Vol. 17, No. 09 – Jan 24 – Feb 6, 2024 – The Pet Page

• Humane Society of Ventura County February spay/neuter special!
All spray/neuters for cats are just $10.00.
Appointments required. Call 805-646-7849 to book today.
402 Bryant St. Ojai. www.hsvc.org/fix

• There is an AI pet robot that feeds and cares for your dog while you’re away and a heart monitor to help you keep track of your furry friend’s health.

Oro’s AI-powered pet robot will take care of your pet while you’re away Oro’s AI-powered pet robot lets you interact with your dog, even while you’re away.

“We would much rather eat out of a bowl!!”

Leaving your dog at home alone all day is truly one of the worst feelings in the world. If your dog has separation anxiety, leaving for the day can be equally as stressful for your dog as it is for you.

This robot lets you check in on your pup with two-way audio and interactive video and dispense treats or food. Since it’s powered by AI, the robot can learn your dog’s behavior and try to calm it down at signs of distress. Oro’s AI-powered robot retails for $799 and begins shipping in April of this year.

• Lawmakers in South Korea have passed a watershed ban on the production and sale of dog meat for human consumption, a centuries-old practice that has become less popular with younger generations (what about cats?).

South Korea’s parliament voted 208-0 in favor of the ban, which will go into effect in 2027 after a three-year transition period allowing dog farmers and restaurants to repurpose or close their businesses.

Animal rights activists celebrated the ban which comes after years of organized, vocal opposition to the practice of eating dog meat, such as in stews. South Korea joins a growing list of places that have banned human consumption of dog meat, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines, India, Thailand and Singapore, as well as individual cities across China, Indonesia and the Siem Reap province in Cambodia, according to Humane Society International

• Can Home Electronics Harm Your Pet?
Elana Spivack Pet Science

Sirens, thunder, vacuum cleaners, and fireworks can wreak havoc on your pet. Subtler sounds — ones that don’t even register to human ears — may also affect them. But how can you know what your pets can hear, especially if you can’t hear it yourself? Understanding your pet’s hearing capabilities and the quiet cacophony of your home could help identify any nuisances.

If something bothers our pet, it often shows up in their behavior. Katherine Houpt, professor emeritus of behavioral medicine at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, recounts to Inverse one instance she remembers about one couple whose dog “suddenly began to pace.” Worried, “they took it to the emergency room where they had a huge bill. But they noticed that as soon as they left the house, the dog was fine.”

It turns out this couple, who were elderly and had become hard of hearing, couldn’t hear their smoke alarm chirping for fresh batteries.

She also warns that pets might be conditioned to react to beeps and buzzes. Invisible Fence, for example, trains a dog to stay in an unfenced yard with a collar that plays a tone if the dog approaches specified boundaries. If the dog crosses that threshold, the collar delivers a light electrical shock, deterring the dog from ever leaving the yard on its own. One unintended consequence, Houpt says, is that the dog may begin to take cues from out-of-context sounds.

“There are some dogs that don’t like the beeps from the microwave,” she says. “Dogs may confuse the sound of an appliance with the sound of their Invisible Fence collar saying, ‘If you take another step, you’re going to be shocked.’”

However, she’s not aware of any cases in which animals responded poorly to high-pitched sounds emitted by household electronics.

Cats can hear frequencies, or pitches, up to 64,000 Hertz and dogs up to 45,000 Hz, compared to a human’s mere 20,000 Hz.

A 2015 UK-based survey published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery assessed potential causes of seizures in cats with a condition called feline audiogenic reflex seizures. Sounds like ringing phones, a metal spoon dropping into a ceramic bowl, tapping on glass, rustling paper or plastic bags, computer keyboard typing, and tongue clucking all evoked seizures in the 96 cats surveyed. This condition is far more severe than simply being bothered by a sound, but it demonstrates how highly sensitive an animal’s hearing is.

A 2005 study also found that ambient laboratory sounds can mess with animals’ endocrine and sleep cycles — though you probably don’t live in a laboratory. To the point, we can’t always see how sounds affect an animal; they may not even suffer from ambient noise.

Sadly, we can’t protect our fur babies from absolutely everything that frightens them. While you could opt for quieter vacuum cleaners or even stand vigilant by the microwave as it counts down to make sure it never dings again, the best you can do is observe how your pet behaves around certain gadgets or in response to switching something on.

“People should bear in mind when they add something to their household — whether it’s another dog, an electronic appliance, or a child — they should think about what effect it will have on the dog so that they can be prepared in case the dog reacts badly,” Houpt says.

The ravages of smoking cigarettes on human health have long been established. Now a new study says that contact with cigarette smoke, even if it’s on your clothes after coming from a smoky environment, can damage your dog’s health as well.

The study, which was led by Purdue University veterinarian Deborah Knapp, looked at the health and lifestyle factors of 120 Scottish terriers over the course of three years and found that those exposed to cigarette smoke had a six times higher chance of developing bladder cancer than those that weren’t. The dogs that developed cancer were exposed to a median level of 10 pack-years of smoke, while the ones who did not get the disease were exposed to a median level of 1.5 pack-years of smoke. A pack year is the equivalent of smoking one pack of cigarettes a day per year.•

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