Some cool facts about the canine variety…

You see your dog every day, so it’s easy to forget how incredible your canine friend really is! Consider some of the following fun facts about your pet!

• Dogs have been “man’s best friend” for about 100,000 years.
• Dogs to not have an appendix.
• Your dog can make approximately 100 different facial expressions.
• The average dog can reach speeds of 30 kilometers per hour, though sighthounds can run even faster!
• Your dog’s ears can accurately locate the source of a sound in just six one-hundredths of a second!
• Dogs do have sweat glands, but only on the bottoms of their feet.
• Newfoundland dogs have webbed feet and a coat that resists water.
• While we’re discussing water, a total of three dogs survived the sinking of the Titanic. The dogs, which were owned by first class passengers, included a Pekingese and two Pomeranians.
• Your dog can dream, just like you. Sleep studies have revealed that dogs go through similar sleep phases, including rapid eye movement (REM) phases and slow wave sleep or SWS phases.
• While your dog has an incredibly powerful sense of smell, you actually have many more taste buds than your dog. Humans have about 9,000 taste buds, while dogs have around 1,700.
• Chow Chow and Sharpei dogs are known for their blue tongues, but they’re not born with these curiously colored tongues. They gradually turn from pink to blue around 8 weeks of age.
• Similarly, the Dalmation isn’t born with his spots! The Dalmation’s spots gradually form during puppyhood and adolescence.

Are you trying to pick out a name for your new dog or cat?

Finding the right name for your pet can be challenging and there are so many options to choose from. So how do you choose just one?

Creating a short list of pet names that you enjoy is a great starting point. It’s also important to consider nicknames. Pet names often evolve, so you’ll want to ensure there’s a nice nickname in the event that you decide to use a nickname instead.

When picking a pet name, it’s best to pick a two or three syllable name, while avoiding one syllable names. The reason? Training commands are virtually always one syllable words, so it’s important that your pet can easily differentiate their name from other words and commands.

It’s best to avoid long names, beyond 3 syllables, as they can be difficult for the ear to “catch.”

Many owners find it’s beneficial to get to know the pet before coming up with a name. Often, a pet’s personality and mannerisms will suggest a name that “just fits.” In this way, your pet can “tell” you his or her name through their mannerisms and personality.

Above all, if you’re unsure about your pet’s name, don’t force it! Give it some time and the right name will come to you. We also have a great site to assist with this. Simply visit our pet names site and start choosing.

Did you know your cat or dog may be able to see ultraviolet wavelengths of light?

It’s true!

A recent study at the City University London has revealed that dogs and cats may be among the many animals who can see ultraviolet light. Other animals who can see ultraviolet include insects, birds and reptiles.

Animal experts have long known that dogs and cats do see in color, contrary to the common misconception that they only see in black and white. But this new discovery about their ability to view ultraviolet light wavelengths is a new discovery that offers a bit more insight into animal behavior.

Quite simply, your cat or dog may act like they see something that’s not there because they’re seeing something that you can’t see!

Dogs and cats cannot see “warm” tones such as red and orange; their vision is primarily centered in the “cool” end of the light spectrum, as they can see shades of green, blues and purple. So reds and oranges appear as shades of blue, green or violet.

The human eye has a lens that blocks UV light, but there are actually some humans who’ve undergone cataract or other lens replacement surgery and after the operation, they found they could see UV light because they were given artificial replacement lenses that did not have UV-blocking properties.

Obsessive compulsive disorders in pets

Obsessive compulsive disorder, also known as OCD, isn’t just a human condition. It’s a condition that could also affect your pet!

That’s according to a recent announcement of the discovery of a so-called canine OCD gene. In fact, scientists have discovered a total of four genes that have been linked to this condition, which can cause serious emotional distress and behavioral problems in dogs of all breeds and ages.

Dogs who suffer from OCD exhibit a wide range of different symptoms and repetitive behaviors, including:

• tail chasing
• chewing
• sucking
• licking
• fly biting
• barking
• spinning
• chewing or sucking on a specific toy

Owners of dogs with OCD cannot distract or redirect a dog who suffers from OCD. Typically, the pet will spend hours performing a particular behavior, even despite of injury such as skin infections. Some pets with OCD have been known to self-mutilate to the point of requiring amputation.

Like humans, dogs cannot be “cured” of OCD, but it is possible to treat a pet’s OCD using medications such as anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs.

If you suspect your dog has OCD, it’s important to discuss the situation with your veterinarian. Some OCD-like behaviors can also result from anxiety or boredom, so it’s important to thoroughly evaluate the pet’s behavior. If your dog does appear to have OCD or another condition, such as anxiety, your vet can provide your pet with medications and other therapies that can improve the symptoms.

Well done to the Olympic Athletes in Sochi for helping stray pets!

In anticipation of the Sochi Olympics, officials had announced their plans to kill approximately 2,000 stray dogs. Despite outcry, officials in Sochi, Russia reportedly started poisoning and euthanizing the sizable stray dog population in the days leading up to the Olympics for fear they would bother the athletes and other visitors. It was a story that left animal advocates enraged and saddened.

But this story has taken an unexpected turn for the best, as athletes from across the globe have started falling in love with Sochi’s stray dogs. Many have already started to make arrangements to take them home to their respective countries at the end of the Olympics.

Athletes have not only started feeding the friendly strays; they’ve also taken it upon themselves to get the dogs sterilized, vaccinated and treated for health problems. Many Olympians are actively working to help find homes for these dogs in Russia; while others are planning to take them home.

Adopting a dog from another country isn’t easy, as it requires examinations to ensure the pet’s health, travel fees and mandatory quarantine to ensure the pet isn’t carrying a an illness or disease. But as with adopting any pet, the rewards can be tremendous. You may quite literally save a life.

Quite simply, the world’s Olympians have successfully transformed a sad story into a very heartwarming one by going the extra mile to help the stray dogs of Sochi.

Wondering how to stay on top of all the latest pet food and pet treat recalls?

Just as human foods can be tainted with salmonella, bacteria and other harmful things that can make you sick, the same goes for you pet’s food and treats. But unfortunately, not every pet food recall makes it into the news (and not everyone has time to watch the news!)

So how can you stay updated on potentially dangerous pet foods and related recalls?

The first step is to sign up for your pet food company’s newsletter. This is the single easiest way to learn about pet food recalls involving your favorite brand of treats and cat or dog food. Most pet food companies offer coupons to their newsletter subscribers too!

You can also stay updated by setting up a Google Alert for “pet food recalls” or a similar term. Creating a Google Alert takes seconds and you can choose the frequency of updates (hourly, daily, weekly, etc.) This enables you to receive an email notification each time a pet food recall is mentioned in a news article.

It’s simple measures such as these that can help you to help your pet by avoiding recalled pet foods and treats!

Did you know your pet’s treats could be harmful to your pet?

Worldwide, there have been multiple reports of dogs who’ve gotten seriously ill after eating meat jerky pet treats. Cases have been reported in the U.S., Australia and many other nations across the globe.

According to published reports, there is no single brand affected involved, which has made a recall virtually impossible. The only common thread among all of the cases is that they involved meat jerky dog treats that have been manufactured in China.

The symptoms that pets are suffering range in severity and nature. Many pet owners are reporting symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, a refusal to eat, dehydration due to vomiting and diarrhea, fever and pancreatitis, among other symptoms.

If you buy treats for your dog, you may want to steer clear of jerky style treats for the time-being. It’s also wise to keep your treat packaging until the treats are finished, as the package contains important information such as lot number, which can help track the treats and aid in the issuance of a recall.

Ever wonder what your dog is thinking?

Well, a new Swedish invention could put an end to the mystery.

A Scandinavian group called the Nordic Society for Invention and Discovery — or, more simply, NSID — has developed a device called No More Woof. The system that reads a dog’s EEG brain waves and then translates those brain waves into English (and soon, Mandarin, French and Spanish, too.)

The No More Woof Micro can distinguish three different thought patterns for hunger, curiosity and tiredness. The No More Woof Standard can distinguish four or more canine thought patterns and it can be calibrated to work for multiple dogs; its software can also be upgraded when new versions become available.

The NSID admits that the first generation No More Woof was pretty primitive, but they point out that the first computer was quite primitive as well. A more sophisticated brain-computer interface (BCI) could translate more complex thoughts and emotions.

What’s more, there’s hope that the technology could have other more practical applications, such as enabling disable pets to move artificial limbs. There’s even potential for two-way communication by converting your words into dog language, with your words or thoughts sent directly to the pet’s brain!

Notably, No More Woof’s creators had launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, seeking to raise $10,000 USD to fund further development. But as 2014 arrived, NSID had already exceeded their goal, raising just short of $17,000 USD.

Read our dog's mind

Homemade Cat Toys

If you’re a bit crafty and want to make a few fun homemade toys for kitty, here are a few ideas to try!

To make a catnip pouch, get an old sock and put a golf ball-sized bit of catnip in the toe. Tie a knot into the sock, just above the pouch and cut off the excess. You’ll be left with a tube of fabric. Many socks are long enough for you to make a second pouch. Just place a knot at one end of the tube, fill with catnip and knot again.

Make a homemade kitty wand by unraveling a wire coat hanger. Straighten the wire and use wire snips to cut off the kinked ends. Twist the wire into a loop at one end — the loop will serve as an attachment point for a ribbon or teaser, and the loop will prevent your kitty from poking his eye out with the wire tip! Make your own kitty teaser with a few feathers, plucked from your feather duster and affixed with a bit of thread.

Make a toilet paper roll sunburst by making a 1 ½ inch snip every one-third inch around both openings of the toilet paper roll. Then, bend the strips a bit so it looks like a sun. It will bounce around, keeping kitty occupied for hours!

The Best Cat Toys Are Free!

Have you ever noticed how your cat tends to prefer the box better than the item that came in the box?

It’s true! Cats tend to enjoy the simpler items in life. So why not make a few homemade cat toys?

A peek-a-boo box is a great toy if you have more than one cat. Place the box on its side, so the cat can easily walk inside. Then, cut a few small peek holes in the sides of the box, so your cats can bat at each other and peek out. To pretty it up, cover the box with fabric. All it takes is a yard or two of fabric and some hot glue!

Another idea: a toilet paper roll snake. Get three to five toilet paper rolls (or cut a paper towel roll in half.) Poke a hole near the opening of each roll, pull a bit of twine through the holes to connect the paper towel rolls. For a more flexible snake, you can cut the rolls in half. Then, cover the rolls in fabric (or an old knee sock or two, with the toe cut off.) and decorate! This makes a great treat-hider toy and you can pop a bit of catnip to sweeten the deal!