When you think of a service animal, a dog probably comes to mind, and most likely a guide dog for the blind. While dogs and horses are the only types of service animals that are officially recognized by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), there are plenty of other animals that help humans in their daily lives. Here’s a quick rundown of four different types of service and support animals. Have you seen any of these doing work in the field?
Dogs are most commonly utilized as service animals. While most people think of dogs that help the blind, the jobs of canines actually vary quite a bit! There are dogs that can help with:
- Severe allergies
- High blood pressure
- Emotional support and therapy
There seems to be no end to the jobs dogs can help people with! Each dog, depending on their job, may have unique gear or vests. For instance, autism assistance dogs for young, non-verbal children, only have a vest with identifying and emergency information. A brace or mobility support dog, however, may have a special brace or harness to help their human.
What Makes Dogs Great Service Animals?
- They’re recognized by the ADA and are therefore allowed to enter stores, schools, and other facilities.
- There are several reputable organizations that train service dogs.
- Support dogs can help with a very wide variety of ailments and problems.
Are There Downsides to Dogs as Service Animals?
- Some people are allergic to dogs.
- Service dogs can be expensive – They can cost around $1,000 or more, if the owner needs more intensive tasks performed.
- They require special training and socializing obligations of the owner.
Support Dogs in the News
Dogs as support animals for PTSD is becoming more and more common. They can become lifelines for those who have served in the military. Rocky is one such service dog. He was trained by Operation K9, a non-profit organization that serves Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, and Colorado. Operation K9 matches veterans with service dogs. Each dog is trained to the standards set by Assistance Dogs International and must be able to take direction, retain training, and have a good drive to do their job properly.
Rocky found a job with veteran Bobby Galyon and has the ability to detect anxiousness, anger, and other emotions. The Gaylons credit Rocky with saving Bobby’s life.
Believe it or not, cats can absolutely be emotional support animals! Although the 2010 ADA Revised Requirements only recognize dogs and mini horses as official support animals, cats still help humans with plenty of things.
People have found that cats can help with depression, anxiety, PTSD, and loneliness. For example, if a person suffering from depression or anxiety has trouble getting out of bed to start their day, a cat can provide a soothing and calming presence and gentle responsibilities to be fulfilled daily. Smaller than dogs, quiet, and clean, they can be the perfect emotional support animal in a limited amount of space like an apartment.
Cats can also work as therapy animals. These are animals that are brought to organizations or businesses in an effort to help in an emotional or mentally beneficial way. They tend to be helpful in hospitals, schools, nursing homes, and similar facilities.
What Makes Cats Great Service Animals?
- They’re an alternative to dogs if you’re not a dog person.
- They tend to be easier to care for than dogs because they don’t need as much socialization, they don’t have to be walked daily, and most don’t require you to bathe them.
- They can be happier in smaller spaces, such as apartments, than many dogs.
Are There Downsides to Cats as Service Animals?
- Some people are allergic to cats.
- They do not have the same protections as service dogs – Apartments and businesses are not required to allow your emotional support cat to stay.
- It may take time for an owner looking for an emotional support cat to find the perfect one – Personality is key!
Service Cats in the News
There are several instances of cats working as emotional support or therapy animals. Cats in nursing homes, for example, have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety while also promoting exercise and movement. A survey in Ohio found that 71% of nursing homes did have a socialization programs involving animals.
Cats can also be wonderful additions to families in times of stress. Rachael Masch, a graduate student in Arizona, has an emotional support cat named Figaro that helps with anxiety, depression, and motivation while she attends school.
3. Miniature Horses
Miniature horses are the only other animal aside from dogs that are officially recognized as service animals by the ADA. Reaching up to only 34 inches and 100 pounds, they can be considered a service animal if they:
- Are housebroken
- Are under control
- Won’t compromise safety requirements
- Can be accommodated in the facility into which they are brought
Miniature horses tend to have two jobs:
- A guide animal or
- A therapy animal
But they are also currently being trained for mobility assistance. However, since they’re so easily scared, they need quite extensive training and socialization.
What Makes Horses Great Service Animals?
- They are recognized by the ADA as official service animals.
- They provide an alternative to people who are allergic to cats or dogs.
- They have a much longer lifespan (30 years on average!) than other service animals.
Are There Downsides to Horses as Service Animals?
- Horses can be easily scared and require much more training than other animals.
- They are currently only available for the blind.
- They will not be comfortable or allowed in small spaces, such as apartments.
Service Horses in the News
It comes as a surprise to many that miniature horses can be considered service animals. However, since they’re recognized as official service animals by the ADA, they are required to have the same accommodations as service dogs, which means service miniature horses cannot be denied access to stores, malls, etc.—just like service dogs.
The addition to mini horses to the list of approved animals is recent, and Southwest announced in October of 2018 that they will be allowing the service animals aboard their aircraft.
Although birds do not officially qualify to be service animals, they can make wonderful emotional support animals. This is due to their ability to show empathy and to learn words. They’ve been known to recognize emotions and help with:
Their ability to speak can help soothe their owner through an episode, and the owner can also be comforted by the fact they can talk to their animal and have it respond. Emotional support birds tend to be easier to care for and travel with due to their size. However, it’s important to note that many birds require special care, so research is needed before getting one as a service animal.
The types of birds that are commonly emotional support pets are:
- African grey parrots
- Amazon parrots
Service Birds In the News
Birds are not always accepted as emotional support animals. Since they’re not recognized as official support animals, like dogs or miniature horses, places of businesses, schools, planes, and other facilities are not required to allow your bird in. At least one school allows them, though: Wayne State University. Their size makes them perfect for dorm living. A freshman attending the school has birds to help her feel at home, help her cope when in a dark emotional place, and keep her calm.
What Makes Birds Great Service Animals?
- They take up less room than dogs, cats, and mini horses.
- They can be easier to care for than other common service animals.
- They may allowed in apartments where emotional support horses would not be.
Are There Downsides to Birds as Service Animals?
- They can be loud.
- Birds live a long time and may even outlive their owners – Parakeets, for example, live about 5 to 10 years, but African gray parrots can live up to 60 years!
- They require extensive socialization from the owner.
Although only dogs and miniature horses can be recognized as official types of service animals by the Americans with Disabilities Act, that doesn’t mean other animals can’t help people with the stress and struggles of daily life! Dogs, cats, miniature horses, and birds can all provide humans with quality-of-life assistance, whether that be for mental or physical health.
Do you have a support dog or cat? If they’re new to your family or it’s time to schedule their annual check-up, give Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital a call at 281-693-7387.
If we asked you to name the most popular pet in the United States, you’d probably say “dog” or “cat.”
You’d be right, but you’d also be missing out on so many other animals that follow close behind! Learn about the most popular pets that American homeowners call part of their families.
Over 150 million freshwater and saltwater fish call our houses their homes, with 12% of families owning at least one. They’re the third-most-popular pet behind cats and dogs. Freshwater fish, which are easier to care for and generally less expensive, are more common than saltwater fish. Although there are over 142 million freshwater fish, there are under 10 million saltwater pets in the U.S.
If you head to a pet store, you may find the selection of fish overwhelming! Common choices include
- Neon tetras
The Neon Tetra is an excellent “beginner” fish, as it’s easy to maintain and generally happy in groups and smaller environments.
Guppies are another freshwater fish often kept as pets. Easy to care for, they’re beautiful but do require specific tanks and temperatures.
Betta care is different: You can only have one male per tank, and they may need more space than you realize.
Pet stores, breeders, and specialized aquatic stores are great ways to get started with fishkeeping. It’s important to understand:
- Exactly how much space your fish needs
- What it eats
- How it likes its tank arranged
- How many fish can be kept in a tank
If you’re not sure, speak with an aquatic-store employee or do extensive research to ensure you give your fish the best life possible.
- Cockatiels – Affectionate and full of personality
- African gray parrots – Well-known for their intelligence
- Parakeets (or budgies) – Easier to care for and not as expensive as cockatiels and African grays
Note: Cockatiels and African grays can be handfuls for inexperienced or unaware pet owners, so be sure you understand the commitment before bringing one home.
Just like fish, each type of bird requires specific cage sizes, toys, and food. Before welcoming a bird into your family, research the species that best fits your lifestyle and what you’re looking for in a pet.
Birds can be found in pet stores, but there are also several bird rescues you may want to look into first.
Smaller animals make up a huge chunk of pets in the United States, and this includes rabbits! These cuties have plenty of personality and love to be social. They do require regular attention and enrichment activities, but if you plan on letting yours out of its cage often, bunny-proofing your home is essential.
Although rabbits may be easier to care for than some animals, they are not low-maintenance. They live for 10 years and should be seen as a commitment, just like a dog or cat.
If you’re looking to add a bunny to your home, consider first looking into local animal rescues and shelters.
Another small animal that is a huge hit in American families is the hamster. Easy to care for and generally inexpensive, hamsters can make a perfect choice for families testing out the pet waters or not ready—or wanting—to make a much longer commitment.
Hamsters are a great choice for children, as they help teach them responsibility for a new family member. Hamsters do require enrichment to be happy, so don’t leave yours alone in a boring cage all day.
These animals can commonly be found in just about any pet store, but you may also want to check with local pet rescues. Before bringing the little guy home, make sure any children in the house understand the gentle, proper care this smaller animal will need.
While some people may become uncomfortable sharing a room with a reptile, about 4% of pet owners in the United States call these animals part of their family. With millions of pet reptiles across the country, a majority of owners are Millennials!
What are the most popular pet snakes?
- Corn snakes – Small and easy to handle; despite the scary “python” name, the ball python is the smallest of them all.
- Ball pythons – Small and easy to handle; your corn snake could live up to 23 years!
- Leopard gecko – Has a beautiful pattern but requires special care
- Bearded dragon – Need plenty of space but can be exceptionally friendly
Some reptiles can be found in pet stores, but you may want to do further research into your options. Consider visiting an exotic pet store if you’re looking to locate a specific species.
Note: Snakes can pose a health risk. Learn more!
These are only some of the most popular pets in the United States. Although dogs and cats are the clear winners, many homeowners also decide to bring birds, reptiles, fish, hamsters, and rabbits into their homes. Other popular choices include horses, turtles, ferrets, and guinea pigs. No matter which animal is your favorite, if you’re searching for a new pet to bring home, it’s important to do your research to ensure both you and your new family member are happy.
Whether you’re welcoming a dog or a corn snake, we’d love to meet them, and checkups on a regular basis are important! Getting it done as soon as possible can help ensure your new family member is getting the pet care it needs for a long and healthy life. Schedule its first appointment with us by calling 281-693-7387.
If you would love a lap cat, you’re definitely up the Ragdoll’s alley. This breed is known for its extremely laid-back temperament. All it wants to do is hang out with you! If you’re thinking about welcoming this wonderful cat into your home, here are some facts you should know about the Ragdoll cat.
History of the Ragdoll
The Ragdoll breed is one of the newest purebred cats, created in 1963 in California. The breeder was looking for a beauty of a feline with a gentle, loving personality. All Ragdolls today can trace their history back to a cat named Josephine, which had long, white hair and Siamese markings. Josephine can be credited with achieving quite a feat, as the Ragdoll is currently the fifth most popular cat breed!
After a few years of controversy and rumors about the breed, the Cat Fanciers Association started allowing Ragdolls in 1993. The first time the breed could compete was just 18 years ago, in 2000.
Basics of the Breed
The Ragdoll is no small adult cat. It represents stiff competition for some of the largest cat breeds in the world, the Maine Coon and the Norwegian Forest Cat. Males can weigh up to 20 pounds when fully grown, with females reaching up to about 15 pounds. It will take your Ragdoll about four years to reach her full weight.
Ragdolls come in four different patterns:
and in six different colors, including:
The Ragdoll’s coat is extremely soft, plush, and silky. And although they can be known for their bright blue eyes, those lookers can also come in blue-green or gold varieties.
Why Ragdolls Make Great Pets
There’s no denying it: Ragdolls make amazing pets. Often called a “puppy cat,” this breed is well known for its gentle and affectionate personality. Laid-back, yours will love to shadow you around the house, enjoying nothing more than being by your side or in your lap.
Due to their friendly personality traits, Ragdolls tend to get along with dogs, children, and most other cats (though they definitely prefer humans and even dogs to other cats). They love to be picked up and held like babies. In fact, The name “Ragdoll” comes from their ability to go limp while in your arms or lap out of pure happiness. There’s no denying this trait is adorable!
Playtime also has benefits for the Ragdoll. Often playing with claws retracted, the cat can be trained to walk on a leash, play fetch, perform tricks, and follow commands. During playtime, yours will probably stick to the floor, rather than seeking out high points. It’s one breed of cat that won’t be climbing up curtains but is happier to lie by your feet. This behavior all stems from its desire to be close to you. Privacy is nowhere to be found with a Ragdoll.
Ragdolls are generally easy to care for. Although they need weekly grooming for their coat, it usually consists of a quick brush through to remove any tangles.
This breed is one-of-a-kind! Adaptable to just about any environment and friendly with strangers, pets, and children, the Ragdoll can be the perfect addition to any home. They’re patient and tolerant with children, happy to greet you after your long day at work, and glad to sleep behind your head at night. If you’re looking for a cat that will always be there for you, you’ve found it in the Ragdoll.
Fun Facts About Ragdolls
- Ragdolls tend not to meow a lot, which makes them perfect for apartments and condos.
- All Ragdoll kittens are white, but patterns start to appear after about 10 days. Their coat color doesn’t fully develop until they’re about two-and-a-half years old!
- This breed of cat often loves the water! And as a testament to their love for you, they may even want to join you in the shower.
- The current resident cat of the Algonquin Hotel in New York City is a Ragdoll named Matilda. The hotel has been caring for rescued cats since the 1930s.
The name “Ragdoll” really does sum up exactly what this cat is all about. They love to be in your presence, picked up, cuddled, and loved. Your attention is what they crave, and they’re more than happy to turn into a ragdoll in your arms. They’re also a great pet if you have children or other pets, as long as the kids know to be gentle with this gentle giant.
If you’re thinking about adopting a Ragdoll, first check out local shelters, Ragdoll rescues, and smaller cat rescues. You may get lucky and find the perfect one. If you decide to look for a Ragdoll breeder, research is essential. Check their credentials and references to ensure you’re adopting a healthy cat from a reputable breeder.
Are you thinking about welcoming a Ragdoll into the family? Congratulations! Don’t forget to schedule an appointment for the new member to ensure she’s healthy and up-to-date on vaccinations. Call us at 281-693-7387 to schedule your cat’s first appointment.
While pit bulls sometimes get a bad rap, just like any dog, they can be great companions with the right owners and training. Many people only know these dogs by the name “pit bull,” but a “pit bull” actually isn’t a breed! It’s a generalized term used to describe several formal breeds that fall under that category.
Get in-the-know on all things “pit bull!”
What Is a Pit Bull?
There are actually four different formal breeds that fall under the pit bull category. Sometimes these are referred to as “bully breeds:”
- American pit bull terrier
- American Staffordshire terrier
- American bull terrier
- Staffordshire bull terrier
- American bulldog (occasionally)
It’s heavily debated which formal breeds can be considered pit bulls, and, often, dogs labeled “pit bulls” tend to be mixed breeds.
Each of these breeds is recognized differently by the AKC (American Kennel Club) and the UKC (United Kennel Club). They definitely do get a bad rap for their history, but with proper obedience training and discipline, they can be loyal and affectionate dogs. However, it is important to note, that these breeds are not for everyone.
The Basics on the Breed
Each of the different breeds of pit bull have different characteristics, so it’s unwise to generalize the behaviors and temperaments—and even appearances—of “pit bulls.”
The American pit bull terrier has a shiny, stiff, and short coat that comes in a range of colors between red and black. They have a medium, solid body (weighing 30 to 85 pounds) with a short tail, small ears, and a broad head. This breed tends to have a very athletic look and lives between 12 and 16 years.
The American Staffordshire terrier also comes in a variety of colors with a short coat, but their fur is smooth. Too much white in their coloring can actually be considered a fault in the breed. The American Staffordshire terrier’s body type is very similar to the body of the American pit bull terrier, but is smaller, weighing between 40 and 60 pounds. They also have a shorter lifespan of 10 to 15 years.
The Staffodshire Bull Terrier has a similar coat to the others with a strong jaw, broad head, and small tail. It is smaller than the other two breeds of pit bull, reaching a maximum weight of about 38 pounds. Their lifespan tends to be between 12 and 14 years.
Why Pit Bulls Make Great Pets
Pit bulls are strong, athletic, and determined, and these characteristics can make them difficult for some owners. If you understand what your breed of pit bull needs, they can make wonderful companions. They can be sensitive, loving, playful, and gentle, even if their appearance and reputation says “tough guy!” They’re responsive to training, and it’s recommended that you bring them to training classes as early as possible. It’s important to be responsible with this breed.
With the proper training and socialization, pit bulls can be extremely friendly with family, kids, and even strangers. Despite their reputation, they don’t always make the best guard dogs! Even though they’re very intelligent, these breeds tend to be a bit shy if not properly socialized.
Pit bulls can also be enthusiastic and eager to please, so they’re fairly easy to train for work.
Fun Facts About Pit Bulls!
Each breed that falls under the general category of “pit bull” is full of surprises! Here are just some of them:
- Many dogs that aren’t “pit bulls” get mistaken for them, including the Presa Canario and the boxer.
- Sergeant Stubby, a pit bull predecessor, is the most decorated dog, having served in World War I.
- It can be difficult to claim standards for pit bulls due to mixed breeds.
- Pit bulls are in several movies, including: Petey (played by Pal), the dog with the black eye, in “The Little Rascals” and Chance (played by Sure Grip Rattler in Homeward Bound).
- Several “spokesmen” dogs, like Blueberry, are working to dispel the myths surrounding pit bull breeds and raise awareness.
- The Animal Planet show “Pit Bulls and Parolees” works to educate viewers about the breeds through rescue stories.
Pit bulls can make wonderful pets; the key is being a responsible owner. Their behavior depends on your ability to train and handle them. Before adopting any of these wonderful breeds or mixed breeds, do your research:
- Talk to your local shelter(s) about the dog’s past life, temperament, and training.
- If you’re adopting from a breeder, read our post about how to find a breeder who is as responsible as you are.
- Confirm that your town, homeowner’s association, or apartment complex allows a pit bull to live with you. Breed discrimination of pit bulls is fairly common.
If you’re bringing home a pit bull, we’d love to meet them! It’s important they have their first check-up within a week of coming home. You can schedule your appointment by calling us at 281-693-7387.
There’s no greater sign of your cat’s love than the sound of purring, like a little motor running, as you scratch his head and stroke his fur. Because purring means your cat loves you, right?
Purring could mean something different than you think.
Why Do Cats Purr?
Cats can purr when experiencing:
They can even purr while giving birth to kittens!
Cats are considered “masters of disguise” when it comes to their emotions. Yours may be domesticated now, but his species used to be wild, and some wild instincts have stayed with him. Although domestic cats are often viewed as predatory threats to birds, squirrels, and mice, they’re also naturally prey to other, larger animals. Your feline’s instinct is to stay safe, and that means hiding illness and injuries. He’s more likely to be seen as an easy target if he appears sick or slow. This can make it difficult to interpret what he’s really feeling, even when he purrs.
It’s believed that purring helps a cat heal and experience pain relief. The theory is that the low-frequency vibrations produced by the purr can help wounds heal quickly, help bones repair, and even give your kitty relief from pain. A cat’s purr is more than a method for communication; it’s also a mechanism for comfort and healing.
Don’t worry! Even though your cat can purr when he’s in pain, most of the time, domestic cats do so as a sign of contentment, especially at times when you show them affection.
Note: Purring alone isn’t a definitive sign that something is wrong (After all, they do it when they’re happy too!), but if your cat has taken to hiding, not eating, going to the bathroom outside the litter box, or any other behavior that’s abnormal for him, it might be time to seek an expert opinion. You know your pet best. Ask your veterinarian if you have any concerns about his behavior.
When Do Cats Begin Purring?
Kittens start purring at just a few days old and usually continue purring throughout their lifetimes. Because cats are born blind and dependent, they purr to communicate with their mothers, letting them know, “I’m here, and I’m hungry!”
How Do Cats Purr?
Purring is a result of many parts of your cat coming together:
- The larynx (vocal cords)
- The laryngeal muscles (These control the vocal cords.)
- The neural oscillator (brainwaves)
As your cat breathes in and out, his larynx separates and vibrates. That’s what creates the sound you hear. It can vibrate between 25 to 150 times per second!
Are There Different Types of Cat Purrs?
It would be helpful if your cat’s purring sounded different based on his mood or physical state, but a cat’s purr is produced and vocalized in the same way regardless of how he truly feels.
The good news is, you don’t have to rely on your cat’s purr to understand how he feels! Cats use several other verbal and nonverbal methods to communicate with us.
Have you heard your cat caterwaul, growl, or chirrup? Check out this list of cat vocalizations. Your cat may be communicating with you in more ways than you think!
Which Cat Breeds Purr the Most?
Do you find the sound of a cat’s purr soothing and peaceful? Do you love when your kitty “speaks” to you? Then you should consider a cat breed that’s known for purring and being vocal.
According to Purina®, some of the most “vocal” breeds include:
- Japanese bobtail
- Turkish Angora
- Maine coon
And if you want a cat that purrs really loudly, you might get lucky with a British shorthair breed like Smokey, the cat that purrs louder than a lawn mower. Smokey’s owner admits,
“It’s either adorable or annoying, depending on what mood you’re in. You don’t even have to stroke her to start a purring session. Often she’ll do it for no reason.”
Good luck trying to get some z’s at night!
To All the Cat Lovers…
Dog owners may say there’s nothing like coming home to happy-go-lucky pup that licks their face as they walk through the door. But as a proud cat owner, you know your fur baby is uniquely awesome in ways you still may not understand. Cats like to keep things interesting! While they may not show their love and affection for you with kisses and puppy-dog eyes, you know they care.
Want to know more about your cat’s behavior? Schedule an appointment to chat with one of our vets! We’ll help you crack the code.
Bulldogs are currently one of the most popular breeds of dog! In 2016 they were rated fourth-most popular in the United States. With a distinctive face, they’re also easily one of the most recognizable breeds. (If you have one, you know you attract attention everywhere you go!)
The History of the Bulldog
Exactly when this breed emerged is not hammered down, but it’s believed to be the 13th century in England. Their name, ‘bulldog,’ is intertwined with their history. They were bred for the sport known as ‘bullbaiting.’ In this event, a pack of dogs was pitted against a bull, with bets placed on the outcome. The breed as we know it today is very different since this sport was outlawed.
During the height of bullbaiting, bulldogs were bred to be ferocious and brave, with large jaws capable of bringing down a bull. Their well-known underbite, which they still have today, allowed them to bite onto the bull and hold on. Their wrinkles also came from their bullfighting days. They deflected blood away from bulldogs’ eyes during a fight.
When the sport was outlawed in 1835, along with other blood sports involving animals, dog fighting became popular underground. The bulldog no longer fit the needs of this “sport.”
Since then, bulldogs have been bred with other dogs. The result is many of the bull terriers we know today. Since they were no longer needed for bullbaiting or dog fighting, bulldogs were being forgotten as their own breed.
Out of a desire to save them, people began breeding them to be companions, rather than fighters. Their aggression was bred out. Now patience, affection, and obedience are their main traits. Docile and sweet, bulldogs are popular in the United Kingdom and the U.S.
There are three types of bulldogs:
American bulldogs are larger than English bulldogs. They grow up to 125 pounds and 25 inches tall. With longer limbs and a more athletic build, they are faster and tend to be more hyperactive. While English bulldogs are considered lapdogs and stay indoors, American bulldogs love the outdoors. They’re often used as working dogs by farmers and hunters.
French bulldogs are considered descendants of the English bulldog.
When many people think about a bulldog, they’re thinking of the English variety. English bulldogs have shorter legs with a wider, ‘sport-like’ stance. Their heads are large and broad. Of course, they have the distinctive face they’re known for.
Size of the English Bulldog
When fully grown, an English bulldog only weighs about 50 pounds and stands just over a foot in height.
Coat and Color of the English Bulldog
- A combination of red, yellow, and white
Life Expectancy of the English Bulldog
English bulldogs tend to live between 8 to 12 years.
Health of the English Bulldog
The short head and snout can lead to health issues, mainly revolving around the:
- Respiratory system
Overheating is a concern because bulldogs don’t pant enough to cool themselves, like other dogs do.
It’s also important to maintain regular grooming to keep infections away from their wrinkly skin.
Bulldogs Make Great Pets!
Attitude of a Bulldog
Today’s bulldogs are patient, obedient, and great with children. Because they’re affectionate, they’re generally nice toward strangers, but they still have a courageous streak from their fighting days. They’ll defend their turf if they feel they need to.
They’re happy to please their owners and generally get along great with other pets in the home.
Training and Exercise of a Bulldog
Bulldogs only require moderate exercise. They’re more than happy to sit by their owner’s feet. Since they’re prone to being overweight, exercise is an important part of their lifestyle, especially as they age.
The fact that they don’t need much exercise makes them great for city-dwellers. Even a jaunt around an apartment building gets their little legs working!
Fun Facts about Bulldogs!
Their distinctive appearance isn’t the only reason bulldogs are a huge standout!
- Bulldogs are one of the most popular choices for mascots. They represent teams at the University of Georgia and Yale University. Some of these schools and other institutions even use live dogs to represent their teams!
- Bulldogs represent branches of the military, including the Marines and the 3rd Infantry Division of the Army.
- Brigitte, also known as Stella on Modern Family, was the first bulldog to win a Golden Collar Award.
- Leonardo DiCaprio, Hugh Jackman, and Zac Efron are just three of the many celebrities that love and own bulldogs.
- Prime Minister Winston Churchill was often compared to a bulldog because of his jowly looks and tenacious attitude.
Ask just about anyone, and they’ll be able to describe a bulldog to you in a heartbeat. They’re that recognizable! If you’re interested in adopting this beautiful dog, check out local shelters. If you’re looking for a breeder, research one that is reputable and certified.
Once you’ve brought your wrinkly playmate home, schedule their first appointment for vaccinations at Cinco Ranch Vet! We’ll make sure your newest family member is in tip-top shape. Call us at 281-693-7387.
You’ve seen them. Whether in person or in pictures, the reaction is always the same: “That dog is huge!”
You’re probably looking at a Great Dane!
Want to bring this gentle giant into your family or just love learning about dogs? Here’s our Breed Spotlight on the Great Dane.
The History of the Great Dane
There’s no mistaking a Great Dane for another dog, but they actually have an intriguing history to go along with their massive size. Although it was recognized by the AKC (American Kennel Club) as an official breed in 1887, the exact timing of the introduction of this breed is uncertain. In fact, there were drawings found in Egypt from 3000 B.C. that resemble the Great Dane. These pups were most likely the breed’s ancestors, though they tended to be heavier and more ferocious.
The Great Dane’s appearance as we know it today has probably existed for about 400 years. Originally, they were bred to hunt wild boar in Germany and were most likely a mix between the Irish Wolfhound and the English Mastiff. The traits in Great Danes made them extremely successful in wild boar hunting:
- Ferocious (at that time)
Today’s Great Dane is different than it was back then. The ferocity needed for hunting was bred out, and gentleness was bred in to create the dog we all know. Now Great Danes are referred to as “Gentle Giants” and known for their sweet temperament and the ability to get along with humans and other animals.
Four years after Great Danes were recognized by the AKC, the was formed.
The Basics on the Breed
Almost everyone knows a Great Dane on sight. “Large” doesn’t even begin to describe them. Males tend to be 32 inches at the shoulder or higher, while females start at 30 inches. When standing on hind legs, they can reach over seven feet tall! Zeus, a Great Dane from Michigan, was a whopping 7’4”!
Great Danes come in a wide variety of colors, including:
- Tiger stripe
- White with black patches
- Mantle (white with a black “blanket”)
Although their hair tends to be shorter, they do shed quite a bit. Still, they require only weekly grooming.
Sadly, since the Great Dane is such a large dog, they have a short life expectancy of 6 to 8 years, with some reaching 10 years old. Thanks to their nature, even the short amount of time with them is a wonderful time.
Why Great Danes Make Great Pets
Friendly and Easygoing
Although their size can be intimidating to some, Great Danes really do live up to their “Gentle Giant” nickname. They are friendly to almost everyone, including pets and other animals. They’re easygoing and extremely patient, even with children. Danes love to play and a need to please makes for much easier training.
Cuddly and Loyal
Beware: Great Danes are lapdogs in jumbo size! Although they absolutely can’t fit in your lap, it doesn’t mean they won’t try. They love being with the family and want to be in the thick of it all. And though they’re happy to meet strangers, they won’t fail to show their courage if they feel the family is in danger. This aspect of the ancient dog was maintained.
This breed tends to be on the quiet side, barking only when absolutely necessary. Obedient and dependable, they make wonderful family companions.
The Cons of Danes
Even though Great Danes make absolutely great pets, it’s important to note that due to their size, they require spacious homes. Although they’re patient and easygoing, when they’re young, they do tend to be quite energetic, partaking in the zoomies.
They should be walked about two to three times each day and receive a fair amount of attention. Left alone for too long, they tend to become barkers, and their barks are booming. A person considering adopting a Great Dane should be prepared to commit time and dedication to their new dog.
Cool and Fun Facts about Great Danes
There’s more to the Great Dane than its size! Here are some cool fun facts about this dog breed:
- The Great Dane, although it is a German dog, has a French name in English. It was translated from “Grand Danois” which means “Big Danish.” Even this name doesn’t make sense, as the dog is not connected with Denmark!
- It’s known as the “Apollo of Dogs” for its impressive size and elegance.
- There seems to be evidence of a dog resembling the Great Dane in Chinese Literature from 1121 B.C.
- The Great Dane is ranked the 14th most popular breed in the world by the AKC.
- Be careful what you leave on the tables! Due to their size, they can easily reach up and grab those snacks.
- The most famous Great Dane is probably Scooby Doo.
- Even though Great Danes are known for their height, Irish Wolfhounds tend to be just a tiny bit taller; however, Zeus, the Great Dane, was the tallest dog ever.
- Juliana the Great Dane won two Blue Cross medals: one for peeing on a bomb that fell in her house in 1941 and the other for warning of a fire. Meanwhile, Nuisance the Great Dane was enlisted in the US Navy!
Great Danes truly are wonderful, one-of-a-kind companions. Courageous but with gentleness bred in, they’re unique family members who love to be in the center of it all. If you’re considering adopting one, take into the time and devotion this breed needs. They require special care, partly due to their size, so further research is essential before you bring one home. If you have the time and room to give this breed, your love and companionship will be paid back tenfold.
If you’ve recently adopted a Great Dane or another dog, it’s time to schedule a vet appointment! Call us at 281-693-7387. We look forward to meeting your “Gentle Giant!”
Everyone loves a fluffy dog or cat, but did you know the hairless breeds are also adored? Despite their biggest fans, they’re still much less well-known than their furry counterparts.
Learn about the coolest hairless dogs and cats out there, and give them some love!
1. Mexican Hairless
The Mexican hairless dog, officially known as the Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced: show-low-eats-queen-tlee) or the Xolo, is one of the rarest breeds in the world. It’s also one of the oldest. The name Xoloitzcuintli is ancient! It’s a combination of Xolotl, an Aztec Indian god, and itzcuintli, the Aztec word for dog.
Native to Mexico and Central America, Xolos are considered to have been one of the first dogs to live on the North American continent.
Xolos are most often hairless, although they can occasionally be born with a very short coat. Many are blue-gray, but they can come in a variety of colors, including:
Due to their lack of hair, the dog developed warm skin. Thanks to their warm bodies, they made excellent cuddle companions for those with arthritis. They were also believed to ward off other ailments and evil spirits.
What’s the Mexican Hairless Like?
Today, Xolos are known for being extremely loyal dogs, devoted to their families. A common name for them is “Velcro dog” because they won’t leave your side! They are also intelligent and athletic, making them trainable and excellent guard dogs. Xolos love exercise and long walks, though they will remain calm in the house.
It’s usually recommended that Xolos be supervised if you have other dogs or children, but they’re excellent companions if you’re allergic to dogs as they’re hypoallergenic!
COOL FACT ABOUT XOLOS! Mexican hairless dogs are commonly seen at the “World’s Ugliest Dog” competition!
2. Chinese Crested
The Chinese crested’s origins are first in Africa and later in China. Bred to be small, they were soon all over the world, becoming popular in the United States by the 1900s. They did not become an AKC breed until 1991 and are usually companion pets today.
Although they are considered hairless, they often have fur on their heads, paws, and tails. There is also a variation of the Chinese crested known as a powderpuff, which is entirely covered in silky fur. This variation is rare, since the hairless crested is often preferred. A toy breed, the Chinese crested weighs about 10 pounds and comes in 11 different colors.
What’s the Chinese Crested Like?
Like a Xolo, your crested will become extremely close to you once it overcomes its shyness. Affectionate, playful, and goofy, cresteds are also considered “cat-like” because they love high places. They’re great with children, so long as the kids are taught to be gentle.
If you’re considering adopting a Chinese Crested, keep in mind that the hairless variety will need regular treatment for its skin to avoid sunburn and other injuries. The powderpuff version requires regular brushing.
COOL FACT ABOUT CHINESE CRESTEDS! As the ancestors of the Chinese crested left Africa, they were often used to hunt rats on ships!
3. American Hairless Terrier
The American hairless terrier (AHT) is a relatively new breed of dog, especially when compared to the Chinese crested and Xolo. In the 1970s, a hairless dog was born to a purebred rat terrier in the United States. Named Josephine, the owners wished to have more like her, and the American hairless terrier came to be after an extensive breeding program. The breed was recognized by the AKC in 2016.
The AHT can come in 19 different colors, with 7 variations in markings. There is also a coated version of the American hairless (known as the coated carrier). A smaller dog, they weigh up to about 16 pounds.
What’s the AHT Like?
Since it originated from the rat terrier, the urge to hunt and rat still exists for the AHT. But because they don’t have a coat, they can’t take part in those activities. They still have an energetic streak, though, so they love to play and explore. They’re intelligent and territorial, making great watch dogs for the family.
As with the Xolo, American hairless terriers are hypoallergenic, making one a great choice if you suffer from allergies. They also get along wonderfully with other pets.
COOL FACT ABOUT AHTS! They are the often considered the first hairless breed to start in the United States.
The sphynx cat is a relatively new breed of hairless cat. The original one was born in 1966 in Toronto, Canada to a domestic cat. Recognized as unusual, cat breeders began a program to create a healthy version of the hairless cat through selective breeding with various furred cats, like the devon rex. The results are a beautiful sphynx with fewer genetic problems.
A truly unusual cat, a sphynx is born with plenty of wrinkles that start to disappear as it grows older. Its body can be either smooth and hairless or with a very fine down, like a peach! Sphynxes come in a variety of colors, from white to chocolate to calico. If they have any fur, it will often be the same color as their skin.
What’s the Sphynx Like?
If you love an attentive cat, you’ve found it in the sphynx. Affectionate and cuddly, it will not leave your side. Sphynxes are also clever, fearless, and friendly, even to strangers. There’s no doubt they make excellent companions.
If you’re looking for a cat that will truly capture your interest and heart and even keep you laughing, the sphynx is an excellent choice. They even do extremely well with other pets and children. It’s highly recommended that you adopt two if you work away from home, as they do love companionship at all times.
5. The Donskoy
Although the donskoy is often mistaken for the sphynx, it’s its own breed! Also known as the Russian hairless, don sphynx, or don hairless, this kitty got its start in 1987 when a bald cat had kittens, just as bald as their mother. A breeding program began soon after, and the donskoy went on to become recognized by the World Cat Federation in 1997 and The International Cat Association by 2005.
This hairless cat comes in four different types:
- Rubber bald
- Velour coat
- Brush coat
- Flock coat
The rubber bald is completely bald from birth, while velour, brush, and flock coats have a variety of fur and textures. Flock coat, for example, appears to be bald, but does have soft fur. Donskoys also come in a variety of colors, from blue to lilac to auburn.
What’s the Donskoy Like?
The donskoy is very similar to the sphynx in behavior:
If you’ve always wanted a dog, but love cats, you may find your soulmate in this hairless breed. Extremely intelligent, they’re trainable and have some of the best qualities of both cats and dogs.
A wonderful lap cat, this is a kitty that won’t leave your side. It also gets along with everyone in the family—from kids to adults—and has excellent social skills with all other pets in the home.
COOL FACT ABOUT DONSKOYS! The donskoy’s paws are quite unusual: Their webbed toes and thumbs allow them to pick up items!
Hairless dogs and cats may look unusual, but there’s no doubt they make excellent additions to homes, especially with owners who have allergies! If you’re interested in adopting one of these dogs or cats, check out your local shelter first. Many purebreds in shelters have their documentation! If you’re considering breeders, always ensure they have the proper paperwork and the animals are well taken care of.
If you take home a Mexican hairless, a Chinese crested, an American hairless terrier, a spyhnx, or another pet, congratulations! Make sure they see a vet for their first appointment! Call Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital at 281-693-7387 to schedule your fur(less) baby’s checkup!
When you imagine a service dog, you likely think of a seeing-eye dog. But did you know there are dozens of other lifesaving jobs service dogs can perform? Helping the visually impaired is only one of them. Check out just a few of these amazing service dog jobs, and why you should thank a service dog today!
1. Diabetic Alert Dogs
A less well-known—but equally important—service dog helps those with diabetes. Diabetic alert dogs, also known as DADs and blood sugar alert dogs, are trained to notice blood sugar highs and lows, particularly ones that are dangerous or could be fatal. The sooner these highs and lows are detected, the quicker the handler can take the appropriate measures.
What breeds are trained as diabetic alert dogs?
Specific dogs are chosen for this job, thanks to their sensitive noses. Labradors are a good example, but golden retrievers, poodle mixes, and sporting breeds are also popular choices. Some locations will train a dog if it has the right nose receptors. For example, Labrador retrievers have more than 200 million sensors. Other programs only train dogs from specific breeders.
How are they trained?
They’re trained to tell the difference between two scents: high blood sugar and low blood sugar. In response, they may be taught to take a certain action, which could include jumping on the handler or holding a specific toy in their mouth. In more serious cases, the dogs can use a K-9 Alert Phone to call 911.
Fun Facts About Diabetic Alert Dogs:
- Diabetic alert dogs have about a 90% accuracy rate!
- Although most DADs don’t have specialized gear, they do often carry emergency contact information for their humans.
2. Visual Assistance Dogs
Visual assistance is one of the most common service dog jobs. While their official title is “visual assistance dog,” they are sometimes called:
- Seeing-eye dogs
- Guide dogs
- Leader dogs
Their main job is to assist the visually impaired or blind throughout their day. Although there is no one registry keeping track of all the guide dogs, the number is estimated to be in the tens of thousands.
What breeds are trained as visual assistance dogs?
- German shepherds
- Golden retrievers
Many other breeds are also used. What’s important is that the dog matches the handler in height and stride. While small dogs are used, most visual assistance dogs are medium or large.
How are they trained?
Every dog trained for this job is required to go through vigorous training, and some may not be suited for the work. Training starts early for most visual assistance dogs, and their program ends with training with their potential human. The process before they are permanently placed lasts for months.
When they are training and working, the dogs wear white guide-dog harnesses, and they are taught a number of skills and tasks during their training, including:
- Walking in a straight line
- Going around obstacles
- Stopping at corners and curbs
The dog will only continue when commanded, but if there is dangerous traffic, for example, it will wait until the coast is clear.
3. Hearing Dogs
Another common service dog is for the hearing impaired or deaf. Hearing dogs respond to daily sounds like:
- Telephone rings
- Children crying
- Smoke alarms
They let their owners know about important sounds by touching and leading. Once a hearing dog is comfortable in its home, new sounds can be learned, like oven buzzers or microwave beeps. Less common sounds can be learned, but it’s much easier for a hearing dog to learn repetitive sounds.
What breeds are trained as hearing dogs?
Most hearing dogs are actually from shelters, so they come in many different breeds, mixes, shapes, colors, and sizes. A majority of handlers do request smaller dogs, so many are small or medium. The chosen dog should be energetic and willing to work, so these breeds and mixes of these breeds are common:
- Cocker Spaniel
- Shih Tzu
How are they trained?
Training hearing dogs takes a similar amount of time as training seeing eye dogs: four to six months. During training, and even during work, hearing dogs interpret the job as playtime.
4. Autism Assistance Dogs
A service dog job that is becoming more popular is autism assistance. These dogs are trained to help calm autistic individuals, when needed, but they also help the person maintain boundaries and learn life skills. The majority of autism-assistance-dog handlers are children.
Autism assistance dogs mainly aid autistic children with social interaction by helping them connect with others and with avoiding repetitive behaviors by redirecting them. They can also create a safety net for a child and reduce stress for the entire family by being the family dog. These service dogs have been shown to help create independence and improve vocabulary as children become comfortable speaking to their dogs.
What breeds are trained as autism assistance dogs?
Autism assistance dogs are usually:
- Golden retrievers
- Similar mixes
How are they trained?
Autism assistance dogs undergo two types of training, in many cases:
- With a program
- In their home
The primary caretaker may be required to be there for both parts.
The time it takes to train an autism assistance dog depends on the particular program it goes through. Some programs allow the dogs to go to their families while they’re still puppies, while others wait until the dogs are adults.
Facts about Autism Assistance Dogs:
- As with diabetic alert dogs, autism assistance dogs don’t tend to have gear, but they do carry emergency contact information.
- Programs that train these service dogs usually ask for a donation, which can be around $13,000. Some also offer payment plans.
5. Seizure Alert Dogs
Seizure alert dogs usually work with people with epilepsy, which affects 2 million people in the United States, but these dogs can help someone with any seizure disorder. Sadly, many people who suffer from seizures avoid going outside or doing daily activities, but a seizure alert dog can change that for them.
What breeds are trained as seizure alert dogs?
For most cases, as with other service dogs, Labradors, golden retrievers, and their mixes are the most common breeds used for seizure alert services. If the adopter has allergies, poodles and poodle mixes may be used.
How are they trained?
Some seizure alert dogs can be trained to know when a seizure is coming, but not all services provide this. PAWS with a Cause® states that while they don’t train their dogs to predict seizures, it is possible for the dogs to learn after years with their owners.
The pups may be trained to:
- Catch the person if they’re falling
- Find help
- Use a life-alert system
- Remain close to their owner during a seizure event.
Training takes more than two years.
Facts about Seizure Alert Dogs:
- Oncoming seizure alerts can include behaviors like circling, pacing, close eye contact, and pawing.
- Some service dogs that are trained to know when a seizure is coming can predict one to up to an hour ahead of time!
There are many other jobs for service dogs than the examples listed here, from PTSD assistance to severe allergy alert! Dogs make amazing, wonderful pets for almost anyone. For the deaf, blind, autistic, diabetic, those living with seizure, and more, the work they do is lifesaving!
Siamese cats are one of the best-known breeds of the feline family. Bolstered partly by their Lady and the Tramp fame, they are a lot more lovable than the troublemakers they were made out to be in the Disney film. Whether you’re thinking about adding one to your family or are just intrigued by these unique felines, here’s everything you need to know about Siamese cats!
From Royalty in One Country to Another: History of the Siamese Cat
Siamese cats have a lot going on besides being absolutely gorgeous, including a rich history. They’re one of the oldest and most well-known cat breeds on the planet. From Thailand, which was originally known as Siam (hence the cat’s name), Siamese cats were favored by royalty and even known as the Royal Cat of Siam.
No one is entirely sure when the breed first left Thailand and made an appearance in Britain. There is evidence of the Siamese cat at the first cat show at Crystal Palace in London, 1871, where, rumor has it, they were poorly received. The first documented evidence is from 1884, when two Siamese were gifted to the sister of a British consul general.
Records show that the first Siamese cat in the United States belonged to Lucy Hayes in 1878, the First Lady and wife of President Rutherford B. Hayes. The cats quickly become popular in America and were a top contestant in cat shows by the 1900s.
Today, the Siamese cat is still immensely popular! In addition to being featured in the Lady and The Tramp, they have appeared in:
- The Aristocats,
- The Wizard of Oz
You might also have seen a hint of Siamese in other cats! They were bred to create other breeds, including the:
- Havana Brown
- And more!
Siamese cats are almost instantly identifiable but their colored points, beautiful blue eyes, and large ears. The traditional colors for a Siamese are:
- Lilac point
Some less common colors include:
Their bodies are a lighter shade than their faces, ears, paws, and tails.
This breed is a natural breed, which means it wasn’t bred for specific qualities. The Siamese came about due to a natural, genetic mutation.
Following the breed standards that exist now, most Siamese have:
- An elongated but muscular body
- A triangular head
- A long neck
- A slender tail
- Fine hair
Siamese cats boast of one of the longest life spans of any cat breed, living to about 15 to 20 years old. The oldest one lived to 30!
Why Siamese Cats Make Great Pets
There’s no doubt: Siamese cats make wonderful pets. They are well known for their intelligence and training capabilities, including walking on a leash and playing fetch! In fact, they are one of the most intelligent cats out there. That also means if you don’t keep them stimulated, they are easily bored. Puzzle toys, bird feeders, training, and a lot of playtime are sure to keep them entertained. They will let you know if they’re bored by chatting up quite a storm!
Due to their intelligence and high energy, it is recommended that they have a buddy. It can be another cat, but they also get along with dogs quite well. (And children too!) A companion can be especially important if someone isn’t at home all the time.
In addition to being extremely smart, Siamese cats are also very affectionate. They’re always happy to cuddle or sleep in your bed; in fact, they will also worm their way into every aspect of your life, even watching television with you! As long as you like spending a lot of time with your Siamese cat, it is sure to be happy.
Future Siamese cat owners may also be glad to know that this breed sheds very little and requires very minimal grooming. They may need extra care when it comes to their teeth, though.
While Siamese cats make excellent and loveable companions, future owners should note that due to their high energy and talkative nature, they may not be for everyone.
If you decide to adopt one, you will be rewarded handsomely. They’re known for their conversations, cuddles, and their ability to easily become the center of attention. There is nothing quite like a Siamese!
5 More Fun Facts about Siamese Cats
Siamese cats are truly unique. Here are a few more bonus facts about this cool breed:
- Kittens are born all cream or all white. They get their colored points later!
- Siamese is the breed’s name in Western cultures. Its name in Thailand is wichien-matt, which means “Moon Diamond” in Thai.
- Cats usually only give birth to 4 to 6 kittens, but one Siamese mix gave birth to 19.
- Since they are generally active, when left alone and bored, Siamese cats will often get into mischief or adventures that can include turning on the sinks and finding excellent hiding spots.
- When a Siamese cat breeds with a non-Siamese cat, their kittens will often be pure black or a mix of black and white.
Siamese cats are definitely a unique and popular breed! If you’re thinking of adding one to your family, first check your local shelters, as purebreds are there more often than people imagine. If you’d like to purchase one from a breeder, do your research. Ensure the breeder is certified, a member of associations, and ask to see the kitten’s parents. Always double-check the information you are given, ensuring the breeder you choose is reputable.
Once you’ve adopted, take your new family member in for a vet checkup within the first week or two of bringing it home. Schedule your first appointment with Cinco Ranch Vet by simply calling 281-693-7387.