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Why do dogs have different coats? Experts explain – and give grooming tips for different types

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/susan-hazel-402495">Susan Hazel</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-adelaide-1119">University of Adelaide</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mia-cobb-15211">Mia Cobb</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>Dog hair comes in many varieties, from shaggy to short, curly to straight. If you live with a dog, you live with their hair – on your couch, in your clothes, it’s everywhere!</p> <p>Beyond colour, have you ever wondered what’s behind the differences in coat type?</p> <p>We actually know quite a lot about why dogs have different coats, and it comes down to their genes.</p> <h2>What are the main coat types in dogs?</h2> <p>The three main features of dog coats are how long the hairs are, whether they are curly or straight, and whether they have extra flourishes. The flourishes are called “furnishings”, and can include a hairy moustache and shaggy eyebrows.</p> <p>Combinations of these three features result in seven different coat types in dogs: short, wire, wire and curly, long, long with furnishings, curly, and curly with furnishings.</p> <p>We know from a <a href="https://www.science.org/doi/abs/10.1126/science.1177808">study of more than 1,000 dogs with varying coats</a> that differences in only three genes are responsible for this variety.</p> <p>The gene responsible for long hair (called FGF5) is <a href="https://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/basics/patterns">recessive</a>, meaning dogs must have two copies of the mutated gene to have long hair. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1402862111">In humans</a>, the same gene has been identified in families with excessively long eyelashes.</p> <p>Curly coats in dogs are related to a gene called <a href="https://www.pawprintgenetics.com/products/tests/details/173/">KRT71</a>, which affects keratin, a protein involved in hair formation. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2974189/">Mutations in this gene</a> in cats result in hairless (Sphynx) or curly-haired (Devon Rex) breeds.</p> <p>The gene responsible for furnishings (<a href="https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/gene/rspo2/">RSPO2</a>) is involved in establishing hair follicles. <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/hair-follicle">Hair follicles</a> are small pockets in the skin that grow hair.</p> <p>Variations in these three genes could explain the coat type in most (but not all!) of the dogs tested. For example, the long coat of the Afghan hound is not explained by these three genes. Further study is needed to identify less common mutations and genes controlling the coat in these dogs.</p> <p>The earliest dog breeds would have been short-haired, as a result of the “wild-type” genes. Later changes would have arisen through mutation and deliberate selection <a href="https://theconversation.com/managing-mutations-of-a-species-the-evolution-of-dog-breeding-96635">through modern breeding practices</a>.</p> <p>If all three mutations are present, the dog has a long, curly coat with furnishings. An example is the Bichon Frisé.</p> <h2>What else varies in dog coats?</h2> <p>Dog coat types can also be single or double. In a double-coated breed such as a Labrador, there is a longer coarse layer of hairs and a softer and shorter undercoat. Wolves and ancestral dogs are single-coated, and the double coat is a result of a <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4425/10/5/323">mutation in chromosome 28</a>.</p> <p>In the Labrador, the mutation was probably selected for as they were bred to <a href="https://www.gov.nl.ca/releases/2023/exec/0525n07/">retrieve fishing nets in Canada</a>. The double coat is a great insulator and helps them to stay warm, even in icy water.</p> <h2>Why does it matter what kind of coat a dog has?</h2> <p>We know with climate change our world is going to get hotter. Dogs with a double coat are less able to tolerate heat stress, as their hair prevents heat loss.</p> <p>In a study of dogs <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/avj.13296">suffering heat-related illness</a>, most of the 15 breeds at higher risk had double coats. The death rate in these dogs was 23%. We can only imagine how it must feel going out on a 40 degree day wearing a thick fur coat.</p> <p>Dogs with a double coat shed more hair than dogs with a single coat. This means even short-haired breeds, like the Labrador retriever, can shed an astonishing amount of hair. If you can’t tolerate dog hair, then a dog with a double-coat may not suit you.</p> <p>When we think of wool we think of sheep, but in the past <a href="https://www.si.edu/stories/woolly-dog-mystery-unlocked">woolly dogs were kept for their wool</a> that was <a href="https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.adi6549">woven by Indigenous groups</a> and used to make blankets.</p> <p>A dog’s coat also affects how much time and effort is needed for grooming. Dogs with long or curly hair with furnishings are likely to need more time invested in their care, or visits to a professional groomer.</p> <p>Designer dogs (cross-bred dogs often crossed with a poodle, such as groodles), are likely to be curly with furnishings. In a US study, people with designer dogs reported meeting their dogs’ maintenance and grooming requirements was <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/12/23/3247">much harder than they expected</a>.</p> <p>It’s not just bank balances and the time needed that can suffer. If people are unable to cope with the demands of grooming long-haired dogs, lack of grooming can cause welfare problems. A study of animal cruelty cases in New York found <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2022.827348/full">13% involved hair matting</a>, with some hair mats causing strangulation wounds and 93% of affected dogs having long hair.</p> <h2>How can you prevent problems?</h2> <p>If you have a curly- or long-haired breed of dog, it will help to train them to like being brushed from an early age. You can do this by counter-conditioning so they have a positive emotional response to being groomed, rather than feeling anxious. First show the brush or lightly brush them, then give them a treat. They learn to associate being brushed with something positive.</p> <p>If you take your dog to the groomer, it’s very important their first experience is positive. A scary or painful incident will make it much more difficult for future grooming.</p> <p>Is your dog difficult to groom or hard to get out of the car at the groomers? It’s likely grooming is scary for them. Consulting a dog trainer or animal behaviourist who focuses on positive training methods can help a lot.</p> <p>Keeping your dog well groomed, no matter their hair type, will keep them comfortable. More important than looking great, feeling good is an essential part of dogs living their best lives with us.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/232480/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/susan-hazel-402495">Susan Hazel</a>, Associate Professor, School of Animal and Veterinary Science, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-adelaide-1119">University of Adelaide</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mia-cobb-15211">Mia Cobb</a>, Research Fellow, Animal Welfare Science Centre, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-do-dogs-have-different-coats-experts-explain-and-give-grooming-tips-for-different-types-232480">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Family & Pets

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Winner of the World's Ugliest Dog Contest announced

<p>The annual World's Ugliest Dog contest has unearthed some true diamonds in the ruff, with one long-tongued frizz-ball being honoured with the title of the ugliest dog in the world. </p> <p>At the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, California, an eight-year-old Pekingese called Wild Thang was crowned the winner and collected the $5,000 cash prize, after failing to take home the prize five years in a row. </p> <p>"He was a fan favorite … he's kind of like the bridesmaid and never the bride," judge Fiona Ma told the <em>Associated Press</em>.</p> <p>"He really tugged at our heart strings and deserved to win."</p> <p>Wild Thang's strange looks stem from a virus he contracted as a puppy that almost killed him, but instead left him with permanent damage.</p> <p>As a result, his teeth never developed, so his tongue flops out, and his right front leg paddles all the time.</p> <p>"He's never had a hair cut so that is the way he is and [his owner] shaves his stomach and he likes to sleep on ice packs," Ma added.</p> <p>"He is just a sweet dog – I was just holding him and he loves to be held and cuddled. That's part of it, these rescue dogs, they just need forever homes, so please adopt, don't shop."</p> <p>Organisers stressed that the contest is not about making fun of the unusual looking dogs, "but having fun with some wonderful characters and showing the world that these dogs are really beautiful!"</p> <p><em>Image credits: JOHN G MABANGLO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock Editorial </em></p>

Family & Pets

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"Love harder": Perth brothers farewelled at emotional memorial service

<p>Six weeks after they were <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/tragic-new-details-emerge-over-aussie-brothers-missing-in-mexico" target="_blank" rel="noopener">shot dead</a> while on a surfing trip to Mexico, Perth brothers Jake and Callum Robinson have been farewelled in a heart-wrenching private memorial on Saturday. </p> <p>The memorial took place in Perth’s Sacred Heart College, where the brothers attended high school, and hundreds gathered at the college to remember the brothers. </p> <p>It was also live-streamed for those who could not fit into the theatre at the college, with Callum's friends also watching on from America, where he spent the last 14 years of his life. </p> <p>In an emotional tribute, their parents, Debra and Martin Robinson,  thanked loved ones abroad and in Australia for their endless support, and talked about how special their sons were. </p> <p>"We're not here to dwell on the where or the how or try to understand the why of their passing but instead to say goodbye to two young men and hopefully start the healing process for everyone," Mr Robinson said. </p> <p>“It’s hard to describe the feeling of when your adult children come and visit you, until it’s gone,” Mrs Robinson added.</p> <p>“They loved life and they followed their dreams.</p> <p>“They were intelligent, respectful men with so much more to offer the world.”</p> <p>The cover of a memorial brochure had the phrase: “LIVE BIGGER, SHINE BRIGHTER, LOVE HARDER”. </p> <p>With shaky voices, the grieving parents described how their two sons exuded “pure love”. </p> <p>"We loved that Jake was curious, kind and happy and never judgemental. Callum always made a conscious decision to wake up and be positive every day. He saw so much fun in life," Mrs Robinson said. </p> <p>"We look around the room today at everyone and it gives us strength, so thank you.</p> <p>"We have cried many tears and we will cry many more … We miss you beyond description, Callum and Jakie boy, please shine on us."</p> <p>Childhood friends Adam Moore and Simon Moore also shared anecdotes about their friendships with the brothers. </p> <p>Adam recalled how the two brothers always excelled "at any sport imaginable" and always had so much energy, and Simon spoke of their surfing adventures through the years. </p> <p>The brothers and their American friend Jack Carter Rhoad were last seen alive on April 27. They were allegedly robbed for their car tyres and murdered while they were camping in the Baja California coastline. </p> <p>Three people have been <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/arrests-made-over-aussie-surfers-missing-in-mexico" target="_blank" rel="noopener">arrested</a> over their suspected involvement in the robbery. </p> <p><em>Image: 7News</em></p>

Caring

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Common mistakes pet owners make

<p>While most pet owners have the best of intentions, sometimes not everyone is aware of the mistakes they are making or the things they could be doing better. Here’s a list of common mistakes pet owners make. How many are you guilty of?</p> <p><strong>Lack of exercise</strong><br />While each breed and species is different in reference to their specific exercise needs, one thing stays the same: every animal requires daily exercise. When working out what is the correct amount for your animal, you need to look at their age, species and breed.</p> <p>And before you go thinking of daily exercise at a chore, remember this: exercise should be fun! It can include play time, walks, jogs, runs, agility training and more. Always consult with your local vet if you want to know the specific exercise guidelines for your pet.</p> <p><strong>No behavioural training</strong><br />When bringing a new animal into your home and family, adequate training is so important. Does your animal know how to take commands? It’s important to be able to teach your pet things and that they respect you.</p> <p>Remember the saying: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Well, that’s right. Investing the time to go through behavioural training from the start will help save you time and frustration in the long run.</p> <p><strong>Your pet is bored often</strong><br />Just like humans, pets too get bored. Playing games with your furry friend – such as teaching them tricks or providing them with the toys and space to do interesting things – will do wonders in ensuring their mind is constantly developed.</p> <p>If your pet is stimulated, it should stop them from destroying the house, and your things, when you’re out.</p> <p><strong>Poorly looked after teeth</strong><br />A common mistake a lot of pet owners make, is not brushing often enough – or at all – their pet’s teeth. After all, dental hygiene is one of the most important health issues animals face. The good news is this is avoidable by regularly brushing your pet’s teeth and checking on their oral hygiene.</p> <p>Anything out of the ordinary may be an indication of infection, but when caught early, can be more easily treated. So ensure you book in regular visits at the vet to check your furry friend’s mouth too.</p> <p><strong>Not enough trips to the vet</strong><br />Just as it is important for humans to go to the dentist and doctor for check-ups and shots regularly, visiting the vet and keeping up with a vaccination schedule is equally as important.</p> <p>If not more so, as pets cannot tell you when something is wrong. Booking into to see the vet every so often will ensure your pet is healthy and blossoming for years to come. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

Family & Pets

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"SHEER INSANITY": Dog owner slammed over bizarre request

<p>A cat owner was left purr-plexed after receiving a bizarre note from her neighbour about her cats. </p> <p>She took to Facebook to share the "unhinged" letter, racking up over 15,000 comments from other people who were furious on her behalf. </p> <p>"Hey neighbour! Can you please keep your cats out of the window?" the letter read. </p> <p>"They are causing my dog to sit in the window and bark all day long."</p> <p>The anonymous letter ended abruptly with: "I work from home so this is very difficult, thanks, K."</p> <p>The cat owner said  that she has three cats and two new kittens in her house, and although they occasionally sit on the window when it's a nice outside, they "do nothing but sleep." </p> <p>"We keep the windows open because we don’t have aircon yet," she added.</p> <p>The dog owner had barked up the wrong tree, as many commenters slammed them for their "entitled" behaviour. </p> <p>"Tell them to train the dog," one said, echoing the thoughts of many. </p> <p>"LMAO, you cannot stop a cat from sitting in a window. Cats will find a way, but you can absolutely do a number of things to stop a dog from barking at a window," another added. </p> <p>"This can’t be real. What a crazy neighbour," a third wrote. </p> <p> "I’m totally a dog person, but trying to make your neighbour discipline their cat for sitting in a window because you won’t discipline your dog for nuisance barking is SHEER INSANITY. I mean, what the hell?" a fellow dog owner added. </p> <p>"Train your cat not to chill in a window because training a dog not to disturb the s*** out of everyone is too hard? I can’t believe this neighbour had the nerve."</p> <p>"Imagine being so entitled that you think it’s someone else’s responsibility to control your pet’s behaviour," another wrote. </p> <p>Another person pointed out: "If ‘your dog’ is barking when they look out the window, then cover 'your window'." </p> <p><em>Image: Facebook</em></p> <p> </p>

Family & Pets

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Adorable Collie sells for world record-breaking price

<p>A border collie has been sold for a world record-breaking amount at the Ray White Rockhampton Working Dog Sale and Trial.</p> <p>Helen and James Parker paid $40,000 for Liz, a border collie who they describe as the "whole package". </p> <p>The couple, who run a wagyu cattle farm in Monto, Queensland are keen to welcome the pup who will help them muster cattle as part of the day-to-day running of the farm. </p> <p>"We leave in the morning early, they might do three to four hours mustering in the morning, then we get the cattle to the yard and then in the afternoon we'll walk them away," Helen said.</p> <p>"Our mustering round's about a week, so all day for a week, so some big days and it's hot up here in summer so they need to be able to travel and follow us on a horse and big days in hot conditions so we can't do the job without them."</p> <p>Liz, who was raised by Joe Leven, is the second dog the couple have purchased from Joe, and they say the price was worth it. </p> <p>"We weren't planning on breaking records but we're happy to have her," Helen told 2GB's Ben Fordham.</p> <p>"She's the whole package, she's got breeding behind her, she has all herding ability, natural instinct. I just think she's a great asset to our team."</p> <p>Although Liz is an unusual name for a cattle dog, it is actually a tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth.</p> <p>"Joe named them and there's a bit of a story behind how Liz got her name. She was born the year that Queen Elizabeth passed away, so she's really upheld her name, she's the queen," Helen explained.</p> <p>The Rockhampton Working Dog trial and Sale was a success for Joe and Cabra Glebe Working Dogs, who managed to sell another dog, Jenny for $38,000. </p> <p><em>Image: Ray White Working dog sale Facebook</em></p> <p> </p>

Family & Pets

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“Is that Snoop Dog?!”: Man caught with fake passenger in carpool lane

<p>A US motorist has been handed a traffic infringement after police found him using a dummy to drive in the carpool lane. </p> <p>Not only did his hilarious attempt to bypass morning traffic with the fake passenger whose goatee was "just a little too sharp" get him fined, he helped authorities answer the common question: “If I have a mannequin in the passenger seat, does that count as a second occupant in the vehicle? </p> <p>"The answer is simple… NO."</p> <p>According to an Instagram post shared by the California Highway Patrol Santa Fe Spring, authorities stopped the unnamed driver for crossing a double line when they noticed the plastic passenger. </p> <p>"Officer Kaplan made an enforcement stop on this vehicle for crossing solid double lines only to realise the driver was the only occupant in the vehicle with their plastic friend," they wrote. </p> <p>The mannequin in question had a human-like mask, sported a hoodie and sunglasses, and was seated upright with his seatbelt buckled in just like any other passenger. </p> <p>And he would've gotten away with it too if it weren't for the fake facial hair. </p> <p>"The goatee was sharp … just a little too sharp," they shared. </p> <p>"We've gotta give it to them, the appearance is next-level modelling but at the end of the day ... plastic is plastic." </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C6K7Thkr2CO/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C6K7Thkr2CO/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by CHP Santa Fe Springs (@chp_santa_fe_springs)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The driver was issued with a number of citations for carpool violations, but many online commenters shared their amusement at the light-hearted nature of the traffic violation. </p> <p>"Is that snoop dog?!" wrote one commenter. </p> <p>"Leave Stevie wonder alone," joked another. </p> <p>"I really don’t see a problem here because most people are fake and have lots of plastic on them anyways," quipped a third. </p> <p><em>Image: Instagram</em></p> <p> </p>

Legal

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Dog care below freezing − how to keep your pet warm and safe from cold weather, road salt and more this winter

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/erik-christian-olstad-1505284">Erik Christian Olstad</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-california-davis-1312">University of California, Davis</a></em></p> <p>Time outside with your dog in the spring, summer and fall can be lovely. Visiting your favorite downtown café on a cool spring morning, going to a favorite dog park on a clear summer evening or going on walks along a river when the leaves are changing color are all wonderful when the weather is favorable. But in much of the country, when winter rolls around, previously hospitable conditions can <a href="https://theconversation.com/is-winter-miserable-for-wildlife-108734">quickly turn chilly and dangerous</a> for people and pups alike.</p> <p>Winter brings some unique challenges for dog owners, since dogs still need activity and socialization during colder seasons. Studies have shown that dog owners are almost 50% less likely to walk their dogs <a href="https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11113302">when the weather gets cold</a>. Knowing the basics of winter safety is critical to maintaining a healthy lifestyle for your dog.</p> <p>I am an <a href="https://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/faculty/erik-olstad">assistant professor</a> at the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine who weathered polar vortexes with my dog while living in Michigan early in my career. While I’ve since moved to sunny California, I’ve seen how quickly frigid temperatures can turn dangerous for pets.</p> <h2>Breed and age differences</h2> <p>Not all dogs have the same abilities to deal with cold weather. A short-coated dog like a Chihuahua is much more susceptible to the dangers of cold weather than a thick-coated husky. When the weather dips below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius), the well-acclimated husky may be comfortable, whereas the Chihuahua would shiver and be at risk of hypothermia.</p> <p>Additionally, if your dog is used to warm weather, but you decide to move to a colder region, the dog will need time to acclimate to that colder weather, even if they have a thick coat.</p> <p>Age also affects cold-weather resilience. Puppies and elderly dogs can’t withstand the chill as well as other dogs, but every dog is unique – each may have individual health conditions or physical attributes that make them more or less resilient to cold weather.</p> <h2>When is my dog too cold?</h2> <p>Pet owners should be able to recognize the symptoms of a dog that is getting too cold. Dogs will shiver, and some may vocalize or whine. Dogs may resist putting their feet down on the cold ground, or burrow, or try to find warmth in their environment when they are uncomfortable.</p> <p>Just like people, <a href="https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/frostbite-in-dogs">dogs can get frostbite</a>. And just like people, the signs can take days to appear, making it hard to assess them in the moment. The most common sites for frostbite in dogs are their ears and the tips of their tails. Some of the initial signs of frostbite are skin discoloring, turning paler than normal, or purple, gray or even black; red, blistered skin; swelling; pain at the site; <a href="https://www.britannica.com/science/ulcer">or ulceration</a>.</p> <p>Other <a href="https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/frostbite-in-dogs">serious signs of hypothermia</a> include sluggishness or lethargy, and if you observe them, please visit your veterinarian immediately. A good rule to live by is if it is too cold for you, it is too cold for your dog.</p> <p>Getting your dog a <a href="https://www.cnn.com/cnn-underscored/pets/best-winter-dog-coats-jackets">sweater or jacket</a> and <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/vets-corner/protect-dogs-paws-snow-ice-salt/">paw covers</a> can provide them with protection from the elements and keep them comfortable. Veterinarians also recommend closely monitoring your dog and limiting their time outside when the temperature nears the freezing point or drops below it.</p> <h2>Road salt dangers</h2> <p>Road salt that treats ice on streets and sidewalks <a href="https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/ice-salt-toxic-for-pets-1.5020088">can also harm dogs</a>. When dogs walk on the salt, the sharp, rough edges of the salt crystals can irritate the sensitive skin on their paws.</p> <p>Dogs will often lick their feet when they’re dirty, wet or irritated, and if they ingest any salt doing that, they may face GI upset, dehydration, kidney failure, seizures or even death. Even small amounts of pure salt can <a href="https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-tips/my-dog-ate-road-salt-will-they-be-okay/">disrupt critical body functions</a> in dogs.</p> <p>Some companies make pet-safe salt, but in public it can be hard to tell what type of salt is on the ground. After walking your dog, wash off their feet or boots. You can also keep their paw fur trimmed to prevent snow from balling up or salt collecting in the fur. Applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly or <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/how-to-make-your-own-paw-balm-for-winter/">paw pad balm</a> to the skin of the paw pads can also help protect your pet’s paws from irritation.</p> <h2>Antifreeze risks</h2> <p><a href="https://www.britannica.com/science/antifreeze-chemical-substance">Antifreeze, or ethylene glycol</a>, is in most vehicles to prevent the fluids from freezing when it gets cold out. Some people pour antifreeze into their toilets when away from their home to prevent the water in the toilet from freezing.</p> <p>Antifreeze is an exceptionally dangerous chemical to dogs and cats, as it tastes sweet but can be deadly when ingested. If a pet ingests even a small amount of antifreeze, the substance causes a chemical cascade in their body that results in severe kidney damage. If left untreated, the pet may have <a href="https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-owner-blog/antifreeze-poisoning/">permanent kidney damage or die</a>.</p> <p>There are safer antifreeze options on the market that use ingredients other than ethylene glycol. If your dog ingests antifreeze, please see your veterinarian immediately for treatment.</p> <p>When temperatures dip below freezing, the best thing pet owners can do is keep the time spent outside as minimal as possible. Try some <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/great-indoor-games-to-play-with-your-dog/">indoor activities</a>, like hide-and-seek with low-calorie treats, fetch or even an interactive obstacle course. Food puzzles can also keep your dog mentally engaged during indoor time.</p> <p>Although winter presents some unique challenges, it can still be an enjoyable and healthy time for you and your canine companion.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/221709/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/erik-christian-olstad-1505284">Erik Christian Olstad</a>, Health Sciences Assistant Professor of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-california-davis-1312">University of California, Davis</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/dog-care-below-freezing-how-to-keep-your-pet-warm-and-safe-from-cold-weather-road-salt-and-more-this-winter-221709">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Family & Pets

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5 tips to keep your dog happy when indoors

<p>The cooler months are well and truly here and the dreary weather is enough to make anyone a little sad, including our furry friends. According to a study by veterinary charity People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, one in three dogs experience a downturn in mood during winter months. If the rain is preventing you getting out and about, here are five tips to keep your pooch happy and healthy when indoors.</p> <p><strong>1. Stair work/treadmill/indoor pool</strong></p> <p>Use what you have in your home. If you live in a multi-storey place, playing fetch up or down the stairs is a fun way for your pooch to get a workout. Alternatively, if you have a treadmill at home, use it to walk your dog on a rainy day. Swimming is also a great physical activity, particularly if dogs have joint problems.</p> <p><strong>2. Obedience training</strong></p> <p>Dust off the training books and work with your pooch to improve their obedience skills. It will keep your furry friend mentally active and dispel any boredom.</p> <p><strong>3. Hide and seek</strong></p> <p>Dogs need their senses stimulated – it’s why when they’re outside they will listen, sniff and dig out anything that’s out of the ordinary. Keep your furry friend entertained with a game of hide and seek. Place healthy treats around the house to get your pooch curious and exploring old surrounds.</p> <p><strong>4. Rotation diet</strong></p> <p>Rotating proteins (meats, fish, and poultry) and mixing in different forms of food (wet, dry and raw) will keep your dog interested in food and eating. Consult your vet about the type of diet your dog should be on for optimal health.</p> <p><strong>5. Play time</strong></p> <p>Interactive toys are a great way to pass time, stimulate and entertain your pooch inside. Puzzle toys, Kong balls with treats stuffed inside or just some one-on-one indoor play time will keep your four-legged friend happy.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Family & Pets

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REVIEW: Super-intelligent, dog-detecting robot lawn mower

<p>I was recently invited to an onsite demonstration of a brand new line of lawn mowers that were pitched as being not just a lawn mower, but a furry-friend dodging, grass-grooming marvel of modern technology.</p> <p>According to the specs, the <a href="https://au.worx.com/vision-technology/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">WORX LANDROID® Vision</a> is the world’s first advanced AI, "unbox &amp; mow" robot lawn mower. "No wire. No satellite. No beacons. No time between unboxing and mowing."</p> <p>Using a combination of HRD camera, the latest AI smarts and a deeply trained neural network to identify grass to mow and obstacles to avoid, it features the innovative "Cut-to-Edge" function, multi-zone management and adaptive auto-scheduling. Plus an<span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;"> optional LED headlight safe night-mowing (apparently, unlike conventional robots, Vision sees nocturnal animals and stays away from them).</span></p> <p>But the real test for me was always going to be: how would something like the Vision get along with my dog, Rosie? I was offered the chance to try out one of the mowers for a few weeks, and so I jumped at it.</p> <p>But let's talk about Rosie for a moment. Now, this little ball of fur thinks she's the queen of the backyard. She zooms around like a tiny tornado, and honestly I think she believes the grass is her personal chew toy. So, when I introduced the LANDROID into the mix, I was half expecting chaos and half hoping for a miracle.</p> <p>Lo and behold, this mower is not just a lawn whisperer; it's a puppy ninja. The WORX LANDROID has some sort of superpower in its sensors, allowing it to detect my pup's presence and skilfully manoeuvre around her. It was like watching a graceful dance between technology and canine curiosity.</p> <p>For the duration of the test, Rosie basically appointed herself as the official supervisor of lawn maintenance, proudly watching from a safe distance (and sometimes not so safe) as the LANDROID worked its magic.</p> <p>But let's not forget about the real star of the show: the lawn itself. The LANDROID doesn't just dodge around obstacles; it trims with precision, leaving my yard looking like a freshly coiffed celebrity. It's like having a personal stylist for my grass – one that never sleeps. </p> <p>And the best part? I get to sit back, relax and sip my lemonade while the LANDROID does all the heavy lifting (or should I say, mowing). It's like having a reliable little garden gnome, except this one runs on electricity and has impeccable dodging skills.</p> <p>So if you want a lawn mower that's not only efficient but also entertaining, look no further than the <a href="https://au.worx.com/vision-technology/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">WORX LANDROID Vision</a>. It's the perfect blend of technology, pet sensitivity and grass-grooming prowess. Plus, it's the only mower I know that can outmanoeuvre a puppy – and that is definitely something to bark about.</p> <p><em>Images: Alex Cracknell</em></p>

Home & Garden

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Jesse Baird's mother farewells her son in emotional memorial service

<p>Slain TV presenter Jesse Baird has been farewelled by his loved ones at an emotional memorial service in Melbourne, one month after he was killed alongside his partner. </p> <p>Hundreds of friends and family packed into Melbourne’s Plenty Ranges Arts and Convention Centre, all donning bright colours to remember the 26-year-old.</p> <p>Baird's mother Helen spoke about her "darling boy" in a tear-jerking tribute, saying, “My beautiful, generous, loving, precious, caring and talented boy, our hearts and lives are changed forever,”</p> <p>“I promise to fight for you and make you proud. My heart is broken my darling boy, and I love you more than this world."</p> <p>"Our hearts and lives are changed forever and there is less sparkle in the world. There will never be another you."</p> <p>Jesse's father Gary added, “You squeezed 100 years of life into 26 and our hearts are broken. You’ll be missed but never forgotten.” </p> <p>Kourtnee, Jesse's sister, battled through floods of tears to farewell her brother, saying, "You are the absolute light of my life. My biggest inspiration and my biggest cheerleader."</p> <p>Jesse's <em>Studio 10</em> colleagues were also in attendance, with co-host Daniel Doody saying that Baird "was more than a co-worker, he was a brother, a best mate."</p> <p>"Just like all your live on-air appearances, I wish there was more time."</p> <p>Balloons spelling out Baird’s name adorned the convention centre’s stage alongside photos of him smiling at different stages in his life.</p> <p>After the service, the large crowd gathered outside to blow a flurry of bubbles.</p> <p><em>Image credits: 7News</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Detection dogs to lead search for Samantha Murphy's body

<p>Detectives have launched a <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/new-update-in-search-for-samantha-murphy-s-body" target="_blank" rel="noopener">fresh search</a> for Samantha Murphy's body, but after spending eight hours on Wednesday trying to locate her remains in Buninyong to no avail, they are trying a different approach. </p> <p>Technology detection dogs will assist detectives in their search on Thursday, at a new site that police have not specified, with the intention of trying to track her phone or watch. </p> <p>“We’ll be going to a different location but we will also use assistance from the Australian Federal Police today in technical detection dogs,” Chief Commissioner Shane Patton told <em>ABC Radio</em>. </p> <p>“We don’t have the capacity — we are trying to get that capability — to run a dog that can detect a SIM from a mobile phone and that type of thing.</p> <p>“We still haven’t recovered her phone and her watch. We’ll use all those specialist skills.”</p> <p>He also added that the "intelligence" they received, which sparked this fresh search did not come from interviews with accused murderer, Patrick Orren Stephenson. </p> <p>“We are doing everything we can to try and find Samantha Murphy’s body. We weren’t successful yesterday but we will continue to do everything we can,” Chief Commissioner Patton said. </p> <p>In another statement, Victoria police also said that the search on Thursday is not a "full-scale targeted search". </p> <p>"This is not a full-scale targeted search as took place yesterday in Buninyong with a range of specialist resources," they said. </p> <p>"Detectives from the Missing Persons squad have been based in Ballarat for over a month and regularly undertake a range of enquiries and small scale searches as part of the current investigation." </p> <p>The accused murderer, who is the <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/everything-we-know-about-samantha-murphy-s-accused-killer" target="_blank" rel="noopener">son of former AFL player</a> Orren Stephenson, was arrested and charged on March 6, and was refused bail at Ballarat Magistrate’s Court.</p> <p>He will next face court on August 8.</p> <p><em>Images: Nine News</em></p> <p> </p>

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"Cruel" shopper slammed for leaving dog in hot car

<p>A woman has been slammed on social media for allegedly leaving her dog in an unattended car for 40 minutes on a hot day. </p> <p>The incident occurred at Warringah Mall in Sydney's north on Monday, when temperatures reached up to 28 degrees.</p> <p>Claire, claimed the dog-owner pulled up next to her in an undercover car park, and then watched the woman leave her pet locked in an unattended car while she shopped. </p> <p>"Myself and my mother waited till she got back," she told <em>Yahoo News Australia</em>. </p> <p>"It was around 3.15pm and she didn’t come back till just before 4pm".</p> <p>During that time, Claire said she called security, who attempted to contact the owner via a mobile number on the dog's harness. She also tried calling the RSPCA and police but claimed that not much could be done.</p> <p>When the owner finally returned, Claire questioned her about leaving the "panting and drooling" animal unattended, but the woman reportedly  just "laughed and scoffed" before "driving away as quick as possible".</p> <p>Claire shared photos of the pup on Facebook  and criticised the owner, for her "absolute irresponsibility and disgusting behaviour", calling her an "absolute d**khead". </p> <p> "People like you should not own animals," she wrote. </p> <p>While many agreed that the woman's actions were "absolutely awful," a few others argued the act was fine as the car was undercover and "the dog doesn't look hot and distressed at all."</p> <p>Another person who claimed to know the owner, said that the woman's car "has an aircon function which allows the air-conditioning to run when the engine is not running" and the pet is generally "very spoiled and happy". </p> <p>A few others disagreed, and said that the act was "cruel" and "simply disgusting" regardless. </p> <p>"Undercover or not you don't lock a baby in a car, you don't lock an animal in a car ... no excuse," one wrote.</p> <p>An RSPCA spokesperson has also spoken out and said that leaving a dog inside a car unattended is "always dangerous" no matter the location or the temperature outside. </p> <p>They said that even on mild days, temperatures in a car can "rapidly heat up" and can reach "double" the outside temperature.</p> <p>"When it’s 22 degrees Celsius outside, the inside of a car can reach a stifling 47 degrees and this is no environment for a dog," the spokesperson said.</p> <p><em>Image: Facebook</em></p>

Family & Pets

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AFP reveal what police dogs found in Erin Patterson's home

<p>The Police Commissioner has revealed what detective dogs found during an extensive search of Erin Patterson's house after her arrest. </p> <p>Patterson, the Gippsland woman at the centre of a mushroom lunch that resulted in the deaths of three people, was charged with multiple counts of murder and attempted murder late last year. </p> <p>AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw has shared that detective dogs uncovered a series of suspicious items, which were not found during the initial search of Patterson's home. </p> <p>"In November last year, the AFP provided its technology detector dogs to assist our hard-working colleagues at Victoria Police while executing a search warrant relating to individuals who had ingested death cap mushrooms," Kershaw told a Senate estimates hearing.</p> <p>"Technology Detector Dog Georgia found one USB, a micro secure digital card and a sim card."</p> <p>"Technology Detector Dog Alma found a mobile phone, five iPads, a trail camera, and a secure digital card and a smart watch."</p> <p>"These were not found during initial searches undertaken by officers."</p> <p>Patterson remains behind bars while police sift through the newly uncovered evidence, as she is expected to front court again on March 25th. </p> <p>The three murder charges and two of the attempted murder charges relate to a beef wellington lunch allegedly laced with death cap mushrooms that was cooked and served by Patterson at her home on July 29th 2023. </p> <p>The three other attempted murder charges relate to her husband Simon, 48, after he became sick following meals on three occasions between 2021 and 2022.</p> <p>Court documents revealed Patterson is accused of attempting to kill Simon on four occasions - between 16th and 17th November 2021, between 25th and 27th May 2022, on 6th September 2022 and at the mushroom lunch in July 2023. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine News / A Current Affair</em></p>

Legal

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Veteran slams Australia Day “dawn service”

<p dir="ltr">An Australian war veteran has slammed a Sydney council for their decision to hold a dawn reflection service on January 26th, saying it is “disrespectful” to those who fought and died for their country. </p> <p dir="ltr">The Anzac-day style service, held by Sydney’s Waverley council, will acknowledge the resilience and survival of First Nations people, recognising Australia Day as a “day of mourning” for many Indigenous Australians.</p> <p dir="ltr">Michael von Berg, a Military Cross recipient who served as a combat soldier in the Vietnam War, has denounced the council’s decision, saying dawn services should only be held on Anzac Day, as the events are synonymous with honouring past soldiers.</p> <p dir="ltr">“For God's sake. It's a disservice not only to the veteran community but also to First Nations soldiers who fought and died for their country,” he said. </p> <p dir="ltr">Mr von Berg, who claims to have served alongside Aboriginal soldiers on his first tour of Vietnam in the mid-1960s, questioned the purpose of the event, describing it as “cheap symbolism”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Personally, a dawn service of this nature flies in the face of what they traditionally stand for, which is honouring soldiers,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This stuff doesn't help anyone. I have nothing but respect for First Nations people but there's got to be another way.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr von Berg urged Waverley Council to “seriously reconsider” the event, suggesting they “Hold it on another date.”</p> <p dir="ltr">However, Mayor of Waverley Council Paula Masselos hit back at criticism of the dawn service, given Australia Day was a day of mourning for many First Nations people.</p> <p dir="ltr">“As a Council that is committed to social justice, we understand that January 26 can be a difficult day for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and that many in our community are still coming to terms with the result of the Voice to Parliament referendum,” Mayor Masselos said. </p> <p dir="ltr">Australia Day, observed each year on January 26th, marks the landing of the First Fleet in 1788 when the first governor of the British colony of New South Wales, Arthur Philip, hoisted the Union Jack at Sydney Cove. </p> <p dir="ltr">But for many First Nations people, it is regarded as 'Invasion Day' or the 'Day of Mourning' because it marks the beginning of Australia's colonisation. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images / Facebook</em><span id="docs-internal-guid-1ab8c0e8-7fff-8bde-2daf-7f474ce062b4"></span></p>

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World's oldest dog has title suspended amid doubts about his age

<p>The world's <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/miraculous-meet-the-world-s-oldest-dog" target="_blank" rel="noopener">oldest dog</a>, Bobi, who was reportedly 31 years and 165 days old when he died in October, has provisionally lost his title as Guinness World Records investigates his age. </p> <p>Bobi, a purebred Rafeiro do Alentejo, was a livestock guardian breed with a life expectancy of anywhere between 12-14 years, which meant that he lived over double his age. </p> <p>His age was initially confirmed by the Veterinary Medical Service of the Municipality of Leiria, which said he had been registered in 1992, which was then verified by Portuguese government-authorised pet database SIAC. </p> <p>He was crowned the world's "oldest ever dog" in February, and his owner Leonel Costa claimed that there were many reasons behind the dog's extraordinary age. </p> <p>Costa said that Bobi always roamed freely, lived in a "calm, peaceful" environment and ate human food soaked in water to remove seasonings. </p> <p>But now, Bobi's true age has been question after suspicions about the evidence that proved his true age were raised not long after his death. </p> <p>"While our review is ongoing we have decided to temporarily pause both the record titles for oldest dog living and ever just until all of our findings are in place," a spokesperson told CNN. </p> <p>The GWR is now conducting a formal review, which involves analysing existing evidence, seeking new evidence, and reaching out to experts and those linked to the original application.</p> <p>The previous record for the world's oldest dog was held by Australian cattle dog Bluey, who was born in 1910 and lived to be 29 years and five months old.</p> <p><em>Image: Youtube</em></p> <p> </p>

Family & Pets

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Rob Dale "destroyed" after police shot dead pet dog

<p>Rob Dale, who has previously starred in reality TV show <em>Aussie Gold Hunters</em>, was left heartbroken after his pet dog Monty was shot dead during an arrest in Perth's north-east. </p> <p>Police were making an arrest in Dale's house on Stratton Blvd at around 9:30am on Tuesday when the incident occurred. </p> <p>“While at the residence, a dog owned by another person approached and attacked the arrested suspect and a female police officer,” authorities said at the time. </p> <p> A male officer fired at Monty "to prevent further injury". </p> <p>Two men were arrested for aggravated home burglary and commit, stealing and trespassing, after a series of incidences that led police officers to Dale's home. </p> <p>Dale was not home at the time of the incident, and there is no suggestion that he was involved in any alleged crimes. </p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">The TV personality said that his nine-year-old French mastiff x Great Dane, was a  much loved “member of the family," and he was only trying to protect the occupants of the house. </span></p> <p>“He was loyal and protective and he gave me a lot of comfort knowing that if anything was to happen ... my family would be safe with him,” Dale said. </p> <p>“This has destroyed my children and myself.”</p> <p>Dale described his pet as  a “really soft-natured animal”, and was a "protector of the family”. </p> <p>“He was just fulfilling his duty in that house and that’s to protect the occupants, and it’s cost him his life,” Dale added. </p> <p>Both the suspect and police officer were taken to hospital after the incident and discharged on Tuesday afternoon. </p> <p>Images: <em>7NEWS</em></p> <p> </p>

Family & Pets

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Our dogs can terrify (and even kill) wildlife. Here’s how to be a responsible owner this summer

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/melissa-starling-461103">Melissa Starling</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>In Australia, dog ownership often goes hand-in-hand with a love for the great outdoors. Whether it’s walking on the beach, going camping, or having a barbecue in the park, we tend to keep our canine companions close as we soak up the sun.</p> <p>But many of us forget a key fact about our dogs: they are predators. Even the fluffy little 5kg ball that spends most of its time in your lap derives from an apex predator – and its predatory instincts can kick in at any time.</p> <p>And while many of our dogs don’t have the same hunting skills as their distant ancestors (who had to hunt for a living), wildlife doesn’t know that.</p> <p>The impacts of domestic dogs on wildlife aren’t well studied, and likely vary depending on the environment. Nonetheless, there’s good evidence domestic dogs, when left unobserved, can have detrimental effects in the places they visit.</p> <p>With that in mind, here are some things to consider next time you take your pup out for a bushwalk.</p> <h2>How dogs impact ecosystems</h2> <p>There are <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0006320717305967">five main ways</a> domestic dogs can negatively impact the natural environments they visit. These are:</p> <ol> <li>direct physical harm through predatory behaviour</li> <li>disturbance through chasing and harassment</li> <li>increased exposure to diseases</li> <li>interbreeding, which can alter the gene pool of wild canid populations</li> <li>increased competition for resources.</li> </ol> <p>The good news is the last three points aren’t particularly relevant in Australia. For one thing, there’s little overlap between diseases common in domestic dogs and Australian wildlife. There’s also little resource overlap, except perhaps in some areas where feral or semi-feral dogs live alongside dingoes.</p> <p>And regarding potential interbreeding, while it was once thought this could threaten the dingo gene pool, <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/mec.16998">recent research</a> suggests it’s not nearly as common as we thought.</p> <p>As such, the main harms Aussie dog owners should focus on are physical harms through predatory behaviour and disturbance to ecosystems.</p> <h2>Dogs can kill</h2> <p>We know dogs are capable of injuring and killing wildlife, but it’s difficult to determine how common this is, because many events go unreported. While smaller animals such as lizards, gliders and possums are at higher risk, larger species such as koalas can also fall prey to dogs.</p> <p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0206958">One study</a> that looked at wildlife coming into care at Queensland rehabilitation centres reported dog attacks as the cause in about 9% of cases. These cases often resulted in severe injury or death.</p> <p>Dog owners should be especially wary of small, localised populations of vulnerable species. A <a href="https://ri.conicet.gov.ar/bitstream/handle/11336/202640/CONICET_Digital_Nro.29048152-7a5c-4ea2-8068-e73d42cba01d_B.pdf?sequence=2&amp;isAllowed=y">study</a> in Argentina’s Patagonia region details several cases of dogs decimating local penguin populations after gaining access to protected island areas during low tide.</p> <p>Not to mention, dog attacks on wildlife can bring risk to dogs as well. Kangaroos can defend themselves with <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-10-16/mildura-man-fights-kangaroo-to-protect-dog/102983926">their powerful limbs</a>, monitor lizards are equipped with sharp claws and teeth, and many snake species <a href="https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/dogs-twice-as-likely-to-die-from-snake-bite-as-cats-research-finds-20200519-p54ufd.html">are highly venomous</a>.</p> <h2>The impact of harassment</h2> <p>You might think it’s harmless for your dog to chase wildlife if it never manages to catch the animals it chases, but that isn’t true. Wild animals optimise their behaviours to meet their needs for foraging, breeding and resting, and being chased by a dog can disrupt this.</p> <p>For example, certain threatened bird species will nest on the beach and find foraging opportunities based on the tides. One dog forcing one bird to abandon this important activity may have a small impact. But if it happens repeatedly throughout the day, it can become a <a href="https://wilderness-society.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Dogs-as-agents-of-disturbance-Michael-A.-Weston-and-Theodore-Stankowich.pdf">much bigger problem</a>. It may even drive animals out of the area.</p> <p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2391219/">Research</a> conducted in Sydney has shown the mere presence of a leashed dog is enough to temporarily, yet dramatically, reduce the number of bird species detected.</p> <h2>Keep an eye on your furry pal</h2> <p>Responsible dog ownership involves making sure our dogs have a minimal impact on others, including wildlife. How can we achieve this when our dogs are simply engaging in behaviours that come naturally to them, and may even be rewarding for them?</p> <p>Training your dog to have general obedience – especially to come when called – is worth sinking considerable time and effort into. This can save both your dog and any wildlife they may be after. For instance, calling a dog away from a snake is one of the most effective ways of managing snake bite risk.</p> <p>One <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/333344634_Applying_Social_Marketing_to_Koala_Conservation_The_Leave_It_Pilot_Program">pilot study</a> in Victoria found positive outcomes from a program that helped owners train their dogs to be more obedient around wildlife.</p> <p>That said, recall training is an art form, and recalling a dog that likes to run off and chase animals can be a huge challenge.</p> <p>Another solution is to rely on leashes when passing sensitive areas, or where there’s a risk of wildlife harassment. In Australia, many beaches that allow dogs have signs with information about vulnerable birds in the area and how to protect them from your dog.</p> <p>This could mean keeping your dog off rock platforms, leashing them when you see birds foraging on the beach, or keeping them out of fenced areas. Some areas are simply too vulnerable for dogs to run amok, so always look for signs and read them carefully.</p> <p>If you’re hiking, use a long line (a leash that’s more than five metres long) and look for signs of your dog detecting something of interest. Often their ears will come up high and forward, and they will freeze and stare intently.</p> <p>At this point, it doesn’t matter what they’re excited about: take the opportunity to leash them or shorten their leash, and get their attention before they can take off. Investing in a long leash will allow your dog more freedom without putting wildlife at risk.</p> <p>If your dog does injure an animal, you should quickly contact a wildlife rescue organisation or take the animal to a veterinary practice or sanctuary. For small animals, even minor injuries from a dog will usually require veterinary attention.</p> <p>It’s our responsibility to be respectful visitors when we’re out in nature, and to make sure our dogs are too. <!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/214722/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/melissa-starling-461103"><em>Melissa Starling</em></a><em>, Postdoctoral Researcher in Veterinary Science, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/our-dogs-can-terrify-and-even-kill-wildlife-heres-how-to-be-a-responsible-owner-this-summer-214722">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Do dogs actually watch TV?

<p><strong>Doggy mysteries </strong></p> <p>Have you ever been cuddled on the couch with your dog and noticed him fixate on something on the TV? Maybe it’s another dog, a bird, or some other animal, or just some action taking place in your favourite TV show or movie. It sure looks like your pup is watching TV, but is it your imagination?</p> <p>We know that dogs experience colour and light differently than humans do, so their eyes don’t see things the same way. So, do dogs watch TV? It’s one of those <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/pets/decode-your-dogs-behaviour-17-dog-behaviours-explained" target="_blank" rel="noopener">questions about weird dog behaviour</a> that pet lovers are always curious about, so we asked pet experts to weigh in.</p> <p><strong>Do dogs watch TV?</strong></p> <p>The answer is basically a yes. Dr Cherice Roth, Chief Veterinary Officer with the pet health care company Fuzzy, confirms that your pup’s apparent TV-watching habits are indeed the real thing. “Some dogs do watch TV!” says Dr Roth, adding that dogs can actually become engrossed by what’s on the tube.</p> <p>“Much like with humans, [a dog’s interest will vary] based on their attention span and attention to motion.” Plus, depending on how high the volume is, they’ll also react to sounds on the TV – especially anything that sounds like their favourite squeaky dog toy – and may be fixated on that as much as the action on the screen. </p> <p><strong>Is it OK for dogs to watch TV?</strong></p> <p>Just because dogs can watch TV, does it mean they should? Dr Albert Ahn, a veterinary advisor with Myos Pet, offers a qualified yes. “Many owners leave the television on to provide their dogs with a distraction while they leave for work or run errands,” he says, adding that TV can be a helpful tool to help reduce feelings of mild separation anxiety.</p> <p>However, Dr Ahn cautions that TV should not be used as a replacement for real owner-pet interaction. “Dogs are social animals,” he explains, “and they need interactions with their pet parents, as well as appropriate amounts of daily exercise.” So unlike your moody teen, who may be more interested in a smartphone than in your company, your dog always wants to hang out with you, whether that means going for a walk, playing a game of fetch, or just chilling on the couch at your side.</p> <p>Dr Roth highlights another potential issue: Some commercials or programming may emit sounds that are distressing to dogs. Typically, bothersome noises for dogs include explosions, gunshots, sirens and crying, and TV sounds that are loud to us are even louder for dogs, thanks to their more sensitive ears – and sounds that are barely perceptible to us might really bother them. So if you’re leaving the TV on when you’re not at home, it’s a good idea to keep the volume low.</p> <p><strong>What does TV look like to dogs?</strong></p> <p>When it comes to watching TV, humans have a distinct advantage over dogs, mostly because we can see colour, and dogs see only a very limited colour range (though they do see in the dark better than we do). “It’s hard to say exactly what [TV] looks like for a dog,” says Dr Ahn. “However, it is generally believed that because of the composition of the cones in the retina, dogs probably are only able to see two specific colours – blue and yellow.”</p> <p>Dr Roth agrees, noting that most dogs can see the movement of images and appreciate the sound, but they’re likely not able to interpret changes in colours. So if you’re looking for the right channel to entertain your pooch, live-action programs with noisy animals will probably interest them more than, say, a colourful cartoon like The Lion King.</p> <p><strong>Do dogs know that TV isn't real?</strong></p> <p>So we’ve answered the question of “Do dogs watch TV?” But what about their perception of TV? Do they understand that there’s not a “real” dog or cat romping on the 2D screen, or do they think it’s the real thing? “We have not been able to establish that pets can distinguish real versus fantasy,” says Dr Roth. The only one who knows for certain is the dog himself, and he’s not telling.</p> <p>Dr Ahn agrees that it’s hard to know exactly what dogs think about television and whether it’s real or not. “But,” he says, “one might deduce that over time, dogs are at least able to sense that there is limited (one-way) interactivity with a television.”</p> <p><strong>Why do some dogs watch TV and others don't?</strong></p> <p>Why does your best friend like action movies while you prefer to binge-watch Bridgerton? Because just like dogs, we all have different tastes and interests – though dogs’ interest in TV may have something to do with their breed. Dr Roth says this mostly comes down to attention span and personality. Dogs with a strong prey drive (think Dobermans and other dogs that like to chase cats) “are sensitive to small environmental movements and are more likely to react to the movement on TV. Calm dog breeds,” she adds, citing Golden Retrievers as an example, “are less likely to be reactive and have their attention captivated by the TV.”</p> <p>Dr Ahn notes that the type of programming may also play a role in the dog’s level of interest. “For example,” he says, “a 24-hour news channel may be less stimulating to a dog compared with a channel that is broadcasting a dog show.”</p> <p><strong>Should you leave the TV on for your dog when you're not home?</strong></p> <p>According to our veterinary experts, it depends. When you’re away from home, TV can be a useful way to keep your dog entertained and keep them from getting bored or getting up to mischief when you’re not around, as well as lessen separation anxiety. “There are several music video stations that can be really great to keep a pet’s environment friendly,” says Dr Roth. But if the channel plays a variety of content all day, she says there’s always a chance that something distressing to your pet might come on. “I’ve seen pets jump into TVs because they’re chasing something on a screen. Find out what your pet likes and keep to those channels.”</p> <p>And again, as Dr Ahn has noted, the television shouldn’t be used as a replacement for the quality bonding time your dog needs with you. That said, if you want to connect with your pup when you’re away, you can set up Skype to answer calls automatically and “talk” to your dog via video call, or use the Barkio app to leave soothing messages for your dog. Just remember: This can be a comfort to some pets, but potentially a stressor to others who might get confused that their human magically appears onscreen and then disappears. And watch out – if your dog figures out how to call you at work, things could get a little awkward during your next staff meeting!</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/pets/do-dogs-actually-watch-tv" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

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