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.
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.
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.
There are many physical and emotional health benefits that come from sharing your life with a dog, cat, or other companion animal. We all know how cuddling with a beloved pet lowers our stress, and walking a dog provides a great opportunity for exercise.
The mental health benefits of pet ownership can help people struggling with many different issues. According to the Human Animal Bond Research Institute, having a pet can help with a wide range of problems, including:
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
PTSD and Trauma
Many evidence-based studies show that a pet can be an important component of your emotional well-being.
One recent British study of people with long-term mental health conditions found that pets are a “main” and not just a “marginal” source of support in mental health management. Pets offer several benefits (particularly for people with limited social networks), including:
Providing a secure and intimate relationship not available elsewhere.
Helping people manage feelings by providing a distraction from upsetting experiences.
Providing an incentive for increased engagement and activity.
People participating in substance abuse treatment can also find pets to be very helpful in the recovery process. Treatment providers outline such benefits as:
Improved social life.
Reduction of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Giving people a sense of purpose (especially when they adopt a homeless animal).
If you are thinking about opening your home to a new pet, make sure you fully understand the requirements of pet ownership first. Check out this comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about pet adoption HERE.