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Bark About It

Why is dog insurance important?

Dogs and puppies are renowned for being busy and mischievous, which means they can get themselves into all sorts of mischief – with potentially disastrous consequences.

However, there are a range of dog insurance policies out there, all of which will help pay for those unexpected vet bills.

Don’t forget, as well as falling ill, or getting injured, there are many other ways your dog could cost you money.

Who, for instance, will pay those boarding kennel fees if you are hospitalized?

What if your dog causes damage to a neighbor’s property?

Remember, it really is false economy to avoid taking out insurance to save money during the recession.

Taking out a dog insurance policy means that you can rest assured that you could get help with vet fees at a time when you need it. It’s better to be safe now rather than suffer any undue expense, or worse, heartache, later on.

Third party liability dog insurance:

Third party liability is a key part of any quality dog insurance policy.  A reputable insurance company will provide a policy that will help cover costs if your dog causes damage to property or serious injury to a person.

Dogs can also suffer from long-term, serious conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and behavioral problems and insurance can help with the cost of treating these conditions.

What makes the dog-human bond so powerful?

What makes the dog-human bond so powerful? In a word, reciprocity.

Japanese researchers Nagasawa, Kikusui, Onaka, and Ohta  found that dogs and humans have a give-and-take relationship so powerful that it’s controlled by the very same hormone—oxytocin—that binds mothers and infants, reduces anxiety and depression, and builds trust and intimacy.1

Scientists speculate that oxytocin played a role in the domestication of dogs, leading us to share many of the same social signals we use with our own children. We’re actually biologically programmed to love each other!

1 Nagasawa M, Kikusui T, Onaka T, Ohta M. Dog’s gaze at its owner increases owner’s urinary oxytocin during social interaction. Hormones and Behavior. 2009;55:434-441.

Origin of Modern, Domesticated Dog Identified

In a recent study at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, researches have managed to zero in on the origin of man’s best friend.

While previous studies in the field have indicated that East Asia is where the wolf was tamed and became the dog, it was not possible to be more precise than that.

“For the first time in world history it is possible to provide a detailed picture of the dog, with its birthplace, point in time, and how many wolves were tamed,” says Peter Savolainen, a biology researcher at KTH.

Together with Swedish colleagues and a Chinese research team, he has made a number of new discoveries about the history of the dog.

These discoveries are presented in an article in the scientific journal Molecular Biology and Evolution, where it is claimed that the dog appeared 16,000 years ago, in Asia, south of the Yangtze River in China.

This is a considerably more specific date and birthplace than had previously been put forward.

“Our earlier findings from 2002 have not been fully accepted, but with our new data there will be greater acceptance. The picture provides much more detail,” says Peter Savolainen.

The time for the emergence of the dog conforms well with when the population in this part of the world went from being hunters and gatherers to being farmers, which was 10,000 to 12,000 years ago.

According to Peter Savolainen, the research indicates that the dog has a single geographic origin but descends from a large number of animals. At least several hundred tamed wolves, probably even more.

“The fact that there were so many wolves indicates that this was an important, major part of the culture,” says Peter Savolainen.

He adds that the research findings provide several exciting theories. For example, the original dogs, unlike their later descendents in Europe, which were used as herders and guard dogs, probably ended their lives in the stomachs of humans.

For the full press release, click here.

Recovering With Four-Legged Friends Requires Less Pain Medication

According to a study recently conducted by the Loyola University Health System, adults who are provided with pet therapy while recovering from total joint-replacement surgery require 50%  less pain medication than those who recover without the additional support.

“Evidence suggests that animal-assisted therapy (AAT) can have a positive effect on a patient’s psychosocial, emotional and physical well being,” said Julia Harvey, RN, study presenter and senior systems analyst, Department of Medical Center Information Systems, Loyola University Health System. “These data further support these benefits and build the case for expanding the use of pet therapy in recovery.”

Havey, and colleague Frances Vlasses, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, combine their love for animals and commitment to improving the quality of life for others by working with a program called Canine Companions for Independence (CCI).  CCI, a non-profit organization, provides highly trained assistance dogs to people with physical and developmental disabilities free of charge.

After the initial phase of the program – raising a puppy and teaching it basic house and social etiquette skills – Havey and Vlasses return the 15 month old dogs to CCI’s regional training center for a 6-9 month program during with they will learn to be one of four types of assistance dogs.

  • Service Dogs - trained to assist with physical tasks and provide social support to their partners (ailments range from spinal cord injury to multiple sclerosis)
  • Facility Dogs - trained to work with a professional in a visitation, education or health-care setting where they will help motivate, rehabilitate or soothe clients.
  • Skilled Companion Dogs – trained to work with an adult or child with a  disability under the guidance of a facilitator, and may serve as a social bridge to individuals who are not accustomed to relating to people with disabilities (disabilities include cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, autism and Down’s syndrome).
  • Hearing Dogs – trained to recognize and alert partners to various sounds (doorbell, alarm clock, smoke alarm, etc).

Harvey and Vlasses believe that animal-assisted therapy will ultimately become a standard of care for healing.

For the full press release, click here.

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