Kathy Antoniotti

My inbox fills up each week with so many stories about animals, it’s sometimes hard to keep track of them all.

But I try to pull out the interesting, the unusual, the surprising and the most informative and set them aside for mention.

I thought I would round up a few this week and throw them out there for discussion. Keep in mind, I don’t necessarily agree or disagree with the ideas; I just found them interesting enough to ponder. And, I thought you might, too.

Dog study

A study from Goldsmiths, University of London, indicates that your dog knows when you are sad and tries to comfort you. Personally, I think I could have saved them some time and money, and I bet you could have, also.

Psychology department employees Dr. Deborah Custance and Jennifer Mayor developed a procedure to examine whether domestic dogs can identify and respond to human emotional states.

The duo studied 18 pet dogs in a wide range of ages and breeds, and exposed them to four 20-?second episodes in which the dog’s owner or an unfamiliar person pretended to cry, hummed in an odd manner or carried out a conversation.

“The dogs demonstrated behaviours consistent with an expression of empathic concern. Significantly more dogs looked at, approached and touched the humans as they were crying as opposed to humming, and no dogs responded during talking. The majority of dogs in the study responded to the crying person in a submissive manner consistent with empathic concern and comfort offering,” the report said.

The study also found the dogs responded to the person who was crying regardless of whether it was their owner or an unfamiliar person.

The full paper can be viewed at www.eprints./gold.ac.uk/7074/.

Pet poisons

Here’s a news flash: Your enjoyment of alcohol, including beer, does not make it OK to share it with your pet. Animals are sometimes attracted to liquor because it is often sweet, but it can cause serious and fatal intoxication. If you need any further clarification on this one, please call me or email me. I think giving an animal alcohol constitutes abuse.

Other foods that cats and dogs should not eat include avocados, chocolate, all forms of coffee, fatty foods, macadamia nuts, moldy or spoiled foods, onions, onion powder, raisins and grapes (as few as six grapes and raisins have caused acute kidney failure in some dogs), yeast dough, apples, apricots, cherries, peaches and plums, potato peelings and green-looking potatoes, nutmeg, tomato leaves and stems.

If your pet has ingested a poison, seek help from your veterinarian immediately. Some toxins can progress and lead to seizures. If you suspect your animal has lapped up antifreeze, it must be treated within four to six hours, before irreversible kidney damage occurs.

The information, provided by Dr. Andrew Jones, is available at www.theinternet?petvet.com/foods-dogs-cats-eat/ where you can get a full list of toxins and their side effects.

Keep pets safe

Pets Best Insurance for animals sent its most bizarre summertime pet insurance claims, which goes to show that animals do the darnedest things.

The owners of a Boston terrier made a claim for treating the dog’s severe sunburn.

“Ears, noses and light-colored pets are particularly susceptible,” and the animal can develop melanoma, said veterinarian. Jack Stephens.

A hungry golden retriever ate a golf ball as a snack, causing his owners to file a claim for more than $1,400.

An unlucky miniature pinscher named Daisy lost a battle with a bee that cost her owner almost $500 in vet bills.

Claims are always made for treating animals for heat stroke. As I’ve cautioned before: Do not leave your animal in a hot car.

“Just five minutes in a hot car can turn deadly,” Stephens warns.

And finally, when boating, watch your pet carefully to avoid this dog’s fate. Piper bounded off the dock to fetch a toy, breaking her leg when she got tangled in a dock tie.

And while we are talking about swimming, be aware, 40,000 pets die each year in drowning accidents.

You may believe dogs instinctively know how to “dog paddle,” but make sure there is always a way out of the pool that the dog can maneuver easily. And remember, some breeds have physical limitations that inhibit them from swimming and others just don’t enjoy the water. Pool chlorine and chemicals can make your pet sick, so keep a bowl of fresh water nearby. And for those that love the water but aren’t great swimmers, pet life jackets are available online and at many pet stores.

Don’t forget to send me your thoughts.

Other animals in the news:

• One of a Kind Spay and Neuter Clinic is sponsoring Primp Your Pit during August at 1700 W. Exchange St., Akron. Pit bull owners can have their animals spayed or neutered for $20 with a free nail trim. Space is limited. Call 330-865-6890 for an appointment.

• Paws & Prayers rescue is celebrating more than 7,000 adoptions since its inception 11 years ago with an Alumni Picnic from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 5 at the Akron Dog Park, 499 Memorial Parkway. Adopted dogs and their owners are invited to attend, as well as people looking for a pet.

• The Akron Zoo will host its Summer Safari 7-10 p.m. Aug. 10 at the zoo at 500 Edgewood Ave. The event will include food, animals, entertainment, a silent auction featuring paintings by zoo animals, Cleveland Browns tickets and more. There will also be a raffle for prizes, including an iPad and a set of four Firestone tires. Proceeds will benefit the zoo and its conservation programs. Tickets start at $75. For ticket information, visit www.akronzoo.org or call 330-375-2550, ext. 7249.

• Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is sponsoring Creature Comfort from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 11 for visitors to make an enrichment toy for their pets at home, learn about responsible pet care and see zoo animals in Get Close encounters. Price is included in admission to the zoo at 3900 Wildlife Way.

• PAWSibilities, Humane Society of Greater Akron, will host a rummage sale from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 17 and 18 at the Stow-Kent Shopping Plaza, 4301 Kent Road, Stow. All proceeds will go toward rescuing and finding homes for abused, abandoned and neglected animals. For information, call 330-487-0333.

• Stow-Munroe Falls Lions Club is sponsoring its annual Paw Fest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 16 at Bow Wow Beach Dog Park, 5070 Stow Road, Stow. Proceeds benefit various community projects. The event is free. Parking is $1 or the donation of used eyeglasses. Vendors should contact Marty Dennis at Duhstoy2@aol.com or 330-607-2242. Or visit the club’s website at SMFLions.com.

Kathy Antoniotti writes about pets for the Akron Beacon Journal. She is unable to help locate, place or provide medical attention for an individual animal. If you have an idea or question about pets, write her at the Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309-0640; call 330-996-3565; or send an email to kantoniotti@thebeaconjournal.com.