Now There Is Scientific Proof, Dogs Love Humans!

Like most dog lovers and dog parents, I believe that our dogs do love us. But until recently, there was no scientific proof that this was true. Thanks to Gregory Berns, M.D., Ph.D., a distinguished Professor of Neuroeconomics at Emory University, we now have scientific proof.

Dr. Berns Dog Project took on the task of successfully completing an MRI brain scan of conscious and willing dogs. The dogs had to be conscious so that the MRI scan would show the conscious brain of the dog, which would be different from that of an unconscious dog. Plus the dogs had to be willing because an unwilling dog could provide inaccurate data. The dogs had to go through a lot of training to prepare for the MRI. They had to independently be able to get onto the patient table all by themselves, crawl into the MRI tube, rest their head in a type of cradle to keep their head still during the scan, remain completely still for 20 – 30 seconds at a time while enduring the loud noises of the MRI machine. Far from an easy task!

In Dr. Berns book, How Dogs Love Us A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain, he went through the entire process of obtaining approval for the study, the use of dogs, the steps taken to prepare for the MRI, and the results of the brain scans. Dr. Berns was able to train two dogs to participate in the study. Both dogs successfully went through numerous MRI scans in order to collect data.

Dr. Berns states that the “data showed that their mental models included the identity of important people in their lives that persists even when the people aren’t even present.”

Dr. Berns continued to say that “the evidence continues to accumulate that not only are the dogs sensitive to where humans’ attention is directive, but dogs are also sensitive to the social context. They know when it is appropriate to attend to their human’s attention and when it is not. This means that dogs have more than a Theory of Behavior. They have a Theory of Mind.” Theory of Mind means that both humans and dogs can imagine what another might be thinking!

According to Dr. Berns, the Dog Projects purpose was to “understand the dog-human relationship from the dogs’ perspective, and the most important thing we learned was that dogs’ brains show evidence of Theory of Mind for humans. This means that they not only pay attention to what we do but what we think, and they change their behavior based on what they think we’re thinking.”

“People become intensely attached to their pets. … It is not an exaggeration to say that for many people, their pets are their primary relationships and that they love their cats and dogs more than people.” It is so nice to have scientific confirmation of the feelings I have for my dogs, and that they reciprocate those feelings as well. I thought that maybe I was just a crazy dog lady, which I still may be, but I am among many others!

 

Dog Identification ~ a MUST Have!

Everyday I receive an electronic newsletter called “Nextdoor”. Many neighborhoods around the country have this. What I find distressing in my neighborhood is the amount of Lost Dog or Found Dog notifications there are.

Dogs can be great escape artists to even the most watchful Dog Parent (unfortunately I know from first hand experience). Thankfully there are several easy ways to help your dog get returned for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One is obviously an ID Tag that attaches to the dogs collar. There are several cute styles available and all that is needed is the dogs name and your cell phone number.

Another is to make sure your dog is micro-chipped. Micro-chipping can be done by your veterinarian. With a micro-chip, you don’t have to worry about your dogs collar, and therefore their ID tag, coming off. A found dog can be taken to a veterinary office to be scanned and easily returned to their Dog Parent.

The third option is to license your dog with the state and attach the license to the dogs collar. Again a found dogs license number can be called in and contact information for the dog parents can be obtained. Assuring that the dog is returned to its home.

It is also important to know that if your dog ends up in a shelter, the shelter does check for ID Tags and micro-chipping.

I personally use all three forms of ID, the ID tag, License, and micro-chip. I will never forget the time when my Old English Sheepdog Sir Winston Thomas got out through the backyard gate. This was before cell-phones so his ID tag had my home phone number and address on it. Thank Goodness! I will never forget the sight of two very pretty blonde young ladies driving a white sports car with Winston sitting in-between them! They had tried calling me, then when I didn’t answer my phone, realized that I was out looking for him. Having my address, they were able to drive him home…back to me! I was sooo very happy to see him and extremely grateful to those ladies.

Make sure your Fur Baby can be returned to their home. Make sure that there is a way that you can be contacted when someone finds your dog!

Doggy Ice Cream!

A great cool treat for your dog during the summer is Doggy Ice Cream!

I found a very simple recipe, that even I can make, that my dog Nathan literally jumps for joy over!

32 oz Plain Yogurt                                                                                               1 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter                                                                               3 Bananas sliced

Blend all three ingredients together until smooth. Pour into ice cube trays and freeze.

That’s it!

Now how about an ice cream party for people and dogs?!

Beware of Heat Stroke in Dogs

Summer is here, so PLEASE take care of your dogs!

In several areas of the country, the temperatures are soaring to breaking record highs. Due to this Dog Parents need to be careful when taking their Fur Babies in car rides and out for walks.

Leaving your pet inside a car while you run into a store no matter how short of time, is an absolute No-No!!! Even with the windows cracked, the temperatures inside a car can sky-rocket fast! Here are the signs to watch out for. Remember, if it is too hot for you to walk barefoot outside, it is too hot for your pets!

Image Courtesy of Scottsdale Hills Animal Hospital

Dog fur is great protection against the cold but can be a problem in hot weather. This is because, unlike humans, dogs eliminate heat by panting. When panting isn’t enough, their body temperature rises. This can be fatal if not corrected quickly.

What To Watch For

Excessive panting and signs of discomfort indicate overheating. However, it is important to be aware of the ambient temperature and take appropriate preventative measures.

Primary Cause

Any hot environment can cause heatstroke, but the most common cause is careless actions such as leaving a dog in a car on a hot day or forgetting to provide shade to an animal kept outdoors.

Immediate Care

It is essential to remove the dog from the hot environment immediately and get immediate veterinary attention. Heatstroke can cause unseen problems, such as swelling of the brain, kidney failure, and abnormal clotting of blood. On the way to the veterinarian, travel with the windows open and the air conditioner on.

If veterinary care is not immediately possible, the following guidelines will help. If the dog is unconscious, make sure no water enters the nose or mouth as you follow these guidelines. Also, do not give the dog aspirin to lower its temperature; this can lead to other problems.

  1. Put your dog in the bath tub.
  2. Run a cool (not cold) shower over your pet, covering the whole body — especially the back of the head and neck.
  3. Allow the water to fill up the bathtub as you shower the dog. Keep the head elevated to prevent aspiration pneumonia.
  4. If getting the dog into the tub is impractical, use a garden hose to cool the dog or place him in a pool of cool water.
  5. Apply a cold pack to the dog’s head to help lower his body temperature — a packet of frozen vegetables works fine.
  6. Massage the legs. A vigorous rubbing helps the dog’s circulation and reduces the risks of shock.
  7. Let the dog drink as much cool or cold water as it wants. Adding a pinch of salt to the water bowl will help the dog replace the minerals it lost through panting.

The best medicine is to not allow your dog to get into this situation. As mentioned before, do not leave your dog in a car. Do not take them for walks when it is hot. Do not leave your dog outside without shade or water. Remember, your dog depends on you to give them a good life.

*Heat Stroke information provided by Petmd.com