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.

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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

Keep both pets and your Christmas decorations safe by avoiding these seven hazards

 

Christmas Tree

If you buy a real tree, skip the tree fertilizer, and keep pets from treating the stagnant water as their personal water bowl. Got a climber on your hands? To keep your dog or cat away from the base of the tree, use crumpled-up paper, a plastic bottle filled with beans, or anything else that creates noise at the base of the tree. This trick may scare them off, or at least warn of their approach in time for you to intervene.

Delicate Ornaments
To protect your pet and your valuable family decorations, make sure that small or breakable ornaments are placed higher on the tree. In addition to being a choking and intestinal blockage hazards, shards from broken glass ornaments may potentially injure their little paws and mouths.

Batteries and Small Toys
Every parent knows the joy of watching kids rip into Santa’s bounty on Christmas morning—followed by an afternoon of stepping on errant Legos, stray batteries, or tiny dollhouse pieces. Pets, too, discover these items and will eat them without proper supervision. These small pieces can get stuck in their intestinal tract, a condition that requires surgical removal.

Candy
Southern grandmothers are famous for scattering bowls of bite-sized sweets around the house during the holidays. Unfortunately, this can be dangerous if you’ve got curious (or particularly agile) pets. Small hard candies are choking hazards to pets without strong teeth and jaws, and chocolate is a long-known toxin to all animals, requiring a potentially expensive emergency visit to the vet. To be safe, keep these treats out of a pet’s reach. 

Small Bones 
Serving a holiday feast to your pets will only make them sick; thus, direct your table scraps into the trash rather than their food bowl. Particularly dangerous are turkey and chicken bones—not only can these cause blockages in the intestines, but they can splinter and break, causing punctured internal organs.

Festive Foliage
Deck the halls to your heart’s content, but remember: Holly and mistletoe, both popular seasonal decorations, can cause vomiting and severe stomach upset in pets if ingested. Keep the mistletoe securely fashioned over a doorway, well out of your pet’s domain.

Twinkle Lights
Keep strands of sparkling lights away from the bottom few branches of your Christmas tree, beyond the reach of your pet’s curious sniffing. Not only can pets get tangled in string lights, but these strands can give them a potentially life-threatening electrical shock if a pet bites through the wire. Tape extra lengths of electrical cord to the wall or a nearby piece of furniture.

 More from Southern Living and it’s writers here http://www.southernliving.com/christmas/christmas-pet-safety

 

Homeward Bound Total Wellness 

Should You Adopt a Pet From a Shelter?

 

The next time you’re in the market for a new pet and wondering where to buy a cat, dog, or other animal, try setting your sights on your local animal shelter. Despite any negative stereotypes animal shelters may have, they actually provide a ton of healthy, happy pet options for your family to take home and love.

Here are 5 things you may have heard in the past about shelter pets, and what the actual truth is.

Myth #1: Shelter pets aren’t healthy.

Truth: In fact, shelter pets can be quite healthy. In addition, many shelter pets are spayed and neutered, and some even come with location microchips.

Although there is much variety in animal shelters throughout the country, most good shelters almost always provide excellent vet care for their animals. In most shelters animals are vaccinated upon intake.

Myth #2: I won’t be able to find a pure breed at a shelter.

Truth: According to some studies approximately 25% of all dogs in shelters are purebreds. 

Myth #3: Shelter pets are unruly.

Truth: Many shelter pets receive some training and socialization before adoption to help make the transition to their new family easier.  Many volunteers visit the shelters on a regular basis to socialize and train these animals for their fur-ever home!

Myth #4: I won’t be able to properly get to know my pet from the shelter before I take her home.

Truth: Many shelters offer online pet profiles so that you can get to know the animals that are available before you even step foot in the shelter. It is always a good idea to schedule a ‘get-acquainted’ session with your prospective shelter pet and, have a list of questions you can ask the available shelter staff and the staff veterinarian. You should also try to schedule a meet n’ greet with the other animals in your household to make sure the new fur-baby is a good fit for your family.

Myth #5: All the pets in a shelter will be older.

Truth: Shelters and rescues have pets of all ages.

At the end of the day, deciding where to get your brand new family member from is a big decision, but with the right information, it can be made a bit easier.

When you adopt a pet from the shelter, it is important to immediately establish a relationship with a veterinarian to care for that new addition to your family.  In fact, your pet needs to be examined at least yearly by a vet even if it appears healthy as many diseases are hidden and not apparent.  Remember, it is much cheaper to prevent disease than it is to treat it!

More from PetMD here