Why Dogs Bite People - Part II (Photos)

Police Credit Dog
With Saving Lost Girl's Life

A 3-year-old who went missing from her Arizona home Thursday was found alive Friday morning, after spending a night outside in near-freezing temperatures huddled next to her dog, Blue.

"She was able to stay warm with the dog. And it probably was one of things that saved her life. It was extremely cold out here," Sgt. Jeff Newnum of the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office told KPHO, a CBS news affiliate in Phoenix. "God watched over her last night."

Victoria Bensch vanished while playing outside with the family's Queensland Heeler around 4:30 p.m. on Thursday. Search teams scoured the rocky terrain surrounding Victoria's Cordes Lakes, Ariz., home, but as the night wore on, and temperatures dipped into the 30s, there was still no sign of her.

When the sun rose Friday morning, a rescue helicopter spotted movement below. It was Blue, hovering close to the missing girl, nearly half a mile from their home.

Even as medics approached, Blue kept Victoria, who was only wearing a T-shirt, pants and tennis shoes, safe.

"I think the dog was initially apprehensive of me. I was a little concerned he might bite me when I first walked up, but as I just walked right past the dog, the [animal] realized I was there to help," medic Eric Tarr told KPHO. "You could see the dog's expression almost turn to a smile. It came right up to the helicopter and jumped right in no problem at all."

Blue flew in the copter with Victoria to Phoenix Children's Hospital, where she was treated for frostbite, according to The Associated Press.

Victoria's family expressed their gratitude toward law enforcement and rescue officials for their role in saving the little girl.

Her father, Ernest Bensch, told WFIE, "It seems like the whole community came together to help find Victoria. All the manpower and hours out there, just working, were unbelievable."

The girl's aunt, Kim Rayfield, told KPHO, "I don't even like animals and I hugged that dog so hard."

Get Your Pet Back in Shape in 2010

The easiest way to help shed your pet shed pounds is to limit the amount of treats you give them.

Could Peaches stand to drop a few pounds? Does Cali need some calisthenics?

Now that you've been working on your own resolutions for a few weeks, how about helping your pets with theirs?

Ironically, many of the resolutions recommended for pets are the same we make for ourselves — lose weight, exercise more and generally live a better life. Perhaps a partnership will be good for both of you.

More pets than ever are overweight, according to a recent national study by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. That's 44 percent of dogs and 57 percent of cats. And guess who's mostly to blame?

"The easiest way to help shed pounds off your pooch or kitty is to stop giving too many treats — table scraps, cookies, soft chews," says veterinarian Autumn McKenzie at Oakhurst Veterinary Center in Seminole.
"Each cookie is like giving them a chocolate bar!"

Limit treats to two or three a day and ask your vet about low-fat treats, she suggests.

Another tip: Cut back on meal portions to cut calories. Don't always follow suggestions on the bag of dog or cat food; they may be wrong for your pet's body size, stage of life or metabolism. Ask your vet about the right amount for your pet.

Mealtime shouldn't be a daylong buffet, either, McKenzie says.

"If your dog or cat does not eat their food within an hour, take it away — feed twice a day."

Your vet may also recommend a prescription weight loss diet, one with high fiber that make pets feel full but is low in calories.

Fortunately, dogs love exercise — er, I mean play. Take an extra walk, double the length of your normal walk or find a new dog park for special outings a few times a week.

Cats can be a bit more challenging when it comes to exercise, so you'll have to be persistent and creative.

"Find or create things for kitty that will be environmentally stimulating to reduce boredom and increase their activity," suggests Sonja Olson of Florida Veterinary Specialists in Tampa. For best results, play with your cat. Just tossing a toy and leaving the room is likely to lead to a catnap.

Mind their manners

If you need to polish your pet's manners, talk to a trainer. Ask friends, family or your veterinarian to recommend a good one that uses positive techniques and positive reinforcement.

"Make some rules and be consistent," says Jeff Drier, master dog behavioral therapist and trainer at Bark Busters in Tampa.

"Dogs, being dogs, expect and thrive on rules."

Consistency is key. Don't let dogs get away with something today that you correct tomorrow. Dogs are lifelong learners. They love learning new things, and if you make it fun, they can learn very quickly.

A dog's list

This year, make a New Year's resolution to help your pet live a healthier, happier life. Just for fun, the American Kennel Club offered these resolutions your dog may be considering for 2010.

Top 10 Resolutions by Dogs:

10. Owner on floor, dog in bed.

9. Stop begging and actually get a seat at the dinner table.

8. Give up the dream of ever catching my tail.

7. Bark like a big dog but still get cuddled on lap like a little dog.

6. Get back at cat for litter box incident.

7. Find every bone I ever buried.

4. No more haircuts! (come fall, I can go as a Komondor for Halloween).

3. Become alpha dog in my house. Well, at least stop letting the cat push me around.

2. Invent goggles that allow me to see the electric fence.

1. Finally pass that darn AKC Canine Good Citizen test.

Write to pet-lifestyle expert Kristen Levine at Fetching Communications, P.O. Box 222, Tarpon Springs FL 34688; e-mail kristen@fetchingcommunications.com

Mama Cat Adopts Baby Squirrel

Pet owners thinking of insuring kittens may be interested to read that one mother cat has adopted a baby squirrel.

Tita, the caring mama, took the abandoned rodent under her paw when her owner found him injured and alone in a park.

The Sun newspaper reports that the tiny squirrel instantly bonded with the mother cat and is treated like a brother by her own kitten.

Now the baby squirrel suckles from Tita alongside the baby cat and cuddles up to sleep next to the feline friends.

The happy family reside in Envigado, Colombia with their owner Ruben Gaviria.

This isn't the first time a non-feline has reaped the benefits of proper pet healthcare and joined a band of fluffy friends.

It was recently reported that Prudence the piglet had fit right in alongside a group of six puppies, cuddling up to them when they all slept in a meadow.

The pooches' owner Rosie Catford told the Daily Mail that "it looks quite ridiculous but it seems so natural to [Prudence]".

Where To Find Quality Pet Medical Advice
by admin - PetPip.com

Getting good advice about your pet’s medical needs can be difficult. You don’t always know who to trust, and you don’t want to take the advice of just anyone. What if that person’s wrong and your pet gets injured or sick because of it? It’s not always possible to ask your vet, either, depending on when you need an answer to something.

Working With Your Vet
Obviously, your veterinarian is one of the best choices for pet medical advice. He or she has the training and know-how to answer the kinds of questions that pet owners are going to have. Sometimes getting answers will require your pet to be examined. Other times this won’t be necessary. Either way, it’s important to talk with your vet about concerns if possible.

Finding Answers Online
When it’s after hours or your vet’s unavailable – or you don’t want to bother your vet with what’s probably a minor matter – you can also find some answers online. Put your question into a search engine to see what information you get. Make sure to read it carefully, and try different combinations of symptoms or other terms if your first search doesn’t give you what you’re looking for.

When To Trust Information
Knowing whether you can trust information you find online is one of the biggest concerns when it comes to searching over the Internet. However, that doesn’t mean that you should just ignore what you find. Just make sure to pay attention to what kind of site it comes from, and verify it on other sites if possible.

If you’re still unsure about what you’ve found online, ask your veterinarian. It’s much better to be safe than sorry, but the good news is that there’s a lot of safe and reliable information online to keep your pet happy and healthy.

Rabbits Make Great Interactive Pets
By Hawaiian Humane Society

Question: My daughter wants a rabbit, but I think she'd be happy with an a pet she can play with. Are rabbits good pets?

Answer: Rabbits are highly intelligent companion animals that require a great deal of interaction. They are unhappy if left alone in a cage for long periods of time. They are inquisitive, intelligent, sociable and affectionate -- and if well cared for, indoor rabbits can live for seven to 10 or more years. Rabbits can be trained to use a litter box, they'll come when called, and some will engage their owners in a daily game of tag.

The Hawaiian Humane Society welcomes questions by e-mail, hhs@hawaiianhumane.org. Indicate "Pet Ohana" in the subject line.

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Why Dogs Bite People - Part II
Thanks to Kathy in BHC, AZ

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What Your Pet Says
About Your Personality

People have connected certain personality traits with favored pets for years, but now University of Texas researchers have the evidence.

The team led by Professor Sam Gosling asked 4,565 volunteers whether they were dog people, cat people, neither or both. Then they gave the same group a personality test.

Here’s what they found:

• Forty-six percent of respondents described themselves as dog people, while 12 percent said they were cat people. Almost 28 percent said they were both and 15 percent said they were neither.

• Dog people were generally about 15 percent more extraverted, 13 percent more agreeable and 11 percent more conscientious than cat people.

• Cat people were generally about 12 percent more neurotic and 11 percent more open than dog people.

And these findings proved true regardless of whether the volunteer was a man or a woman.

Gosling, a professor in the Psychology Department, is a leading authority on human personality. He is the author of "Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You" and recently made international headlines with his findings that people's Facebook pages reveal their true personalities, not their idealized personalities.

Top Ten Human Medications
That Poison Pets

Below is a list of the top 10 human medications most frequently ingested by pets, along with some tips from the veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline on how to prevent pet poisoning from human medications. This list comes from calls received at Pet Poison Helpline.

NSAIDs (e.g. Advil, Aleve and Motrin)

Topping our Top 10 list are common household medications called non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), which include common names such as ibuprofen (e.g., Advil and some types of Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve). While these medications are safe for people, even one or two pills can cause serious harm to a pet. Dogs, cats, birds and other small mammals (ferrets, gerbils and hamsters) may develop serious stomach and intestinal ulcers as well as kidney failure.

Acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol)

When it comes to pain medications, acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol) is certainly popular. Even though this drug is very safe, even for children, this is not true for pets—especially cats. One regular strength tablet of acetaminophen may cause damage to a cat’s red blood cells, limiting their ability to carry oxygen. In dogs, acetaminophen leads to liver failure and, in large doses, red blood cell damage.

Antidepressants (e.g. Effexor, Cymbalta, Prozac, Lexapro)

While these antidepressant drugs are occasionally used in pets, overdoses can lead to serious neurological problems such as sedation, incoordination, tremors and seizures. Some antidepressants also have a stimulant effect leading to a dangerously elevated heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature. Pets, especially cats, seem to enjoy the taste of Effexor and often eat the entire pill. Unfortunately, just one pill can cause serious poisoning.

ADD/ADHD medications (e.g. Concerta, Adderall, Ritalin)

Medications used to treat Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder contain potent stimulants such as amphetamines and methylphenidate. Even minimal ingestions of these medications by pets can cause life-threatening tremors, seizures, elevated body temperatures and heart problems.

Benzodiazepines and sleep aids (e.g. Xanax, Klonopin, Ambien, Lunesta)

These medications are designed to reduce anxiety and help people sleep better. However, in pets, they may have the opposite effect. About half of the dogs who ingest sleep aids become agitated instead of sedate. In addition, these drugs may cause severe lethargy, incoordination (including walking “drunk”), and slowed breathing in pets. In cats, some forms of benzodiazepines can cause liver failure when ingested.

Birth control (e.g. estrogen, estradiol, progesterone)

Birth control pills often come in packages that dogs find irresistible. Thankfully, small ingestions of these medications typically do not cause trouble. However, large ingestions of estrogen and estradiol can cause bone marrow suppression, particularly in birds. Additionally, female pets that are intact (not spayed), are at an increased risk of side effects from estrogen poisoning.

ACE Inhibitors (e.g. Zestril, Altace)

Angiotensin-converting enzyme (or “ACE”) inhibitors are commonly used to treat high blood pressure in people and, occasionally, pets. Though overdoses can cause low blood pressure, dizziness and weakness, this category of medication is typically quite safe. Pets ingesting small amounts of this medication can potentially be monitored at home, unless they have kidney failure or heart disease. All heart medications should be kept out of reach of pets.

Beta-blockers (e.g. Tenormin, Toprol, Coreg)

Beta-blockers are also used to treat high blood pressure but, unlike the ACE inhibitor, small ingestions of these drugs may cause serious poisoning in pets. Overdoses can cause life-threatening decreases in blood pressure and a very slow heart rate.

Thyroid hormones (e.g. Armour desiccated thyroid, Synthroid)

Pets — especially dogs — get underactive thyroids too. Interestingly, the dose of thyroid hormone needed to treat dogs is much higher than a person’s dose. Therefore, if dogs accidentally get into thyroid hormones at home, it rarely results in problems. However, large acute overdoses in cats and dogs can cause muscle tremors, nervousness, panting, a rapid heart rate and aggression.

Cholesterol lowering agents (e.g. Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor)

These popular medications, often called “statins,” are commonly used in the United States. While pets do not typically get high cholesterol, they may still get into the pill bottle. Thankfully, most “statin” ingestions only cause mild vomiting or diarrhea. Serious side effects from these drugs come with long-term use, not one-time ingestions.

Always keep medications safely out of reach and never administer a medication to a pet without first consulting your veterinarian. Never leave loose pills in a plastic Ziploc® bag – the bags are too easy to chew into.

Make sure visiting house guests do the same, keeping their medications high up or out of reach. If you place your medication in a weekly pill container, make sure to store the container in a cabinet out of reach of your pets.

Unfortunately, if they get a hold of it, some pets might consider the pill container a plastic chew toy. Never store your medications near your pet’s medications – veterinarians frequently receive calls from concerned pet owners who inadvertently give their own medication to their pet.

Hang your purse up. Inquisitive pets will explore the contents of your bag and simply placing your purse up and out of reach can help to avoid exposure to any potentially dangerous medication(s).

It is also important to note that while a medication may be safe for children, it may not be safe for animals. Pets metabolize medications very differently from people. Even seemingly benign over-the-counter or herbal medications may cause serious poisoning in pets.

If your pet has ingested a human over-the-counter or prescription medication, please call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline’s 24-hour animal poison control center at (800) 213-6680 immediately.

Healthy Pet Food Tips

Deciding what to feed your pet isn’t easy these days, especially after the unprecedented pet food recalls in 2007 that pulled more than 100 brands off store shelves. The culprit of the contaminated food was wheat gluten, poisoned with melamine, a chemical used to make plastics and fertilizers. The tainted food caused kidney failure and other illnesses, and may have killed thousands of pets.

Recalls and poisonings aside, there are plenty of other reasons to be aware of what’s in your animal’s food. Obviously a healthy diet makes for a healthy pet, keeping his coat, teeth and digestive system running smoothly. Also, you pay for what you get. Foods with a lot of fillers are cheaper but less nutritious. Just as with human food, good ingredients will go a long way toward giving your pet a long, healthy life.

Learn to decipher labels on commercial pet foods. The most important parts of the label are the nutritional adequacy statement and ingredients list. The former tells you whether a food is suitable as the sole nourishment for a healthy pet. The label will specify that the product “provides a complete and balanced nutrition.”

A well formulated cat or dog food will list chicken, beef, lamb, poultry, or fish meal first.

Cats are carnivores and dogs are omnivores, so both need their meat. Bone meal and other meat by-products are poorer sources of protein. Fillers do provide some protein, but aren’t as digestible. Examples of fillers are: soy, rice, oats, yeast, wheat, corn. These ingredients should be listed lower on the list.

Manufacturers sometimes try to mask the amount of fillers in pet foods by breaking them into components. For example, corn may be listed as cornmeal, corn gluten and ground corn. If all three were grouped together, corn would appear much higher in the ingredients. At the end of the list you’ll find preservative. Ethoxyquin is one of the most controversial, because it may affect a dog’s liver. Look for foods preserved with Vitamin C (also called ascorbic acid) or Vitamin E (listed as tocopherol) instead.

A better alternative is to buy organic pet food. An organic pet food marked 95% organic meets the same guidelines as organic food produced for humans. The food won’t contain pesticides or antibiotics, and it’s preserved with natural substances like Vitamins C and E. As with any food, the organic option will be more expensive, but it’s healthier for your pet, and the way it is produced is definitely better for the environment.

The best choice by far is making your own pet food so you know exactly what you’re feeding your animal. Ensure you’re preparing nutritionally balanced food, or your pet may suffer from malnutrition. You must consult your veterinarian or a specialist in pet nutrition before you start making your own food at home.

If expense isn’t an issue, then home made pet food is worth making, especially for the peace of mind in knowing exactly what your beloved pet is ingesting. While some pet owners feed their animals raw meat, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a vet who thinks it’s a good idea. There is always a chance that you or your pet could be exposed to E.coli or salmonella.

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Dog Helps Iraq Vet with PTSD:
'My Little Marine'

Life has become calmer, safer and less stressful for Chris Goehner since he paired up with Pele, according to this story by the Associated Press.

Goehner, 25, a Wenatchee Valle, Wash., native now attending Central Washington University, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which has afflicted him since serving two tours as a U.S. Navy corpsman attached to a U.S. Marine Corps emergency room unit in Iraq. He worked as a medic in Kuwait and Iraq in 2004 and 2005, before being diagnosed with PTSD and discharged in 2006.

Pele is his service dog. Since November, the two have become inseparable.

Goehner is one of only 21 Iraq War veterans suffering from PTSD who have been paired with service dogs since the military recently started a new program to try to help soldiers with the disorder.

Pele was trained for the program by an organization called Puppies Behind Bars. The nonprofit organization uses prison inmates to train service dogs in several New York regional prisons. For a story and video on the training of the dogs click here.

Pele, a 20-month-old golden retriever/Labrador retriever mix, accompanies Goehner to his classes, when he goes to the store or mall and when he goes out to dinner. Pele sleeps in his bedroom at night, guarding his rest from haunting nightmares of bomb attacks and shot and blown-up soldiers.

"Pele is my little Marine. He watches my back," said Goehner, referring to the Marines who offered him protection when he was working close to the battle zone in Iraq.

Since getting Pele, Goehner said he's slept better than he has in three years. He's been able to take a nap for the first time since leaving the military. He can go into a crowded place with less fear that he's going to be attacked or shot at. He's not as unnerved by loud noises that remind him of shellfire and isn't constantly filled with anger and ready for a fight.

Why a Luxury Pet Carrier

Today, many pet owners want to show off their pedigree animals. Aside from obedience trials or other competitions, many other owners simply want to have their pets seen in public. As a result, luxury pet carriers cover a wide range of pet transport needs. Irregardless of whether you want an elegant carry bag for a sweet little Papillion, or a pocket book carrier for a Pekingese, luxury pet carriers come in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

Over the years, the utilitarian aspect of pet carriers has also kept up with fashion trends. As an example, today there are air conditioned cat carriers as well as dog crates. Depending on the size of the pet carriers, even large or exotic animals can travel in comfort and ease. When it comes to safety during transit, airline approved pet carriers have become recommended on virtually all airlines.

Even though there are many luxury pet carriers that you may find charming or adorable, your pet may not think so. It is always important to make sure that your pet’s temperament and health condition will enable them to enjoy traveling. As an example, if your dog is from a restricted breed, or does not like strangers, the best thing to do is leave them home as much as possible. If you are going on vacation, you may want to consider finding a house sitter as opposed to taking the dog to a boarding kennel.

Unfortunately, even the most ornate or comfortable luxury pet carriers will not make it any easier for some animals to travel. Consider that a dog that experiences motion sickness is not going to be any more comfortable based on the types of dog crates that you choose. Cats are also notorious for not liking to travel away from home. While many cat owners have cat carriers on hand, they are most often used when it is time for a trip to the veterinarian and the occasional short distance vacations. That said, if physical health is not an issue, you should be able to easily acclimate most animals to travel while they are still young.

There are many designer toy, and other small dogs that are well suited to luxury pet carriers. If you’ve ever seen a poodle hybrid or other toy dogs peeking out of luxury pet carriers, chances are you’ll stop to enjoy the view and maybe offer a little loving attention. Without a question, happy, well cared for pets are always an enjoyable sight, and a delightful conversation topic. Most seasoned pet travelers will have many carriers to choose from to provide maximum comfort for their precious pets for any given situation.

Today, luxury pet carriers can be used for safe, comfortable transport of your pet. As an example, air conditioned carriers, or carriers that have special padding inside can make travel for your pet much less stressful. Airline approved pet carriers also make it possible for your pet to travel by air to any location in the world safely. There are also many luxury pet carriers available that are becoming premier fashion statements. In some cases, you may even be able to find luxury pet carriers designed to match certain types of evening gowns, or other types of clothing. It is also good to research what pet carriers are available on the market and web sites such as www. petcarrierguide. com offer numerous articles and advice for would be travelers. Most seasoned pet travelers will have many carriers to choose from to provide maximum comfort for their precious pets for any given situation. So pick yourself a nice pet carrier and add a pleasurable experience to your next vacation.

Cari is a passionate dog lover and is very involved in rescue and fostering services. Her frequent international travel (which she always takes her dogs with her) has given her a world of experience that she would like to pass on to other pet lovers. Her website www.petcarrierguide.com is all about pet travel and has many fine articles for the traveling pet owner.

Unusual Pets

Some pets that could be interesting:

An unusual pet is often chosen by apartment dweller that cannot have a dog or cat. But if your apartment rules state no animals, then of course you should not have one. Unusual pets that are suited to living in apartments include a variety of reptiles, fish, rodents and insects. Many people find that a stick insect or tarantula is fascinating, if not affectionate.

Fish are beautiful and delicate- especially tropical fish. While they don't actually love you as a dog or cat would, watching them swim around their aquarium can give a great deal of enjoyment. It is even said to make people calmer. While setting up the correct aquarium may be expensive initially, ongoing care is minimal.

Rats and mice can be tamed with plenty of attention and many people find that rats particularly make friendly and intelligent pets. They can also be cheaper as trips to the vet will be cheaper, they need to have a secure home so that they cannot escape and breed with any wild mice or rats around. Reptiles such as lizards or snakes also need to be kept in a secure environment so they don't escape into the adjoining apartments. That's a good way to make enemies of your neighbours. If you are not sure whether an unusual pet is for you, viewing some at a pet shop would be the way to decide. The pet shop attendant will be able to advise you on the correct care.

Should You Keep Rare Tropical Fish?

There is a lot of controversy these days over rare and exotic pets, and included in that controversy is question of whether or not you should keep rare tropical fish. Some may argue that rare animals of any variety should not be taken from their natural habitat so that they can breed and be as healthy as possible, while others argue that keeping any animal in captivity can actually be safer than letting it loose in the wild. And since keeping rare tropical fish means that they won’t be in the ocean near predators and other harmful elements, and they’ll be kept in a closed and controlled environment, is there really any harm to this? Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of keeping rare tropical fish and then of course you can make up your own mind regarding this subject.

The first thing to consider about rare tropical fish is where they’ve come from. Obviously if you’re buying them from a private seller you want to make sure that he or she is obtaining these fish legally. Some people are not against smuggling exotic pets out of countries without proper paperwork. On the other hand some breeders of rare tropical fish are licensed to breed them on their own and may have their own fish farms and aquariums where they raise them. It’s up to you to find these things out for sure.

You also need to keep in mind the expense and care that may be needed with some breeds of rare tropical fish, which might need more exacting water conditions and may have special dietary needs. Many fish are very sturdy and can withstand changes in their tank water whereas some rare tropical fish are more delicate and need constant checking when it comes to the water’s pH, chemical, bacteria, and so on. If you want your fish to live you’re going to need to be sure you’re taking care of it properly.

You also need to be aware of their dietary needs, as some cannot do so well with plain flake fish food. They may need special live feed or may also need supplements added to their diet. These things can be costly, so do your research and comparison shopping beforehand and make sure you can fit these things into your budget. And of course there is the cost of the rare tropical fish itself!

Some can run hundreds and even thousands of dollars, and yet you should also keep in mind their life spans. How do you feel about spending that much money on a fish that lives only a few years, if even that? Weigh this carefully and be sure you can afford this type of temporary investment.

Only you can decide if any rare tropical fish are right for you and your aquarium. Keep in mind if you’re doing the right thing for the fish as well, and in the end you’re sure to make the right decision.

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