What's the Best Water for Your Pet?

Size Does Matter
By LANA BERKOWITZ - Houston Chronicle

Big dogs have barks that command respect. But it's easier to find cute outfits for small dogs.

Photographer Barbara Karant's latest book, Small Dog, Big Dog (Gallery Books, 128 pp., $25), celebrates dogs' diverse sizes, which vary more than any other domestic species'.

But before you acquire a dog from either end of the canine size spectrum, consider these issues.
Big-dog concerns
Large dogs require more of everything, including food and space.

Boarding a large dog can be more expensive than boarding a small one.

Medical expenses are higher for big dogs; they require larger doses of medication, and hospitalization is more costly.

Traveling is more difficult with a large dog; many hotels allow only small dogs, and most transit systems allow dogs only in carriers.

Some big dogs are more prone to disorders such as hip dysplasia and heart failure.

They produce more waste.

Tiny-dog worries
Small dogs are often corrected by force. Instead of relying on control through obedience training, owners find it easier to push or pull little dogs, lift them and carry them. Manhandling often makes little dogs aggressive or sensitive to touch.

Little dogs are more prone to injury from jumping off furniture, leaping out of a person's arms, playing with children or larger dogs, and getting stepped on.

Most small dogs are more sensitive to outdoor sensations than large dogs. Prickly weeds, rocks and stiff grass can be uncomfortable.

Small dogs lose body heat more quickly than large dogs, so they are more susceptible to cold and rain. They should be dressed appropriately in inclement weather.

They have small bladders. Tiny pets may need to go out more frequently than larger dogs, especially when they are puppies.

Source: www.aspca.org

Teen Rescues Pet Cat,
Firefighters Revive Two Others
By John Branton - Columbian.com

Dryer lint fire causes $350,000 damage near Hazel Dell

Two pet cats that were trapped in a burning home east of Hazel Dell on Friday afternoon were in bad shape when firefighters carried them outside — one mostly unconscious and the other listless from the smoke and heat.

But members of the Vancouver Fire Department and Fire District 6 used pet resuscitation masks, giving the felines extra oxygen and helping them breathe.

“After about 15 minutes of that, both cats sparked up and they’re doing fine,” said Jim Flaherty, firefighter-spokesman with the Vancouver Fire Department.

Shortly before 5:30 p.m. Friday, firefighters with the two departments were called to a dryer fire at 4007 N.E. 94th St., just west of St. Johns Road.

The first crew arrived in eight minutes to find the home’s interior in flames that were spreading rapidly throughout the home and producing heavy smoke. A battalion chief quickly called for crews with more engines and a ladder-truck, Flaherty said. Twenty-four firefighters worked at the scene.

A 16-year-old boy had grabbed one family cat as he exited his home but had to leave two cats behind.

And in an attempt to give the remaining two cats a way to escape, the 16-year-old opened some windows and doors as he left.

“That really allowed the fire to get a substantial head start,” Flaherty said.

But the boy and a friend who’d been there were safely outside and no humans were reported injured. Firefighters worked for 20 minutes before the flames were under control.

Firefighters then found the two cats, carried them outside and resuscitated them.

In the end, the inside of the home was extensively damaged, but the outside appeared mostly intact. Damage was estimated at $350,000.

Dryer lint
A deputy fire marshal said dryer lint buildup caused the blaze.

Firefighters say dryer lint traps should be cleaned each time the machine is used, and it’s wise to keep the area around the appliance clean and free of combustibles as well.

The home’s owners are listed in county records as Charles and Elaine Atkinson.

When someone leaves a burning home, firefighters say, the most important thing is for people to get out. Only if it can be done safely, Flaherty said, folks should close doors as they leave. That deprives flames of oxygen and slows their progress.

John Branton: 360-735-4513 or john.branton@columbian.com.

There IS A Treatment Now For Distemper
Houston Pets

First, you MUST be very careful--EVEN if your dog is fully vaccinated. Distemper mutates AND it is very contagious. Keep your animals out of public places, don't pet other animals (at least without sterilizing your hands afterward), leave your shoes outside of the house, buy 91 percent alcohol and spray your dog's feet (and your hands) after walks or dunk them in a bucket to disinfect...

Make sure your animals are vaccinated. Get educated. Start by asking your vet if he/she will listen to a new idea--a treatment for distemper designed by Dr. Alson Sears.

Euthanasia is no longer the answer to distemper. There is HOPE--and a treatment.

Caring for Diabetic Pets Helps Humans Get Healthier
By Jenifer Goodwin - BusinessWeek.com

Owners learn more about the disease and how to prevent it, study finds

Daniela Trnka had been living with type 1 diabetes for almost 20 years when she noticed telltale signs of the disease in her Siberian Husky, Cooper. He was thirsty, urinating often and at times, lethargic.

So she took out her blood sugar test kit, opened a fresh lancet and took a drop of his blood. Cooper's blood glucose levels were too high. A veterinarian confirmed it: Cooper had diabetes.

Now, the two are coping with the condition together. Trnka monitors Cooper's blood sugar levels and gives him insulin injections. Caring for her pet, Trnka says, has helped her pay better attention to her own health.

"Every time I think to check his sugar, I'm checking mine," Trnka said. "I think I'm more on top of managing my diabetes since I started taking care of him."

Trnka recently participated in a new Canadian study focused on pets with diabetes, which found that caring for a sick pet may improve the pet owner's health as well.

Lead study author Melanie Rock, an investigator at the Population Health Intervention Research Center, and a colleague interviewed 16 pet owners as well as veterinarians, a mental health counselor and a pharmacist about what it takes to take care of dogs and cats with the disease. About 1 in 500 dogs and 1 in 250 cats in developed nations are treated for diabetes, according to background information in the study in the May 17 issue of Anthrozoos.

Some participants said they had learned so much about the condition they felt better equipped to take care of a person with diabetes should they need to. Others, like Trnka, became more diligent about exercising daily for their pets' sake. "On a cold, windy day, [my dog] gets me outside in the fresh air because I know the exercise is good for him. And that's good for me too," she told the researchers.

"What we observed was that people take the care of their pet very seriously, and in doing so, they blur the lines between their own health and their pets' health," said Rock. "Being responsible for a dog may get people up and out of the house on a rainy day."

In addition, many pet owners get a crash course in diabetes, a disease linked to obesity, heart disease, kidney problems and a host of other ills.

Those lessons may have important implications for people, Rock noted. "Taking care of a diabetic pet may mean adhering to a schedule of injections and meals, or perhaps going for more walks to keep a diabetic dog healthy. Previous research has shown those types of routines and the opportunity for physical activity can be very important for people, particularly as they age."

Studies stretching back three decades suggest that owning or interacting with companion animals can be good for health by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, decreasing stress and improving cardiovascular function. Other research shows the company of pets can ease loneliness, anxiety and maybe even depression.

And the two-way health benefits of pet ownership even extend to feathered friends. One 2005 study cited by the researchers found some parrot owners giving up smoking so they didn't harm their pets with secondhand smoke, while a 2003 study found that owners began eating more fruits and vegetables , initially purchased for their parrots.

"Until now, we haven't looked at the link between veterinary care and people's own health," Rock said. "Pets are such powerful parts of people's lives. We need to find ways to leverage that as a cultural trend for the sake of public health. Vets are playing a significant role in diabetes education."

Trnka, an investor relations and corporate communications consultant, was a freshman in college when she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, in which the immune system destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. "At the time, I didn't even know what diabetes was," she said.

She learned to test her blood sugar, watch her food intake and give herself insulin injections. Eventually, she started using an insulin pump, which delivers insulin throughout the day through a tiny catheter.

Taking care of Cooper hasn't been easy. Even before the Husky was diagnosed with diabetes, he'd had seven knee surgeries and couldn't walk on his hind legs, so Trnka had to cart him around in a wheelchair.

"Everyone has challenges in life," Trnka said. "My friend said, 'Maybe he has diabetes to help you carry your burden.' If he's there to make me think, 'Life is not so bad, let's just get on it with it,' then it's working. He has such a good temperament. He makes people smile. I look at him and I can't complain that I have this condition."

More information:

The American Diabetes Association has more on Type 1 diabetes.

SOURCES: Melanie Rock, Ph.D., investigator, Population Health Intervention Research Center, Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Daniel Trnka, pet owner; Anthrozoos

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Not Our Dog
By Robin Dearing - GJSentinel.com

This is not our dog.

It is, however, the dog that I bought over the weekend in the seedier part of town. I guess that was my first mistake.

I saw an ad for a 1/2 lab — 1/2 Warmerainer pup for sale and thought it would be a great dog for our family. A designer mix with a decent price tag. Marty wanted to teach it to hunt ducks and I wanted a dog that would just be a great pal to hike and camp with. One that wouldn't shed too much or bite my kids.

The boys wanted any dog that wasn't a sea monkey.

The dog was awesome although we decided as a family that he needed a new name. We named him Dax, after the blue Power Ranger on Operation Overdrive, of course.

We started training him to drop the stick when he fetched and forced him to lay down in a designated puppy spot in front of the fireplace.

He chose, instead, to spend the night right next to Soren, with his head snuggled into the little boy belly. Although a puppy, he was taller than Soren, kept smacking him with his tail, but regardless, Soren liked him.

Everyone had 24 hours to get their heads around having a huge rambunctios new pet.

But then, the puke that sold him to me showed up at my door wanting him back. He was nice enough not to have the conversation in front of my kids, but he said the dog was probably sick and he'd better take it back. Yeah, he got a call from the vet on a Sunday for a dog he'd just sold. Uh-huh.

So, what was I supposed to do? He wanted his dog back. Because I'm not a total puke, I gave it back to him.

Soren cried and cried. Then he got mad me, trying to hit me if I came near him because this whole situation was all my fault and in the end all it did was break his little heart.

I guess I deserve that because I never should have bought a dog off the street. But, I really never intended for it to turn out this way. It just sucks.

Is Pet Assurance Higher Than Pet Insurance Coverage?
A Way To Select The Best One For Your Pet

Even though insurance for pets has been breathing for additional than two decades, most pet owners still do not perceive the concept of pet health insurance. While it is encouraging that pet homeowners are presented with numerous coverage plans, the supply of such varied choice additionally makes the pet owners wonder whether or not these plans are capable of minimizing their pet care expenses. Recent studies on pet insurance show that the majority pet homeowners notice it terribly laborious to choose an insurance plan that is both economical and right for his or her needs. Lets take a transient take a look at pet assurance and insurance plans.

Pet Assurance

In comparison to pet insurance, assurance plans offer a number of attractive options that embrace coverage for any pet, irrespective of its age or any pre-existing medical conditions. With assurance plans there’s no necessity to fill any claim forms and the waiting amount is usually terribly minimal. The most effective half of assurance plans is that it will not have any deductibles the least bit and it does not specify any limit for getting most coverage.

Assurance plans also offer a large coverage for routine medical expenses as well as spays or neuter care. Pet assurance plans even cover specialty treatments for conditions like cancer. It additionally covers expenses for hospitalization while not any additional charges. The most important disadvantage of assurance plans is {that the} veterinarian you choose should be within the network space specified by the assurance company of your choice.

Pet Insurance

On the opposite hand, pet insurance plans are comparatively expensive with several options like advantages, deductibles and claims which will vary considerably depending on your choice of coverage plan. With most insurance plans, the waiting amount is concerning two weeks and concerning 80% of the eligible expenses need to be incurred by the pet owner solely when filing a claim form. Typically, most insurances plans have deductibles, that is regarding $50 per incident.

As far as medical expenses are involved, pet house owners can claim their expenses solely if they meet the eligibility criteria. Coverage for specialty cases like cancers is extremely restricted in most insurance plans and most often a further deposit of regarding $ninety nine has to be created annually even for routine treatments. In case of spay or neuter routine, pet owners will claim reimbursement for concerning sixty five%, depending on their coverage plan. The utmost coverage limit varies relying on whether or not it is for lifetime, annual or per incident category. With most insurance plans you can choose any registered veterinarian.

A way to Choose the Right Set up

After you compare pet health insurance plans with assurance plans, the latter can positively look additional favorable and a better choice of the two. However, if you take a nearer look you may find that generally, no explicit set up will be the proper choice for all pet owners as the wants of each pet and pet owner is unique. The simplest means to form the proper alternative is to check varied features of different coverage plans like benefits and actual cost. Comparison charts are accessible in most pet insurance websites for your convenience.

Whether or not your selection is insurance or an assurance arrange, bear in mind that the correct alternative is that the one that suits your explicit needs.

Grady the Cat's Gloomy Puss May Be from Dental Pain
By Jeff Kahler, D.V.M. • McClatchy Newspapers

Grady spends his days patrolling his two-story house.

It's a big job, and it seems to be taking a toll on him, because the 4-year-old feline is resting more than usual.

Raul and Sonya say Grady also has changed his eating habits and has begun to refuse dry food.

When he does eat, he chews very carefully. Sonya says it appears as if his mouth hurts. She has attempted to look in his mouth, but Grady won't allow it. She did, however, notice Grady's breath smells bad.

How many of you are thinking Grady might have a tooth problem?

I am raising my hand. Dental disease is a distinct possibility. A tooth abscess can be painful. If Grady is reluctant to allow his veterinarian to examine his mouth, he may need sedation or anesthesia.

Another possibility could be severe gingivitis. We call it ulcerative gingivitis.

This disease in its primary state can be painful. Primary gingivitis is primarily seen in cats. It is caused by the immune system sending inflammatory cells into the gum tissue. It is considered an autoimmune disease, meaning the cat's immune system is attacking its own body, in this case, the gums. The result is highly inflamed and painful gums. When seen, the gums appear swollen and extremely bright red. It is almost as if you can see the pain.

There has been much research into this disease, but no cure. Medications can depress the immune response, which is causing the gingivitis, but it commonly will recur after treatment.

Dental disease and ulcerative gingivitis are but two possible causes for Grady's mouth pain. There are others. Hopefully, his caretakers have already received a diagnosis from Grady's veterinarian and he is on his way to recovery.

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Dogs Might Help Protect Kids from Allergy Symptoms
By PEGGY O'FARRELL • The Cincinnati Enquirer

The family dog might fetch some youngsters protection against allergy symptoms, new research finds.

Children who tested positive for dog allergies were less likely to develop eczema by age 4 if they had lived with a dog before their first birthday, according to a study released Thursday by the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

On the other hand, kids with dog allergies who didn't have dogs while they were infants were four times more likely to develop eczema, a chronic skin condition marked by extreme dryness and irritation.

It's possible dogs might act as four-legged allergy shots to protect allergic children, said Tolly Epstein, a UC allergist and corresponding author of the study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics.

“Dog ownership seemed to have a protective effect,” she said. “It's one hypothesis that it's a kind of natural immunotherapy for these children.”

She hopes parents can use the information to help choose a family pet.

Cat ownership didn't offer any protection against eczema, the researchers found.

In fact, children with cat allergies who lived with cats before their first birthday were 13 times more likely to develop eczema by age 4 than allergic children who didn't have cats.

Cats in general are considered to cause more allergy symptoms than dogs.

The current study only looked at eczema, she said, but previously published research has shown children who lived with dogs were less likely to develop wheezing later in life. But that research didn't distinguish between children with and without dog allergies, she said.

Epstein and her colleagues reviewed data from the Cincinnati Childhood Allergy and Air Pollution Study, a long-term study looking at the effects of environmental particulates on childhood respiratory health and allergy development.

The study is following 636 children considered to be at high risk for developing allergies because their parents had allergies.

Epstein said 14 percent of the children in the study had eczema symptoms.

The results are based on skin tests, as well as questionnaires completed by parents.

Doctors are seeing an increase in the number of children with allergic eczema, but they don't know why, she said.

“It's becoming very common,” she said, adding 10 percent to 30 percent of children experience it. Estimates of adults with allergic eczema range from 2 percent to 10 percent.

For the ongoing allergy and air pollution study, children were tested annually for 17 different allergies - including foods, airborne allergens like pollen and mold and environmental exposures like diesel particulates.

What Kinds of Pet Photos Do You Carry Around?
SUE MANNING,Associated Press Writer/Citizen.com

The next time someone reaches for photos and offers: "Let me show you some pictures of my little darlings," you might be surprised who's mugging for the camera.

According to a recent Associated Press-Petside.com poll, nearly half (45 percent) of all pet owners say they carry around photos of their pets — in wallets, purses, cell phones, laptops, iPods, iPads and other mobile devices.

Dog owners (48 percent) are a bit more likely than cat owners (37 percent) to carry pet pictures with them, and women (52 percent) are more likely than men (36 percent).

Over half of those under age 50 say they carry pet pictures, but the number diminishes with age. Just under a quarter of those age 65 and up still carry such photos.

Tigger, a 6-year-old Persian cat, is such a fashion plate and so agreeable that Larry Beal of Newburyport, Mass., can't help but take photos. "Plus we love him," the 66-year-old former teacher said.

"He will do anything you ask him to. My wife dresses him in all kinds of doll clothing and stuff. He wears costumes for Easter and Thanksgiving and Halloween and Christmas and all sorts of things," Beal said.

Beal carries most of the photos in his cell phone because he doesn't use a wallet. But he does carry a portrait of Tigger in a plastic sleeve in his pocket secretary. Refrigerator magnets and framed photos of the cat are all around his house. He's only too happy to share pictures of Tigger with friends and acquaintances.

"Usually someone else starts it," he said. "Then after they tell me about theirs, I say, 'Well, look at what we have.'"

But Tigger and his four-legged friends are still on the outside looking in, according to the poll conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media.

Almost all women — 90 percent — say they carry pictures of their children, as do 80 percent of men, including David Jeter, 51, of Los Angeles.

Jeter is married with two sons, ages 9 and 13, and a 6-year-old yellow Lab named Lucky. He has uploaded lots of photos from his digital camera to his global Blackberry, but Lucky didn't make the cut.

Because he travels all over the world and sometimes doesn't see people for six or 12 months at a time, he carries the boys' pictures so he can update them.

"The only people who have ever shown me pictures of their animals were people without kids. That recently happened in a business meeting. Everyone started showing pictures of their kids and there was one guy who didn't have kids but he was talking about his dogs," Jeter said.

There are family photos on Jeter's refrigerator, on his computer screensaver and in frames around the house. His favorite is one of everyone (except Lucky) on vacation in Bhutan in the Himalayas.

Jeter said he's not likely to take out his phone and start looking at pictures when he's traveling. "It makes me homesick. I try to avoid it because then I start remembering where I am not at."

Jamie Veitch, 42, of Oklahoma City, Okla., carries a few photos of her dogs, Sister, 16, and Pappy, 9, in her cell phone. She keeps lots more in her laptop.

"It's important because I don't have children and they are my babies," she said. Her favorite photo was taken about three years ago when she had five small dogs (three have since died) and she took them to a pet store for a photo with Santa Claus. That picture still holds a special place on her refrigerator.

About a year ago, she had a double organ transplant (kidney and pancreas) and was hospitalized out of state for six weeks. She didn't look at pictures.

"I had my phone but I was mostly on drugs," Veitch said. Thinking about her pets help more than pictures, and talking to the people who were taking care of them helped even more, she said. "They didn't like it when Mama was gone."

Marie Camenzind, 45, of San Carlos, Calif., carries iPhone photos of her daughters, 8 and 10, Blackjack Meow, the family's 16-year-old cat, the kids' guinea pigs and lots of fish.

"We're a picture family. That's how we are. My husband more than me, he's always pulling out the camera. We like to share them. When the kids are young, you want to capture everything," Camenzind said.

She said her daughters are always grabbing her phone to shoot pictures of the pets, so the animals are well represented, but she worries about losing her phone and all the photos in it.

Camenzind said she uses her photos for screensavers and, "I've always been a big refrigerator person." But her wallet doesn't have a plastic photo holder, so she doesn't have a collection of paper photos.

"The plastic picture holders are things of the past. I am going to start collecting them because they'll probably be worth money someday," she joked.

She's right about the plastic sleeves being so yesterday.

"With the digital age upon us, many of our customers do carry photos and pics of their kids or loved ones on their phones, BlackBerries, iPhones, etc., so the demand for specific 'picture holders' has dropped significantly over the past few years," said Francine Della Badia, North America senior vice president of merchandising, planning and allocations for Coach.

On the other hand, a picture frame keyfob sold so well around Mother's Day, Coach had to take it off their website because inventories got too low, she said.

The AP-Petside.com Poll was conducted April 7-12, 2010, and involved landline and cell phone interviews with 1,112 pet owners nationwide. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.

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What Water's Best?
By PATRICIA HEALEY - Press-Republican


Since My Pet Place is just setting up shop, there hasn't been time for questions to come my way. So today, I'll address an issue of my own choice: distilled water.

Should you fill your dog's water bowl with it? Is it the right choice for an aquarium? It's a highly debatable subject.

What is distilled water? It's pure water, meaning it contains no contaminants or minerals such as calcium and iron. Aquarium enthusiasts do use it in their saltwater tanks. However, they must add supplements in order for the fish to survive. Not only does it become costly, distilled water is also highly acidic, with a pH level of between 5.5 and 5.8. It can corrode the container it is stored in, and the particles end up in the water. Be careful when using this water with copper fittings, tubing, etc. Copper is deadly to fish.

A normal pH level on a scale of 1 to 14 is 7.0. In general for mammals, it's about 6.8 to 7.8; saltwater fish, 7.9 to 8.5; freshwater fish, 6.5 to 8.0.; reptiles, 7.5 to 7.7; birds, 7.3 to 7.4.

Sudden drastic changes in pH levels will also cause illness and possible deaths. This is why a perfectly healthy fish from the pet store can be brought home and be dead by the next day. It's important to know about your pet's requirements for water, food and temperature before taking it home.

My recommendation is to stay away from distilled water.


So should you use tap water, which usually has a pH of between 7.2 and 8.0? Some tap water contains chlorine, which is lethal to fish. KH (carbonated hardness) is also important to check. But tap water also contains fluoride, which is good for teeth and bones for other pets. My advice is to check out the existing water that's available to you and your pet. Buy a water test kit from your local pet store, where staff will most likely help you with what you are trying to accomplish. If your water comes from a public system (as opposed to a private well) you can also call your local municipality to access the information.

Once you know what you are working with, select a filtration system, not a water purifier, and set it up accordingly for a healthier pet and a healthier you. Natural spring water is good for many pets and people as well. The concerns about spring water are the living organisms. An ultraviolet light can be used to kill organisms in the water.

My Pet Place is written by Patricia Healey, an Animal Behavior certified dog trainer with additional studies in psychology/sociology and animal behavior. A lifetime lover/owner of many pets, her experience comes as well from working in a pet store and as an animal-shelter volunteer. She lives in Chateaugay. E-mail questions to: features@pressrepublican.com or mail them to: My Pet Place, c/o The Press-Republican, P.O. Box 459, Plattsburgh NY 12901.

Pessimistic Dogs See the Bowl Half Empty
By Jennifer Viegas - Discovery.com

Does your dog seem anxious and misbehave when left alone? It may be due to an underlying pessimistic state of mind.

Optimists and pessimists don't only inhabit the human world, dogs may also see the glass -- or, in this case, bowl -- as half full or half empty, determined new research.

The findings suggest that dogs, and probably other animals too, have underlying states of mind, which can affect their judgments and behavior. Pessimistic dogs are more likely to engage in unwanted activities, such as barking, destruction, and toileting when and where they shouldn't.

"In humans, at least, research shows that 'optimistic' or 'pessimistic' decisions are useful indicators of an individual's emotional state," project leader Michael Mendl told Discovery News. "Happy people tend to be more optimistic. This may also be the case in animals, including dogs."

Mendl, who is head of the Animal Welfare and Behavior research group at Bristol University's School of Clinical Veterinary Science, and his team came to this conclusion after putting 24 male and female dogs, representing different ages, through a few tests.

For the first test, each dog was taken to a room where a researcher interacted with it for 20 minutes. The next day, the researcher did the same thing, but left after just five minutes of interaction. The scientists documented how the dog, when left alone, acted. Some dogs, for example, happily awaited the person's return, while others barked and became anxious.

Next, the researchers trained the dogs to understand that a bowl on one side of a room was full of yummy food, while a bowl on the other side was empty. The researchers then placed bowls at ambiguous places and observed how quickly the dogs would go to the bowls.

"Dogs that ran fast to these ambiguous locations, as if expecting the positive food reward, were classed as making relatively optimistic decisions," explained Mendl. "Interestingly, these dogs tended to be the ones who also showed least anxiety-like behavior when left alone for a short time."

The findings are published in the latest issue of Current Biology.

Prior work by this team and others suggests that sheep, monkeys, pigs and a bird (the starling) also appear to either be optimists or pessimists. Since genetics may be involved, it's possible that, for dogs, certain breeds are more prone to judging events more pessimistically than others, but more research is needed to identify those breeds.

According to Samantha Gaines, deputy head of the Companion Animals Department from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, "Many dogs are relinquished each year because they show separation-related behavior."

She added, "Some owners think that dogs showing anxious behavior in response to separation are fine, and do not seek treatment for their pets.

This research suggests that at least some of these dogs may have underlying negative emotional states.

Mendl points out that many dog owners probably don't even realize that their pet may be suffering from the blues.

This condition could be similar to human depression. Probable causes range from genetic predisposition to life experiences and other factors. Even if owners do recognize such a problem in their dogs, Mendl thinks they may be unaware that help is available.

Therapy "might involve teaching dogs to be less dependent on owner attention, and getting them progressively more relaxed about being left by their owners," he said. "Some severe cases may also need drug therapy in addition to behavior therapy."

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