Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Vans x Peanuts Collection

Posted: August 18, 2017 in Uncategorized

Vans x Peanuts Collection

In this week’s installment of Take All My Money: Vans has teamed up with Peanuts to create another awesome crossover collection, with over 75 items featuring vintage artwork from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. The collection includes shoes (Classics, slip-ons, Sk8-His, and more), hats, backpacks, shirts, and other gear for men, women, and children sporting the Peanuts crew as well as everyone’s favorite beagle, Snoopy. Check out the full collection here.

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© 2017 Dog Milk | Posted by Katherine in For Humans | Permalink | No comments

Merle — that kaleidoscope of swirly patterns that has no two dogs looking alike. It’s one of the most beautiful coat patterns in the dog world. But merle is definitely a case where too much of a good thing is, well, a bad thing.

The merle (also called dapple) pattern is the pattern in which random splotches of dark pigment are overlaid over a lighter shade of the same color. It’s commonly seen in Catahoula Leopard Dogs, Australian Shepherds, Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs, Dachshunds, Cardigan Welsh Corgis, Great Danes, and less commonly in many other breeds such as Chihuahuas, Border Collies, Pyrenean Shepherds, Beaucerons, Pomeranians and Cocker Spaniels.

A merle pattern dog.

Why you shouldn’t breed two merle dogs together

Merles are popular, so it seems only logical to breed two merles together to get more merles. No. Don’t do it.

The merle pattern is produced when a dog has a single copy of the M< allele. All merle dogs have the genotype Mm — meaning they have one allele for merle and one allele for non-merle. All non-merles are mm. If you breed a merle (Mm) to a non-merle (mm) you will on average produce a litter in which a half of the puppies get the M allele so are Mm (merle) and half get the non-merle allele so are mm.

A man and a Merle pattern dog.

But if you breed two merles together (Mm X Mm) you will produce on average a quarter mm (non-merle), a half Mm (merle) and a quarter MM (double-merle; also called double-dapple). And double merles don’t look like merles. Instead, they’re mostly white with merle patches. But the main reason you want to avoid producing MM dogs is that they often have visual and auditory problems.

A black and white merle dog.

What are the specific health concerns for merles?

If you like tech-talk and numbers, read this; otherwise, skip ahead: In a study of several merle breeds, merles with one copy of the M allele had a rate of 2.7 percent deaf in one ear and 0.9 percent deaf in both ears; double-merles had a rate of 10 percent deaf in one ear and 15 percent deaf in both ears. Interestingly, the rate in merle Catahoulas (5.9 percent) was lower than that in other breeds (for example, 9.4 percent in merle Australian Shepherds), and especially lower in double-merle Catahoulas (10.3 percent) compared to other double-merles (55.7 percent in Aussies and 85.6 percent in all other breeds combined). The lower incidence in Catahoulas may reflect the smaller amount of white Catahoula double-merles tend to have. Again, nobody knows why. Blue-eyed merles have no higher incidence of deafness than brown-eyed merles.

Two merle dogs.

Just because a dog is double-merle, don’t assume he’s deaf. Dr. George Strain of Louisiana State University is the go-to expert on coat color and deafness in dogs. One of the other coat patterns he’s studied is the piebald gene, which can create mostly white dogs like Dalmatians. He says the prevalence of deafness in dogs is higher in double merles than in single merles, but the relative risk of deafness was less than that in Dalmatians and white Bull Terriers (although greater than that in other dog breeds with the recessive piebald alleles).

A double merle dog.

Double-merle dogs often have an additional problem, microphthalmia, in which the eyes are abnormally small (sometimes barely there) and often nonfunctional. As of yet, the way in which the merle gene affects this is unknown. It does not appear be through an association with the gene known as MITF (microphthalmia transcription factor), however.

Aside from these auditory and visual problems, double-merles are otherwise healthy. And not all double-merles have even these problems. Some are absolutely fine. But why take chances? Never breed two merles.

A merle pattern corgi.

But here’s where breeding can be tricky. Many breeds with merle also have other genes (at the s locus) that cause white on dogs, and this white isn’t associated with problems caused by being a double-merle. For example, many Collies have white feet, ruff, blaze and tail tip — but this is caused by the s allele, not MM. And some Collies can be mostly white, but again, this pattern can be caused by a different s allele. When these dogs are white with sable (Lassie-colored tan) it’s easy not to confuse them with double merles. But what if they are white due to the s allele but combined with Mm? The dog would be white with merle, and could be confused with a double-merle. This is why it’s essential to know a dog’s parents before jumping to conclusions!

And it gets even trickier! Sometimes merle dogs have so little merle you can hardly tell them apart from non-merles — but they’re still genetically Mm. If you breed one of these “cryptic” merles erroneously assuming he’s mm you could produce double merles. If you find even one tiny spot of merle in your dog’s coat, assume he is a merle. Not sure? There’s a DNA test available that will let you know if your dog has the M or m alleles.

You’ll sometimes read that breeding merle to merle “is only for experienced breeders.” All the experience in the world won’t change how the genes segregate and how they influence a dog’s health. What they mean is not to do it unless you’re prepared to deal with deaf or blind puppies. And while such dogs can make wonderful companions, those with normal hearing and vision do have an easier time in life.

Go in depth on some dogs who have merle patterns:

About the author: Caroline Coile is the author of 34 dog books, including the top-selling Barron’s Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds. She has written for various publications and is currently a columnist for AKC Family Dog. She shares her home with three naughty Salukis and one Jack Russell Terrier.

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Do you know what to do about a dog bee sting? Find out what happens, what is normal and when you need to seek veterinary attention.

Two bulldogs dressed up as bees.

Dogs dressed as bees are cute – but dogs stung by bees sure aren’t! Photography by John Mcallister/Thinkstock.

Some swelling is normal.

With bee stings, dogs typically have some swelling at the site of the sting, but it’s rarely life threatening.

True allergic reactions are not common, but they can be life threatening.

If you know your dog was stung by a bee, keep a close eye on him for a few hours. “Facial swelling, hives and generalized itching would be considered an emergency,” says Jamie Mays, DVM, the medical director of VCA Pets First in Richmond, Virginia. “If a dog has a history of life-threatening reactions, we can prescribe EpiPens so owners have some at-home emergency care they can do.”

Dogs are most commonly stung by bees on the face or feet.

Dogs are frequently stung when they step on a bee or when they sniff at a bee to investigate. Pups who are unfamiliar with bees (and don’t know that they can sting) might even try to bite a bee as it buzzes around. “Occasionally you’ll see dogs that bite at them and they’ll have stings to the inside of their mouth, which can be really uncomfortable and the swelling can potentially interfere with their airways,” Dr. Mays explains. “For those guys, I would probably bring them in sooner rather than later.”

Multiple bee stings cause more problems.

The swelling can be more concerning when dogs get more than one sting. “If they get into a hive and they have lots of stings, especially to the face, the swelling is the thing that’s the most concerning,” Mays says. “We can arrest a lot of the swelling with an antihistamine injection. It kicks in in about 20 minutes, so it’s really fast and effective.”

You might not even realize your dog has been stung by a bee.

If you don’t see the bee and your dog doesn’t yelp, you might not realize he was stung unless you notice swelling. See facial swelling or notice your dog breaking out in hives? Rush your pup to the veterinarian immediately.

Some treatments for a dog bee sting provide quick relief.

Whether your dog is experiencing an allergic reaction, or is just uncomfortable due to swelling at the sting site, your vet can help. “Depending on the level of the reaction, they probably would be administered an injectable antihistamine and possibly a steroid,” Dr. Mays says. “Typically, we have the owner and the dog stay in the hospital for the next 30 minutes to an hour until the reaction starts to reverse and the swelling starts to recede. After that, it’s usually at-home care with Benadryl tablets to keep it under control for a couple of days.”

If you see the stinger still lodged in your dog’s skin, don’t pull it out with tweezers.

This can squeeze more venom into your dog. Scrape the stinger with the edge of a credit card to pop it out instead.

Thumbnail: Photography by kozorog/Thinkstock. 

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Hip Dog Bandanas and Tees from Bauhound

Brooklyn-based dog outfitters Bauhound recently added some colorful new accessories to their collection. Like the pompom sweaters we’ve featured before, these new threads are bright, modern, and bold — just the way we like it! Currently, there are three t-shirt designs to choose from, each featuring hand-illustrated lettering, as well as five rad bandana styles. Shop the complete Bauhound collection at

Hip Dog Bandanas and Tees from Bauhound

Hip Dog Bandanas and Tees from Bauhound

Hip Dog Bandanas and Tees from Bauhound

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© 2017 Dog Milk | Posted by capree in Clothing | Permalink | No comments

Canine communication is one of the most fascinating and confounding facets of our lives with dogs. They may not possess the means or ability to produce articulate speech, but dogs are as communicative in their way as any human, and more honest. Whether it’s body language, tail movement and position, staring, or making a wide range of vocalizations, our dogs are almost always telling us something. It seems easy to recognize when a dog is happy; but do we recognize when they are sad, grieving, or in pain with such facility? Can dogs cry and what exactly happens with dog crying?

On the surface, these are simple questions, but also ones that are worth giving some serious thought to. In the absence of a universal dog translator, dog owners are left to wonder and speculate upon how to interpret dog behavior. Is it accurate to equate phenomena like whimpering, whining, or howling with human expressions like bawling or weeping? A more penetrating or precise question might be, “Can dogs cry tears like humans?” Do dogs perform and vocalize pain, loneliness or grief through their tear ducts in the same ways as their owners?

A small dog who looks like he's crying.

This is what it sounds like when dogs cry. Photography via Pixabay.

Let’s start with the basics on dog crying and go from there:

  • Do dogs have tear ducts?
  • Can dogs cry emotional tears?
  • Are whimpering, howling, or whining similar to crying?
  • Do dogs respond to our tears?

Do dogs have tear ducts?

Absolutely. Anyone who owns a light- or white-coated dog — the Bichon-Frises, Maltese, and Poodles of the world among them— can easily attest that dogs do indeed have tear ducts. They know because the phenomenon of tear staining that develops with age is effectively written on the body. Tear staining is also known as epiphora, a condition in which dogs experience excessive tear production. For dogs whose tears are less conspicuous, what role do tear ducts and the liquids they produce serve?

Practically any animal with eyes has lacrimal ducts, commonly called tear ducts. Dog eyes certainly excrete tears, and they perform the same range of practical purposes as they do in humans. There are three primary categories of tears; both human and dog eyes produce two of them: basal and reflexive. Basal tears are produced and released constantly, but very slowly. They keep the eyes moist. Reflexive tears offer ocular protection, and flow more quickly in response to the presence of irritants and allergens. These dog tears keep eyes clear of obstructions and flush away foreign objects.

Can dogs cry emotional tears?

Having just surveyed two of the three kinds of tears, what is the third? In humans, the third major variety of tears are known as psych tears, or emotional tears. These are the very ones we’re here to investigate dog crying. Emotional tears are produced more suddenly and in greater volume that either basal or reflexive ones, and generally arise during moments of great emotion. Can dogs cry in response to emotional stimuli in the same way as we do? It’s an important distinction, and our curiosity leads us to distinguish between biological necessity, and what we might refer to as “real” tears.

A white dog with tear stains.

Epiphora is a medical condition that gives the impression that a dog is crying. Photography via Wikimedia Commons.

Does dog crying ever signify distress, sympathy, or pain? The answer is complex and unsatisfactory for those of us who want to see our life experience mirrored by our dogs. In his preface to the second edition of the “Lyrical Ballads” (1801), William Wordsworth famously defined poetry as the “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings,” which also serves as a succinct expression of how and why humans weep. Canine tear ducts do not function in this way, nor for the same reasons. While the outward manifestation of emotion we associate with crying is not found in dogs, this does not mean that dogs are stoic or unmoved. They simply experience and express those emotional states in different ways.

Are whimpering, howling or whining similar dog crying?

Dog vocalizations like whimpering, howling and whining are frequently linked in the popular imagination to canine emotional states. An obvious place to start is the experience and expression of pain. According to Dogster’s resident veterinarian, Dr. Eric Barchas, however, these vocal expressions, whining in particular, are not necessarily or directly related. Certainly, in the exact moment of pain — a paw stepped on by accident, for example— dogs’ instinctive reactions are similar to our own. A dog thus startled may emit a sudden yelp or yip, but won’t do it repeatedly or regularly in response to long-term or chronic pain.

For dogs, barking, whining, whimpering, and howling tend to be oriented toward expressions of need or having distinct desires met. Dog vocalizations are, by and large, communicative rather than emotional. Dogs whine and whimper when they want food or exercise. They bark and howl when they sense strangers or perceive threats. There is reason to be suspicious of these vocalizations, though. Dogs learn behaviors, after all. When they discover that making certain noises yields desired results, it can become not only repetitive, but manipulative. It is safe to say that howls, whines, and whimpers are similar, but not equivalent to human crying.

Do dogs respond to our tears?

Human babies and children learn behaviors, too. Their cries, wails, and screams — especially noticeable and grating in public places — can be as self-serving as those of dogs, if seemingly more interminable. Because dogs don’t express grief, sorrow, longing, loss, rage or joy through their tear ducts, that doesn’t mean they are stoic or emotionless. We know that dogs suffer negatively from separation anxiety, fear and stress. I can speak from personal experience that dogs do respond when their humans are in distress.

A Bulldog in the rain looking sad and crying.

What we call crying in dogs is similar, but not identical, to human tears. Photography by Shutterstock.

I once incurred a pair of severe and painful injuries — a torn ACL and meniscus in my right knee — as a result of a particularly intense performance at karaoke. I managed to make it home that night, and at the very moment I opened my car door, I heard my dog make the most curious noise. It wasn’t a whimper or a whine, but a vocalization somewhere between them; it was certainly mournful and empathetic. I never heard her make a sound like it before, and I never heard it again. I knew that she knew that I was in great physical pain.

Share your experiences of dog affect!

Whenever I think of Tina, the memory of that sound is the first thing that rises to mind. It lasted only a few moments, very unlike the crying I did before surgery and during extensive rehab, but it was powerful and affecting. Our dogs are such huge parts of our lives. We certainly mourn them when they pass away, and their memories stay with us.

Have you had experiences similar to mine, when you were just certain, no matter how brief or ephemeral, that your dogs expressed grief or concern in a way that seemed to echo human crying? Share your experiences with dog crying in the comments!

Thumbnail: Photography by Shutterstock.

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9 Reasons to Love Bullmastiffs

Posted: August 17, 2017 in Uncategorized

Bullmastiffs are the perfect example of a gentle giant in the dog world: muscular and powerful, yet faithful and kind unless provoked. He is an English creation that has found a loyal following in this country. Here are 9 fun factoids about the strong and silent Bullmastiff.

A close up of a Bullmastiff.

A close up of a Bullmastiff. Photography by DNSPhotography/Thinkstock.

1. Bullmastiffs were developed for a need

What we know of the Bullmastiff’s history dates back to mid-19th century England. Gamekeepers needed a dog that would help them rid the large estates and game preserves of poachers; one that could cover ground quietly and pin the trespassers without harming them. Breeders crossed the Mastiff with the now-extinct Old English Bulldog to ultimately come up with the Bullmastiff.

2. They’re a blend of Mastiffs and Bulldogs perfect recipe

The Bullmastiff represents an ideal blend of 60 percent Mastiff and 40 percent Bulldog. The gamekeepers’ goal was to create a dog that was faster and more aggressive than the Mastiff, yet bigger and less ferocious than the Old English Bulldog.

3. Bullmastiffs are very adaptable

This is a sizeable breed, with adult males reaching a height of 25 to 27 inches at the shoulder and weighing 110 to 130 pounds; females reaching a height of 24 to 26 inches at the shoulder and weighing 100 to 120 pounds. Yet Bullmastiffs are mellow and laid-back, not requiring much grooming or exercise, and they make wonderful companions for urban owners, adapting well even to apartment living. They are quiet dogs and rarely bark.

4. They’ve got great temperaments

The breed standard for the Bullmastiff describes its temperament as “fearless and confident yet docile. The dog combines the reliability, intelligence and willingness to please required in a dependable family companion and protector.” They are a lovely companion to live with, gentle with the smallest child yet exuding an air of protective authority.

A Bullmastiff sizes up against a young girl.

A Bullmastiff sizes up against a young girl. Photography by Eduard Ly Senko/Thinkstock.

5. Bullmastiffs are very easy to train

Bullmastiffs are powerful dogs, yet sensitive. Given the breed’s strength and inclination to be independent, early socialization and training are essential. Bullmastiffs are natural guardians of their people and property. No guard training is necessary; a Bullmastiff will respond appropriately if its family is threatened.

6. They come in a few different colors

The most common color seen in Bullmastiffs is fawn with a black face mask. Bullmastiffs also come in darker red shades. Brindle Bullmastiffs have black stripes over a fawn or red background. Although they are less often seen today, the dark brindles were preferred by the gamekeepers who created the breed. The stripes provided the dogs with better camouflage, particularly at night, hence the breed’s nickname of Gamekeeper’s Night Dog.

7. Bullmastiffs have shorter life spans

For all the Bullmastiff’s virtues as a devoted companion and guardian, he shares with many other large- and giant-sized breeds the heartbreak of a shorter life span. While there are exceptions, a Bullmastiff typically lives for 7 to 8 years.

8. The Rocky movies popularized Bullmastiffs

Many dog-loving movie fans got their first look at a Bullmastiff in Sylvester Stallone’s original Rocky. The down-and-out boxer had a Bullmastiff sidekick. Interestingly, it was Sly Stallone’s own dog, Butkus.

9. Other celebrity Bullmastiffs

Singer and songwriter Bob Dylan owned a Bullmastiff, Brutus, who appeared regularly with him. In the reality TV series Little People Big World, the Roloff family owned a Bullmastiff named Rocky. And in the world of sports, the Cleveland Browns football team has a Bullmastiff named Swagger as its live mascot.

Thumbnail: Photography by CynoClub/Thinkstock.

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Allan Reznik is a journalist, editor and broadcaster who specializes in dog-related subjects. He is the editor-in-chief of Dogs in Review and the former editor of Dog Fancy magazine. A city dweller all his life, on both coasts, he now enjoys the rural South with his Afghan Hounds, Tibetan Spaniels and assorted rescues.

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As a veterinarian with the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and the mother of two young children, I’m busy 24-7. To keep the family machine running smoothly, I record everyone’s daily activities in my iPhone and hope for no slip ups; missing a karate class can be catastrophic to a 5- and 7-year-old. However, when it comes to health, I’m hypervigilant; sickness can derail a smooth-running train. That’s why I’m first in line every fall for a flu shot. And so are my dogs. The canine influenza vaccine (or simply called dog flu) is important if your dog comes in contact with other dogs. The virus is spread when respiratory secretions are exchanged among dogs who are barking, sneezing, or coughing. Outbreaks occur year-round but tend to spike during months when families travel with their pets and board them.

The two strains of dog flu

There are two strains of dog flu in this country. H3N8 reared its head in 2004 on Greyhound racetracks in Florida. It spread like wildfire until a vaccine was developed.

More recently, in spring 2015, the Asian-born H3N2 clobbered Chicago. Unfortunately, there was no vaccine to protect against the strain.

When the outbreak hit, veterinary hospitals were packed to capacity with sick dogs. Some came in coughing, others had labored breathing. Dogs were tired and had mucus dripping from their eyes and nose. The sickest dogs experienced all these signs. Veterinarians faced the challenge of treating the sick dogs while not infecting the healthy ones.

In the epicenter of the outbreak, Dr. Jerry Klein, Chief Veterinary Officer of the American Kennel Club and seasoned emergency clinician in Chicago, also emphasized that the outbreak “encouraged cooperation among area hospitals as we tried to share data, follow best practices, secure space for dogs that needed hospitalization and educate pet owners about what was happening.”

Another noted Chicago veterinarian, Dr. Natalie Marks, co-owner of AAHA-accredited Blum Animal Hospital, recalled the outbreak of dog flu:

“It was controlled chaos in our hospital. We evaluated all patients in exam rooms instead of in the treatment area where we keep our equipment in an effort to avoid contaminating dogs who were visiting for regular checkups. If patients had a normal appetite, body temperature, oxygen level and energy level, we managed them as outpatients. However, if they had a fever, were vomiting, not eating, or were incredibly lethargic, we began in-hospital therapy until their stability level met our criteria for outpatient care.” The critically ill received oxygen therapy, IV fluids, and antibiotics to protect against bacterial invaders taking advantage of weakened lungs.

A dog receiving oxygen therapy.

A dog receiving oxygen therapy. Photography courtesy AAHA/Robin Baker.

So many questions about the dog flu

Chicago pet owners whose dogs received the flu diagnosis were exploding with questions. My childhood friend, Kathleen, was one of them. (When you’re a vet, friends will seek your advice during a crisis!) She texted me about her Labrador mix, Winnie, who was being treated as an outpatient. Here were her concerns and my text responses, plus updates of what we know now:

Can I catch H3N2 from Winnie?
As far as we know, H3N2 does not infect people.

Can Winnie infect my cat?
Probably not, but we’re not sure yet. (Update: Reports now indicate that cats can be infected with H3N2; several in Midwest shelters have contracted it.)

She’s keeping us up all night with her coughing. How can I make it stop?
There’s no easy solution to quell the coughing, but ask your vet about cough suppressants. Bringing up mucous and phlegm is actually a GOOD thing. You can encourage this by using a humidifier to moisten her airways. My personal favorite? Keep her in the bathroom with the door closed while you shower. The warm, wet air will help her to cough up the mucous.

She’s supposed to go back to doggie daycare next week. Is that OK?
Actually, no. You should wait until her cough has disappeared completely. (Update: Because so little was known about H3N2, veterinarians made educated guesses. Now we know that coughing dogs can spread the disease for roughly three weeks and should be isolated from other dogs for that length of time.) In Chicago, Dr. Marks reminded the pet parents of her recovering patients to stay clear of communal areas, including “dog parks, elevators in high-rises, friends’ homes and places of work.”

Where will dog flu hit next?

Though we haven’t had any reported cases of H3N2 at the hospital where I practice in New Jersey, my pet parents continue to ask questions: “Will it hit our area?” “Can a dog die from it?” Reports show that 80 percent of dogs exposed to H3N2 get sick from it. The remaining 20 percent don’t get sick but harbor the virus and can spread it. The percentage of dogs who die from the disease is less than 10 percent.

In November 2015, the H3N2 vaccine was developed, and the virus has traveled to more than 30 states. It could continue to spread if pet owners don’t vaccinate their dogs.

So, what’s a pet parent to do about the dog flu?

If your dog exhibits signs of dog flu, visit your veterinary practice immediately. If the vet suspects H3N2, he may swab your dog’s nasal passage or extract a vial of blood for diagnosis. Many signs associated with dog flu, like coughing, lethargy and eye and nose discharge, are also indicators of other illnesses. Coughing is almost always serious; your dog could be suffering from a number of diseases including heart failure, heartworms and “kennel” cough.

Do you know the dog flu symptoms?

Thousands of dogs have contracted H3N2. Could yours be next? If your dog is lethargic, coughing, sneezing, or has a runny nose and eyes, he could have dog flu. The best way to help prevent dog flu is to vaccinate against it. Less than 10 percent of dogs suffering from H3N2 will die.

Editor’s note: This article appeared in our magazine. Have you seen the new Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? Subscribe to Dogster and get the bimonthly magazine delivered to your home.

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