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Tag: poop

Why dogs eat poop: A new theory suggests the behavior all goes back to wolves

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If you had to pick the one non-violent behavior that most dismays dog owners, it would likely be when their dog consumes dog poop — be it the dog’s own or some other dog’s.

Most of us can tolerate their incessant licking of their privates. We can laugh off them humping the leg of a house guest. But most humans find their dog gobbling up feces a revolting and inconceivable act, and some — believe it or not — have even cited it as a reason for returning a dog to a shelter.

While traditionally it has been speculated that some dogs (a minority) engage in the practice to make up for some deficiency in their diet, a new paper suggests it may be in their genes, Scientific American reports.

Veterinary researchers at University of California at Davis who surveyed nearly 3,000 dog owners found 16 percent of dogs consume canine feces “frequently,” meaning, in this case, they’ve seen them do it more than six times. In a second survey of just owners of poop-eating dogs, 62% of them were described as eating it daily and 38% weekly.

Benjamin Hart, a veterinarian who directs the Center for Animal Behavior at Davis, reviewed the survey results and the scientific literature on poop-eating, most of which he says is speculative and doesn’t provide any sort of definitive answer for the cause of what’s called coprophagy.

The survey showed no link between feces-eating and other compulsive behaviors. Coprophagy wasn’t associated with age, gender, spaying or neutering, age of separation from the mother, ease of house training, or any other behavior problem.

What coprophagic dogs had in common was this: More than 80 percent were reported to favor feces no more than two days old.

To Hart, that suggests that the cause may go back more than 15,000 years and be rooted, like so much else, in wolves. The new study by Hart and others was published in the journal Veterinary Medicine and Science.

Typically, wolves defecate away from their dens, but at times of urgency, they may let loose nearby. When that happens, other wolves commonly gobble it up while it’s fresh, possibly, some scholars believe, to prevent the spread of parasitic infections.

Feces contain intestinal parasite eggs, which, after a couple of days, hatch into infectious larvae.

Wolves, he said, figured out that by eating any fresh poop left near the den they could be spared being infected by parasites.

“If they eat it right away, it’s safe to eat. They won’t get infected by parasites,” he said.

He theorizes that today’s poop-eating dogs still carry around that wolfy instinct, even though the feces of modern-day pets, consuming modern-day dog food, tend to be parasite-free.

Hart noted there is no shortage of explanations for dogs eating poop.

“For every person you ask about this, you get a different opinion. Because they’re guessing, whether they’re veterinarians or experts in behavior,” he said.

Some believe that stress, or enzyme deficiencies lead to the behavior. Others suspect dogs picked it up as they adapted to scavenging for food sources in human environments. Many dogs will try to eat anything, and poop, from their own or other species, falls into that category.

The study noted that dogs whose owners considered them “greedy eaters,” were far more like to engage in the behavior.

Dog owners responding to the survey sometimes saw their dogs eating poop, and sometimes just surmised as much, based on “tell-tale breath odor,” or because poop in the house was disappearing before they got around to cleaning it up.

While there are products on the marketplace that claim to correct the problem, most of those do little more than make a dog’s own poop foul tasting, according to the Washington Post blog Animalia.

A dog owner can try and correct the behavior, clean up immediately after their dogs, and monitor them closely while they are outside, but the bottom line is — disgusting as it may strike us — dining on feces isn’t that surprising given where dogs come from and what they’ve been through.

As Clive Wynne, director of the Canine Science Collaboratory at Arizona State University, noted:

“The niche that dogs occupy is essentially one of making a living on people’s leavings — and that isn’t just our leftovers from dinner, but what we put down the toilet, too,” he said. “So it’s only from our human perspective that coprophagy seems strange.”

Woof in Advertising: Ellen’s dog food has new mascot — and it’s a turd with a halo

There’s a new animated turd in town, and no, it’s not a character on South Park.

Halo dog food, Ellen DeGeneres’ brand, has launched a new advertising campaign featuring a saintly pile of feces know as “Poopsie.”

woof in advertisingThe mascot appears in two advertising spots that have been made so far, both telling us that Halo brand pet foods are free of filler, and that the consumption of it leads to healthier, friendlier, more polite poops.

Halo promises dog owners “a poop that’s a pleasure to scoop.”

It’s not clear what, if any, role, DeGeneres played in conceiving the new mascot for the brand, but the ads were developed by RPA (Rubin Postaer and Associates), an advertising and marketing agency headquartered in Santa Monica, according to AdWeek.com.

mrhankyPoopsie is not the first animated poop to hit the airwaves. That honor, many think, belongs to Mr. Hankey, a talking, sewer-dwelling lump of human feces who first appeared in a Christmas-time episode during the first season of South Park. He went on to become a recurring character.

South Park, however, has been accused of stealing the character from Ren and Stimpy creator John K., who says the cartoon rips off a series of Spumco comics and cartoons that featured “Nutty the Friendly Dump.” The two characters look alike, and the plot lines are similar, too, with the talking feces surfacing to befriend a main character who has been rejected by classmates.

That controversy didn’t make a lot of headlines when it was playing out, back in 1997, so I don’t know, nor do I want to, whether it led to a court battle over who first produced talking poop.

Twenty years later, though I don’t think anybody is going to sue Ellen (because she’s too nice). And the advertising agency is probably in the clear, too, because Poopsie, being coiled, has an entirely different shape than either Mr. Hankey or Nutty. And Poopsie — as much as I would like to call him a spokesturd — doesn’t talk (at least not yet).

In any event, Halo brand has trademarked the name “Poopsie” and the Poopsie image — basically a spiraled piece of poop with eyeballs and a mouth and a golden halo hovering over it.

Poopsie’s point … and it does have one .. is that “the proof is in the poop.”

Dogs who eat Halo brand are avoiding difficult to digest filler and “meat meal,” and as a result they dispense poop that is, if not truly angelic, at least less offensive, the ads contend.

As the next ad says, “the truth always comes out in the end.”

(This link will lead you to more of our Woof in Advertising posts)

Alt-right better watch where they step

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(Update: Patriot Prayer canceled its planned rally at Crissy Field, and plans to proceed with a press conference in a different location today. Leader Joey Gibson said, “After several conversations with the police, and understanding the situation, we’ve decided that tomorrow really feels like a set-up … We’re not going to fall into that trap.” Instead, the group plans to hold a press conference today at Alamo Square.)

It started as a joke, and then picked up steam, becoming a fully formed Facebook event — a peaceful (and poopful) plot to disrupt a far-right “Freedom Rally” from a safe distance.

Those participating plan to go to San Francisco’s Crissy Field — the public park where the far-right rally will take place — and place some land mines, with a little help from their dogs.

The organizers encouraged people to bring their dogs to the park beforehand to “leave a gift for our Alt-Right friends … Take your dog to Crissy Field and let them do their business and be sure not to clean it up!”

The hosts of the event have promised to clean it all up after the rally.

The “Freedom Rally” near the Golden Gate Bridge is sponsored by a group called “Patriot Prayer,” which many local officials say is a front for white supremacists, Nazis and other extremists.

Politicians and public officials in the Bay Area are denouncing the rally and say the National Park Service should not have issued the group a permit.

According to the Washington Post, the rally is one of several protests and counter-protests planned around San Francisco Saturday afternoon.

House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi described the rally as “white supremacist,” saying she had “grave concerns about the public safety hazard”
it could create.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee characterized the events as “hate-filled extremist rallies” and said the participants’ “only priority is to incite violence through divisive rhetoric.”

As for the organization, Patriot Prayer, it is led by an Oregon activist named Joey Gibson, who is Japanese American. The group has previously organized rallies in the Portland area that escalated to violence.

Gibson, on Facebook, says his group is not white supremacist or neo-Nazi. In a Facebook event posting for Saturday’s rally, he said, “No extremists will be allowed in. No Nazis, Communist, KKK, Antifa, white supremacist, I.E., or white nationalists. This is an opportunity for moderate Americans to come in with opposing views. We will not allow the extremists to tear apart this country.”

We’re not sure how — at least until a walk-through extremist detector is invented — that can be achieved. Gibson said those attending the rally will be a diverse group whose members believe in freedom.

tuffington2Like many local leaders, a San Francisco artist who calls himself Tuffy Tuffington doesn’t believe that. It was while walking his dogs at Crissy Field that he came up with the idea of a peaceful way to protest and disrupt the rally.

“My dogs were doing their business, Tuffington, 45, told the Post, “and I was struck with the image of a bunch of alt-right folks stomping around in a field of poop.”

It’s the kind of symbolic image — jackboots landing in dog poop — that any artist would love, not to mention writers of headlines, like this one in The Guardian: “Turd Reich: San Francisco dog owners lay minefield of poo for rightwing rally.”

Tuffington posted the call for dog poop last week and has heard back from 980 people who say they will participate and 5,300 more who say they are interested.

poopmapSome said they plan to collect their dogs’ output for several days and bring it to the park.

As you might expect, his plot is being criticized as well — mainly by those who see it as defiling a much-loved park, and environmentally harming they bayside.

Patriot Prayer’s Gibson says the rally’s participants aren’t going to be deterred by a little dog poop, or even a lot of dog poop.

“I don’t think someone is going to step on a pile of dog poop and be like ‘I’m convinced, I shouldn’t be here, I need to change my ideology,'” he told NBC Bay Area.

Tuffington says he plans to stay safely away from the park Saturday, at least until night falls and the rally is over.

Then, he says, the scooping will begin.

(Top photo of Crissy Park by Eric Risberg/AP; photo of Tuffy Tuffington provided by Tuffy Tuffington, graphic from the Facebook page of Tuffy Tuffington)

Smirky drug price-gouger pelted with substance some say resembled dog poop

We don’t abide fake news here on ohmidog!, so we shall not be reporting, at least not with any authority, on reports that the man with the smirk you love to hate — ex-pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli — had dog poop hurled in his face at a speaking event Friday.

We can’t report that as fact, which is a shame, because few more deserve poop in their face than the man who drew national attention in 2015 when his company jacked up the price of a life-saving drug from $13.50 to $750 per pill.

Martin-ShkreliTMZ reported unequivocally that the substance hurled was dog poop, while the New York Post said it “reportedly” happened — said report being a Twitter post showing Shkreli having something thrown in his face.

The attack came at a speaking engagement scheduled at UC Davis — with a line up apparently conceived by (as the old Weekly World News used to call him) the Devil himself.

The discussion was to have featured Shkreli and Breitbart columnist/troll/hate speaker extraordinaire Milo Yiannopoulos. Who better to inspire impressionable young minds?

If you don’t believe intellectual thought in this country has been taken over by professional wrestling promoters, consider this: The UC Davis event was one many college campus visits that are part of a “Dangerous Faggot” tour by Yiannopolous.

Actually it wasn’t the devil himself who arranged the event, but the Davis College Republicans Club. The event was canceled after protesters barricaded the venue’s entrance, which resulted in one person getting arrested, according to a university statement.

milo-1Yiannopoulos calls himself “the internet’s most fabulous supervillain.” He has also been called the poster boy for new alt right, and his vicious Twitter feeds are filled with racist slurs and bigoted commentary.

Among his more recent victims was actress Leslie Jones.

Shkreli was invited to appear with Yiannopoulos on the UC Davis stop of his tour.

Its upcoming stops include UC Berkeley, UCLA, University of Colorado, and University of Washington.

As for the exact substance Shkreli was showered with, he told Mashable in an email that his security team determined what was thrown were leaves.

“The lack of smell, stain or other obvious findings eliminates the possibility,” Shkreli said.

“There was no poop thrown,” he added, bashing initial reports as “fake news.”

Apparently, while he has no problem with fake and outlandish pricing for pharmaceuticals, fake news is bad in his eyes.

Shkreli resigned as CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals after his arrest on charges of security fraud.

Denver dog park closed due to poop

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For the second time in five months, Railyard Dog Park in downtown Denver has been closed due to an unhealthy accumulation of dog poop.

Deputy Parks and Recreation Director Scott Gilmore said officials shut down the park Wednesday after rangers came across nearly 40 separate piles of dog feces that owners had failed to pick up.

If you’re wondering why those rangers, given they were already tabulating piles of dog poop, couldn’t just pick them up in the process, well, it’s not their job.

The better questions is why dog owners are neglecting to do it.

railyard1“It is not the responsibility of Denver parks staff to pick up after people’s dogs,” said Gilmore. “We’ll get bags and empty trash cans, but I won’t have my staff pick up dog poop from people who are not picking up after their pets.”

Park staff does monitor the park’s condition though, and uses a color coded system — green, yellow and red — to notify park users as to its state.

Early Wednesday, a code red was declared and the park was closed, according to the Denver Post

Gilmore said the shut down could remain in effect for a while. “If it snows as much as it could snow, it might be a couple of weeks before we can reopen,” he said.

Joseph Marrone, who lives in the Riverfront Park Community, said he might try to recruit volunteers to clean things up, as he did when the park closed in August.

Marrone, who uses the park four times per day for his two dogs, said owners failing to clean up after their dogs is an ongoing issue.

Man gets revenge on porch package poacher

Mike Zaremba says he has had three packages stolen from the front porch of his home in Riverside, Calif.

On Tuesday, with help from his Great Dane and a handful of other dogs, he got some revenge.

After a birthday party for his one-year-old dog, Zaremba scooped all the poop seven canine guests had left in the yard, packed it neatly into a white priority mail box and left it on his front porch.

pooppackageAs he suspected, the thief (or at least a thief) struck again, and Zaremba’s security cam recorded him making off with the box on a bicycle, CBS in Los Angeles reported.

“At first I really felt violated even though I knew what was inside the package, I was still like, he stole from me!” Zaremba said.

Zaremba said a friend gave him the idea.

He laid out his plan beforehand on his Facebook page:

“I’m expecting some packages from USPS and UPS… but there have been a lot of package thefts lately. So tomorrow I’m going to package up a box full of dog [poop] and leave it on my front porch. I’m going to have a camera rolling so if I catch the thief I can turn the footage into the news,” he wrote Tuesday.

Riverside police eventually tracked down the alleged taker of the purloined poop, whose name is Daniel Aldama. He no longer had the package by then.

“He dropped it as soon as he found out. He didn’t want nothing to do with it and kept on riding,” Ronel Newton of the Riverside Police Department said.

(Photo: Mike Zaremba’s Facebook page)

Technology run amok … Yuk!

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Nature tends to run its own course, just as technology that attempts to control nature tends to run its.

The results, when unforeseen possibilities are thrown into the mix, aren’t always pretty.

The depiction above is by one Jesse Newton, showing what happened on a recent night when nature ran its course, via his dog Evie, and then his trusty Roomba, programmed to clean up all the hair Evie sheds, ran its.

That zig-zagging, curly-cued brown trail recreates the stained path the Roomba left in the Newton’s living room in Arkansas after rolling through a pile of Evie’s poop.

evieEvie is house-broken — programmed, if you will, to take care of those things when the Newton family lets her out each night before bed.

But on this night, somebody forgot to do that.

As everyone slept — Jesse, wife Kelly and son Evan — the robot vacuum did what it is programmed to do every night between midnight and 1:30 a.m.: Roll all across every inch of the living room floor sucking up any debris in its path.

The results were disastrous, Jesse noted in a now-viral Facebook post that warns other Roomba/dog owners of a possibility they might not have envisioned:

“… Poop over every conceivable surface within its reach, resulting in a home that closely resembles a Jackson Pollock poop painting. It will be on your floorboards. It will be on your furniture legs. It will be on your carpets. It will be on your rugs. It will be on your kids’ toy boxes. If it’s near the floor, it will have poop on it. Those awesome wheels, which have a checkered surface for better traction, left 25-foot poop trails all over the house.”

What had happened during the night came to his attention when his young son traipsed through the living room and crawled into bed with him the next morning.

newtonsJesse — and he deserves husband of the year honors for this — let his wife continue sleeping.

He gave his son a bath and put him back to bed, then he spent the next three hours cleaning, including shampooing the carpet.

Kelly Newton says she awoke to the smell of “every cleaning product we own” and knew “something epic had taken place.”

Later, Jesse disassembled the Roomba, cleaning its parts and reassembling it, only to find it didn’t work anymore.

Jesse said he called the store where he had purchased the $400 robot, Hammacher Schlemmer, and it promised to replace it.

I’ve railed before about rushing into new technologies that promise to give us control over nature, wrote a whole book on it, in fact. Those pushing such innovations and rushing them onto the market — most often for the profit they might lead to — often don’t take the time to envision all the little things, and big things, that could go wrong.

That haste can lead to far worse things than a stinky mess and a three-hour clean-up.

We can laugh at this one, as Jesse Newton has admirably managed to do.

But, beneath all the mess, there’s a moral to the story — one that, as we turn to robots for more than vacuuming our floors, we might want to slow down and figure out.

(Photos: Jesse Newton / Facebook)