19 January 2015 by Dang on Living with dogs

Overcoming Our Helplessness

Born and raised in Saigon, Vietnam, I have seen my country progress from an underdeveloped, war-ravaged country to become one of the most rapidly developing nations in Southeast Asia. Almost everyone enjoys the benefits of modern communucation. We have instant and ubiquitous internet access, and hence, we expect all kinds of information to be available, immediately. Nontheless, dogs in Vietnam are still not properly cared for. They rarely recieve veterinary treatment. The unfortunate among them are at risk of being stolen and sold to illegal dog traders. Although there are animal rights, veterinary clinics and hospitals, animal care is still a private, and expensive service. It relies exclusively on the veterinarian for help, and owner education and supplimentary resources which can come in handy in an emergency are not here yet. So, our "modern" assumption that everything is at our fingertips works great, except for our pets. When found a stray dog right in front of my office I experienced something that proved to me how far we have to go. Stray dogs are still somewhat a common sight in Vietnam. And this one was in bad shape. He seemed …

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24 November 2014 by Grace on Living with dogs

Head of Household: Man or Dog?

I am guilty of it. You have a cute, and I mean cute-make-you-change-your-voice-and-dance-around-cute, puppy. He’s so cute that you want to just cuddle with him all the time. He’s so adorable that he looks at you with those big, brown eyes and you give him the left over dinner on your plate. He’s so cuddly, you not only let him sleep on your bed, you give him your pillow. He’s just so precious that you… Yes, fill in the blank. The puppy now has you in his paw. The problem is, that cute little puppy grows up and sometimes becomes a big, unruly, disrespectful dog. As much as I hate to use the word “alpha” when speaking of a family member, in any group or household there has to be a leader. Even on our taxes, we have to declare whether we’re “Head of Household”; in other words, the leader. So even in your relationship with your pets, you must establish a “pack” leader. This can either be yourself or your dog. Your dog will look to you as provider, protector, and leader if you …

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16 October 2014 by Grace on Living with dogs

An Opportunity for Education

I have a confession: I daydream about dognapping my neighbor’s dog. I know it’s bad and it definitely sounds a lot worse saying it out loud, but hear me out. I want to dognap this dog because I think he deserves better. For 20 minutes today, I watched him sit nicely on the doorstep, waiting for his person to emerge. When my neighbor finally opened the door, he yelled, “Move!” and walked right by his faithful companion. Every day this dog greets his people when they get home. If he is recognized, he might get a pat on the head but most days, the child is complaining that the dog is licking her. Cold… heat… rain… wind… this dog is outside; he is never allowed in the house, so his ratty, little blanket is on the porch. When I approached my neighbor, his first response was defensive and insisted that the dog had food, water, and shelter. But when I pushed about the dog being outside, he had the “he’s just a dog” attitude. My knee jerk response to a situation like this is fury. How can …

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25 September 2014 by Mike on Living with dogs | Technology

Honoring Loved Ones with Innovation

Working with DoggyDoc is a neverending challenge to think outside the box. Taro, Mark, Jens, Carl, and our community of supporters are moving at full speed to do more, better, faster, and in just the right way. This last part is the hardest, but it's the part that leads to real innovation. We've built a unique user experience that doesn’t fall into any pre-made categories. Through the iDiDi, we are translating users’ visceral experience of their dog's state of being into useful veterinary information. Now that we've developed an app with this goal in mind, what's next? Our challenge is to connect to our audience, learn from them, and develop even more functionality into this special delivery mechanism because heath matters more than anything in our lives. Personally, I’ve had both a dog and a cat in my life. He was a Chow Chow named Bear and she was a calico cat named Root Beer. Both were with me throughout their entire lives. Bear’s life was cut short due to cancer, and the memories I have of flushing his tumor and giving him medicine are probably familiar …

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24 September 2014 by Vedrana on Dog health

Diabetes in dogs

As a very recently former dog co-owner, I have learned a lot about their character, habits, and needs. As I scientist, I have the knowledge of mechanisms going on deeper in the background of this beautiful creatures. Besides remembering the good stuff, I remember some of the health “battles” we have fought during the 16 years, 4 months and 1 day. My sister is a veterinarian, which helps a lot. She is possibly the best DoggyDoc app I could have asked for. But not many of us have a vet in the family, and that is why DoggyDoc proves to be extremely useful. We all know that the best way to treat and care for your dog is to love it and pay attention to it. Remember, what it can’t tell you in words, it is telling you in small signs: perhaps glassy eyes, loss of appetite or decreased mobility. Those are alert signs many of us old dog owners know so well. But what about the first-time dog owners? They need DoggyDoc. Besides the genetics, which is always a strong factor, feeding your dog wrongly will be a …

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23 September 2014 by Grace on Living with dogs

How to Speak Dog – From a DoggyDoc Power User

*Here's what most likely happened the first time you tried try to Speak Dog * “Sit, sit, sit, SIT, SIT, SIT… I SAID, ‘SIT”…. Please sit. Come on sit. Sit, sit, sit, …” I’m sure you’ve all heard this type of interaction. I know many of us have even been guilty of it. Guess what? Dogs don’t speak English; they don’t speak German or Japanese either. I know you are probably sitting there thinking to yourself, “My dog does. When I tell him to sit, he sits.” Well, I hate to be a Debbie Downer but your dog still doesn’t speak English. What your dog does know is the cue for “sit”. Cues are words that describe the behaviors that you ask of your dog (sit, down, come, etc.). Just because you say a cue to your dog, does not mean that he will understand what you want him to do. With that said, it is extremely important to not confuse your dog and have him ignore you when you talk to him; if you use a cue and your dog does not know the behavior, then …

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16 September 2014 by Grace on Living with dogs

A Few of My Favorite Things, Part 1: For Your Dog

Christmas is just around the corner and here is the moment of truth: Do you buy your dog a present? Don’t be embarrassed—I most certainly do! For all of you that do buy your dog a gift, here’s a list of my favorite pet products. Food Delivery Toys I love these types of toys because it keeps my dog busy. So often I hear, “my dog has separation anxiety because he tore up the backyard.” Fortunately, a great deal of the time it is not separation anxiety (which many times leads to medication) but boredom. Give your dog a food delivery toy, and voila, puppy is busy and is getting rewarded for doing so. My favorite products on the market are: Kong- I throw some wet food in there, mixed with dry food and pop it in the freezer. When I go to work, I give him the frozen Kong and that equals hours of gnawing and chewing to get the yummy treats out. Kongs are great for dogs that like to chew on things. Buster Cube- It looks like a large dice. You put your dog’ …

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09 September 2014 by Grace on Living with dogs | Dog health

My Dog Eats Rocks

Okay, I admitted it. I, for months, have had a hard time grasping that perhaps my dog has rocks for brains because he eats grass, soil, dirt… anything, as a meal supplement. Every time I see him doing so, I stop him but I didn’t get really adamant about it until I saw him munching on rocks for his afternoon snack. This sort of activity is extremely dangerous, so I stopped him from doing so and took him in the house. The next day, I see him trying to fit his mouth around a rock the size of a softball. My dog is a still a puppy, so I am still ruling out a lot of behavioral issues such as boredom and anxiety; and also some nutritional issues. I have him on a high protein diet right now, so his stomach may not be able to handle it and he’s grazing on grass, dirt, and rocks to help his stomach settle. But in the back of my head I know that I need to fix this quick because his consumption of nonfood items has already developed into a …

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04 September 2014 by Grace on Living with dogs

A Little Help from Your Friends

According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy, the top five reasons people relinquish their dogs to shelters are: moving, landlord issues, the cost of pet maintenance, no time for a pet, and inadequate facilities. I have worked in animal welfare for over 10 years now and I know that it takes the average pet owner eight months to decide to bring their dog to the shelter. Eight months! Most owners look shallowly for a way out, only to come back to the inevitable: they will have to turn their dog into the shelter. Most owners do not realize that there's a plethora of organizations that help financially with medical costs and spaying/neutering. Other groups help with finding pet friendly housing and assists military families with the relocation of their entire family, pets included. On the rise, are local humane societies and other animal welfare organizations that offer pet food banks and affordable vaccination clinics. Below are some great organizations that help pet owners in financial need: • United Animal Nation • The Pet Fund • Pet Network • In Memory of Magic • Red Rover And if you are looking …

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02 September 2014 by Mark on Technology

Why some vets fear DoggyDoc - and why they don't need to

Let's start with what DoggyDoc is. Simply put, it's a knowledge database combined with some clever algorithms - all written by humans. And some of these humans are even veterinarians themselves. So nothing really to be afraid of so far. Our vets spent literally months in writing the most comprehensive and easy to understand veterinary texts that you can now find in DoggyDoc. Artificial intelligence meets veterinary medicine To make a virtual diagnosis possible, our AI and database team sat together with the vets and created what we call the iDiDi. The intelligent Disease Diagnosis engine. The iDiDi is the very core of our system. It was designed by our CEO and AI specialist Taro Franke who studied mathematics and Artificial Intelligence in Tokyo and Berlin. And although Taro is half-japanese he is (almost) human too. Not really scary anyways. The DoggyDoc App that you use on your iOS or Android device is just a pretty but simple user interface that does no calculations at all. I'd even go so far as calling it stupid, but then I'd have to apologize to our UI guys. So the App (aka "UI" …

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