Exploring the Growing Problem of Canine Cancer

dogwatch hidden fences photoAbout 1 in 3 dogs die of cancer, a statistic which is frighteningly similar to the rate in people. In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Melinda Beck wrote about Cancer Risk for Purebred Dogs and losing her Golden Retriever to cancer. She reported that Goldens are one of the breeds at the highest risk for canine cancer along with Boxers, Rottweilers, and Bernese Mountain Dogs.

Other breeds listed as being susceptible to cancer:
High risk-Boston Terrier, English Bulldog, Scottish Terrier, Cocker Spaniel.
Average risk- Irish Setter, Schnauzer, Labrador Retriever, Mixed Breed.
Lower risk-Beagle, Poodle, Collie, Dachshund.

There’s no evidence to suggest that mutts or crossbreeds are less prone to cancer. “Some studies that have compared purebreds in general to mixed breeds find about a 10% increase in lifespan for comparably sized mixed-breed dogs.”

Cancer treatment for dogs includes  surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.  Depending on the type and extent of the cancer, treatment may buy months or years for some dogs.

What’s being done about canine cancer?

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Lots of Dogs to Choose From: Purebred, and Hybrid, and Designer! Oh, my!

Nowadays people think about a lot more than “How much is that doggy in the window.” There are many considerations.

JustDogBreeds.Com has created a list of 155 dog breeds, A-Z, and how to find the one which is your perfect match. They take eight points into consideration:

  1. Temperament
  2. Dog Size
  3. Time for Exercise
  4. Children
  5. Grooming
  6. Allergies
  7. How Easy to Train
  8. Protection

Hybrid Dogs

A list of the most popular hybrid dogs can be found on Dog Breed Info Center. They suggest that the best way to determine the traits of a mixed breed is to look up all breeds in the cross and know you can get any combination of any of the characteristics found in either breed. They state, “If you do not feel the temperament of one of the purebreds in the mix is suited for your lifestyle, then that hybrid dog is not for you.”

Designer Dogs

A “designer” dog (as the media has labeled them) is a cross between two purebred dogs. A purebred dog is one that has been bred over many generations to breed true, which means each puppy that is born looks and has the same temperament and characteristics as one another. In most cases a standard is written and breeders must follow this written standard. Only dogs which make the written standard are to be bred.

You may wonder, what’s the difference between a designer dog and a mutt? Generally, a mutt is of uncertain ancestry. A designer dog has documented purebred ancestry, and one knows for sure what it is. The American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC) is  the leading registry for designer dogs.

Two other sources for lists of hybrid dogs can be found on:
http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/americancaninehybridclub.htm
http://www.tinytracks.net/ACHC-Mixed-breed.htm

What do you consider most important in selecting a dog? Do you care whether the dog is a purebred, hybrid, designer, or mutt?

Good Fences Make Safe Dogs

Robert Frost ended his poem Mending Wall with a line which continues to be quoted decades later—“Good fences make good neighbors.” While Frost’s line has proven to be sound advice for neighbors of all kinds, it can also be said that good fences make safe dogs.

Dogs not only like to be outside—it’s good for them! Dogs need to commune with nature, sniff the great outdoors, and have a safe place to play.  Dogs that have the opportunity to play outside are happier and healthier.  And, does anything warm the heart more than seeing a happy dog?

Even the most devout dog walkers can attest to the advantages of opening the door to a protected yard so Fido can go out to play or do his business—even when it is not convenient for you to be there with him.  If you can keep your dog safely contained in your yard, he’ll be free to explore and play; and you’ll be happy knowing he is safe.

Veterinarian, Dr. Jeffrey S. Kordell, tells us that clients often ask his opinion about the best way to contain their pet in a yard.  He recommends hidden underground fences to his clients for several reasons.  Dr. Kordell says “Homeowners quickly realize that (a hidden fence) not only looks better and is more affordable, but it also has the benefit of adding a training tool for their dog. They end up spending much more time with their pet and good training leads to good habits.”

Raymond J. McSoley, an internationally renowned Animal Behaviorist, believes training is key to successful dog containment. McSoley who is well acquainted with the DogWatch Hidden Fences system says, “DogWatch dealers follow the same behavioral and conditioning principles professional trainers use…A DogWatch Hidden Fence is in itself a 24-hour trainer for your dog. The system reinforces what the dog has already been trained to do by your DogWatch Dealer – respect the boundaries you have set.”

McSoley also speaks about the effectiveness and safety of DogWatch products. “By keeping your dog contained in your yard, the DogWatch system protects your dog from harm. The fact is that a slight correction is much better for your dog than risking a potentially fatal run-in with a car on a busy street.”

So, if you’re still on the fence (so to speak!) about an underground dog fence, tell us what you need to know!  We’d be happy to answer your questions!

P.S.,  Hidden Fences work well for cats, too—inside or outside!

Dog Matters

Book cover, Inside of a DogAlexandra Horowitz, author of Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know, takes us into the dog’s world in a way few authors have before. She describes in great detail their umwelt: their subjective or self-world.

Not only does the the book provide insights into a dog’s sight, sound and olfactory abilities, it also explains the wondrous dog-human bond. Horowitz asks us to consider what accounts for our bond with dogs, and offers eleven worthy explanations: they’re diurnal, a good size, their body is familiar with parts that match ours, they move more or less the way we do, they have a relaxation to their stride and a grace to their run, they are manageable, we can leave them by themselves for long stretches of time, they are readable, they are resilient and reliable, their lifetime is in scale with ours, and they are compellingly cute. While all of these are relevant she says, “They don’t fully explain why we bond.”

The human-dog bond, we learn, is formed over time. Not just on looks, but on how we interact together. Horowitz suggests that there are three essential behavioral means by which we maintain—and feel rewarded by—bonding with dogs. The first is contact, the second is a greeting ritual, the third is timing (the pace of our interactions with each other) Together, they combine to bond us irrevocably.

Horowitz believes that the bond strengthens and changes us. Physically we are calmed by simply petting a dog, and the social support they offer us reduces our risk for various diseases, from cardiovascular to diabetes to pneumonia, and provides better rates of recovery from the diseases we do get. The bond with our dogs makes us someone who can commune with animals, and according to Horowitz, “a large component of our attachment to dogs is our enjoyment of being seen by them.”

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