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Nose for News, June 2016

Killer Bees Attack Dogs

Two miniature dachshunds attacked by bees in their Concord backyard died after they were stung more than 50 times by the aggressive bees, thought to be Africanized killer bees. The bees also sent a beekeeper and a letter carrier to the hospital and stung a kid and a bee expert. A beekeeper was moving a hive, which apparently agitated the bees that then struck and tormented the neighborhood near the 3800 block of Hitchcock Road.

Halt the Hugs

A psychology expert at the University of British Columbia and a dog behavior expert, Stanley Coren, said recently that dogs don’t like hugs.

He concluded this after looking at a random sampling of 250 images of people hugging dogs and determined that 81 percent of the dogs were unhappy or stressed out as evidenced by the dogs’ showing the whites of their eyes in a “half-moon shape,” turning heads away from the problem, closing eyes partially, baring teeth, flattening ears, licking lips, yawning, or raising up a paw.

The natural impulse of a dog is to flee from danger rather than bite, but hugging could make the dog feel trapped.

 

On the Other Hand

Corey Cohen, a Pennsylvania animal behavior therapist, disagreed with Coren, suggesting what was causing stress could be something altogether different from the hug. Maybe the dogs didn’t want their pictures taken, or maybe their person was making them pose. If the dog trusts the human, Cohen said, he might be OK with the hug. His own dogs like hugs, slowing their breath and softening their eyes, he said, adding that the gesture may even release oxytocin, the love-bonding hormone.

 

One Fat Lab

About 54 percent of dogs in the United States are overweight, but Labs are the heaviest, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.

It seems the Labs just love food more than other dogs—it’s apparently in their genes. Scientists suspect that a gene that “codes” for POMC has gone haywire in some Labs, affecting the hypothalamus that controls appetite, a problem that can occur in people, too.

A recent study of 310 Labs in the U.K. found a mutation in the POMC gene as well as an association with overweight dogs. Dogs with the mutation scored higher on tests detecting how motivated they were to eat food.

 

Running of the Chihuahuas

There’s the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, and in Chattanooga, Tenn., now there’s the Running of the Chihuahuas.

More than 100 little guys and gals of Chihuahua origins were in the running for blue ribbons at the ninth-annual staged running in May. Originally a radio station PR stunt, this mighty mutt race has turned into an all-day spectacle and annual festival, with the dogs—some wearing dresses, feathered bowlers, and sweaters—making mad dashes from the starting line to the finish.

High Anxiety

A new drug, Sileo, has been approved to treat dogs for anxiety over loud noises. Zoetis of Florham Park, N.J., is the veterinary medicine maker of Sileo, which U.S. veterinarians can now prescribe. This medicine give dogs an alternative to human anti-anxiety pills and tranquilizers often used to sedate dogs.

 

Behold the Bark-Tenders

In London, the Bar D’Alsace-tian used trained Alsatian dogs, dubbing them “bark-tenders,” for two hours to deliver free, cold beers—that would be Kronenbourg 1664 beer specifically—to its thirsty customers. The handsome, graceful canines wore lightweight “kegs” around their neck with a capped, bottled beer tucked inside, delivering the French quaff tableside to appreciative beer- and dog-loving patrons.

 

Over for Rover

Dogs are no longer allowed in breweries in Denver, Colo. While pooches have been long prohibited from being allowed in regulated food facilities, Denver had mostly overlooked the prohibition unless responding to complaints to the local health department. Inspections, because of budget cuts, ended for the most part five years ago but are being resumed.

 

Pot Problems

In Lakewood, Colo., emergency veterinary hospitals have been reporting more cases of treating dogs that have eaten marijuana, with one place, Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital, treating five dogs per day for ingesting pot. The problem has grown since pot was legalized in Colorado in 2014, with the phenomenon increasing from once or twice a year to once or twice a month, one vet said. The dogs generally receive IV fluids and are prescribed rest, though sometimes vomiting is induced.

 

Protect His Health

Don’t let your dog eat Xylitol, the artificial sweetener commonly used in chewing gum, some baked goods, and chocolates. It can be fatal for him.

The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning recently that cautions about the dangers of Xylitol. It’s a good idea to keep these items away from dogs, too: coffee and caffeinated products, grapes, raisins, alcohol, onions, garlic, and Macadamia nuts.

 

What’s the Diff?

Service dog or therapy dog? What’s the difference?

For those who may confuse the two, a service dog does jobs for people with disabilities and is considered a working dog. They are highly trained to do certain tasks, and the Americans With Disabilities Act allows people with disabilities access to public places with their dogs. Therapy dogs are pets and have no ADA-guaranteed perks and may or may not be specially trained.

 

Fly the Friendly Skies

Travelers through the Appleton International Airport in Wisconsin can forge a furry friendship while they’re passing through the concourse. The Fox Valley Human association recently partnered with the airport to bring in therapy dogs to help travelers, especially ones with flying phobias, have a more pleasant experience. The job of the dogs and their volunteer handlers is to provide comfort and companionship.

 

Pit Stop Perk

Meanwhile, dogs traveling through New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport have gotten their own “pet relief facilities,” making pit stops easier for them. It’s a growing trend at hubs throughout the nation, and airports serving more than 10,000 passengers a year will have to add them, joining Dulles International, Chicago’s O’Hare, and Seattle-Tacoma International.

 

Magic Collars

Animal lovers in Chennai, India, have outfitted stray dogs with reflective collars—called “magic collars”—to increase their visibility and protect them from getting run over at night.

A group called People for Cattle initiated the project, which put about 300 reflective-cloth collars on stray dogs and cattle in Chennai. Dogs in Bengaluru, Pune, and Jamshedpur also got some of the collars.

 

The Bucket List

Does your dog have bucket list? A Michigan rescue volunteer who became an adoptive guardian of a terminally ill dog after his owner died created one for the ailing and depressed pup, Buddy. It included goals like get adopted, chase a flock of geese, eat a lot of peanut butter, and have a box of treats for dinner.