A police department in Great Britain has begun a recruiting process aimed to bring a friendlier image to the force.
Police in Devon and Cornwall say they will add a class of Springer spaniels as search and rescue dogs because the breed is perceived as less frightening than the German Shepherds that currently fill the role.
Andrew Lilburn, the dog inspector for the Devon and Cornwall force commented, "Our existing general purpose dogs are fantastic at what they do but vulnerable people are often scared when confronted by a German shepherd dog."
Three spaniels were obtained by the police from local breeders in July and trained to recognize and find a human scent. The young dogs were taught to bark when they find a missing person and lead their trainer to the person by running back and forth between the two.
According to Lilburn, the dogs have already made several rescues, including that of a young man found in the countryside after running away from home. The officer summarize, "These dogs are a real asset to the force."
Because of the risks posed to police dogs in the U.S., the North American Police Work Dog Association warns police forces that if the law enforcement agency owns the canine, home owners insurance for dogs will not cover the animal’s liability.
Some pet owners may cause a neighborhood nuisance if they fail to develop a polite way to take their dogs to the bathroom; but when the dog belongs to President Barack Obama, the repercussions of potty pet care could become a national scandal.
Flight attendants aboard the president’s Air Force One told the Wall Street Journal that they had seen the U.S. first-dog, Bo, ambling around the famous airplane this summer. On one occasion, a member of the flight crew described how the dog failed to squeeze itself into the tiny on-deck bathroom, and relieved itself right in the aisle.
The attendant told the news source, "You can imagine the horror on board when they discovered what it had done."
Although a White House press official claimed that the event never occurred, one Walls Street Journal blogger cheekily suggested that a government cover-up was underway.
Evidence suggests that Bo has irreverently chosen bathroom locations in the past. Obama commented in an interview with NBC, "We go out and we’re walking and I’m picking up poop, and in the background is the beautifully lit White House. It’s quite a moment."
As the Journal reporter notes, Bo is declining to comment.
Families may frequently have trouble getting their young children and their pets to coexist and share an enjoyable relationship. One animal behavior expert advises the kids may need to be taught to change their behavior to keep dogs and cats happy.
Mary Burch, director of the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen program and certified animal behavior analyst, counsels that pet owners wishing to promote a positive relationship with their dogs or cats must fulfill two pet needs, the News Tribune reports.
"First, the owner would need to meet basic needs – food, water, exercise," says Burch. "The second thing is positive experiences – playtime, brushing, training."
The expert believes that problems commonly arise in pet care when small children play with animals in ways that are distressing to the pets. While kids may have fun poking a sleeping cat or pulling the tail of an eating dog, these actions can irritate animals, leading to poor relationships.
According to Burch, most animals are also upset by shrill voices, quick motions and loud sounds. Namely, "Animals want to feel safe and loved, they don’t like being teased."
The Best Friends Animal Society recommends that no child under one-year old should be left unsupervised with a pet.
A veterinarian and professor of clinical sciences at Kansas State University recently released guidelines for cat and dog owners who are concerned with pet health.
Through advice and education, Dr Susan Nelson is attempting to curb the troubling trend that, in recent years, more pets are becoming obese.
The veterinarian points out that overweight pets could benefit from their owners counting calories and strictly apportioning only the amount of food suitable for the dog or cat. She notes that manufacturers of pet food have begun listing nutritional information on the package, including calorie content.
Given the type of food a dog or cat is eating, the animal’s metabolism, and the typical exercise patterns of the pet, Nelson says a veterinarian will be able to make a recommendation on an ideal calorie intake.
"Generally, I tell people that unless your pet is overweight, go with the guidelines on the food bag," Nelson said. "If the pet is a little overweight, you should feed it for its ideal weight and not for its current weight." Finally, she explains, calories from treats should not exceed 10 percent of the pet’s diet.
The online magazine Dog Owner’s Guide recommends a premium meat or fish-based food with about 25 percent protein and 13 percent fat for optimal nutrition in puppies and grown dogs.
Experts in the veterinary field have cautioned dog owners that poor dental health in their pets could case life-threatening diseases.
A veterinary columnist for the Irish Independent recently published warnings and advice to dog owners that indicate the benefits of canine dental checkups far exceed a sparkling smile for the pup.
The writer indicates that complications such as abscesses in organs, kidney failure and endocarditis could begin with infections of the gums or oral cavity and ultimately deteriorate the pet’s health and shorten its life.
Doctors Foster & Smith, a Wisconsin based operator of animal hospitals and pet supply cataloger, warns that the buildup of tartar under a dog’s gums may result in the accumulation of bacteria and eventually periodontal disease. According to their Pet Education website, "As bacterial growth continues to increase, the bacteria may enter the bloodstream. This can cause infection of the heart valves, liver kidneys."
The pet experts say that treatment by veterinarians can stop the disease from developing further, and daily oral care at home with a regular human toothbrush can prevent the affliction at the start.
Doctors Foster & Smith says dog owners should watch for bad breath, red or swollen gums, discolored teeth, or strange bumps as indications to visit a veterinarian.