Sunday, January 13, 2013


In a few months, Questions On Dogs and Cats will be having its 5th birthday.  Many of you have been with us from the beginning and you all know we have covered a lot of different topics in that time.  As I was looking over my files of information on topics to be covered in this blog, I wondered if there was any way for me to determine if my readers have really benefited from our diverse range of information over the years.  So, that's how I arrived at the question we're asking this week...How much do you know about dogs and cats?

This isn't going to be like a home work assignment, with studying, taking notes, and preparing for a big test.  Think of it as a general review of a lot of things we've presented, with a few new things thrown into the mix.  I hope you'll enjoy the mixture, while you also realize that you have absorbed a bunch of information on dogs and cats over the years.  Here we go....

10 Things You Didn't Know About Dogs
Doggie Facts
Dogs and humans have been living side-by-side for about 15,000 years, so you might think we know each other pretty well. But there's more to dogs than fetching and playing dead. Here are some little-known facts about man's best friend.
Dogs get our diseases ...
Humans and canines aren't so different after all, at least regarding what makes us sick. About 6 million dogs are diagnosed with cancer each year, and dogs get canine versions of rare human disorders like the brain-wasting neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis that leads to the inability to walk or control their muscles. While illness is sad for humans and pets alike, sharing diseases benefits both species. Clinical trials are easier to run on pets, giving doctors an animal model of human disease -- and Fido a chance for a cure.
... And they can smell our diseases, too
 If you have cancer, diabetes, or epilepsy, your dog might be the first to know. Studies have shown that dogs can be trained to sniff out cancers of the lung, breast, skin, bladder and prostate. Researchers suspect the canines are picking up on extraordinarily faint scents given off by the abnormal cells.
Dogs are also being increasingly used as service animals for people with diabetes, whose health can be harmed when their blood sugar peaks or drops. Specially trained dogs can detect the scent of these fluctuations (sweet for high blood sugar, acidic for low) and alert their owners before they even feel symptoms.
Most mysterious of all are scattered reports that dogs can predict an epileptic seizure 45 minutes before it begins. No one knows what the dogs might be picking up on, but theories range from an unknown smell to subtle behavioral changes.
See Spot think
Dogs can be as smart as 2-year-old children, according to research presented in 2009 at a meeting of the American Psychological Association. Border collies are the top dogs in the intelligence category, with some in the breed capable of understanding up to 200 words. Poodles, German shepherds, Golden retrievers and Dobermans round out the top five smartest breeds. (The most popular breed in America, the Labrador retriever, comes in at number seven.)

Older breeds like hound dogs, bulldogs and beagles are among the slow learners of the doggie world, the researchers reported. Unlike newer dog breeds, which are designed for companionship and sociability, old breeds were bred to sniff and hunt, perhaps giving them more brawn than brain.
Your furball can make you sick
We've all heard the canard that dogs' mouths are cleaner than humans (they're not), but in reality, dogs can carry pathogens that harm humans. Rabies, a fatal neurological disease, is the most famous (remember Old Yeller?), though vaccines, mandated by law in most states, can stop the spread. In a few cases, dog food has been known to cause food poisoning in humans, thanks to contamination by Salmonella bacteria. Perhaps creepiest of all is a 2003 study published in The Veterinary Record, which found that humans could contract the parasitic roundworm Toxocara canis just be stroking an infected dogs' fur. The roundworm, which grows in dogs' intestines, can grow in the back of the eye in humans, causing blindness. They also sometimes take up residence in human livers and lungs.
Roundworm infections in humans are rare, and proper veterinary care can ensure that dogs stay worm-free. Still, British veterinarian and study co-author told New Scientist magazine in 2003, hygiene is important for dog owners. "Wash your hands before meals," he told the magazine, "and after a good cuddle."
Dogs feel envy ...
Dogs know when they're not getting a fair shake. A 2008 study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that when dogs saw other dogs getting treats for a trick they'd been performing unrewarded, the unrewarded dogs became agitated, scratching themselves and avoiding the gaze of the rewarded dogs. They also stopped doing the trick much faster than if they were alone and not getting a reward.
The dogs' version of jealousy wasn't as sophisticated as a human's: The animals didn't seem to mind if other dogs got sausage while they just got bread, and they didn't care if another dog got food for nothing while they had to do tricks for a snack. But, the researchers wrote, the findings were good evidence that being green with envy isn't just a primate thing.
... But not guilt
 Those puppy-dog eyes Fido gives you when you scold him over knocking over the garbage can for the umpteenth time aren’t a sign of guilt, researchers say. He's just responding to your rebuke.
When dog owners thought their dogs had eaten a forbidden treat and reprimanded them, the pooches looked just as "guilty" regardless of whether or not they had actually eaten the treat. In fact, dogs who were wrongly accused of snack-snatching often looked more guilty than dogs who had really eaten the treat. Turns out those soulful eyes don't reflect any soul-searching, after all.
Docile dogs live longer
 On the other hand, if your dog stays out of the garbage, it may be in for a longer life. Obedient, docile dog breeds live longer, according to research published in June 2010 in The American Naturalist. The study compared the energy use, personalities, growth rates and life spans of 56 dog breeds. After controlling for factors like body size, the researchers found that bold, aggressive breeds lived fast and died young. They grew faster than obedient, eager-to-please breeds, and also had higher energy needs. The findings suggest that in selectively breeding for personality, humans inadvertently tapped into linked traits like metabolism and longevity.
Dogs are the most diverse-looking mammals around
 From the droopy Bassett hound to the sleek-and-slim Weimaraner, dogs show an amazing diversity in body shape. A study published in The American Naturalist in 2010 found that the differences between dog breeds' skulls are as pronounced as the differences between completely separate mammal species. A Collie skull, for example, is as different from a Pekingese skull as a cat's skull is from a walrus's.
All of this diversity makes dogs a great species for studying how genes work, allowing researchers to link genes to certain traits -- like what makes Shar-Peis wrinkly and dachshunds so stubby.

Lassie, religious icon or social glue?
 In ancient times, people saw dogs as more than useful animals; dogs also had a spiritual role. The three-headed hound called Cerberus guarded the underworld in Greek myth, while the ancient Egyptian embalmers took Anubis, the jackel-headed god, as their patron. In Mayan folklore, dogs were believed to lead the dead to the afterlife. In Nepal, the autumn festival of Tihar sets aside a day to honor dogs with flower garlands and food.
Nowadays, dogs are more likely to be seen as pets than religious figures, but people are still crazy about canines. According to a 2009-2010 survey by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, 39 percent of American households have at least one dog for a total of over 77 million pet dogs hunkered down in American homes. In one recent survey, 80 percent of dog owners reported interacting with their dogs for more than two hours a day. Many reported viewing their pets as their children. 

Man's best friend may even net you more human friends. A 2000 study published in journal of The British Psychological Society found that walking with a dog at least tripled the number of social interactions a person had. Unfashionable pet owners take heart: The dogs elicited positive social contact even when the animal looked fierce or the owner dressed in shabby clothes.

5 Facts About Cats You (Probably) Never Knew

Meow Monday
It’s Monday and that means it’s meow time. Today, we have some fun and interesting cat facts you probably never knew. So read on and afterwards, impress all your friends with your new found knowledge of cats. 
#5 Windows to the Soul
A swishing tail is not the only way to tell the mood of your cat. Watch the eyes. If her pupils are large then she’s either scared or excited about something (if you’re holding fish or some other delicious treat, it’s probably the latter). But if her pupils are narrow slits then watch out -- she’s angry.  

#4 Feather-Weight Champion of the World
The world’s smallest cat is the Singapura. This tiny kitty from Southeast Asia usually weighs in at no more than four pounds, which might be light enough for a career on the catwalk (no pun intended).  
#3 Vocally Gifted
While you shouldn't be holding your breath for a hit song from a cat anytime soon (though you never know with YouTube mania), there is a reason why cats are so talkative: their ability to make over 100 different sounds. Dogs, on the other hand, can make only 10 different vocalizations. 
#2 Fear and Loathing ...
But Also Love Both Julius Caesar and Napoleon were scared of cats! But not Abraham Lincoln. He loved them, and had four cats during his time as president.  
#1 Working Hard for the Money
In 1879, Belgium came up with the idea to use cats to deliver their mail. This didn’t last long, though, as the 37 feline mail carriers proved to be too undisciplined to carry out the job. You have to give them credit for trying. Cats just don’t believe in working. That’s for peasants (ask any cat). 
So there you have it. Five fun and interesting cat facts.  
Meow! It’s Monday. 
Dog Behavior Myths
Dr. Stu Robson
A Humane Society survey says Americans own 78 million dogs. So what do you really know about owning a pooch? Veterinarian Dr. Stu Robson from Fox-Creek Veterinary Clinic talks about some of the most common myths about dog ownership.
1. An old dog can’t learn new tricks.
 ((False. Old dogs not only learn new tricks but they thrive when trained.))

2. A dog shouldn’t sleep with you or be allowed on furniture, or she’ll think she’s the boss and will misbehave.
 ((False. Just like humans, dogs simply want a comfortable place to lie down.))

3. When your dog has a potty accident, it’s important to rub her nose in it to let her know what she did.
 ((False. When you rub a dog’s nose in her own mess, she often sees no association between that and her having had a potty accident.))
4. A dog who cowers from people was likely abused in the past.
 ((False. There are various reasons for dogs cowering, and not all of them are because a dog was abused.))
5. Shelter dogs have too much baggage. It’s better to adopt a puppy to start with a clean slate.
 ((False. Many shelter dogs are well-behaved pooches who, for an endless list of possible reasons))
6. All dogs should enjoy being around other dogs. It’s essential for dogs to go on outings with other dogs, such as at the dog park. If a dog doesn’t enjoy other dogs, there is something wrong with her.
 ((False. Not all people are social butterflies and neither are all dogs.))
7. You should let dogs just fight it out when they get into a scuffle.
 ((False (well, at least partly false). It’s true that you should never get into the middle of a dog fight, because some of the most damaging dog bites occur when owners try to separate fighting dogs.  Try using water, a really loud noise, or even a distraction like grabbing a treat bag or using voice to direct them to do something else.))
8. My dog is trying to show she’s in charge when she doesn’t listen to me.
 ((False. dogs don’t have the same complex emotions as humans.  For example, most dogs don’t come when called because the payoff isn’t worth it.))
9. My dog knows she was bad after she goes potty in the house. Her guilty face says it all.
 (( False. “guilty look” dogs display is solely attributed by humans and has no relation to whether the dog is actually responsible for an offense.))
10. It’s always the owner’s fault when a dog misbehaves.
 ((False. Most owners are well-meaning, but are simply misinformed or lack knowledge on how to train their dogs effectively.))
11. Using treats for training is bribery, and the dog won’t do the behavior later if you don’t give her a treat.
 ((False. It’s true that dogs need motivation to perform a behavior.))
12. When a dog chews up shoes or destroys furniture it’s because she’s punishing the owner.
 ((False. Dogs chew on shoes, furniture and other human items not to punish their owners, but simply because it feels good on their teeth, it relieves boredom, releases energy and, in some cases, may indicate separation anxiety.))
13. A dog can’t really be happy unless she can run off-leash.
 ((False. Leashes are made for a dog’s safety. Although regular off-leash play in a fenced area is essential for a dog’s well-being, while out in public, dogs can learn to be perfectly content on a leash at their owner’s side))

14. Dogs are great judges of people, so if a dog doesn’t like someone, it must mean there is something wrong with that person.
 ((False. there have been plenty of circumstances where pets have used an apparent sixth sense to pick up on cues that went unseen by their human and actually saved their human’s life. they are reacting out of fear to a certain physical attribute, movement or the physical proximity of a person, and are not reacting based on any moral evaluation of the individual.))
Let's have a little fun now with a couple of quizzes:
Dog Facts
Test yourself on these dog facts.
Points available: 10
1: What is the oldest American bred dog?
A) Labrador retriever
B) Golden retriever
C) Foxhound
D) Dalmation
2: It was once common for people's dogs to sleep under the covers. What was the purpose of this?
A) To keep warm
B) So bugs would migrate to the dog instead of the person
C) Protection against unwanted visitors in the night
D) The dog would lick their owner while sleeping. This was considered a bath.
3: Which type of dog has webbed feet?
A) Bassets
B) All retrievers
C) All terriers
D) Newfoundlands
4: Which musical artist has not written a song with the word 'dog' (or some variation of it) in the title?
A) The Red Hot Chili Peppers
B) Elvis Presley
C) The Baha Men
D) Snoop Dogg
5: What is a pedigree?
A) A dog whose ancestors are known
B) A dog whose ancestors are all the same breed
C) A dog whose parents are the same breed
D) A dog with parents of a different breed
6: Which type of dog is said to be the smartest?
A) Border Collie
B) Poodle
C) Dachshund
D) Jack Russell Terrier
7: What breed of dog is guilty of biting humans the most?
A) Boxer
B) Pitbull
C) German Shepard
D) Rottweiler
8: Which dog is a type of hound?
A) Pembroke Corgi
B) Beagle
C) Boxer
D) Lowchen
9: Which dog is a type of terrier?
A) Pekingese
B) Xoloitzcuintli
C) Mudi
D) Billy
10: What is the most popular breed of dog?
A) Cocker spaniel
B) Collie
C) Golden Retriever
D) Labrador Retriever
The answers are: C,B,D,A,A,A,C,B,B,D
Fictional Pets
Can you tell which of these pets belong to which fictional people and families? We've given you a hint by telling you what sort of animal each is -- but we've made it harder by not always telling you what show they're from!
Points available: 10
1: Santa's Little Helper (Dog)
A) The Simpsons
B) Inspector Gadget
C) Dr. Frasier Crane
D) The Nutmegs
2: Togo (Dog)
A) Patty Duke
B) The Brady Bunch
C) Nancy Drew
D) The Jetsons
3: Brian (Dog)
A) Dagwood Bumstead
B) Peter Griffin
C) Charlie Brown
D) The Kerbys
4: Tornado (Horse)
A) The Lone Ranger
B) Zorro
C) Ken McLaughlin
D) Joe Talbot
5: Eddie (Dog)
A) Punky Brewster
B) Peter Griffin
C) Lisa Douglas
D) Martin Crane
6: Asta (Dog)
A) Nick and Nora Charles
B) Bertie Wooster
C) Corporal Rusty
D) Sandy and Porter Ricks
7: Mr. Bigglesworth (Cat)
A) Dr. Claw
B) Baron Greenback
C) Dr. Evil
D) Mr. Midnight
8: Ruff (Dog)
A) "Dirty Harry" Callahan
B) Opie
C) Dennis the Menace
D) Patty Duke
9: Daisy (Dog)
A) Dagwood Bumstead
B) Opie
C) Richie Cunningham
D) Nancy Drew
10: Brain the Wonder Dog
A) Punky Brewster
B) Inspector Gadget
C) The Jetsons
D) Linus Van Pelt
The answers are: A,C,B,B,D,A,C,C,A,B
Adapted from:

OK, that's enough head scratching for this week!  Hope you appreciated the review and some hitherto new information.  Stay tuned for next week's conclusion....

Just a reminder that you can submit questions or comments to  or at the Comments section at the end of this issue.  Also, if you want to look up a particular topic in the "table of contents" of Questions On Dogs and Cats, use the "Labels" section which is located along the left side of every issue.

The Ohio State Buckeyes hosted the last undefeated team in the country, #2 Michigan, and beat them today.  It's always good to beat Michigan, but even more so when they are unbeaten!  This win keeps us among the early leaders in the conference.


“Nature does not equally distribute energy. Some people are born old and tired while others are going strong at 70."--Dorothy Thompson, American journalist and radio broadcaster
...where do you fit in?
"Yesterday is history,
Tomorrow is a mystery,
Today is a gift ...
That's why they call it the present."   From : Eleanor Roosevelt

~~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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