Thursday, February 23, 2017

Memory Wins When Dogs Sleep

EEG study suggests sleep enhances learning 
A Harvard Medical School professor recently rocked the Internet: “Since dogs are generally extremely attached to their human owners, it’s likely your dog is dreaming of your face, your smell and of pleasing or annoying you,” psychologist Deirdre Barrett told People magazine.
And then hearts everywhere exploded.

Barrett’s sleep research focuses on humans, while an interest in evolutionary psychology helps her consider the sleep of non-human mammals. Both have similar sleep cycles, she notes, which could suggest parallels in sleep quality or experience.

But an open access study in Scientific Reports out yesterday moves away from extrapolation and toward hard data. Researchers in Hungary have devised a way to non-invasively peer into the sleeping dog’s brain to explore the content and function of their sleep.

Sleep in dogs is good for a number of things, including, but not limited to cuteness, cuteness, and more cuteness. But you’ve also probably heard that sleep is good for memory. Before a big test we’re often told, “Get a good night’s rest,” which is actually shorthand for—give memory consolidation a chance. “Memory consolidation” is the process where your brain pulls together pieces of information and packages them into memories that can be used in the future.

Memory is also important for dogs. Working dogs need to learn—and retain—a wide variety of job-specific skills, and companion dogs often learn basic skills to successfully live alongside humans. When a dog learns something new, can sleep help the dog perform those skills better? Should training sessions incorporate naptime?

Anna Kis of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and colleagues—including members of the well-known Family Dog Project—set out to explore the relationship between sleep and memory in companion dogs. Their study involved two experiments: the first gave dogs a learning task and then peered into their sleep via non-invasive electroencephalogram (EEG)—a test that detects brain electrical activity using small electrodes attached to the scalp. The second experiment explored whether different type of post-learning activities (such as sleep) affect memory consolidation, both in the short- and long-term. All experiments were performed with consenting companion dogs and their helpful owners.

First up, the sleep study, also known as polysomnography if you want to be fancy about it. Fifteen companion dogs participated in both a learning and a non-learning condition. The experimenters taught the dogs the commands for “sit” and “lie down” in a foreign language (English). As you’d expect, no learning took place in the non-learning condition—dogs simply practiced the “sit” and “lie down” commands that they already knew in Hungarian. Nothing new. Old hat. (Most dogs don’t wear hats. Old collar?) Read the entire article

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Raised Hackles in Your Dog

from: Dogster.com

Raised hackles, the hair on a dog’s back and neck, confuse many pet parents. They may see them as a sign of aggression, but that isn’t always the case. Raised hackles do not qualify as a behavior, as they are an involuntary reflex triggered by something that put the dog into a state of arousal. There is actually a medical term for the reaction: piloerection (pilo referring to “hair” in medical terms).

Hackles going up could be a sign of fear, anxiety, excitement, nervousness, or anger. If this happens to your dog, you must look at other body language and the context to understand what is happening. Only then can you know how to respond. Read the entire article

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Saturday, February 18, 2017

FDA Caution Regarding Dog Food

FDA Cautions Pet Owners and Caretakers Not to Feed Certain Evanger’s or Against the Grain Canned Pet Foods Due to Adulteration with Pentobarbital

February 17, 2017

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is advising pet owners and caretakers not to feed their pets certain lots of Evanger’s canned Hunk of Beef or Against the Grain Grain Free Pulled Beef with Gravy canned dog food after unopened cans from both brands were found to contain pentobarbital, a barbiturate.

Pentobarbital is a drug that is used in animal euthanasia. It should not be in pet food and its presence as detected by the FDA in these products renders them adulterated.

The FDA was unable to determine from available records whether any other Evanger’s or Against the Grain products made with beef contain any of the beef that went into the recalled products. Additionally, the agency concluded an inspection of the manufacturing facilities on February 14, 2017, and noted numerous significant concerns with conditions found at both the Wheeling, IL and Markham, IL plants. These are initial observations and do not represent a final agency determination regarding the firm.

Following discussions with the FDA, Evanger’s initiated a voluntary recall on February 3, 2017, of certain lots of its 12-ounce Hunk of Beef canned dog food: 1816E03HB, 1816E04HB, 1816E06HB, 1816E07HB, and 1816E13HB, all with an expiration date of June 2020.

In the course of the investigation, the FDA tested two cans of Against the Grain brand canned Grain Free Pulled Beef with Gravy dog food manufactured in the same facilities as Evanger’s products and using beef from the same supplier: these samples also tested positive for pentobarbital. On February 9, 2017, after conversations with the FDA, Against the Grain voluntarily recalled lot 2415E01ATB12 BEST DEC 2019 of this product. The company issued a public notice about its recall on February 13, 2017. To date, the FDA is not aware of any pet illnesses associated with the Against the Grain product.

The FDA began investigating Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food Company Inc. when it learned about five dogs in a single household that suffered acute neurological symptoms shortly after eating the product. One dog was euthanized after secondary complications, and three others recovered after receiving veterinary care. One of the dogs treated remains on seizure medication, and the fifth dog that ate the least amount of food recovered with time.

The stomach contents of the deceased dog and an open can of the product were tested by an FDA Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network lab, and unopened cans of the product from the pet owner and retailer that sold the products (from the same production lot), were tested by FDA’s lab. All of the samples tested positive for pentobarbital.

In its recent press release announcing a limited product recall, Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food Company, Inc. stated that the beef for its Hunk of Beef product came from a “USDA approved” supplier. However, the FDA reviewed a bill of lading from Evanger’s supplier of “Inedible Hand Deboned Beef - For Pet Food Use Only. Not Fit For Human Consumption" and determined that the supplier’s facility does not have a grant of inspection from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. The meat products from this supplier do not bear the USDA inspection mark and would not be considered human grade. USDA-FSIS regulates slaughter of animals for human consumption only. Testing by USDA-FSIS of Evanger’s Hunk of Beef confirmed that the meat used in the product was bovine (beef).

The investigation by the FDA is ongoing and includes examination of the suppliers of beef to Evanger’s and Against the Grain to determine a possible cause for the presence of pentobarbital. The FDA is also coordinating with the USDA to address any possible areas of shared jurisdiction at the suppliers.

Oral exposure to pentobarbital can cause drowsiness, dizziness, excitement, loss of balance, nausea, nystagmus (eyes moving back and forth in a jerky manner), inability to stand, coma and death. Consumers who notice these symptoms in their pets should consult their veterinarian.
Consumers with cans of product subject to the facilities' voluntary recalls should refer to the firms’ respective press releases for information about returning the product. Read the entire article

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Recall: Blue Buffalo

Pet Food News / Pet Food Recalls By Tim Wall On February 13, 2017

Blue Buffalo recalls chicken dinner canned dog food A production run may have been contaminated with aluminum.

Blue Buffalo recalled cans of their Homestyle Recipe Healthy Weight, Chicken Dinner with Garden Vegetables dog food. A single production run of the 12.5 ounce cans may have been contaminated with aluminum.

Recalled dog food UPC: 8-40243-10017-0

Recalled dog food Best by Date: August 3, 2019 Customers can return recalled cans for a full refund at their local retailer. For more information, please call 866-800-2917. Read the entire article

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Recall: Against the Grain

For Immediate Release February 14, 2017

Out of an abundance of caution, Against the Grain Pet Food is voluntarily recalling one lot of Against the Grain Pulled Beef with Gravy Dinner for Dogs that was manufactured and distributed in 2015.

The 12 oz. Against the Grain Pulled Beef with Gravy Dinner for Dogs that is being voluntarily recalled, due to the potential presence of pentobarbital, has an expiration date of December 2019, a lot number of 2415E01ATB12, and the second half of the UPC code is 80001 (which can be found on the back of the product label).

Oral exposure to pentobarbital can cause side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, excitement, loss of balance, nausea nystagmus (eyes moving back and forth in a jerky manner), inability to stand and coma.

Note: To-date, no complaints have been reported to Against the Grain for this single lot number nor any of Against the Grain’s pet foods, since the company was founded.

In 2015, this one lot of product was distributed to independent pet retail stores in Washington and Maryland, though it has been verified that this lot is no longer on any store shelves. This voluntary recall only affects one specific lot of food.

Consumers may return any can with the aforementioned lot number, to their place of purchase and receive a full case of Against the Grain food for the inconvenience. For any questions, customers may contact the company at 1-800-288-6796 between 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM Central Time, Monday - Friday. Read the entire article

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Monday, January 16, 2017

How to Stop Your Dog from Chewing!

1. Prevention! Want your dog to stop chewing up your stuff? Don’t let him chew up your stuff. Easier said than done! Puppy proof your house. Keep your puppy where you can see him/her. Having privileges of the whole house need to be earned, after you can trust Rover to not destroy things. Babygates, tethering the dog to you, keeping him/her in the same room you are in so you can keep an eye on things. When your dog has developed good chew toy habits and has stopped making mistakes, you then can allow more freedom when s/he’s home alone.

2. Prevent boredom! Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise. Go on an adventure: walks, hikes, play fetch, play tug-of-war, play with flirt-poles. Don’t forget about brain work. Your dog needs mental stimulation. Ideas: agility, puppy class, canine disc, trick training, scent work, obedience training. Feeding your dog from puzzle toys such as the Nina Ottoson Brick or Spinner or any of the slow feed bowls also works your dog's brain.

3. Get rid of the food bowl! There is a very simple thing that will produce a fast and huge change in your dog’s behavior — hand feed your dog! Yes, put the food bowl away for a month and feed all meals by hand! When you hand feed your dog, you make yourself very important, you can teach bite inhibition and you will gain your dog’s undivided attention! Click here for ideas on hand feeding

4. Chew toys! Teach your dog to chew on safe pet chew toys such as the class Kong. Make it exciting by not leaving the chew toys out all the time. Make a big deal out of the chew toy when you hand it over. Make your Kong a bowl! You can stuff your dog’s daily food allowance into a KONG instead, offering him much more stimulation and exercise than simply gobbling it out of a bowl. Split your dog’s daily ration of food into 4 or 5 and place into 4 or 5 KONGs. Now hide them in different places about the house or garden.

5. Redirect the wrong behavior! When your dog is in a chewing mood and going for something s/he should not have, get some high-value chews or that stuffed chew toy. Teach your dog, "don't chew that, chew this!".

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