Friday, June 24, 2016

Take Your Dog to Work Day! & Bonus Information for Cat Owners!

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There’s no question that pet-friendly office policies are becoming more widely adopted across the country, and this week at Mars Petcare, their four-legged headcount is up as they celebrate the many benefits of having pets in the workplace ahead of International Take Your Dog to Work Day (TYDTWD) on Friday.

In celebration, they wanted to share some “petiquette” tips for a productive, safe and fun pet-friendly work environment. 

Petiquette Tips:
Come prepared – you wouldn’t leave the house with an infant unprepared, same holds true for your dog. Bring some toys, snacks, water dish and bedding so they can be comfy and stay occupied during the day.

Be your dog’s best advocate – Know your dog and what they like and do not like so you can know what situations they will do best in. If they are nervous, don’t push them too far.

A well exercised dog is a well behaved dog – a good morning run before a day at the office will allow them to settle and you the ability to get tasks completed without as many interruptions.

 "At Mars, we are passionate about pets. We believe they make our lives better by having them as part of our workplace. They not only boost morale, they help foster relationships and build a sense of community. This week, we are celebrating our unique culture by honoring our four-legged friends during Take Your Dog To Work Day, which is something we do all year, too." said Jam Stewart, Director of Corporate Communications, Mars Petcare.

 Now, for that Bonus Information! I received this interesting press release and wanted to pass it along, intact, so that you will have the information in the specific words of the WALTHAM Centre which I have visited in the U.K.

New study reveals cat foods need the perfect combination of great flavour and nutrition
Research by scientists at the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition – part of Mars Petcare -  and the University of Sydney, Australia shows flavour and nutrition both influence how cats choose their food

Brussels, Belgium (15 June, 2016):  A study unveiled today by Mars Petcare has revealed that domestic cats learn to choose their food based on nutrition rather than flavour. The study published in Royal Society Open Science (insert link) today confirms that over time cats learn about the fat and protein content in their food and regulate their intake to reach a target ratio of these nutrients.

Scientists at WALTHAM Centre of Pet Nutrition, Mars Petcare, and the University of Sydney, Australia offered cats foods with various ratios of fat and protein flavoured with fish, rabbit or orange. When first presented with the foods, the cats showed a preference based on flavour. However, over time they learnt about the nutrient composition and selected foods in order to reach a target ratio of protein and fat, regardless of flavour. 

Adrian Hewson-Hughes from the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition at Mars Petcare, and lead author of the study said the findings have implications for the development of foods for cats: “This research has enabled Mars Petcare to understand more about developing foods for cats with both appealing flavours and the appropriate nutrient composition that ensures cats continue to eat foods in the long-term. This in turn feeds into what we already know about nutrition – and through our brands such as WHISKAS, SHEBA and ROYAL CANIN we are committed to developing pet foods that first and foremost ensure cats have access to the right nutrition in a format they enjoy.”

WALTHAM is the global scientific research centre for Mars Petcare delivering breakthroughs in pet nutrition and the science of human-animal interactions.

NOTE:  I received no compensation whatsoever for this blog post.  This is NOT an advertorial. It is information that I wanted to bring to my readers.

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Importance of Puppy Socialization from the AVMA

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The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is as concerned about dog behavior as we are. Our veterinarians have to deal with our canine companions and would prefer the dogs be happy and well-adjusted, not only as members of our households as well as members of society, but a well-adjusted, well-socialized, confident dog is easier for the veterinarian to examine.  Socialization starts with the breeder and the puppies' mother and littermates. Even if it's a mixed breed puppy, the owner of the mother is just as responsible for the puppies as are ethical breeders. The problem is that most of them don't know and don't care. Backyard breeders, puppy mills and commercial breeders get puppies off to such a poor start and those are the dogs who usually end up in shelters.

Here is the AVMA's message about Puppy Socialization that should open a few eyes.  

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Rescue Dog Jake Becomes a Firefighter

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Rescued from a fire as a three-month old puppy, Jake was badly burned. When his treatment was over he needed antibiotics during the day.  Not everyone would have adopted the puppy who required extra care but Bill, the firefighter who saved the little guy adopted him. 

You don't need to read more from me.  You need to watch this special story from HooplaHa.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Your Dog's Incredible Mind

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How often have you looked at your dog, looked at his expression and thought he was really smart? Or it's something else that seems unusual for him to know. Most people would accuse you of projecting your own thoughts onto him, or in the case of doing something, that it was just an accident. But was it? Really? When it was discovered that dogs are more accurate at detecting cancer than some labs it's time to pay attention. Isn't it about time for someone to explore the ordinary and extraordinary canine behavior to shine a light on the inner workings of a dog's mind and reveal the role of cognition in the rich mental lives of dogs? If you answered Yes! I have good news for you.
Dr. Brian Hare

Purina Pro Plan BRIGHT MIND and Dognition - founded by leading dog cognition expert and Duke University Professor, Dr. Brian Hare - are exploring ordinary and extraordinary canine behavior to 
shine a light on the inner workings of a dog's mind and reveal the role of cognition in the rich mental lives of dogs. The fact that BRIGHT MIND is behind this research seems fitting. If you are a regular reader of this blog you will remember that before the food was on the market I had interviewed two nutrition researchers who were developing this food for dogs and cats. 

If you want to learn what goes on inside of a dog's mind, here's a graphic of Did You Know? Factoids that should help you understand:

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Everybody Loves Norbert!

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There are so many cute dogs and cats on the internet that it's impossible not to spend an absurd amount of internet time cooing over their pictures. Frankly, I'm not immune. Yes, I'm a Certified Animal Behavior Consultant but I don't know if that makes me more or less vulnerable to the little darlings. I shouldn't admit this but I am a complete sucker for Norbert, a 3-lb. registered Therapy Dog, philanthropist, picture book star and social media influencer. I want to kiss him. I want to blow raspberries on his little tummy. I am utterly besotted.  And my colleagues would probably drum me out of the corp. Look at that face. I mean, just look at it? Could you keep your paws off his paws?

Norbert at The L.A. Mission

Julie Freyermuth is the lucky lady who became Norbert's mom when she saw him on Petfinder. "When I adopted Norbert, right away, I knew he was a special dog but I never imagined all of the wonderful things we would do together - from volunteering as a registered therapy dog team to donating books and plush toys to creating a picture book series and more. I am still in awe of it all."

Freyemuth is the children's book author behind Norbert's series of books with such charming titles as, Norbert: What Can Little Me Do? and Norbert and Lil BUB: What Can Little WE Do? co-starring one of my favorite internet cats, the equally adorable Lil BUB, who was featured here in February 2016.The books were illustrated by Virginia K. Freyermuth, Ph.D. and published by Polly Parker Press, LLC. Norbert has won 9 prestigious book awards including a Nautilus Book Award, and Mom's Choice Award.  

Yes, the little guy is a Philanthropist: "Norberthood for Good" does a lot of charity work in the Norbert's name. In addition to visits to hospitals, schools, nursing homes and special events, Norbert has supported a wide range of charitable causes such as Pet Partners®, Intermountain Therapy Animals, Just for Kids Sake Foundation, Lil BUB's BIG FUND for the ASPCA, the Children's Melanoma Prevention Foundation, and Boot Campaign, a military non-profit.

A portion of their profits are obviously sent to a range of charities. "The charities we support were selected because they are in alignment with Norbert's mission to spread smiles and encourage kindness." Norbert believes that you don't have to be big to make a big difference in the world.

Who can possibly argue with that?! It's impossible to look at little Norbert and not smile! There is such sweetness emanating from that little face, so much life sparkling in his eyes. He is totally captivating. 

Norbert's latest charitable venture is a new plush toy in his likeness to benefit Toys for Tots. Who wouldn't want a little Norbert of their own? The little toy looks amazingly like the real Norbert. What a perfect gift for kids of all ages! 

"By partnering with Toys for Tots, we extend Norbert's 'Buy One, Donate One' campaign to bring happiness to children in need who do not have the opportunity to own their own puppy or who could use a toy to hug and hold," says Freyermuth.

"We are very pleased to welcome Norberthood for Good as a National Corporate Donor of the 2016 Marine Toys for Tots Campaign," said retired Marine Colonel Ted Sylvester, vice president of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. "Their community service goals certainly align with those the Marine Corps has promoted for over 68 years through our Toys for Tots Program. Sylvester concluded, "With their generous support we will be able to fulfill the Christmas holiday dreams of many less fortunate children, who otherwise might be forgotten."

What is truly wonderful about Norberthood for Good is that it encompasses all age groups from children to seniors. No one is forgotten, no one is left out.

Norbert has worked on a variety of awareness and branding projects with major National Brands and other non-profit organizations such as The Walt Disney Company, Condé Nast, Hilton Hotels, iTunes, 

Natural Balance, and PetSmart.

In 2009 Norbert was adopted through He was so tiny that he could only go to a special home. Julie Freyermuth was deemed to have that special home. When asked how she trained little Norbert, Freyermuth responded, "I got lucky! Norbert is my first dog and I had no experience or knowledge about dog training. Norbert is very motivated by food and is super smart. Both of these things made him very easy to train.

If you want to purchase the Norbert Plush, please visit:

Norbert is all over social networking. One of my favorite places to see him is on his Facebook page where you'll find all sorts of posts and even videos. I'll be you won't be able to resist Norbert's High Five!

In 2015 Norbert won what The New York Times has called the "Internet's Highest Honor," he was a Webby Award Honoree in the Social-Animal Category.

You can Follow him on Twitter @NorbertDog

He's on Vine, YouTube, magazines, newspapers, websites, television. He's everywhere!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

MEOW: A Book of Happiness for Cat Lovers - Book Review

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I don't often review books as you've no doubt noticed but MEOW: A Book of Happiness for Cat Lovers was screaming to be read. It's a very simple concept, really, quotes about cats from famous people, each accompanied by a beautiful color photo of a cat.

First published in 2014 in Australia and New Zealand, it has finally been released in the U.S. and Canada. MEOW has been brought out here in paperback, however, from the size and look it is a coffee table book. It was likely originally a Hardcover book. According to the press release, it was written by a cat loving book editor, Anouska Jones. I kept looking for her byline in the book since it wasn't on the cover but couldn't seem to locate it. 

The book opens with an introduction, the only part of the book specifically written for the book.  I was pleased to see Jones' enthusiasm for cats and can believe that she wrote it with her beloved cat on her desk. In the midst of describing cats is the one word with which I found fault - she gave in to the Old Wives' Tale and referred to cats as "independent."  This is a total misconception since cats are independent hunters not independent companions. It's hard to say why so many people don't identify their cat's play for attention for what it is. You're reading and the cat is on the book. You're at the computer and the cat is walking across the keyboard. You take a nap and your cat is on top of you. These are ways of expressing how much your cat wants to be with you. Those who know their unconditional love and appreciate cats will love this book.

That said, the book is wonderful. Anouska Jones has compiled some of everyone's favorite quotes about cats from such notables as Ernest Hemingway, Jules Verne, Pablo Picasso and Mark Twain. Each quote has a gorgeous color photo on the facing page. 

MEOW A Book of Happiness for Cat Owners will delight cat lovers who will find the quotes resonating with them as they enjoy the beautiful cat photographs. This delightful book would make a wonderful gift for a cat loving friend or for yourself. You can put it out on your coffee table or on the nightstand in your guest room. 

MEOW A Book of Happiness for Cat Owners by Anouska Jones is published by EXISLE and distributed in the U.S. by QDS. 

ISBN: 978  925335 08 8    March 2016
$11.95 in the U.S  $13.99 in Canada   
Paperback   160 Pages

 NOTE:  I was not monetarily compensated for this book review.  I received a review copy of the book in order to read it for review.  The opinions expressed in this blog post review are mine alone.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Whisker Stress & Last Week's Contest Winners!

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Vibrissae. That is the technical name for a cat's whiskers. These amazing whiskers are not what you think. They are not fancy decorations, or just facial hair growth. They are embedded quite deeply into the cat and reach the muscular and nervous systems, providing a truly remarkable sense of their surroundings. Did you ever wonder how your cat can find his way around in the the dark when you are stumbling until you see the night light? Her whiskers tell her everything she needs to know.  They are extremely sensitive and you may also notice some sticking up like eyebrows. They are extremely sensitive.  If you didn't know this before, I want to you to know it now because, as a cat owner, you must be aware of their sensitivity in order to keep kitty happy and healthy. The position of your cat's whiskers will also tell you what her mood is like. If she's chasing a toy or another cat around the house, you'll see that her whiskers are forward, as they will be when she's startled. When she's relaxed, her whiskers will be in a normal position.  

Photo Courtesy of Lisette Brodey

What has made me even more aware of this sensitivity and the thought that my readers might not understand, was a recent trip to my local pet supply store, part of a large National chain. I was buying food for Aimee and as I came around the aisle, I saw and end cap display of cat dishes. The problem with this prominent display is that there were only a couple of dishes - almost the entire display consisted of bowls, may of them with cat designs on them. Innocent owners buy them without knowing that that's the last thing you should buy for your cat. It's nearly impossible to find a photo of a proper feeding dish for a cat. They are almost exclusively bowls. Why is this wrong?
Photo Courtesy of Claire Clayton

Cats are not dogs. Dogs do very well eating from a bowl. Cats, however, find their very sensitive whiskers rubbing against the bowl with every mouthful of food. Is it any wonder that some of these cats scoop out the food with their paw and put it on the floor to eat? Owners think this is some sort of cat trick, or a weird idiosyncrasy. No, it's not. The cat cannot be comfortable eating from a bowl. Imagine having something hurt you every time you ate. You wouldn't be very happy, would you? It puts stress on the cat.

The correct feeding dish for a cat is wider and has very low sides, or you can use a plate. Plates don't have to match your dinnerware. You can find perfectly acceptable plates in discount stores. Be sure that they are safe for you cat.  

As for the water dish, a neighbor recently asked me why Aimee's dish could be a swimming pool for a  cat whose weight hovers between 8 and 9 pounds. Simple: whisker stress. So what if it was meant for a big dog?  She loves it. The same with a water fountain. The big one is preferable to a small one for a cat's whiskers.
Photo Courtesy of Shara Rendell-Smock

And one more warning: Do NOT ever cut your cat's whiskers! Don't interfere with feline whiskers. You can look, you can admire them, but for cat's sake, leave them alone!

Now for the winners of last week's contest

Each has won one of Morris The Cat's Well-Groomed Kitty Kits Provided by Morris and his human friends at 9 Lives Cat Food!  

Drum Roll Please!  

And The Winners Are:

Lisette Brodey



Congratulations, Ladies!  Please e-mail me via my website: with your mailing address so Morris can have his personal assistants get a kit off to each of you!  Thank you for entering the contest!!