents can happen. In a doggy gift bag we received at a recent dog event we worked, there was a rawhide bone, that apparently Leila got into without us knowing she had done so.

This morning she started choking, retching, and making a high-pitched breathing sound and was in considerable distress. I recognized what was going on since I had taken the PetTech first aide pet saver class, I called for help (Allen) and monitored Leila knowing she had the best chance of getting up whatever she was choking on, on her own. And was ready to jump in to render aid if she couldn’t and if her condition deteriorated.

The picture of the rawhide pieces is what came up and out. I was shocked to see how big the piece was that had been choking her, and also shocked to see she had gotten into the rawhide at all.

I should not have even brought the rawhide into the house, I knew better. It is so dangerous for dogs. Thought I’d share this lesson and reminder to get rid of any rawhide treats if you have dogs. I’m just thankful in this case everything turned out OK and Leila seems to be doing fine.

Should I spay or neuter my pet?

Every year, millions of unwanted dogs and cats, including puppies and kittens, are euthanized. The good news is that responsible pet owners can make a difference. By having your dog or cat sterilized, you will do your part to prevent the birth of unwanted puppies and kittens. Spaying and neutering prevent unwanted litters, help protect against some serious health problems, and may reduce many of the behavioral problems associated with the mating instinct.

Removing a female dog or cat’s ovaries eliminates heat cycles and generally reduces the unwanted behaviors that may lead to owner frustration. Removing the testes from male dogs and cats reduces the breeding instinct, making them less inclined to roam and more content to stay at home.

Early spaying of female dogs and cats can help protect them from some serious health problems later in life such as uterine infections and breast cancer. Neutering your male pet can also lessen its risk of developing benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate gland) and testicular cancer.

The procedure has no effect on a pet’s intelligence or ability to learn, play, work or hunt. Some pets tend to be better behaved following surgical removal of their ovaries or testes, making them more desirable companions.

What are the risks of spaying and neutering?

Although reproductive hormones cause mating behaviors that may be undesirable for many pet owners, these hormones also affect your pet’s overall health and can be beneficial. Removing your pet’s ovaries or testes removes these hormones and can result in increased risk of health problems such as urinary incontinence and some types of cancer. Talk to your veterinarian about the benefits and risks of the sterilization procedure so you can make an informed decision.

While both spaying and neutering are major surgical procedures, they are also the most common surgeries performed by veterinarians on cats and dogs. Like any surgical procedure, sterilization is associated with some anesthetic and surgical risk, but the overall incidence of complications is very low.

Before the procedure, your pet is given a thorough physical examination to ensure that he/she is in good health. General anesthesia is administered to perform the surgery and medications are given to minimize pain. You will be asked to keep your pet calm and quiet for a few days after surgery as the incision begins to heal.

When should I spay or neuter my pet?

Consult your veterinarian about the most appropriate time to spay or neuter your pet based upon his/her breed, age and physical condition. Keep in mind that, contrary to popular belief, it may NOT be best to wait until your female dog or cat has gone through her first heat cycle.

How do I decide?

Discuss your options with your veterinarian so you can get answers and make an educated decision.

More info from AVMA here

https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Reference/AnimalWelfare/Pages/Elective-Spaying-Neutering-Pets.aspx

Homeward Bound Total Wellness

www.homewardboundpets.com

Hiring someone to watch over your pets? Here is what you need to know!

To begin the search, you might ask for recommendations from your vet, dog trainer or local Humane Society office or check the databases for the National Assn. of Professional Pet Sitters or Pet Sitters International .

Those are, by no means, the only ones. You can find other options by searching online or asking friends and family.

To begin, start with a telephone interview and ask lots of questions.

Here are a few to start with:

1. Does the pet sitter have the proper business license for your city or state, if required? Rules and regulations vary regarding what is required to legally operate a business. If your city or state requires a business license, any professional pet sitter you use should have a valid business license. While pet sitters care for your pet at your home, some do offer limited in-their-home boarding. If so, ensure that they also have the proper authorization and license to offer this service as well.

2. Is the pet sitter insured and bonded? Ask for proof of coverage. PSI members have access to group rates on policies specifically for petsitters and are provided insurance cards.

3. Can the pet sitter provide proof of clear criminal history? Remember, the person you choose to hire will have access to your property and your beloved animal companion(s). Ask for third-party credentials that verify the sitter has a history of honesty and integrity. Official verification documents will contain a current date (within one year), a Social Security number trace, county-level court search results and the contact information of a reputable investigator. This documentation can provide the peace of mind you seek when admitting a new pet-care provider to your home.

4. Does the pet sitter provide client references? PSI recommends that all of its members have a list of references for potential clients to contact. Some pet sitters also include testimonials on their company websites or on their PSI Locator profiles.

5. Will the pet sitter use a pet-sitting services agreement or contract? A well-written contract outlines the details associated with each service the sitter will provide. The contract includes all fees along with the expected amount of time that will be spent with your pet(s). This ensures that both you and your sitter have agreed on and understand the level of service being provided in your absence.

6. Has the pet sitter completed PSI’s Certificate in Professional Pet Sitting Program and/or has he or she participated in pet-care training, such as pet first aid? Experience in caring for special needs pets or various types of pets is helpful if that is what you need. Pet sitters who have completed PSI’s Certificate in Professional Pet Sitting Program have the resources on hand to care for a wide variety of companion animal species.

7. Is the pet sitter a member of a professional and educational association, such as Pet Sitters International? Membership in a professional association such as PSI demonstrates a pet sitter’s commitment to their profession and the industry at large. PSI members have access to the most up-to-date educational resources and business tools to help them provide the best possible service to clients and their pets.