Well-bred vs. Healthy

Definition: well-bred
  • having or displaying good breeding
  • having a good pedigree

You might hear the term well-bred used in dog discussions; often concerning a dog’s appearance. I think the writer means the dog does not conform to breed standards or is a poor example of breed standards. Well-bred in this case has nothing to do with the health of the dog. Hereditary does play a factor in health but this is not what the writer is getting at.

Greeting police with your dog

Police Officer - SmilesJust about every day I read on Google how a family pet has been shot by police. The usual scenario is police are responding to a call at someone’s home. The dog is seen as a threat then shot. The first thing I would do is secure your dog as soon as possible when you know police are coming. You may think your dog is friendly and not a threat but the officer responding may not feel that way. It doesn’t matter how friendly your dog is if they suddenly jump at the officer from out of nowhere. If you are unable to secure your dog please let the officer know your have a dog(s)–at least they won’t be caught off guard. Act as calm as possible with addressing the officer. If you’re excited or anxious both your dog and the officer may become excited as well–you want to prevent that as much as possible. Take an obedience class if you haven’t already. If you demonstrate control over your dog a confrontation will be less likely.

Your pet may encounter police elsewhere. Many times dogs are shot when loose outside. It’s your responsibility to restrain your dog at all times. Also, secure your pet when traveling by automobile. Your police encounter will go much smoother and you’ll prevent your pet from escaping if the doors are open. Please feel free to add your suggestions.

Heat Intolerance in Short Muzzled Dogs

You may have heard recent reports that short nosed dogs are more likely to die in airports. Why? First, air travel for pets may be hazardous in itself. Approximately 5,000 animals are lost, injured or die each year because of dangerous conditions in aircraft cargo holds. Many cargo holds lack climate controls exposing pets to dangerously high temperatures. Dogs cool themselves by panting however extremely high temperatures can overcome this self preservation mechanism. Short nosed dogs are at even greater risk in these conditions because of their physical characteristics and here’s why.

Think of your dog’s nose as your car’s radiator. When your car’s engine begins to overheat it circulates this heat into the radiator where it escapes. Your dog’s nose works the same way. Blood vessels in the nose carry heat away where it’s dissipated into the air. Size matters. Larger radiators (noses) can give off more heat and there’s why short nosed (muzzled) dogs are at a disadvantage. Short nosed dogs can’t cope with the heat as well which places them at higher risk for heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Wait! There’s more! short nosed dogs may have nasal passages that collapse during inspiration. This completely shuts off nasal air flow and any cooling benefits through the nose. Short nosed dogs may also have extra tissue in the back of their throat which makes breathing difficult especially with they are in distress. Short nosed dogs also experience a vicious cycle of worsening breathing when distressed (i.e. extreme temperatures). The throat and nose and mouth become swollen from various causes. One, extra blood is sent to these areas in attempts to cool down the body. Two, rapid movement of air during breathing irritates the airways. The irritated upper airways begin to fill with foamy secretions hindering air movement.

Does my dog suffer from short muzzle symptoms? Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Boxers and Bulldogs are breeds known to have short muzzles (brachycephaly) however other breeds may be affected as well. Your veterinarian can assess your pet’s risk of brachycephaly. Early diagnosis is important as this condition can lead to further respiratory and even heart complications.

What symptoms do short muzzled dogs have?

  • becomes short of breath for no apparent reason
  • snores
  • noisy breathing
  • gagging, retching
  • heat intolerance

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Owning pets for all the wrong reasons

The disgrace of our homeless and neglected pet situation has to do with our reasons for wanting one. What’s your reason for wanting a pet? Hopefully, you want an addition to your family. Maybe you’re looking for a trusted companion. Sadly, most people don’t give much thought to wanting a pet. Wanting to appease a whiny child is not the right reason for wanting a pet. A puppy’s bond with its first owner is crucial and determines it fate. There’s a reason nature has made puppies and babies so irresistibly cute. It’s actually a survival mechanism. The behavior and appearance of puppies and babies bring about our instinctual need to care for them. I’m sure most of you will agree there’s no stronger bond than that between a mother and child. If a puppy isn’t able to form a strong family bond with its first owner chances are even less likely with subsequent owners. Indifference is the reason there are so many unwanted pets.

The 5 ways people see pets according to Rebecca Kimes:

  • Something to abuse (Michael Vick)
  • Indifference (Puppy Millers)
  • Just a pet
  • A member of the family
  • Soul companion

Quantifying the Human-Animal Bond

The relationship between humans and animals is as complex and diverse as the Earth herself. Animals have long shared a deep and meaningful bond with humankind from being a food source to serving as a trusted friend and Soul companion.

According to a Gallup lifestyle poll 6 out of every 10 Americans share their lives and home with some kind of animal companion and it is estimated that Americans spend over 36 billion dollars per year on pet care.

The reasons for having an animal companion vary widely. Some people love animals for their unconditional love and treasure the companionship. Some need service animals such as Seeing Eye horses and therapy dogs. Some animals are actually in the job force such as canine cops and truffle seeking pigs.

While the reasons for having an animal companion vary, we all have one thing in common…a unique bond or attachment that we have for animals. This bond or attachment will determine how you treat and interact with your pets. Below is a scale that will help you determine how you define and quantify the unique relationship you share with each of your pets. It will also allow you to understand other people’s relationships and attitudes towards animals with more clarity and understanding.

  1. Level 1 – Cruelty/Abuse
    • If you are reading this article you most definitely are not a level 1. People at this level have no respect for animal life. Animal torture, abuse or abandonment is a common practice. Animals are regarded as lowly beings to be tolerated and used.
  2. Level 2 – Ambivalence
    • Level 2 is characterized by people who have a pet but could care less about it. Perhaps their child desperately wanted a dog so they succumbed. Basic care is given but neglect is common and health issues are probably not addressed. The animal will often be left to its own devices and will likely suffer from a variety of behavioral, emotional and physical issues.
  3. Level 3 – Responsible/Traditional care
    • This is probably the most common type of human/animal relationship exhibited. The animal is an important member of the household and is well provided for as far as food, shelter and medical care. However there isn’t a strong emotional attachment.
  4. Level 4 – Family Member
    • People characterized as a level 4 consider their pets to be members of the family. The animal is involved in day to day activities and enjoys the best food, comfort and care that its caretakers can afford. There is a strong emotional attachment between the pet and his/her human.
  5. Level 5 – Soul Companion
    • Some people share close, intimate and profound bonds with their animal companions. Someone at a level 5 considers their companion to be an equal and relies on their companion as a close and trusted ally and friend. It isn’t uncommon for such people to ask advice from their trusted friend. They often believe that their time together involves a deep spiritual commitment.

There aren’t any hard lines between the levels. These are just guidelines to provide you with a broader understanding of the intricate human/animal bond and with the relationship you share with your pet.

Which category do you find yourself in? Do you have any judgments about the other levels? If so what are they? Do you have a desire to strengthen and deepen the bond between yourself and animals? If so, how do you think this will benefit you? The world?

A greater understanding of the emotional bond you have with your pet will lead you to a greater understanding of yourself, your motivations and your Soul path. As the human species grows and evolves so too does its relationships with itself and other beings.

A deeper compassion for animals will serve to lead humanity toward solving many of our social issues such as war and abuse. As you interact with your animal companion today think of him/her not as a pet but as an agent of social evolution.

Becky Kimes is a Divine Animal Healer and Initiator of Enlightenment who specializes in working with people to overcome their grief when losing an animal companion. Visit her today at http://divinehealingforanimals and sign up for her free, weekly ezine Animal Connections where you’ll receive valuable article, inspirational stories, and be introduced to professionals dedicated to enriching and enhancing the lives of animals.

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Copyright (c) 2009 Rebecca Kimes