Monday, November 26, 2012


In addition to the Hatfields and the McCoys, the North and the South, Ohio State and Michigan fans, and (currently) Democrats and Republicans, there is the constant running feud between cats and dogs (and sometimes their owners).  As a practicing veterinarian, Helpful Buckeye had the advantage of being able to view this phenomenon up close and personal.  To be truthful, even though there is adequate evidence that this conflict is real, there are also some variables to seen in the photo above.  Some cats and dogs do get along, either by peaceful coexistence or outright affection for each other.  Furthermore, Helpful Buckeye had many clients who had both felines and canines in their household.

Nonetheless, there is plenty to explore in this age-old hostility.  Helpful Buckeye will offer you some  insight into the apparent differences between these members of the pet kingdom and the people who choose to have them as pets, as well as some discussion about their similarities and their benefits.

Do Dogs and Cats Think Differently?

By: Dr. Jon
Do dogs and cats think differently? You bet they do. In some ways, they can be like men and women. Yes, I am speaking in general terms, but I think most of us agree that there are some differences in how men think vs. how women think. I think the same is true with dogs and cats.
One of our writers took a fun and creative look at "How Dogs Think Versus How Cats Think".
She put her thoughts in writing and every time I read them it makes me smile. Here they are:
From the Dog's Perspective
I knock myself out to please the leader of my pack. Day in and day out, I follow his lead; sit when I'm told to sit; eat when he lets me eat; sleep where he tells me to sleep; and go to the bathroom when he's ready to take me for a walk.

And what do I ask from him in return? Just being able to shower my "Leader" with affection and attention, and to receive praise (and a few belly rubs) for a job well done. But my housemate, the cat, has absolutely no responsibilities and gets treated as if she's Top Dog. This is all very confusing ... maybe the Cat is the true pack leader.
When the cat first arrived, I was overjoyed! The leader spends only a few hours every day with me. He spends the rest of the time with his pack members. Hey, that's all right – I know my place in the hierarchy of things. They play with me too, and occasionally give me treats, so I'm not complaining.
Then one of the lesser members of the pack brings home this quiet little fur ball they called alternatively "The Cat" or "Whiskers." I thought the Leader was bringing me a toy, but whenever I approached, it reared back and made an ugly hissing noise. When I got real close, it batted me in the nose with its paw. Some toy!
It finally dawned on me that this was a new member of the pack. I wanted to make sure she knew her place in our little society, so I ate her food, drank her water and chased her around the house and up the bookcase. I was feeling pretty good about myself, so I sat there, barking my victory to her.
Guess what happened next, dear diary....
I was reprimanded! The pack leader scolded me while I was barking at the cat. I made the connection between barking and the cat – this wasn't the first time I was scolded for barking too much. But it became clear that they weren't too thrilled with me chasing the cat all over the house either.
So I ate her food and then played in the sand. What fun! Then the pack leader stopped me. Another scolding. It slowly dawned me: my place is below the cat!! How did this happen? I don't know my weights and measures, but I'm obviously bigger, AND I have seniority.
I began to notice other oddities. The cat jumps on the couch at will. She ignores the higher pack members when they call for her, and sometimes approaches them when they don't call. She only comes running when she hears the can opener. She jumps on laps and goes to sleep. The day I tried that, the boy yelped and I received a reprimand.
She walks around all high and mighty, leaping on furniture; I even caught her scratching the sofa. When she wants to do nature's business, she doesn't walk to the door and whine – she struts over to the sand-filled box.
Come to think of it, Diary, she hates most everything I like: constant attention; car rides (she screams like a banshee!); fetch; walking on a leash and belly rubs. I thought I was included on that list of dislikes, but one day when I was napping on my bed, she sidled up next to me, and began making a curious, yet not displeasing buzzing noise.
And sometimes she approaches me to play, although she doesn't know how to invite me politely. Maybe there's hope for us yet, Diary. All I have to do is know my place in the pack.
From the Cat's Perspective
He's at it again. The barking. That constant barking during my daily naps. I don't know what I dislike most about that dog - the barking, the foreign scent everywhere, his freakish need for approval and attention ... or the baffling desire to eat my food and play in my litter box. Just what is he trying to prove?
Perhaps I should start at the beginning. I adopted a family recently. As I explored my new home I picked up an awfully un-catlike scent everywhere. Naturally, I set about changing the scent to my own to let would-be interlopers know this land has been claimed.
But every time I went on kitty patrol, I picked up that scent again. Well, after a few days, I discovered what the smell was. A dog! My family hid him like a dirty little secret, no doubt afraid of my reaction. I suppose they wanted to set me at ease by introducing the dog gradually.
I stumbled upon him by accident when the door was accidentally left open. He came into my room and tried to greet me with that big snout of his, but I bravely batted him with my paw and ran away. The lumbering giant took after me, and I nimbly avoided him by climbing my tree.
He sat looking up at me, barking impotently, but I wasn't about to climb down. After awhile, I realized I was frustrating him because there was just no way he could make it up the tree. I showed him my disdain by yawning nonchalantly. Unfortunately, my food bowl and litter box were left behind. He retaliated against me by eating my food and desecrating my box.
I don't understand his behavior, Diary, or why my family puts up with him. He hardly sleeps a wink and always wants to play. Sure, I was like that as a kitten, but you have to grow up sometime.
As the months passed, it became clear the dog just wasn't learning the art of subtlety. He doesn't understand there is a time and place for everything. When someone calls for me, why rush? What's so important I have to run? And the incessant begging. Where's his dignity? If you see something you want, just show a little more affection and purr a little louder to remind the family you're there.
Well, I decided to make the dog my pet project. I try to set an example of how to hunt and chase, the proper times and places to take a nap and that he has his food and I have mine. I think I'm beginning to rub off on him. The other day, I caught the dog taking a midday nap. I was so proud I couldn't resist joining him. Now, we have a routine. We take one nap a day together, eat, then he chases me until I get tired of the game and tease him by climbing out of his reach. I've even grown accustomed to his scent.
He still reverts to form on occasion, though. When he's excited, the dog just can't help jumping, running and, worst of all, that barking. Oh well, Diary. We'll just take it one day at a time....

Dog vs. Cat: Which is Right For You?

By: Alex Lieber
He wants a dog; she desires a cat. In his mind's eye, he longs for a doting canine to play with in the park or to accompany him on jogs. She sees herself curled up on the couch, reading a book, with a kitty snoozing in her lap.
Choosing between a dog and a cat can be difficult. In a nutshell, dogs require more time, attention and money, but as pack animals are often much more social than cats. On the other hand, cats, being more independent, are easier to care for, much neater and usually cost less.
All pets require love, attention, play time, some grooming and regular veterinary visits. How much differs between a dog and a cat. The choice comes down to what you want out of a pet and how much energy you are prepared to devote.
Where you live also plays a big role in the decision – or even makes the decision for you. Some apartments or condos have restrictions on the size or type of pet you can have. If your building doesn't permit dogs, don't break the rules and get one. The worst thing to do is to adopt a loving puppy, and then return him to the shelter.
Downsides and Upsides to Dogs
Dogs want to be involved in all aspects of your life, more so than cats. They also require more care. If you're late home from work, someone will need to walk the dog. If it's raining or snowing, the dog still needs to be walked.
Walks should be something to look forward to. If it sounds like a chore, because you work unholy hours and generally neglect your home life, then maybe a dog isn't for you.
A dog needs to spend quality time with you as well. After all, he's waited for you to come home all day. Playing with a dog can be exhausting, especially if he's an exuberant puppy. Again, this is something you should be looking forward to all day – not a task that you want done and over with.
Vacations or business trips add to the complexity. You will need to find someone to dog sit because he will get very lonely without you. If you can't find someone to house sit, then you may have to find a good kennel. Finding the right kennel can also be time-consuming, not to mention expensive.
On the whole, dogs tend to cost more than cats. The bigger the dog, the more food he needs - and the bigger the droppings to be picked up. He also requires periodic grooming and bathing. You can do this yourself or bring him to a professional groomer, but it needs to be done because, unlike a cat, he won't do it himself.
These may sound like a lot of downsides, but dogs want to be totally involved in your life. They love every moment you spend with them. If you like taking car trips, you've got a faithful buddy who is happy to go. If you like to exercise, you'll find no other partner as committed. Their eagerness to please makes them more amenable to obeying your commands.
Dogs also perform many roles, such as watchdogs. Although they should be chosen as companions first, dogs make many people feel safer. Indeed, dogs are considered the best "house alarms" one can own.
Downsides and Upsides to Cats
Cats don't make good burglar alarms and are not likely to scare off intruders. And few cats will take to a leash unless training is begun at an early age. Cats are not pack animals, so they don't have an innate need to please you. If a cat learns a trick, it's because she wants to.
Cats require some grooming, such as nail trims, as well as periodic brushing. Although she doesn't have to go outside to go to the bathroom, her litter box needs to be scooped every day, and the litter needs to be changed weekly or, at least, once every two weeks.
And the cat's famous independence is also a consideration. Because she doesn't feel the need to please, a cat will approach you for affection when she wants to be petted and stroked. Can your ego stand catering to your pet's whims?
But because a cat is more independent, they can be left alone for longer periods of time. Although a cat will miss you, she doesn't depend on you to be home right at 5 p.m. for a walk. If you are gone for longer periods, your cat will do well with a house sitter, but she can also get by with someone feeding and checking up on her twice a day.
When you do get home, you can lie on the couch and vegetate; she'll probably be happy to curl up with you for a nap. Cats do need play time, but the effort is less taxing on you because she'll do the running and jumping.
And finally, cats may hate cars, but they are more easily moved than a dog. As mentioned earlier in this piece, rentals are more likely to accept a cat than a dog. For the person who moves around a lot, this is ideal.
Know Thyself
Here are some questions to ask when deciding between a dog and a cat:
• Are you the active, outdoorsy type? If you want to play with your pet outside, a dog may be the right choice. This isn't to say that cats cannot be taken outside under your close supervision or walked on a leash, but a dog is much more likely to enjoy the experience.
• Do you mind daily walks? Remember, this is necessary for a dog in rain, sleet or snow, unless you have a specific place for your dog to go in the house.
• What does your family want? Choosing a dog or cat should be a family decision.
• Do you have children under 7 years old? Experts say children should be between 7 and 9 years old before getting a dog. Dogs may not tolerate the antics of children, or they may even hurt children accidentally during play. Although you should always keep an eye on the kids and the pets together, it is even more important with a dog.
• How neat are you? Living with a pet usually means cleaning up hair. Some dogs and cats shed less than others, but all do shed to an extent. Dogs generally require more clean up, even if they are housebroken. Some breeds drool a lot, which will give you something more to clean up.
• Do you want to feel needed? Dogs and cats may both get excited and greet you when you come home, but a dog will stay excited. A cat will seek affection on her terms, not yours.
• Do you need to be "Number 1"? A properly trained dog (one that doesn't see himself as the alpha wolf) will look to you for leadership and strive to please you. Your relationship with your cat will not be that one-sided. Her independence may bring your relationship to that of equal (or even higher than you).
The truth about cat people and dog people
Research shows that your preference for felines or canines really does say something about your personality
Are you a dog person or a cat person? It’s likely that you align yourself with one of these labels, and research shows that your preference for one animal or the other reveals a bit about your personality.
Sixty-two percent of U.S. households have a pet, according to the American Pet Products Association. Dogs are the most popular pets with 39 percent of U.S. households owning at least one canine, but cats come in second with 33 percent of U.S. households having at least one cat.
But can our choice of furry friend really say something about who we are? Sometimes.
Studies show that we tend to gravitate toward the animals with which we were raised, and factors like age and living space also play a role in pet ownership. Parents with young children are more inclined to have dogs that kids can take outside, while older people and singles are more likely to have lower-maintenance animals like cats. And people in the suburbs are more likely to adopt large dogs, while apartment dwellers are likely to have cats or small dogs.
Still, research shows that there are differences between cat people and dog people. A University of Texas study found that those who define themselves as dog people are more extroverted, agreeable and conscientious than self-proclaimed cat people. Those with a preference for felines, on the other hand, are more creative, adventurous and prone to neuroticism or anxiety.
Your pet might even indicate how you vote. A 2008 Gallup survey of 2,000 Americans found that 33 percent of dog owners identified themselves as Republicans, while only 28 percent of cat owners leaned to the right. But a poll of 200,000 pet owners found the split to be more even. According to its results, dog people are 50 percent more likely to be conservatives than cat people.
However, there are some things that cat people and dog people have in common. Both types of people talk to animals, consider themselves close to nature, dislike animal-print clothing, and are generally optimists.
The survey also found that both cat people and dog people are equally likely to have a four-year degree, but cat people are 17 percent more likely to have completed a graduate degree.
Check out some of the other findings from’s survey below.
Living area preferences:
 • Dog people are 30 percent more likely to live in a rural area.
 • Cat people are 29 percent move likely to live in an urban area.
Animal rescue leanings:
 • Dog people are 67 percent more likely to call animal control if they find stray kittens.
 • Cat people are 21 percent more likely to rescue the stray kittens.
 • Dog people are 36 percent more likely to use a popular song as a ringtone.
 • Cat people are 11 percent more likely to have contacts in both their cellphone and a physical address book.
 • Dog people are 24 percent more likely to have kids.
 • Cat people are 33 percent more likely to prefer taking care of a friend’s kids than a friend’s dogs.
Favorite Beatle?
 • Dog people are 18 percent more likely to consider Paul McCartney their favorite Beatle.
 • Cat people are 25 percent more likely to consider George Harrison their favorite Beatle.
What makes you laugh?
• Dog people are 30 percent more likely to enjoy slapstick humor and impressions.
 • Cat people are 21 percent more likely to enjoy ironic humor and puns.
Random facts
 • Dog people are 9 percent more likely to think of zoos as happy place.
 • Cat people are 10 percent more likely to be active on Twitter.
When it comes to media choices, found that dog people prefer jam bands, reggae and psychedelic rock, while cat people listen to more New Wave, classic rock and electronic music.
Dog people listed “American Idol” and “Everybody Loves Raymond” as their favorite TV shows and “Crash” and “No Country For Old Men” as their top movie choices. Cat people preferred “CSI” and “Real Time With Bill Maher” for TV and listed “Slumdog Millionaire” and “The Hurt Locker” as their favorite movies.
But what about those people with both cats and dogs? According to's survey, these people are likely to be female suburbanites who are politically middle of the road.
Do you recognize any of yourself in these descriptions?  Any of your pets?
Now for some of the benefits of having a cat or a dog as a pet, here's what some experts have to say:

Cats may purr to your heart's content
Latest research confirms evidence that having a pet improves a person's health
By William Hageman, Tribune Newspapers
We know that pets are beneficial to our health — they can lower a person's blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and provide opportunities for exercise and socialization.
In some cases, the source of the benefits is obvious. You walk a dog for two miles, you'll be in better shape. But some of the reported benefits are baffling.
A 10-year study at the University of Minnesota Stroke Center found that cat owners were 40 percent less likely to have heart attacks than non-cat owners.
Could a cat's purr be the reason?
"Cats will purr when they're content, but also they'll purr when they're about to be euthanized. It's thought they purr to communicate with their kittens," says author and animal behavior consultant Steve Dale. "It's thought to be a calming mechanism.
"If that's the case … maybe they calm themselves or other cats, but maybe there's a fallout and there's another mammal species, us, that's impacted."
In another study, conducted at Kean University in New Jersey, subjects watched a "Lassie" movie. Their levels of cortisol — a chemical associated with stress — were checked before and after the film, and showed a decline after the movie.
This animal connection, Dale explained, "alters our neurochemistry. Not just the physiology, the blood pressure change, which is significant, but also the neurochemistry. The scientists are discovering there really is a difference here."
7 Ways Dogs Can Help Your Health
Dogs may be good at more than fetching sticks and greeting you after a long day at work. As it turns out, simply having them around may lessen your kids' chances of getting the common cold.
Owning a dog may improve the health of children in that household, according to new research from the University of California, San Francisco. In a study of mice, researchers found that the house dust from homes with dogs worked to protect against a common cold strain, the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
"Mice aren't identical to humans. There are obvious differences," explains Dr. Susan Lynch, co-investigator of the study and a professor at UCSF. "But we can do things in the animals that we could not possibly do in humans, and we can get samples to examine disease that would be very difficult to assess in humans."
Animals fed house dust from dog-owning homes did not exhibit the usual symptoms of RSV, including mucus production and lung inflammation. In fact, their symptoms were comparable to animals that weren't exposed to the virus in the first place.
So what's the big deal about RSV? It's a virus to which almost everybody has been exposed within the first few years of life. However, it can be severe -- and sometimes fatal -- in premature and chronically ill infants. It is the leading cause of bronchiolitis, which is an inflammation of the small airways in the lung, as well as pneumonia in children under 1 year of age in the United States, and it is associated with increased risk of developing asthma.
What excited researchers is that this work may help explain why pet ownership has been associated with protection against childhood asthma in the past. Their thought process is as follows: exposure to animals early in life helps "train" the immune system, which plays an integral part in asthma development. In short, there is reason to believe that germs, such as those associated with dogs, may be good for children's health under certain circumstances.
"Everybody appreciates the fact that we're all missing something big in asthma," says Dr. Robert Mellins, a pediatric pulmonologist at Columbia University in New York. "People have appreciated that viral infections clearly have an association, and this kind of experiment is interesting because it suggests a mechanism of how that could come about."
The study is far from the first to suggest the health benefits of having a canine in the family. The following are six other ways that owning a dog may improve your health and well-being.
Dogs and Cardiovascular Health
Could owning a dog keep your heart healthy? Research has supported a connection between owning a dog and reduced risk of cardiovascular problems, including high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels. In addition, a study published in the American Journal of Cardiology found that male dog owners were less likely to die within one year after a heart attack than those who did not own a dog.
Dogs and Anxiety
For people with all forms of anxiety, having a dog may be an important coping mechanism. This is especially true in times of crisis. A study out of the Medical College of Virginia found that for hospitalized patients with mental health issues, therapy with animals significantly reduced anxiety levels more than conventional recreational therapy sessions.
Dogs and Loneliness
Dogs function as important companions and family members, but certain groups may benefit more than others. The elderly, particularly those in residential care facilities, often become socially isolated once separated from immediate family. Researchers in Australia have found that dogs improved the well-being of residents by promoting their capacity to build relationships.
Dogs and Rehabilitation
In the setting of a severe illness or prolonged hospitalization, therapy dogs can be integral in the process of rehabilitation. A review of the literature looking at the function of service dogs proved that dogs can assist people with various disabilities in performing everyday activities, thereby significantly reducing their dependence on others.
Dogs and Activity
Before a dog is introduced into the home, the most commonly asked question is, "Who is going to walk the dog?" Turns out this responsibility may be important for the health of the family as well as the dog. Studies from the American Journal of Public Health and the American Journal of Preventive Medicine have shown that children with dogs spend more time doing moderate to vigorous activity than those without dogs, and adults with dogs walk on average almost twice as much as adults without dogs.
Dogs and Doctors
With all of these specific health benefits, could dogs keep you away from the doctor altogether? A national survey out of Australia found that dog and cat owners made fewer annual doctor visits and generally had significantly lower use of general practitioner services.

The Ohio State Buckeyes ended the season with a big win against Michigan, our long-time hated rival.  The game was a bit sloppy at times for both teams but, fortunately for the Buckeyes, our defense got better as the game went on.  We finished the season at 12-0, with Notre Dame being the only other undefeated team.  This was a very good year for our new coach as he got the chance to see what it's like to coach in the Big 10.  With all of our skill players returning next year, this will be hopefully a precursor to another great season next year. 
The Pittsburgh Steelers went to Cleveland with our 3rd-string QB leading the team...and promptly lost to a 2-8 team.  This loss pretty well makes it unlikely that we'll make the playoffs.  Helpful Buckeye felt so sure this would be a bad game that I went for a 35-mile bike ride instead of watching it.  I definitely got more out of the bike ride!

Desperado and Helpful Buckeye took a 5-mile hike on Thanksgiving morning...her first hike of any length in more than a year.  It was a great hike for her to get back in the swing of enjoying the outdoors again.  For the first time in almost 2 years, Desperado had no pain or discomfort either during or after the hike.  For that, we were very thankful!  Onward to many more of these....

Helpful Buckeye finished the Tour de Tucson 60-mile bike race in good shape.  My goals of coming in under 4 hours and finishing in the upper half of my age group were met.  Even with the numerous serious wrecks I saw, the bike race was the most exciting athletic experience I've ever had and I'm already considering doing it again next year.  Desperado and I really enjoyed the 4-day weekend down in Tucson...everything about it was superb!
Hallelujah!!!  The Dunkin' Donuts finally opened here in Flagstaff...all this physical activity calls for an infusion of carbs, right?
~~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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