Basil's Baby" watercolor © Drew Strouble

Friday, April 18, 2008

Love Bewtheen Cat and Dog

Monday, February 4, 2008

Why Your Cat's One of a Kind

By Darcy Lockman

Thirty-two-year-old Brooklyn, N.Y. cat owner Amy Morgan can name the most prominent behavioral characteristics of her seven-year-old calico cats, Mashy and Ruki, without thinking twice. "Mashy is uppity, stubborn, verbal and affectionate," she says. "He's on top of me as soon as I wake up every morning, kneading my blankets and laying with me." Then there's Ruki: "He's an entirely food-motivated idiot savant. He knows how to turn door knobs. And when the bathroom door is closed, he tries to get in there through the kitchen cupboards, which is impossible, but it's a good guess given the layout of the apartment. He's also a bit of a bully toward Mashy."

What Morgan cannot state so easily is how her cats developed the pronounced personalities they have today. But she is able to hazard a guess. "Mashy was abandoned by his mother so maybe that's why he's so clingy. And Ruki may eat so much because he was the runt of the litter, so when he was nursing it was hard to get enough."

Cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy of Redondo Beach, Calif., agrees that Morgan may be onto something. "As with people, multiple factors play into cats' personalities," Galaxy says, "and you can never know for sure what kind of cat your kitten will grow into based solely on genetics or environment. I'm a tall, bald, tattooed guy and people assume that I'm going to be a dog person. You can't always make those kinds of generalities with cats, either."

Keep that in mind as Galaxy discusses some general likelihoods of cat character.

Not surprisingly, genetics play a role in your cat's personality. Galaxy says some guesses can be made about the kind of adult cat a kitten will become based on its breed. He has found that Asian breeds, like Siamese cats, tend to be very sensitive to stimuli, which owners misperceive as neuroticism due to their quick response to sounds and rapid movements.

Tortoiseshell cats (cats that are mostly black and orange) tend to be high strung, tabbies, on the other hand, are known for being playful and assertive and Persians are often thought of as docile. But, adds Galaxy, "These traits are tendencies. They're not what make cats individuals."

Your cat's environment also helps to shape its character. The crucial phase of development for kittens is between two and nine weeks. If a cat is hand raised from very early on, they are going to encounter other cats and have all kinds of communication problems, Galaxy believes. "They won't know about hissing and meowing. They'll have to learn how to talk cat." Felines that aren't around siblings don't understand what inhibited play is, because they have never been bitten by another kitten as a cue to back off. "With siblings, you learn the social rules. Kittens raised solo are socially stunted."

Similar difficulties can arise in kittens that spend their critical phase with all cats and no people. If they don't have human contact during that phase, they will have a different kind of social difficulty, according to Galaxy. "They perhaps will never feel completely comfortable around humans."

The age at which a male kitten is neutered can also affect its personality. "If you do it early on, at eight weeks to three months, you're not going to see these dominant male traits like territorial marking come out. If you wait longer, say six to eight months -- which I don't recommend -- they'll still develop the male sexual personality traits, though they'll be pseudo-sexual."

The X-Factor
Additionally, there is a mystery of personality in every species, from feline to primate. "What makes me different from you? I take a cat's history when I go into a home to work, but I also spend time getting to know it," Galaxy says. "Not to do that would be insulting. The same should go for you when you adopt a cat. Know its background. And then get to know the cat."

The next step: accepting the cat for itself. "I get a lot of calls from people who want me to change their cat," says Galaxy. "They hope I can turn it into an animal that wants to be held or picked up, when really a cat expresses affection by rubbing up against a human or exposing its stomach. I tell those clients, 'If you want a cat that you're going to be able to hold, then adopt another cat.' You can't change its stripes."

How To Bring Out Your Cat's Best
Galaxy emphasizes that accepting your cat does not mean allowing a once-abused, newly adopted cat to spend its life hiding under the bed. "That's not a healthy, quality life. We can help that cat to trust us, to come out from its isolation."

You can also encourage the traits you find most endearing in your cat by rewarding those traits. "I love my cats' sociability," Galaxy says. "When I have company over and they come out on their own, I immediately give them a treat. This works best if they're food motivated. Clicker training -- or associating food rewards with the noise of a clicker so that eventually the sound is experienced as praise -- is a great way to encourage your cat to be more of the cat you want it to be."

Of course, sometimes the traits you don't want to encourage are the ones you can't resist. "We try to punish Ruki for bullying Mashy," sighs Morgan, "but he is so endearing in his fat dumbness that we end up laughing. At this point, I think he gets that we think he's adorable."

About The Author
Darcy Lockman is a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based freelance writer whose work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times and Rolling Stone. She grew up with a feisty tabby cat named Cleopatrick and later roomed with a couple of calicos.

Japan invents 'cat chat' device

Ever wondered what your cat is trying to tell you? A Japanese company hopes to solve this conundrum with a new toy that seeks to interpret your pet's meows.
Following Takeda Co's successful launch of Bowlingual - which does the same thing for dogs - Meowlingual is due to be rolled out in November.

A palm-sized electronic console is held next to the cat in question, and an interpretation of its cries and purrs is displayed on the screen.

Meowlingual translates the cat's emotion into phrases such as "I can't stand it," according to the Associated Press, although exact wording has not been decided.

The device will be priced at 8,800 yen (about $74), less than the 14,800 yen charged for Bowlingual.

Takara has sold about 300,000 of the dog-translation devices in the last six months and plans to launch a English-language version in the US in August.

Bowlingual claims to be able to interpret about 200 phrases or words - grouped in six different emotional categories: fun, frustration, menace, sorrow, demand and self-expression.

Source : BBC

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Tsunami: Animal Instinct

( Tsunami Stories: Animal Tales )

In Khaolak on Thailand’s Andaman seaboard some 50 miles north of Phuket, a dozen elephants that were giving tourists rides became agitated and started trumpeting hours before the tsunami came. This was around the same time the submarine earthquake occurred off the coast of Sumatra. Just before the tsunami hit, the elephants fled for higher ground – some of them escaping from their fetters – taking with them four very surprised but fortunate Japanese tourists. An official from the Khaolak National Park commented that they have not found any dead animals in the park – the animals had all fled to the hills and he believed not a single one perished in and around the park from the tsunami.
Similarly, in the south-eastern part of Sri Lanka in the Yala National Park, wildlife officials likewise reported that its animal inhabitants – tigers, elephants, buffalo, and monkeys amongst others – had escaped mostly unscathed. This was despite the tsunami which had battered the coastline bordering the park.
At the Point Calimere sanctuary on the southern coast of India, flocks of flamingos which should have been breeding at that time of the year had fled their usual breeding grounds for safer forests inland.
Fishermen from Malaysia’s tsunami-affected Kuala Muda area had reported of large numbers of dolphins swimming very close to shore – some as near as 200m – two days before the tsunami. The marine mammals were leaping into the air and flipping their tails, as though trying to catch the fishermen’s attention.
Interestingly, these same fishermen had reported hauling in up to nearly 20 times their usual catch for three straight days before the tsunami struck. It is now surmised that the fish had been fleeing from the epicentre of the coming submarine earthquake which would later generate the tsunami.
Not all animals escaped unscathed, however. Larges turtles were found dead amongst the debris along the shores of Indonesia’s devastated Aceh province.


Tuesday, September 4, 2007

IT'S a discovery to make you glad

dinosaurs are extinct.

The smallest dinosaur could reach nearly 64km/h and even the lumbering tyrannosaurus rex would have been able to outrun most modern-day sportsmen, according to research published yesterday.
Scientists using computer models calculated the top speeds for five meat-eating dinosaurs in a study they say can also illustrate how animals cope with climate change and extinction.
The velociraptor, whose speed and ferocity was highlighted in the film Jurassic Park, could reach 39km/h, while T-rex could muster a speed of up to 29km/h, the study published in the Royal Society's Biological Sciences showed.
"Our research, which used the minimum leg-muscle mass T-rex required for movement, suggests that while not incredibly fast, this carnivore was certainly capable of running and would have little difficulty in chasing down footballer David Beckham, for instance," said Phil Manning, a palaeontologist at the University of Manchester, who worked on the study.
The smallest dinosaur - the compsognathus - could run nearly 64km/h, about 8km/h faster than the computer's estimate for the fastest living animal on two legs, the ostrich.
A top human sprinter can reach about 40km/h and today's professional footballers can reach about 28km/h.
The researchers used a computer model to calculate the running speeds of the five dinosaurs that varied in size from the 3kg compsognathus to a six-tonne tyrannosaurus.
They fed information about the skeletal and muscular structure of the dinosaurs into the computer and ran a simulation tens of millions of times to see how fast the animals moved, said William Sellers, a zoologist at the University of Manchester, who led the study.
They checked their method by comparing data for a 70kg human with the muscle and bone structure of a professional sportsman and found the computer accurately spat out a top running speed just behind T-rex's pace.
"People have estimated speeds before, but they have always been indirect estimates and hard to verify," Dr Sellers said.
"What we found is they were all perfectly capable of running."
Looking at how these ancient animals lived and died out is also important in trying to predict how modern-day species may cope with future climate change, Dr Sellers added.
This study helps to build a biological picture that scientists can use to better understand how dinosaurs adapted to changes in the weather just before they went extinct some 65 million years ago, he said.
"Knowing how these animals coped over the past millions of years will give us clues to what is going to happen over the next thousand years," he said.
"That is why there has been more recent interest in biology of these animals."


Monday, September 3, 2007

Chihuahua Detect Breast Cancer

A woman in Wiltshire said her Chihuahua detected her breast cancer on three occasions, while a Dalmatian kept smelling a freckle that the owner discovered was a malignant tumour.
He doesn't get a crystal ball and headscarf and say 'I predict you will have one three weeks on Tuesday'
Tony Brown-Griffin on AjayThe work of dogs in epilepsy is more advanced. The charity Support Dogs has provided 45 seizure alert dogs to epileptics such as Tony Brown-Griffin, 35, from Kent.
Twelve years ago, prior to her getting her first alert dog, she was suffering 12 major seizures a week and countless minor ones, so was housebound and childless. Now she is independent and a mother of two.
Ajay, a golden retriever, licks her left hand 40 minutes before a major seizure, which only happens twice a week now, so she can get herself out of harm's way.

Seizure alert dogs accompany epileptics"It's a major stress reduction. I don't have to worry about epilepsy at all unless my dog alerts me. Before I was thinking 'Do I have time to cross the road, will I have a seizure?'"
But neither Tony nor her husband knows exactly how Ajay is doing it, because the slight changes in Tony's behaviour prior to a seizure are imperceptible to them.
"He doesn't get a crystal ball and headscarf and say 'I predict you will have one three weeks on Tuesday' but whether it's a change in blood pressure or body temperature or whether I sweat or smell differently, or a combination of things.
"In the early days it was very difficult to go with the dog because I would feel so well but he was 100% accurate, 100% of the time."
Despite the persuasive evidence of dogs' prowess in these areas, the case of Oscar the cat is still a bit of a mystery, says animal psychologist Roger Mugford. Although they can detect illness, he has never known of pets picking up on impending death, and cats would be unlikely candidates to behave like this if they could.
45 provided by Support Dogs
Training can take between 12 and 18 months
During that time a client is matched with a dog
There is no preference for particular breeds
The way they warn owners varies
Facial expression, certain movement, a smell or pupil dilation are the kinds of changes they can pick up on
Source: Support Dogs
Cat 'predicts patients' deaths' "The question is what motivates a cat to engage in this behaviour. Dogs being trained to detect cancer are trained with a pay-off of play if they do the right thing and if it's your own dog they have a familiar affectionate relationship and will pick the site of the tumour. But a cat in a nursing home?
"Dogs are very good at picking up on emotional changes and when people are depressed and inactive they are very good at comforting people in these circumstances. Elephants show the same altruistic tendencies, but not cats, they are very much more selfish, solitary creatures."
One theory about how dogs have evolved this capacity is that their wolf ancestors developed an ability to tell when one of the pack was sick.
But it is not just in health that the heightened senses of animals have proved to be more advanced than humans'.
Scientists remarked at how few wild animals died in the Asian tsunami in 2004, because they were able to sense the disaster and move to higher ground.

BBC News

Woman, 60, Killed by Pet Camel

A PET camel that killed a 60-year-old woman in a bizarre attack in the Outback had been given to her as a birthday present from her family.The 10-month-old animal knocked the woman to the ground, stomped on her head and then lay on top of her yesterday at her sheep and cattle property near Mitchell, about 600km west of Brisbane.The woman's husband discovered her body about 6.30pm after he returned from feeding stock.Police said yesterday the pet had a history of odd behaviour, attempting to smother the family's pet goat on many occasions by sitting on it. Roma police Sen-Det Craig Gregory said the victim's husband was devastated."The camel was actually a 60th birthday present that he and his daughter got her in March," he said. "She had a love of exotic pets."Sen-Det Gregory said the victim, whose name has not been released, had been knocked over by the camel.The woman had suffered "one definite footprint" on one side of her face and one on her arm."It's either smothered her or brought on a heart turn," Sen-Det Gregory said."It had a bit of a habit with a goat, knocking it over and sort of straddling it and lying on top of it."It's been chased off the goat a few times."Sen-Det Gregory said the family had intended giving the woman a llama or an alpaca for her birthday, but they were too expensive.Townsville-based camel expert Paddy McHugh said the behaviour was "extremely unusual" for a camel so young."That's a characteristic of a camel out of control," he said.Mr McHugh said that type of behaviour was more characteristic of a bull in season."But the amount of people that have been killed by camels, I can probably count them on my one hand in Australia over the last 100 years."

Herald Sun

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The Miracle We Named Diesle _________________________

I live in a house with my grandparent, parents and brother so sometimes I just want something that could only be mine (I was 8 at the time). My dad brought me a kitten off the street and as he said we had to "put it out of its misery." We had tried to help it for a year but she just got worse and worse it was the only fair thing to do. At the vet's office I cried and cried.
My mom was worried that i wouldn't be able to deal with the pain so right after the cat was put down, my mom brought me to the humane society. She told me I could pick any cat I wanted.
I looked in the cages and saw a kitten just lying there so I asked if I could hold her. It was love at first sight. I decided I wanted her and her name was going to be Tiger. She was just adorable, the only problem was that me and my brother fought for everything.
Worried that we might harm her, my mom went back to the humane society and adopted another kitten. This one was supposed to be for my brother. As my mom recently told me, the people told her not to get him - he was horrible with people and very grumpy. My mom picked him up anyways, and he started purring. The lady was surprised and shocked. I guess it was just destiny!
My dad named him DIESLE because he purred really loud and sounded like a diesle engine.
We'd only had him for a little while when one morning he started licking my dad's face and purring in his ear. He woke up and heard a crackling sound outside, what he thought was just rain turned out to be a roaring fire. That soon led to fear and panic. Without this miracle we still call Diesle, we might not have woken up in time to get out of the house! And even though I'm only 11, I think destiny has strange ways of talking to us, and we should never underestimate our best friends.

Kindly Contributed By: Daniela

Night of the Missing Iguan

- By Michele Wallace Campanelli

Loving lizards is an acquired taste. As a child I was always fascinated with the little creatures. Besides crawling outside the screened-in porch of my Florida home with their flicking and bobbing heads, I witnessed spotted geckos sticking to windows and walls with their suction-cupped fingers. Strangely, they grunted in a low pitched tone on humid nights.
Growing up, I couldn't learn enough about lizards. To me they were small dinosaurs deserving of respect. Being a female, my interest in lizards often surprised people. Never afraid of them, I came to discover that there were literally thousands of varieties with varying shapes and unusual colorings.
My favorite reptile was one of the largest, the giant Green Iguana. With brown striped tails, giant spikes on their head and back, razor sharp nails on alien-looking, multiple jointed fingers, these creatures intrigued me. Native to South America, Iguanas run wild in many areas of the Dominican Republic, Equator, and Galapagos Islands. Even in the tropical paradise Cancun, they swim in hotel pools and bury their giant long bodies in the sand underneath the sidewalks. Males can grow over six feet long.
Finally I obtained a six inch baby. Immediately I learned that these lizards don't think of themselves as pets nor do most other people.
"What the hell is that? It's face looks like a frog and it’s got a snake tail and a fat tongue?" A friend asked. "Is it venomous?"
"Can it shoot those spikes off its head and back?" another questioned. "Isn't that a pest, not a pet? It looks like a bunch of different animals stuck together. Don't they feature those in Japanese monster movies? Why don't you get a normal thing like a dog?" others derided.
Most of my friends didn't enjoy Jamison's presence or touching him. Either some refused to go out on the porch when he was there or stand near his indoor six foot cage. Although Jamison presents a very frightening appearance, he has developed a sweet personality, eating right from my hand and licking my face. On the porch, Jamison befriended other native lizards and was easily trained to use an empty litter box. Over the years he grew to be a family member; he also grew to be nearly four feet long.
One misty morning, I walked out to the patio to discover his custom made shelf was empty. Nearby, the screen which once sported a very small tear, now was completely ripped out. Finding him missing, I cried out in horror. "Jamison!"
Immediately panicking, I knew what dangers lurked out there. With so many neighborhood dogs, cats, wild birds and raccoons, any one of them could take a bite out of my brilliant green reptile. With his striped tail, he could easily be spotted in the grass. Fearing the worst, I handed out flyers to neighbors, only to find a couple of my Hispanic neighbors ate Iguanas in their southern homelands. I certainly didn't want him to become a main course. I alerted the animal shelters, handed out missing posters, called the police, and animal shelters -- anyone who would take a report. I pleaded for a call if a four foot lizard was spotted. I couldn't risk people hurting him because they thought he was poisoness or dangerous. Jamison was a kind-hearted lizard who didn’t hurt anything! He wasn't even a bug eater like other reptiles; Jamison ate vegetables, leaves, flowers and fruit. Unfortunately, he looks threatening.
As hours passed with him gone, my fear increased. Family and friends tried to console me. Some even helped my husband and me search with binoculars. Looking up trees, shaking bush branches and studying the ground, we continued, desperately trying to find him.
"I'm sure he'll come home when he's done exploring," my husband attempted to comfort me.
During the night of the missing iguana, I hardly slept. There was a terrible storm, one of the worst Florida had seen in awhile. The wind pounded against the windows. It was even rather cold and iguanas need to stay warm to keep alive! This would have been a night I set up his heat lamp in his indoor cage. Now he was out in the rain and the chilling winds! Would he even survive the storm?
The next day my husband Louis went to the back yard to trim the bushes. "I’ll watch where I step and keep looking," he promised.
I entered my home office to finish some editing, still worrying about Jamison, praying he'd be found. Suddenly, I heard Louis calling, "Come quick! Come quick! Jamie's back!"
Rushing outside, I could hardly believe my eyes. Trotting across the grass and heading straight for his porch was my beautiful Green Iguana. With his three foot tail raised, Jamison actually looked happy to be plodding on home.
So the next time anyone asks me, "Are lizards pests?" I'll remind them of Jamison, who is incredibly intelligent, potty trained, and able to find his own way home all on his own. He shakes his tail, bobs his head in his own way of communicating. Knowing him makes the whole world feel a little smaller. I now appreciate that even a giant Green Iguana with a frightening appearance can be incredibly smart and loving. Unusual looking creatures only serve as a reminder, that nature (God) doesn't make mistakes.
Michele Wallace Campanelli... is a national bestselling author. She's been published in over 31 anthologies and has penned many novels, including Keeper of the Shroud and Margarita, published by Americana Books. Her personal editor is Fontaine Wallace, instructor at Florida Institute of Technology.

A Day in the Life of Oscar the Cat

...David M. Dosa, M.D., M.P.H.

Oscar the Cat awakens from his nap, opening a single eye to survey his kingdom. From atop the desk in the doctor's charting area, the cat peers down the two wings of the nursing home's advanced dementia unit. All quiet on the western and eastern fronts. Slowly, he rises and extravagantly stretches his 2-year-old frame, first backward and then forward. He sits up and considers his next move.
In the distance, a resident approaches. It is Mrs. P., who has been living on the dementia unit's third floor for 3 years now. She has long forgotten her family, even though they visit her almost daily. Moderately disheveled after eating her lunch, half of which she now wears on her shirt, Mrs. P. is taking one of her many aimless strolls to nowhere. She glides toward Oscar, pushing her walker and muttering to herself with complete disregard for her surroundings. Perturbed, Oscar watches her carefully and, as she walks by, lets out a gentle hiss, a rattlesnake-like warning that says "leave me alone." She passes him without a glance and continues down the hallway. Oscar is relieved. It is not yet Mrs. P.'s time, and he wants nothing to do with her.
Oscar jumps down off the desk, relieved to be once more alone and in control of his domain. He takes a few moments to drink from his water bowl and grab a quick bite. Satisfied, he enjoys another stretch and sets out on his rounds. Oscar decides to head down the west wing first, along the way sidestepping Mr. S., who is slumped over on a couch in the hallway. With lips slightly pursed, he snores peacefully — perhaps blissfully unaware of where he is now living. Oscar continues down the hallway until he reaches its end and Room 310. The door is closed, so Oscar sits and waits. He has important business here. View larger version (96K):[in this window][Twenty-five minutes later, the door finally opens, and out walks a nurse's aide carrying dirty linens. "Hello, Oscar," she says. "Are you going inside?" Oscar lets her pass, then makes his way into the room, where there are two people. Lying in a corner bed and facing the wall, Mrs. T. is asleep in a fetal position. Her body is thin and wasted from the breast cancer that has been eating away at her organs. She is mildly jaundiced and has not spoken in several days. Sitting next to her is her daughter, who glances up from her novel to warmly greet the visitor. "Hello, Oscar. How are you today?"
Oscar takes no notice of the woman and leaps up onto the bed. He surveys Mrs. T. She is clearly in the terminal phase of illness, and her breathing is labored. Oscar's examination is interrupted by a nurse, who walks in to ask the daughter whether Mrs. T. is uncomfortable and needs more morphine. The daughter shakes her head, and the nurse retreats. Oscar returns to his work. He sniffs the air, gives Mrs. T. one final look, then jumps off the bed and quickly leaves the room. Not today.
Making his way back up the hallway, Oscar arrives at Room 313. The door is open, and he proceeds inside. Mrs. K. is resting peacefully in her bed, her breathing steady but shallow. She is surrounded by photographs of her grandchildren and one from her wedding day. Despite these keepsakes, she is alone. Oscar jumps onto her bed and again sniffs the air. He pauses to consider the situation, and then turns around twice before curling up beside Mrs. K.
One hour passes. Oscar waits. A nurse walks into the room to check on her patient. She pauses to note Oscar's presence. Concerned, she hurriedly leaves the room and returns to her desk. She grabs Mrs. K.'s chart off the medical-records rack and begins to make phone calls.
Within a half hour the family starts to arrive. Chairs are brought into the room, where the relatives begin their vigil. The priest is called to deliver last rites. And still, Oscar has not budged, instead purring and gently nuzzling Mrs. K. A young grandson asks his mother, "What is the cat doing here?" The mother, fighting back tears, tells him, "He is here to help Grandma get to heaven." Thirty minutes later, Mrs. K. takes her last earthly breath. With this, Oscar sits up, looks around, then departs the room so quietly that the grieving family barely notices.
On his way back to the charting area, Oscar passes a plaque mounted on the wall. On it is engraved a commendation from a local hospice agency: "For his compassionate hospice care, this plaque is awarded to Oscar the Cat." Oscar takes a quick drink of water and returns to his desk to curl up for a long rest. His day's work is done. There will be no more deaths today, not in Room 310 or in any other room for that matter. After all, no one dies on the third floor unless Oscar pays a visit and stays awhile.
Note: Since he was adopted by staff members as a kitten, Oscar the Cat has had an uncanny ability to predict when residents are about to die. Thus far, he has presided over the deaths of more than 25 residents on the third floor of Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, Rhode Island. His mere presence at the bedside is viewed by physicians and nursing home staff as an almost absolute indicator of impending death, allowing staff members to adequately notify families. Oscar has also provided companionship to those who would otherwise have died alone. For his work, he is highly regarded by the physicians and staff at Steere House and by the families of the residents whom he serves.
Source Information

Dr. Dosa... is a geriatrician at Rhode Island Hospital and an assistant professor of medicine at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University — both in Providence.
Dogs and Chocolate

By: The Pet Times

Most dog owners are aware that chocolate should not be given topets. We hide our chocolate treats in high cupboards and sealedcontainers because we know that it can be harmful if ingested byour animals. But, what if a candy bar gets left within the dog’sreach, and you come home to find an empty wrapper? What if yourdog eats a bit of chocolate that has fallen on the floor whileyou are baking? We know that chocolate is harmful, but we needto know the amounts to worry about, the signs to look for, andwhat to do for treatment in the case that our dogs and chocolatefind each other.
The chemical compound that makes chocolate toxic to pets (yes,dogs and cats, even horses), is theobromine. Theobromine, foundin products of the cocoa tree, is a xanthine compound belongingto the same family as caffeine and theophylline (an ingredientfound in tea). Pets metabolize this chemical very slowly, and itaffects their heart, central nervous system, and kidneys.Typically, although the level can vary depending on individualsensitivity, it takes one hundred to one hundred-fiftymilligrams of theobromine per kilogram of a dog’s body weight(that’s 2.2 pounds) to cause a toxic reaction. Now, theobrominelevels vary in different types of chocolate, because somechocolates have a higher cocoa content than others. Milkchocolate has approximately forty-four milligrams of thoebromineper ounce, semi-sweet chocolate has one hundred fifty milligramsper ounce, and baker’s chocolate has three hundred ninetymilligrams per ounce. While the conversion can be tricky,especially when you are panicking because your pup just ate yourdaughter’s candy bar, here is a guide to follow. Roughly, atoxic dose would be: one ounce of chocolate per one pound of dogbody weight for milk chocolate, one ounce of chocolate per threepounds of dog body weight for semi-sweet chocolate, and oneounce per nine pounds of dog body weight for baker’s chocolate.For example, two one-ounce squares of baker’s chocolate wouldcause great risk in a fifteen pound dog. However, two one-ouncemilk chocolate pieces would only cause mild digestive upset. Itwould take two or three milk chocolate candy bars to poison afifteen pound dog.
Early signs of theobromine poisoning in your dog may includevomiting and diarrhea, restlessness, and increased urination. Ifyour dog is exhibiting these symptoms, contact your veterinarianimmediately. If left untreated, theobromine can cause increasedheart rate, muscle tremors, seizures, coma, and even death. Youmay even want to start treatment before the symptoms presentthemselves in the case that you know your dog has ingested aharmful amount of chocolate, because early treatment is best.Dogs and chocolate can be a very scary combination, so doeverything you can to make sure that the two are kept apart.
There is no `antidote’ for chocolate poisoning in dogs. Thebest means of treatment includes induced vomiting, and theadministration of activated charcoal. To induce vomiting, usethree percent hydrogen peroxide, and administer one or twoteaspoons by mouth every fifteen minutes until vomiting begins.You can also use Ipecac; administer two or three teaspoons onetime only. Activated charcoal, which is usually given by thevet, is a powder of processed charcoal that binds to many typesof poisons, keeping them from being absorbed into thebloodstream of the dog. There is usually a good outcome if thedog can be treated within three to five hours of ingestion, butthe effects of the chocolate can last upwards of twelve hours,meaning that your pet may need to be hospitalized.
Knowing the signs of chocolate poisoning, as well as the toxicdosage amounts of each type of chocolate for your dog, can bevery helpful in determining whether or not your dog needsmedical treatment for the ingestion of chocolate. Though smallamounts of chocolate may be safe for your dog to consume, it isbest to avoid giving chocolate to your animal altogether. Dogsand chocolate, two of life’s greatest gifts, are to be carefullykept separate.

About The Author:
David Beart is the owner of , a site that covers pets, familyissues, cooking and relationships.