Vol. 14, No. 18 – June 2 – June 15, 2021 – The Pet Page

∙SPAN Thrift Store is now open to the public and looking for donations of adult clothing, household items and tools if you’ve got items you no longer use.
SPAN Thrift Store is providing low cost spays and neuters for low income households with cats and dogs.
Two upcoming clinics in June are:
First one will be at SPAN Thrift Store parking lot 110 N. Olive St. (behind Vons on Main) on Tuesday, June 15th, and a second one on Tuesday, June 29th at Shiells Park, in the parking lot, located at 649 C St., Fillmore, 93015..
Please call to schedule an appointment (805) 584-3823.

∙One variety of Natural Balance Cat Food is being recalled for possible Salmonella contamination. The variety is Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Green Pea & Chicken Formula Dry Cat Food that is sold in two sizes. The contamination was discovered during routine state surveillance sampling by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. The recalling company is Natural Balance Pet Foods of San Diego, California.

People can contract Salmonella infections by touching pet food that is contaminated with the pathogen, then eating or drinking without washing their hands. They can also get sick by having contact with cat bowls, feces, or their cat’s fur, since the animal can shed the bacteria in their stool. Symptoms of Salmonella poisoning in people include a fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and cramps, and diarrhea that may be bloody. If you have been experiencing these symptoms, see your doctor.

The recalled products are both Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Green Pea & Chicken Formula Dry Cat Food. The 5 pound bag has UPC number 2363306234, lot code 1008080 06:42N811202:20, and best if used by date 10-Mar-2022. The 10 pound bag has UPC number 2363300235, lot code 1008080 06:42N811202:20, and best if used by date 10-Mar-2022.

If you purchased this product, stop feeding it to your pet immediately. You can throw it away in a secure package in a garbage can with a tight lid. Or you can take it back to the store where you purchased it for a full refund.

Then clean and sanitize pet food bowls and any storage containers that may have held the food with a mild bleach solution. Wash with dish soap and rinse well, then dry.

∙A study from the University of Guelph suggests that a cat owner and their training methods can play a big role in preventing aggressive behavior.

Lead author Kristina O’Hanley found that the cats in the study showed less aggression if they received positive reinforcement to manage unwanted tendencies. Cats would become aggressive to their owners, other people, and other cats more often when owners made loud commands like “no!” or held them by the scruff of their neck.

Data from animal shelters was used to analyze those early experiences, and then owners were surveyed about their later experiences with the cat in the home.

“Surprisingly, we saw few effects of early management of kittens in shelters on adult cat behavior,” O’Hanley said. “Most of the effects that we saw related to how the cat was managed in the home after adoption.”

The findings show that 35% of the cats included in the study had swatted at and bitten people and that female cats were more likely to show aggression toward owners and other cats.
In homes with many cats, there was a lower risk of feline aggression toward owners and other people.

∙New study shows that pets and their owners’ diet together
Reviewed by Emily Henderson

If a pet owner is on a specific diet, chances are their dog is on it, too, a new U of G study reveals. But when it comes to a grain-free diet, owners seem to choose it more for their dogs than themselves, the study also found. It demonstrates that many variables, not just dietary habits, influence the selection of dog food.

The international Pet Food Consumer Habit Survey is the first of its kind to examine factors involved in pet owners choosing grain-free dog food in both Europe and North America.

The study found dog owners who are on gluten-free, organic or grain-free diets are likely to look for the same characteristics in the dry dog food they purchase.

Feeding their dog grain-free pet food was common among pet owners who prefer “premium” food, avoid grains or processed foods, follow vegetarian, vegan or ketogenic diets, or have strict diet routines.

Researchers surveyed 3,300 pet owners from Canada, the U.S., Germany, France and the U.K. Participants were asked where they get their information about dog food, where they buy it and the most important factors in their choices.

Just over 21% said they look for “no grain” as an attribute that influences their purchase.

The study said the pet food industry is highly influenced by human trends and what pet owners believe about nutrition. Researchers focused on pet food innovations for dogs and cats must consider consumer trends and try to supply the best food formulations for consumers’ beliefs, she said.

∙Are dogs really that good at sniffing out COVID? Another study leaves no doubt.
By Katie Camero

We don’t yet know what concerts, festivals and other large gatherings will look like after the COVID-19 pandemic is under control, but you may want to start adding dogs to the picture.

Canine presence is already normal at airports where dogs search for weapons, explosives, drugs or other dangerous materials. But they have been gradually making appearances at large events to sniff out COVID-19 following research that revealed their powerful noses could detect if a person was carrying the virus.

In its study, nine dogs were able to identify positive coronavirus samples with 96% accuracy on average after three weeks of training.

Researchers say using dogs can help catch people who are infected and don’t know it — otherwise known as asymptomatic carriers — before they spread the virus to others. This method is also cheaper than traditional testing practices. The study was published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE.

“This is not a simple thing we’re asking the dogs to do,” Cynthia Otto, senior author of the study and director of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine Working Dog Center, said in a statement. “Dogs have to be specific about detecting the odor of the infection, but they also have to generalize across the background odors of different people: men and women, adults and children, people of different ethnicities and geographies.”

The team trained eight Labrador retrievers and one Belgian Malinois to identify whether urine or saliva samples from hospitalized adults and children were COVID-19 positive. All samples were “inactivated” to prevent the dogs from getting infected.

A “scent wheel” with 12 ports containing coronavirus positive and negative samples, as well as some controls such as gloves, paperclips, empty cans and garlic on filter paper, was presented to the dogs. If they responded to a COVID-19 positive sample, the dogs were rewarded.
Although the canines detected positive samples with high accuracy, their ability to avoid false negatives was lower, likely because of the strict study criteria, the researchers said. “If the dogs walked by a port containing a positive sample even once without responding, that was labeled a ‘miss.’”

Dogs’ noses, with about 300 million scent receptors, are exceptionally good at their jobs. In comparison, humans only have about 5 or 6 million, according to the American Lung Association, which says “a dog can even detect a teaspoon of sugar diluted in a million gallons of water (the equivalent of two Olympic sized pools).”

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