Posts

Dog Dementia: What is Canine Cognitive Dysfunction?

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Cognitive dysfunction can affect senior and geriatric dogs. These are the signs to look for. 

Guest post by Dr. Gurpal Chahal
Cognitive dysfunction is a progressive degenerative process associated with a pet’s brain aging. It is similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans. It can have a major effect on the dog's behavior, mood, and routine activities. The pet owner may see changes in their pet’s alertness, responsiveness to stimuli, altered learning capability, and a decrease in the pet’s memory. What causes cognitive dysfunction in dogs?The exact cause of this degenerative disorder is not known. Chronic illness or stress may increase a dog’s chances of suffering from cognitive dysfunction, but some or all of the following factors may contribute toward this dysfunction and affect the normal functioning of the dog’s brain.A decrease in neurons with ageThe deposition of toxic free radicals with chronic illness or stressA decrease in blood flow to the brain with ageA decline in transmissio…

Companion Animal Psychology News September 2020

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Dog poop, how many mice cats prefer, and the things we’re afraid of in this month’s Companion Animal Psychology News. 

By Zazie Todd, PhD
My favourites this month
“I realized that there are many lessons from my studies of antipredator behavior that have implications for how we humans make decisions.” Dr. Marc Bekoff interviews Dr. Daniel Blumstein in The nature of fear: why we’re all afraid of something.   “In an off-the-cuff remark to the audience, he casually mentioned a study of wolves and dogs in the mountains of Ethiopia. The dogs, it seems, but not the wolves, regularly consumed human feces. The idea spun my head around.” Did eating human poop play a role in dogs’ evolution by Dr. Hal Herzog. “In most places, remaining natural habitats are squeezed between intensive agriculture and urban sprawl.” "’Extinction: The Facts’: Attenborough’s new documentary is surprisingly radical by Julia P.G. Jones.  “These myths echo and reinforce negative beliefs we already have about poor pe…

Fellow Creatures: Animals Aren't It

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I have a new post over at my Psychology Today blog, Fellow Creatures.
By Zazie Todd, PhD
The piece looks at the pronouns we use for animals and how our relationship with those animals affects the choices we make. Some style guides require writers to use it to refer to animals, but increasingly pet owners feel that animals aren't it. The piece also includes quotes from David Grimm, Alexandra Horowitz, and Aislinn Hunter.Check it out here: Animals Aren't It: Pets, Pronouns, and Choices.
Zazie Todd, PhD, is the author of Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy. She is the founder of the popular blog Companion Animal Psychology, where she writes about everything from training methods to the human-canine relationship. She also writes a column for Psychology Today and has received the prestigious Captain Haggerty Award for Best Training Article in 2017. Todd lives in Maple Ridge, BC, with her husband and two cats.

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Check out what the Animal Book Club is reading this month…

The Writer's Pet: Aislinn Hunter and The Certainties

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Award-winning Canadian writer Aislinn Hunter on her gorgeous dogs and her latest book, The Certainties.
The first in a new series of The Writer's Pet, by Zazie Todd PhD.

Aislinn Hunter's latest book, The Certainties, is a bestseller that is described as "a wonderful mystery, a masterful piece of storytelling that will grip you the first time you read it, and a work of careful art that will reward you when you read it again" (Jon McGregor). 

For this first post in the series, Hunter told me about her book - and, of course, her pets.

I loved The Certainties and will be giving a copy away on Twitter to celebrate the launch of The Writer's Pet. Be sure to follow me on Twitter and enter for a chance to win. I'll draw the winner on 22nd September (now closed).
This page contains affiliate links. What are your pets’ names?Cooper, Juniper, and Clara. Type of pet?Border collie, Border collie, English setter.What do you love most about your pets? Their depth, complexity and…

Introducing The Writer’s Pet

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A new series about writers and their companion animals coming soon to Companion Animal Psychology.

By Zazie Todd, PhD

Charles Dickens had his pet raven, Grip; Ernest Hemingway had many polydactyl cats; Virginia Woolf had a cocker spaniel called Pinka; and Alice Walker keeps pet chickens. Authors love their pets, but how do they influence their writing? The Writer’s Pet explores the world of contemporary writers and their companion animals. My own pets have been a tremendous influence on my writing. I started this blog, and ultimately wrote my book, Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy, because I was inspired by my own pets. I wanted to learn more about them, and to share information about animal behaviour and good animal welfare with cat and dog guardians. Even if writing means I am alone in my thoughts, I am not alone when I write. In Wag, I write of my dog Bodger watching me write whilst waiting for me to stop, because of what would happen next:“Bodger has a good internal clock. …

How is COVID-19 Affecting Relationships with Pets?

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Pets seem to have helped people cope with lockdown, but it’s not been easy for the pets, two studies show.
By Zazie Todd, PhD
This is a tough year for everyone. How have pets helped us cope with the difficulties of the pandemic so far? And is it a tough year for pets, too? Several research studies are already providing some answers.   In the relatively early days of the pandemic, which now feel like a decade ago, it became apparent that people would have to spend a lot more time at home, whether out of choice or because a lockdown was imposed. There were reports of people rushing out to adopt pets. And around the world, numerous academics launched studies to find out what was happening. Pets help people with tight lockdown in SpainSpain was badly affected early on, and went into a very strict lockdown in mid-March that was tightly policed. People were only allowed out to get food and medicine, to access healthcare, or to work (if working from home was not possible). They were not even al…

Animal Book Club September 2020

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“The American College of Veterinary Behaviorists doesn’t disappoint with this volume devoted to cats.”--Booklist.

By Zazie Todd, PhD
This month, the Companion Animal Psychology Book Club is reading Decoding Your Cat: The Ultimate Experts Explain Common Cat Behaviors and Reveal How to Prevent or Change Unwanted Ones by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists and edited by Meghan E. Herron DVN DACVB, Debra F Horwitz DVM DACVB, and Carlo Siracusa DVM DACVB DECAWBM. 
This page contains affiliate links.
From the inside cover,"The cutting-edge, scientifically accurate, definitive book on the most common behavioural issues that cats face and how to prevent or solve them.One of the predominant reasons that owners abandon their pets in unwanted behaviour. And while other books and guides offer tips to train pet cats, cat owners are still often left befuddled: Why is my cat acting this way?Finally, the board-certified experts of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists provide …