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March 06, 2019

Old dogs can learn new tricks. It just takes them longer

At least, that’s the conclusion reached in a new study that tested the efficacy of using computer touchscreens to stimulate dogs’ mental abilities, especially older dogs. Researchers in Austria and Hungary tested the cognitive abilities of 265 dogs of various breeds and ages by training them to push their snouts against a special touchscreen and select one of two pictures.

February 25, 2019

“You’re both so different since you came back from Cabo. What happened down there?”

Dogs’ personalities can change to reflect similar changes in their owners. Which means your midlife crisis could have life-changing consequences for your dog. “When humans go through big changes in life, their personality traits can change," said William Chopik, PhD, MS, an assistant professor of psychology at Michigan State University. "We found that this also happens with dogs—and to a surprisingly large degree.”

January 30, 2019

Naughty dogs die young—And it’s not their fault

Aggression, disobedience, repeatedly running away, and too much barking can doom dogs to an early death, according to a new study by researchers in the UKat the University of London Royal Veterinary College’s (RVC) VetCompass program. Per the report, one-third of dogs in the UK who die before the age of three die because of “undesirable behaviors” (UBs)—many by euthanasia.

October 10, 2018

Therapy dogs were spreading a superbug to sick kids. Here’s how doctors stopped it

Dogs can be kid magnets. So bringing therapy dogs in to a hospital to cheer up sick kids seems like a great idea. But sick kids with weakened immune systems can be superbug magnets. And bringing an outwardly healthy therapy dog who might be carrying antibiotic-resistant bacteria into a children’s cancer ward can suddenly seem like a really bad idea.

October 08, 2018

My, what blue eyes you have—and now we know why

The answer isn’t colored contacts. It’s chromosomes. Technically, a duplicated stretch of DNA on a single chromosome: Canine chromosome 18. That’s the conclusion drawn in a new study led by Adam Boyko, PhD, Aaron Sams, PhD. How did they get their data? They crowd-sourced it through direct-to-consumer DNA testing.

May 31, 2018

Cracking the window won’t help

Parking in the shade on a sunny day won’t necessarily save a pet left in the car from heatstroke, or worse. A new study of temperatures inside parked cars shows that a car parked in the sun would reach lethal temperatures faster than one parked in the shade, but even in a shaded car, heat buildup could prove deadly.

May 29, 2018

Study: Puppies’ cuteness has a shelf life

If you think they’re cute now, just wait ‘til they’re weaned. A new study published this month in the journal Anthrozoos aimed to determine the peak of puppy cuteness. It found that puppies are most appealing to humans at around six to eight weeks of age. That’s around the same time puppies are weaned from their mothers, and the researchers think that’s no accident.

April 27, 2018

Hoo, doggies! Why does cat poop smell so bad?

Well, the easy answer is, because it’s poop. And for years, people have explained it away with the same possible causes: diet, digestive disorders, or the presence of parasites. But what about those times when the smell is really bad? Japanese researchers discovered the answer.

April 13, 2018

Let sleeping dogs lie . . . but maybe not on your bed

According to a survey by the American Pet Products Association, nearly half of all dogs sleep on their owners’ beds. And according to a recent study at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, people who sleep with their dog on the bed sacrifice sleep. But maybe not enough to matter.

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