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The Dog DNA Test – What Breeds Make Up Your Dog?

Dog DNA testIf you are one of those heroes that went to the pound or animal shelter to adopt your dog, you might be wondering – what breeds is my dog made out of? Maybe you’re just curious or perhaps you want to identify any potential health issues or disease predispositions based on their breed mix?

What we were surprised to learn is that your dog’s physical appearance is largely controlled by a small number of genes. These genes can have both recessive and dominant variants and the variants that are present determine the visible effect on physical traits seen.

As a result the presence of various breed signatures does not guarantee that the dog will look like all detected breeds. The wonder of genetic inheritance can be seen as much in dogs as it can in people. So what you see perhaps is not what you actually have…

Since you can’t totally guess your dogs breed ancestry based on looks, we researched some great DNA testing options for you. [Read more…]

How to Read Dog Body Language

Dog Body Language

We went to a great seminar, How to Read Dog Body Language, given by renowned dog trainer Colleen Safford of New York Walk & Train. It was held at the Tribeca Soho Animal Hospital (part of Downtown Veterinary Medical Hospitals.It was an absolutely amazing seminar and I can highly recommend going to it if you get the chance (or perhaps contact New York Walk & Train). Here are a few highlights:

  • Dogs use “calming signals” to convey harmless intentions. They also use these as self calming techniques.
  • Dogs work diligently to avoid conflict. As a human, it’s important to watch their various body language signals. Often humans don’t interpret them correctly.
  • Calming Signals include:
    • Lip licking
    • Yawn
    • Head turn (yep, your dog is not ignoring you but rather using a calming signal)
    • Scratch at collar or neck
    • Shaking it off
    • Soft blink
  • Aroused Dog Signals include:
    • Ears up, forward
    • Hard stare
    • Tail up, stiff wag
    • Stiff legged, weight over front legs
    • Closed mouth
  • It’s rude human behavior to do the following to dogs:
    • Approach a dog head on
    • Bend over a dog (including to put on a leash)
    • Making direct eye contact
  • Never punish a growling dog. The dog is warning us. It is a way for dogs to communicate stress and discomfort. If you punish the growl, you risk that they might escalate next time to biting without the warning of a growl.

 

Want to learn more? Check out our post on How to Properly Greet a Dog!

Protect Your Dog’s Paws from Getting Burned

hot asphalt awareness

Hot Asphalt Awareness

Press the back of your hand firmly against the asphalt for 7 seconds to verify it will be comfortable for your dog. The last thing anyone wants is a dog with burnt paws.

If needed and your dog is small enough, pick him up if the asphalt is too hot. Alternatively, you can get your dog some summer dog boots to protect his paws from the hot ground.

paws

paws

Dog Safety for Summer Parties

We hope you enjoy all the summer parties this season with your best friend and wanted to share a few dog safety tips.

Food at the Party

I’m sure your dog will be enjoying the party as much as you will,bad foods for dogs but they’ll also be using their cute brown eyes and charm to entice your guest to give them food. Clearly you need to be watching your dog, but also politely inform friends what your dog food rules are.
Make sure your dog doesn’t eat these human foods (see our list) and if your hosting the party, we would advise you don’t have grapes or chocolate finger food snacks just to be on the safe side. If you think your dog has eaten something dangerous, contact your vet or the Pet Poison Hotline.

Grass

dog_in_grassWhile many dogs love to roll around on the grass (and eat it too), many people do spray their lawns and grass with insecticides. Unfortunately, these can also be toxic to your dog.

Fireworks

It’s best to leave your pet at home (or indoors) during fireworks displays. Many dogs are very frightened of the noise. If your dog has a lot of anxiety from the sound of fireworks, you might want to consider getting a Thunder Shirt.
ThunderShirt

If you have fireworks at your home, be extra careful. Curious pets can easily get traumatized &/or burned if they are too close to a firework. Unlit fireworks can contain toxic ingredients if eaten or chewed on by your dog.

Heat

You definitely also want to check out our our “Hot Weather Tips for Dogs” which will get you the latest on keeping your dog cool while it’s hot!

Bugs

All the creepy crawlers come out to play in the warm summer months. Be sure your dog is receiving monthly preventatives to protect against fleas, ticks and heartworm disease. See also our category of Anti-Itch and Anti-Insect products.

Now that we’ve got that all covered – go out there and enjoy those amazing summer parties!!!