Sunday, March 28, 2010


If you've ever experienced an encounter such as this between dogs, you know that barking and growling can be manifested in many ways...and mean many things. More on "Barking and Growling" in at least 3 sections of this week's issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats....

Most of our readers know that there is special day coming up this week, April Fools' Day, and nobody wants to be considered an April Fool by being the unsuspecting butt of a joke or trick.
Astrid F., from the web site, All About Dogs and Cats, at:, has sent Helpful Buckeye a selection of photos depicting a possible example of an April Fools' Day joke. You decide whether these are a joke or not. Helpful Buckeye thinks this series of photos is just another example of the strange and sometimes wonderful relationships that develop between animals (including humans)....
As Astrid points out: "Friendship isn't about who you have known the longest. It's about those who came and never left your side ....."

Helpful Buckeye reminds our readers to answer this week's poll questions in the column to the left.


1) The American Veterinary Medical Association has published this news release about spot-on flea and tick products from the Environmental Protection Agency: "Adverse reactions can occur with any product but, according to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), most adverse effects associated with the use of spot-on flea and tick products are mild and may include skin irritation and an upset stomach. The EPA and AVMA advise pet owners to talk to your veterinarian about responsible and effective use of flea and tick products, always carefully follow label directions, and monitor your pets for any signs of a bad reaction after application, particularly when using these products for the first time. Never use products labeled for dogs on cats. Keep the product package after use in case side effects occur. You will want to have the instructions available, as well as contact information for the manufacturer."

For the rest of the news release, including what to do to report a problem with one of these products, go to:

2) In what might turn out to be a harbinger of a trend across the country, this story from a suburb of Phoenix, AZ addresses an aspect of barking dogs that has people on both sides of the question upset. From the Arizona Republic: "Chandler (AZ) was poised to become the first city in the nation to discourage dog barking in a public dog park with high-frequency-sound devices that only canines can hear.
Now, humans are growling about the method. The Arizona Humane Society and dog owners and trainers across the Valley say they wonder if this is the best way to take the bark out of dogs in public places."

To read the rest of this story, go to:


Helpful Buckeye has discussed pet obesity in 2 previous issues of Questions On Dogs and Cats, at: and

Now, Paw Nation has presented a report that asks and answers the question, "Are treats Making Your Pet Fat?" Read this report and decide if any of this information might apply to the treats you give to your pets: We love giving our pets treats, whether to reward good behavior, keep them occupied or because we simply can't resist their plaintive stares or begging. But all those jerky treats, dental chews and milk bones are making our domestic animals fat. "If I could only point to one factor causing the modern-day pet obesity epidemic, it would have to be treats," says veterinarian Ernie Ward, founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention and author of “Chow Hounds: Why Our Dogs Are Getting Fatter-A Vet’s Plan to Save Their Lives.” Vets and animal-nutrition experts point the finger at fattening pet snacks: Packed with sugar and carbohydrates, even the tiniest packaged cheese or bacon snack becomes what Ward calls "calorie grenades." "It's that seemingly innocent extra 50 calories a day in the form of a chew or cookie that adds up to a pound or two each year. By the time a dog or cat reaches mid-life, it's overweight and health risks begin to skyrocket," Ward says. Obesity is being blamed for health problems such as diabetes, joint pain and breathing problems in pets. That doesn't mean the snacks have to stop, but experts say treats should make up no more than 10 percent of your pet's daily calories. That's not much, considering a 10-pound cat needs less than 300 calories daily and a 40-pound dog should only get about 1,000 calories. Making things trickier, manufacturers don't list calorie contents on their packages, and they don't have to. Some of the worst offenders tend to be the newer "dental chews" for dogs, Ward says. One Purina BusyBone Dental Bone (Large) has a whopping 600 calories, while a Pedigree JumBone (small) has 297 calories, nearly an entire day's calories for a small dog. Other popular treats and their calorie counts, according to Ward’s research:
  • Pup-Peroni: 24 calories
  • Purina Beggin’ Strips: 30 calories
  • Milk-Bone Biscuit (Medium): 40 calories
  • Purina Chew-eez Beefhide Chew Strips: 60 calories
  • Pedigree DentaBone (Medium): 188 calories

Experts recommend replacing processed treats with crunchy veggies such as baby carrots (only two or three calories per carrot), cucumbers (one calorie per half-inch slice) and celery (around six calories per stalk). For owners desiring a commercial dog treat, Ward likes Liver Biscotti, which deliver less than one calorie per piece. No single treat is the culprit, however. The biggest problem is quantity, says animal nutritionist Susan Lauten, Ph.D., owner of Pet Nutrition Consulting in Knoxville. "A family of four could be each giving the dog three treats a day and they don't know what the other person is doing," she says. She recommends that you measure out the amount of food that the dog or cat is going to receive per day, put it all in a freezer bag and only give treats out of that bag. As for cats, the risk of packing on pounds is so high that Ward recommends avoiding treats altogether. If you must, give a pinch (3/4-inch flake) of salmon or tuna.

This whole report is presented at:


1) Now, for the second mention of barking dogs. From the folks at Paw Nation, we can learn what you might do with a dog that won't stop barking:

Meet Mary Burch, American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Director and Paw Nation's new expert columnist addressing your questions on animal behavior. Dr. Burch has over 25 years of experience working with dogs and she is one of less than 50 Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists based in the United States. She is the author of ten books including the new official book on the AKC Canine Good Citizen Program, “Citizen Canine: 10 Essential Skills Every Well-Mannered Dog Should Know.”
Dear Dr. Burch, Our dog Quigley is a very yappy Shetland sheepdog who barks at everything -- air, cars, leaves, vacuum cleaners, brooms, snow, people, other dogs, etc. He is the sweetest, most lovable dog ever, but the noise is driving us crazy. What do you recommend to tame his incessant barking? Dr. Burch Says: As a Shetland sheepdog, Quigley's actually got a long heritage of barking. Shelties originally were used by farmers to herd livestock. Because Shelties are smaller dogs, they often use their voices to get the livestock moving, so your problem isn't unusual.There are a number of reasons dogs bark. The most common include:
  • Alerting behavior, such as when a stranger is at the front door.
  • To show excitement, like you would see during an active play session.
  • To communicate with you when he wants something, as in, "Let's go outside!"
  • To communicate with other dogs when he wants to say hello or something else.
  • Separation behavior, such as when dogs bark, bark, bark when their owners are gone.

Some herding breeds, like the Shetland sheepdog, will also bark when something is moving. This can be caused by excitement or a desire to herd the object.

You've mentioned several situations that sound like moving objects are an issue, including cars, falling leaves, vacuum cleaners, brooms, snow, and other dogs. Here are two tricks to try to handle movement driven barking:

1. Teach your dog to bark on cue. When the dog is barking, be ready with some treats. When the dog is quiet, say, "quiet," and give the dog a treat. Whatever you do, don't give the dog the food reward when it is barking.
2. Teach your dog how to do a reliable sit-and-stay. You can put the dog on the other side of the room when you start to sweep. If the dog is quiet, go to the dog, say, "Good boy, quiet," and give him a treat. In the beginning of training, there should be some distance between him and the broom, but eventually, he will be able to be closer. We call this a "sit and watch" procedure.These tips and others are described in more detail in our book "Citizen Canine: Ten Essential Skills Every Well-Mannered Dog Should Know."

The whole interview can be read at:

From The New Yorker:

2) The AVMA has provided this alert from the Food & Drug Administration about possible problems arising from the use of online pet pharmacies: "The Food and Drug Administration has released a brochure to provide guidance to pet owners regarding online pet pharmacies.
The brochure warns pet owners that some Internet pharmacies are not reputable. The brochure also offers advice on how to determine whether an Internet pharmacy is operating legitimately."

More of this helpful information can be accessed at the FDA site at:


1) I guess it was an idea whose time has arrived. After being pioneered in Japan, these are now available in the USA in some areas. I won't spoil the surprise for about this new product and be sure to watch the included video. If you then still have questions about it, join the club. Go to:

Be sure to answer the poll question about this one....

2) Now that spring is making an appearance in most of the USA, your dogs will most likely be getting outdoors a little more...and getting themselves a little dirty and stinky. Learn about some new scents that are available to help your "stinky" pooch recover its appeal at:

Then, go to the Nootie web site for ordering information: The cucumber melon sounds interesting, doesn't it?

If any of you do try this product, please send a comment to Helpful Buckeye to voice your opinion or e-mail:

3) Postmaster General John E. Potter today unveiled the Animal Rescue: Adopt a Shelter Pet commemorative postage stamps and announced the Stamps to the Rescue promotional campaign. Each year the USPS features stamps for a different cause in its Social Awareness program. The last cause featuring dog and cat stamps was the Spay & Neuter campaign in 2002. Read more about this program at:

Here are the stamp selections:


1) For a lighter side story, the Paw Nation staff has conducted a short "on the street" interview with some dog owners about how they named their pooches. Enjoy:

Helpful Buckeye is sure that many of our readers have interesting stories about how they named their dogs and/or cats. Please share your stories with us, either by e-mail or by clicking on "Comment" at the end of this issue.

2) Dan Vergano, a writer for USA Today, wrote this recent review in the USA Today:

Dogs Likely of Middle Eastern Origin

Fido has an Arabian pedigree, a new examination of canine genes suggests. The analysis reverses previous gene studies suggesting an East Asian wolf origin for the earliest domesticated dogs. In the Nature journal study reported Wednesday, researchers examined gene segments from 912 dogs and genes of 225 gray wolves-the species from which dogs evolved in prehistory-from 11 regions and finds specific populations of Middle and Near eastern gray wolves to be most similar to domestic dogs. Most likely, wolves have periodically interbred with domestic dogs, gene patterns suggest. Last year, a Journal of Archaeological Science report described dog bones found at a 31,700-year-old site in Belgium, an age for dog origins the Nature study finds "consistent" with its results.

3) For our readers who are also fans of English literature, a dog collar that was worn by one of Charles Dickens' dogs was put on the auction block recently. To find out how much it went for, go to:

4) For the last section on barking and growling dogs, here is some help in interpreting what a growl might actually mean.
To humans, a growl is a growl. But to dogs, all growls are not created equal, it seems. Those growling sounds contain a wealth of important information to other canines, according to new research described in Discovery News.

Read the rest of this behavioral study for some pointers:


The Ohio State Buckeyes were bounced from the NCAA basketball tournament by Tennessee over the weekend. It was pretty obvious that we were outcoached by Tennessee in the second half of the game.

Major League Baseball begins the season in a week, so all will be right in the sports world. Stay tuned for how the LA Dodgers are playing....


It has been rewarding putting together this issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats. Since our temporary detour to re-runs of a few select issues, Helpful Buckeye has been looking forward to producing new and fresh issues. I appreciate the patience of all our readers as I was working through the loss of my mother in Pennsylvania, as well as the personal communications many of you have sent to me. Thanks for that....

I'll close with the quote used earlier in this issue: "Friendship isn't about who you have known the longest. It's about those who came and never left your side ...."

~~The goal of this blog is to provide general information and advice to help you be a better pet owner and to have a more rewarding relationship with your pet. This blog does not intend to replace the professional one-on-one care your pet receives from a practicing veterinarian. When in doubt about your pet's health, always visit a veterinarian.~~

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