Most pet owners answer the question “Do animals have emotions?” with an emphatic “Yes, of course!” To those of us who live closely with animals, that answer seems so self-evident that we might be tempted to shrug off the question, but it’s important to remember that many people do not feel as we do.
Scientific research into animal emotions is important, not just because it increases our understanding of the inner lives of animals, but also because it serves an important reminder that we are responsible for both the physical and mental well-being of the animals under our care.
Three studies were recently published looking at jealousy in dogs, optimism in rats, and empathy in pigs:
Jump Your Bones, a Florida-based pet treat company, has voluntarily recalled its Kangaroo Bites and Roo Bites brand treats because of potential Salmonella contamination.
The affected lots of Jump Your Bones Pet Treats were distributed to retail pet food stores nationwide and in boutique bags and online stores. Pet treat products affected by this recall can be identified with the following UPC codes:
63633010041 for 80g. / 2.82oz, including samples of .32 oz.
It’s that time of the year again! Time where I take stock of what I’ve accomplished over the past 365 days, and, more importantly, time to hold myself accountable for what I’ve left undone.
In other words, it’s time to list my New Year’s resolutions.
2014 brought a remarkable number of changes in my life. Foremost, I took a 5-month hiatus from working — the first time I’ve had that much time off from employment since I was 14 years old.
Richmond, Va., based Barkworthies announced the recall of select lots of Barkworthies Chicken Vittles dog chews because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.
The dog chews were distributed nationwide beginning on May 6, and they can be identified by the lot code printed on the side of the plastic pouch. The following Barkworthies Chicken Vittles dog chews are being recalled:
BARKWORTHIES CHICKEN VITTLES
By Jessica Voggelsang, DVM
The mood at the neighborhood holiday party was festive, at least at first. I had yet to meet the new family who had just moved in, but I often saw them walking their Malamute down the street. The man walked over to where I stood with another neighbor, Carlie, who was regaling me with stories about what her Golden had managed to eat earlier in the week.
“What are you feeding your dog?” he asked. She responded with the name of a well-known brand.
For better or for worse, the holidays often bring new pets into our households. Your addition may have been well-planned and thoughtfully implemented, which is always the recommended course. However, many new pets end up in our homes either as gifts or as our own impulsive purchases or adoptions.
While I never recommend giving a pet as an unexpected (i.e., surprise) gift, it happens. And when it does, it often places a pet into a household where it may not be all that welcome. As a result, that pet often ends up surrendered to a shelter or rescue shortly after the holidays conclude.
Impulsive purchases are a bit different but the result is often the same. When the addition of a pet is unplanned, new pet owners may find themselves in a position where they are financially or physically unable to care for the new pet. Or they may simply have second thoughts about having the pet in the household.
Christie AschwandenWith final exams bearing down on them this month, nearly 1,000 students at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond turned out for "Paws for Stress" — a chance to pet and play with therapy dogs.
Pets were once considered a leisure interest, one best kept at home. But there's a growing recognition that in addition to companionship, animals may offer humans a tangible health boost. VCU is just one of many colleges making therapy dogs available to students to help them cope with the stresses of finals, says Sandra Barker, a researcher at the Center for Human-Animal Interaction at VCU's medical school and an organizer of the event.
Humans have a long history of keeping creature companions, and if you ask most animal lovers if their beloved pet makes their life better, they'll say yes. But can a pet improve our health? That's a question that researchers are beginning to investigate. The field is still in its late infancy, says Barker, and the evidence remains mixed. At the moment, some of the best evidence for the benefits of pet interactions comes in the mental health arena, she says.
Hearing the news that your pet has been diagnosed with cancer can be both devastating and terrifying at the same time. It is natural to have many questions about exactly what the diagnosis means, what might happen to your pet as the cancer progresses, and what options you have for treating the disease.
One of the most common questions I am asked by owners during an initial appointment is, "What caused my pet’s cancer?" I can definitely appreciate why this is an important piece of information they would want to understand. Unfortunately, this is a very difficult question to answer accurately, as in nearly all cases cancer is typically caused by a combination of genetic and environmental influences, many of which may have occurred years before the diagnosis was made.
The fact that certain types of cancers occur more often in particular breeds of dogs and cats lends much evidence to the concept of a genetic cause for the disease. We do know that the genetic mutations that cause cancer can occur in the reproductive cells of male and female animals, and these mutations can be passed on to puppies and kittens, giving rise to a heritable predisposition to different types of tumors. Most cancers, however, arise from mutations that occur to genes during a dog’s or cat’s lifetime that were not present at birth. These mutations can result from internal factors, such as exposure to naturally occurring hormones, or external factors, such as environmental tobacco smoke, chemicals, or even sunlight.