Dog behavior

Dog behavior-dog-dog breeds-pet

Dog behavior is the internally coordinated responses (actions or inactions) of the domestic dog (individuals or groups) to internal and/or external stimuli. As the oldest domesticated species, with estimates ranging from 9,000–30,000 years BCE, the minds of dogs inevitably have been shaped by millennia of contact with humans. As a result of this physical and social evolution, dogs, more than any other species, have acquired the ability to understand and communicate with humans, and they are uniquely attuned to human behaviors. Behavioral scientists have uncovered a surprising set of social-cognitive abilities in the domestic dog. These abilities are not possessed by the dog's closest canine relatives nor by other highly intelligent mammals such as great apes but rather parallel some of the social-cognitive skills of human children. Traits of high sociability and lack of fear in dogs may include genetic modifications related to Williams-Beuren syndrome in humans, which cause hypersociability at the expense of problem solving ability.

Co-evolution with humans


The origin of the domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris or Canis familiaris) is not clear. Whole genome sequencing indicates that the dog, the gray wolf and the extinct Taymyr wolf diverged at around the same time 27,000-40,000 years ago. How dogs became domesticated is not clear, however the two main hypotheses are self-domestication or human domestication. There exists evidence of human-canine coevolution.

Dog intelligence

Dog intelligence-dog-pet-dog breeds-pets

Dog intelligence is the ability of the dog to perceive information and retain it as knowledge for applying to solve problems. Dogs have been shown to learn by inference. A study with Rico showed that he knew the labels of over 200 different items. He inferred the names of novel items by exclusion learning and correctly retrieved those novel items immediately and also 4 weeks after the initial exposure. Dogs have advanced memory skills. A study documented the learning and memory capabilities of a border collie, "Chaser", who had learned the names and could associate by verbal command over 1,000 words. Dogs are able to read and react appropriately to human body language such as gesturing and pointing, and to understand human voice commands. Dogs demonstrate a theory of mind by engaging in deception. An experimental study showed compelling evidence that Australian dingos can outperform domestic dogs in non-social problem-solving, indicating that domestic dogs may have lost much of their original problem-solving abilities once they joined humans. Another study indicated that after undergoing training to solve a simple manipulation task, dogs that are faced with an insoluble version of the same problem look at the human, while socialized wolves do not. Modern domestic dogs use humans to solve their problems for them.

Evolutionary perspective

Dogs have often been used in studies of cognition, including research on perception, awareness, memory, and learning, notably research on classical and operant conditioning. In the course of this research, behavioral scientists have uncovered a surprising set of social-cognitive abilities in the domestic dog, abilities that are not possessed by dogs' closest canine relatives nor by other highly intelligent mammals such as great apes. Rather, these skills parallel some of the social-cognitive skills of human children. This may be an example of Convergent evolution, which happens when distantly related species independently evolve similar solutions to the same problems. For example, fish, penguins and dolphins have each separately evolved flippers as solution to the problem of moving through the water. With dogs and humans, we may see psychological convergence; that is, dogs have evolved to be cognitively more similar to humans than we are to our closest genetic relatives.

However, it is questionable whether the cognitive evolution of humans and animals may be called "independent", as the cognitive capacities of dogs have inevitably been shaped by millennia of contact with humans. As a result of this physical and social evolution, many dogs readily respond to social cues common to humans, quickly learn the meaning of words, show cognitive bias and exhibit emotions that seem to reflect those of humans.

Research suggests that domestic dogs may have lost some of their original cognitive abilities once they joined humans. For example, one study showed compelling evidence that dingos (Canis dingo) can outperform domestic dogs in non-social problem-solving experiments. Another study indicated that after being trained to solve a simple manipulation task, dogs that are faced with an insoluble version of the same problem look at a nearby human, while socialized wolves do not. Thus, modern domestic dogs seem to use humans to solve some of their problems for them.

In 2014, a whole genome study of the DNA differences between wolves and dogs found that dogs did not show a reduced fear response, they showed greater synaptic plasticity. Synaptic plasticity is widely believed to be the cellular correlates of learning and memory and this change may have altered the learning and memory abilities of dogs.


Most modern research on dog cognition has focused on pet dogs living in human homes in developed countries, which is only a small fraction of the dog population and dogs from other populations may show different cognitive behaviors. Breed differences possibly could impact on spatial learning and memory abilities.

Reproduction in Domestic Dogs

reproduction in domestic dogs-dog-dog breeds-pets

In domestic dogs, sexual maturity begins to happen around age six to twelve months for both males and females, although this can be delayed until up to two years old for some large breeds. This is the time at which female dogs will have their first estrous cycle. They will experience subsequent estrous cycles semiannually, during which the body prepares for pregnancy. At the peak of the cycle, females will come into estrus, being mentally and physically receptive to copulation. Because the ova survive and are capable of being fertilized for a week after ovulation, it is possible for a female to mate with more than one male.

Fertilization typically occurs 2–5 days after ovulation; 14–16 days after ovulation, the embryo attaches to the uterus, and after 7-8 more days the heart beat is detectable.

Dogs bear their litters roughly 58 to 68 days after fertilization, with an average of 63 days, although the length of gestation can vary. An average litter consists of about six puppies, though this number may vary widely based on the breed of dog. In general, toy dogs produce from one to four puppies in each litter, while much larger breeds may average as many as twelve.

Some dog breeds have acquired traits through selective breeding that interfere with reproduction. Male French Bulldogs, for instance, are incapable of mounting the female. For many dogs of this breed, the female must be artificially inseminated in order to reproduce.

Neutering

Neutering refers to the sterilization of animals, usually by removal of the male's testicles or the female's ovaries and uterus, in order to eliminate the ability to procreate and reduce sex drive. Because of the overpopulation of dogs in some countries, many animal control agencies, such as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), advise that dogs not intended for further breeding should be neutered, so that they do not have undesired puppies that may have to later be euthanized.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, 3–4 million dogs and cats are put down each year in the United States and many more are confined to cages in shelters because there are many more animals than there are homes. Spaying or castrating dogs helps keep overpopulation down. Local humane societies, SPCAs, and other animal protection organizations urge people to neuter their pets and to adopt animals from shelters instead of purchasing them.

Neutering reduces problems caused by hypersexuality, especially in male dogs. Spayed female dogs are less likely to develop some forms of cancer, affecting mammary glands, ovaries, and other reproductive organs. However, neutering increases the risk of urinary incontinence in female dogs, and prostate cancer in males, as well as osteosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, cruciate ligament rupture, obesity, and diabetes mellitus in either sex.

Inbreeding depression

A common breeding practice for pet dogs is mating between close relatives (e.g. between half- and full siblings). In a study of seven different French breeds of dogs (Bernese mountain dog, basset hound, Cairn terrier, Epagneul Breton, German Shepherd dog, Leonberger, and West Highland white terrier) it was found that inbreeding decreases litter size and survival. Another analysis of data on 42,855 dachshund litters, found that as the inbreeding coefficient increased, litter size decreased and the percentage of stillborn puppies increased, thus indicating inbreeding depression.


About 22% of boxer puppies die before reaching 7 weeks of age. Stillbirth is the most frequent cause of death, followed by infection. Mortality due to infection was found to increase significantly with increases in inbreeding. Inbreeding depression is considered to be due largely to the expression of homozygous deleterious recessive mutations. Outcrossing between unrelated individuals, including dogs of different breeds, results in the beneficial masking of deleterious recessive mutations in progeny.

Dog Health

 Dog health-dog-pet-dog breeds-pets

There are many household plants that are poisonous to dogs including begonia, Poinsettia and aloe vera.

Some breeds of dogs are prone to certain genetic ailments such as elbow and hip dysplasia, blindness, deafness, pulmonic stenosis, cleft palate, and trick knees. Two serious medical conditions particularly affecting dogs are pyometra, affecting unspayed females of all types and ages, and gastric dilatation volvulus (bloat), which affects the larger breeds or deep-chested dogs. Both of these are acute conditions, and can kill rapidly. Dogs are also susceptible to parasites such as fleas, ticks, and mites, as well as hookworms, tapeworms, roundworms, and heartworms.

A number of common human foods and household ingestibles are toxic to dogs, including chocolate solids (theobromine poisoning), onion and garlic (thiosulphate, sulfoxide or disulfide poisoning), grapes and raisins, macadamia nuts, xylitol, as well as various plants and other potentially ingested materials. The nicotine in tobacco can also be dangerous. Dogs can be exposed to the substance by scavenging garbage or ashtrays; eating cigars and cigarettes. Signs can be vomiting of large amounts (e.g., from eating cigar butts) or diarrhea. Some other signs are abdominal pain, loss of coordination, collapse, or death. Dogs are highly susceptible to theobromine poisoning, typically from ingestion of chocolate. Theobromine is toxic to dogs because, although the dog's metabolism is capable of breaking down the chemical, the process is so slow that even small amounts of chocolate can be fatal, especially dark chocolate.

Dogs are also vulnerable to some of the same health conditions as humans, including diabetes, dental and heart disease, epilepsy, cancer, hypothyroidism, and arthritis.

Lifespan
In 2013, a study found that mixed breeds live on average 1.2 years longer than pure breeds, and that increasing body-weight was negatively correlated with longevity (i.e. the heavier the dog the shorter its lifespan).

The typical lifespan of dogs varies widely among breeds, but for most the median longevity, the age at which half the dogs in a population have died and half are still alive, ranges from 10 to 13 years. Individual dogs may live well beyond the median of their breed.

The breed with the shortest lifespan (among breeds for which there is a questionnaire survey with a reasonable sample size) is the Dogue de Bordeaux, with a median longevity of about 5.2 years, but several breeds, including Miniature Bull Terriers, Bloodhounds, and Irish Wolfhounds are nearly as short-lived, with median longevities of 6 to 7 years.


The longest-lived breeds, including Toy Poodles, Japanese Spitz, Border Terriers, and Tibetan Spaniels, have median longevities of 14 to 15 years. The median longevity of mixed-breed dogs, taken as an average of all sizes, is one or more years longer than that of purebred dogs when all breeds are averaged. The dog widely reported to be the longest-lived is "Bluey", who died in 1939 and was claimed to be 29.5 years old at the time of his death. On 5 December 2011, Pusuke, the world's oldest living dog recognized by Guinness Book of World Records, died aged 26 years and 9 months.

Dog anatomy

Dog anatomy-dog breeds-pet-pets

Anatomy

Domestic dogs have been selectively bred for millennia for various behaviors, sensory capabilities, and physical attributes. Modern dog breeds show more variation in size, appearance, and behavior than any other domestic animal. Dogs are predators and scavengers, and like many other predatory mammals, the dog has powerful muscles, fused wrist bones, a cardiovascular system that supports both sprinting and endurance, and teeth for catching and tearing.

Size and weight

Dogs are highly variable in height and weight. The smallest known adult dog was a Yorkshire Terrier, that stood only 6.3 cm (2.5 in) at the shoulder, 9.5 cm (3.7 in) in length along the head-and-body, and weighed only 113 grams (4.0 oz). The largest known dog was an English Mastiff which weighed 155.6 kg (343 lb) and was 250 cm (98 in) from the snout to the tail. The tallest dog is a Great Dane that stands 106.7 cm (42.0 in) at the shoulder.

Senses

The dog's senses include vision, hearing, sense of smell, sense of taste, touch and sensitivity to the earth's magnetic field. Another study suggested that dogs can see the earth's magnetic field.

Coat

The coats of domestic dogs are of two varieties: "double" being common with dogs (as well as wolves) originating from colder climates, made up of a coarse guard hair and a soft down hair, or "single", with the topcoat only.

Domestic dogs often display the remnants of countershading, a common natural camouflage pattern. A countershaded animal will have dark coloring on its upper surfaces and light coloring below, which reduces its general visibility. Thus, many breeds will have an occasional "blaze", stripe, or "star" of white fur on their chest or underside.

Tail

There are many different shapes for dog tails: straight, straight up, sickle, curled, or cork-screw. As with many canids, one of the primary functions of a dog's tail is to communicate their emotional state, which can be important in getting along with others. In some hunting dogs, however, the tail is traditionally docked to avoid injuries. In some breeds, such as the Braque du Bourbonnais, puppies can be born with a short tail or no tail at all.

Origin of the Domestic Dog

Domestic Dog- pet-dog breeds-pets

The origin of the domestic dog is not clear. It is known that the dog was the first domesticated species. The domestic dog is a member of genus Canis (canines) that forms part of the wolf-like canids. The closest living relative of the dog is the gray wolf and there is no evidence of any other canine contributing to its genetic lineage. The dog and the extant gray wolf form two sister clades, with modern wolves not closely related to the wolves that were first domesticated. The archaeological record shows the first undisputed dog remains buried beside humans 14,700 years ago, with disputed remains occurring 36,000 years ago. These dates imply that the earliest dogs arose in the time of human hunter-gatherers and not agriculturists.


Where the genetic divergence of dog and wolf took place remains controversial, with the most plausible proposals spanning Western Europe, Central Asia,and East Asia. This has been made more complicated by the most recent proposal that fits the available evidence, which is that an initial wolf population split into East and West Eurasian wolves, these were then domesticated independently before going extinct into two distinct dog populations between 14,000-6,400 years ago, and then the Western Eurasian dog population was partially and gradually replaced by East Asian dogs that were brought by humans at least 6,400 years ago.

Taxonomy of Dogs

In 1758, the taxonomist Linnaeus published in his Systema Naturae the classification of species. Canis is a Latin word meaning dog, and under this genus he listed the dog-like carnivores including domestic dogs, wolves, and jackals. He classified the domestic dog as Canis familiaris (Linnaeus, 1758) and on the next page as a separate species he classified the wolf as Canis lupus (Linnaeus, 1758). In 1926, the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) ruled in Opinion 91 that the domestic dog Canis familiaris (Linnaeus, 1758) be placed on its official list. In 1957, the ICZN ruled in Opinion 451 that Canis dingo (Meyer, 1793) was the name to be used for the dingo and that this be placed on its official list. These are the scientific names for the dog and dingo that appear on the Official Lists and Indexes of Names in Zoology of the ICZN.

In 1978, a review to reduce the number species listed under genus Canis proposed that "Canis dingo is now generally regarded as a distinctive feral domestic dog. Canis familiaris is used for domestic dogs, although taxonomically it should probably be synonymous with Canis lupus." In 1982, the first edition of Mammal Species of the World included a note under Canis lupus with the comment: "Probably ancestor of and conspecific with the domestic dog, familiaris. Canis familiaris has page priority over Canis lupus, but both were published simultaneously in Linnaeus (1758), and Canis lupus has been universally used for this species". In the same year, an application was made to the ICZN to reclassify the dingo to Canis lupus dingo because it was proposed that the wolf (Canis lupus) was the ancestor of dogs and dingoes, however the application was rejected.

In 2003, the ICZN ruled in its Opinion 2027 that the "name of a wild species...is not invalid by virtue of being predated by the name based on a domestic form." Additionally, the ICZN placed the taxon Canis lupus as a conserved name on the official list under this opinion. In the third edition of Mammal Species of the World published in 2005, the mammalogist W. Christopher Wozencraft listed under the wolf Canis lupus what he proposed to be two subspecies: "familiaris Linneaus, 1758 [domestic dog]" and "dingo Meyer, 1793 [domestic dog]", with the comment "Includes the domestic dog as a subspecies, with the dingo provisionally separate – artificial variants created by domestication and selective breeding. Although this may stretch the subspecies concept, it retains the correct allocation of synonyms." Although the earliest use of the name "dingo" was Canis familiaris dingo (Blumenbach, 1780), Wozencraft attributed it to Meyer from 1793 without comment.


This classification by Wozencraft is hotly debated by zoologists. Mathew Crowther, Stephen Jackson and Colin Groves disagree with Wozencraft and argue that based on ICZN Opinion 2027, the implication is that a domestic animal cannot be a subspecies. Crowther, Juliet Clutton-Brock and others argue that because the dingo differs from wolves by behavior, morphology, and that the dingo and dog do not fall genetically within any extant wolf clade, that the dingo should be considered the distinct taxon Canis dingo. Jackson and Groves regard the dog Canis familiaris as a taxonomic synonym for the wolf Canis lupus with them both equally ranked at the species level. They also disagree with Crowther, based on the overlap between dogs and dingoes in their morphology, in their ability to easily hybridize with each other, and that they show the signs of domestication by both having a cranium of smaller capacity than their progenitor, the wolf. Given that Canis familiaris (Linnaeus, 1758) has date priority over Canis dingo (Meyer, 1793), they regard the dingo as a junior taxonomic synonym for the dog Canis familiaris. Gheorghe Benga and others support the dingo as a subspecies of the dog from the earlier Canis familiaris dingo (Blumenbach, 1780). Xiaoming Wang and Richard H. Tedford proposed that the dog should be classified as Canis lupus familiaris under the Biological Species Concept and Canis familiaris under the Evolutionary Species Concept.

Terminology of Dog

·         The term dog typically is applied both to the species (or subspecies) as a whole, and any adult male member of the same.
·         An adult female is a bitch.
·         An adult male capable of reproduction is a stud.
·         An adult female capable of reproduction is a brood bitch, or brood mother.
·         Immature males or females (that is, animals that are incapable of reproduction) are pups or puppies.
·         A group of pups from the same gestation period is a litter.
·         The father of a litter is a sire. It is possible for one litter to have multiple sires.
·         The mother of a litter is a dam.

·         A group of any three or more adults is a pack.

Etymology of dog word

The term "domestic dog" is generally used for both domesticated and feral varieties. The English word dog comes from Middle English dogge, from Old English docga, a "powerful dog breed". The term may possibly derive from Proto-Germanic *dukkōn, represented in Old English finger-docce ("finger-muscle"). The word also shows the familiar petname diminutive -ga also seen in frogga "frog", picga "pig", stagga "stag", wicga "beetle, worm", among others. Piotr Gąsiorowski has suggested that Old English *docga is actually derived from Old English colour adjective dox.

In 14th-century England, hound (from Old English: hund) was the general word for all domestic canines, and dog referred to a subtype of hound, a group including the mastiff. It is believed this "dog" type was so common, it eventually became the prototype of the category "hound". By the 16th century, dog had become the general word, and hound had begun to refer only to types used for hunting. The word "hound" is ultimately derived from the Proto-Indo-European word *kwon-, "dog". This semantic shift may be compared with in German, where the corresponding words Dogge and Hund kept their original meanings. The term *ḱwon- may ultimately derive from the earliest layer of Proto-Indo-European vocabulary.


A male canine is referred to as a "dog", while a female is traditionally called a "bitch" (derived from Middle English bicche, from Old English bicce, ultimately from Old Norse bikkja. Since the word "bitch" has taken on derogatory connotations, nowadays it is less commonly used to refer to dogs). The father of a litter is called the sire, and the mother is called the dam. The process of birth is "whelping", from the Old English word hwelp; the modern English word "whelp" is an alternative term for puppy. A litter refers to the multiple offspring at one birth which are called puppies or pups from the French poupée, "doll", which has mostly replaced the older term "whelp".

Dog

Dog-pet-pets-dog breeds

The domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris or Canis familiaris) is a member of genus Canis (canines) that forms part of the wolf-like canids, and is the most widely abundant carnivore. The dog and the extant gray wolf are sister taxa, with modern wolves not closely related to the wolves that were first domesticated, which implies that the direct ancestor of the dog is extinct. The dog was the first domesticated species and has been selectively bred over millennia for various behaviors, sensory capabilities, and physical attributes.


New research seems to show that the dog's high sociability may be affected by "the same genes as in humans." Their long association with humans has led dogs to be uniquely attuned to human behavior and they are able to thrive on a starch-rich diet that would be inadequate for other canid species. Dogs vary widely in shape, size and colours. Dogs perform many roles for people, such as hunting, herding, pulling loads, protection, assisting police and military, companionship and, more recently, aiding handicapped individuals and therapeutic roles. This influence on human society has given them the sobriquet "man's best friend".

Pet travel

Pet travel is the process of traveling with or transporting pets. Pet carriers like cat carriers and dog crates confine and protect pets during travel.

Animal stress

Pets may experience stress and anxiety from unfamiliar situations and locations. Cats are especially stressed by change. Instead of travelling with their owner on vacation, pets can be boarded at kennels or kept at home with a friend or pet sitter. However, that also includes unfamiliar situations and locations. This is not an option when moving permanently.

Travel methods

Air travel

Pets may travel in the aircraft cabin, checked baggage or cargo. However, airlines set their own policies regarding the travel of pets. Pet Airways specialized in transporting pets, but failed as a business. In recent years private jet pet travel gained some momentum especially due to the discounted flight sales. In such travels pets are allowed in cabin with their owners which reduces stress and trauma.

The Humane Society of the United States recommends avoiding air travel if possible. Extreme temperatures and thin air have extra risk for brachycephalic animals such as bulldogs, Pekingese dogs, pugs and Persian cats. The United States Department of Transportation Air Travel Reports recorded 302 deaths, injuries and disappearances over 6 years with 35 deaths in 2011. Two dogs died in as many months on United Airlines flights in 2012.

If pets escape, they can face danger, even if they escape on the ground. A cat named Jack escaped from his carrier in American Airlines baggage handling at John F Kennedy airport, went missing for 61 days, and was eventually euthanized. Another cat escaped and was run over by a vehicle on the tarmac at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, India when traveling with Jet Airways.

Car travel

Pets riding in cars are safest contained in carriers tied with a seat belt. They are advised to be in the back seat or have the airbags turned off. Dog harnesses can restrain but the Center for Pet Safety found "a 100-percent failure rate to protect either the consumer or the dog." Unrestrained pets can interfere with driving and can be seriously injured in an accident, but no states require pets to be secured in cars.

Pet store

Pet store-pet

A pet store or pet shop is a retail business which sells different kinds of animals to the public. A variety of animal supplies and pet accessories are also sold in pet shops. The products sold include: food, treats, toys, collars, leashes, cat litter, cages and aquariums. Some pet stores provide engraving services for pet tags, which have the owner’s contact information in case the pet gets lost.

In the USA and Canada, pet shops often offer both hygienic care (such as pet cleaning) and esthetic services (such as cat and dog grooming). Grooming is the process by which a dog or cats's physical appearance is enhanced and kept according to breed standards for competitive breed showing, for other types of competition, like creative grooming or pet tuning contests, or just to their owners taste. Some pet stores also provide tips on training and behaviour, as well as advice on pet nutrition.

There are many large pet stores located in the US and Canada, including: Petland, Pet Valu, and PetSmart. In the United States, Petco is also a popular pet store. In addition, there are many smaller pet shops that aren't part of big chains, such as Big Al’s and Pet Food Express, which have a smaller number of locations.

Pet stores are extremely popular in today’s society. In 2004, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, in the pet industry, live animal sales reached approximately $1.6 billion. Moreover, in a 2003 survey in the US, merely 38% of U.S. pet shops claimed that they did not sell any live animals.

Controversies

A major concern with pet stores and the reason why puppies and kittens may not be sold in certain stores anymore is largely due to puppy mills. Puppy mills are commercial dog breeding businesses that breed dogs primarily for profit, often with little regard for animal welfare. According to the Puppy Mill Project "more than 2.5 million puppies are born in puppy mills each year" in the United States. Kitten mills are not as widely known as puppy mills, but they still do exist. The animals in these mills are kept in tiny, unsanitary cages, receive little to no nourishment, and often receive no veterinary care. Some cities in Canada, such as Toronto, have altogether banned the sale of cats and dogs in pet stores in order to put an end to this animal abuse.


In Canada and the US, another area of concern regarding pet stores is the laws that guide pet stores. In the US, there are no federal laws in place that protect animals in retail pet stores. There are state laws to protect animals, however they all vary and some are not sufficient. In twenty states plus D.C., a license is required before being able to manage a pet store. The welfare of animals in pet shops also relies heavily on the veterinary care available to them. In the United States, there are only 16 states that enforce veterinary care laws in pet stores. In Ontario, Canada the Provincial Animal Welfare Act states that the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has the authorization to examine places where animals are kept for sale, including pet shops.

Pet passport

The Pet Travel Scheme ("PETS") is a system which allows animals to travel easily between member countries without undergoing quarantine. A Pet Passport is a document that officially records information related to a specific animal, as part of that procedure. The effect is to drastically speed up and simplify travel with and transport of animals between member countries, compared to previous procedures, if the regulations are followed.

PETS was originally introduced for the benefit of animals entering or returning to the United Kingdom from other European Union countries, since historically the UK had very strong controls to safeguard against rabies including a compulsory six-month quarantine period on imports of many animals. On 1 October 2001 several European Union countries introduced the PETS scheme, under which animals from any member country may freely travel (with the correct procedure) to any other member country on approved carriers. Over time the scheme has rolled out to other countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand

Appearance

The pet passport itself comes in multiple forms, sometimes a pink A4 sheet, sometimes a small blue booklet. It contains the microchip or tattoo number of the animal, the certification that it has had a rabies vaccination, and needs to be signed by an officially approved veterinary surgeon.

A new style passport with laminated strips and additional security measures was introduced in the UK in December 2014. Old style passports remain valid.

The passport is not to be confused with a much smaller folder (sometimes purple coloured), routinely issued by vets, which records the complete vaccination history of the pet.

Details of procedure

Every country has different requirements, both for export and import of animals, although some features are common to all.

Common features

All countries:

Subcutaneous (below the skin) microchip implant that meets the International Society of Pharmacovigilance (SoP) specification.
Certified rabies vaccination, with some kind of prior period of time or evidence the vaccination is working (commonly blood serology tests to confirm the vaccination has "taken" and a delay of some months to confirm the animal is rabies-free initially). For pet travel in Europe, the rabies vaccine should be administered by a veterinarian with a minimum of 21 days (taken from UK Gov website 04 Feb 2014) before travel. Some countries may differ and always check with your local veterinarian for the procedures to follow.

Some countries:

·         Animal treated for ticks, fleas and tapeworms between 24 and 48 hours before boarding the outbound transport. The time limit is usually enforced strictly (i.e. no less than 24 hours and no more than 48 hours before check-in)

·         Veterinarian's letter or certificate confirming fitness to travel and/or no obvious signs of disease

·         Government certification that the veterinarian's export documentation and certificates are in order for travel

·         Sometimes only certain carriers or certain import/export points will allow animals.

In some countries the formal passport is needed. Others will accept documentation in any form so long as it is clearly evidential of the procedure being followed. Usually the animal and its papers are checked thoroughly both on boarding or export and upon arrival.

The Pet Passport alone can be used to enter some countries if it records all relevant information (e.g. the UK), but it will not suffice to enter many countries. For instance Guatemala, in common with almost every country operating such a scheme, demands that all imported pets have a rabies vaccination, but will not accept the Pet Passport as proof of said vaccination. They require the proof of the rabies vaccination in the animal's records.

Tapeworm treatment must be administered by a vet not less than 24 hours and not more than 120 hours (1–5 days) before scheduled arrival time.

Specific country regulations

United Kingdom

Tapeworm treatment – (dogs only): before entering the UK, all pet dogs (including assistance dogs) must be treated for tapeworm. The treatment must be administered by a vet not less than 24 hours and not more than 120 hours (1–5 days) before its scheduled arrival time in the UK. (There is no mandatory requirement for tick treatment. No treatment is required for dogs entering the UK from Finland, Ireland or Malta).

Prohibition on the transport of dogs and cats in the passenger cabin, or as baggage - British law precludes all animals entering the UK either in the cabin or in the hold as 'excess' or 'checked' baggage. Unlike the UK, most western countries do allow airlines to carry dogs/cats on flights provided that specific requirements are met regarding the container the pet will travel in. All animals (except guide dogs) travelling to the UK must travel in the hold as manifest cargo. Most airlines do not offer cargo services to individual passengers directly and specialist agents must be used. UK law does not prohibit the transport of dogs and cats in the cabin or as hold baggage when departing from the UK, but restrictions may be imposed by individual airlines or destination countries. See Other useful information below for further travel details.

Japan

Though a participant in the PETs scheme, to bring pets into Japan from member states there are several separate procedures that must be followed. These do not cover Iceland, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii and Guam, which have designated region (rabies free) status. If you take a pet out of Japan, it may take between 6 months to a year for it to re-enter. Including prior contact with Japanese Quarantine several months before entry;

·         The dog or cat must be microchipped.

·         The dog or cat must have stayed in the country for at least 180 days (6 months) since its birth or having left Japan.

·         The dog or cat must have had 2 rabies injections and a blood test 6 month before entering/re-entering Japan, proving the pet is free of rabies. This test must be carried out at a designated laboratory.

·         The dog or cat does not have or show signs of rabies or Leptospirosis (dogs only).

To take a dog or cat out of Japan, on top of the necessary injections and microchip, you must;

·         Have certificates issued by an official vet to prove that your dog/cat has been vaccinated, microchipped and wormed as necessary. These are vets designated by the prefecture as able to issue certificates and officially vaccinate your dog. Contact your regional Animal Control for a full listing in your area. Your vet or local government offices can give you the information or the contact details for Animal Control.

·         More than a week before travelling, notify Animal Quarantine Service at the port of departure, and apply for an export inspection for your dog/ cat. The inspection will be carried out by the Quarantine Office (Ken'eki-kyoku) before you check your pet in. The application and contact details for each office can be found online at the AQS site ( http://www.maff.go.jp/aqs/english/animal/dog ). The Quarantine Offices at international departure are often open during set times, so you may have to book the inspection for the day prior to travel if you have an early flight.

Pet insurance

Pet insurance pays, partly or in total, for veterinary treatment of the insured person's ill or injured pet. Some policies will pay out when the pet dies, or if the pet is lost or stolen.

As veterinary medicine is increasingly employing expensive medical techniques and drugs, and owners have higher expectations for their pets' health care and standard of living than previously, the market for pet insurance has increased.

History

The first pet insurance policy was written in 1890 by Claes Virgin. Virgin was the founder of Länsförsäkrings Alliance, at that time he focused on horses and livestock. In 1947 the first pet insurance policy was sold in Britain. As of 2009, Britain had the second-highest level of pet insurance in the world (23%), behind only Sweden. According to the latest data available from the U.S. Department of Clinical Veterinary Science and the Pet Food Institute, only 0.7% of pets in the United States are covered by Pet Insurance. In 1982, the first pet insurance policy was sold in the United States, and issued to television's Lassie by Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI).

How policies work

Many pet owners believe pet insurance is a variation of human health insurance; however, pet insurance is actually a form of property insurance. As such, pet insurance reimburses the owner after the pet has received care and the owner submits a claim to the insurance company. Pet insurance policies primarily cover dogs, cats and horses though more exotic species of animal can obtain coverage.

UK policies may pay 100% of vets fees, but this is not always the case. It is common for UK pet insurance companies to discount their policies by offering customers the chance to pay an "excess", just as with motor insurance. Excess fees can range from £40 to £100.

Policies in the United States and Canada either pay off a benefit schedule or pay a percentage of the vet costs (70-100%), after reaching a deductible, depending on the company and the policy. The owner usually pays the amount due to the veterinarian and then sends in the claim form and receives reimbursement, which some companies and policies limit according to their own schedules of necessary and usual charges. For very high bills, some veterinarians allow the owner to put off payment until the insurance claim is processed. Some insurers pay veterinarians directly on behalf of customers. Most American and Canadian policies require the pet owner to submit a request for fees incurred.

Previously, most pet insurance plans did not pay for preventative care (such as vaccinations) or elective procedures (such as neutering). Recently, however, some companies in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States are offering routine-care coverage, sometimes called comprehensive coverage. Dental care, prescription drugs and alternative treatments, such as physiotherapy and acupuncture, are also covered by some providers.

There are two categories of insurance policies for pets: non-lifetime and lifetime. The first covers buyers for most conditions suffered by their pet during the course of a policy year but, on renewal in a following year, a condition that has been claimed for will be excluded. If that condition needs further treatment the pet owner will have to pay for that him/herself. The second category covers a pet for ongoing conditions throughout the pet’s lifetime so that, if a condition is claimed for in the first year, it will not be excluded in subsequent years. However, lifetime policies also have limits: some have limits “per condition”, others have limits “per condition, per year”, and others have limits “per year”, all of which have different implications for a pet owner whose pet needs treatment year after year, so it is wise to be clear which type of lifetime policy you are considering.

In addition, companies often limit coverage for pre-existing conditions in order to eliminate fraudulent consumers, thus giving owners an incentive to insure even very young animals, who are not expected to incur high veterinary costs while they are still healthy. There is usually a short period after a pet insurance policy is bought when the holder will be unable to claim for sickness, often no more than 14 days from inception. This is to cover illnesses contracted before the pet was covered but whose symptoms appeared only after coverage has begun.

Some insurers offer options not directly related to pet health, including covering boarding costs for animals whose owners are hospitalized, or costs (such as rewards or posters) associated with retrieving lost animals. Some policies also include travel cancellation coverage if owners must remain with pets who need urgent treatment or are dying.

Some British policies for dogs also include third-party liability insurance. Thus, for example, if a dog causes a car accident that damages a vehicle, the insurer will pay to rectify the damage for which the owner is responsible under the Animals Act 1971.

The difference between companies

Pet insurance companies are beginning to offer the pet owner more of an ability to customize their coverage by allowing them to choose their own level of deductible or co-insurance. This allows the pet owner to control their monthly premium and choose the level of coverage that suits them the best.

Some of the differences in insurance coverage are:

Which pets are covered (typically dogs and cats, though some insurance companies cover horses or other pets.)
Whether congenital and hereditary conditions (like hip dysplasia, heart defects, eye cataracts or diabetes) are covered;
How the reimbursement is calculated (based on the actual vet bill, a benefit schedule or usual and customary rates);
Whether the deductible is on a per-incident or an annual basis;
Whether there are any limits or caps applied (per incident, per year, age or over the pet’s lifetime); and

Whether there is an annual contract that determines anything diagnosed in the previous year of coverage is considered pre-existing the next year.

Pet food

Pet food is plant or animal material intended for consumption by pets. Typically sold in pet stores and supermarkets, it is usually specific to the type of animal, such as dog food or cat food. Most meat used for nonhuman animals is a byproduct of the human food industry, and is not regarded as "human grade".

Four companies—Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, Mars, and Colgate-Palmolive—are thought to control 80% of the world's pet-food market, which in 2007 amounted to US$ 45.12 billion for cats and dogs alone.

Industry
Pet food-industry

Pet food sales in 2016 reached an all time high of $28.23 billion in the United States. Mars is the leading company in the pet food industry, making about $17 billion annually in pet care products. Online sales of pet food are increasing and contributing to this growth. Online sales in the US increased 15 percent 2015. Worldwide, the increase in online sales of pet food is between 6 and 14 percent. In 2015, the US lead the world in pet food spending.

Formulations of mainstream commercial pet foods are generally based on nutrition research and many manufacturers undertake animal nutrition studies. For instance, Mars, Incorporated funds the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, which undertakes scientific research into pet nutrition and wellbeing, sharing its findings in publicly available peer-reviewed journals.

Fish food

Fish foods normally contain macronutrients, trace elements and vitamins necessary to keep captive fish in good health. Approximately 80% of fishkeeping hobbyists feed their fish exclusively prepared foods that most commonly are produced in flake, pellet or tablet form. Pelleted forms, some of which sink rapidly, are often used for larger fish or bottom-feeding species such as loaches or catfish. Some fish foods also contain additives, such as beta carotene or sex hormones, to artificially enhance the color of ornamental fish.

Bird food

Bird food-pet-pets

Bird foods are used both in birdfeeders and to feed pet birds. It typically consist of a variety of seeds. Not all birds eat seeds. Suet (beef or mutton fat) is recommended for insect-eating birds such as nuthatches and woodpeckers. Nectar (essentially sugar water) attracts hummingbirds.

Cat food
Cat food-pets-pet-cat

Cats are obligate carnivores, though most commercial cat food contains both animal and plant material supplemented with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Cat food is formulated to address the specific nutritional requirements of cats, in particular containing the amino acid taurine, as cats cannot thrive on taurine-deficient food. Optimal levels of taurine for cat food have been established by the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition

Dog food

Recommendations differ on what diet is best for dogs. Some people argue dogs have thrived on leftovers and scraps from their human owners for thousands of years, and commercial dog foods (which have only been available for the past century) contain poor-quality meats, additives, and other ingredients dogs should not ingest, or that commercial dog food is not nutritionally sufficient for their dogs. However, many commercial brands are formulated using insights gained from scientific nutritional studies and there is no reliable peer-reviewed evidence that domestic options are superior. Most store-bought pet food comes in either dry form, also known as kibble, or wet, canned form.

Raw feeding

Raw feeding is the practice of feeding domestic dogs and cats a diet consisting primarily of uncooked meat and bones. Supporters of raw feeding believe the natural diet of an animal in the wild is its most ideal diet and try to mimic a similar diet for their domestic companions. They are commonly opposed to commercial pet foods, which they consider poor substitutes for raw feed. Opponents believe the risk of food-borne illnesses posed by the handling and feeding of raw meats would outweigh the purported benefits, and no scientific studies have been done to support the numerous beneficial claims.

Feeding human foods to animals

Prepared foods and some raw ingredients may be toxic for animals, and care should be taken when feeding animals leftover food. It is known that the following foods are potentially unsafe for cats and dogs:

·         Chocolate, coffee-based products and soft drinks
·         Raisins and grapes
·         Macadamia nuts
·         Garlic (in large doses) and onions
·         Alcohol

Generally, cooked and marinated foods should be avoided, as well as sauces and gravies, which may contain ingredients that, although well tolerated by humans, may be toxic to animals. Xylitol, an alternative sweetener found in chewing gum and baked goods designed for diabetics, is highly toxic to cats, dogs and ferrets.

Pet first aid

First aid is typically described as "Emergency treatment administered to an injured or sick person before professional medical care is available.

Although usually referring to humans, the definition is still valid when it comes to pets. Much of the First Aid that is administered is similar, however distinct differences come into play, specifically when referring to their anatomy, and their inability to communicate with humans what is wrong.

Significant Pet First Aid theory can be learned through reliable internet sources, however it is stressed that this is to be used as a learning resource only, whereas in an emergency, a pet owner should not simply go online.

Comprehensive websites with qualified Veterinarian writers are available to discuss the symptoms and treatments of certain conditions, in addition to recommending whether First Aid treatment will be sufficient or a Veterinary visit will be necessary.

Pet First Aid Courses

Over the last decade, Pet first aid courses have been made available to pet owners and people who work with pets. Many pet related businesses that involve looking after pets require staff to be trained in pet first aid.

Organizations such as PetProHero (ProTrainings), Canadian Associates of Pet Care Providers, Dogsafe Canine First Aid, Walks 'N' Wags Pet First Aid, as well as St. John Ambulance in Canada and American Red Cross offer courses, certification for Pet Care Professionals and reference guides in pet first aid.

April is considered National Pet First Aid Awareness Month, which stresses the importance of Pet First Aid in the well-being of pets.

Course Topics

Pet first aid courses are designed to equip pet owners with the information and skills needed to assess the situation, administer the appropriate care, or stabilize an injured pet until qualified veterinary care can be obtained. Courses typically include preventive care (avoiding illness and injuries). Students usually learn the importance of immediate medical attention following an injury, how to properly restrain and transport an injured animal, and the following:

·         Preventing Illness and Injury
·         Assessing an Emergency Scene
·         Restraint and Transportation
·         Shock
·         Internal and External Bleeding
·         Wounds and Infections
·         Poisons
·         Artificial Respiration and Airway Obstruction
·         Abdominal Thrusts (Heimlich maneuver|Heimlich Maneuver)
·         Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
·         Administering Medications
·         Parasites
·         Eye and Ear Injuries
·         Injuries from Heat and Cold
·         Bone and Joint Injuries
·         Dealing with Grief
·         How to assemble a complete pet first aid kit

Attending a course in person, typically allow for more hands-on learning (such as practice bandaging, often on live pets) to be included, however distance learning courses and shorter duration lecture classes are also available.

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