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Puppy Bowl Time

It’s Ruff Vs. Fluff: The Rematch

It’s the cutest thing ever: Puppy Bowl XIII, which airs Feb. 5 on the Animal Planet opposite Super Bowl LI. And this year’s Puppy Bowl is a rematch, with team Ruff taking on team Fluff for a grrreat game.

All the pups, wearing colored bandanas to identify their team, come from shelters and need homes. Viewers get to see the little darlings and cute-as-can be rascals romp around and run, flop, and roll on a fake field, gaining scores by touchdowns and field goals. Refs call out the youngsters for “paws interference,” “rough sides,” “dog-collar tackles” and “unnecessary rrruff-ness” among other behaviors as they all vie to become the Most Valuable Pup, or MVP. It’s more or less just like what those real guys will be doing in Houston on Fox. This year’s Puppy Bowl lineup includes a few special needs dogs. They’re up for adoption, as are a few furry backup pups on the sidelines.

Pesky Free Radicals

Why do elephants and whales have super-long lifespans while giant or extra large dogs such as Great Danes or Bernese mountain dogs typically live shorter lives than smaller counterparts represented by tiny teacup poodles or dainty Chihuahuas?

ScienceMag.org reports that one suspected culprit is harmful oxygen free radicals in rapidly growing, energy-using puppies. Two grad students, Josh Winward and Alex Ionescu at Colgate University, collected samples and studied them with animal physiologist Ana Jimenez, concluding cells they grew from large breed puppies had too many excess free radicals for antioxidants to fight. Their hope, if the evidence bears up, is that antioxidant supplements for puppies could eliminate extra free radicals and thus lead to longer lives.

Pinch an Inch

If you can pinch an inch on Rover, chances are he’s too fat and needs to lose some weight, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Obesity—defined as being 20 percent over ideal body weight—can cause malnutrition, and 53 percent of canines are affected by malnutrition. The excess baggage can cause joint inflammation, decrease mobility, impair kidney function, make anesthesia dicey, or result in skin or urinary tract infections as well as lead to osteoarthritis and chronic diseases.

Skinny dogs often live longer than fat ones, so look at Rover from above. An hourglass shape is ideal, as is an indentation behind the ribs, which you should be able to feel beneath skin and muscle. Make a commitment to get more exercise and be more careful with his food, and Rover won’t for long be jiggling all over.

Gone to the Dogs

The Lynchburg Hillcats, a Class A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, will become the first minor-league baseball team to allow well-behaved dogs at all home games, Yahoo! Sports reported. The new policy begins this season, in addition to other animal-friendly promotions. The team has also formed a partnership with the Lynchburg Humane Society whereby players and employees of the Hillcats will volunteer at the human society.

Binge Watching

Some dog breeds are predisposed to watching TV, DailyMail.com reported, identifying whippets and terriers as the most likely types to gobble up television viewing, probably because they use their eyes for hunting. Breeds more driven by their sense of smell, such as bloodhounds or beagles, aren’t as apt to be mesmerized by the boob tube. Pups that watch the telly like nature or animal shows shot from their point of view—low to the ground.

Going Gray

Stress may make dogs go gray prematurely.

Animal behaviorist and author Camille King of Colorado told Today.com that a study of 400 dogs ages 1 to 4 years old indicated dogs with higher levels of stress and impulsivity were also more gray around their muzzles regardless of size, health, or being spayed or neutered. Canines that were especially fearful of loud noises, strangers, and unfamiliar animals had more gray on their muzzles, and females showed more of a propensity for going gray. If a young dog goes prematurely white, she recommends veterinary consultations.

Canine Cognition

The academic field of canine cognition is growing, with centers devoted to such study and research popping up across U.S. college campuses and scientific journals devoting precious space to the topic, The New York Times recently reported.

One of the best-known centers is the three-year-old Yale Canine Cognition Center, where humans are keen to have their dogs’ intelligence studied. Apparently, having a smart dog is suddenly as important as having a smart kid, so owners readily volunteer themselves and their pups for exercises and puzzles designed to test their smarts. What people mean by “smart,” animal behaviorists said, is likely trainability.

A Laughing Matter

The scientific study of laughter is called gelotology, and scientists lately are looking at whether dogs laugh, Dogster reported.

If your dog parts her lips and pants rapidly, that’s akin to laughing as well as an invitation to play. And sometimes when dogs do play, they breathily exhale, which is also similar to laughing. That sound cheered up some depressed shelter dogs and made them smile. Play bows and tail wagging can accompany these exaltations.

Popular Dog Names

In Houston, here’s what people are naming their dogs, according to the Houston Chronicle and Rover.com: For males, Bear, Bently, Jack, Toby, Cooper, Duke, Rocky, Buddy, Charlie, and Max. For females, Bailey, Sophie, Molly, Chloe, Maggie, Sadie, Lola, Daisy, Lucy, and Bella.

Doggy Dental Do’s

February is National Pet Dental Health Month, and the American Veterinary Medical Association wants pup owners to know that most dogs by the age of 3 have oral issues.

Therefore, follow these steps on the road to improved dental health:

• Avoid plastic bones, ice cubes, and bully sticks because they can cause painful tooth fractures. Instead, go for chew toys and edible dental chews.

• Clean your pet’s teeth daily with a soft-bristled pet toothbrush and doggie toothpaste to remove food particles and prevent tartar and plaque build up.

• Talk to your veterinarian about dental health, which can be related to diet, food type, or genetics.

Whistle-Stop Tour

Lonely Planet, the travel book publisher, reported a first: bus tours for dogs in London.

For a week in January, More Th>n Doggyssenti>als put dogs and their guardians together on a bus and toted them to scenic spots such as Hyde Park and Kensington Palace Gardens where they could disembark and stroll around before hopping back on for a drive by of historic landmarks like the Kennel Club and Houses of Parliament. Meanwhile, running commentary on the bus offered dog-centric info about London’s canine history, from the corgis at Buckingham Palace to the lone dog cemetery and dog-friendly pubs, bars, and restaurants.

More Th>n Doggyssenti>als is a “total pet care and protection service” that delivers subscription boxes of dog goodies, from food and toys to tracking device apps and pet insurance.

Royal Gossip

Queen Elizabeth, a lifetime lover of corgis, apparently has decided she’ll care for the corgi and bichon frise that were owned by the longtime gamekeeper of her country estate, People reported.

Avowing to give up breeding Pembroke Welsh corgis in 2015, the 90-year-old queen has deep fondness for the dogs that belonged to Bill Fenwick and his late wife, Nancy. He was known as the keeper of the corgis at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, where the queen also has Labradors.

Holly, one of her beloved corgis, died in October, but the queen still has another, Willow, plus two “dorgis,” or dachshund-corgis, named Vulcan and Candy.

A New GSD

Well, hello there, Shiloh shepherd.

Dogster recently featured this new breed, a bigger but gentler and outgoing variety of the German shepherd that’s adept at therapy work, search and rescue tasks, obedience, herding, and assistance.

The Shiloh, a little fluffier with a double coat and carrying more pounds than the typical GSD, was developed in the 1970s in New York and registered as a breed in the 1990s. They are said to be friendly with kids and other animals though not as protection oriented as the GSD breed they were derived from.

Made for Each Other

A German flight attendant, Olivia Sievers, who befriended a dog at her Buenos Aires hotel recently adopted the dog, Rubio, because he kept turning up and waiting for her at the same spot over a couple of months, Noticiero Trace reported.

A hotel manager fed and cared for Rubio, a street dog, and a local rescue group even worked out an adoption, but the headstrong mutt had other plans—hooking up with Sievers. She posted photos of her handsome boy walking calming on leash and cavorting, relaxing, and snoozing in his new homeland.