Category Archives: The Pet Page

Vol. 16, No. 25 – Sept 6 – Sept 19, 2023 – The Pet Page

• Canine Adoption and Rescue League will be holding their 23rd Annual Pooch Parade and Pet Expo this year at Ventura Harbor Village on the large grass area. The Pooch Parade and Pet Expo will be on Sunday, September 24th, from 10 to 3. Dress yourself and your dog as your favorite Super Hero or sidekick. There will be booths there for all interest and a dog demonstration, Dee Jay playing your favorite tunes, dog adoptions, silent auction, contest and more. Participate in the walk itself or come and support our life-saving efforts and check out the vendors. At the heart of the Pooch Parade lies the parade itself. Witness the delightful sight of dozens of dogs and their owners strolling along the Ventura Harbor Village Promenade. Pet owners are to be a part of this memorable experience by registering to walk in the Pooch Parade with their four-legged companions. It’s a fantastic opportunity to proudly introduce your furry friend to the world while supporting dogs in need.

Visit the Ventura Breeze booth and have an opportunity to win free dog grooming by Dee-Dee’s Dog Spot.

Check out yhe website for more info on the event:

• What’s four-legged, furry, and often serves up a quick little mood boost?

by Sally Anscombe

That’s right, a dog. It turns out even short, friendly interactions with canines can be good for our health.

I started pondering the power of dogs during one of my daily strolls around my neighborhood. Almost invariably, I’ll run into at least one person walking their dog. If I get the OK to pet the pooch, it’s a joyous moment of cooing and sloppy kisses.

I always walk away from these canine exchanges feeling just a bit more relaxed, and happy. And that got me wondering, could these short interactions with other people’s dogs actually be good for me?

“Absolutely. I think it is safe to say that animals are beneficial to our mental and physical health,” says Nancy Gee, a professor of psychiatry and director of the Center for Human-Animal Interaction at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Gee says evidence is accumulating that levels of the stress hormone cortisol drop in people after just 5 to 20 minutes spent interacting with dogs — even if it’s not their pet. “Also, we see increases in oxytocin, that feel-good kind of bonding hormone,” she says.

And it’s not just humans that benefit from these brief exchanges. “What I love about this research is that it’s a two-way street,” Gee says. “We see the same thing in the dogs, so the dogs’ oxytocin also increases when they interact with a human.”

Now, the therapy dogs used in research are screened for things like friendliness, good behavior and responsiveness to their handler’s cues. And of course, not everyone’s a dog person, whether because of temperament or allergies or other factors. “Pets are not a panacea,” Gee says. “They’re not necessarily going to be great for every single person. But for people who really get it, who really connect with the animals, they really can make a big difference,” Gee says.

Dog ownership has also been linked to positive health outcomes, including better heart health and increased physical activity. But Gee acknowledges that some of the evidence is mixed. She attributes that in part to differences in methodology and the fact that studies of pet ownership can’t prove cause and effect, since you can’t just randomly assign one person a dog as a pet and another a horse.

Research on the health benefits of human interactions with animals – especially with dogs – has exploded in recent years, thanks to funding from the National Institutes of Health and the Waltham PetCare Science Institute. Though the field is still young, Gee says the quality of the evidence is improving all the time, including more randomized controlled trials looking at short interactions. “We’re seeing really nice effects,” she says.

For example, there’s some evidence that brief bouts of puppy love may help us think better. Gee collaborated on a randomized controlled trial of 8 and 9-year-old school children in the U.K. She and her colleagues found that kids who had twice-weekly, short exchanges with dogs in the classroom had less stress and improved executive functioning – the cognitive processes that allow us to do things like plan, stay on task and block out distractions. And she says those benefits lingered..

“Animals, and dogs in particular, live in the moment. They’re experiencing their environment with wonder and awe all the time, and they’re not bringing up what happened to them earlier in the day or what they’re thinking about in the future. They’re there right now,” says Mueller.

Vol. 16, No. 24 – Aug 23 – Sept 5, 2023 – The Pet Page

• Ventura County Animal Services (VCAS) is thrilled to announce their participation in Clear The Shelters, the nationwide pet adoption event organized by NBC Universal. This one-day pet adoption event will be held on Saturday, August 26th, 2023, from 11:00am – 5:00pm at both the Camarillo and Simi Valley Animal Shelters. Shelter Director, Jackie Rose, says “The goal of Clear The Shelters is to find a loving home for every available animal in our care!”

To assist residents with the initial cost associated with adopting a shelter animal, VCAS will be waiving all pet adoption fees, though a small pet license fee may apply. Adoption gifts provided by Hill’s Science Diet, VCA Animal Hospital, and Assemblymember Steve Bennett.

Eventgoers are encouraged to preview shelter animals online at to see who they may be interested in adopting. Shelter officials estimate there will be over 300 animals to choose from at this event, including dogs, puppies, cats, kittens, rabbits, and other furry friends. “With the shelter running at 110% capacity, Clear The Shelters could not have come at a better time!” Said Marketing Manager, Randy Friedman.

VCAS wishes to remind everyone that promotions do not guarantee the adoption of a shelter pet and that all interested parties must participate in the full adoption process to ensure the best possible matches are made.

• National Dog Day is on August 26, so celebrate your furry friends in the best ways possible way. Dogs have been with us for at least 14,000 years. Take them for a nice walk, treat them their favorite food and toys. A great opportunity to adopt a dog.

Dogs are a man’s best friend for a reason, so why not celebrate them? These furry friends range in all different shapes, sizes, and breeds. There is a dog out there for everyone! Whether you like big dogs or small dogs, every pup should be celebrated on National Dog Day.

This holiday was created in 2004 by Colleen Paige, a Pet & Family Lifestyle Expert and animal advocate. She created this day so that all dogs can be celebrated and also to draw attention to the number of dogs in shelters and to encourage adoption to those who have yet to find a place to call home. August 26 is significant to Colleen because it is the day her family adopted her Sheltie when she was 10 years old.

Since the first celebration in 2004, National Dog Day has grown and is now celebrated across the world. In 2013 the holiday was written into New York legislation and can be seen on the New York State Senate’s website.

On August 12, Shih Tzu Amelia held a Paw-ty to celebrate her 13th birthday. She invited all of her dog friends who were told they could bring their humans. Pizza, salad and drinks were served plus a dog cake and a human cake.

Amelia lives at Portside Ventura Harbor so when mom Chris takes her for a walk she gets to enjoy the harbor and the boats sailing by.

Vol. 16, No. 23 – Aug 9 – Aug 22, 2023 – The Pet Page

• On Aug. 12 (12-4pm) there will be dog adoption event at Rincon Brewery (4100 Telegraph). Dogs will be at the event brought by their foster parents. The adoption fee is $350 for adult dogs and $450 for puppies. It covers spay/neuter, microchip, deworming, defleaing, all core vaccines, a wellness check and training to help transition. They were rescued off the euthanasia list and are incredible dogs who are extremely well behaved looking for their forever home!

• The Role of Preventive Medicine

As our pets age, we may notice changes such as arthritis or the presence of growths on their bodies. By taking a preventive medicine approach, we may be able to mitigate these things or detect them earlier.

“When I think about what aging gracefully may mean, I think of a dog or cat that is not hindered by obvious pain and mobility problems, significant chronic conditions, or anxiety/stress,” says Dr. Gene Pavlovsky, “whether these are absent or just well-managed.”

Dr. Pavlovsky says, “We know that obesity contributes to conditions such as osteoarthritis and diabetes. By giving your pet proper nutrition and preventing excessive food intake, you can keep your pet at an ideal body weight throughout life.”

Even concerns such as growths on the body can benefit from a preventive approach. “The true value of preventive medicine lies in early detection,” states Dr. Pavlovsky. “If a pet owner presents their pet to the veterinarian at the earliest sign of a problem, the condition may be diagnosed, treated, and cured in many instances.”

Other crucial preventive medicine measures include year-round flea/tick, intestinal parasite, and heartworm prevention, vaccines, veterinary exams, and a proper diet.

What about Joint Supplements?

With so many supplements being marketed to pet parents, it is hard to know which ones are actually beneficial. It is important to note that these supplements are not regulated like prescription medications. There is a significant lack of data about safety and efficacy to guide veterinarians and owners alike.

Dr. Pavlovsky advises, “In general, if an otherwise healthy dog or cat, regardless of the age, is consuming a commercial diet that is balanced and complete and designed for their life stage, no supplementation is needed.”

Omega-3 fatty acids, however, are backed by research and may be helpful in reducing inflammation in pets with osteoarthritis. Still, with any supplement, it is essential to consult your veterinarian about quality and safety.

Just like people, pets need exercise to promote heart health, optimal body weight, muscle tone, and joint mobility. “Hydrotherapy and other physical therapy modalities can be a very helpful part of the treatment plan for pets that suffer from joint pain,” says Dr. Pavlovsky.

He also recommends regular low-level exercise as opposed to infrequent high-intensity exercise. Maintaining a regular exercise regimen for our pets will contribute positively to their overall health.

Many pet owners find that their pets have rather pungent odors to their breath. What they may not realize is that at least 75% of dogs and cats over age 3 have periodontal disease. This condition often leads to problems much bigger than just bad breath.

“Effective dental care for pets should include regular professional dental cleanings done under anesthesia as well as at-home dental care. Tooth brushing done at least every other day is most effective,” says Dr. Pavlovsky.

However, he recognizes that regular tooth brushing of some pets can be quite challenging. “If frequent at-home care is not possible, then certain diets designed for dental health, dental treats/toys, and water additives could be helpful,” he advises. “Pet owners should always consult their veterinarians for options for their pet dental care plan.”

“Owners are best positioned to make decisions regarding their pets’ health and to know what’s best for their pet,” Dr. Pavlovsky says. “We as veterinarians serve as advisers, and pet owners should not hesitate to tap into their veterinarians’ expertise in guiding healthcare decisions.”

As a team, veterinarians and owners work together to help each pet age gracefully, using an individualized approach. This strategy takes into consideration the specific needs of that breed and that pet and complements the preventive medicine approach.

“When I think about what aging gracefully may mean, I think of a dog or cat that is not hindered by obvious pain and mobility problems, significant chronic conditions, or anxiety/stress,” says Dr. Pavlovsky, “whether these are absent or just well-managed.”

In pets as in people, prevention truly is the best medicine.

• Dogs may stay in ‘Better Health’ if they have a pet friend at home, study finds.

By Kaitlyn Huamani

A recent study that involved over 21,000 canine subjects outlines the social and environmental factors associated with longer lifespans for dogs

The key to keeping your beloved dog healthy could be adding another furry friend to your home.

A recent study by the Dog Aging Project found that dogs who get routine social interaction from living with another canine are associated with “better health” outcomes than dogs with access to less socialization.

Having other non-canine pets in a household was also linked to better health outcomes for dogs, according to the study published in the journal Evolution, Medicine & Public Health. Of the dogs the researchers examined, those who lived with another companion animal were rated “significantly healthier than dogs with fewer household companions.”

Dogs with non-human companions were also reported to have significantly fewer disease diagnoses than dogs without furry friends of their own.

Dogs who became best friends at shelter and climbed walls to stay close get adopted together.

The research team, which consisted of scientists from Arizona State University, the University of Washington, and other prominent medical institutions, drew their conclusions from detailed survey data on over 21,000 dogs.

The researchers also looked at how environmental factors — like the stability of a neighborhood, the total household income, and the age of a dog’s owners — impacted dogs’ lifespans and overall health.

Dogs in households with greater financial and neighborhood stability and older owners were reported to be in better health than dogs in more unstable environments with younger owners.

Still, the study found that the strength of these financial factors pales compared to the effect of social companionship and support. The researchers reported that the impact of socialization is five times stronger than the effect of economic factors.

“We were really encouraged by the findings because it means there are things we can do to help improve the health of our animal companions, as well as us, without resorting to medical interventions,” said Brianah McCoy, a lead researcher of the study, in an interview with FOX. “Having a friend around really matters – which I am sure we can all relate to.”

The study was designed with the Dog Aging Project, a scientific organization dedicated to researching how genes, lifestyle, and environment influence aging in dogs and their owners.

Because of the correlative nature of the study, the researchers can’t make specific recommendations to dog owners to ensure better canine health.

Vol. 16, No. 22 – July 26 – Aug 8, 2023 – The Pet Page

• On Saturday July 29, from 11-3 Bark in the Park will be held at the Community Center Park located at Carmen &Burnley in Camarillo. It will benefit Daisy Lu Ranch Ventura County’s only senior dog sanctuary. (

Vendors, food and fun. Suggested donation $25.00.

Aiden Youngerman, a compassionate and driven 7th grader from Cape Charter School, is on a mission to make a heartwarming difference in the lives of senior dogs with his upcoming fundraiser.

Daisy Lu Ranch stands as a sanctuary for elderly canines who often face challenges finding new homes due to their age. The ranch offers a safe and loving environment where these senior dogs can be fostered or adopted without any financial burden on prospective pet parents. However, with the rising costs of veterinary care and maintaining the ranch, resources have become scarce, making it increasingly difficult to provide the senior dogs with the medical attention and care they deserve.

The funds raised during the event will be allocated to cover the medical expenses of the senior dogs at Daisy Lu Ranch, ensuring they receive the necessary treatments and medications. Moreover, a portion of the funds will be dedicated to upgrading the ranch’s facilities, including new fencing and other amenities to enhance the dogs’ living conditions.

•The dog days of summer

By the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine

There are a number of seasonal hazards our pets need to navigate during the dog days of summer, from thunderstorms and extreme heat to pesky parasites. Assistant Professor Kristi Flynn with the College of Veterinary Medicine discusses what pet owners should be on the lookout for the rest of the summer to keep their pets happy and healthy.

Dr. Flynn: Pet owners can prevent harm to their pets by keeping a few basics in mind. While it is fun to have our dogs with us, stop to consider if the experience will be appreciated by your pet before heading out to spend time with family and friends this summer. If your pet is not comfortable around loud noises or lots of new animals or people, then bringing them to a street fair or brewery is not likely a good fit for them — and that’s okay! If you do bring your pet, be sure to plan ahead and have plenty of water for them.

Early mornings or dusk are usually better times to take dogs out when midday is hot. Dogs do not cool as efficiently via evaporation as people do, so hot and humid conditions can become dangerous quickly. Be especially careful with brachycephalic breeds like Bulldogs, Pugs and Boston Terriers. Surfaces can become hot enough to burn paw pads. One tip is to place your own palm on the pavement to determine if it is too hot for paws.

Before taking your dog for a jog, determine if it is safe to do so. That is up to the human. If your dog’s tongue is beginning to widen out at the end when panting, they are getting too warm and you should seek a comfortable area to allow them to cool off.

Remember, fear is an emotion, not a behavior. Providing your dog with support and comfort when they’re experiencing fear will not make them more afraid in the future, but acting cold and ignoring them certainly can. Find a quiet place in the house, play music and reach out to your veterinarian to see if medication could help your pet feel more comfortable during storms.

Always monitor your pet to make sure they’re not drinking too much lake water or swimming past when they are getting tired. If you want to get your dog comfortable with water, don’t push them and let your pet determine what they are comfortable with. Blue green algae is also something to be aware of, as this toxin is quickly lethal for pets who ingest it — if the water looks suspicious at all, avoid it.

When the air quality is concerning, try to limit time outdoors for your dogs as you would for yourself. Also, as dogs are out more in warmer months, there is also an increased risk of a dog getting away and being lost or injured. Remember, leash = love.

• Dog owners in the French town of Béziers will be required to carry their pet’s “genetic passport” in a trial scheme to reduce dog excrement on the streets.

Local mayor Robert Ménard, a former journalist and co-founder of Reporters Sans Frontières, says inhabitants and visitors are fed up with faeces on the town’s pavements. He plans to introduce a two-year experiment to trace and fine those who fail to clear up after their pets.

Under the planned scheme, dog owners will be required to take their pets to a vet or ask one of the town’s veterinary specialists for a free saliva sample, which will be genetically tested and a document issued. Those subsequently stopped without their dog’s genetic passport will be fined.

Ménard first proposed collecting DNA from the estimated 1,500 dogs in Béziers in 2016 but his request was rejected by the local administrative court as an attack on personal freedom.

He said the new genetic passport measure was submitted to the local prefecture earlier this year and no objections to its implementation were raised this time.

Ménard told French radio: “I can’t take any more of this [dog] mess. The state has said nothing against this scheme this time and thinks the same thing. This has to be done and not just in Béziers … We need to penalise people so that they behave properly.

Ménard added: “There will be a certain lenience for those who are not from Béziers. If they pick up their dog dirt we won’t bother them. We’re not xenophobes. Foreigners aren’t the problem, it’s the locals who are not cleaning up.”

In 2015 it was reported in the UK that Flintshire County council in north Wales was considering using a DNA database to clamp down on dog mess, while the Isle of Wight and Hyndburn in Lancashire have also discussed using genetic testing.

Vol. 16, No. 21 – July 12 – July 25, 2023 – The Pet Page

• Veterinarian Dr. Jeff Werber warns sand ingestion is common in dogs
by Inside Edition Staff

If you’ve got a dog and live near a beach, chances are it’s one of your pup’s favorite places to play catch. But that sand on the tennis ball or frisbee could be very dangerous for your dog, experts warn.

A condition known as sand impaction can occur when a dog ingests too much sand, leading to a painful blockage in the intestines. Veterinarian Dr. Jeff Werber warns that sand ingestion is common.

“Most dogs don’t want to chomp on sand and eat it but they will pick it up when chasing the ball, chasing the frisbee or running on the beach, or picking up something along the shore. They’re ultimately going to ingest sand,” he tells Inside Edition.

“I can play in the sand if I don’t ingest too much.

He says a serious case of sand impaction can cause stomach pain and vomiting.

“It can cause a blockage, it doesn’t pass easily,” he says. “When it gets wet, it gets very heavy, like a sandcastle and just sits there… if it makes its way into stomach and intestine, it can cause a blockage.”

When playing with your dog on the beach, Werber says it is important to remember to wipe sand off any toys. Also, be sure to check your dog’s mouth and jowls, and brush all the sand away from their faces so they don’t lick it and ingest it.

Also be mindful of the temperature when heading to the sand with your dog. If the hot sand feels like it is burning your feet, Werber says it’s also burning your dog’s paws, and it is time to go home.

• Dogs who slow down physically also slow down mentally, according to a new study from North Carolina State University. Measuring gait speed in senior dogs could be a simple way to monitor their health and to document decline in their neurological function as they age.

“Walking speed in people is strongly associated with cognitive decline,” says Natasha Olby, Dr. Kady M. Gjessing and Rahna M. Davidson Distinguished Chair in Gerontology at NC State and corresponding author of the study. “We hypothesized that the same might be true in dogs.”

Olby and her colleagues measured gait speed off leash in 46 adult and 49 senior dogs. The adult dogs, who served as a control group, only had their gait speed measured. The senior dogs did some additional cognitive testing and their owners filled out a cognitive assessment questionnaire, called the CADES questionnaire. A higher CADES score indicates more severe cognitive decline.

The senior dogs were grouped together based on their CADES and cognitive testing scores. Individual gait speed was measured first by walking them over a five meter distance on a leash with a handler, then by offering a treat the same distance away from the dogs, and calling them to retrieve it off leash.

“The challenge with measuring gait speed is that dogs tend to match the speed of their handler when on leash, so we measured both on and off leash to see which was the most useful measure,” Olby says.

“Additionally, we are always concerned that body size and limb length will affect gait speed – but if you see a chihuahua and a great dane walking together off leash, the shorter one isn’t always behind the other,” Olby continues. “We found that on leash, size does correlate with gait speed, but off leash it doesn’t make a difference. Capturing gait speed off leash lets us see the effects of both physical ability and food motivation.”

The researchers found that in the senior dogs, size didn’t matter when it came to speed; in other words, dogs in the last 25% of their expected life span moved more slowly than adult dogs, regardless of relative size.

“Just as in humans, our walking speed is pretty stable through most of our lives, then it declines as we enter the last quarter or so of our lifespan,” Olby says.

Senior dogs who moved more slowly had more severe levels of cognitive decline based on the owner-completed questionnaires and also did worse on the cognitive testing.

The researchers also found that joint pain did not seem to correlate with walking speed, although they note that there were no dogs with severe osteoarthritis in the program. They hope to address this issue in future work.

“When you look at functional aging, the two most important predictors of morbidity are mobility and cognition,” Olby says. “Mobility relies heavily on sensory input, central processing and motor output – in other words, the nervous system – as a result, mobility and cognition are super interconnected. When you have less mobility, the amount of input your nervous system gets is also reduced. It’s not surprising that walking speed and dementia are correlated.

“For me, the exciting part of the study is not only that we show gait speed correlates with dementia in dogs as in people, but also that the method of testing we used is easy to replicate, since it’s food motivated and over a short distance. It could become a simple screening test for any veterinarian to perform on aging patients.”

The work appears in Frontiers in Veterinary Science and was supported by the Kady M. Gjessing and Rahna M. Davidson Distinguished Chair in Gerontology. Alejandra Mondino, postdoctoral researcher at NC State, is lead author of the study.

Vol. 16, No. 20 – June 28 – July 11, 2023 – The Pet Page

Dual-County Pet Adoption Event

Ventura and Santa Barbara County, Calif: Ventura County Animal Services and Santa Barbara Animal Services are thrilled to announce a groundbreaking partnership aimed at finding loving homes for animals in need. In an unprecedented move, both organizations have joined forces to organize a fee-waived pet adoption event that will take place simultaneously across all five (5) shelters along the south coast. This occasion marks the first of its kind, showcasing the dedication and commitment of both organizations to the welfare of animals.

This fee-waived pet adoption event will take place on Saturday, July 1st, 2023, and applies to all animals over one (1) year of age. It is important to note that while there will be no adoption fee for these animals, there may be a nominal license fee depending on the city in which the adopter resides. This fee will help ensure that each adopted pet receives the appropriate licensing, vaccinations, and identification, in compliance with local regulations. All interested parties must participate in the full adoption process to ensure the best possible matches are made. All animals leave the shelter spayed or neuter, vaccinated, flea-treated, and microchipped. The collaboration between VCAS and SBCAS aims to ensure that every eligible individual or family can find their perfect companion without the financial burden of an adoption fee.

Both Ventura County Animal Services and Santa Barbara County Animal Services are renowned for their tireless efforts in animal welfare and have consistently strived to promote responsible pet ownership. This joint initiative serves as a testament to their shared vision of finding forever homes for as many animals as possible. By collaborating and pooling their resources, both organizations aim to maximize the impact of this event and make a significant difference in the lives of countless animals and their future families.

For more information about the pet adoption event, including adoption hours, adoption process, and shelter locations, please visit the websites of Ventura County Animal Services ( and Santa Barbara Animal Services (

• Dog bites more common on hot, hazy days

Cara Murez

When it’s hot and air pollution levels are high, dogs are more apt to bite, new research shows.

The findings, which need to be confirmed in further research, dovetail with links between human aggression and elevated heat and pollution levels.

Hot, polluted days have also been linked to increased aggression in rats, mice and some monkeys.

Just like their humans, dogs get cranky when temperatures and air pollution levels surge.

Heat and air pollution have previously been linked to human aggression. Now, researchers say it also appears that there are more dog bites on hot, polluted days.

More research is needed to confirm these findings, according to study author Tanujit Dey, of the department of surgery at the Center for Surgery and Public Health at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in Boston, and colleagues.

For the new study, the investigators used dog bite data from 2009 to 2018 in eight U.S. cities: Dallas, Houston, Baltimore, Baton Rouge, Chicago, Louisville, Los Angeles and New York City.

The data included more than 69,000 reported dog bites, an average of three per day over 10 years.

When the researchers compared this bite information with daily levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), ozone, temperature, UV light and precipitation, they found that dog bites rose 11% on days with higher UV levels; 4% on higher temperature days; and 3% on days with increased ozone levels.

Dog bites decreased slightly, by 1%, on days with higher levels of rainfall. No changes were seen in dog bites on days with higher levels of PM2.5 air pollution.

These records did not include information about other factors that could have affected an individual dog’s risk of biting. This can include breed, sex, and whether the dog had been neutered or spayed. The data also didn’t include information about prior interactions between the dog and the bite victim, the researchers pointed out in a journal news release.

Hot, polluted days have also been linked to increased aggression in Rhesus monkeys, rats and mice in past research, the study authors noted.

Be aware that dogs may be more likely to bite on days when pollution levels and temperatures are high.

The American Veterinary Medical Association has more on preventing dog bites.

•LIFE By Christa Lesté-Lasserre

When 3D animated balls on a computer screen defy certain laws of physics, dogs act in a way that suggests they feel like their eyes are deceiving them.

Pet dogs stare for longer and their pupils widen if virtual balls start rolling on their own rather than being set in motion by a collision with another ball. This suggests that the animals are surprised that the balls didn’t move the way they had expected them to, says Christoph Völter at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna.

Human infants, starting at around 6 months old, and chimpanzees stare longer during these kinds of “violation of expectation” tests concerning their physical environments, he says.

Studies in humans have also shown that pupils dilate more in reaction to increased mental efforts, like calculating, or stronger emotions such as excitement or surprise – known as the psychosensory pupil response. And previous research in dogs has hinted that they dilate their pupils more when looking at angry human faces compared with happy human faces.

In one video, a ball rolls towards a second, stationary ball and then runs into it. The first ball stops and the second one starts moving – just as Newton’s laws of motion describe. In another video, however, the first ball rolls toward the second ball, but stops suddenly before reaching it. And then, the second ball suddenly starts rolling away by itself – contrary to basic physical principles.

Like human infants and chimpanzees, dogs fixed their eyes longer on the balls that didn’t move in a logical way, Völter says. Even more convincing, though, was the reaction in their pupils: they consistently viewed the “wrong” scenarios with more enlarged pupils, suggesting this was contrary to their expectations.

This doesn’t mean dogs necessarily understand physics, with its complex calculations, says Völter. But it does suggest that dogs have an implicit understanding of their physical environment.

Congratulations to SDF’s Six Newest Search Teams!

Ventura’s outrigger canoe team hosted the Ventura Challenge

75 outrigger canoes and their teams were racing.

by Patricia Schallert

Outrigger canoe boats are various watercraft featuring one or more lateral support floats known as outriggers, which are fastened to one or both sides of the main hull. They can range from small dugout canoes to large plank-built vessels.

An outrigger has a narrow, long and sturdy frame made from buoyant material which is attached to the side of the boat to give it extra stability. They are commonly seen on racing boats and other high-performance vessels,

Ventura’s outrigger canoe team, also known as Hokuloa,  hosted the Ventura Challenge race on Saturday, May 10th launching out of Harbor Cove Beach.  Many of the outrigger canoes and their teams came from as far away as San Diego, Dana Point, Long Beach, Newport Beach, Marina Del Rey, Santa Barbara, Avala Beach and San Luis Obispo County and other cities from Southern California.

Four or five clubs from Arizona and Las Vegas area also participated in the race.

Like most “outrigger canoe” clubs, Ventura has several teams which includes a novice team, women’s team, a co-ed team and men’s team, and includes master teams. There were three races that took place on Saturday. The novice team did a short course to the pier and back and the women and men’s race paddled 12 miles straight out toward the oil rigs and back.

Norm Hudson, a volunteer and supporter of Ventura’s recreation team, said there were close to “75 outrigger canoes and their teams that were racing on Saturday.”

Even with the cloud cover and some drizzle, it was fun to be a spectator and ato participate in the race.

Ventura’s Outrigger Canoe Club is a member-run non-profit organization Ventura Outrigger Challenge.

Vol. 16, No. 19 – June 14 – June 27, 2023 – The Pet Page

• The Secret Behind Your Pet’s Symptoms

by E’Lise Christensen, DVM DACVB and Amanda Modes, DVM, Behavior Resident

Determining the cause of animal behavioral disorders can be a puzzle. Problem behaviors aren’t just about emotions, past learning history, genetics, and the outside environment, but also physical health. Of course, some behaviors people dislike are normal for that species. But when behaviors are outside the normal range, veterinary behavior teams jump in. We spend our days unraveling these different components to provide the best medical and mental health support for animals who are suffering.

Animals are stellar at keeping medical problems under wraps. This means a lot of people don’t realize, and sometimes don’t believe, that their pet’s health may be impacting their behavior.

Problems affecting nearly every bodily system can lead to a wide variety of behavior issues for any species. If your cat stops using the litter box, it could have a urinary tract infection, diabetes, or knee pain. A dog that runs away when the leash comes out could be scared, but might also have an infected tooth, neck pain, or a skin rash. We all know nausea can lead to drooling, changes in appetite, and vomiting. But did you know that it can also be the cause of floor licking, tiredness, pacing, yawning, avoidance of food bowls, and even pica (eating non-food items like fabric, rocks, or even glass)? Just like people, animals can be nauseated and not vomit. Pain can be a significant, but often overlooked, component to unwanted behavior. Unless your dog is Dug—“the talking dog” from the movie Up—they may not be showing you how much pain they are experiencing, and they may not even react as we would expect on a veterinarian’s physical exam.

If your pet is exhibiting behaviors that are atypical for them, or affecting their quality of life, your first visit should be to your regular veterinarian for a medical evaluation. This includes a complete review of your pet’s medical history, a full physical examination when possible (even a hands-off exam can be very informative), and any recommended diagnostic tests. Only once medical causes have been ruled out can we be satisfied that a behavioral condition is solely responsible for the pet’s symptoms.

Whether your pet’s behavioral changes are due to a physical cause, their feelings/emotions, or both, there are typically many treatment options. These may include behavioral modification (training), avoidance of triggering situations, lifestyle changes, supplements, diet change, and/or medications. Many general-practice veterinarians can help you get this process started. If you find your pet needs additional help, a veterinary behaviorist is your next step. Either way, taking the time to work-up and treat any physical and behavioral conditions will make your life with your pet better.

• When cats get together it can be difficult to tell rough and tumble play from a full-blown scrap. Now researchers say they have decoded feline behavior to help owners spot when the fur might be about to fly.

Dr Noema Gajdoš Kmecová, first author of the research from the University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy, in Košice, Slovakia a cat owner herself said understanding feline interactions could be difficult.

“Many owners are asking themselves the question, are these cats playing, fighting? Or what’s going on actually? We found out that there was actually very little scientific evidence to guide us in answering this question so we decided to go for it and study inter-cat interactions,” she said.

Writing in the journal Scientific Reports, Gajdoš Kmecová, and colleagues, describe how they examined the behavior of 105 pairs of interacting domestic cats recorded on videos collected from YouTube. They also advertised for cat owners.

The researchers randomly selected 30% of the videos and analyzed the cats’ actions to produce six behavioral categories, including wrestling, chasing, vocalizations, and motionless postures such as crouching. Each of the cats in the full sample were then assessed for these categories.

When the team looked at the frequency and duration of each of these six behavioral categories for the different cats they found they fell into three clusters.

Experts within the team then reviewed all 105 videos of 210 cats, labelling each interaction as either playful, agonistic, or intermediate.

The team discovered that the three clusters of behavior found in the initial analysis overlapped with the categorization of the interactions made by the experts, suggesting certain patterns or types of feline behavior could indicate whether cats were having a playful interaction or a scrap.

“When cats are young and when they are wrestling and not vocalizing they are most likely playing,” the team write. But when there are extended inactive pauses, vocalizations and chasing, the cats may be in the midst of a fight.

Intermediate behavior, the authors write, was associated with prolonged interactivity and included features associated with both playful interactions, such as lying belly up or pouncing, as well as aggressive behaviors, such as arching the back, and retreating.

However, Gajdoš Kmecová said even wrestling could occur in a positive and a negative context, so it was important to look at the overall pattern of behaviors and whether they were shown by both cats. For example, if claws and yowling were involved, a wrestle was unlikely to be a sign of play; and play was also unlikely if only one cat was attempting to engage in wrestling.

Gajdoš Kmecová said it was important to be aware that a playful interaction could switch into an intermediate or combative situation. “It’s very, very, dynamic,” she said. “When cats are getting noisy and are avoiding physical contact by [for example] making an inactive breaks during interactions, the situation might be changing to be agonistic.”

Gajdoš Kmecová added that the study showed feline interactions were not always a binary choice between playing and fighting, but that their behaviors could give helpful clues. “Maybe ask yourself are they playing, fighting, or is it something in between.”

Lepshi (a dog co-owned by country’s Tim McGraw) is a bracco Italiano who competed in the sporting group competition during the 147th Westminster Kennel Club Dog show, and won his breed’s debut at the United States’ most prestigious dog show.

The Rotary Club of Ventura East has now awarded over $825,000 in total scholarships

Rotary Club of Ventura held annual Scholarship Awards Luncheon.

The Rotary Club of Ventura East recently awarded $125,000 in scholarships at their annual Scholarship Awards Luncheon on April 27th. 40 Students from the Ventura Unified School District class of 2023, and past VUSD graduates currently in college received the awards.

Those 2023 graduating seniors receiving scholarships from Ventura High School are Lilia Duque, Kanan Welch, Carolyn Caulkins, Brooke Roberts, Hugh Murphy, Liza Manninen and Ella Ullrich. From Buena High School, Xavier Ramirez, Joshua Alcantar, Malia Brown, Colin Guenther and Avery Trask. Natalie LeFevre from Foothill Technology High School also received an award.

Twenty-six prior graduates of VUSD also received grants as they continue their educations at various colleges and universities.

The Rotary Club of Ventura East has now awarded over $825,000 in total scholarships from their club’s foundation. Tim Hughes the scholarship chairman stated “It is an honor and a privilege to honor these outstanding students for their academic excellence and their school and community involvement. The Rotary Club of Ventura East looks forward to honoring future graduates of the Ventura Unified Schools.”

If you are interested in Ventura East Rotary check Facebook at Rotary Club of Ventura East or

Vol. 16, No. 18 – May 31 – June 13, 2023 – The Pet Page

Navigating the Unknown: Seizures in Pets

Most pet owners watch their pets carefully and have no trouble deciding when an emergency trip to the vet is in order. But what is the best action to take if your pet has a seizure?

Dr. Kari Foss, a veterinary neurologist at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Urbana, shares the ins and outs of what is happening during a pet’s seizure and advises owners on how to respond.

First, you’ll need to know whether your pet is, in fact, having a seizure as opposed to other conditions. One example would be syncope, which is a temporary loss of consciousness caused by a drop in blood pressure and can easily be confused with a seizure.

Doctors categorize seizures into three phases: pre-ictal, ictal (active seizure), and post-ictal.

Signs during a seizure may include urination, defecation, and hypersalivation. Many pets may also lose consciousness. Dr. Foss says seizures are typically self-limiting and last less than two minutes.

During the seizure, the best thing a pet owner can do is monitor their pet closely and prevent them from injuring themselves. Dr. Foss warns owners to not reach into or around their pet’s mouth; dogs cannot choke on their tongues during a seizure and the owner risks being inadvertently bitten!

Although it may be quite scary to you when your pet has a seizure, a seizure does not necessarily constitute an emergency. Most often pets will return to their normal state after the seizure.

If your pet does not return to normal within a short period or your pet does not stop having seizures, you should take them to an emergency veterinarian as soon as possible.

Sunscreen for pets? UV rays can be harmful for dogs and cats, too

By Traci Howerton

When it comes to skin care, most of us are very conscious of protecting ourselves from harmful UV rays and the risks that come along with exposure to the sun.

Protecting our pets’ skin from the sun is not usually top-of-mind, but just as for humans, UV rays can be harmful to pets. In fact, dogs and cats can sunburn and get various types of skin cancer.

Pets that spend a lot of time outdoors are at risk, and some pets are more vulnerable than others. Therefore, limit their exposure to the sun and protect them when they are outdoors.

There are sunscreens on the market for pets. Whether a pet needs sunscreen can depend on many factors, such as how much time they spend outside, the part of the day they are outdoors, and the color and thickness of their coat.

The lighter the coat, the more dangerous the sun can be. If a pet has a light-colored coat or a relatively thin coat, it is a good idea to apply sunscreen as a precaution anytime it will be outdoors on a sunny day, even in the winter. For example, white dogs with pink noses are considered the most vulnerable.

When applying sunscreen, the areas to pay attention to are the ears, belly (which often has little hair), and the tip of the nose. These are the places most likely to get the most exposure and to easily burn.

Make sure to use pet-safe sunscreen that is specifically for a cat or dog, as some sunscreens that are OK for dogs are not OK for cats, and vice versa.

For all pets, when choosing a sunscreen, make sure to avoid those containing PABA, zinc oxide and octisalate, or any other salicylates, especially in areas where the pet could reach and lick it off.

Rochester-area veterinarians are reporting a sharp rise in cannabis poisonings among dogs that are eating products containing the drug, usually in the form of edibles.

Dr. SimonKirk, who is the medical director at Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Services in Brighton, isn’t surprised at the surge of these cases since New York state legalized cannabis for medical use in 2016 and for recreational use in 2021.

The local numbers also mirror a national trend, according to data from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The ASPA’s poison control center saw a 300% increase in calls related to potential cannabis ingestion over five years. There were 6,939 such calls made to the hotline in 2022.

Kirk is not overly alarmed by the fact that more dogs are coming into contact with cannabis. He is far more concerned that some of the cannabis-laced products they may eat could also contain grapes, raisins, chocolate or xylitol, which can be lethal to dogs.

Most dogs, he said, make a full recovery from cannabis toxicity and fatalities from exposure to the drug are exceedingly rare. The severity of the toxicity varies depending on the animal’s, age, health, size, and how much THC was in whatever they ate.

Symptoms of cannabis intoxication in dogs include depression, vomiting, urinary incontinence, tremor, poor coordination, tremor, stupor, and low heart rate.

Treatment for THC poisoning will vary depending on the severity of the ingestion, according to Dr. Tina Wismer, DVM, Senior Director of the ASPCA’s poison control center.

Before New York state legalized cannabis, Kirk said dog owners were sometimes wary of admitting that their pet may have ingested it. Now, he said, they are more likely to be open about it, which is best for the person, their dog, and the veterinary staff.

“We are all medical professionals; everything’s confidential,” Kirk said. “So honesty makes our lives a lot easier and frequently decreases the bill because we don’t have to do a bunch of tests to try to figure something out.”

The ASPCA’s poison control center hotline at (888) 426-4435 is also open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Callers are connected with a veterinary staff member who may guide them through an at-home treatment plan if that is indicated.

But the best way to protect pets from cannabis consumption is to securely store the products well out of their reach.

Traci D. Howerton is the volunteer coordinator for Animal Rescue New Orleans (ARNO), a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter. For more information on ARNO,

“When I’m done reading the local and national news I need a nap.”