Humans prefer creature comfort

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London: A study carried out amongst 6,800 UK pet owners, reveals that 95% of people preferred to confide in their pets over family or friends.

Results showed that 58% of pet-owners would talk to their pets about their general day and while the adage about never talking to friends and family about politics may be true, some even admitted to confiding their political views in their pets.

Confirmation of the special bond between pet and pet –owners was that 75% of those surveyed in the UK wish they could better understand what their pets are trying to tell them.

The new study was carried out by the PURINA PetCare Team with the aim of finding out how much pet owners understand the behaviour of their dog or cat and what the meaning is behind their reactions. The PetCare team, PurinaÂ’s dedicated team of advice specialists are on hand to help pet-owners glean a better understanding into any aspect of pet-care including their petÂ’s behaviour.

So integral is the relationship between pet and owner that both dogs and cats were found to emulate the owners’ routine with over 62% of pets preferring to follow “mum’s” routine over the rest of the family. The survey also found some cats enjoyed watching TV with their owners “especially if Snooker or the Daleks were on”. 29% of the UK’s pets chose to wake-up at the same time as their owners and amusingly, some owners chose to follow their pet’s routine instead and will cook dinner when their dog is hungry or wake-up ”when the cats do at 3:30am”.

Claire Robinson-Davies from PURINA comments; “As much as owners choose to confide in their pets, it’s equally important for them to understand how their pets feel in return and developing this understanding could prove beneficial to both pet and owner. The Purina PetCare team is ready to help pet-owners looking for advice on any aspect of pet-care, including understanding behaviour on freephone 0800 212 161.

The survey of over 6800 pet owners also revealed:

An astonishing 26% of cats in the South East wait by the gate for their owners to return.

Whilst 56% of the UKÂ’s dog owners talk to their dog about general life, only 10% chose to trouble them with their problems.
When asked what routines pet-owners pursued together, some of the more unusual responses included, ‘using the keyboard at the same time’.

The PURINA Petcare Team is a service staffed by a dedicated group of PetCare professionals, vet nurses and customer service experts – available Monday to Friday 8 am – 6 pm for advice free on 0800 212 161(within UK).

Exercise is good for pets and owners – advice from Dr Carol Osborne

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PETS AND HUMANS BOTH LIVE LONGER WITH EXERCISE
says top vet Carol Osborne

How Much Exercise Do Dogs Need?
Dogs needs at least 20 minutes of exercise twice a day. The exact amount varies with age, breed, weight and physical condition.

DonÂ’t jump off the sofa one minute and take a ten mile hike the next, dogs, like people, need to get in shape gradually a little bit each day. Try starting with a couple of ten minute walks and you can both build up from there. And if your pet hasnÂ’t taken much exercise recently get the vet to check him/her out before you begin the programme.

One hour of exercise increases your dogÂ’s lifespan by 4 hours. Devise a fitness programme for your dog and you may find that you get as much out of it, if not more, than your dog.

Exercise Is Fun With Your Dog!
Exercise is integral to life. Not only is it essential for optimal health, it also improves circulation, stimulates vital organs, facilitates digestion and helps eliminate harmful toxins from the body. Exercise provides aerobic activity that stimulates your dog mentally and physically. And exercising with pets is fun. It is a great way to bond, and it is as good for you as it is for your dog. Most owners end up looking forward to this “special time” as much as their dog does.

Some enlightened fitness centres open their doors to people and pets – use it or loose it doesn’t just apply to people.

Exercise Goals

Exercise promotes confidence, self-esteem and well being. If you make the commitment to eat right and exercise at least 20 minutes twice a day, you and your dog will look good and feel great! Exercise enhances your health, your looks and your life. Before long youÂ’ll both be wagging your tails!
If your dog canÂ’t exercise, you can help by learning canine massage. ItÂ’s therapeutic and stimulates vital tissues. ItÂ’s also fun and feels great.

PUP-ULAR CANINE SPORTS (Little League Anyone?)

Playgrounds and obstacle courses are great ways to have fun and stay in shape. You can construct obstacles using odds and ends in your garden or buy them already made from a pet shop.

Sports Equipment
Treadmills for Dogs
They are great for dogs of all ages, including those that are older and arthritic. Pets can use them if the weather is bad, if they live in an apartment or if you just canÂ’t get outside. Canine treadmills come with adjustable inclines and speeds. They are fun for pets and when your dogÂ’s done you can use it too!

Fun Exercises for Dogs & their People
Walks

All dog love to go for walks. They are especially good for lap and toy breeds that are too small to do a lot of exercises.
Jogging
Jogging is especially fun for bird and herding breeds that love to run. Be careful if itÂ’s very hot or very cold and if your dog stops to lie down you need to stop too

Roller Blading
Roller blading is worth a try. Just like jogging, its fun with dogs that love to run. Be sure you’re good on wheels and don’t forget your kneepads.

Frisbee
Frisbee is great with breeds that like to focus on objects; Border Collies and Australian Shepard’s find Frisbees fascinating.

Swimming
Most bird dogs, Labradors, Retrievers and even some Mastiffs love the water. It is also therapeutic for older, arthritic dogs. Be sure your dog can swim, because like people, not all can. Stay near by and keep a close eye on him.

Have a Ball
WITH BALL GAMES. BE SURE THE BALL IS BIG ENOUGH SO YOUR DOG CANNOT SWALLOW OR CHOKE ON IT. Also make sure it’s made of sturdy material like hard rubber so your dog can’t chew it into little pieces and risk choking. Dogs get plenty of exercise fetching and frolicking with balls. They also enjoy chasing, chewing, bouncing and pouncing on them,
Some balls have compartments you can fill with treats like apples, carrots or cucumbers. They’re purr-fect for pet’s that enjoy a good game of “Hide and Go Seek”. TheyÂ’re also great boredom busters if you’re out for the afternoon or at work.

EXERCISES TO AVOID WITH YOUR DOG
Avoid rough games like tug of war, wrestling and those that involve your dog chasing you. These games encourage aggression and teach your dog to struggle against you as opposed to working with you.

Dr Carol Osborne DVM is the worldÂ’s only veterinarian to be a board certified Diplomat of the American Academy of Anti-Ageing Medicine. She has her own bespoke pet health products at www.drcarol.com

Pet Longevity – Carol Osborne DVM

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Dr Carol Osborne DVM is a leading authority on alternative veterinary medicine and age-related pet diseases. She is the world’s only veterinarian to be a board certified Diplomat of the Academy of Anti-Ageing Medicine and is the author of the international best-sellers Naturally Healthy Dogs and Naturally Healthy Cats.

She is also a popular lecturer and broadcaster on the subject of pet longevity and wellness and has her own line of nutritional products for pets. Web site www.drcarol.com Email your pet health concerns to her at Dr Carol Osborne

UK is a fat pet nation

London: Britain’s pets are getting fatter and fatter, according to a survey from a pet insurer.

More than a third of cats and dogs are obese and vets are now running special clinics to address the problem.

Like their owners, pets put on most weight over the recent festive period, according to the survey by Halifax insurance.

Fat pets die earlier than those at a normal weight and also suffer similar diseases to humans such as heart disease, diabetes and arthritis, which can require prolonged treatment.

The research was carried out among 100 vets and 1,000 pet owners, commissioned by insurance giant Halifax, also showed that four in five dogs do not receive the recommended level of exercise.

Cat parasite and schizophrenia link

London: Researchers have found stronger evidence for a link between a parasite in cat faeces and undercooked meat and an increased risk of schizophrenia.

Research published today in Procedings of the Royal Society B, shows how the invasion or replication of the parasite Toxoplasma gondii in rats may be inhibited by using anti-psychotic or mood stabilising drugs.

The researchers tested anti-psychotic and mood stabilising medications used for the treatment of schizophrenia on rats infected with T. gondii and found they were as, or more, effective at preventing behaviourial alterations as anti-T. gondii drugs. This led them to believe that T. gondii may have a role in the development of some cases of schizophrenia.

Dr Joanne Webster from Imperial College London, and lead researcher
said: “Although we are certainly not saying that exposure to this parasite does definitely lead to the development of schizophrenia, this and previous studies do show there may be a link in a few individuals, providing new clues for how we treat toxoplasmosis and schizophrenia.”

Previous epidemiological and neuropathological studies have indicated some cases of schizophrenia may be associated with environmental factors, such as exposure to the parasite T. gondii. At the same time several of the medications used to treat schizophrenia have been shown to posess anti-parasitic and in particular anti-T.gondii properties.This led the authors to suspect that the anti-psychotic activity of these medications may be due in part to their inhibition of these parasites.

When the rats were given Haloperidol, an anti-psychotic, and Valporic acid, a mood stabiliser, the behavioural symptoms of T.gondii were reduced. They found the drugs were able to limit the ‘suicidal feline’attraction by which the rats became less aware of the dangers of cats.

Dr Joanne Webster added: “By showing that drugs used to treat schizophrenia affect the parasite T. gondii, this does provide further evidence for its role in the development of some cases schizophrenia. It may be that anti-psychotic drugs work partly by parasite inhibition, and this could lead to new medicine and treatment combinations.”

The researchers have already begun human clinical trials using anti-T. gondii treatments as adjunct therapies for schizophrenia with researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

Website: www.imperial.ac.uk

Looking after your pet’s teeth

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Cats and dogs need regular dental care. Although pets rarely suffer from dental decay they, like humans, can suffer from gum disease or broken teeth.

The reason that animals suffer less from tooth decay is that their diets are usually low in carbohydrate and their saliva is low in acid which protects the teeth. This is why is not good to give pets chocolates and sweets.

Like their owners pets benefit from regular brushing and a trip to the pet dental hygenist to keep teeth and gums healthy.

Periodontal disease

Exactly as in humans pets can suffer from periodontal disease, which attacks the gums, bones and other tissue around the teeth and eventually to tooth loss.

This disease starts with a build-up of plaque whch turns to tartar which provides a perfect climate for bacteria to multiply – these are the same bacteria thought to be a contributor to heart disease in humans. Likewise in animals it can aggravate problems for animals. The tartar also causes gum inflammation. Buy pets healthy chews to exercise their gums.

CARING FOR A PETS TEETH

As soon as a puppy or kitten first grows teeth, check that they are growing properly and are not crooked or causing pressure inside the mouth. If necessary ask your vet to look the animal over. Some smaller dogs are are more at risk of these problems.

Good oral hygiene for pets includes regular brushing. You may have to get your pet used to having a brush in its mouth. Again you can ask a vet to help teach you how to train your pet to accept this. There are special toothbrushes for pets that can be bought from pet stores.

Like humans if your pet has bleeding gums you should consult a vet.

Acupuncture

ACUPUNCTURE is practised mostly on horses, dogs and cats, but other animals do benefit. It has been tried at some point on most species, including rabbits, cattle, pigs, parrots, birds of prey, guinea pigs and rats. Pets can undergo acupuncture for a wide range of conditions such as joint problems, pain and inflammation, muscle spasms, wound repair, lameness and nerve problems, and after accidents and surgery. It is also given to induce labour and to help animals giving birth. Incontinence can be eased and some inflammatory skin problems will also respond.

With horses, acupuncture may improve endurance and stamina. During treatment, very fine needles are used at specific points on the body, but for sensitive or worried pets a special laser, photonic or electrical stimulation can be used instead.
When the needle reaches a specific point there may be a sensation like a dull ache and some pets find this uncomfortable.The other options are gentler and less invasive. If your vet doesn’t practise acupuncture, he can refer you to a specialist.