Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dog sports: What is Flyball?

If you have an energetic dog that loves balls, Flyball might be an ideal sport. It’s a team sport, and a form of controlled chaos that involves a lot of running and jumping. The dog needs to be able to focus around distractions and in good enough shape to run and jump.

Flyball is played in teams with four dogs in each team. One end of the course holds a starting line, and the other a specialized box where the dog will release and catch a tennis ball that is to be carried back to the starting line. In between are four jumps.

Each dog in the team must complete the course. That is, run over the jumps, trigger the box to release a ball, catch the ball, and return with it, going over all four jumps. The next dog in line can’t cross the line before the dog currently on the course returns. If a dog would run on the side of a jump, or return without the ball, he or she must run the course again.

The height of the jumps are based on the team’s shortest dog, so everyone wants to have a small dog on the team.

Flyball is one of the most athletic dog sports. At a flyball tournament, a team might run between 18 and 24 heats in a day. Add in reruns for starting too early, missing a jump, or some other error, and a dog can easily run 40 times during a weekend.

To start training, your dog needs to get used to noisy and busy places. At a competition there will be dogs running around, barking, people running back and forth, balls, and other distractions. Train to stay calm around distractions, and train recall with distractions.

You can also train jumping, chasing you, tugging, and building the dog’s general strength through swimming and jogging.

Search for a club and classes in your area. This is a great sport with a lot of fun, and an opportunity for both humans and dogs to make friends.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Prevent dog-related incidents through learning what dogs don't like

Many incidents between dogs and humans are due to misunderstandings and miscommunication. Many human behaviors don't translate well to the world of dogs, and things we do cause accidents and even bites. Here are four examples of common things humans do that the average dog won't like.

1. Misreading the dog’s signals

A vast majority of dog bites, especially when children are involved, happen because humans misread a dog’s body language. Many times human adults think something is cute, even photo worthy, and the dog just wants to get away.

The follow signs should be put in context, of course, and each sign below is usually accompanied by other signs of stress.

  • Licking nose and lips 
    • A stressed dog licking nose and lips looks very different than when you feed your dog a treat. 
  • Yawning 
    • A stressed dog often yawns repeatedly, with intensity. Some dogs even yawn when they need to go out. 
  • Panting 
    • Of course dogs pant to cool off, but it is also a common sign of stress. 
  • Other common signs 
    • Include looking away, turning away, pinning back the ears with a tense facial expression, low body posture, leaning backward, and tension.

2. Hugging

Hugging is a human phenomenon. Many dogs get used to being hugged by their family members and can even learn to appreciate it, but there are also dogs who never get used to it.

Hugging a dog can make them feel threatened or challenged.

There are countless news stories where a child has been bit by the neighbor’s dog – or even the family’s own dog – and the parents say, “It came out of the blue. She was just hugging the dog.” This misunderstanding between the species ends with a traumatized child and euthanized dog.

3. Patting on top of the head

While most dogs love to be petted, that’s not the same as going up to a dog and patting them on the top of the head or on the face. Most animals don't like being approached from above. Teach your children not to do this – especially not to dogs they don’t know.

While most dogs tolerate it, they might not like it, and some perceive it as a threat.

When you meet a dog, crouch and turn away a little – this means that you’re not a threat. When the dog comes up to you, pet it on the side.

If you meet a cat you don't know, hold out your hand and let the cat sniff it. Once you're approved, most cats like to be petted on the cheeks and under the chin. Depending on the cat it might love being petted on top of the head or even having its back stroked, but cats are individuals and the same approaches that work for a dog might not yield success.

4. Staring into a dog’s eyes

Most dogs are okay with gazing into their owner’s eyes, and this form of eyes meeting can strengthen the bond between dog and human. However, don’t approach a dog you don’t know and stare into their eyes – this is a challenge in doggie language.

If you meet a cat you don't know, it's polite to look away. If you meet its eyes, blink often - this signals that you're friendly and not a threat.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Monday, September 28, 2015

Dog breed spotlight: Portuguese Podengo

The Portuguese Podengo is an ancient dog breed believed to stem from dogs brought to Portugal by Phoenician traders around 700 BC. The dogs are hardy, intelligent, fearless, loyal, and energetic.

The Portuguese Podengo has developed into three sizes: Pequeno, Medio, and Grande. Each size can be smooth or wire coated, and the different varieties are not interbred. They’re all referred to as the Portuguese Podengo.

Podengo Grande is the largest with a weight range of 44 to 66 lbs. They were originally developed for hunting deer and wild boar, and they are tough, hardy, and very observant. Nowadays this size is rare, even in Portugal. A Portuguese Podengo Grande needs a Large PlexiDor dog door.

Podengo Medio weighs between 35 and 44 lbs. They are great at chasing, but can also stalk like a cat, and have a funny way of jumping to see over things. They are very active and make great dogs for active families. A smaller Podengo Medio can use a Medium PlexiDor dog door, but large individuals might need a Large PlexiDor dog door.

The Podengo Pequeno is the most common in the USA. They are watchful, observant, and very active. Many owners say these dogs are silly and funny indoors. Most Podengo Pequenos will require a Medium PlexiDor dog door.

The Portuguese Podengo is a hardy breed that often lives into its late teens. They excel at agility and other sports, and love to have a job to do.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Friday, September 25, 2015

Is your cat trying to tell you something?

Cats might not be able to talk like humans do, but they do communicate. Unfortunately, we often misunderstand the attempts of communication and think the cat is “bad” or just weird. 
Here are some instances when kitty might be trying to tell you something.
From time to time, cats chow down on strange things, but if your cat eats cardboard, plastic, paper, or something similar and looks at you when he/she starts eating, it’s probably a call for attention.
When kitty deliberately knocks things on the floor it’s not to mess with you or a sign of disliking your decorations. This too means that the cat wants attention – which could mean food.
A cat presenting its butt to you might not seem like a good thing, but in cat language this is a huge compliment. It means that you’re a trusted friend.
What is the strangest way your cat has used to communicate?
~ Maria Sadowski ~

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Sources of chewing problems in dogs, and ideas to break the behavior

Most – if not all – dog owners encounter a chewing problem sooner or later. Even the most well behaved pooch can fall for the temptation of chewing a shoe, a remote control, or why not a sofa cushion! Why is that, and what can we do about it?

To start with, why do dogs chew?

Puppies explore their world by putting things in their mouth. They do a good job exploring the world through their eyes and sense of smell, but one of their favorite ways to learn about things is chewing on them.

Puppies also teethe for about six months, and chewing makes the sore gums feel better.

Adolescent dogs – for some breeds this period can last up until they’re two to three years old – are a lot like human teenagers. There’s a lot going on in the body, they have energy to spare, they get bored, and sometimes they want to bend the rules a little. All this often adds up to unwanted behavior such as chewing, and the dog no longer has the extreme puppy cuteness to protect it. Unfortunately many dogs are given up during their adolescence, because their owners can’t cope with a teenager on four paws.

Adult dogs sometimes also chew. They don’t do it to spite their humans. Some common reasons why dogs chew on your belongings include:

As a puppy, the dog was never taught what to chew and what not to chew Dogs often chew because they’re bored The dog might suffer from separation anxiety The behavior can be fear related It’s a call for attention If your problems stems from separation anxiety or fear, you might need to seek help from a behavior professional.

How can the problem be solved?

First of all, take responsibility for your belongings. If it doesn’t belong in your dog’s mouth, keep it out of reach. Make sure shoes, clothes, books, trash, remote controls, eyeglasses, and similar are kept out of reach.

Invest in good chewing toys that doesn’t look anything like the forbidden objects. Many let their dog chew on an old shoe, or make a toy out of an old sock. The difference between allowed shoes and socks and forbidden shoes and socks is clear to humans, but not at all as clear to dogs.

Spend extra time with your dog. Spending time with you will increase your bond, and help your dog learn acceptable behavior. If need be, keep doggie with you on a leash in the house, and confine him or her when you’re unable to keep your eyes on him. Provide plenty of “safe” toys.

If you have a teething puppy, try freezing a wet washcloth and offer it for chewing – this can help soothe the sore gums. Supervise so your puppy doesn’t chew it up and swallow it.

Make sure your dog gets ample physical and mental exercise. Many chewing problems stem from the dog being bored. You might want to invest in puzzle toys, enroll in a training program, learn tricks, or take him jogging. You can also use meal-time as doggy entertainment. Instead of just pouring kibble into a bowl, mix it with a little peanut butter or soft dog food, stuff it into a Kong, and freeze it. Getting the food out will take a while, and give your dog something to work with.

If you catch doggie chewing on something forbidden, interrupt through making a loud noise. Then, offer an acceptable chew toy, and give lots of praise when he or she takes the right toy.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Myths around dog bite force

Some people who are afraid of dogs will claim that certain dog breeds can exert over 2,000 pounds of pressure with their jaws. It’s an impressive number – and an enormous exaggeration. They bite harder than a human, but not as much harder as one could think.

The average human can bite down with a 120 pound force. A grown up man can reach around 150. It’s not a lot, but being bit by a human will still hurt and do damage.

It is more difficult to measure the exact bite force of dogs, because they won’t bite as hard every time, and they will bite harder if they’re provoked. The force they can chow down with depends on the shape of the jaw and the size of the dog’s head

One test measured three dog breeds that often strike fear in those afraid of dogs; American Pit Bull Terriers, German Shepherds, and Rottweilers. (If you are afraid of dogs, you should know that how a dog turns out depends on the owner and not the breed.) The average bite strength turned out to be 269 pounds of pressure.

The Rottweilers were the strongest and topped with 328 pounds of bite pressure. German Shepherds came in second with a 238 measured bite force, and the American Pit Bull Terrier came in third with 235 pounds of pressure.

How does that measure compared to cousins in the wild?

Dogs are at a disadvantage. A wolf’s normal bite force is around 400 pounds. If it is protecting itself, a large wolf can bite down with over 1,200 pounds of pressure.

Large cats are very strong. A Jaguar can reach 700 pounds of pressure, and Siberian Tiger 950.

You might not think of Hyenas as strong, but even though they are scavengers they also hunt, and most of the time they chase down their own food. A hyena can bite down with 1100 pounds, and they’ve been known to chase off lions to claim food.

When it comes to our primate cousins, the Gorillas are the largest and strongest. An adult male gorilla can weigh 400 pounds, and bite down with a strength of 1,300 pounds per square inch. Now, that doesn’t mean that you should fear gorillas – they are herbivores, peaceful, and shy.

Many who visit the south are afraid of alligators, and it is certainly wise to abide by regulations and warning signs. The American Alligator has a bite strength of 2125, sharp teeth, and powerful muscles to hold their prey. This still pales compared to the Nile Crocodile that can close their mouths with a pressure of 5000 pounds.

While alligators and crocodiles can run fairly quickly on land, it’s nowhere near what urban myths claim. They can lounge out of water at a fairly high speed, but the land speed record is around 10 mph, and they grow tired quickly when on land. Alligator attacks are extremely rare. The risk of being injured in an unprovoked alligator attack is around one in 2.4 million.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Five things you might not know about cats


1. Have excellent night vision, and can see well at one-sixth of the light level required for humans.

2. Have excellent hearing and can hear higher-pitched sounds than both dogs and humans. The cat's hearing is amongst the best of the mammals.

3. Also have an acute sense of smell. Many times that of a human - the average human has around  million scent receptors, and the average cat around 200 million. A cat also has a special organ in the roof of the mouth called Jacobson's organ that can help distinguish pheromones.

4. Don't usually greet each other nose to nose, since it puts both participants in a vulnerable position. Cats who know each other well and have been apart for a while feel safe enough to do this, and gather information about how the other cat is, where he has been, and what he has been doing. 

5. Blink and narrow their eyes when they accidentally make eye contact. To make friends with an unfamiliar cat, blink and look away when you catch his eyes. If your cat winks at you, it's sending you a kitty-kiss.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Dog breed spotlight: Carolina Dog

Image from
by Susan Anthony, California-Carolina Dogs
The Carolina Dog was first discovered in the 1970's. The breed has developed naturally, by adapting to the environment where the dogs live. 

Today, the Carolina Dog is one of very few breeds still in existence that is a result of natural selection and not of selective breeding on our part.

These dogs resemble types of dogs first encountered by Europeans near native american settlements in this region, and have been depicted by paintings, drawings, and even rock art. According to the American Rare Breed Association, they are likely to be relatives to the first dogs that crossed the Bering landbridge into America from Asia together with the first primitive humans.

2,000 year old skulls and fossils are nearly identical with these dogs of today. These tests accompanied by DNA testing show a link to the original dogs. 

While many Carolina dogs are extremely shy around people, they're also loyal to their human, and can be wonderful pets. They're gentle, social, and bond well with children. The Carolina Dog needs to be part of a pack, and fits well into a family.

They're not known to be aggressive by nature, but they do have a strong hunting instinct, and they are independent.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Friday, September 18, 2015

Where did the domesticated dog come from?

Alaskan Malamute
Dogs have walked side by side with humans for a long time. There is a 12,000 year old burial site in Israel that contains the body of a woman and her puppy. 

Some scientists think the association between dogs/wolves and people might go back as far as 100,000 years. The statement comes from "Multiple and ancient origins of the domestic dogs" by C Vila.

Another intriguing question is: where did the dogs come from?

The oldest known doglike fossil comes from Europe. DNA studies have implicated that dogs would come from east Asia and the Middle East, but new DNA studies point towards Europe. This research indicates dogs might have indeed have originated in Europe, and this would have happened some 32,000 years ago.

The study gathered DNA from fossils of 18 ancient wolflike and doglike creatures that lived up to 36,000 years ago in Argentina, Belgium, Germany, Russia, Switzerland, and the United States. They compared this genetic material with samples from wolves from North America, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East along with 77 different dog breeds and four coyotes.

The DNA of modern dogs showed similarities to the DNA from ancient European specimens as well as modern day European wolves.

This doesn't mean that Europe is the only place where dogs developed. The continent played a major part in the domestication process of dogs as we know them today, but a parallel development might have taken place in other parts of the world.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Cats hear what we say, they just don't care

Japanese scientists at the University of Tokyo have made a study on cats and their interactions with humans. The result comes as no surprise to cat owners: cats hear us fine. They just don't care.

The study tested twenty house cats in their own homes and analyzed the cats' responses to calls from their owners - and strangers - through measuring ear, tail, and head movements, eye dilation, paw movement, and more. The cats showed a greater response to their owner's voice than to strangers, but couldn't be bothered with moving regardless of who called for them.

Every cat owner knows cats are independent. The interesting question is why. The study suggests the behavior might stem back to the early domestication of the species, which contrasts with the relationship between humans and dogs.

The website writes that cats recognize their owners' voices, but never evolved to care. "Recent genetic analysis has revealed that the common ancestor of the modern housecat was Felis silvestris, a species of wildcat that first came into contact with humans around 9,000 years ago. As early societies developed agriculture, these cats moved in to prey on the rodents that were attracted to stores of grain. They effectively 'domesticated themselves'."

Dogs, on the other hand, were domesticated to work with humans and taught to respond to orders and commands. The cats never needed to learn.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Sliding track system for the PlexiDor security plate

The PlexiDor security plate is
virtually impossible to get through.
Security is a concern for every home owner, and some people worry about making a new opening in a door or a wall. The PlexiDor comes with lock and key, and with a steel security plate that can be attached when leaving the home.

Normally, the steel security plate is screwed onto the PlexiDor aluminum frame. It's easy to do, but for those who want to use the plate every day, there's now a helpful accessory.

The Sliding Track system makes attaching the security plate a breeze. The tracks are attached to the interior frame, and the security plate slides down the track into place. The system comes with all hardware, and mounts in minutes.

With the sliding track system,
the PlexiDor security plate
is attached within seconds.

Once the plate is slid into place, a flip lock at the top ensures that the plate stays down where it's supposed to.

The tracks are made of strong, durable aluminum and comes in Silver, White, or Bronze. They are available for door sizes Medium, Large, or Extra Large.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Are there hypoallergenic dogs?

There is some confusion about the word "Hypoallergenic." It means that something has a smaller incidence of causing allergic reactions. It doesn't mean that the food, pet, or rug never causes allergies. The word hypo means lower than normal.

When it comes to dogs, you may have heard that this or that dog breed is hypoallergenic, and many connect allergies to the pet's coat, but this isn't necessarily true. While there are hairless dogs and dogs that shed very little, most allergies are caused by proteins in a pet's saliva and dander.

A study at the Henry Ford Hospital has analyzed dust samples collected from almost 200 homes. Sixty dog breeds were involved in the study, and eleven of the breeds are considered hypoallergenic.

The conclusion? There is no significant difference between breeds in how much allergens are produced. There can, however, be a difference between individuals of the same breed. Thus, a person with allergies can be able to have one specific pet, even if they're allergic to other individuals of the same breed.

Most dog lovers will argue that pets are good for children. This is true when it comes to allergies as well; exposure to a dog early in life will provide a certain protection against developing dog allergies.

Some tips to battle allergies:
  • Bathe the pet often. This reduces the amounts of allergen related proteins on both the dog itself and in the air. If a person in the household is allergic, bathing the pet at least twice a week can minimize the allergic reaction.
  • Clean and vacuum often. Use air filters, and consider constricting the pet to certain rooms, so the allergic person can have a safe haven.
  • Smaller dogs might produce less allergens than larger dogs.

To read more about this subject, check out these links:

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Monday, September 14, 2015

Dog breed spotlight: Lundehund

Norwegian Lundehund
Image from
The Norwegian Lundehund is also called Norsk Lundehund or the "Puffin Dog." 

It is a small and agile Spitz with several unique characteristics. It has six toes on each foot, prick ear that fold closed - backwards or forwards at will - and a unique ability to tip its head backwards until it touches the back bone.

The head isn't the only extremely agile part. The Lundehund has a great range of motion in all its joints, allowing it to fit into and get out of narrow passages. The extra toe makes it good at climbing.

Did you ever hear of a dog with six toes
on each paw? Image from wikipedia.

The Lundehund is described in writing as far back as the 1500s, and originated in remote parts of Norway where it was used to wrestle and retrieve live Puffin birds from the crevices of steep vertical cliffs. The extra toe was particularly useful for these balance acts.

The breed was as good as extinct after the second world war, and all dogs alive today stem from five dogs found on a remote island in the Arctic Ocean. No other breed was ever on the island.

This is a loyal and playful companion with excellent personality. They are easy to live with and their coat require minimal upkeep. On the downside, the Lundehund has a digestive disorder that makes it difficult to absorb nutrients from food. In extreme cases, the dog can starve even though it is well fed.

These are small dogs, 14-15 lbs and approximately 12-16 inches tall.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Friday, September 11, 2015

Dog-friendly meatloaf

It is Friday and many want to make a special weekend treat for their dogs. Here is a recipe for meatloaf for dogs. 

If your pet can't eat wheat, leave out the bread slices and wheat germ. Instead, add oat bran and increase the oatmeal to twelve cups.

What you need:

  • 1 pound of ground beef or ground turkey 
  • 1 container of cottage cheese (24 ounces) 
  • 4 eggs 
  • 1/2 cup of milk powder 
  • 1/4 cup of wheat germ 
  • 8 slices of oatmeal bread (crumbled) 
  • 8 cups of cooked oatmeal 
  • 4 cups of cooked brown rice

What to do:

Blend the ground beef and the cottage cheese. Add in the eggs, milk powder, and wheat germ. When those ingredients are mixed, add crumbled bread, oatmeal, and the brown rice. Mix well.

You can bake the mixture as one large meatloaf, as meatloaf muffins, or in smaller pans. It should be baked at 350F for an hour.

The meatloaf freezes very well.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Why does my cat eat grass?

Cats are carnivores while dogs and humans are omnivores. This isn't a matter of owners' preference or what we think is best for dogs and cats - it is a biological difference. 

Practically, it means that dogs have the ability to create many nutrients through eating plant-based foods. Cats must get these nutrients through digesting meat of animals who already created them from eaten plants.

A cat that is fed a vegetarian diet will get sick. A dog might not love only eating vegetables, but he or she is physically able to handle it. This is also the reason why dogs can eat cat food just fine, but cats shouldn't be fed dog food.

So, why do some cats eat grass?

Cats lack the enzymes necessary to break down vegetables and use the nutrients in plants, but grass contains folic acid that is important to cats.

Eating grass doesn't necessarily mean your kitty doesn't get folic acid through its diet. Some cats just like eating plants, and there are several theories as to why. Grass can counteract indigestion. Some scientists believe cats eat grass to relieve sore throats, and others claim cats just like the taste of grass.

If your cat has an interest in eating grass and other plants, you should know that many common houseplants are toxic to cats. Outdoor lawns isn't a good option either - they're usually treated with pesticides, insecticides, and fertilizers.

Invest in some cat grass. It is safe, easy to grow, and can improve your cat's life.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Dog Breed Spotlight: Aidi

The Aidi – or Atlas Mountain Dog – is a Moroccan dog breed. It is also called Chien de l’Atlas. This is an energetic working dog believed to have originated in Sahara.

In its homeland, the Aidi often protects herds of sheep and goats. They are also good at hunting and tracking scents.

For hunting, an Aidi is often paired with a Sloughi, a type of hound that chases down prey tracked by the Aidi.

The breed is gaining popularity as city pet, but most of them are still hard workers, either in the countryside or as police dogs.

A typical Aidi is highly protective, alert, powerful, and always ready for action. As many working dogs, it does best with an experienced owner and a job to do. They need ample amounts of exercise, long daily walks, and prefer to have a large yard.

These dogs can come in a variety of colors and color combinations. They’re considered healthy, and have an average life span of 12 years. A typical Aidi weighs around 50-55 lbs.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Win 1,000 lbs of your brand of dog food!

Has your dog gone cute? It's time for your pet to be a star! PlexiDor Pet Doors is giving away 1,000 pounds of Your Brand of Dog Food to one lucky winner or to a rescue of their choice – PLUS a PlexiDor Performance Pet Door. 

PlexiDor will also donate a PlexiDor Pet Door to the 1st prize winner’s favorite pet shelter!

Entering is easy! Just visit, click for contest details and submit a photo of your dog.

The contest is open from September 1, 2015 to December 15, 2015. Winners will be announced on December 22, 2015. No purchase is necessary.

Second prize wins a PlexiDor Performance Pet Door with Installation, along with a $25 VISA Card.

Third prize is a gift basket of Toys, Treats and Chews!

“No one can truly articulate all the benefits dogs bring to our lives,” says Robert Wollet, Sales Manager of PlexiDor. “Each year we celebrate the unique bond between humans and dogs with our PlexiDor Dog Photo Contest, because there is nothing on earth quite like it!”

PlexiDor Performance Pet Doors are available through a nationwide network of authorized dealer prices ranging from $163 to $1,249. Visit to locate a dealer near you or call 1-844-698-6472 to request a PlexiDor catalog.

PlexiDor Performance Doors has manufactured high quality pet doors since 1985 at its facility in Bradenton, Florida. Professionally engineered and manufactured from high-quality materials made in the United States, PlexiDor Performance Pet Doors provide years of safe, trouble-free service for consumers and their pets.

PlexiDor Pet Doors do not require costly vinyl replacement flaps, and their frames are made of heavy-duty anodized aluminum that will not rust, bend, crack or warp. Engineered with KP Composite™ energy efficient panels, PlexiDor Pet Doors reduce energy costs and are ideal for extreme climates.

PlexiDor offers a 5-year limited residential warranty and a 90-day money back guarantee.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Happy Labor Day!

Happy Labor Day!
Have a wonderful and relaxing day.
We will be back tomorrow. 

Take some cute photos of your pets during today's celebrations - 
they will come in handy for the exciting news you'll find on this page tomorrow! 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Home made cookies for dogs with diabetes

Everyone likes to treat their pet a little extra, but if a dog has diabetes it can be difficult to find good treats. These treats work for most dogs, and are easy to make.

If your dog has a health problem, check with your vet before feeding the pet anything out of the ordinary.

What you need: 

0.5 cup of whole wheat flour
2 eggs
1.5 pounds of beef liver cut into pieces

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a 10x15 inch pan with parchment paper

Chop the liver in a food processor. Add the flour and eggs and process until smooth. (If there isn't room in the food processor, transfer to a large bowl and stir with a wooden spoon.)

Spread the mix evenly in the pan.

Bake for 15 minutes. The center should be firm. Let it cool and cut into small squares with a pizza cutter.

Treats should be stored in the fridge.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Pets can help children with autism

Autism is a neurological disorder that impacts social, communicative, and cognitive functions, and the disability is becoming increasingly common. In 2012, the CDC reported that approximately 1 in 88 children in the US has an Autism Spectrum Disorder. 

It is difficult to compare this number against previous decades, because the criteria for what counts as Autism has changed. According to the Autism Science Foundation, in the 1980's, autism prevalence was reported as 1 in 10,000. Even with different measuring criteria, it's a stunning difference to 1 in 88. Autism is almost five times more common among boys than among girls.

Many children with autism are non-verbal, or don't use the skill to actively communicate with other people. In short, a child with autism does not connect well with the surrounding environment. That doesn't mean the child doesn't want a connection.

Luckily, it can be easier to connect with a pet than with other people. The organization Autism Service Dogs of America says, "A child who connects to a dog connects with the world." They explain that a dog serves as a physical and emotional anchor for the child, and even provides a focus through which a child with autism can connect with other children. 

The dogs also helps kids deal with emotions, and while many children with autism dislike being touched by another person, they can enjoy touching a dog. Some children tend to wander away, and in this case the service dog can be trained to track the scent of, hold, retrieve, or find the child. 

the MIRA Foundation in Canada recently made a study on the physiological impact of service dogs on children with autism, and found that their stress levels dropped significantly with the presence of a dog. Most likely, the stress levels in the parents dropped as well...

If you want to read more about service dogs and children with autism, there are many great resources on the Internet. I visited Autism Service Dogs of America, Pawsitive solutions, and 4 Paws For Ability.

Do you have experience with a child with autism? Has a pet helped? A dog, or some other type of animal?

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Bake cookies for your kitty

There are many recipes for dog cookies on the Internet, but more rare to find a treat for cats. We've posted this recipe before, but it's such a hit with the kitties it deserves another run on the blog!

The list of ingredients can look intimidating but once you get everything together, the cookies are easy to make.

You need:

  • 1 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons of wheat germ
  • 1/4 cup of soy flour
  • 1/3 cup of powdered milk
  • 1 tablespoon kelp
  • 1/2 teaspoon bonemeal
  • 1 teaspoon dried and crushed catnip leaves
  • 1 tablespoon molasses (unsulfured)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1/3 cup water or catwalk

What to do:

Mix all the dry ingredients. Add molasses, egg, oil, and milk/water. Roll out the dough flat and cut it into narrow strips. Bake on an oiled cookie sheet for 20 minutes at 350 F. 

Once baked, you can break the strips into small pieces.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Dog breed spotlight: Maltese

The Maltese is a gentle and affectionate toy breed known for being playful, lively, and fearless. These clever little dogs have been considered dog aristocracy for 3,000 years and the breed has a rich history.

Other small breeds have been bred down from larger sizes, but the first Maltese were the same size as the dogs of today, and even though they’re small, Maltese tend to be brave.

The long and silky coat lacks an undercoat and the breed sheds next to nothing. Many choose to cut the coat to minimize the amount of brushing.

These dogs are lively and playful, and generally cuddly. They like company and adore their humans.

~ Maria Sadowski ~