Calculating 'Dog Years'

Firefighters Rescue Dogs,
Cats from California House Fire
Bruce Chambers / The Orange County Register via AP

Held by his owner, Clyde, a pitbull, is given oxygen by Garden Grove Fire Department Captain Jeff Wilkins, right, on Thursday, June 21, 2012 in Garden Grove, Calif.

AP reports: Twenty firefighters from Garden Grove and Anaheim put out a house fire in Garden Grove, California on Thursday. According to Garden Grove Battalion Chief Chuck Green, the firefighters arrived to heavy smoke coming from a back bedroom. Two occupants of the home got out on their own but firefighters rescued two dogs and two cats inside the home.

Bruce Chambers / The Orange County Register via AP
Garden Grove Fire Department Captain Albert Acosta, left, struggles with a cat that was rescued.

Bruce Chambers / The Orange County Register via AP
Garden Grove Fire Department Captain Albert Acosta checks on the welfare of a cat named Magic, as Magic's owner Norma Arbotast finishes the cat's oxygen treatment on Thursday.

Hints From Heloise:
The Equation for ‘Dog Years’
By Heloise,

Dear Readers: Have you ever heard the old saying about “every dog year equals seven human years”? Well, it’s not that easy. While dogs do AGE DIFFERENTLY depending on their size, each of the first two years of a dog’s life equals about 12 human years. After that, each year equals only about four human years. So if your dog is 5, that equals about 36 human years. A dog 13 years old equals 68 years! Remember, this is not an exact science, but just a calculation. So keep that in mind, and take care of pets as they age. -- Heloise

Cat Gives Birth to Kittens Inside
Rotating Tumble Dryer
By Chang Liu -

A cat has given birth to kittens inside a rotating tumble dryer.

The cat's owner Patrick Ambrose, 44, was pleasantly surprised to discover five unexpected additions inside his dryer when he came back home from work last week.

Electrical engineer Patrick said: "It was warm and dark in there and she had made herself comfortable on a towel that was in there. Cats are said to have a sixth sense so she obviously felt at home in my house."

As they were birthed in a tumble dryer, he plans to name the five kittens Whirlpool, Bosch, Hotpoint, Zanussi and Beko - after famous tumble dryer brands.

"She's been with me for years and has gone blind, but she doesn't seem to have a problem with the new arrivals," he said.

"I am so glad I have been able to help because they would not have survived if they were left as strays. It's obvious someone previously had the mom as a pet because she had been well looked after. I hope people will take them on."

Patrick said he would continue to look after the cat mother, Yahoo! reports.

Cats Protection volunteer Shaki McFarland said: "She was huge. She looked like she had swallowed two rugby balls. It's not the safest place but luckily they were all okay. We will arrange to have the mother spayed and we'll get the kittens immunised before we try to find them a home."

Greenville Dog Named 'Naughtiest' in Nation
by Casey Vaughn -

"Prison Break"

GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) - An Upstate dog may think she has some new barking rights, but her owners nicknamed her "The Destroyer" for a reason.

Lucy's owners, who live in Greenville, entered her into Camp Bow Wow's "Bad to the Bone" worst behaved dog contest and she was the lucky winner.

The national doggy daycare and dog services franchise asked people across the country to send in pictures and videos of their dogs with stories of how naughty they have been. Facebook users and professional judges voted.

An 11-month-old, 60-pound husky mix, Lucy's owners said she has bad chewing habits and has failed previous training classes.

By the time she was 6 months old, her owner Eve Memmer said she had enough with her crate. Lucy did everything possible to get out, and one time, even chewed through it.

It was the photo of Lucy looking at the crate she destroyed that Memmer posted to Facebook, and named "Prison Break." That picture and story won Lucy the "worst behaved" title.

Memmer said now that she's a little older, she's a little better, but still chews on anything soft she can find.

"We have some pillows on the sofas that we call sacrificial pillows," Memmer said. "She chewed the end of those, so it's not really the bad stuff like the wood furniture, but if she wants to destroy something, she will put her mind to it and she will destroy it."

As the winner, Lucy will receive year's worth of time to stay at an Upstate location of Camp Bow Wow along with free training.

Trainers at Camp Bow Wow said Lucy's behavior is pretty typical of energetic puppies, but there are plenty of methods to train her, or any dog that needs a little discipline.

Though Lucy was named naughtiest dog, the company said they have chosen 51 "Bad Dog" finalists who will have another chance to win training or other services.

Cats Make Friends with Baby Robin

Associated Press - Peeps, a baby robin nursed back to health by Karin Caston, sleeps on one of the woman’s cats.

Cats and birds aren’t usually considered friends. Many outdoor cats make a game of chasing and scaring away wild birds that cross their paths.

But several cats in Michigan recently proved that felines can indeed make feathered friends. A baby robin spent quality time with some friendly cats in Otsego Township, Michigan.

Karin Caston’s cats accepted the bird, named Peeps, after she found it about two weeks ago in her yard. The bird lived in a cage, but it spent time nestled in the fur of two of Caston’s cats or perched on their backs. A third cat let the bird walk around it.

The robin also liked to hang out on Caston’s finger.

Caston, who released Peeps back to the wild on Monday, told the Associated Press in an e-mail that she first locked up the cats when she started caring for the bird. Peeps’s new home is Brookside Park in Otsego, Michigan.

Italians Have Just the Thing for
Dog Days of Summer: Canine Gelato

(Andrew Medichini/ Associated Press ) - Rosaria, left, serves Lara ice cream as Kiyoko looks on in a pet shop in Rome, Monday, June 18, 2012. Gelato for dogs contains no milk products harmful to canines. With temperatures in Rome topping 36 degrees Celsius (97 degrees Fahrenheit), dogs are lapping up the icey treat at a pet supply store on the outskirts of the capital.

ROME — Leave it to Italians to come up with just the thing to survive the dog days of summer: canine gelato.

This Italian ice cream for dogs contains no milk, eggs or sugar, which are harmful to canines. With temperatures in Rome topping 36 degrees Celsius (97 degrees Fahrenheit) this week, dogs are lapping up the icy treat at a pet supply store on the outskirts of the capital.

Dog-owner Anna Bordoni couldn’t resist a taste from her mutt Elsa’s cup and declared it “fantastic.”

Rome vetrinarian Marialivia Palmieri says water remains the best cool-down treat for dogs. But she said the special canine gelato does dogs no harm — and can be gratifying for pet and owner.

Flavors come in vanilla, rice and yogurt and a serving costs €2 ($2.50).

New 'Beer' Has Dogs Barking for Brews

What's the legal drinking age in dog years?

That's what you might be asking yourself if you come across a bottle of Bowser Beer, a new brew crafted for a canine clientele. But you need not worry: this dog-friendly beer is non-alcoholic. Eschewing hops, which are toxic to dogs, Bowser Beer is a non-carbonated mixture of meat-broth and malt barley, with glucosamine added for joint health.

Creator Jenny Brown said she got the idea at a holiday farmer's market in 2007 for which she made spicy pretzels and, at the urging of customers, a peanut-butter alternative for their dogs. Thinking to herself, "What goes better with pretzels than beer?" Brown devised four beer recipes for her three dogs to taste-test. One recipe was the clear winner, and Bowser Beer was born.

"People have an incredible emotional bond with their dogs, so it's just natural for people to want to include them and say, 'My dog can have a beer too,'" Brown said.

Brown was looking for a job when she took Beefy Brown Ale, Bowser Beer's first flavor, to a pet expo in Virginia later that year. But the more she looked into it, she said, the more it started to dawn on her that she had a business opportunity on her hands.

Since then, she has shipped batches of beer nationwide, and dog-oriented businesses in 42 states have begun selling Bowser Beer, which now comes in a chicken-flavored variety, Cock-a-Doodle-Brew. The beer has taken off internationally, too, with a special edition selling in the pet section of London's Harrods department store.

At Diane Ludwig's Barkery Bistro, a dog boutique in Greenville, S.C., Bowser Beer has been on the shelves for the past three years. Ludwig said sales spike on Fridays, when customers stock up for weekend parties.

"Whether it's a football game or people are just having their friends over, they say, 'I gotta get a bottle for my four-legged,'" Ludwig said.

In Vienna, Va., Carol Fleming said customers at her grooming business, Vienna Pet Spaw, often buy Bowser Beer as a gift when a wine bottle feels too conventional.

"Even when they don't buy it, it's always a good conversation piece," Fleming said. "It catches your attention and gives people a good chuckle."

When customers purchase Bowser Beer through Brown's website, they can customize the bottle label with a photo of their dog and a brew name. I Don't Give a Shih-Tzu Brew and I Only Have Eyes for Brew, a batch dedicated to guide dogs for the blind, are two of Brown's favorites, she said.

Brown said she wants to grow her business "carefully," rather than rapidly adding new flavors. But the dog beer market might soon see a new Bowser flavor: seafood-, liver- and bacon-flavored beer are some of the possibilities Brown said she is researching.

Brown moved her company, 3 Busy Dogs, from Arizona to Seattle last month. Since then, she has marketed the beer to the local bar scene, betting on people's desire to bring their pooches to the pub.

"I've gotten a lot more interest here from bars that are adding it to their menus," she said.

Now available in plastic bottles to avoid broken-glass mishaps, Bowser Beer scores better with dogs when served outside of their normal drinking bowls, where they expect to find water, Brown said. Her recommendations: pour the beer over your dog's dry food, freeze it into ice cubes for your dog to lick, or let your dog simply drink straight from the bottle – human-style.

What Causes People to Be Allergic to Cats?

Sorry cat lovers! About 20 percent of the population has pet allergies, and cats are the worst offenders. Here are some tips to alleviate or lessen cat allergens.

Every other week, Dr. Patrick Tate, chief of the veterinary staff and a general practitioner at Webster Groves Animal Hospital, answers reader questions about pets. This week's question comes from Rebecca Daniels.

Question: What causes people to be allergic to cats, and is it more of a problem than with dogs?

Answer: Sorry cat lovers — about 20 percent of the population has pet allergies, and cats are the worst offenders. In fact, cat allergies are twice as common as dog allergies. As I explained in an Ask the Vet column a few weeks ago, there is a lot of misunderstanding and confusion about why people have allergic reactions to animals.

Allergies to cats (and other mammals) are triggered by various protein molecules, referred to as "allergens." The immune system of an allergic individual overreacts to the harmless proteins, mistaking them for dangerous substances and releasing achemical called histamine. (My apologies to allergy sufferers for this very simplistic explanation!).

Allergic reactions can manifest in skin rashes, hives, sneezing, coughing, runny nose, red and itchy eyes, asthma and more.

For many years, people thought that a cat's fur was the allergy trigger. However, as with dogs, fur is not an allergen. There are at least five cat allergens, and more have recently been discovered. But the Fel d 1 and the Fel d 4 proteins cause the majority of allergic reactions in humans.

The Fel d 1 comes mainly from the sebaceous glands under the cat’s skin, the anal glands and saliva, while the Fel d 4 is found in the cat’s saliva and urine. Cat allergens are more potent than a dog’s and can remain “active” for a long time.

When a cat grooms with his tongue, the Fel d 1 and Fel d 4 protein in the saliva covers his fur and skin. Fel d 1 secretions from the cat’s sebaceous and anal glands also land on the fur and skin. When the dead skin cells (called dander) and loose fur are released into the environment, the Fel d 1 and Fel d 4 allergens are spread.

Dogs also have allergens in their saliva that are distributed by dander, but they do not lick themselves as much as cats, and their sebaceous glands are not as active.

Cat allergen dander particles are much smaller, lighter and stickier than those from a dog. In fact, they are only one tenth the size of a dust mite particle! As a result, they can remain airborne for long periods of time and travel great distances. The invisible allergens make their way easily into the respiratory passages of humans, and can stick to any surface.

Studies have shown that male cats produce more allergenic secretions than females, and that “intact” males generate more allergens than neutered males. Some people think that light-colored cats are less allergenic than dark colored cats, but there is no research to back up the theory.

Since kittens have less allergens than adult cats, pet owners don’t always develop allergic symptoms until their cat reaches maturity.

Despite the negative statistics about cat allergens, many allergic pet owners still choose to live with their feline friends (including my wife!). An estimated 6 million Americans are allergic to cats and over one third of them continue to have cats in their homes.

Scientific studies show that steps can be taken to significantly decrease one's exposure to cat allergens. See my last Ask the Vet answer about reducing allergens on yourself, on your pet and in your house.

Here are a few additional things you can do to alleviate or lessen cat allergens:

•If possible, bathe your cat once a week with a good pet shampoo or plain water. Studies have shown that a weekly bath or a water-only rinse can significantly reduce allergens. Of course, this can sometimes be a challenging task! If you begin bathing your cat at a young age, it is much easier for them to accept it. Pet Place offers some helpful cat bathing instructions.

•Wipe your cat frequently with a cloth moistened with water or a special allergen neutralizing solution like Allerpet C. Cats that hate baths will usually tolerate a damp “wipe down.”

•Brush your cat frequently to remove loose dander and fur. A cat’s fur, no matter what the length, can trap cat allergens along with additional environmental allergens like dust mites, mold, pollen, etc. Always do the brushing outside and wear a face mask if you’re allergic. Furminator deshedding tools are invaluable aids and well-worth the price.

•Feed your cat a high-quality food, rich in skin-supporting oils with the correct balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Cats with unhealthy skin shed more dander. Talk with your veterinarian about what food would be best for your cat.

•Clean your cat’s little box frequently, and avoid stirring up litter dust. Keep the litter box away from air ducts – especially intake vents. If an allergic person has to change the litter, consider a self-cleaning litter box like Scoop-Free or Litter Robot.

For more in-depth advice please consult your veterinarian and/or human allergist. The Avoid Nasal Allergies website and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology website both offer a wealth of information for those with pet allergies.

Do you have a question for Dr. Tate? Email your questions to Webster Groves Patch Editor Sheri Gassaway. Be sure to attach a photo of your pet, and we'll feature it along with your question!

About this column: Dr. Patrick Tate, chief of the veterinary staff and a general practitioner at Webster Groves Animal Hospital, answers reader questions about pets.

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