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 This Week on Animal Radio

Animal Radio for May 25, 2024  

"HERO PEOPLE OF THE WEEK" - Greg Belcher - Bikers Against Animal Cruelty (BAAC)

BAAC Member with DogThis week's Hero Person is a whole bunch of people. We applaud the motorcycle riders that came together, after hearing about Michael Vick, to fight animal abuse wherever it rears its ugly head. Greg Belcher tells us the story behind the biker club.

Bikers Against Animal Cruelty, Inc. (BAAC) is an organized group of compassionate motorcycle enthusiasts who advocate against animal cruelty and neglect, promote responsible pet ownership and help to defray costs of emergency veterinary care for the voiceless victims of animal cruelty and neglect.

BAAC was formed by a group of about 22 biker friends who would periodically have parties and fundraisers to raise money and collect "shelter items" for the benefit of local animal shelters and rescues. The items were used to help accommodate animals housed in their facilities more comfortably and to supply the workers with the necessary equipment to give these animals the best care possible. But after the public outrage of the 2007 Michael Vick animal cruelty case, they decided to ramp it up and become a non-profit organization.

BAAC supports those domestic animals that have no one else looking out for them. BAAC also helps with the overpopulation of these animals by their "Spueter Program," which helps low income households to spay or neuter their animals by paying for it.

They are a nonprofit organization, 501c3, and are run completely by volunteers so every penny they raise goes straight to their cause. They are proud to say they have helped hundreds of animals, from the pig that fell off a slaughter truck, to a town goose that someone shot with a bow and arrow and everything in between.

BAAC holds many events throughout the year to raise awareness of abused animals and to raise the necessary funds to help them. You don't have to ride a motorcycle to join. They have members who ride and many members who don't ride at all, but are very compassionate about what BAAC does.

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How Serious is the Canine Flu?
Dr. Douglas Aspros, AVMA

Ill DogThe canine flu is something dog owners should be aware of. Dr. Doug Aspros, AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association), is here to give us advice as to whether or not to vaccinate our dogs.

Dr. Doug Aspros reports that one of the problems with the flu is that a dog is able to start shedding the virus before they show any signs or symptoms, so it is spreads very widely and very quickly. For a population that is naive to this virus, one that doesn't have any anti-bodies, it is going to spread to pretty much everybody. Fortunately not everybody is going to get really sick, but it is hard to say who is going to get sick and who is going to run a high fever and develop pneumonia.

Our dogs are traveling with us more and more, which means that more people should be aware of where they take their dogs. All dog owners should be aware and should talk to their veterinarians about whether or not they should vaccinate. Talk to them about the risks to your dog, at their current level of health, of what you should be concerned with.

Animal Radio's Dr. Debbie comments that some of the signs to look for are coughing; nasal discharge and many dogs may run a very high fever. Some dogs may also develop a mild form of the flu, similar to the characteristics of kennel cough, which makes it a real challenge to diagnose. Some dogs can even go on to develop pneumonia. These animals typically fall sick very quickly, within hours, and can run a fever up to between 104 and 106 degrees, which carry a greater risk of becoming a fatality.

Just be cautious when taking your dog to doggy daycare, group dog activities or even boarding facilities.

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How to NOT Train a Dog - Dr. Debbie Dr. Debbie White

One day I was walking my dog in a community area and encountered a lady with two Shih Tzus. As we approached, her dogs rallied with barking and tugging on their leashes. I asked if her dogs were friendly, so as to decide if we could approach. The lady scowled, embraced her still barking dogs and grumbled, "Do they look like they're friendly?"

Realizing this dog owner was more unsociable than her dogs, I decided to vamoose, but not before I envisioned this blog topic - how pet owners mold unsocial dog behavior.

Unwanted doggie behavior such as lunging and barking on the leash become established when the dog owner hasn't made it clear what the appropriate behavior is, fails to correct and redirect to a more suitable behavior, or simply reinforces the undesirable behavior through actions or words. Face it - there aren't bad dogs, just poorly trained ones.

Avoid making these top 5 training mistakes:

1. Secluding Your Dog in the Backyard
Keeping your dog in lock down almost guarantees problem behaviors will develop such as biting, inter-dog aggression and phobias to anything from noises to car travel. Isolated dogs lack the experience and confidence when faced with novel situations while socialized dogs adapt easily.

I see it all the time - the dog owner prides herself in keeping her dog safe. "I didn't want Fido to catch any diseases as a pup, so I didn't let him out of our backyard till he was a year old." The overwhelming fear of infectious diseases like parvovirus causes some well-meaning owners to confine their new dog or puppy to the limits of house and yard. Even more extreme is never allowing a puppy to step foot outside until after their last puppy vaccinations! Puppies are most adaptable to new experiences between 6 and 16 weeks - this is the time to expose them to unfamiliar places, people and animals.

That doesn't mean you should take your eight week old puppy to dog parks, but rather to use good sense selecting low dog traffic areas and visiting with family and friends outside of the home that have properly vaccinated pets.

2. Skipping Obedience Training
Going to school is a must for any new dog to a home, whether a puppy or adult. No two dogs are the same, and each learns differently. Formal obedience training is a useful tool to gently reaffirm who's in charge and sets the rules in the house. Statistics show that dogs that go through formal obedience training are less apt to develop behavior problems and be relinquished to shelters.

Dog Walking on Leash3. Reinforcing Fear at the Veterinary Office
In the exam room I cringe when I see a dog owner comforting a nervous, fearful or aggressive pet. That "good boy" and pat on the head reinforces your dog's behavior, making it more likely that on the next hospital visits he'll behave the same, or worse. Some problem behaviors escalate making it difficult for the veterinary staff to examine or treat the animal. This may mean additional costs for sedation or anesthesia for routine medical needs.

It's natural for a pet owner to want to reassure a pet when he is frightened and it can be difficult to hold back the urge to soothe him. However, the best strategy is to ignore those fearful behaviors in the vet office. Don't be tempted to kiss, snuggle or hold Fido on your lap when he is misbehaving. Rather, place the dog on the floor, refocus your dog's attention to you, and cue him to "sit" or "lie down."

4. Not Using Food as a Reward
Food shouldn't just be for the taking. Don't leave food out for your dog to graze whenever he wants and don't give treats just for the sake of giving a treat. Present food and treats as a reward for good behavior such as sitting quietly, going to a pillow, or performing a trick or obedience work. This places you at the top of the household hierarchy. You become the provider of great edibles in the house, and your dog will be motivated to listen to your requests in other situations.

We all love to spoil our dogs and give treats at times. But be sure to give treats for a reason, or you will have a spoiled doggie brat on your hands.

5. Not Exercising Your Pet Enough
Inadequate exercise can result in obesity and boredom, and may lead to problem behaviors like separation anxiety, destructive chewing and excessive barking. Dogs should get 30 to 60 minutes of sustained physical activity each day for optimum mental and physical benefit. And no - letting Buffy run around the backyard during the day is not adequate exercise.

Not all breeds are cut out for all exercise - a Labrador may enjoy retrieving games or swimming, a Jack Russell terrier may thrive with jogging or Frisbee, while a Basset hound will be satisfied with a leash walk.

Your dog can't be a well-adjusted, socialized canine citizen without you, as the pet owner, taking an active role in training. Put the time in, and you'll be thanked many times over with an outgoing, friendly canine pal that can accompany you on life's adventures.

Featured veterinarian known as "Dr. Debbie" on national pet radio program, Animal Radio. Ebook author of "Yorkshire Terriers: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; "Pugs: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; "Mini Schnauzers: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; and "Shih Tzu: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend." Dr. Debbie's books.

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Joey VillaniThe Dogfather's Grooming Tip with Joey Villani

Dog's Feet Smell Like "Fritos"
Someone recently told Joey that they couldn't stand the smell of the pads on their dog's feet. They said that their dog's feet smelled like corn chips.

This person wanted to actually put human under-arm deodorant on their dog's feet. Deodorant isn't good for humans, and it's especially not good for dogs!

This took Joey back years, to a place where he used to work with a very well-known handler, Marjorie. Marjorie used to say that if your dog's feet, or pads, smell like corn chips, it is the sign of a healthy dog.

Joey said it is just part of the "dog smell." You are not going to get rid of the smell, but you can mask it for a short period of time.

You can find all types of colognes and scented shampoos made for pets to mask odors, but eventually the smell is going to come back. If it bothers you - stop smelling your dog's feet - and enjoy the fact that they're healthy!

Animal Radio News - Tammy Trujillo

Oscar the Death Cat Cats Are Mysterious Creatures
Some people think cats have a sort of ESP. Oscar was a cat who has demonstrated that he certainly had some sort of mystical power. He had lived at Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation in Rhode Island since he was a kitten until his death at 17 years old. He developed the ability to sense when a person was going to pass and went into their room to comfort them as they went. He curled up next to them and purred as they left this world. He was never wrong. Oscar had accurately predicted the deaths of more than 50 residents of the home. Of course, there could be a scientific explanation for Oscar's 'gift'. One of the theories revolved around his ability to 'smell' death in the form of ketones, or the biochemical given off by dying cells. Either way, some of the residents there said they took solace in knowing that in their final moments, Oscar was there.

Dogs Get The Flu Too
We have our flu season and sadly so do our dogs. Some dog parks post signs warning dog guardians that they are entering at their own risk if their dogs have not been vaccinated. The vaccination won't prevent a dog from getting canine influenza, but it will reduce the severity and duration. Doctors say it usually takes a few weeks for the vaccine to take effect. So should your dog get the vaccine? Experts say it's not necessary if your dog basically stays at home, but would be a good idea if your pet is around other dogs. They say it's really important to make sure your pet has a healthy immune system by feeding a balanced diet to help him or her fight off the virus if they get it. And no, you cannot get the flu from your dog and your dog cannot get the flu from you.

Airport Pet Hotel
The Austin Bergstrom International Airport in Texas is very pet-friendly. The airport built a pet hotel. The facility features accommodations for both dogs and cats, with no breed restrictions. People are able to drop their pet off on the way to the airport, where hotel staff will valet park your car. When you get back, you can pick up your dog or cat and your car at the same time. While you're away, your pets will play. There is a grassy yard and a pool for dogs to play in along with some training classes. Prices run about $48-$85 a night and $35 per day for day-care.

Dr. Lindsey holding shot catVeterinarian Shot Cat With Arrow
You've probably remember the veterinarian in Texas who posted pictures of herself on Facebook with an orange cat she had shot through the head with an arrow along with the caption, "My first bow kill, lol. The only good feral tomcat is one with an arrow through its head! Vet of the year award ... Gladly accepted." She was immediately fired from the clinic where she worked and her name covered with duct tape on its sign. It appeared the cat was not feral at all, but belonged to elderly neighbors and had gone missing earlier that day. As for Lindsey, she removed the post and shut down her Facebook page, but the photo went viral.

Photo Booth Dog PicturesA Picture Is Worth An Adoption
You know how sad many dogs look in those pictures taken at shelters and then put up online? It's pretty hard to picture them as fun, family pets based on those pictures. The Humane Society of Utah teamed up with photographer Guinnevere Shuster to come up with a better way and it worked. She put dogs in a photo-booth and let the shutter fly. The pictures turned out to be amazing and really showed off the individual dog's personalities. In fact, all the dogs in the shoot were almost immediately adopted.

Another Good Reason To Microchip Your Pet
In North Carolina a family fought to get their golden retriever back. The dog was adopted from the Cumberland County Animal Shelter. He came in as a stray, with no tags and no microchip. The shelter held him the legally mandated period of time, but when it was up, adopted him out. The dog's original owner said just minutes of the expiration of the required holding period, the staff discovered that she was the dog's guardian, but let the adoption go through. The people who then adopted the dog refused to return him.

Ear Listen to the entire Podcast of this show (#1277)

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