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Barking and Biting

Posted: Monday, April 23, 2012 at 10:16:09 AM EST by Cam Day

What dog breeds bark and bite the most?

A multimedia presentation by Dr Cam Day

Yeah, we know - you're cat owners. You own those independent little furballs who would much rather curl up on the wooden floorboards than your warm and comfortable lap. But we thought that you still may find this interesting - it's all about barking and biting dogs, and which breeds do that the most.

Over the last four years we have been looking at the ‘bad breeds’ – those dogs that do ‘bad things’ in the community – because we are referred the ‘worst case behaviours’ of south east Queensland we have always being interested in which dog breeds are the worst for behaviours us humans think are bad.barkandbitepresentation

Of course – our dogs are likely to think what they are doing is quite acceptable!

Barking and biting are bad by our definition, but it's interesting to see which breeds actually bark the most and which bite the most.

That’s not an easy question to answer.

To answer that truthfully we needed to know two things:-

  • How to handle cross bred dogs – because there’s nothing wrong with a cross bred.
  • And we needed to know what are the most popular breeds in the community. It’s senseless to say the imaginary Australian Cute Hound barks the most if the Australian Cute Hound is also the most popular. The results would not be accurate if we disregarded popularity.

While the details of how we did that are very complex (the details have been published in journals) and too nerdy to describe, we have created an interesting multimedia presentation about just that subject.

This presentation will tell you which dog breeds are most commonly owned and which bark the most and bite the most.

You can view this presentation here and be sure to leave your comments below of your own observations.

Cats and Dogs

Posted: Thursday, July 5, 2012 at 10:42:51 AM EST by Cam Day

The Difference Between Cats and Dogs

The friendship of a pet is unique. It provides a kind of devotion and love that can't be duplicated by another human.

Cats snugglingDogs show this type of devotion readily. They are so happy when you come home. They are so content to lie at your feet while you watch television or work in your office. Doesn't it make you burst with joy when your dog puts its big head on your lap to show it wants a hug or pat?

With cats, you have to work a little harder to get that devotion.You may share the same house, but the arrangement is totally at the cat's discretion. For me, one of the highs in life with Drape Shape would start when he sauntered casually but purposefully towards me across the lounge room. He would have that "I'll get there in my own sweet time, buddy" attitude. He would snake his way towards my chair where I waited with trembling expectation. He would stop, just out of reach. He would sit there and lick himself, teasing me mercilessly, perhaps casting a casual black eye at my lap. Then, with a calculated leap and the cutest squeak of a purr, he would jump into the waiting lap of Kathryn, my dearly beloved fellow cat worshipper. He used to tease me, control me and manipulate me and I enjoyed every moment of it. It is difficult now that he's gone.

So for a while we were cat-depleted. That was until I answered some distant calling to visit the RSPCA. There I found two fuzz-balls lying peacefully in their hammock beds. I picked them up and they purred immediately and squinted at me indicating that a lifetime of love and devotion was in the offering. I was a sucker and a victim. No mortal human can contest such underhand feline charms. A quick phone call to Kathryn and those who were cat-depleted became cat-repleted.

The dust-bunnies, as Kathryn fondly calls them, have settled in well. They are semi-long-haired dish-mops that look like a cross between a feather Girlp and Pupduster and Cousin It. They play in such an entertaining way that we are constantly giggling at their frantic antics. Roxy the Imperfect Pooch thinks they are better than cable TV and even Kitty our third puss cat thinks these fuzz-balls are reasonable, provided they keep a respectable distance.

And as for the purrs and the devotion promised so faithfully at the RSPCA? Forget it! That was just a feline feint, a puss-cat ploy utilised to secure adoption. These dust-bunnies are party animals. They have places to go and people to meet, toys to tease and food to eat. We love these fur-balls and I think that they think we are OK too. Maybe we should call them Dust-buddies.

So friendships are important, but especially those we strike with our pets.

Why I Like Pets

Why do I think pets provide such an enhancement to my lifestyle? Because they show affection for no reason other than to be friendly. Because they are so 'up front' when they want something and so manipulative to ensure they succeed. Because they provide entertainment by doing things that humans can't. Because they are small enough to pick up and cuddle or at least to give a darn good hug. Because they feel so nice when you do hug them. Because their fur is so soft, their bodies so firm and touchable. Because I can talk to them and they seem to listen and even understand what I am saying. Because they enjoy the simple things in life like having their tummies rubbed, having hugs and playing with toys. Because they don't criticise, complain or make unreasonable demands. Because they don't send bills in the post.

What the Scientists Say

Puppy PreSchoolThe White Coats, the scientists-who-know-such-things, tell us that pets are good for our health. They tell us that people who own pets tend to visit the doctor less often. I'll tell you that's because pet owners haven't time to go to the doctors. Once you've finished feeding your pets, cleaning up their mess, repairing the fence, filling in the holes that your dog has mined and ringing the upholstery firm to get your cat-clawed lounge suite recovered, you have rightfully collapsed in bed.

The White Coats tell us that pet owners have lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure. Pet owners don't have time to eat - that's why their cholesterol is lower and the reduction in blood pressure is a natural follow-on from the shock that occurs after you discover your dog has made a huge mess in your house.

Pet owners recover more quickly from illness and surgery they say. With your dog tugging at the sheets saying 'Walkies' and your cat sitting on your chest with a claw in your nostril saying 'Feed Now!' you daren't spend time in bed worrying about your own health problems.

And lastly the White Coats say pet owners deal better with stressful situations and are less likely to feel lonely. Naturally we deal better with stressful situations because, being pet owners, we have had heaps more practice at it than those who lead boring lives without pets. And with a pet around, who has time to be lonely?

For me, pets are perfect buddies - and that's all that matters!

The Season of Sensuality

Posted: Friday, August 3, 2012 at 11:24:23 AM EST by Cam Day

Making Scents

Spring is nearly upon us and summer is just a sniff away. The days are getting longer and the animal kingdom is waking to a new 'season of sensuality'. I find that the start of the Ekka in Brisbane marks the start of this season of sensuality. It's not only the flowers that blossom and send out their wonderful perfumes at this time of year but many species of animals also send out their own seasonal scents in spring. The most important of these scents are pheromones.

Pheromones Cats sniffing each other are extremely widespread in the animal kingdom. They are like hormones in some aspects. However, while hormones stay within the body of the animal that produces them and thus affect only that animal's behaviour, pheromones are released from one animal and, when detected by another animal of the same species, have a significant effect on the behaviour of that receiving animal.

Pheromones come in many forms. Some relate to sexual identification, some help animals to mark territory, some serve as warnings to other animals and some relate to familiarisation and attachment.

They are released from various glands of an animal's body, including those around the face and on the footpads, from sweat glands (especially on the abdomen) and from the animal's anal sacs. In cats, three main types of pheromones have been studied - those relating to territorial marking, alarm warnings and to familiarisation with others of the same species.

In dogs, the dog appeasing pheromone is one that has been studied extensively. This pheromone is normally produced in bitches three to five days after they have whelped. It is secreted by the skin around the bitch's mammary glands and serves to create attachment of the newborn puppies to the dam.  A similar pheromone is also released by adult dogs from the skin around their ears. When released by pack leaders, this pheromone has a similar role, but on a wider basis, to the pheromone produced by a dam - it creates attachment of young animals to the leaders and makes the pack cohesive.

While that may sound complicated, the good news is that cat, and more recently, dog pheromones are now produced synthetically and placed in bottles to help pet owners better manage their pet's behaviour. This is a very new and exciting form of science. With dogs the dog appeasing pheromone (DAP or Adaptil) is used to aid the treatment of anxiety disorders and fears. For cats, the pheromone Feliway is readily available and is used to stop cats spraying, as well as in assisting cats to become comfortable when moving into a new residence.

Using Pheromones to Improve a Dog's Behaviour 

The dog appeasing pheromone aids in the treatment of fears and anxieties in dogs and can be part of the therapy for:

Complete range of Adaptil products
  • settling a new puppy into a home

  • separation anxieties or similar disorders

  • noise fears and phobias

  • treating fears from various origins.

For instance, to determine the effects of the dog appeasing pheromone, a study was conducted on 26 dogs where 20 were destructive, 18 were vocalising excessively and 12 were house-soiling. After 28 days of pheromone use, the behaviour of approximately 75% of the dogs had either improved or resolved.

The commercial version of the dog appeasing pheromone has just been released and while that's good news, it's the method of delivery that really makes this product shine. It is simply delivered via a diffuser that is plugged into a power point in a manner similar to air fresheners.

Used for a month or longer, this pheromone can be very important in helping a dog resolve its anxieties.

Using Pheromones to Improve a Cat's Behaviour

The feline pheromones that are associated with familiarisation help to convey a message of well being and a feeling of security to cats.

The Feliway Pheromone range.The synthetically manufactured version of this pheromone (Feliway) helps when moving house with cats, or when new cats are introduced to a cat household. The pheromone also helps to reduce spraying behaviour and to calm aggressive cats when many cats are present in the same household.

The pheromones used to achieve such changes in behaviour are synthetic versions of a cat's facial pheromones. These are the same scents that a cat rubs on its owner when 'bunting' in greeting.

For cats that spray urine inside their owner's homes, cleaning the soiled area and then marking the area with the synthetic pheromone helps to solve the urine spraying behaviour. The calming function of the facial pheromones has a preventative effect on urine marking,

In addition, these facial pheromones help to settle cats into new homes, promoting exploration and calmness and establishment of normal feeding behaviour more rapidly than when the cat is placed in a new home with no pheromones.

Just like Adaptil's dog appeasing pheromone, Feliway's cat facial pheromone is now also available in a plug-in diffuser that makes it very easy to use.

These products are now available but for more information click here.

Pheromones for Pets

Posted: Friday, September 7, 2012 at 3:40:41 PM EST by Cam Day

What are Pheromones?

contentkittiePheromones are extremely widespread in the animal kingdom. They are like hormones in some aspects. However, while hormones stay within the body of the animal that produces them and thus affect only that animal's behaviour, pheromones are released from one animal and, when detected by another animal of the same species, have a significant effect on the behaviour of that receiving animal.

Pheromones are important to many living creatures including insects and mammals. For instance, queen bees produce pheromones that inhibit other queens from developing.  In insects and animals pheromones also act as sex attractants and have many other functions.

Pheromones come in many forms. Some relate to sexual identification, some help animals to mark territory, some serve as warnings to other animals and some relate to familiarisation and attachment.

They are released from various glands of an animal's body, including those around the face and on the footpads, from sweat glands (especially on the abdomen) and from the animal's anal sacs.

In cats, three main types of pheromones have been studied - those relating to territorial marking, alarm warnings and to familiarisation with others of the same species.  

In dogs, the dog appeasing pheromone is one that has been studied extensively. This pheromone is normally produced in bitches three to five days after they have whelped. It is secreted by the skin around the bitch's mammary glands and serves to create attachment of the newborn puppies to the dam. 

A similar pheromone is also released by adult dogs from the skin around their ears. When released by pack leaders, this pheromone has a similar role, but on a wider basis, to the pheromone produced by a dam - it creates attachment of young animals to the leaders and makes the pack cohesive.

Availability in Australia

The Feliway Pheromone range.Synthetic pheromones are now available in Australia for dogs and cats.

The dog pheromone is known as the Dog Appeasing Pheromone (Adaptil) and the cat pheromones in known as Feliway.

Adaptil is available commercially in Australia as a plug-in diffuser.

Feliway is available as a plug-in diffuser and as a spray bottle.

Are pheromones suitable for your pet?

Pheromones such as the Dog Appeasing Pheromone (Adaptil) and Feliway are wonderful products because they are easy to use and side-effect free.

But they certainly are not a cure for all behavioural problems. 

If you are uncertain about purchasing pheromones for your pet, complete our Pheromone Inquiry Form and we will review your submission.

We will then respond to that by email or by telephone as needed.

Click here to inquire if pheromones are suitable for your pet's behaviour

How to Purchase Pheromones

Pheromones can be purchased from our office or, if you are certain the are correct for your pet, the can be purchased online here.

Click here to purchase pheromones


More information

Why desexing your cat is important

Posted: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 12:34:28 PM EST by Cam Day

The Importance Of Desexing Cats

Cat owners beware! There are clandestine meetings being held in darkened back streets. Impetuous romantic liaisons are occurring with no thought of the consequences. Testosterone charged Toms will brawl viciously with each other while competing for the proffered favours of female cats. The result of this biological ball game is that thousands of kittens will are born in the cat breeding season in cities around the world.

Sadly, far too many of those kittens are born to die. Animal refuges around the globe are unable to cope with the huge number of irresponsibly bred kittens they receive.

The Breeding Season for Cats

Cats snugglingIn warmer climates, cats, unlike dogs, are seasonal breeders. This means that they have a relatively short breeding season. In Queensland, Australia, it starts in August as the day length increases and extends through the Spring and Summer months. Dogs, by comparison, don't have a breeding season and can be sexually active anytime in the year.

There is another major difference between the breeding habit of cats and dogs too. Cats, in the breeding season, have continual breeding cycles throughout the summer months. These cycles repeat every three weeks or so unless the cat is mated, or until the breeding season finished.

Dogs are not like that. They come into 'season' usually every six months, and they have just one cycle lasts for only three weeks and then stops, whether they are mated or not.

Cats are breeding machines. There is nothing accidental in their mating rituals. When the hormones hit, the Queens (female cats) actively seek males and they keep seeking them until mated. The males are more than willing, and they will brawl with each other to get their 'gal'.

A Cat's Behaviour when it is in Season

Your female cat is likely to show some unusual behaviour when her hormones start. She will yowl at the door to get out at night. She will roll on the Bengal_Green_eyes-200w-SMLground, become agitated and act most unusually. You are likely to think her need is a brief sojourn outside to go to the toilet and that's your mistake as she will stay out all night, to return in the morning with a happy, contented smile on her face. Nine weeks later there will be a surprise in the laundry basket when she has given birth to a litter of kittens.

What happens with male cats? These boys are going to have a hard time. Their fights over the females are bitter and vicious. Several consequences are likely. The first is an injury such as a ruptured eye ball from a claw wound. Bite wounds over the body or head are also likely. Many of these bite wounds will turn into painful abscesses which are caused by some horrible bacteria that are forcefully injected under the victim's skin by the aggressor's needle sharp teeth. There is a very good chance that the deadly disease, Feline AIDS, will be contracted. Unlike human AIDS, Feline AIDS is spread by saliva passed from one cat to another by a bite wound. AIDS is much more common in entire male cats than any other.

Because male cats roam for kilometres when looking for ladies, they also suffer a variety of accidents. They become lost, fall victim to car wheels or to cat consuming canines.

Humans are Affected by the Behaviour of Breeding Cats

 There is also the human component. Most people do not like their sleep disturbed by caterwauling felines and some can be quite cruel. Shooting and poisoning of cats often occurs at this time of year and many cats just mysteriously disappear. What happens to them? You can guess.

The answer is obvious and simple. All cats should be desexed.

Responsible breeders who know what they are doing and who don't allow their non desexed cats to roam are an obvious exception.

The Myths Relating to Cats and their Neutering

Some of you may be thinking; - 'Is it really necessary?' 'Can't I let her have just one litter?' 'She'll be so much more content after having a litter' 'They need to have one season before being desexed, don't they?'

Owners of male cats may also state, 'I can't desexed him - it's a blow to his masculinity.' 'A male cat's go to do what a male cat's supposed to do.' 'I'm not castrated, so why should I do that to my cat?'

The answer to all the above is 'poppycock'! Desexing is essential. There is no advantage in allowing Queens to have a season or a litter and Toms that are not desexed suffer continual wounds and abscesses and usually die early and often tragically.

If your cat is not desexed at this very moment, you should be nervous!!

Ring your vet immediately and make an appointment.

The surgery is routine and the cat will be away from you for only about 24 hours. It costs less to desex a female cat than to raise a litter of kittens and the cost of neutering a male cat is even less.

After surgery your cat will be back on its feet and normal again the next day (whereas wimpy humans take weeks to recover!!) and you will be a certified SNAPO (Sensitive New Age Pet Owner)!

 

Further information:

Spraying Behaviour

Pheromones

Cat Assimilation

 

 

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