Why a Pet is a Positive for Kids in a Family

By | Informational

Having a pet in a home with kids tends to finish that household. The human animal bond within the home will support and grow, therefore supplying substantial favorable household characteristics, especially for the youngsters. For many, having a pet in the home completes the mental image of their family.

Let us not leave out the 6-8 million animals a year that are housed in animal shelters. Getting a pet for the household will in addition help these animals.

From: Adoptapet.com (http://www.adoptapet.com/blog/10-reasons-pets-are-good-for-kids)

Boy and a PuppyThere are so many benefits that pets provide for kids! It’s easy for kids to get wrapped up in the idea of owning a new pet, but it’s up to their parents to make sure the experience is a positive one, and that the pet receives the care he or she needs for their entire lives. Kids tend to think of all the fun, good things. Parents who are experienced, or even first-time pet owners, know there is a lot of patience, time, and effort involved, but that the pay-off of sharing your home and life with the unconditional love a well-cared for pet gives, it’s well worth it. For those parents sitting on the edge, here are several positive benefits you might not have thought of when bringing a pet home for your kids.

1. Children who grow up in homes with pets have less risk of developing common allergies and asthma.

2. Playing with dogs may help lower blood pressure.

3. Kids with pets get outside more – to go for walks, run, and play – and enjoy all the associated health benefits.

4. Pet owners require fewer doctors’ visits.

5. Emerging readers often feel more comfortable reading aloud to a pet.

6. Nurturing a pet is an acceptable way for boys to “parent play”; to practice being caregivers.

7. Feeding and caring for a pet encourages childhood responsibility.

8. Children with pets display improved impulse control, social skills and self-esteem.

9. Sharing the love and care of a family pet forges an additional common bond among siblings.

10. Cuddling a pet reduces stress, loneliness, and anxiety.

11. Pets offer security and stability. Nearly 70% of children confide in their pets, confident their secrets will not be betrayed.

12. And pets provide a natural gateway into the animal kingdom- love for one’s pet as a child often translates into an adult belief that the relationship between humans and animals is one of mutual support.

Ebola | Can You Get It from Your Pet?

By | Pet Health

Ebola is all over the news. A dog was euthanized in Spain because the owner came down with Ebola. This has created a controversy. The bottom line is we don’t really have enough facts and research to really make an educated decision. It would have been nice to have quarantined the dog so we could have gotten more information about the potential danger, if any. Below is an article created by Veterinary News Network (VNN) which will provide some information for you.

Can Ebola Virus affect our Dogs and Cats

• For the past several months, countries in West Africa have been experiencing an outbreak of illness caused by the Ebola virus. People infected with this virus usually show a fever, headache, muscle pain, weakness, vomiting and diarrhea, followed by dysentery or blood in the diarrhea and abdominal pain. It is basically a viral hemorragic fever.

• Sadly, although recoveries can happen they are rarew and up to 90 percentage of people who test positive for Ebola will die. There is currently no cure. As with many diseases, the only treatment is supportive care, such as rehydration and treating any direct symptom as best as possible.

• With the recent news that a second person has tested positive for Ebola here in North America even after taking all the precautions of a health care worker in a major hospital, many people are becoming alarmed about the transmission of the disease especially considering the uncontrolled migration of people through our southern border and other unidentified viral infections that are known to have come to our contry via this route.

• Further, with the euthanasia of the an infected patient’s dog in Spain (and the outrage that caused around the world), the concerns of the Ebola virus are not limited to protecting only people, but also whether or not our pets are at risk of infection or could possibly transmit the disease to people or other animals.

• Here is what we know at this time; precious little research has been devoted to whether dogs or cats can become infected with Ebola, consequently facts are known. At least one study has indicated that dogs can become infected with the virus, deveop a titer, but the dogs in the study did not demonstrate transmission. (http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/11/3/pdfs/04-0981.pdf).

• However, even though dogs do develop antibodies to the virus, at this point there is no evidence that dogs actually get sick or even show symptoms. What’s more important though is that there are no documented cases of dogs passing the virus to humans. And it must be emphasized – this is true AT THIS POINT, as wse are early in our experience with this disease outside of Africa.

• Because no studies of this particular virus have been done on a large scale in dogs and cats, we are simply in uncharted territory and do not know. Because of this we all have to be vigilant and watch for these general signs and get out pets treated immediately.

• Both the CDC and all veterinary health authorities, public health agnencies and epidemiologists and microbiolobists are on alert around the clock, it is important to understand everything is being done to monitor populationis of people and all animals for unusual signs and even testing where necessary.

• If your pet is sick or shows any symptoms such as fever (usually seen as lack of appetite), vomiting, diarrhea etc., you should see your veterinarian immediately and we’ll make our best effort to get a diagnosis and treat your pet.



Dog Bites! What You Can Do to Help Avoid Them

By | Pet Health

Did you have any idea there was a National Dog Bite Prevention Week?

Yes, the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) National Dog Bite Prevention Week for 2014 is from May 18th till May 24. and the focus as before will concentrate on informing individuals about dog bite prevention.

Well, the large bulk of these dog bites can be prevented. And who gets bitten the most, obviously youngsters. Therefore, informing children needs to be a primary duty for parents, especially if there are pets in our home.

With 70 million or so pet dogs in the United States, there’s got to be a couple of dog bites, actually 4.5– 5 million dog bites occur yearly. About 20 % of these bites require medical attention, so about 800,000 a year and half of those are children. Elderly people are the next most typical group suffering from a dog bite. Youngsters are typically more seriously injured. The bites primarily take place during regular daily interactivity with the pet.

So exactly what suggestions can we give to assist to minimize this major problem? Below are 10 things you can do.

Do some study and research about different breeds

Among the most essential things, is to do some study about different breed characters and behavioral trends prior to choosing an animal for the household. Don’t take on or buy an animal based on impulse for psychological reasons, feeling sorry or guilty. Do not let somebody press an animal on you. This generally turns out badly. Particularly if this is your first dog, do some homework. Discover exactly what to search for in an animal. Talk with a veterinarian, a trustworthy breeder, a minimum of somebody in the veterinary field, people who have had years of experience handling and working with various pet dogs. If you are not alone, the other individuals, particularly grownups, need to be on board totally. Don’t permit kids to make the choice or have significant input. You have to look at your family situation and see if the dog fits (sex, type, size, activity level, personality, type of coat, financial commitment, and so on) into your lifestyle.

Check out the parents, at least the bitch, if getting a puppy

If you are getting a puppy, you need to see the mom at least. Temperament is a heritable trait. Exactly how does she act when you approach and touch her? Will she sit on command? Can you get her to rest on her side? Take the puppy and hold it. How does it respond? Position the puppy on its back and side? Exactly how does it react? If it combats you, cries out or tries to bite, do not get it. You will have trouble with socalizing the puppy.

Be sure to have human interaction with the puppy or dog

With that stated, see to it that your puppy is well-socialized. The capability to socialize the pet is vital in having a good and obedient animal. You have to practice with your dog to obey the fundamental commands such as sit, stay, lie down, listen when you say no and come when you call. The dog has to be comfortable walking on a leash (walks with you in a calm manner, doesn’t drag or pull and is by your side). The most essential thing you can do to prevent behavioral problems and the danger of your pet biting someone is proper socialization. If your dog has an obedient nature, you will substantially lower the threat of biting and misbehaving.

Exercise your dog daily

Working your dog out is also crucial, specifically in certain breeds. Pet dogs have energy that needs to be burnt on a regular daily basis. Depending upon the dog, the workout could be long walks or may need to be more aerobic. Good regular workouts also supplies mental excitement for the pet and will make the pet much better within the household.

Play effectively with your dog

When you or the children play with the dog, stay clear of the wrestling or tug-of-war type of games. This kind of activity is over exciting and pits the dog against you. Don’t tease the dog with your hands. Having your fingers, hands or arms in the dog’s mouth is informing the pet it is OK to bite, even though it is in a friendly spirited way. Likewise, do not ever put your dog in a circumstance where he/she feels teased or threatened.

Leash training is required

As previously discussed, you have to constantly utilize a leash when you walk your dog in public. You have to preserve control. You do not have control, if your dog is dragging you along. All members of the family have to have appropriate control when walking the dog, not simply a single person. If you have an actual trouble when walking your dog, you ought to seek out some obedience training.

Do not leave your dog outside alone in the yard

Leaving a dog out in the backyard, ignored, can cause troubles. Digging holes and jumping the fence may become issues. If someone else has a dog in an adjacent yard, then you may get some territorial and aggression issues. This might negate the work you have already put in.

Timely spaying and sterilizing can assist

Taking the step to neuter or spay your dog will remove the hormonal influences which can reduce some regular hostility tendencies present among sexual intact animals. You need to discuss the timing of neutering or spaying with your veterinarian.

Get yearly wellness and health evaluations

Regular health and physical exams should be done at a minimum yearly. Animals in pain from osteoarthritis could possibly bite if touched where there is pain, Your veterinarian can supply medicine for arthritic pain.

Take some time to inform and instruct your youngsters

You need to instruct your youngsters ways to approach and act with, not just your own dog, but also with other dogs they could encounter. Make sure they understand not to just go up a dog and stick out their hand to touch the animal. Never ever should they try to hug a dog.They must never approach a dog that is not on a leash and under an adult’s control. You must never leave a baby or small child alone with any dog, even your own.

Check the below videos to help educate your child:


Skyway Animal Hospital
3258 5th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33712
(727) 327-5141

A veterinary hospital located in Pinellas County providing veterinary medical
and surgical care in St. Petersburg Florida and surrounding areas since 1961. Need veterinary care for your dog or cat?

We have the experience. Calls us for an appointment and let us help you with your best friend and companion.


Lyme Disease Vaccination for Dogs. Yeah or Ney?

By | Pet Health

Skyway Animal Hospital in St Petersburgs Illustrating a TickThe debate continues whether to vaccinate or not vaccinate for Lyme disease. If veterinarians can not agree, how does a client decide. Anytime a veterinarian decides to use a vaccine, Lyme disease or any other, the vet has to weigh the risks and benefits for the patient. So what are some of the factors to consider.

Where does your pet live?

Living in an endemic area for Lyme disease needs to be considered. In humans, 95% of Lyme disease cases are found in 12 endemic states in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Upper Midwest. In some of these areas, 70% to 90% of the healthy dogs have been exposed to Lyme disease. An important component for prevention in the areas is good tick control, which can reduce the risk for disease. Also, vaccination should be considered more frequently in an endemic area.

How great is the risk of severe disease, once a dog is infected?

Generally, the risk of severe disease, once the dog is infected, is low. It has been stated that less than 2% of exposed dogs develop the more serious illness, Lyme nephritis (kidney inflammation). Also, co-infection (infection with more than one agent) appears to result in more serious illness. There also may be a genetic predisposition to the degree of inflammation produced from the disease. Retrievers and soft-coated wheaten terriers appear to a genetic susceptibility. In studies, less than 5% of positive dogs had arthritis, the most common illness. These cases generally respond rapidly to common and inexpensive antibiotics.

How effective is the vaccine?

Definitely not as effective as other vaccines. The vaccine appears to prevent infection in 60%-86% of the dogs vaccinated. Protection is not long lasting and booster vaccinations are given every 6 months or at least annually.

Is the vaccine safe?

The vaccine does not appear to be as safe as the more common vaccines used today for other diseases. In a 1.2 million study of vaccinated dogs, the Lyme vaccine produced more after vaccination adverse reactions within 3 days, than any other vaccine. These reactions were judged as moderate. The reactions were related to inflammation. In a study, 30% of the dogs with Lyme nephritis had been given the Lyme vaccine 2 weeks to 15 months prior to illness. This also brings up the question whether or not to vaccinate retrievers and soft-coated wheaten terriers. They probably SHOULD NOT be vaccinated.


1. Tick control is important is helping to prevent the disease.

2. Most dogs tested positive for Lyme disease are nonclinical.

3. Vast majority of confirmed cases can be treated with common and inexpensive antibiotics

4. Most dogs do not display signs of Lyme disease after vaccination, but the same is true for naturally exposed dogs.

5. Lyme disease vaccine have a short duration and cause more post vaccination adverse events

6. The dogs most susceptible to Lyme disease (genetic predisposition), whicj=h need the most protection, should not be vaccinated.

Hopefully this provides some useful information in making a decision to vaccinate for Lyme disease or not.


Pet Microchip – Protection For Your Pet that Could Save It’s Life

By | Informational

It is a well-known fact that thousands of people lose their animals every year. The primary reason that many of them are not returned to their owners is because they lack proper identification. As a result of this, innovative people decided to create a microchip that could be implemented into canines to help their owners find them once again. This article will address the benefits, and for using pet microchips today.

What Is A Pet Microchip?

A microchip is very small, about the size of a grain of rice. It is a small computer chip that is surgically implanted between the shoulder blades of your dog. Your veterinarian will know how to install this device so that it does not harm your animal. Every chip has an alphanumeric code which is will identify your animal. Finally, the owners contact information is added to the dog’s registration completing the process.

How A Pet Microchip Can Help

Once a pet has been found, the animal is scanned. Upon finding the microchip, the registry will be contacted, and the owner’s information can be pulled up. Essentially, it is a technologically advanced pet tag that cannot be lost, and is very useful in specifically identifying lost animals wherever they may be.

Maintenance On The Pet Microchip?

Every pet microchip is maintenance free. They do not need to be updated, or replaced. The only thing that needs to be updated by the owner is the contact information. If the owner moves, or changes their phone number, if the information is not updated after registry, the microchip will serve no purpose. This can typically be done online, making it very easy to manage.

 Why You Should Consider A Pet Microchip

Although these microchips are mainly used on dogs, they can be inserted into other animals. It serves as a digital ID tag that can allow every pet owner to find their lost animal. In this technologically based age, the Internet makes it possible for people to connect all across the world. By having a microchip installed into your pet, regardless of where they are found, you will be able to reunite with them using this advanced technology.

Conclusion About  Pet Microchipping

Protecting your dog, or cat, that you have as a pet, should be of utmost importance to you. By using a pet microchip with your favorite animal, you are doing your best to use technology to protect them should they ever get lost. Talk to your veterinarian today about getting a microchip for your pet.

Skyway Animal Hospital
3258 5th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33712
(727) 327-5141

A veterinary hospital located in Pinellas County providing veterinary medical
and surgical care in St. Petersburg Florida and surrounding areas since 1961. Need veterinary care for your dog or cat?

We have the experience. Calls us for an appointment and let us help you with your best friend and companion.


What Is Pyometra And How Does It Occur?

By | Pet Health
how to treat pyometra

pinger / Pixabay

What Is Pyometra And How Does It Occur?

A non-spayed female dog or cat over the age of 6 years is more susceptible to pyometra than a younger dog.

Pyometra is a rather serious condition and is due to the infection of the uterus.

It is evidenced by the accumulation of pus in the uterus and if left untreated it can be fatal to your pet.

Though it affects both, it is more common in dogs than cats.

What Causes Pyometra

Pyometra is caused by increased amounts of progesterone, or the hypersensitivity of the uterus to progesterone. However, there might be a secondary infection caused by e. coli bacteria. Pyometra is triggered by a heat cycle that does not end up in pregnancy. After several years of heat cycles without falling pregnant, changes in the uterine wall promote this disease. Pyometra usually occurs two to eight weeks after the last heat cycle.

Differences Between OPen and Closed Pyometra

Pyometra can be open or closed. When open it means the accumulated fluid in the uterus starts leaking out through the vagina. And the pet may be seen licking the area. When closed it means the accumulated fluid is trapped inside the uterus and as more and more excessive fluid is produced it may eventually cause the uterus to rupture. When the uterus walls rupture death may occur within 48 hours even with aggressive treatment. Therefore a closed pyometra is more fatal than open pyometra.

Clinical Signs Of Pyometra

Early symptoms of pyometra are hard to notice especially for closed pyometra. An pet with open case of the disease may be noticed by frequent licking of her vaginal area to keep it clean. Symptoms of both conditions include but not limited to depression, fever, increased thirst and urination. As the pet gets more and more ill, it may start to vomit, get very depressed and if left untreated the pet will get dehydrated, collapse or even die from toxic shock especially with closed pyometra.

How To Confirm And Treat Pyometra

A more accurate way of diagnosing pyometra is using x-rays and/or ultrasound and blood analysis. Usually pyrometra is treated by ovariohysterectomy, surgical removal of the reproductive organs – in this case removal of the uterus and ovaries. Ovariohysterectomy is preferred and usually the perfect solution in advanced pyometra. In not so serious cases and may be when the animal is needed in a breeding plan, the patient may be given antibiotics and intravenous (IV) fluids. Supportive care is also an important element.

Watch this very informative video by Dr. Karen Becker:

How To Stop A Flea Infestation

By | Pet Health

Any pet owner at one time or another experienced flea infestation and is always a challenge to get stop it. how to stop a flea infestationA flea is a small wingless jumping insect that feeds on the blood of pets. It sometimes transmits diseases through its bite, including plague and myxomatosis. So you can see how important it is to stop flea infestation.

Fleas hide in pets’ fur, clothing, bedding, etc therefore realize that an effective flea elimination should involve treating both your pet and surroundings – wherever your pet lives and moves or likely to move around.

Pet owners employ different methods and tools to fight these dreadful creatures. These include;

  • Flea shampoo
  • Flea dip
  • Flea collar
  • Flea comb
  • Flea powder
  • Flea spray
  • “Spot-on” treatment
  • Oral medication
  • Healthy Nutrition
  • Vacuum Cleaning
  • Laundry
  • Etc

Below is a step by step process on how to combine some of the above to have an effective system to combat flea infestation, however its effectiveness will depend on the severity of the problem;

1. Give your pets Capstar, a pill that kills adult fleas in 4 hours after the pet has swallowed it.

2. Next give it a dose of Lufenuron (“Program”). Lufenuron causes live fleas to lay eggs that won’t hatch and the existing eggs will also not hatch. So at this stage adult fleas are killed by Capstar and any eggs laid or going to be laid are taken care of for 4 weeks.

3. At the same time spray the house and the yard i.e. surroundings in contact with the pet, with Cedarcide. Cedarcide is a non-toxic solution that contains organic cedar oil and is effective in killing fleas and their eggs. This step is a combination of the above two but this time working on the environment. Some pet owners use foggers but because of their toxicity it may not be a good idea to use them.

4. To strengthen your attack on the flea infestation sprinkle DE (diatomaceous earth) another environmentally friendly substance, white talc-like powder, which is not harmful to pets and people but deadly to fleas and bugs. It is normally used to preserve grain based foods from bug attack.

5. At this time all fleas are likely killed and/or made barren and laid eggs cannot hatch into young fleas, however fleas in the pupa stage are treated. Since there is nothing that kills the pupa stage, repeat the treatment, except the Capstar and Lufenuron Program in 7-14 days to kill the fleas that survived the first round and those that hatched from the pupa stage.

6. As the above treatments are performed augment them with vacuum cleaning every day and as a precautionary measure remove the bag or empty the vacuum canister into a garbage bag and throw everything away, out of the house.

7. Also remember to take all bedding, towels and other items the pets use and laundered them every 2-3 days.

8. To measure the effectiveness of these treatment steps set out flea traps. Note that flea traps, in this case, they would be used for flea control, trapping the fleas will just be a bonus. The primary use will be to monitor your progress. At the beginning they will fill up fast. The goal will be to have empty traps.

9. You may have young pets that are not ready for Capstar and Lufenuron Program in which they must be bathed with mild soap every day and use a flea comb to remove any fleas not washed away. A citrus blend of aromatherapy oils, which kills fleas on contact, can be used after bathing to add an extra measure against the fleas.

The above treatment steps against flea infestation attack are not failure proof and maybe varied how necessary however they are very effective because they address both the pet and the environment.

Skyway Animal Hospital
3258 5th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33712
(727) 327-5141

A veterinary hospital located in Pinellas County providing veterinary medical
and surgical care in St. Petersburg Florida and surrounding areas since 1961. Need veterinary care for your dog or cat?

We have the experience. Calls us for an appointment and let us help you with your best friend and companion.


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Poisonous Pet Foods – Foods You Should Not Feed Your Pets

By | Pet Health

Poisonous Foods for Pets - Skyway Animal Hospital St. Petersburg FL
Food that we eat does not necessarily translate into food that can be eaten by our pets. Some foods are health hazards to our pets despite them being very safe and healthy for humans. Pet owners must refrain from feeding their pets every thing that humans eat with the assumption that since they themselves can eat it then it follows that their pet can eat it. This may be a difficult undertaking because 1) Pets are excellent beggars – all they have to do is look at you with those begging drooling eyes and 2) it may be difficult to know which foods are poisonous!

Not all that is healthy food to humans is healthy to pets. Take for example Onions, Garlic and Chives! These are healthy vegetables that every human being on earth should eat. But did you know that they can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage in our pets, especially in dogs and pets. These foods are potentially dangerous when taken in large amounts! Another example is avocado.

“Avocado – The leaves, fruit, seeds and bark of avocados contain Persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. Birds and rodents are especially sensitive to avocado poisoning, and can develop congestion, difficulty breathing and fluid accumulation around the heart. Some ingestions may even be fatal.”

Grapes and raisins are delicious and healthy to humans but are toxic foods to pets.

“Grapes & Raisins – Although the toxic substance within grapes and raisins is unknown, these fruits can cause kidney failure. In pets who already have certain health problems, signs may be more dramatic.”

It is very easy to give your pet fruit like peach, pear or plum, however the pit of these fruits contains cyanogenic glycosides which can cause cyanide poisoning.

The following is a list og some of poisonous foods to your pet that you feed your feed without knowing. The list is from a Humane Society article:

Alcoholic beverages
Apple seeds
Apricot pits
Cherry pits
Candy (particularly chocolate—which is toxic to dogs, cats, and ferrets—and any candy containing the toxic sweetener Xylitol)
Coffee (grounds, beans, and chocolate-covered espresso beans)
Gum (can cause blockages and sugar free gums may contain the toxic sweetener Xylitol)
Hops (used in home beer brewing)
Macadamia nuts
Moldy foods
Mushroom plants
Mustard seeds
Onions and onion powder
Peach pits
Potato leaves and stems (green parts)
Rhubarb leaves
Tea (because it contains caffeine)
Tomato leaves and stems (green parts)
Xylitol (artificial sweetener that is toxic to pets)
Yeast dough

Your pet’s life and health are important and if you think your pet has ingested any food or anything that is dangerous to it contact your veterinarian and call the Animal Poison Control Center (ASPCA) at (888) 426-4435.

We also advice that you download and print “Toxic Food Guide for Pets – What Not to Feed Dogs and Cats” document. This can be used as a reference and guide to the type of food you should avoid giving your pets.

Skyway Animal Hospital
3258 5th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33712
(727) 327-5141

A veterinary hospital located in Pinellas County providing veterinary medical
and surgical care in St. Petersburg Florida and surrounding areas since 1961. Need veterinary care for your dog or cat?

We have the experience. Calls us for an appointment and let us help you with your best friend and companion.



Wolf Or Wolf Hybrid Pet – Why You Should Not Keep It As A Pet

By | Behavior

Some dog lovers assume that they can keep wolfs or cross them with dogs to keep them as pets for as long as they train them from young age. However this is a potentially dangerous assumption because wolves are not genetically sociable as dogs.

wolf wolf hybrid can be dangerous as a pet

This is not an obvious fact since in most respects wolves look physically the same as dogs and also have behavioral similarities that may make one believe that they can be kept as pets for as long as they have been trained. Dr. Karen Becker wrote an article (March 27, 2013) regarding this and below are a few points worth noting from the article.

A wolf and a dog have very similar features and maybe that is why people tend to assume that as much as a dog can be domesticated so would a wolf. This is a dangerous assumption because one must also be aware that genetically they are not similar despite the looks. Wolfs are behaviorally wild, it is instinctive, it is a natural trait in them. Or one may say they are wired that way from very early age. Their social coping mechanisms or the way they grow to interact with the environment is very different from that of a dog.

One reason why it is dangerous to assume wolves and domestic dogs are similar is how their “sensories” develop at their early age. These sensory systems, e.g. smell, sight, sound, etc start to develop within 4 weeks. A study was conducted by a biologist Kathryn Lord of the University of Massachusetts Amherst to find the differences of early socialization development in a young wolf and puppy.

The Different Socialization Patterns Of Wolf And Canine Pups

In this study it was discovered that wolf pups socialization time frame was from 2-6 weeks of age and the canine pups from 4-8 weeks of age. The study was conducted on infant wolves and dogs from 2 to 7 weeks. Both groups were exposed and living under similar environment of sound, smell and scenery. The wolf pups were found to develop their socialization coping mechanisms faster than the canine pups and not only that they started walking 2 weeks before the dog puppies could. It is this difference that explains why wolves would behave differently as compared to dogs.

The wolves start to experience and socialize with their environment very early on, which is a skill they nurture and grow for their survival instincts. Further they develop more within the the critical four week period needed for socialization as compared to dogs. However both groups were also found to develop their ability to smell, hear and see at 2 weeks, 4 weeks and 6 weeks of age, respectively. The major difference is the wolf pups started their critical period of socialization at two weeks by being able walk (and smell). Dog puppies could only smell and not walk.

Though it may not seem obvious why the ability to walk has a huge bearing on the difference in behavior of these species, it is important to realize that walking adds another dimension of learning and acclimatization. And also this happens well within the critical four week period needed for socialization while the dog puppies develop this ability late in the period. The wolf pups were, very early in their infant lives, exposed to numerous stimuli to make more sense of their environment and thereby develop a skill to understand their surroundings from limited senses, i.e. they could only smell at the time! An opportunity that the dog puppies did not have however they could only move enough to nurse!

As Kathryn Lord puts it “When wolf pups first start to hear, they are frightened of the new sounds initially, and when they first start to see they are also initially afraid of new visual stimuli. As each sense engages, wolf pups experience a new round of sensory shocks that dog puppies do not.” Notice that this means the wolf pups get to have additional “sensory” experiences that dog puppies don’t experience with that critical 4-week socialization period.

When we say an animal is wild we mean it attacks sometimes without explanation or is unfriendly and dangerous, in other words it is not tamable. It normally reacts this way because of fear towards something it has not formed attachment to. This fear, in the case of the wolf pups, develops in their first 2 to 4 weeks as they get exposed to different stimuli like smell, touch, sound, etc. It is also in this period, the socialization period, that it has the ability to form attachment to other species. Therefore this is the perfect time to introduce human touch and smell if the intention is to try to tame it. For canine puppies, it is within 4 to 8 weeks which when a wolf is assumed to be the same as a dog, it is too late to introduce the human touch and smell. It is past its attachment phase!

Kathryn Lord, the evolutionary biologist who conducted the study, says “The data help to explain why, if you want to socialize a dog with a human or a horse, all you need is 90 minutes to introduce them between the ages of four and eight weeks. After that, a dog will not be afraid of humans or whatever else you introduced. Of course, to build a real relationship takes more time. But with a wolf pup, achieving even close to the same fear reduction requires 24-hour contact starting before age three weeks, and even then you won’t get the same attachment or lack of fear.”

It is not advisable to have a wolf or wolf hybrid as a pet. Though there is undeniable similar genetic make-up between a wolf and a dog, humans have made assumptions about the wolf’s maturation process and think is similar to a dog’s. It is this assumption that makes making a wolf or its hybrid dangerous because the study as explained above shows that a wolf and a dog mature differently in the critical 4-week period needed for socialization. The wolf develops faster than a dog and by the time the dog is ready to be familiarized with a human for socialization a wolf would have passed that stage and having developed fear towards a human. And as we know animals attack when in fear!

A wolf pet or wolf hybrid pet comes with great responsibility and if one feels strongly about keeping it as a pet must apply due diligence. Find out how it was raised and by who. Understanding behavior of different species plays a critical part in trying to domesticate animals to make them pets. There are cases where dogs can also be aggressive and attain pack mentality as wolves. Therefore caution and due diligence must be applied when keeping pets, especially wolf or wolf-hybrid pet.

Skyway Animal Hospital
3258 5th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33712
(727) 327-5141

A veterinary hospital located in Pinellas County providing veterinary medical
and surgical care in St. Petersburg Florida and surrounding areas since 1961. Need veterinary care for your dog or cat?

We have the experience. Calls us for an appointment and let us help you with your best friend and companion.


Dangers and Harm of Smoking cigarettes Around Your Animals

By | Pet Health

Skyway Animal Hospital St. Petersburg FL 33712
Just as in people, second hand cigarette smoking can be extremely dangerous to your pets. If you are a cigarette smoker, you may be unknowingly increasing the risk of some serious health concerns influencing your animals. Because it would take you a longer time to see any issues, the unsafe impacts in animals can be even worse. By the time you observe any symptoms it might be too late.

Research has found that allergies, skin disease and respiratory issues, in cats and pets, can result from previously smoking. Besides second-hand smoke, the ingestion of nicotine, which can be dangerous in itself, can also take place from cigarette butts, replacement gum, nicotine patches and contaminated drinking water. This is actually termed third hand smoke.

“A recent study from Harvard Medical School, published in the January 2009 Journal of Pediatrics, found additional health risks associated with what they termed “third-hand smoke,” describing the invisible yet toxic brew of gases and particles clinging to smokers’ hair and clothing, cars, and carpeting that lingers long after the second-hand smoke has cleared the room.” (Dr. Karen Becker, Healthy Pets, September 17, 2009).

If you can “smell” the smoke then that is third hand smoke.

Some of the more typically effected and vulnerable pets include dogs, cats, rabbits and birds.

Damage in pet dogs:

Canines that live in a home with a cigarette smoker are more vulnerable to obtaining respiratory illness, such as allergy to tobacco smoke, as compared to those that are residing in a smoke free environment. Surprisingly, nasal illness, such as nasal cancer, is more widespread in long nosed pets than shorter or medium nosed pets. This is due to the fact that the longer nosed dogs offer more area where the carcinogens, when inhaled, can build up. Unfortunately, pet dogs that establish nasal cancer hardly ever survive for more than a year. Now on the other hand, short nosed pets, such as pugs and cats, have a greater risk of developing pneumonia from second hand smoke and lung cancer. An additional significant side effect of secondhand cigarette smoking in pet dogs is long bone cancer. Likewise you have to consider that the environment, which includes the pet’s fur, contaminated rugs, carpets, furniture, etc., can be a secondhand source, due to consumption, by licking and grooming, of the carcinogens left.

Harm in cats:

Cats, much like pet dogs, are vulnerable to secondhand smoke. Allergy and asthma are very typical in cats in these smoking households. What even makes it more of a potential problem in cats is their grooming habits. Cats continuously groom themselves by licking their fur and as a result can  ingest more of the cancer causing carcinogens that accumulate on their fur. Due to this, mouth cancer such as Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) can result. Secondhand smoke likewise correlates to malignant lymphoma occurrence. Both of these cancers types have a poor prognosis when they occur in a cat and can be really expensive if treatment is attempted.

Harm in rabbits:

Secondhand  smoke likewise causes respiratory issues in rabbits plus diarrhea, throwing up, salivation and even cardiac problems. Sadly, it might be tough to see these clinical problems, which occur, in time to be treatable, thus the health of your pet might slowly deteriorate.

Harm in birds:

Pet birds are also susceptible to illness troubles from secondhand smoke. A bird’s respiratory system is really sensitive to any type of air toxin in the surroundings. Therefore, the effects in birds can even be worse than those in other animals. Due to the lack of a diaphragm, it easier for them to inhale polluted air. Some of the other threats associated with second hand smoking in birds consist of respiratory paralysis and pneumonia. Second hand smoke can also trigger feather damage and plucking in birds. If you clean a bird that lives with a smoker, the rinsing water will be brownish yellow in color and the feather will have an odor that stays until all the feathers molt.


As a result, if you are a cigarette smoker, it is best that you refrain from cigarette smoking around your pets; otherwise, you might trigger some significant illness problems. Clearly, it would be best to give up cigarette smoking not just for the smoker’s benefit; however, likewise for their pet’s health. Nonetheless, with that stated, if someone smokes and has animals, the cigarette smoker needs to decrease the exposure to their pets. This can be achieved by smoking outside or utilize a designated smoke only room and keep the pets out of the space. Also, avoid smoking cigarettes in the vehicle, particularly when pets are also traveling in the automobile.

Signs of illness from second hand smoke might be as basic as the pet just being sluggish (no energy), difficulty in breathing, coughing or noticeable masses/sores involving the mouth. If any of these happen the pet must be taken to a veterinarian for an assessment.

Skyway Animal Hospital
3258 5th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33712
(727) 327-5141

A veterinary hospital located in Pinellas County providing veterinary medical
and surgical care in St. Petersburg Florida and surrounding areas since 1961. Need veterinary care for your dog or cat?

We have the experience. Calls us for an appointment and let us help you with your best friend and companion.

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