Rescued Laboratory Beagles Become Beloved Family Pets

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Did you know that Beagles are the most commonly used dog breed in research laboratories? According to the Beagle Freedom Project, which rescues and finds homes for these dogs, Beagles are preferred by researchers because of their friendly, trusting, and people-pleasing nature. Unfortunately for them, this means life spent in a cage in a research lab, undergoing all sorts of tests and experiments.

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Most of these dogs never experience the outdoors, freedom to run around and play, beds and toys, or even the feeling of grass under their feet until they are rescued. Check out this heartwarming video from the Beagle Freedom Project showing what it’s like for a group of former laboratory Beagles to experience life outside of their cages for the first time!

 

10 Fascinating Pet Ownership Facts

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We’re crazy about our pets and the statistics about pet ownership in the U.S. prove it! Here are some fun and interesting facts about pet ownership:

  1. Around 15% of both dog and cat owners admit to buying a house (or car) with the needs of their pets in mind.

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2. One third of dogs go on vacation along with their families.

3. Nearly 60% of pets are buried on their owners’ property after they pass on.

4. 52% of dog owners have a dog that weighs under 25 pounds, with 58% of people age 55+ owning dogs under 25 pounds.

5. Over half of U.S. pet owners acquire their pets for free or at low cost.

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6. Vermont is the top pet owning state with around 71% of households owning a pet.

7. Over half of us buy our dogs and cats Christmas presents.

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8. Around 27% of pet owners have had professional photographers take pictures of their pets.

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9. Nine out of ten of us consider our pets to be members of the family.

10. Young adults in the 18-24 year old age group have the highest percentage of pet ownership of all adult age groups.

 

Tips on House Training Your New Puppy

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What’s one of the most important elements of training your new puppy? Potty training, of course! House training a new pup can be intimidating for new dog owners. Here are some helpful tips to get you started on this fundamental training task from the experts at Labrador Training HQ.

The two most important training elements to keep in mind are to prevent mistakes from happening inside the house, and to always praise your puppy every time he or she goes to the bathroom in the right place.

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Start the house training process by restricting your pup to one area of the house, and make sure you have a good crate or puppy playpen. Feed your puppy high quality food on a regular schedule to promote good bathroom habits.

Be sure to clean up any indoor messes thoroughly and always make the outdoors the preferred potty area, preferably returning to the same spot every time. It’s helpful to teach your puppy to go to the bathroom on command, and also get her used to a collar and leash.

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There are four main types of house training: paper training, use of a crate, constant supervision, and something called “umbilical cord” training. Paper training is not ideal because you are teaching your pup to go in the house. Crate training is very effective because dogs do not like to mess their immediate living space. Constant supervision really only makes sense if you are able to be home all day with your dog. What’s umbilical cord training? This is when you put your puppy on a leash and take him with you wherever you go in the house. Like constant supervision, this technique works best if you’re home a lot, but it’s easier to do because your dog is leashed.

Whatever method you choose, always remember to keep your puppy on a regular schedule…not just feeding, but also other activities like exercise and play. You’ll find that keeping a diary will help you to better monitor and understand your individual pup’s routine.

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You can read the full, in-depth article (with complete, step-by-step instructions) on potty training your new puppy at Labrador Training HQ’s website.

 

Common Upper Respiratory Infections in Cats

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Upper respiratory infections (URIs) can be very common in cats, especially kittens and cats living in multi-cat environments like shelters. URIs can affect a cat’s nose, eyes, sinuses, mouth, and throat. Common symptoms include sneezing, runny nose and eyes, fever, weakness, and appetite loss. URIs are most frequently caused by viruses, but there are bacterial URIs too. Here’s a rundown of the most common causes of upper respiratory infections in cats:

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Feline Herpesvirus-1 (FHV-1): While similar to human herpes, the feline strain only affects cats. FHV is considered to be the most serious viral cause of URIs in cats. In addition to the usual symptoms, cats can also suffer from significant damage to the eyes and nasal cavity. All infected cats can be carriers of FHV. After an infection, the virus can also go dormant in the cat’s body and then reactivate, especially in times of stress.

Feline Calicivirus (FCV): Like FHV, FCV only affects cats, not humans. It tends to produce a milder URI than FHV, but it can lead to pneumonia in kittens and cause some uncomfortable mouth ulcers in cats.

Mycoplasma Felis: This is a bacteria that is present in the respiratory system of cats. While it doesn’t typically cause a URI itself, it could exacerbate the problem in cats with other infections.

Chlamydia Felis: Chlamydia Felis is a bacterial infection that can cause inflammation of the tissues around the eye, similar to human conjunctivitis, although it cannot be passed to humans.

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Cats with FHV cannot usually be cured, although the disease can go into remission. Antibiotics are given to cats with bacterial URIs, and also viral URIs with secondary bacterial infections. Antivirals can be used to treat viral URIs, even FHV. The supplement L-lysine can also be given to cats with URIs. Your vet may also give you anti-inflammatories and topical medications to treat your cat.

Cats that are very young, very old, or have weak immune systems are especially vulnerable to URIs. The risk goes up for cats that frequently come into contact with other cats. You can talk to your vet about getting your cat vaccinated for FHV and FCV.

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Interested in learning more? You can download this fact sheet from the Winn Feline Foundation.

 

What Dog Owners Should Know About Salmon Poisoning Disease

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Going fishing with your dog? That’s awesome, but just make sure to keep your four-legged friend away from that raw fish you just caught.   In certain situations, your dog could be at risk of becoming seriously ill…and even dying…from something called Salmon Poisoning Disease (SPD). Read on to learn more about it.

According to the website of Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, dogs are at risk of contracting Salmon Poisoning Disease if they eat raw salmon or other types of anadromous fish. Anadromous fish spend most of their lives in the sea, but spawn and are born in fresh water. Besides salmon, other anadromous fish include smelt, steelhead, shad, striped bass, and sturgeon.

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Some of these fish could be infected with a parasite, relatively harmless itself, but the parasite in turn could be carrying a particular type of microorganism which carries the disease.

SPD most commonly occurs in the Western U.S. and only affects dogs and other canids…not cats, bears, or raccoons. Dogs will start showing symptoms of SPD within 6 days of eating the fish. Signs include vomiting, diarrhea, fever, loss of appetite, and weakness. 90% of infected dogs will die within 14 days if they go untreated.

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If you know, or even suspect, that your dog has eaten raw fish, take him to the vet as soon as possible. Your vet will perform tests to look for both the parasite and the microorganism. Treatment includes antibiotics and a de-wormer to kill both organisms.