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Science Daily: Dog News

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Owning a dog is influenced by our genetic make-up

Scientists have studied the heritability of dog ownership using information from 35,035 twin pairs from the Swedish Twin Registry. The new study suggests that genetic variation explains more than half of the variation in dog ownership, implying that the choice of getting a dog is heavily influenced by an individual's genetic make-up. View the source article

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Make room on the couch: Worms suffer from PTSD, too

Researchers have discovered that even a very basic animal life form like the C. elegans worm has the ability to learn from past experiences. Further, the research team has pinpointed the exact neurons that store these memories and the physiological changes the worms undergo when they retrieve memories to cope with future hardships. View the source article

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Preliminary study suggests mercury not a risk in dog foods

Researchers recently investigated levels of methylmercury in a small sampling of commercial dog foods and found good news for dog owners. Of the 24 diets tested, only three were positive for low concentrations of total mercury, and only one of those contained detectable methylmercury. View the source article

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Hello, kitty: Cats recognize their own names, according to new Japanese research

Pet cats can recognize their own names if their names are used regularly by their owners, according to new results. Projects to understand simple social behaviors like name recognition in cats may give clues to how we humans became social. Both humans and cats have evolved through the process of self-domestication, where the population rewards certain traits that then become increasingly common in future generations. View the source article

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Poll: Pets help older adults cope with health issues, get active and connect with others

Pets help older adults cope with mental and physical health issues, according to a new national poll. But pets can also bring concerns, and some people may even put their animals' needs ahead of their own health, the poll finds. Three-quarters of pet owners aged 50 to 80 say their animals reduce their stress and give them a sense of purpose. But 18 percent also said having one puts a strain on their budget. View the source article

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Sleepovers reduce stress in shelter dogs

Foster care provides valuable information about dog behavior that can help homeless dogs living in shelters find forever homes. Researchers found short-term fostering benefited shelter dogs in Arizona, Utah, Texas, Montana and Georgia. Stress hormone levels were reduced during one- and two-night sleepovers, and dogs also rested more during and immediately following a sleepover. View the source article

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A bald gene find­ing

Hairlessness in dogs can be the result of deliberate breeding or, in certain breeds, a defect. A recent study describes a gene variant in the SGK3 gene, which causes hairlessness in Scottish deerhounds. The gene defect results in puppies born with thin fur that lose all of their hair in a few weeks. SGK3 is also a candidate for association with non-hormonal baldness in humans. View the source article

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Two new genes discovered in the developmental defects of canine enamel

In addition to humans, hereditary disorders of enamel development occur in dogs, greatly impacting their dental health and wellbeing. A recent study reveals canine enamel disorders similar to those found in humans, linking them with ENAM and ACP4, two genes previously described in humans. View the source article

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Yellowstone elk don't budge for wolves, say scientists

Elk roam the winter range that straddles the northern boundary of Yellowstone National Park with little regard for wolves, according to a new study illustrating how elk can tolerate living in close proximity to the large predator. View the source article

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Who should Fido fear? Depends on relationship

As states around the country move to stiffen punishments for animal cruelty, researchers have found a correlation between the types of animal abuse committed and the perpetrator's relationship to an animal and its owner. View the source article

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Wolves lead, dogs follow -- And both cooperate with humans

The statement is a bold one, especially as wolves have received a lot of negative attention in recent years. A recent study conducted by behavioral researchers, however, shows that dogs and wolves both work equally well with humans, albeit in different ways. The allegedly unequal brothers are thus much more similar than often assumed. View the source article

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Hungry moose more tolerant of wolves' presence

Research in western Wyoming shows that close proximity of wolves does cause moose to move, but not enough to drive them from their preferred habitats -- especially late in the winter. View the source article

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Debate on predator-prey relationships

Experts have shed new light on the relationship between predators and their prey after studying how elk responded to the risk posed by grey wolves in an American national park. View the source article

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Disrupting wolf movement may be more effective at protecting caribou

Researchers used motion-triggered cameras to capture photographs of wolves, caribou, and other wildlife species in the Canadian Oil Sands to study the habitat use patterns of these animals and test management strategies aimed at reducing the impacts of the linear developments on caribou. View the source article

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