Pet health care costs rising

Dog healthcare

Americans treat their pets as family.  From fluffy beds to health care, pets are treated as humans.  And as the heath care costs for human beings rise, so do they for pets.

The US healthcare system has been rendered inefficient in terms of services and cost by many.  This is often blamed on the federal health insurance benefits that prevent customers from making decisions about costs and reimbursements, and give no reason to the industry to make its more efficient.

A recent study found that the situation was pretty much the same in the pet industry, with a couple of big differences:  Only about 1 percent of all pets have health insurance, and pet healthcare is not subject to strict government regulation.  But similarities did exist:

  • Rising expenses: spending on pet purchases, medical supplies and veterinary services show patterns similar to human health-care spending from 1996 to 2013 (US Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns) – rose 60 percent for pet health care, and 50 percent for people.

  • Growth in sector: the growth in the supply of physicians and veterinarians has been very significant for the years 1996 to 2013.  Medical service centers have also grown at similar rates.

  • Spike in spending in the last month: in the study, pets cited for comparison were 23 dogs that died of lymphoma at one California pet hospital between 2011 and 2014.  The humans were 125 Medicare patients who were diagnosed with lymphoma and died in December 2008, 2009, 2010 or 2011.  In the last month of their life, healthcare spending for both increased – for humans it was more than double of regular monthly spending, and for dogs it was nearly 3.5 times more.

The results draw striking parallels between the two systems, although one has much less government regulation.  This suggests that the increase in costs cannot alone be attributed to insurance benefits and government regulation.  Perhaps, it is time to check lifestyles, and make sure that both the pet and owners are keeping healthy through a balanced diet, exercise, and regular check ups.  Preventive measures should take care of rising bills till the government and other establishments have a better plan.  

 

Why your dog can live with you, and on your food!

Dog eating bread

Dogs have been human being’s best friends.  This relationship started long ago.  Today, dogs cannot only live with us in our very own domestic environment, but eat our food and survive equally well on it.

According to research, the dog’s ability to digest our food the same way we do developed millennia ago.   When human beings first domesticated dogs, and scientists have different theories on that, they taught dogs to survive with them, in their resources.  And dogs seemed to respond pretty well.

Dogs have been domesticated from wolves, many researchers claim.  Some suggest that ancient hunters used wolves as hunting companions, and came to gradually training and taming them.  These eventually became known as our present domesticated friends.  But some scientists argue that domestication started later, when wolves started stealing food from farms of agricultural settlers.  They eventually started eating food that was consumed by humans, and developed a tolerance for it, and this was the first step towards the domestication of dogs.

Dr Morgane Ollivier of ENS de Lyon, France has claimed that human cultural development has influenced the first domesticated animal, the dog.  DNA samples from 8,000 to 4,000 years ago show the dog’s ability to digest starch is ancient – hailing back to a time when hunter-gatherer societies adopted agriculture.  “As it was absent in samples coming from hunter-gatherers’ contexts, we linked it to the development of agriculture in early farming society,” Dr Ollivier told BBC News.  “This probably constituted an important selective advantage for dogs feeding on human leftovers within a farming context.  It’s a lovely example of parallel evolution of human culture (emergence of agriculture) and the dog genome.”

There are others who have a different perspective: dogs may have evolved from wolves but the reasons and causes of domestication cannot be assigned to one event in history, but multiple social and natural phenomenon.

What we know for sure from present day studies is that modern dogs possess genes for digesting starches, which cannot be found in wolves.  And this process of evolution started around 15,000 years ago, when the dog is said to have split from the wolf.

Sources: BBC.com

 

Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade 2016

Despite the rain, this annual event took place with all its fervor on 22 October this year, with a number of dogs proudly walking down the ramp with their owners.  Not only the dogs, a number of spectators crowded to East Village for the parade and competition.  The red carpet displays of fabulous costumes and adorable dogs can be scene in the images below:

Images:

Image Source: nymag.com

Image Source: nymag.com

Image: nymag.com

Image: nymag.com

Image Source: nymag.com

Image Source: nymag.com

Image Source: nymag.com

Image Source: nymag.com

Image Source: nymag.com

Image Source: nymag.com

Image Source: nymag.com

Image Source: nymag.com

Image Source: nymag.com

Image Source: nymag.com

Image Source: nymag.com

Image Source: nymag.com

The Tompkins Square Dog run is the first dog run in New York City.  It opened in 1990, as part of a renovation project in the area, but with an agreement that the park will be run and maintained by the community, and not the city.  A number of dog owners were the first fundraisers.  Since then almost the entire city takes part in fundraising activities.  The Annual Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade is an annual fundraiser to maintain the run.  This is the biggest Halloween party in the US, boasting an annual attendance of more than 400 dogs in costume and about 2,000 spectators.

In 2008, the park went through a major $450,000 renovation funded by the New York City’s government and dog patrons.  It now includes a state-of-the-art running surface composed of decomposed granite sand, underground drainage, a large and small dog run, three swimming pools, picnic tables, a tree deck, and bath areas and hoses to spray off pets.

Sources: NYMag, Wikipedia, & Tompkins Square Dog Run

 

Week’s Featured Breed: Xoloitzcuintli (Xolo)

Xoloitzcuintli

Summary

Dog Breed Group: Companion Dogs

Height: 1 foot, 6 inches to 1 foot, 11 inches tall at the shoulder

Weight: 10 to 50 pounds

Life Span: 14 to 20 years

Price: ~ $2000 to $2500

  • Comes in 3 different sizes: Toy (at least 10 through 14 inches tall at the shoulder), Miniature (more than 14 through 18 inches tall) or Standard size (more than 18 through 23 inches tall).  Their weight ranges from 10 to 50 pounds.
  • Native to Mexico and Central America
  • Thought to date pre-Columbian civilizations
  • Is a great companion as well as a watchdog
  • Belongs to the non-sporting group as recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2011
  • Can have a strong prey drive

History

Also called the Mexican Hairless, the Xoloitzcuintli is said to have descended from the first dogs in North America.  Considered a natural breed, archeological evidence suggests that these dogs accompanied migratory people across the Bering region.  The dog takes its name from the Aztec deity ‘Xoloti’, the god of fire and escort of the dead to the underworld, and ‘itzcuintli’, the Aztec word for dog.

The dogs were said to have healing powers for conditions like asthma, rheumatism, and insomnia.  They were also said to frighten evil spirits away as well as intruders.  In olden days, they were also considered as good eats.

The breed was first recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1887, but deregistered the breed because of unpopularity among the masses in 1959.  But some true fans brought it back from the verge of extinction.  It’s a national treasurer in Mexico now, and was named dog of the year in 2010.  About 30,000 Xolos are known to exist worldwide.  The American Kennel Club reregistered the breed in 2011.

Personality

The Xolo is a calm dog; much a family dog too.  It does not need heavy exercise, and energy can be contained within the fences of a home garden.  Puppies usually need more activity than older dogs.  It likes the sun and would sit in it for long hours, but is not fond of staying at home alone.

Xolos can be excellent watchdogs, but not nuisance barkers.  They will only alert you of things that seem to be an irregularity.  They are generally wary of strangers and do not make friends easily.  These strangers could be people outside the family or animals outside the dog’s social circle.

Gentle positive reinforcement is recommended to bring up trained and intelligent Xolos.  Once trained, a stern glance is all the dog needs to understand misbehavior.  But this dog is certainly not a choice for first time dog owners; the breed has the tendency to easily intimidate the owner.

The temperament of a Xolo depends on heredity, training, and socialization.  Try to meet the parents to judge for hereditary temperament traits.  After that make sure you go through a good training manual to train Xolos.  It is important that the dogs are brought up well.  Since the dogs are not usually social with outsiders, try to introduce them to networking at a young age: exposure to different people, sights, sounds, and experiences are an important part of the dog’s training.

The Xolo is not a big fan of having its ears or tail pulled by children or otherwise.  Never approach the dog while he is sleeping or eating or try to take the dog’s food away.  Do not ever leave unsupervised with children while still training.

Xolos can get along with other dogs and cats if they grow up with them.  They may be less sociable with animals that are strangers to them.

Adopting an adult Xolo has many benefits. Adult dogs are often already housetrained and have some obedience training, and they’ve already gone through the destructive puppy stage.

Health and Care

You must buy a Xolo from a responsible, credible breeder.  A puppy will be vaccinated and dewormed before it can be taken home.  Some problems may not appear till the dog is 2 years of age (full maturity). The dogs should not be bred before this age.

The dog can develop some genetic diseases.  These may include hairlessness.  The dog needs protection from sun in this case, and applying sunscreen to the entire body may be a good idea. I n cold weather, the dog may need a sweater.

The Xolo often cleans itself like a cat.  It is unlikely that the animal will get fleas.  Wash its paws lightly to make sure that the sebaceous glands are not blocked.  The dog requires bathing every couple of weeks with a gentle dog shampoo.  Oils and lotions are usually not required.

Nail trimming should be done regularly, as the dog grows them really fast.  Brush its teeth at least 2 or 3 times a week.  Check for sores, rashes, or signs of infection on a regular basis.  Ears should be free of wax and eyes should be clear, with no redness or discharge.

Depending on the Xolo’s size, he should be fed about 5/8 to 1.75 cups of high quality dog food daily, divided into two meals. I t is needless to say that a highly active dog will need more food than a couch potato dog.  Obesity can stress a Xolo’s joints , so he should not be allowed to get fat.  You can use the hands-on test to see if your dog is overweight: place your hands on his back, thumbs along the spine, with the fingers spread downward.  You should be able to feel, but not see his ribs without having o press hard. If you cannot, he needs less food and more exercise.

The 5 Most Posh Dogs in Britain

Featured in the Telegraph, Lifestyle section, and the book Posh Dogs, these dogs are presented in the most elegant way.  They are well educated, and exhibit a demeanor of high-level country life.  Most of them, which have made it to the book (and not all of them are presented in this article), belong to the classic English stock of breeds with noble heritage.  They spend their day engaging in a variety of activities including hunting, relaxing, and looking at art.

Here are our top five picks:

1.Lucy, a Jack Russell whom Lucian Freud proclaimed had ‘a beautiful brow’.

Image:telegraph.co.uk

Image:telegraph.co.uk

2. Mary, a terrier puppy, with Mini Hog, an African albino hedgehog.

Image: telegraph.co.uk

Image: telegraph.co.uk

3. A Dandie Dinmont terrier.

Image: telegraph.co.uk

Image: telegraph.co.uk

4. Nina (a Sheltie), Domino (a dalmation) and Mopsie (a pug) contemplate their ancestors as they look at paintings at Christie’s auction house.

Image: telegraph.co.uk

Image: telegraph.co.uk

5. Puddles the duck and Jessie the Doberman.

Image: telegraph.co.uk

Image: telegraph.co.uk

Sources: Telegraph.co.uk

 

Here come the dogs!

We all know dogs and their love for sports, and aren’t we glad to see them participate in the first ever Rio Dog Olympics. Dozens of dogs of different breeds, ages and sizes competed for medals at a private dog club in Rio. The events included agility, aquatic ball chasing, and aquatic jumping.

The games aim to bring together the pets and their owners to socialize with each other. The competition was open to all dogs regardless of skill or experience. Mima, a nine-month-old beagle, won gold in aquatic jumping!

Here is a short video showing the dogs at their game.

World Animal Remembrance Month and Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop!

September is dedicated to animal remembrance! And in their honor, Worldless Wednesday is an initiative taken by BlogPaws to remember, respect, and honor the memory of all animals.

Blog hopping is easy. Share videos, leave comments or post on the next animal blog that comes your way. Make new buddies, and share your pet stories.

Follow this easy tutorial to participate in the hop now!