Every dog year not equivalent to seven human years, scientists find

Study of DNA changes in labradors suggests puppies age much faster than older dogs.

dog years

The Guardian reports that dogs do not simply age at seven times the rate of humans, scientists have found in a study that reveals young dogs might be “older” than previously thought.

The findings suggest a one-year-old puppy is actually about 30 in “human years” – an age when humans, at least, might be expected to have stopped running riot with the toilet paper.

Writing in the journal Cell Systems, researchers at the University of California San Diego’s school of medicine describe how they focused on epigenetic changes to DNA – modifications that don’t change the DNA sequence but can switch genes on or off.

The team looked at the way particular molecules, called methyl groups, accumulated in certain areas of the human genome over time and compared them with how they accumulated in similar areas in the dog genome.

The results, which draw on genetic data from about 100 labrador retrievers from puppies to elderly animals, reveal every dog year is not equivalent to seven human years. Instead, dogs show far more rapid accumulation of methyl groups in their genome than humans within their first year or so, suggesting they age at a much faster rate. However, as time passes, the rate of ageing in dogs, compared with humans, slows down.

The findings suggest a one-year-old dog would have a “human age” of about 30, while by the age of four they’d be about 54 in “human years”, and by 14 they would be on a par with a human in their mid70s. The relationship, the team say, is described by the formula: human age = 16 ln(dog age) + 31. In maths, ln refers to the natural logarithm of a number.

The team says the work now needs to be repeated in other breeds of dog. But, they say, for young and old dogs, the age relationship seems to reflect the times at which humans and dogs experience particular milestones.

“For instance, the epigenome translated seven weeks in dogs to nine months in humans, corresponding to the infant stage when deciduous teeth erupt in both puppies and babies,” the team wrote in a preprint of the study. “In seniors, the expected lifespan of labrador retrievers, 12 years, correctly translated to the worldwide lifetime expectancy of humans, 70 years.

They note that the links are more approximate when it comes to adolescent and mid-life milestones, but they are still more accurate than the previous idea that dogs consistently age at seven times the rate of humans.

The team adds that the study suggests humans and dogs accumulate methyl groups on some of the same genes as they age. These are involved in a variety of functions linked to development, including the assembly of synapses – junctions between neurons.

Prof Lucy Asher, an expert in canine puberty at Newcastle University who was not involved in the research, said she welcomed the study. “If we think about ageing in terms of how old our cells are, this new paper is really useful in matching up human and dog years,” she said, adding that such biological ageing is important for medical and veterinary health.

But, she said, the match breaks down if ageing is considered in terms of behaviours, hormones or growth – meaning we shouldn’t be surprised at the escapades of young dogs.

“Whilst a 30-year-old human might have cells of an analogous ‘age’ to a one-year-old dog, many dogs won’t be fully grown at this time and they will still have unsettled hormones and behaviour associated with puberty,” she said, noting that one-year-old dogs act more like human teenagers. “The development of dogs is not just a shortened version of the human development, which is why it’s difficult to find a clear match-up between a dog’s age and a human’s age.”


(Story source: The Guardian)

Cooker spaniel: Puppy causes £1,000 damage after switching on cooker – in ‘revenge’ for getting the snip

Six-month-old Oscar, a Spaniel-cross, flicked on a knob with a paw after jumping up to try to reach food.

spaniel

The Sun reports that the hungry mutt then knocked a box of Cheerios on the electric hob which set alight. Owner Michelle Noack, 29, mum to Katy, ten and Dylan, six, returned home to find the kitchen ablaze in Braintree, Essex. She scooped up the flaming mess with metal utensils and dumped it outside before dousing the fire with a garden hose.

Michelle, whose family had to move out while the smoke damage was repaired, said: “Oscar could’ve blown the whole place up. “I’d just got his balls cut off and I swear that was his revenge! I’ll always love him but I’ll never turn my back on him again.” The fire service confirmed Oscar started the fire by jumping up to get his food.

(Story source: The Sun)

Take the lead: How to stop your dog pulling on the lead

Most dogs that pull have learned to do so over a period of time. The longer they have been doing it, the harder it will be for them to change. In most cases, a fresh approach is needed by introducing an alternative to the lead and collar.

lead pulling

Dog lead training

The following tips address how to stop your dog pulling on a lead, whether this is attached to a collar, harness or headcollar.

  • Before training begins, take your dog in the garden and attempt to wear them out. Having them slightly less ready to take on the world will help them to respond better to you.
  • Load your treat bag with tasty food and get your training lead ready. Ask your dog to sit calmly before attaching the lead. Reward calm behaviour at this early stage as you want to avoid teaching your dog to become overly excited every time you set out for a walk.
  • If your dog becomes wild with excitement, remove the lead from sight and walk away. Return to them in a few moments and try again. Once you have managed to put the lead on, it’s time to begin walking.
  • Walk slowly and encourage your dog to walk on a loose lead by rewarding them with food and praising them enthusiastically.
  • If your dog pulls ahead, simply stop. Lure them back to your side with a piece of food and when they do this, feed and praise them again. This technique is very simple and uncomplicated if your dog walks on a loose lead they get well rewarded and get to continue on his journey.
  • If they pull, the rewards stop and the walk is delayed. Most dogs learn the opposite of this, which is ‘the harder I pull, the quicker I get to the fun part’. Please bear in mind that dogs that have learned this over a period of time will need lots of help and encouragement in order to change the habit of a lifetime.
  • A dog’s natural walking pace is usually twice as fast as the average human’s. As a dog would not naturally choose to walk at such a slow pace, it’s doubly important that we reward them generously for something that they find difficult.

The right equipment to stop pulling

Treats

Using treats during your walk is extremely important as they have the power to help change your dog’s behaviour for the better. Before you say this is bribery, think again! Treats are a worthy reward for hard work – for example would you be so keen to work all day for half your salary? No, we didn’t think so… Also, it’s important to remember that it will be hard to change habits of a lifetime unless there is a really worthwhile incentive.

Using treats as rewards is the best way to encourage dogs to repeat the things that you want. They can also be extremely useful for distracting your dog away from things that cause inappropriate behaviour. Just knowing that you carry food around with you will automatically make you more interesting to your dog and you’ll find that they pay greater attention to you as a result. No rubbish and boring treats allowed – the only things you can use are the treats that your dog will work for in any situation. Here at Blue Cross we use a variety of hotdog sausage, cubes of cheese or fresh cooked chicken and ham. The other important thing to consider is to make sure that you don’t run out before your finish your walk, so be very generous and remember to take out enough. For the fashion conscious among you – you may find that compromising your street cred and sporting a bum bag will make this a lot easier.

Headcollars

For really strong dogs or dogs who may be reactive out and about, it’s worth considering using a headcollar at first, especially if there is a risk of you being pulled over. As they are worn on the dog’s face and the point of contact is typically under the chin (much like a horse headcollar), you have more control enabling you teach loose lead walking safely. There is a wide range of headcollars available on the market. As with all good dog training
equipment, it must be introduced to your dog in the right way and it must be used in conjunction with the right technique. If you don’t do this, it is likely to result in your dog hating having to wear it and feeling distressed and frustrated during a time when he should be having fun.

For a dog that has never worn a headcollar, it will feel very strange to suddenly have something placed over the bridge of his nose. Most dogs will attempt to remove this by either rubbing their faces on the ground or pawing at it.

How to use a dog headcollar

To teach a dog to fully accept walking on a headcollar, you must
firstly teach them to wear it at home before attaching the lead.

  • Unpack your headcollar and allow your dog to fully investigate it. While they are doing this, make sure you read the instructions and make sure you’ve sussed out which way it goes on. Prepare some tasty food and feed your dog while encouraging them to push their nose through the loop of the headcollar. This should only be for one or two seconds at a time. You can also get your dog used to the sound of the clip. Remember to be really positive and enthusiastic at this time so that is it clear to your dog that this unfamiliar object is a good thing. Take things slowly and end on a good note.
  • Repeat this process every few hours so that your dog becomes really familiar with the way that it sounds and how it feels.
  • When the headcollar is fully attached, we find it really useful to get the dog comfortable wearing it on a walk without attaching the lead to it (ie by having the lead attached to the collar or harness). It’s important to keep them busy and focussed during these early stages, as unless you do this, their attention may be drawn to the headcollar, which may lead them to attempt to remove it. Use treats to gain their attention and walk quickly to keep their mind off it.
  • Consider your dog’s learning ability, stress and frustration levels. Don’t ask for too much as in order to benefit from the maximum results of the headcollar it must be introduced slowly. It’s much harder to undo this if you rush and cause your dog to dislike the headcollar.
  • Once your dog will wear the headcollar, attach one end of your training lead to it and attach the other end to either the collar or the harness. Attaching it to both points is extremely important because as well as having a safety back up should the headcollar break or be pulled off, you will be able to steer and control your dog much better by doing this.
  • Practice using this together in places where there are minimum distractions – remember, be very generous with your treats when your dog responds to your technique. When this is working well, begin using it in slightly busier areas.

It’s extremely important to remember that it takes more than just equipment to change a dog’s behaviour. It must be used with the right technique, applied by a positive enthusiastic owner.

A headcollar should never be a long term solution to your dog’s lead pulling. It’s a great tool for teaching your dog to walk on a loose lead, and it can be a great time saver if you’re rushed and can’t commit the time to train properly. However it should always be our goal to teach your dog to walk calmly without it, so applying the right technique is the key to success.

(Article source: Blue Cross)

Canine communication: How to understand your dog’s emotions

The ever-changing world can cause both humans and animals to feel a wide range of emotions. Whereas we humans try to keep our feelings internal, our dogs very much wear their emotions ‘on their sleeve’.

dogs emotions

They use a combination of posture, facial expressions, as well as other body language to display their emotions, and being able to decipher this is an important part of communicating with your canine.

Happiness

Happiness is one of the easiest emotions to recognise and is
usually the one they display the most!

When a dog is happy, they will show this through a tail that is held high or down in a natural position – perhaps even wagging – a relaxed body, and a partially open mouth that gives the appearance of a slight smile.

Alertness

When something has caught your dog’s attention, they show it in a few ways. An alert dog will have their head up, eyes open and concentrated, with their ears pointing ahead or moving slightly to find the source of the sound. Their body and tail will be motionless, and their mouth closed – although some may bark or growl depending on their assessment of the situation.

Alert behaviour usually only lasts a few moments before your dog determines how to react to what has caught their attention. If your dog’s behaviour seems to be transforming into fear or anger, try to determine what is causing this and slowly introduce them to the source. If your dog’s alertness consistently transitions into fear or anger, the best thing to do is contact a certified trainer who can help them work through this reactive
behaviour.

Anxiety

Similar to humans, when a dog isn’t sure how to react to a situation they develop feelings of anxiety. You can tell your pup is anxious when their eyes are wide and starting or they avoid eye contact altogether. Their mouth is likely closed, but if it’s open they may be licking their lips or yawning nervously, and their ears will be slightly back and moving as they try and gather clues about the situation. Anxious dogs tend to stand very still, but it’s not uncommon for their tail to wag slowly, which is a sign that they don’t want any conflict. Similarly, they may roll onto their back to expose their belly as a way to show their submission.

Depending on the root of your dog’s anxiety, there are different things you can do to help them overcome it. If your dog displays mild anxiety when they encounter new situations, take time to introduce them to it slowly. If this slow introduction approach doesn’t work, reach out to your veterinarian. They will be able to refer you to a trainer who can work with you and your dog to reduce this anxious behaviour as well as prescribe medication if necessary.

Frustration

Dogs most often experience frustration in response to a specific event – usually, one where they do not get what they want. Their body will be tense as they focus completely on the source of their frustration, often ignoring any of your attempts to get their attention. As their frustration peaks, they may bark or lunge at the frustrating object.

Unfortunately, if dogs are continually frustrated they will often resign themselves to the situation. While this may look like calm behaviour, it can actually lead to feelings of depression. If you recognise that your dog is becoming frustrated, see if there is anything you can do to make the situation easier for them to deal with.

For example, if they cannot figure out a difficult puzzle feeding toy, try and show them how it can be solved or simply remove the food from it completely.

If there is little you can do to make the situation easier for them to deal with, for example, if they are trying to engage in play with another dog that is not reciprocating, it’s best to remove them from the situation completely. You can then give them some attention until their behaviour returns to normal.

Fear

There are many different ways that dogs express fear. Some go on the defensive, growling and barking to make themselves appear threatening. Others try and escape the threat by tucking their tail between their legs and try to make themselves as small as possible.

When your dog is afraid, all they are thinking about is how they will ‘survive’ the threat. This means that they will be able to focus on little else, including their favourite food or treat until the threat has subsided. If you notice your dog expressing fearful behaviour, quickly try and identify what is scaring them. If their fear is triggered by something you can move away from, do so until they have calmed down. If the source of their fear is something unavoidable, like fireworks or thunder, do your best to create a space in your home where the source of their fear is minimised so they can feel safe.

Anger

In addition to happiness, anger is one of the most recognisable emotions a dog can display. If your dog is experiencing anger, they will try and make themselves look as big as possible by standing stiff with the fur on their back and neck standing upright. Their eyes will be fixed on the threat, while their ears are pinned back and their mouths wide and teeth bared. While they will most likely be growling, some dogs prefer to remain completely silent.

When your dog is angry, you’ll want to remain calm, avoiding any loud noises or sudden movements. If you’re able to remove what is making them angry, do so and give them some space and time to calm down. If you find your dog becoming angry regularly, it’s important to reach out to a professional trainer who can help you and your dog work through these emotions safely. If left unchecked, there is a chance that your dog could feel the need to protect themselves against the perceived threat, which could result in injury.

To understand your dog’s emotions you need to take into account all of the different ways they communicate as a package. If you consider only one part of the package, for example, a wagging tail, you may not be able to tell if your dog is happy or anxious. Learning to understand and respect their emotions will help you strengthen your relationship and bring it to a whole new level.


(Article source: Fresh Pet)

Sound furmiliar? 10 things all cat parents can relate to

If you’ve ever had a cat, you know they are unlike any other house pet. From the joy they bring when they choose to sit on your lap to the seemingly impossible amount of hair they lose, these are just some of the things you can expect when you become a cat parent – and it’s 100% worth it.

Cat parents

You’ve spent more time than you’d like to admit finding food your cat enjoys

Cats can be notoriously picky eaters, so there’s a good chance many of you have had to switch the food you’re feeding them at least once. But just because cats can be picky eaters doesn’t mean that you have to be constantly swapping brands. We’ll let you in on a little secret, cat parent to cat parent – our Freshpet recipes are picky eater approved! We have three lines of food, each with products that come in a variety of formats, from pâtés to tender bites, so you can switch up your cat’s meal without having to change brands.

There is no better feeling than when your cat chooses to sit on your lap

Not all cats are lap cats, so when they do choose to sit on you there is no better feeling. This is especially true when there are multiple laps to choose from in the room. If you want to increase the likelihood of your cat coming to sit on you, just play it cool. They always seem to go to the person who seems the least interested in getting their attention.

You know the stress of needing to move, but your cat is sitting on you

It’s not every day that your cat chooses to sit on your lap, so you don’t want to offend them by moving them before they’re ready. This means once your cat sits down, get comfortable because you’re stuck there until they’re ready to go. Perhaps it’s a good time to create a new house rule – whoever the cat is sitting on can request provisions from anyone else in the house for as long as they’re on their lap.

It can be a real struggle to find nice-looking cat furniture

Climbing trees, scratching posts, and litter boxes are must-haves for cats, but it can be a struggle to find nice-looking ones at your local pet store. Fortunately, there are several brands, such as Tuft and Paw, that sell designer cat furniture and accessories through their online store. This means you can incorporate these cat-friendly pieces into your home, instead of hiding them out of sight in some forgotten corner.

You’ve accepted that cat hair will be on everything, everywhere

For such small creatures, cats sure do have a lot of hair. No matter how often you brush them or vacuum your house, their hair just seems to be everywhere. The funny thing is, it’s not uncommon to find cat hair on things that you are sure they haven’t even been around yet – such as that new sweater you’ve just pulled out of your shopping bag.

You know that keeping your cat off the counter or table is nearly impossible

To those without a cat, the thought of having them on the same surface you prepare food and eat is less than appealing. But cat parents know that no matter how hard you try, it’s nearly impossible to keep your cat off of these surfaces. Of course, you can get creative with furniture and accessories to give your cats lots of vertical space to explore, but there’s still no guarantee that’ll keep them off of your counter or table. It’s okay though, it just means a little extra cleaning to keep the surfaces nice and clean.

Cats seem to be their most active between the hours of 4 and 6am

Cats sleep between 12 and 16 hours a day. If you’ve ever been home with your cat during the day, you can confirm that most of these sleeping hours tend to take place when the sun is up. While they make sure they’re up for meals and the odd playtime, cats seem to reserve a few of their waking hours for the middle of the night. We’re talking sprinting around the house and meowing as they excitedly chase their favourite toy. This can be quite a jarring experience to be woken up to, but cat parents know that the best solution is to keep a pair of good earplugs on hand so you can just pop them in and fall back to sleep without having to interrupt playtime.

There’s no point buying cats expensive toys

Every cat parent has had the experience of purchasing their furry friend a new toy, only to have them completely ignore it. No matter how nice the new toy you pick out for them is, nine times out of ten your cat will be more interested in the box it came in. In fact, they’ll probably be entertained by things that are closer to garbage than a toy – think a piece of ribbon that came on a package, a ball of tin foil, or even a loose q-tip.

Cats have no sense of personal space

It’s a popular misconception that all cats are aloof creatures who enjoy being alone. While this is certainly true for some cats, others love nothing more than being around their human. And by “around” we mean literally on top. Trying to work on your computer? Your cat insists on sitting on your keyboard. Trying to read? Your cat needs to sit directly between you and the book. Trying to sleep? Your cat wants to share your pillow or better yet, use your face as their own pillow. Even the most patient cat-parent can find this behaviour trying at times, but there’s no denying that it’s your cat’s way of showing that they love being with you.

You know exactly when your cat is done with being petted

As much as your cat likes a good pet, there will always be a point where they’ve had enough. If you aren’t able to recognise the subtle signs they give to show they’ve had enough, there’s a good chance you’ll end up with a few scratches or bite marks on your hand. It could be something as subtle as a flick of the tail or a quick side-eyed glance, or it could simply be that you’ve
learned the hard way that four or five pets are enough. Either way, you have mastered the art of giving your pet affection without overdoing it.

You may have to invest in a few extra lint rollers and earplugs to block out the early morning zoomies, but the joy cats bring to your life makes it all worth it.

(Article source: Fresh Pet)

Country Collar Club 24th January 2021

By Andrew, Country Collar Club owner, 24th January 2021

Reading back my column from last week it turned out there was more than an apple tree growing in our beloved Holly’s stomach.  Just under a week ago, a trip to the vets was the start of a nightmare that continues on even as I write to you now.

Holly Smiling

For those of you that are looking for some light-hearted escapism from a stressful day, or to break up the tediousness of lockdown – be warned.  You shall not find any positive relief here.  This shall be the very hard story of a husband and wife, losing their precious Holly to cancer.  A battle that our dear dog had unbeknown to us, been fighting for many months.  Such a trooper, such a sweetheart and such a beautiful friend that I shall never forget.

Tuesday 19th January 8.30AM – Time for a trip to the vets Holly.  You’ll probably be in for most of the morning having some tests done.  Nothing to worry about though.  We’ll see you soon.  You’ve definitely lost a little weight over the past few months but nothing to be concerned over.  I’ve never known you be so active!  Remember that squirrel you chased yesterday?  He got away didn’t he?  I know I’ve been treating you to some long walks over Christmas.  You’ve loved it haven’t you? Heck, you never get tired when we’re out and about.  I counted 3 zoomies on Sunday, that’s good going for a 13 year old dog who watched Mo Farrah win 2 Olympic Gold medals in 2012.  Do you know what the Olympics is Holly? Do you know who Mo Farrah is Holly?  Yes you doooo!  You look just like him!!  If you had entered that 5,000 metre race, you Holly-Bobbins would have given Sir Mo a good run for his money wouldn’t you?  Daddy would be so proud of you with a gold medal around your little neck.

9.30AM – A devastating phone call from the vets.  A sizable lump has been found in her abdomen area that has aggressively attached itself to Holly’s spleen.  The size of the mass is causing her severe belly-ache.  It could burst at any point.  If it gets knocked on a walk or even just through playing with her favourite toy, then it leads to internal bleeding.  A sure-fire painful, horrendous and cruel way to go.  How is this happening?  Please God tell me this is a nightmare.   I must continue to listen to what I’m being told on the phone.  I must be strong.  For every hammer blow that I’m being told, there must be a logical explanation to this.  How can she possibly be this ill?  Ill dogs don’t run around chasing squirrels. Ill dogs don’t eat their dinner in 20 seconds flat.  Her eyes are so bright and loving. 

9.35AM – Here are the options.  An operation.  This isn’t going to happen, she’s 13 years old.  How have we possibly got to this point?  An op would prolong her life by a matter of weeks…. weeks.  How could this be?  Second option, pain relief to give her a comfortable limited life that could end at any point.  What about our pain relief?  Does this mean we’re watching a dog sentenced to death, get weaker and weaker whilst dosed up on painkillers?  The crushing image of discovering the mortal clock has stopped ticking during the middle of the night.  All alone, petrified and confused.  How can I live with myself after finding her alone at the bottom of stairs one morning?  How do we possibly tell the family members that our incredible lockdown doggy shall wither in front of our very eyes?  The torturous goodbyes shall be scarring for us all.  The cancer shall continue to consume her from the inside out, for all to see.  They say the eyes are the window to the soul.  How can we watch those bright eyes stare into the inevitable abyss of death.    The third option is the hardest of them all.  To sign away our dog’s life.  To end our joyous journey with a simple bank card transaction.  Is that what this has now come too? Maybe that squirrel we talked about Holly will be your last race.  You can beat Mo Farrah, you can beat any squirrel, but you can’t win this race Holly.

11.30AM – The decision has been made and we are now waiting to see her again for the last time.  How has it come to this?  Sat with my wife in a small sterile veterinary waiting room.  How many sick dogs have walked through those brown wooden doors to see their owners for one last time.  The joy a dog has on their face when they see their best friends again is a blissful experience we can all resonate with.  Just a few more minutes until she shall walk through those same doors.   She looks so happy to see us again.  She has no idea what is about to happen.  I would do anything to turn the clock back for you Holly.  You look beautiful, your nose is still wet and your inquisitive nature continues even at this point by wanting to snuggle up to your Mummy and Daddy.  You probably think you’re coming home with us, so we can go on yet another family walk.  Not this time Holly.  We hug you farewell and tell you we love you and that we will never forget our lockdown doggy.  It won’t hurt my baby girl.  It will be just like when we kiss you goodnight every time before we walk up the stairs to bed.  You’re in pain my baby girl.  Please don’t forget us and please understand why this is for the best Holly.  There’s no other way.  We’re doing what’s right for you.  We will always love you.  One last kiss on the forehead to look into those angelic eyes, a scratch of the ears and a moment to hold you that shall last with me forever.  Time to lay down now Holly.  The nurse has brought you in this blanket to keep you warm and safe.  Just like on all of those winter nights we spent together snuggling up together on the sofa without a care in the world.  It’s time to go now beautiful girl.  Close your eyes Holly.  We love you…. Sweet dreamies.

12.30PM

It’s over.   Shock, denial and pain hits me like an unstoppable force desperate to take me down a black hole of despair. 

Holly With Rainbow

This is where I still am.  5 days have passed since we sent Holly to the rainbow bridge and I can admit to you that I have never felt this amount of heartbreak in my adult life.   There’s been tears, longing, despair, anger and laughter.  This is the rollercoaster of grief.  I want to get off, but I’m strapped in for the long haul.  The hell continues.

Rest in peace Holly, you’ll always be in our hearts.  Chase those squirrels over rainbow bridge.

Until next week.

Andrew 🐾🐾

Country Collar Club 20th January 2021

By Andrew, Country Collar Club owner, 20th January 2021

This is my first column for My Pet Matters and I’m incredibly excited to start this adventure with you.  I’m proverbially ready to start my morning walk with a waggy tail (no pun intended).   For me personally, I’m wanting to share with you my own tales (pun absolutely intended) of dog ownership. 

Probably best to start at the beginning.  I own two dogs with my beautiful wife Lauren, we live in Sheffield in the United Kingdom and are very lucky to have some of the most dog-friendly surroundings close by.  Woodlands, moorlands, reservoirs, dog friendly cafes, rivers, the Peak District and most importantly for the dogs, a nearby Grandmother who gives them pre-cut apple pieces (minus the core and pips).  This treat isn’t even for good behaviour, it’s just because Grandma can.  I think this sort of behaviour must be in the Grandma rule book or something.  If you’re a parent reading this, you’ll probably know the dread and anxiety this weekly afternoon drop-off trip to Grandma’s house inevitably brings.  You know full well 4 minutes after drop-off, they’ll all be souped up on skittles and 3 slices of homemade chocolate cake by the time you come back for collection.  Thankfully, it’s definitely just apples for Rosie and Holly (I did have to put my foot down on Grandma’s latest menu, which included a mid-afternoon sausage sandwich). 

Rosie And Holly

Anyway, here’s a photo of them right here.  Rosie on the left and Holly on the right. 

As you can probably guess, this photo was taken during warmer climates.  I’m not sure how January is fairing for you, but here in Sheffield we are 3 days into every walk culminating in a playful snowball fight with the fur-babies.  That’s definitely one of the perks of being a dog owner in the winter months, you get to avenge all the snowball fights you lost as a child.  Don’t worry, there was no trip to the school nurse for either Rosie or Holly when we got back home.  Just cold paws, frost-bitten fingers and 2 very tired but happy fur-babies.

As Rosie and Holly have reached the ripe old age of 9 and 13 respectively, I’m not too sure calling them fur-babies remains appropriate.  If 13 in doggy years was the same in human years, I’m sure Holly would cringe at her embarrassing Dad calling her a ‘fur-baby’.  Thankfully, as a dog only parent, I don’t have to combat the same troublesome, but inevitable hurdles some of you parents must contend with.  Teenagers eh?!?  That’s the second perk of being a dog owner right there.  Dogs don’t get moody when you question whether going outside with shoes but no socks on is “appropriate for January, even if it is a fashion statement?” 

Dogs also don’t get moody when you suggest going out for a nice family walk to “blow away the cobwebs”.  Quite the opposite for them isn’t it?  As the eldest, Holly still amazes me with her enthusiasm when the magic word “walkies” gets mentioned.  When she’s out on those beautiful calm and crisp winter morning adventures, her 0-60mph speed acceleration would still beat the number 95 double decker bus in a drag race.  Admittedly though, her get up and go routine always commences with a scene I am now accustomed to, of her struggling to hop down that half a meter from our living room couch onto the floor.  Heart of a lion, body of a bag of potatoes.  I compare it to the emotion I would unquestionably feel, watching my 102 year old Grandma do a charity bungee jump for the local bring and buy sale.  Her heart is in the right place and that adventurous fire within her soul shall never go out.  Even if physically her body isn’t quite up for such escapades, and if truth be told hasn’t really been since 1998.  Still, it doesn’t stop her does it?  Just like it doesn’t stop Holly getting down from our sofa.

At 13, she definitely is winding down.  More than I dare to admit at this exact moment, based on recent events.  Nonetheless, for now – that fire in her is still there for all to see.  Maybe all future bring-and-buy sales should rope dogs in.    That’s the third perk of being a dog owner, no not discounted chocolate muffins from elderly Mrs Hooper’s baking stall, I’m talking about watching your dog get older.   It doesn’t matter how old your beloved pooch is, you still unconditionally love them.  In return all your dog wants from you is re-assurance, comfort and to be nestled up beside you on that cold winter’s night post snowball drubbing.  There’s something emotionally encapsulating watching your dog grow up, becoming one (if not the most) cherished member of the family and your best friend all rolled into one large fur ball.  That’s the beauty about dogs, they’ll be beside you every step of the way, just like you should be for them.  Even if they do resemble a bag of Maris Pipers with an apple tree growing inside of them. 

Until next week.

Andrew 🐾🐾

Sleeping with a dog in bed is actually better than sharing one with your partner, says study

If you’ve ever felt like you’ve needed to justify sharing a bed with your dog, then we have excellent news for you.

Dog In Bed

Metro reports that new research has found that sleeping with a dog in your bed is actually good for you.

In fact, it’s better than sharing a bed with a human. According to a study conducted by Christy L. Hoffman, from Canisius College in New York, the sleeping patterns of our four-legged friends closely mirror those of humans.

The study spoke to 962 women across the US, 55% of which shared the bed with at least one dog, while 57% shared the bed with a human partner and 31% shared the bed with at least one cat.

Dogs were found to be less disruptive to sleep than both human partners and cats – which makes sense when you think about the battles some partners face with duvet hogging. This means individuals who sleep next to dogs instead of cats are able to stick to a stricter sleep schedule – so sleep better.

Canines also scored higher for comfort and security in comparison to cats and other humans, with participants reporting that bed-sleeping cats are just as disruptive as human partners. What’s more, dog owners reported earlier sleep and wake times than cat owners and participants without pets. So not only are dogs soft and warm to cuddle up to, but they actually help with our sleep health, too.

The scientists behind the study commented: ‘Dog ownership and its associated responsibilities may cause individuals to adhere to a stricter routine. Keeping to a consistent sleep schedule may be beneficial to dog owners.’

It looks like the dog hairs on the bed are worth it after all.

(Story source: Metro)

Sheridan Smith is set to look for the UK’s best dog groomer as pet stylists go head-to-head in exciting new BBC competition show Pooch Perfect

Sheridan Smith is set to present the BBC’s new competitive series Pooch Perfect, it has been revealed.

Pooch Perfect

The Daily Mail reports that the actress, 39, will be looking for the UK’s Top Dog Stylist by hosting a grooming competition alongside her fluffy co-host Stanley.

Featuring 16 professional dog stylists from across the nation, Sheridan will task the groomers with a series of themed challenges each week that will see dogs go through epic transformations to the delight of viewers.

These challenges will vary in style, and their creations will then be revealed on The Dogwalk for the judges to deliberate which of the week’s contenders has impressed them the most.

It is at this stage that the dog’s owners will be able to see their newly transformed pooches for the first time since the stylists put their skills to the test.

Dog fanatic Sheridan is also surely going to enjoy seeing all the various styles that are put forward on the runway.

Sheridan wowed viewers with her ‘incredible’ performance of Cilla Black’s You’re My World during the Royal Variety Show on Tuesday evening.

And ahead of the annual spectacular, she revealed the track was dedicated to her baby son Billy, who she welcomed in May earlier this year.

The singer shared an adorable clip of herself cuddling Billy alongside a caption which read: ‘My world’.

Alongside the video, she wrote: ‘Tonight I’ll be singing You’re My World as Cilla on @itv for @RoyalVariety at 8pm. This is the little man I’m singing it for.’

Viewers went wild for the special performance and many took to Twitter to laud her version of the 1965 track.

Sheridan, who played the Anyone Who Had A Heart hitmaker in the 2014 ITV series, wore a stunning green dress with draped sleeves as she gave her performance.

Pooch Perfect is set to launch on BBC One at 8pm on January 7 2021.

(Story source: Daily Mail)

Woman is stunned when she realises she just rescued a coyote

Andrea Athie was driving down the road when she came across a young canine in distress.

Coyote

I Heart Dogs reports that his leg appeared to be broken, and she knew he needed immediate help.

It’s as if he knew he was about to get the care he needed, as he easily let her pick him up and settle him into her car.

She was able to load up the injured pup, and began to head to the closest vet clinic.

Once she arrived to the veterinary clinic, she learned that her new furry friend was a bit different from the canines she typically hangs out with. This timid pup was in fact a wild coyote.

Andrea was shocked once she knew she was sharing her car with a wild dog. He was so incredibly docile, that even the veterinary staff was shocked by the situation. To make sure that this furry friend received the treatment that he needed, they immediately contacted a wildlife rehabilitator.

While Andrea waited to hear of her wild friend’s recovery, the news of her rescue went viral on twitter. It all began when Athie’s brother tweeted this:

“Today my sister picked up a COYOTE thinking it was a run-over dog and took it to the vet.”

Along with this tweet, he shared the photos of Athie resting comfortably with the wild coyote in her lap. Naturally, the photos went viral!

Back at the wildlife treatment centre, the wild coyote began to experience difficulties in his recovery. What originally seemed like just a limb, became clear that this wild pup was facing much more serious internal injuries as well.

The coyote stayed in the wildlife hospital for 5 days, but was unable to recover. He unfortunately passed away.

Though this was a terrible end to an incredible rescue story, animal lovers can take comfort in the fact that he got to pass away in a warm bed surrounded with care, instead of on the side of the road where he would have remained without Athie’s help.

We wish this story had a different outcome, but we are so happy to know that there are dedicated wildlife rescuers out there working tirelessly to save lives. Though this was not the outcome we hoped for, we know that other wildlife will benefit from the care of this rescue group!

(Story source: I Heart Dogs)