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How long it takes medium size dog's corpse being decomposed?

How long it takes medium size dog's corpse being decomposed?


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I am not a Biology student or expert. Moved the post from Pets SE.

Around a month ago, my 12 years old dog passed away. And I buried her in our front yard (mostly soil, 1 meter depth, wrapped in some cloth fabric material). The thing is I have a plan to sell my house, but don't have nerve to move away if my dog's corpse have not completely decomposed. There is a hard feeling to leave her like that, you know, the family bond stuff. So it will be relieving if her body are completely decomposed when that happen.

Background I live in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, which has tropical climate. But from the past few month, we have pretty unusual cold temperature during night until around 9 am, because of Australian Cold Monsoon. I mention this in case it has logical factor of how decomposition works.


A Visual Guide to Dog Anatomy (Muscle, Organ & Skeletal Drawings)

Dog anatomy details the various structures of canines (e.g. muscle, organ and skeletal anatomy). The detailing of these structures changes based on dog breed due to the huge variation of size in dog breeds.

Would you be surprised to know that short dogs are more aggressive? Or taller dogs are more affectionate? It seems heavier dogs are more inquisitive and lighter dogs are more fearful too.

Whilst we should not to take such broad statements at face value, studies have shown that the size and shape of a dog can impact their behavior.

This makes us want to learn more about the anatomy of our four-legged friends. For that reason, we have put together a handy guide with some interesting facts and diagrams.


A Dog's Eye View of Morphological Diversity

Copyright: © 2010 Liza Gross. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Competing interests: The author has declared that no competing interests exist.

The history of genetic discovery offers a lesson in inspired choices. Mendel pried the principles of inheritance from the seeds, pods, and flowers of pea plants. Morgan linked trait inheritance to specific chromosomes after the unexpected appearance of a white-eyed fly among the red-eyed multitudes. McClintock showed that genes could change position on a chromosome by charting the idiosyncrasies of every leaf and kernel of her beloved maize plants.

And now Elaine Ostrander, who admits a sense of “awe” and “marvel” at her pet organism, the domestic dog, has found that some complex traits may not have such a complex genetic basis after all. Working with longtime collaborators Carlos Bustamante and Robert Wayne, Ostrander and her colleagues report that complex traits like body size and coat color may fall under the control of surprisingly few genes.

Early on, Ostrander recognized the dog's potential to undercover the genetic basis of complex traits. Morgan's white-eyed flies arose from a single-gene mutation, but most traits spring from more complex genetic interactions. Complex (or quantitative) traits are controlled by more than one gene, in combination with environmental factors, and vary by degree, with snout, for example, ranging from recessed to elongated.

Pure-bred dogs, with their storied history of intensive breeding for humans' prodigious preferences, offer geneticists a unique opportunity to link variations at a given spot in the genome (the genotype) with the physical expression (phenotype) of complex traits. From the puny pug's snub nose to the regal collie's prominent snout, the squat corgi's stubby legs to the sleek saluki's willowy limbs, the hairless chihuahua's nervous reserve to the dreadlocked komondor's fearless courage, no other land mammal approaches the dog's phenotypic diversity. Breeders maintain these archetypes by selecting for nearly every facet of a dog's being, leaving breeds with restricted gene pools and prone to genetic disease.

Still, such clear divisions among breeds help geneticists match genes with traits. Researchers have recently linked numerous gene variants and so-called quantitative trait loci (QTL)—regions of DNA associated with a trait—to several classic traits in dog breeds, including leg length, coat color, and skeletal size. It's possible that this diversity results from several QTLs with weak effects or from just a few QTLs with large effects.

To explore these possibilities and track the signs of human selection in the dog genome, Ostrander, Bustamante, and their colleagues developed a map of canine genetic diversity. Dogs, like humans, have two copies of every gene. The copies may have identical sequences (called homozygous) or different sequences (heterozygous). Using DNA from registered breeds and wild canids (915 dogs from 80 breeds, plus 83 canids, including wolves, jackals, coyotes, and feral African “village” dogs), the authors determined the sequence of over 120,000 spots in the genome likely to harbor single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs, pronounced “snips”)—that is, they determined which of the four DNA bases (A, C, T, and G) occupy these sites. Such single-base variations, where one dog may have an A and another a T, promise to reveal the genetic roots of morphology, behavior, and disease.

Using statistics, scientists can identify a SNP at one spot in the genome that occurs with another SNP at an adjacent location more often than one would expect by chance. The SNPs may or may not occur within a gene. The nonrandom association of SNPs (called linkage disequilibrium) and blocks of DNA can help researchers map genome regions that encode heritable traits and also provide clues to an organism's evolutionary history.

One would expect that sequences inherited from the gray wolf, the dog's evolutionary forerunner, would show up as shorter blocks of shared DNA (broken up by the random mixing of DNA from both parents over generations). Likewise, the genetic imprint of inbreeding, the lot of all official dog breeds, might be long stretches of identical sequences (referred to as “runs of homozygosity,” or ROHs).

Not surprisingly, individuals within breeds share long stretches of identical sequence (ROHs) while individuals across different breeds—and African village dogs and wolves, which mate randomly—do not. Interestingly, different breeds share many more linked loci than wolves do, supporting the notion that dogs went through a genetic bottleneck during domestication. Even so, village dogs harbor more genetic diversity than the gray wolf, perhaps because they managed to keep their populations large enough to avoid inbreeding, unlike the relentlessly persecuted wolf.

The finding that dogs from different breeds do not share large chunks of DNA, the authors explain, suggests that different breeds share few sequences inherited from their ancestors. But, they reasoned, sequences shared among breeds with similar features may well represent the genetic resources from which humans fashioned the remarkably diverse expression of these traits.

Indeed, the authors linked several shared sequences to genetic variants affecting classic morphological traits, including fur length and texture, coat color, stubby legs, snout length, and body weight. When breeders selected for variations of these traits, they unwittingly targeted certain regions of the genome, but which ones?

To find out, the authors looked for correlations between the frequency of specific genetic variations and specific phenotypes—including body size, ear type, and skull, dental, and skeletal dimensions—across 80 breeds. For body size, where dogs take the prize for biggest range among terrestrial mammals, six genomic regions stood out, including areas with genes known to influence body size. For ear type, another breed-defining trait, just one region emerged as the likely source for everything from the pharaoh hound's outsized, erect ears to the basset's low-hanging, floppy lugs. The modern mutation in this area is nearly ubiquitous in floppy-eared dogs and the region shows greatly reduced sequence diversity, both indicators of strong selection.

In nearly all the traits studied, the authors report, just a few high-impact QTLs accounted for the phenotypic variations across breeds. Interestingly, genome-wide association studies in humans suggest just the opposite: that most complex human traits fall under the control of hundreds of genes of small effect.

The patterns of linked genetic regions, with so few controlling trait diversity, indicate that breed dogs (and village dogs) went though a bottleneck at domestication, followed by another bottleneck, resulting from strong selection as humans aggressively bred dogs for whatever trait struck their fancy.

Aside from proving the dog's value as a genetic model, this study offers researchers a treasure trove of genetic data to pair genes with traits, illuminate the dog's evolution from wolf to companion, and secure its place as the geneticist's new best friend.

Boyko AR, Quignon P, Li L, Schoenebeck J, Degenhardt JD, et al. (2010) A Simple Genetic Architecture Underlies Morphological Variation in Dogs. doi:10.1371/journal/pbio.1000451


Why Do Vets Prescribe Trazodone?

Trazodone is a generic drug that comes in brand names such as Oleptro and Desyrel. It can be used to treat behavioral problems in dogs, as well as cats. According to veterinarians, behavioral problems are one of the biggest reasons why animals are euthanized, especially if the behavior is dangerous. Trazodone may help to prevent this behavior.

Recently, veterinarians and animal behavioral specialists have been putting a lot of emphasis on the idea of using training and medication to help animals with behavioral problems.

Trazodone, an antidepressant, is one type of medication being used to treat behavioral problems. Classified as a serotonin antagonist reuptake inhibitor (SARI), the drug helps to balance serotonin levels in the brain. It’s not officially approved by the FDA for use in animals, but it can be prescribed legally by vets for these extra-label purposes.

In dogs and other animals, it is used to help treat issues like separation anxiety and other anxiety-related conditions. It can also be used to ensure animals rest properly after surgery. Trazodone is not used very often in cats, but it may be used for cats that are anxious about traveling to the vet, for example.


Why Do Large Dogs Have Shorter Life Spans Than Small Dogs?

I found myself trying to comfort a grieving woman. "He was so young," she sobbed. "He hadn't even reached his seventh birthday. Why did he have to die?" Her distress was not over the loss of a child but rather over the passing of her beautiful harlequin Great Dane, Frederick, who had died of a cardiac problem. Although I could share in her sorrow, the rational part of my mind was telling me that I should remind her that if you get a large dog, like a Great Dane, you should brace yourself for the fact that there is a high probability that your dog will die at a young age. It is just a fact that big dogs live much shorter lives than small dogs. Of course, being a psychologist I knew that rational analysis was not what she needed at this moment, nor did she need advice which might suggest that if her next dog was a Miniature Poodle she might expect it to live twice as long as Frederick had. So I comforted her as best I could by reminding her that Frederick's life, though short, had been a happy one.

At first glance, at least to those of us who study animals, the notion that smaller sized creatures might be expected to have a longer life than larger ones is counterintuitive. When we look at the longevity of all mammals we find that it is generally the bigger animals who live longer. For example, elephants have a lifespan of around 70 years the lifespan of a mouse is only 2 years. To go to an extreme limit, we could also look at the bowhead whale, which weighs in at around 65 tons and is 60 feet long. Scientists estimate that these whales have a lifespan as long as 200 years.

The strange quirk is that while bigger species of mammals live longer than smaller ones, large size is not an advantage if we confine our analysis to one species at a time. Within any single species we find that the trend is reversed, and it is the smaller animals that have the longer lives. This is certainly the case in dogs. Data suggests that this is even true in humans, since larger people tend to have shorter life spans. (In this case, it seems to be that body mass is more important than height alone.)

Great Danes like Frederick are good example of what the situation is for large dogs. Let's start off by noting that the most recent research suggests that the average life expectancy of a medium-sized dog is 13.6 years. Great Danes are generally classified as "giant" dogs, which are all of the dog breeds that are expected to weigh 88 pounds (or 40 kilograms) or more as adults. Great Danes clearly fit into this group since they weigh anywhere between 120 to 200 pounds. They also have very short lifespans, averaging around 6 to 8 years. Only 17% of the dogs of this breed will ever make it to 10 years of age.

Irish Wolfhounds are perhaps the tallest of all of the dogs, with males having an average height of 34 to 35 inches at the shoulder. They typically weigh around 140 to 180 pounds. Their average lifespan is around 6 to 7 years and only about 9% of these dogs will make it to 10 years of age.

The English Mastiff is one of the heaviest of the dogs and a typical male can weigh 150 to 250 pounds. Their lifespan is around 7 years of age and less than one quarter of these dogs will make it to 10 years.

A research team headed by Cornelia Kraus, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Göttingen in Germany, decided to see if they could determine why large dogs had shorter lives. To do this they collected data from veterinary hospitals. Eventually they had information about more than 56,000 dogs of 74 different breeds. Their findings were published in American Naturalist.

Although the research report contained some complex statistical analyses, the investigators were able to summarize their conclusions quite simply.

"Large dogs age at an accelerated pace, as though their adult life is running at a faster pace than small dogs. Hence, a first answer to the question of why large dogs die young is that they age quickly."

They then added an interesting set of numbers to show how powerful the effect of body mass was. Specifically they concluded that for every increase of 4.4 pounds (2 kilograms) in body mass we can expect a corresponding loss of approximately 1 month of life expectancy.

It seems as though these large dogs have lives that are unwinding in fast motion. To see how that might work let's return to the English Mastiff that we mentioned earlier. To get to a final weight of around 200 pounds that dog must do a lot of growing. Certainly his growth rate must be many times greater than what is required for a Yorkshire Terrier, who will ultimately be only 8 pounds in weight. So the English Mastiff grows quickly and in some weeks these dogs may gain over 5 pounds of weight. That requires an awful lot of cell division and cell growth — in other words a much faster pace of living with the body working harder simply to reach its normal adult size.

Nonetheless, the findings of the German team of investigators doesn't explain the actual mechanism that causes the more rapid aging in the larger dogs. We still need to know why a rapid rate of growth should result in a shorter lifespan. A hint as to what may be going on comes from a research team headed by Thor Harald Ringsby of the Department of Biology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway. Their report was published in Proceedings of the Royal Society.

The search for a mechanism that can result in aging and earlier death in animals led these Norwegian scientists down to the genetic level (although not to the genes themselves). They ended up focusing their attention on something called telomeres. Our genetic material, specifically the DNA, is stored in bodies called chromosomes. Telomeres are the protective caps on the ends of these chromosomes. In young humans, for instance, telomeres are about 8,000 to 10,000 nucleotides long. However, over time they grow shorter. This comes about because the telomeres get reduced in size with each cell division. This is important, because when the telomeres reach a critically short length the cell stops dividing and might even die. The erosion of telomeres over time has been linked to aging and risk of disease (including cancer).

So what seems to be happening is that large dogs have to run their metabolism and their growth mechanisms at a high rate of speed. The cells divide quickly to allow the dogs to grow to their final size (which is based on the characteristics of their breed). Unfortunately, each cell division is going to clip off a bit of the length of their telomeres, bringing them closer to a state of affairs where their body will begin to fail, starting at the cellular level.

Whether something can be done to slow the aging process in larger dogs is not certain, however there are some promising research findings that provide some hope. (If you want to know more about the life expectancy of your particular breed of dog click here.)

Copyright SC Psychological Enterprises Ltd. May not be reprinted or reposted without permission

Kraus, C., Pavard, S., and Promislow, D.E.L. (2013). The size-life span trade-off decomposed: why large dogs die young. American Naturalist, 181, 492–505.

Thor Harald Ringsby, Henrik Jensen, Henrik Pärn, Thomas Kvalnes, Winnie Boner, Robert Gillespie, Håkon Holand, Ingerid Julie Hagen, Bernt Rønning, Bernt-Erik Sæther, Pat Monaghan (2015). On being the right size: increased body size is associated with reduced telomere length under natural conditions. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 82(1820): 20152331. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2015.2331


For the right price

When Sir Ian Wilmut announced in 1997 that he had cloned a mammalian animal for the first time, a sheep named Dolly, it sparked fear that human clones would be next. Lee Silver, a biology professor at Princeton University told the New York Times after Wilmut’s achievement that the news “means all of science fiction is true.” He added: “It basically means that there are no limits.”

But instead of human clones and sci-fi horror, Dolly’s legacy is a small industry based around cloning animals.

In 2004, the brilliant but tortured Hwang Woo-Suk claimed to have cloned the first human embryos, but researchers soon discovered he had forged his findings. A year later, though, Hwang successfully gave the world the first cloned dog, an Afghan hound named Snuppy. The dog was cooked up with an ear cell from an adult hound, but the process was costly — it took 1,095 extracted eggs and 123 surrogate mothers. Only two mothers carried the cloned babies it to term. The rest of the embryos died weeks after birth. It’s extremely difficult for embryos to take hold in surrogates because implanting tissue that’s previously frozen, like eggs, can lead to rejection by the host body.

So many surrogate mothers, so much genetic material and lives, all to produce one pup. Still, the focus wasn’t on the sacrifices. Hwang had accomplished something that had never been done before. Time awarded Snuppy its “Invention of the Year,” the first pet to be so fêted.

In 2008, the Department of Agriculture approved meat and milk from cloned cattle, swine, goats, and their offspring, allowing farmers to clone a proven performer rather than to aim to create a new one through conventional breeding. Meanwhile, Hwang’s biotech company Sooam has produced more than 400 cloned pets in a dozen years. He’s even attained a degree of mainstream legitimacy — his company has internship programs with several major American medical institutions.

Celebrities who have cloned their pets have given the practice additional respectability. When Barry Diller and Diane von Furstenberg lost their Jack Russell terrier, Shannon, they put the dog on ice and forked over $100,000 to Sooam. Months later, two puppies arrived, Deena and Evita. Diller and DVF declined to comment, but appear happy with their pups, at least on Instagram.

“It’s not a moral thing for me, I just wanted my dog.”

Sooam isn’t the only dealer. Texas’ ViaGen clones livestock, horses, and pets for around the same price. (ViaGen cloned Barbara Streisand's dog Samantha — twice.) China’s Boyalife claims to be building a clone factory capable of pumping out 1 million pets a year. There’s a slew of others.

PETA is pushing for celebs to stop cloning their pets, citing high rates of failure and the fact that the cloned animal you get isn’t a carbon copy of your pet — but it’s hard to let go if you have the money and connections.

Take Matthew Johnson, the Canadian director of Doggy Daycare, who in 2016 paid ViaGen about $60,000 to clone his German Shepherd-dingo mix, Woofie. He says the dog’s affection helped him walk again after he contracted bacterial meningitis. When we spoke shortly after he received two “identical” female pups, he told me: “I couldn’t be happier. I always wanted to clone her. It’s not a moral thing for me, I just wanted my dog.” Even though clones are never actually carbon copies of the original, Johnson doesn’t see it that way. He says of the clones that their “behavior is the same, mannerisms, attention spans. Same coat, even birthmarks… It’s the same dog, exactly.”

Johnson now plans to clone his Bengal cat. “I’m going to do it again for sure,” he says.

If the pet cloning industry isn’t going away, can the process be made more humane? After years of attempts, there’s been little improvement, according to researchers. Members of the South Korean team that produced Snuppy, the first cloned dog, continue to study the health of cloned animals versus their genetic counterparts, even going so far as to reclone Snuppy to better understand such longevity. In 2017, four Snuppy clones were born — one of which died four days after birth due to severe diarrhea — with researchers concluding that “Snuppy had a life span that was very similar to that of his somatic cell donor.”

Those findings read as wishful thinking. Multiple bodies of scientific literature support the fact that clones continue to have exceedingly high rates of cancer and very early deaths. Upward of 96% of cloning attempts end in death, deformity, or disease. Premature arthritis and viral lung cancer plagued Dolly to the point that she was euthanized at six. Snuppy ended up dying of cancer at age 10. The process of transferring embryos is so stressful on mothers that the U.K. requires administering general or epidural anesthetic. And with a C-section routine for unnaturally large cloned babies, the European Parliament voted in 2015 to ban the cloning of all farmed animals due to the extreme nature of their suffering.


5. Fighting food allergies

Grocery stores often stock “allergen-free” or “grain-free” dog food just an aisle or two away from peanut-free sunflower butter and gluten-free bread for humans. Dogs have food allergies less often than their owners may suspect, but some truly do.

A dog’s allergic reaction doesn’t look like the sudden, life-threatening inability to breathe that can strike people with, say, a severe peanut allergy. Instead, canines have a longer, slower response that can cause digestive problems and itchy skin. Genes probably play a role in either case.

So Karlsson is working with the Broad Institute’s Food Allergy Science Initiative to glean insights from dogs that could be applied to humans. Her surveys for dog owners ask about eating habits, such as picky eating, and her team has started analyzing the links between those traits and genes.

For the tens of millions of people with food allergies — a number that’s rising for reasons hard to understand — clues from the canine genome can’t come too soon.


Introduction

When considering whether non-human animals can show signs of self-representation, while admitting that humans possess the most complex form of self-consciousness that emerges with the development of linguistic abilities (Bekoff 2002), researchers usually try to find evidence for capacities in various species that would show a close match with the highest non-verbal manifestations of self-awareness in humans. A non-exclusive list of these includes the theory of mind (e.g.: in chimpanzees: Premack and Woodruff 1978 in dolphins: Tomonaga and Uwano 2010, empathy (e.g.: in elephants: Byrne et al. 2008 in chimpanzees: Anderson et al. 2004) or mental time-travel (e.g.: in scrub-jays: Clayton et al. 2003 in dogs: Fugazza et al. 2016).

The traditional comparative approach (in chimpanzees: Gallup 1970 in bottlenose dolphins: Reiss and Marino 2001 in Asian elephants: Plotnik et al. 2006 in Eurasian magpies: Prior et al. 2008) is mostly based on the well-known, although often contested, mirror mark test paradigm, introduced by Gallup (1970), which leads almost inevitably to an arbitrarily restricted view of non-human self-representation capacity (e.g.: in gorillas: Ledbetter and Basen 1982 in giant pandas: Ma et al. 2015 in African gray parrots: Pepperberg et al. 1995). Besides some argued weaknesses of the paradigm itself (e.g.: Epstein et al. 1981 Heyes 1995 Suddendorf and Butler 2014), to face and observe themselves in a mirror might simply be an inappropriate task for many animals, because of their lack of motivation to examine their own physical appearance or to remove a mark, or because of failure to understand the mirror’s properties (Hauser et al. 2001). The inherent problem of the application of the mirror test to nonhuman species is the possible lack of ecological need for visual self-recognition and complex cognitive self-awareness by these animals (similarly, it is usually also not tested meticulously whether these species use visual cues to recognize their conspecifics). This may lead scientists to consider self-representation in species that did not pass the test, as either non-existing, or incomparably weaker than it is in humans (De Veer and Van den Bos 1999). However, being a product of evolutionary adaptation processes, representing the self must show qualitatively and quantitatively different cognitive manifestations that have evolved to fulfill different ecological needs which in turn would make it likely that its presence can be discovered in a multitude of species (Bekoff and Sherman 2004).

Besides the abundance of theoretical works (e.g.: Edelman and Seth 2009 Morin 2006 Povinelli and Cant 1995 Rochat 2003) the attempt to develop an empirical, bottom-up framework to experimentally test self-representation in various species is mostly lacking. Here we propose a parsimonious approach based on a theory that the self is an abstract multimodal concept (Kaplan et al. 2008). Our approach follows the notion that the ability of self-representation is an array of interconnected cognitive skills, in which the presence of each of these ‘building blocks’ may vary according to the species. Among these components one could mention the awareness of one’s own actions in the past, understanding the relationship between one’s body and the environment, or self-recognition based on different sensory modalities. These components may have evolved differently in each species due to their unique environment and life history (Bekoff and Sherman 2004). This modular approach allows us to test operationally for the presence of different cognitive traits that may belong to the representation of the self in different species. In the future, it will eventually allow comparative conclusions on the evolution of more complex and structured abilities to represent the self in humans, to be drawn.

The modular framework of self-representation also indicates that the most complex forms of this capacity should emerge in those cases of long-lived, highly social animals where the individuals engage in repeated interactions with each other (Bekoff and Sherman 2004). We have experimental evidence supporting this assumption, as positive examples were found in the case of primates (Anderson and Gallup 1999) dolphins (see for a review: Herman 2012) and also in elephants (Dale and Plotnik 2017 Plotnik et al. 2006). However, we do not know about a comprehensive animal model so far, where each of the possible modules connected to self-representation would be investigated from an evolutionary and ecologically appropriate point of view. We propose the dog as an optimal model to systematically investigate the various cognitive traits connected to self-representation because of its unique evolutionary history and social environment. The dog occupies a special niche living in the highly complex human-environment forming heterospecific social groups with humans (Miklósi and Topál 2013). Furthermore, there is ample evidence which shows that dogs have complex socio-cognitive skills that enable them to partake in an array of inter-specific interactions with humans. More importantly, these capacities of dogs involve such cognitive traits that are considered to be important in the case of differing aspects of representing the self, or representing others’ goals/intentions or emotions. The latter also can be important when distinguishing between the self and others. Among others, it was shown that dogs are capable of social learning (e.g. Pongrácz et al. 2001), including various instances of imitation (Topál et al. 2006) where in some specific cases we have convincing evidence for imitating novel actions through episodic memory as well (Fugazza et al. 2016). Dogs not only have a given identity, but they are also able to recognize their own names, even amidst distracting verbal background noise (Mallikarjun et al. 2019). Dogs are sensitive to the attentional states of humans (Gácsi et al. 2004) and they also readily follow various visual referential cues (e.g.: Miklósi et al. 1998). They are capable of knowledge-attribution to humans (Virányi et al. 2006), and they are sensitive to various manifestations of human emotions (e.g. contagious yawning: Romero et al. 2013 emotional vocalizations: Huber et al. 2017 visual expressions: Turcsán et al. 2015). Thus, it is reasonable to assume that dogs may possess a complex enough mental representational system and also an ecologically valid need for at least some form of representing the self. In the case of dogs, there were sporadic efforts where some components of self-representation were tested, such as the presence of episodic-like memory (Fugazza et al. 2016). It was another approach, when they investigated the ability of the discrimination of own odor from others’ (Bekoff 2001 Gatti 2016 Horowitz 2017). These studies are based on the concept that dogs’ primary sense is not vision what is tested in the mirror mark test but olfaction, so the olfactory cues would represent more relevant stimuli to this species. During the so-called “olfactory mirror test”, dogs were presented with canisters containing urine samples either from themselves, other familiar or unfamiliar dogs’, or their own urine sample with added odor. They found that dogs spent more time investigating other dogs’ odor than their own, and they also sniffed longer their own modified sample than the one without the added odor (Horowitz 2017). Although this approach is promising and has ecological validity, it is hard to exclude that dogs would spend more time investigating new or more complex, i.e. modified odors because of their novelty-effect. The other weakness of the test is that it does not imply any interaction with the dogs’ own body. If dogs could identify the odors they should have smelled themselves after smelling the modified samples analogously to the subjects who touch the mark on their body in the mirror test (Gallup and Anderson 2018). Although studies about self-recognition by using different modalities can be important, from the evolutionary point of view self-representation could more likely manifest itself during locomotion (Povinelli and Cant 1995 Moore et al. 2007). Thus, in this paper we investigated the ability of dogs to represent their own body size, as active locomotion in the physical environment poses a widespread and fundamental challenge for numerous animal species therefore, it offers a good starting point for testing the modular structure of self-representation (Bekoff 2002).

For multicellular, large-bodied organisms with the capacity of active locomotion in their environment, it is vital to be able to overcome or avoid physical obstacles. Simple obstacle-avoidance can be achieved through various senses (e.g. mechanosensation (in cockroaches: Baba et al. 2010) or echolocation: Busnel 2013). For example, in various mammals the vibrissae take a particularly important role in locomotor activities. It was extensively studied in rats (Gustafson and Felbain-Keramidas 1977) and it has been found that the rats were able to assess the width of different apertures with their large vibrissae without active whisker movements (Krupa et al. 2001) and they also use it to determine distances in the dark (Jenkinson and Glickstein 2000). There is no doubt that the whiskers have an important role in case of dogs as well, although unfortunately there is no behavioral data about whether dogs rely on their whiskers while navigating in the physical environment (McGill 1980).

With a necessarily complex neural background, the theoretical possibility for self/environment discrimination may emerge as well (Neisser 1995 ‘ecological self’). The next evolutionary step towards a more developed representation of the self in an individual is called ‘objective self’ (Povinelli and Cant 1995), where ‘body awareness’, which is “the ability to hold information about one’s own body in mind as an explicit object of attention in relation to other objects in the world” (Brownell et al. 2007), serves as the most fundamental building block. A good example for storing information about one’s own body, and one of the most fundamental bases of self-representation, is that human children are able to distinguish a live film of their own and another child’s moving legs, by 5 months of age, significantly earlier than linguistic skills would emerge (Bahrick and Watson 1985).

Body image in adult humans is a multimodal concept, consisting of a perceptual component which includes the unconscious process of proprioceptive and visual information of the body’s spatial position, the awareness of the structure and shape of the body, and finally its visual appearance. The other conscious component provides the capacity of having an attitude towards the physical self, including the thoughts and feelings about one’s own body, which in turn influences the individual’s psychology and behavior (Haggard and Wolpert 2005 Irvine et al. 2019 Stice and Shaw 2002). Human babies are born with the immediate capacity to explore their own bodies (Bahrick and Moss 1996). The earliest emerging ability during their development is the understanding of the relationship between proprioceptive and visual consequences of the motion of their own limbs (Bahrick and Watson 1985). The ability to understand the physical characteristics of their own body develops gradually during the first years of life (e.g. Brownell et al. 2007 Franchak and Adolph 2012 Moore et al. 2007). To study the perceptual component of body-awareness in children, as well as in adults, different versions of the ‘door choice task’ serve as a commonly used paradigm (e.g.: Boyer et al. 2012 Brownell et al. 2007 Irvine et al. 2019 Stefanucci and Geuss 2009). For example, Warren and Whang (1987) determined the critical aperture-to-shoulder width ratio, concluding that in the case of adult humans, the threshold ratio is A/S = 1.3, because if the aperture was narrower than this, people would turn their torso before walking through.

In this paper we present the results of three experiments, in which we systematically tested whether dogs rely on an already existing representation of their own size while negotiating physical challenges. In various settings dogs had to get through larger or smaller openings, where before the arrival to the opening they had the chance to decide whether it was large enough for them to pass through but only if they possess the knowledge about their own size. We also tried to exclude alternative decision-making mechanisms, such as simple preference for the more conveniently sized opening, relying solely on learning about the suitability of particular opening sizes, or on a priori experience with apertures of various size and shape. We predicted that if dogs are aware of their own size they will: hesitate more when an opening is seemingly too small for them and they will be faster when approaching large openings as compared to the ‘just big enough’ ones.


Other Ways To Treat Your Pet’s Remains with Dignity

A funeral is a way of having some closure after the death of a loved one, including your pet. This is the last loving thing you will be able to do for your dog. To be able to say goodbye is important, and often, people have funerals so they are also able to view and touch (after special professional preparation) their beloved pet one last time. Ask your vet if there are any pet funeral services in the area, and if so, find out what your various options are so you can be prepared.

Pet Cemeteries

If you want to bury your pet but don’t own your own home, another option is to use the services of a pet cemetery. While having the discussion about the death of your dog, be sure to ask your veterinarian if there are any pet cemeteries and services in your area that she would recommend.

Cremation

Another option for your dog is to have her remains cremated. After, you will have her ashes, and can choose to keep them in an urn, or even place some of the ashes inside cremation jewelry so you can always feel close to your pet. Similarly, you can spread the ashes in the yard or bury the urn, with a marker at the grave site.


10 Most Common Dog Digestive Problems

1. Diarrhea

While diarrhea is often a symptom of a number of specific digestive problems, it can also stand on its own. It is usually caused by the ingestion of bad/spoiled food, dirty water and foreign objects. Even a simple diet change that hasn't been done properly can lead to diarrhea in dogs.

Diarrhea can also be a side-effect of some medication not agreeing with your pet's stomach, or a symptom of stress. Allergic reactions (both food and environmental) are sometimes followed by diarrhea as well.

How to treat diarrhea in dogs:

Diarrhea treatment is all about the diet. When your pup gets it, let him fast at first before feeding. Then feed your pooch a bland diet so you don’t irritate his digestive system further. Boiled chicken or turkey with some rice is the safest way to go.

Hydration is a very important part of diarrhea treatment to avoid dehydration, so after a brief fasting period, encourage your dog to drink plenty of water. You can also give him some bone broth.

Dog's diarrhea shouldn’t last more than a couple of days. If it does, that means there's a more serious underlying health issue take him to the vet to determine the cause and get the appropriate therapy.

2. Constipation

Constipation is a complete inability for the dog to defecate, or passing hard and dry stools. Constipation in dogs is usually caused by the lack of fiber in a dog’s diet, as well as lack of exercise. Some other causes include dehydration, side effects of certain medications, enlarged prostate glands and ingestion of foreign objects and inedible things.

How to treat constipation in dogs:

Short-term solutions include laxatives and stool softeners available over the counter. Certain medications to improve contractions of the dog's large intestine may need to be given, but only if prescribed by your vet. An enema may also be recommended in some situations.

Increasing fiber intake in your dog’s diet with high fiber foods and providing more exercise are the best and proven long-term solutions to treat your pet's constipation issue.

3. Vomiting

Vomiting is another common dog digestive problem that's usually caused by simply overeating or eating something that your pooch can’t digest. Sudden diet changes can also be the reason behind it, as well as a bad reaction to certain medications.

However, vomiting can also be a symptom of another digestive issue and a trip to the vet is necessary if your pet's vomiting lasts for more than two days or if it is accompanied by other noticeable health problems and symptoms.

How to treat vomiting in dogs:

To get your dog to stop vomiting, after a brief period of fasting, feed him a bland diet that includes foods that won't irritate his digestive system. For example, boiled rice, potatoes and skinless chicken breast or turkey. Make sure that your pooch drinks plenty of water because vomiting can quickly make him dehydrated. When vomiting lasts longer than 1-2 days, your vet must be contacted and they may prescribe antibiotics if needed.

4. Infections

Viral, bacterial and parasitic infections can all lead to different dog digestive problems. Some of the most common are:

Viral Infections – While viruses like canine distemper and canine parvovirus are preventable with vaccination, they still affect many unvaccinated dogs. Viruses are transmitted by feces or by direct contact with an infected dog or other animals, and they often cause digestive issues among other symptoms.

Bacterial Infections – The most common bacterial infections that affect a dog’s digestive system include Salmonella, E.coli and Helicobacter. These infections are usually caused by contaminated feces, water, dairy and meat. Dogs with weaker immune systems, like senior dogs and puppies, are more likely to get a bacterial infection and have more serious, complicated symptoms.

Parasitic Infections – Intestinal parasites like tapeworms, hookworms, roundworms and Giardia often attack a dog’s GI tract. They are found in stagnant water sources, feces and contaminated food sources like meat and dairy.

Symptoms of these and other infections can vary depending on the specific cause, but they often include diarrhea, vomiting, mucus in stool and weight loss, and even a combination of all of these.

How to treat infections in dogs:

Treatment will depend on the specific cause of the infection, which can only be determined by your veterinarian. For example, viral infections, especially canine parvovirus, may require hospitalization as they are life-threatening. Therapy includes administration of anti-nausea medication and IV fluids, with antibiotics added to prevent secondary infections.

Similarly, parasitic infections are treated with antibiotics and other medications, depending on the type of parasites. Treatment for bacterial infections also includes antibiotics and diet changes. Note that when dealing with any of these infections, a trip to the vet is necessary to get the appropriate treatment for the specific type of bacteria. Do not attempt to diagnose and treat these at home.

5. Colitis

Colitis, or inflammation of the animal's large intestine or colon, is a very common dog digestive issue. It is often caused by bacteria or parasites (as noted above), trauma and/or stress. In some cases, it is caused by eating contaminated food or bad/spoiled food and garbage.

The primary symptom of colitis in dogs is diarrhea, sometimes with blood in it. Other symptoms include mucus in stool, vomiting and straining with bowel movement.

How to treat colitis in dogs:

Managing the underlying cause is a common way to treat colitis. For example, colitis caused by bacteria is treated with antibiotics and a highly-digestible diet, and only after consulting with a veterinarian.

If the cause is unknown, your vet may prescribe fasting for a couple of days, followed by a low-residue diet and an increase in fiber intake. Gluten sensitivity is uncommon in dogs but gluten or some other specific food item/ingredient could be the cause of colitis, in which case your vet will recommend to do an elimination diet after treatment.

6. Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a medical term for a group of dog digestive problems characterized by similar symptoms, especially inflammation that occurs without a known cause. Other symptoms of IBD in dogs include vomiting, weight loss and diarrhea.

IBD is not the same as Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and the two are related but different GI related health issues. IBD is especially hard to diagnose because the symptoms mimic many other digestive problems, including IBS. That means that your vet must first rule out other potential conditions before ordering a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis of IBD.

How to treat IBD in dogs:

IBD cannot be cured or treated out of your pet's system, but after consulting with your vet and developing a therapy plan, you can help your pooch manage this problem with medications and diet changes and make their life more comfortable.

7. Gastrointestinal Ulcers

Gastrointestinal ulcers in dogs are categorized as sores or lesions that show up on their stomach lining. Common symptoms include decreased appetite, general weakness and pain in the stomach. Some dogs may also suffer from diarrhea or vomiting.

The most prominent causes of a dog's stomach ulcers include allergies, stress, ingesting foreign objects and bacterial or viral infections.

How to treat gastrointestinal ulcers in dogs:

The severity of the GI ulcers affects the recommended therapy. Ulcers that perforate the animal's stomach wall have to be treated with surgery. Sometimes IV fluids are needed if the dog becomes dehydrated due to diarrhea and/or vomiting.

In mild cases, dietary changes that include bland food or foods specifically for GI problems can be enough. Some cases may require administration of certain antacid medications. Natural home remedies like licorice root, aloe vera and alfalfa can also help according to anecdotal evidence.

8. Malabsorption

Malabsorption is a term that describes poor absorption of certain nutrients. In most cases, malabsorption in dogs is caused by the lack of some pancreatic enzymes. Another common cause is the small intestinal disease.

Changes in appetite, weight loss and diarrhea are some of the most common signs of malabsorption. Some dogs also suffer from fluid retention, dehydration or anemia.

How to treat malabsorption in dogs:

Dietary changes recommended by your vet are the usual way to deal with malabsorption, especially if the cause can be identified. For instance, if a mild case of malabsorption is caused by the lack of certain enzymes in the animal's pancreas, adding enzyme supplements to your dog’s diet can help.

9. Gastroenteritis

This condition is an inflammation of the GI tract, especially the stomach and intestines. Gastroenteritis in dogs is typically caused by an infection, whether it is viral, parasitic or bacterial. However, it can also occur as a side-effect of some medications or as an adverse reaction to a diet change or ingestion of spoiled/bad foods.

Gastroenteritis is characterized by intermittent episodes of vomiting and diarrhea, which leads to dehydration. Most dogs will also have a decreased appetite and appear lethargic.

How to treat gastroenteritis in dogs:

Rehydration and restoring the balance of blood electrolytes is the primary goal of dog's gastroenteritis therapy. This is achieved either by oral fluid replacement or with IV treatment, depending on the severity of dehydration and as recommended by your vet.

Some cases will also require medication with antibiotics and anti-diarrhea or anti-vomiting drugs. Your vet may also prescribe gastrointestinal protectants to prevent stomach ulcers and further digestive complications from occurring.

10. Canine Bloat

Bloat in dogs is a very serious condition, which can even be fatal without immediate medical attention. Canine bloat, or gastric dilation and volvulus (GDV), is a condition in which the dog’s stomach fills with gas and twists.

Unfortunately, this condition is not well understood yet and the exact causes are unknown but some speculations do exist. Big dogs with deep chests are more likely to suffer from it. Elevated food bowls may cause bloating as well (ironically, they were developed to prevent bloat). Some of the symptoms include drooling, retching without vomiting and a swollen belly that’s hard on touch.

How to treat bloat in dogs:

This condition cannot be treated at home. If you notice any of the symptoms, get your dog to the vet immediately. Bloat can be fatal in a matter of hours if left untreated.

Therapy for GDV in dogs includes releasing gas from the stomach and administration of intravenous fluids. Surgery usually follows as soon as the dog is stable in order to remove any damaged tissue and prevent additional attacks.

In Summary

Digestion problems in dogs are very common, and in most cases are quick and easy to treat. Most pet parents will have to deal with one or several dog digestion problems over the course of their animal's lifespan.

Some of the above discussed conditions do not require a visit to the vet, but others can be more serious and even life-threatening. Also, if symptoms of your pet's digestive issues last for more than a couple of days, take your dog to the vet no matter what to determine the exact cause and get appropriate treatment.


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