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Can There Be Better Communication with Calming Signals?

On a beautiful sunny day, you take your dog to the local dog park.  Taking her off the leash once you close the gate, she immediately takes off.  She comes to a complete stop when catching sight of another dog and approaches slowly, coming at an angle.  The other dog stops and sniffs the ground and sneezes twice.  Your dog finally reaches the other dog and they both lick their lips and go into a play bow.  Greetings finished, they start to play by jumping and bowing.

What did you just witness?  If Norwegian dog behaviorist Turid Rugaas is to be believed, your dogs acted out a complicated social dance with several behaviors she calls calming signals (Rugaas, 2013).

What Are Calming Signals?

Calming signals are behaviors observed in dogs when interacting with either humans or other dogs.  Ms. Rugaas believes calming signals are to prevent conflict within a group.  Basically, they are the grease that keeps a social interaction from going badly – such as when people smile at each other when first meeting.

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What is Your Pet Evacuation Plan?

Residents of Hawaii woke up to a nightmare on January 13th; a notification informing them that an emergency was about to take place.  Fortunately, this was a false alarm, and after an hour of scrambling everyone was told it was a mistake and to go about their day.  This was a wake-up call, though, since many people had no idea what to do in case of an emergency.

This made many people wonder; given such a short time, what should they do in an emergency and would they be able to react appropriately?  In some case, emergencies leave less than an hour to respond, and some happen when people are out of their house.  If an emergency were to happen, what should residents of Midland do, especially those with pets?

Here are some tips and preparations for your pet to keep in mind should a similar text come to your phone:

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Dog Flu: What It Looks Like and What to Do

Unless you have been living off the grid recently, you may have heard about the invasion of a new disease for your dog.  A particularly scary video showed a dog repeatedly jerking their head, almost like a seizure, that admonishes owners to watch out for the flu.  The real question is; what is dog flu, what can you do about it, and should you really be worried?  Read on to explore what we learned after thoroughly researching this topic!

What is Dog Flu?

Dog flu is what people call canine influenza virus (or CIV).  Just like with human influenza, dog flu comes in several varieties, is highly contagious, and mostly affects the lungs.

There are actually two varieties of dog flu in the United States, with both virus strains working in the same way.  These are referred to as H3N2, and H3N8, named after the specific proteins in each kind.  Once infected, the virus works in the dog lungs and respiratory tract.  The virus multiplies and attacks the surface of the lungs, leaving the pet open to secondary infection with illnesses such as pneumonia.  In the most severe cases, the virus affects breathing and can cause death in a very small number of those infected.

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