Q: Why is it Dangerous for Dogs to Eat Chocolate?


A: Many pet owners come to me with questions about dogs and chocolate. The topic is especially timely now, when Halloween candy is in so many homes across the US. During the holiday season in general vets see an increase in visits from owners whose dogs have ingested chocolate simply because there tends to be more of it lying around the house. The reason we see chocolate ingestion more in dog than cats is because dogs will often eat anything that smells good whereas cats are more picky.



Study Gives Scientists A Sense Of How Animals Bond


Scientists have pinpointed how a key hormone helps animals to recognise others by their smell.Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have shown that the hormone vasopressin helps the brain differentiate between familiar and new scents.The study, published in the journal Nature, suggests that when the hormone fails to function, animals are unable to recognise other individuals from their scent.

The ability to recognise others by smell is crucial in helping animals to establish strong bonds with other animals.The research, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), may offer clues about the way people make emotional connections with others through smell and deepen our understanding of the role scent plays in memory.Many scientists think a failure in this recognition system in humans may prevent them from forming deep emotional bonds with others.

See, Hear, Taste And Smell The World As A Dog Does


Neither rain nor unfinished holiday shopping could keep crowds away from the American Kennel Club’s “Meet the Breeds” event on December 12 and 13 in Long Beach, Calif. Held in conjunction with the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship, thousands of spectators braved unseasonably cold rains for the chance to meet some 160 different purebred dog breeds, and even to experience the world as a canine.

A dog sensory exhibit sponsored by Eukanuba gave people the chance to see, hear, smell and taste as a dog does. “I’ve always wondered what my dog smells,” said one man, sniffing at glass beakers filled with varying intensities of spearmint scent to compare a canine’s sense of smell to a human’s. Dogs have 125 to 220 million olfactory receptors, says Eukanuba, while humans have a mere 5 million. Bloodhounds have an estimated 300 million olfactory receptors. It means a dog’s sense of smell is 1,000 to 10,000 times stronger than a human’s.

“Everything’s so blue,” marveled a little boy looking through special, computer-enhanced sunglasses at the dog-vision exhibit. “A video camera provides a live feed into a color corrector that manipulates colors to represent a dog’s color blindness,” a Eukanuba rep, Matt Fasano, explained . Looking through the glasses, one could see people milling about the convention center, but everything was awash in a bluish tone, with some spots of greenish yellow. So how does a dog see — at least during the daytime? Not as well as humans!

It’s not surprising that a dog’s ears are almost bionic compared to a human’s. At a display, spectators put on headphones to hear what a dog hears. By clicking on various parts of a monitor displaying a typical city park scene — tall buildings in the distance, towering trees and people sitting on the grass — one could suddenly distinguish specific sounds from the general noise: birds singing in the trees, the sounds of car traffic, and conversations of picnickers. “Dogs can direct their hearing,” explains the Eukanuba rep. “That’s why they tilt their ears.”

When it comes to food, whose sense of taste is keener — dog or human? If you guessed human, you’d be right! “Dogs have only about 1,700 taste buds,” states Eukanuba, “while humans have 9,000.” To illustrate the point, spectators were given a tiny cup of fruit punch to drink from a jug marked “human.” It tasted like normal punch. Then spectators were given fruit punch to drink from a jug marked “dogs.” It tasted watery and diluted. Keep that in mind the next time you feed your dog and worry he won’t like his dog food.