How Walking Your Dog Improves Health and Well-Being

Many dog owners enjoy daily walks with their dogs, and for good reason.  Walking your dog is a great way for you and your dog to get exercise, enjoy your time together, and meet up with other people and their dogs.

But did you know that nearly 40% of all dog owners rarely or never walk their dogs?  There are lots of reasons for this.  Many owners simply let their dogs out in the yard.  People who work long hours often hire dog walkers.  Some owners of small dogs have trained them to do their business inside.

An exercise physiologist was interested to see if she could “trick” dog owners into walking their dogs.  The New York Times summarized her interesting study.

She invited a group of dog owners who said they seldom walked their dogs to a special dog obedience class.  They were told the class was designed to improve their dogs’ on-leash behavior, but it was really done to monitor the humans’ activity!

Half of the participants were enrolled in the class and half were wait-listed.  The people taking the class were asked to record their dogs’ activity outside of class, but the researchers were really monitoring the people.

Results showed that the class participants did end up walking their dogs for a few minutes more per week than those not in the class, but not as much as the researchers were hoping to see.

The class participants did report feeling closer to their dogs and happier about their dogs’ behavior, confirming that going for walks is a great way to improve the bond with your dog.

 

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DNA Study Reveals What Happened to the Native Dogs of the Americas

A new study on canine genetics has been getting a lot of attention recently.  Do dogs living in modern North and South America retain the genes of the ancient dogs that accompanied the first Americans who came from Asia thousands of years ago?

A genetic study of the remains of ancient American dogs reveals that they were descended from the ancient dogs of Siberia (somewhat like today’s Arctic dogs such as Huskies and Malamutes) and not the native American wolf population.

These original dogs almost completely vanished after the arrival of European immigrants and their dogs in North and South America.  Only a tiny fragment of their genetic code lives on in modern American dogs…and you may be surprised to find out what it is.

Researchers have discovered that the closest surviving genetic link between these ancient dogs and modern dogs is the canine transmissible venereal tumor, which is a contagious cancer clone that can be traced to one individual dog that lived between 6,000 and 8,000 years ago!

You can learn more about this fascinating topic HERE.

 

Dog Beach Dos and Don’ts from San Diego Humane

Here in San Diego we have quite a few dog-friendly beaches for people and their pups to enjoy.  Are you planning on bringing your dog to the beach for some fun in the sun this summer?  The San Diego Humane Society has put together a list of some helpful dog beach etiquette tips for you and your best friend!

  • Many dogs go off-leash at the beach, but keep your dog leashed if you have any concerns about her behavior towards strangers and other dogs. You should also keep your dog leashed if she doesn’t come when called!
  • Bring plenty of fresh water for your dog to drink and an umbrella to provide your dog with shade on hot, sunny days.

  • Not every dog is a good swimmer, especially certain short-muzzled and short-legged breeds like Bulldogs and Dachshunds. Start your dog out leashed in shallow water to see how he does.  Make sure to pull him from the water if he gets tired.
  • Having up to date identification like tags and microchips is especially important when your dog goes off-leash at the beach.

  • Flea and tick prevention should also be up to date before you head to the beach.
  • Rinse the sand and salt water off of your dog when you’re done, and dry her off with a walk before getting back in the car.

 

Summer Pet Safety Tips

The Summer Solstice is this Thursday, June 21st!  Summer is a great time to enjoy the outdoors with your pets, but be sure you are prepared to keep them safe when the weather is hot.

The Arizona Humane Society has created some very helpful infographics on summer pet safety…because our friends in Arizona know a thing or two about hot weather!

Check out these important tips!

And this guide to heat exhaustion in pets:

Have a safe and happy summer!

 

 

What Kinds of Litter Do Cats Like Best?

Litter box issues, such as going outside of the box, are one of the most common cat behavior problems experienced by owners.  Sometimes these problems are solved with an easy fix, like adding extra boxes in a multi-cat household, cleaning the box more often, or placing the box in a quiet, isolated area.

Another major factor that contributes to litter box problems?  The type of litter you are using may be bothering your cat.  A recent study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior examined litter box filler preferences among a group of 18 cats.

The researchers gave the cats a choice of clay granules, silica granules, silica microgranules, and wood pellets.  The cats demonstrated a significant preference for clay and silica (both sizes) over the wood.

A second phase of the study gave 12 cats a choice between clay and silica.  The researchers found that the cats showed a significant preference for eliminating in the clay litter over the silica.

If your cat is not happy about that fancy new litter you bought, consider switching back to good old-fashioned clay and see if that makes a difference in your cat’s litter box habits!

Still having problems?  Check out this guide to solving litter box issues.