Saturday, August 1, 2015

7 signs your dog is a hippie

Watch them at the dog park: They gleefully romp in the mud. Play Frisbee. Roll around on the grass and on each other.

7 signs your dog is a hippie

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Watch them at the dog park: They gleefully romp in the mud. Play Frisbee. Roll around on the grass and on each other.

It’s a regular Woodstock.

Are all dogs hippies? Compare other similarities: The long hair. The love of nature...and being ‘au naturel.’ The hanging out all day, with no job or worries about paying bills. That zeal for dumpster diving.

Hmmm. Need even more proof that your dog (and just about every other) is a hippie - and why that’s (mostly) good?

They love the Beatles

It was Forty (Seven) Year Ago Today that Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was released - with dogs in mind. On ‘A Day in the Life,’ there’s a police dog whistle noise whose high-frequency tone cannot be heard by humans, but was purposely recorded for the Fab Four’s four-legged fans.

‘If you ever play Sgt. Pepper, watch your dog,’ Paul McCartney told the BBC in 2013, confirming that much-rumored ‘dog theory’ about the 1967 album. Although Sir Paul is a well-known dog lover and animal activist, it was John Lennon’s idea to add that sound - designed to perk up dogs - at the end of the song (and album), just after the final piano chord but before the incomprehensible babble.

Want to test it? Play the tune and see how your dog reacts around 5 minutes, 5 seconds into it.

They dig grass

Maybe not the same type or in the same way: Hippies liked theirs from Colombia; dogs prefer theirs from local lawns. When not literally digging it, some canines ‘dig’ it with sniff-and-nibble grazing while others tear into grass with such gusto that you’d think those blades were free Grateful Dead tickets.

Why do dogs eat grass? Experts cannot definitively explain because different dogs have different reasons. It’s believed that some eat grass to induce vomiting to relieve stomach distress; others do it out of boredom, hunger or ‘just because.’ Some even believe grass-eating is ancestral behavior.

The bottom line: Nibbling to light grass eating is considered normal, and sometimes ceases when dogs are fed a high-fiber diet. But if your dog regularly treats your lawn like it’s a buffet line, it could indicate an underlying health problem. So consult with your veterinarian - especially if there’s post-meal vomiting. Of course, try to avoid any grass- eating on lawns treated with pesticides and fertilizers.

They wear bandanas

Yes, they make great fashion statements for both shaggy Man and beast. But there’s a practical reason for a bandana to be around your dog’s neck - at least during flea and tick season occurring now through the fall.

You can apply essential oils of lemon, eucalyptus and citronella, whose scents repel bothersome bugs, on the bandana itself (or a collar or leash) - rather than directly on your pet. ‘This is a great tip, since some pets - especially cats - are uniquely sensitive to the liver-toxic effects of essential oils,’ explains veterinarian Jennifer Coates.

They engage in ‘free love’

Left on their own, canines treat every day like it’s Valentine’s (or Woodstock). That libido backlash results in an overpopulation of dogs and not enough people willing to give them homes - and why spaying or neutering is so important.

In addition to helping to curb into shelters the influx of up to 8 million animals per year - half of which are euthanized because they can’t be adopted, according to the Humane Society of the United States - spaying/neutering your dog can help:

* Prevent disease and live longer. Neutered males live 18 percent longer than their non-neutered counterparts, and spayed females live 23 percent longer. That’s largely because of reduced of numerous conditions, including some types of cancer.

* Reduce unruly behavior including roaming, aggression, and excessive barking, mounting and other dominance-related actions.

* Save on costs. Lower disease risk means fewer and less expensive vet bills. Plus renewing licenses is often less expensive for ‘doctored’ pets.

Need another incentive to adopt a shelter or rescue dog? Neutering and spaying is usually included (and required) in the adoption cost. Low-cost programs are offered by organization such as Friends of Animalsand at some shelters for dogs they didn’t place into forever homes.

They’re fans of Phish

OK, your dog may prefer ‘fish’ - still, a well-tuned dietary choice that’s low in saturated fat and high in protein and other important nutrients for dogs (as well as humans). Like you, the best choices for dogs are cooked salmon, mackerel and lake trout, as well as albacore tuna - richest in omega-3 fatty acids to help boost your dog’s brain and heart health, improve skin and coat, and maintain cellular function.

Whether from food or supplements, pet diets rich in omega 3 and other fatty acids have been found to reduce inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, allergies and certain bowel conditions, aid in the development of fetuses and puppies, and especially benefit older dogs with kidney, heart disease, and cancer.

They have an eye for psychedelics

The wild, fluorescent colors on posters of the hippie era might be just the thing to appeal to dogs, whose visual acuity is up to eight times worse than ours. One reason: With fewer color-sensitive cells, they don’t see colors as well (so maybe the very brightest would help).

They take time to chill

Most dogs average about 14 hours of sleep - twice what most human worker bees (read: non-hippies) get per 24-hour cycle. Some very large breeds, including Newfoundlands, Saint Bernards and mastiffs, may sleep for 16-18 hours a day.

But dogs sleep differently. Unlike humans, they get much less REM sleep, the deep sleep stage where dreaming occurs. Dogs spend only about 10 percent of sleep in REM compared to our 25 percent.

The good news: Dogs can more easily change their sleep-wake cycles: Whereas humans may be awake for about 16 hours and sleep for eight, dogs get by with more but shorter bursts of rest.

Typically, a big chunk of those 14 hours is a series of naps throughout the day - waking for food, potty breaks, to bark at the FedEx man, etc. - and then plopping right down for another round of Zzs. Some experts believe this helps dogs compensate for their lack of deep REM sleep yet be fully rested.

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