Monday, December 24, 2012


“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. 
To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous,
is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” 
Calvin Coolidge, U.S. President, 1923-1929
Coolidge may not have been the best President we ever had but he sure did have a good sense of the full meaning of our Christmas holiday.  Helpful Buckeye extends best wishes to all of our readers (and their pets) that they might enjoy the wonderful Holiday spirit of being with family and special friends.

Whatever is beautiful.
Whatever is meaningful,
Whatever brings you happiness.....
May it be yours this Holiday Season.

Anonymous, Traditional Blessing

This Christmas weekend issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats will share some Holiday spirit with you, featuring some recipes for Holiday treats for your dogs and cats as well as some "singing" dogs and cats.  The "educational" part of the issue will deal with the long-standing question of whether or not music, in any form, means anything to your pets.  Enjoy....

Baking For the Holidays for Your Dog

The holidays are around the corner! Are you planning what you will be cooking and baking for family and friends? If so, here are great recipes for your pooch too!
Noel Nibbles
2 tablespoons honey
3 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cups white flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon nutmeg
2 3/4 cups water
1/4 cup unsweetened chunky applesauce
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup coarsely chopped peanuts
Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. In a bowl, mix together honey, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add water, applesauce and egg and stir, mixing well. Add nuts. Spoon into a greased muffin tin, filling each cup two-thirds full. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until lightly browned. Cool on a rack and store in sealed container. Makes 16 muffins.
Festive Holiday Cookies
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups water
3 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large mixing bowl, combine applesauce, egg, peanut butter, vanilla and water. Mix well. Add flours, corn meal, oats and peanuts and mix well to form a dough. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until thoroughly mixed together. Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick and cut out shapes. Place on greased baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes until lightly browned. Cool on rack. Makes 30 cookies.
New Year Delights
2 tablespoons honey
2 3/4 cups water
1/4 cup unsweetened chunky applesauce
1/8 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg, slightly beaten
3 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup dried apple chips
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a bowl, mix together honey, water, applesauce, vanilla and egg. Add flour, apple chips, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg and mix thoroughly, scraping sides and bottom of bowl to be sure no dry mixture is left. Spoon into greased muffin pans so that each cup is three-quarters full and bake for approximately 1 hour until lightly browned. Cool and store in an airtight container. Makes 12 muffins.
Adapted from:[T]&

Baking For The Holidays for Your Cat 

The holidays are around the corner - time to get ready for the season! While you are planning your baked treats for family and friends, try baking some for your kitty, too.
Festive Fish Holiday Pretzels
3/4 cup canned tuna or salmon, drained well
 1/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup whole-wheat flour
Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium size bowl, mash canned fish well with a fork and combine with water and butter. Add flour to form a dough. Divide dough into 24 pieces, roll each piece into a rope, and shape into a pretzel. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned. Makes two dozen.
Note: dough can be rolled out and shaped with cookie cutters before placing on cookie sheets.
Holiday Cheese Balls
2 tablespoons soft margarine
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 egg white
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp catnip
Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine margarine, cheese, catnip and egg white. Add flour to make a soft dough. Separate dough into half-inch pieces and roll into balls. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 35 minutes. Makes about 12 balls.
1 cup cooked turkey or chicken
1/2 cup beef or chicken broth
1 tablespoon margarine
1 cup whole wheat flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine turkey, broth and margarine. Add flour to make a soft dough. Add additional flour 1 tablespoon at a time if dough is too sticky. Roll out dough and cut with cookie cutter, or break off pieces and form into interesting shapes. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes on ungreased cookie sheets. Makes about 30 treats.
OK, you've had a chance to make some holiday goodies for your pets.  Now, sit back and let the dogs and cats do a little performing to earn those snacks.
The Singing Dogs doing Jingle Bells 

The Singing Cats doing Silent Night
Finish your musical enjoyment with this multi-species version of The Twelve Days of Christmas...this one is really pretty good:  (you can skip the ad that runs at the beginning).
Now it's time to get into the more serious, educational part of this week's issue.  A lot of pet owners have noticed that their dogs and cats will, at times, pay attention to certain types of music and that they will show some reactions to that music.  Only recently has any serious research tried to evaluate this phenomenon.  Regular readers of Questions On Dogs and Cats already know that Helpful Buckeye is a big fan of many kinds of music and doesn't doubt for a minute that pets can draw their own meaning and fulfillment from music.  The only questions that remain are what kind of music do they prefer and how does it affect them.

The perfect lead-in song for this segment comes from one of Desperado and Helpful Buckeye's favorite groups...listen to the Doobie Brothers sing Music Is The Doctor

Doesn't that get your blood pumping and your toes a-tappin'? 

Study: Classical music de-stresses dogs
Classical music might be the best way to calm an anxious pooch, a new study finds.

Lead author Lori Kogan of Colorado State University found that Mozart, Beethoven and the like may reduce stress in dogs, according to a study in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior. The study found that classical music was more soothing than "psychoacoustic" music or specially-made Pet CDs that were designed to calm animals.
Kogan said the study may be helpful for the welfare of animals in stressful shelter environments.
"Social isolation or restriction, a major stresser for many dogs, can lead to the development of both physiological and behavioral problems," Kogan and her two research partners, Regina Shoenfeld-Tacher and Allen A. Simon, wrote in their research summary.
Their research analyzed the behavior of 117 dogs of various breeds, all from one kennel; 83 were boarders (dogs that are temporarily housed for a fee) of different breeds and 34 were rescued dachshunds. Kogan and her researchers did thousands of behavioral assessments over the period of four months.
The dogs were exposed to 45 minutes of three different genres of music while their behavior was recorded every five minutes.
Classical music was linked to more relaxed and restful behavior, while heavy metal was linked to greater anxiety and unrest.
"It does fly in the face of what [Pet CD advocates] talk about, which is that more simplistic music should be more relaxing. The plus side is that you can download classical music for free," Kogan told the Canadian-based Leader-Post.

Does Music Actually Soothe Pets?
Pet anxiety can manifest itself in many different ways. We love our pets, so of course we worry about their health and safety. We don't want to see them upset or stressed out, especially when we can do something about it.
Some of you have said that your pets become upset when they are left home alone for any period of time. That's a common problem - in fact, it's so common that it even has a name: “separation anxiety.” Others have mentioned their dogs' anxiety or carsickness when traveling in the car. Some pets become very anxious when they are in unfamiliar surroundings like kennels and vet's offices. And some actually throw up or chew away areas of their hair and skin during thunderstorms, or when they hear loud noises like fireworks. When they are stressed, many dogs are likely to hide and not be found. Some dogs get so scared that they simply run for cover, which in turn leads to YOUR anxiety about finding your dog.
Some pet owners have tried creative ways to ease their pets' stress, like leaving the TV or radio on for "company" when their pets are home alone. But that could actually be doing more harm than good. Studies have suggested that TV and radio can actually CREATE stress for our pets because of the drastic changes in programming and the random mix of musical styles. Think about it—how scared would you be if you suddenly heard gunshots, sirens, or dogs barking?  The TV and radio certainly create "noise," but they don't necessarily create a relaxed environment.
Dog owners sometime ask,  "Does music soothe pets the same way it can relax people?" The answer is "yes" - but it depends on the music.
Music Eases Pet Anxiety - But Not Just ANY Music Will Do
Music is good for the soul. They say it calms the savage beast. And it turns out that's more than just an old wives' tale. While this might conjure up images of tigers with iPods, the truth is that music really CAN calm animals down. Really! It's a proven fact.
Studies have been done to examine the relationship between music and stress, and some of the results might surprise you.  Classical harp music is used around the world to help alleviate stress and heal sickness in dogs, cats, chimpanzees and other animals. Even animal shelters are installing sound systems and using music to create a more serene environment. Studies show that  dogs and cats seem to show lower levels of stress when exposed to classical music.  Cats will relax in front of the speakers when classical music is playing, and dogs will actually bark less - especially when listening to the music of Bach.
Our pets respond favorably to classical music under stress-inducing situations, often slipping into a very serene and peaceful state of mind after only a few minutes of listening. But all classical music will not have the same calming effect. For the music to soothe a pet, it must have a soothing dynamic from start to finish and transition calmly between pieces - which is not the case with most "off-the-shelf" classical music.
In addition to the musical benefits for pets experiencing anxiety, there is also some evidence that certain types of music will aid in the healing of transplant patients: 
Classical Music Slows Mice Transplant
Mice with mismatched heart transplants that were exposed to classical music had much slower rejection rates than did mice exposed to other music and sounds, Sophie Bushwick reports.
Opera and classical music can relax you – and maybe your immune system, if results with mice extend to us. Because mice that got heart transplants and who listened to opera and classical music had better outcomes than those exposed to other sounds. The work is in the Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery. [Masateru Uchiyama et al., "Auditory stimulation of opera music induced prolongation of murine cardiac allograft survival and maintained generation of regulatory CD4+CD25+ cells"].
A mismatched organ transplant typically gets rejected. After receiving mismatched heart transplants, mice spent a week hearing silence, a single-frequency tone, or one of three types of music: Verdi's La Traviata, Mozart, or the New Age artist Enya.
The strong immune response in the control mice and those who listened to single frequencies caused rejection after a week, and the Enya group lasted only a few days more. But the hearts in the Mozart group beat for 20 days and the Traviata group survived 26 days.
Perhaps classical music calms the immune system, decreasing its responsiveness – the Traviata mice had fewer white blood cells and immune-signaling molecules. Or maybe mice just prefer Verdi to Enya.
Adapted from:

Do any of our readers feel that your pets respond to any type of music?  If so, either respond at the Comment section at the end of this issue or send an e-mail to Helpful Buckeye at:   


The Pittsburgh Steelers had an opportunity to get into the playoffs today and, instead, due to a couple of late-in-the-game poor decisions by our head coach and an unexplainable interception thrown by our QB, we are left with nothing.  We are left with not only no playoffs this year but an off-season of wondering how we could have let so many of those winning games turn into losers.  These are not the Steelers of yesteryear...they are imposters!


Helpful Buckeye got an early Christmas present last week in the form of a new racquetball partner.  This guy is just about as competitive as me and gave me a couple of tough games...I know, I're wondering who won.  Well, I did, but I was more excited about the new opportunity.

Desperado and Helpful Buckeye are going to Christmas dinner at the home of a couple of really good friends and Helpful Buckeye has been asked to bring his "acclaimed" dessert, Tiramisu.  I enjoy making it almost as much as I enjoy eating it!

As we get closer to Christmas, we find that many people have done things for us...they either do favors for us, give us encouragement, go out of their way to make our lives better, or even give us presents.  Remember to thank anyone who has taken the time to do any of these for you...they are special friends...“Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone."--Gladys Bronwyn Stern, British writer

Desperado and Helpful Buckeye send our Holiday greetings and best wishes to all of our readers...your interest in this blog is greatly appreciated!
Happy Holidays From Flagstaff!

~~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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