pets

fotyma, 123rf Stock Photo

Chicago-area veterinarians are warning pet owners about some common items found around the Easter and Passover holidays.

Many pet owners are aware of the dangers to dogs and cats in extreme heat, but the risks can be even greater during a cold snap.

Updated Friday at 4:15 p.m. ET

Stuff your dog's stocking with knickknacks. Paddywhacks, even. But — you've likely guessed it by now — avoid giving the dog a bone, at least a "bone treat."

Along with picnics and barbecues, the Fourth of July brings a less pleasant yearly ritual for many dog lovers: worrying about a family pooch who panics at the sound of firecrackers.

Betsy and Andy Firebaugh of Santa Cruz, Calif., have reason for concern. They live on a mountain ridge overlooking the Pacific Ocean — a usually peaceful scene, except at this time of year, when people illegally set off firecrackers at local beaches. The explosive booms send their otherwise happy Australian shepherd — Seamus — into a frenzy.

Bears do it; bats do it. So do guinea pigs, dogs and humans. They all yawn. It's a common animal behavior, but one that is something of a mystery.

There's still no consensus on the purpose of a yawn, says Robert Provine, professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Provine has studied what he calls "yawn science" since the early 1980s, and he's published dozens of research articles on it. He says the simple yawn is not so simple.

Yes, you read that right – this month, cats will make an appearance at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

It's a break from 141 years of tradition. The cats will be part of a showcase designed to educate the public about different types of cats and dogs, called Meet & Compete.

The American Kennel Club describes the event as an "opportunity to meet and play with hundreds of adorable dogs and fabulous felines while learning about responsible pet ownership."

It's 3 a.m. and Whiskers has decided it's time for breakfast. He jumps up on your bed, gently paws at your eyelids and meows to be fed. Annoyed? Cat behavior specialist Sarah Ellis says you have only yourself to blame.

Ellis says that cat owners reinforce negative behaviors when they give in to them. "Cats are not necessarily born meowing and screaming at us for food, it's a behavior that they learned," Ellis tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

When you praise a dog, it's listening not just to the words you say but also how you say them.

That might not be huge news to dog owners. But now scientists have explored this phenomenon by using an imaging machine to peek inside the brains of 13 dogs as they listened to their trainer's voice.

NOAA Paducah, weather.gov

Temperatures are expected to creep back into the 90’s Monday and that can mean a health risk for outdoor pets. That’s especially the case when humidity levels spike as well. 

Matt Markgraf, WKMS

This month, in our Puppies Sound Good special series, featuring one or more puppies available for adoption at the Humane Society of Calloway County, we meet a lab mix named Squirt. He was very friendly with WKMS staff members and loved being cuddled. He fell asleep in the lap of Humane Society Executive Director Kathy Hodge during the Sounds Good conversation. Squirt was found as a stray and has since been given shots and wormed. He's currently being socialized with other dogs in a foster home.

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