TIME ebola

Veterinarians Group Issues New Guidelines for Pets and Ebola

Beagle on Hind Legs with Paws on Kennel Bars
Cavan Images/Getty Images

Though the spread of the deadly virus hasn't been linked to animals

The American Veterinary Medical Association is urging pet owners to take an abundance of caution when dealing with Ebola, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is saying that animals have not contributed to the outbreak of the virus in West Africa.

Pets should be quarantined, according to vet group’s new guidelines issued this week, if they have been in close contact with someone infected with Ebola. If the pets test positive for the lethal virus, they should be put down.

While quarantined, the pets should be confined to a crate or kennel inside a secure facility and stripped of all clothing and collars that could have possibly been contaminated.

The recommendations reiterate that there have been no reports of dogs or cats stricken with the virus, not even in parts of Africa where the disease is rampant. In the U.S., the likelihood of pets getting the disease is very low, and the last known person in the U.S. to have been diagnosed with the virus was released from the hospital with an all clear on Tuesday.

The CDC and leading veterinarians began researching how to approach pets of people infected with Ebola after the dog of a nurse in Spain was put down when its owner contracted the virus.

TIME Education

Is Your Dog Smarter Than a Five-Year-Old?

dog
Stan Fellerman—Getty Images

New research shows many people consider man's best friend to be more intelligent than human children

This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.

The closer we are to our dogs, the more intelligent we think they are, according to a recent paper published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior. But that perception isn’t exactly reality.

(MORE: 5 Types of Friends Everyone Should Have)

The paper, written by researchers at Monash University surveyed more than 550 dog owners. In general, they believed their dogs were socially intelligent and capable of learning social and general cognitive skills. The research found one-quarter of dog owners believe their dog to be smarter than most other people. Nearly half of them believe their dog’s mental ability is equal to that of three-to-five-year-old human children, and of those polled, 73 percent consider themselves knowledgeable about dogs.

(MORE: Healthy After-School Snacks for Kids)

It turns out, those beliefs aren’t quite accurate. While some dogs may rival two-year-olds in terms of intelligence, that’s about as high as researchers have seen learning levels go. A typical two-year-old toddler knows 300 words, but Chaser, “The Smartest Dog in the World,” who appeared on 60 Minutes in early October, knows the names of 800 cloth toys and more than 200 plastic toys and balls. Impressive, but not anywhere near the intelligence of a four-year-old, who typically has a 1,000-word vocabulary and can easily put together sentences of four or five words.

(MORE: New Poll Shows Parents Are Really Stressed… And Really Happy)

But just because dogs aren’t as intelligent as humans doesn’t mean that they don’t offer their own unique benefits. Research suggests, for instance, that dog owners may get more exercise than those without canine companions. And walking dogs may lead to more conversation, and therefore more friends in addition to a workout, according to the NIH. Animals are also used for therapy in an effort to relieve pain and stress. And those furry friends can worm their way into our hearts… and cardiovascular health. One study, funded by the NIH, found that people who suffered a heart attack lived longer on average if they owned a dog.

(MORE: The Best (and Worst) Advice From Bosses)

(MORE: How Yoga Helps to Keep Your Brain Healthy)

TIME animals

Charlie the Beagle Will Trade You His Toy for Your Breakfast

It's only fair.

Charlie gets it.

He may be a dog, but he understands that in this life, nothing is free and good things — like a human-sized breakfast — only come to those who work for it. After all, everyone, even pets, need to contribute. (Hence with Charlie’s whole helping change the baby’s diaper thing.)

In the latest video from the lovable canine YouTube sensation, Charlie quickly realizes that if he wants his human’s sausage and egg breakfast, he’s going to have to do some serious bartering. Luckily, he has a plan and quickly suggests a trade.

This isn’t Charlie’s first time at the swap meet, after all. A few months back, the usually well-mannered pup tried to entice his human sister into a generous, if guilt-ridden, trade when he swiped the toy she was playing with at the time.

TIME Companies

Purina Will Let You Build a Personalized Diet for Your Dog

Purina dog food is on display at an Associated Supermarket i
Purina dog food is on display at an Associated Supermarket in New York on Aug. 16, 2005 Andrew Harrer—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Nestle will let owners design a "personalised blend optimized to [their] dog’s individual nutritional needs"

Nestlé Purina launched a personalized dog food product that will allow pet owners to order food “tailored to their pet’s unique needs and preferences,” the company announced Tuesday.

“By inviting dog owners to tell us the things only they can know about their dogs, we are able to provide a personalized blend optimized to that dog’s individual nutritional needs,” said Brian Lester, director of marketing for Just Right by Purina.

Product users log on to Nestle’s website to enter information such as breed, size and physicality as well as the dog’s eating preferences. The site then churns out a food recommendation and ships it to the owner.

Are you more of a cat person? Nestle is exploring options to offer a similar product for cats.

 

TIME animals

Pet Costumes: Non-Toxic Paint Turned This Pup Into a Cute Skeleton

Check out the canine's Halloween costume

lost-at-e-minor_logo

This article originally appeared on Lost at E Minor.

Well isn’t this the cutest skeleton we’ve ever seen! Bellevue, Washington-based artist Bryn Anderson found a cool and easy way to dress up her 13-month-old German Shepherd, named Nixe, for Halloween — or should we say, HOWLoween?

By using white non-toxic water-based face paint, she was able to transform the SAR (search and rescue) training pup into nothing but bones and eternal darkness. You can see more of Nixe’s photos here.

(Via Laughing Squid)

TIME society

Inside the Weird World of Sexy Halloween Costumes for Dogs

And you thought sexy human costumes were strange

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Ye olde “hot” dog costume Getty images

The era of a “hot” dog costume consisting of a dachshund wrapped up in a bun is over. Welcome to an age in which people dress up their pets in sexy Halloween costumes.

For Pumpkin, a Labradoodle, his risqué 2013 ensemble came complete with fake human cleavage.

Pumpkin the dog flaunting his sexy Snooki Halloween costume Michelle Husserl

A Snooki costume might seem blasé for a person, but the tightly fitted leopard print top secured Pumpkin the first place prize for “most creative costume” at a local London pub, according to owner Michelle Husserl. “I didn’t think about it being sexy, more funny if anything, but I guess sexy costumes [for dogs] are the way forward!” she says. “He’s used to being dressed up since he was a puppy, but the cleavage he kept clawing at. He was very confused about it.”

According to the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend $350 million on their pets’ Halloween costumes in 2014, which is up from $220 million in 2010. Unfortunately the NRF doesn’t calculate how many of those pet costumes show a little extra leg.

“I don’ think we have any plans to go that specific,” says NRF senior director Kathy Grannis. “I’ll be honest, I had no idea that that existed in this world. I was shocked.”

But, as Grannis notes, there is a person-to-pet consumer trickle-down effect, providing pups with blueberry facials and other human-only luxuries. So, considering the sexy Halloween costume complex has mostly jumped the shark — there are actual sexy shark, crustacean and even whale costumes — maybe it was only a matter of time until dogs got their sexy Halloween costumes, too.

“[Our sexy] pet costumes are just an extension of what the consumer was already doing on social networks, we saw that gap, and we jumped on it,” says Alicia Brockwell of California Costume, the manufacturer of Pumpkin the Labradoodle’s Snooki outfit.

“The costume is actually called ‘The Lady is a Tramp,’ and people really love putting that on a pitbull,” she says. “One thing about the sexy costumes, is that people love putting them on the most rugged, tough dogs.”

Dog Costumes
“Pop Queen” California Costumes

California Costume’s Pup-A-Razzi line has other sexy offerings, including a gold-cone bra called the”Pop Queen” (just think Madonna) and a “Silver Screen Siren” (Marilyn Monroe).

“It’s no secret that sex sells and Hollywood is the capital of plastic surgery so it made sense to include those features where we could,” vice president of marketing and design Christopher Guzman says. “Why not give your pet what he or she has secretly been craving, at least temporarily, fake boobies!”

Costumes that feature fake cleavage come in four different sizes, ranging from extra small to large.

“The hardest part about the breastplate is maintaining the integrity of it when shipping,” Brockewell says. “So we have little tutorials and give product training where if you take a warm hairdryer, it can actually warm it up and get it to the right roundness and buoyancy as needed. Because it is a soft material so it can sit comfortably on the dog.”

Brockwell believes that the company manages to be ridiculous without crossing the line to insulting: “No one looks at it and says ‘oh I can’t believe you’re degrading this dog’s honor!’”

Grannis, of the National Retail Federation, agrees.

“Halloween is a holiday based on discretionary fun,” she says. “If there are a lot of creative people out there who think that Fido and Fluffy would look great as a sexy maid, you know, God bless ‘em for it.”

And they do:

Even Walmart stocks French Maid costumes for dogs.

Garrett Rosso, founder of New York City’s 24-year-old Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade, has seen the full evolution of the sexy dog costume. The 1990′s were a simpler time. “It was all about the three M’s: Marilyn, Marlene and Madonna — oh and maybe a Chip ‘n Dale,” he says. In the last decade, however, people have upped their game.

“We had a bull dog dressed up as Katy Perry with boobs and a wig — it was a little startling,” says Rosso, who was a TIME design director before opening dog obedience training facilities. “Last year, I saw a Great Dane as Lady Gaga doing the twerking dance and a whole convention of 50 Shades of Grey.”

Matching owner/pet companion costumes are a big hit. He has seen dressed dogs in thousands of dollars worth of leather clothing, made to match their owner.

“Dogs have kind of become our giant companions, our best friends, our entrée into a healthier lifestyle,” Rosso says. “And I think Halloween is just a day when you can show off your best friend.”

And who doesn’t love a best friend who knows how to show some leg? All four of them.

Read next: 2014 Could Be the Year of the ‘Sexy Lobster’ Halloween Costume

TIME Pets

Yes, Dogs Can Get Jealous Too

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Dog Zwergpinscher Simone Ciaralli—Getty Images/Flickr RF

A new study offers scientific backing to a long-reported anecdotal phenomenon. But canine envy is a little different from the human kind.

This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.

We’ve long treated our dogs like humans, dressing them in sweaters, letting them sleep in our beds—even painting their nails. So it makes sense that we’re eager to attribute their canine behavior to human emotions, crediting a wagging tail to joy or lowered eyes to shame. Yet while research has shown dogs feel love and affection, more complicated emotions like embarrassment and guiltdon’t seem to be in their repertoire.

(MORE: 8 Scientifically-Backed Ways to Feel Happier Right Now)

But here’s one that might be: Scientists at UC San Diego have found evidence suggesting that dogs could actually be capable of jealousy.

Although Charles Darwin wrote about dogs’ jealousy in 1871 and dog owners have been quick to offer anecdotal evidence ever since, there’s never been scientific proof of the phenomenon.

This experiment involved 36 dogs and their owners. The owners petted an animated toy dog while their real dog was in the room. They also petted and played with a jack-o-lantern, and sat reading a noise-making children’s book. Observers wrote down and cataloged the dogs’ reactions to each of these three situations, which ranged from biting, barking, and pushing at either the toy or the owner.

(MORE: 40 Classic Children’s Books)

The dogs were more likely to show signs of aggression, attention-seeking behavior, and a heightened interest in their owners when the fake dog was the object of affection. Most of the dogs clearly thought the stuffed dog was real: 86 percent inspected and sniffed its butt at some point during the experiment.

“We can’t really speak to the dogs’ subjective experiences, of course,” study author and psychology professor Christine Harris said in a release. “But it looks as though they were motivated to protect an important social relationship.”

So is this behavior really the green-eyed monster as we know it? Not quite. Researchers called the envious emotion that dogs experience a “primordial” type of jealousy rather than the complicated thoughts that torment adult humans.

Infants show this instinctive kind of jealousy, too, when their mothers shower affection on another baby. The scientists behind the study say this could be evidence that jealousy is an innate emotion, like fear or anger, that humans share in common with other social creatures.

So if it seems like Fido is giving you the cold paw after you’ve shown some love to another dog, it might not be your imagination.

(MORE: How Not to Apologize)

TIME Law

Pet Owners Look to Muzzle Police Who Shoot Dogs

Brittany Preston

Bereaved owners argue that when police shoot dogs it a violates their Fourth Amendment rights

Correction appended, Sept. 26

Lexie, a Labrador mix, was barking in fear when the police arrived at her owner’s suburban Detroit house early in the morning last November. The officers, responding to a call about a dog roaming the area, arrived with dog-catching gear. Yet they didn’t help the one-year-old dog, who had been left outside the house, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court: Instead, they pulled out their guns and shot Lexie eight times.

“The only thing I’m gonna do is shoot it anyway,” the lawsuit quotes an officer saying. “I do not like dogs.”

Such a response, animal advocates say, is not uncommon among law enforcement officers in America who are often ill-equipped to deal with animals in the line of duty. And now bereaved owners like Brittany Preston, Lexie’s owner, are suing cities and police departments, expressing outrage at what they see as an abuse of power by police. Animal activists, meanwhile, are turning to state legislatures to combat the problem, with demands for better police training in dealing with pets.

There are no official tallies of dog killings by police, but media reports suggest there are, at minimum, dozens every year, and possibly many more. When it comes to Preston’s dog, officials from the city of St. Clair Shores and the dog owner agree on little. City police say the dog attacked, prompting officers to open fire in self-defense. But the lawsuit filed by Preston cites police audio recordings to argue that the November 2013 shooting was premeditated, prompted by officers eager to kill a dog. Preston is suing the city for violating her Fourth Amendment right to protection from unreasonable search and seizure.

“We want whatever it takes to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” said Christopher Olson, Preston’s lawyer. “Before this case I wasn’t a dog shooting lawyer, but I am now.”

St. Clair Shores defended the officers’ actions.

“The animal was only put down after a decision was made that it was in the best interest of the residents,” said city attorney Robert Ihrie, who is defending the city in the lawsuit. “Sometimes police officers are in a position where they need to make very quick decisions for the protection of themselves and others.”

The Fourth Amendment argument gained traction in 2005, when the San Jose chapter of the Hells Angels sued the city and the police department because officers had killed dogs during a gang raid in 1998. A federal appeals judge found that “the Fourth Amendment forbids the killing of a person’s dog… when that destruction is unnecessary,” and the Hells Angels ultimately won $1.8 million in damages. In addition to the St. Clair lawsuit, other lawsuits stemming from police shootings of dogs are being planned or filed in Idaho, California, and Nevada.

At the same time, animal-rights activists are lobbying police departments to implement pet training for all officers. Several states including Illinois and Colorado have enacted measures to reduce dog shootings, and others states are considering legislation. In 2011, the Department of Justice published a report on dog-related police incidents, which included advice on how to handle dogs without killing them.

“It’s much more likely that a cop is going to encounter a dog than a terrorist, yet there’s no training,” said Ledy Van Kavage, an attorney for the advocacy group Best Friends Animal Society. “If you have a fear or hatred of dogs, then you shouldn’t be a police officer, just like if you have a hatred of different social groups.”

Brian Kilcommons, a professional dog-trainer who has trained more than 40,000 dogs and published books on the subject, said some police officers accidentally antagonize dogs right from the start, without even trying. “Police officers go into a situation with full testosterone body language, trying to control the situation,” he said. “That’s exactly what will set a dog off.” Kilcommons is developing an app that could help police officers evaluate the best way to handle a dog, including tips on reading body language and non-lethal strategies for containing them. “A bag of treats goes a long way,” he said.

But Jim Crosby, a retired Lieutenant with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office in Florida who now works in dog training, said there are sometimes cases that require police force.

If you’re executing a high-risk, hard-going entry with an armed suspect, the officers don’t have time to play nice and throw cookies at the dog,” said Crosby, who was commenting on police handling of dogs in general and not any specific case. But he emphasized that such situations are few and far between: “Police absolutely have the right to protect themselves against a reasonable and viable threat—but the presence of a dog is not necessarily a reasonable or viable threat.”

Ronald Janota, a retired Lieutenant Colonel with the Illinois State Police who now serves as an expert witness on use of force, acknowledged that officers are often at “heightened awareness” when confronting dogs. “If you’re the first or second through the door, you don’t have time to put a collar on the dog if the dog is literally lunging at you,” he said. “If you’re entering the house legally, you have the right to protect yourself.”

Regardless of the circumstances, a dog’s death at the hands of police can be devastating to owners.

“People are getting married later, if at all, people are having children later, if at all, and pets are filling an emotional niche,” Kilcommons said. “Before, if you had a dog and it got killed, you got another one. Now dogs are in our homes and in our hearts. They’re not replaceable. So when they’re injured or killed, people are retaliating.”

In St. Clair Shores, where Lexie died, the city is fighting the lawsuit but the police department now requires its officers to undergo animal control training.

Van Kavage said that kind of training is crucial, even if just to instill a sense of trust in the police.

“If a cop shoots your pet, do you think you’re ever going to trust a cop again?” she said. “To control a dog, 99% of the time you don’t need a gun. You just need to yell ‘sit!’ ‘stay!’”

Correction: The original version of this story misidentified the person who said, “To control a dog, 99% of the time you don’t need a gun. You just need to yell ‘sit!’ ‘stay!’” It was Ledy Van Kavage.

MONEY Odd Spending

Fine! Whatever! Top 10 Gifts for the Passive-Aggressives In Your Life

Reclining airplane seat into passenger's knees
Jason Hetherington—Getty Images

The Knee Defender—which prevents airline seats from reclining—is one of many products passive-aggressive consumers can use to protect their turf or ward off uncivil behavior. Hopefully without confrontation, of course.

Two recent passenger squabbles on airplanes have greatly boosted the profile of the Knee Defender, a $22 device that can be attached to the back of an airline seat to prevent it from reclining. The device prompted a brawl on a recent United Airlines flight from Newark to Denver, causing the plane to be diverted to Chicago, where both the man who attached the Knee Defender and the woman who didn’t like it (and threw a glass of water at the guy behind her) were escorted off the aircraft. Sales of the device soared after the news of the incident went viral, and plenty of observers weighed in with opinions, some defending the Knee Defender, others bashing it and anyone who would selfishly prevent a fellow passenger from “right to recline.”

Many others lamented the apparent need for such passive-aggressive behavior in the first place. Ira Goldman, the inventor of the Knee Defender, said the airlines are to blame for these ugly incidents because they’ve reduced legroom. By extension, the airlines are also to blame for the newfound popularity of his odd gadget. “When the airlines solve the problem, I’ll go out of business,” he said.

Flying is hardly the only sphere where humans have been known to exhibit uncivil behavior, and where others feel forced to resort to passive-aggressive (OK, sometimes more aggressive than passive) strategies as a counteroffensive. Here are some other products for the passive-aggressive people in your life.

The Parking Chair
People in Boston, Chicago, and other snowy cities regularly use chairs (or ironing boards, or buckets, or oversized kids’ toys) to call “dibs” on the street parking spaces that they dug out in front of their homes. The passive-aggressive tactic for defending one’s spot is popular but often illegal. In fact, a “No Savesies” movement was launched via social media by police in Philadelphia to spread the word that savesies, dibs, or whatever you want to call it is not allowed.

Spike Away Vest
Tired of fellow commuters bumping into her or otherwise invading her personal space, an industrial designer in Japan created the Spike Away vest, a plastic, porcupine-like accessory sure to keep strangers from rubbing up against you on the train.

Slogan T-Shirt
Rather than boldly confronting those exhibiting boorish, insensitive, or just plain dumb behavior, the passive-aggressive have been known to wear certain T-shirts as a way to get across a message—and perhaps their sense of humor as well. Here’s one offering the message “Thank you for not crop dusting” (a.k.a. farting).

Office “Courtesy” Signs
The office, a mishmash of different personalities from different backgrounds where everyone is expected to behave professionally and politely, is always a hot spot for subtle passive-aggressive behavior. And sometimes overt and totally juvenile passive-aggressive behavior too. Signs posted at cubicles (“Quiet Please… Important Work in Progress”) and in office kitchens are often rife with passive-aggressive intent.

Bumper Stickers
Pretty much every bumper sticker is passive-aggressive—a means to get some sort of message across without saying a word or doing much of anything besides driving around. Like this one, which aims to keep would-be tailgaters at bay: “Sorry for driving so close in front of your car.”

Toilet Decal
Confronting people in your house about their refusal to put the toilet seat down is so, well, confrontational. It’s also difficult to do in the middle of the night, when said people are probably barely awake. The passive-aggressive solution just might be a glow-in-the-dark toilet decal with the reminder to lower the seat after relieving oneself.

Curb Your Dog Signs
“Please Don’t Water Our Plants!” one Curb Your Dog sign pleads, showing a pooch peeing on what’s presumably a garden. “Make Sure Your Dog Doesn’t Drop Anything,” another sign warns, showing a dog doing something worse than merely peeing. Either option is nicer than putting a fake headstone on your lawn marking the spot of “The Last Dog That Pooped in My Yard.”

TV-B-Gone
OK, this one is probably more aggressive than passive. The TV-B-Gone gadget hit the marketplace in the mid-2000s, allowing anyone to turn off a TV blaring CNN or whatever at the airport or some other public venue. Tranquility at last!

The Ordinary Cellphone
Nearly everyone is in possession of a tool that makes it incredibly easy to passive-aggressively avoid talking to people or even making eye contact. According to a Pew Research Internet Project survey, 13% of all cell phone owners—and a whopping 30% of millennials—say that they have pretended to be using their phones for the express purpose of easily avoiding interactions with people they come across.

Related:
5 Reasons September Is the Best Month to Go Shopping

 

TIME Gadgets

You Can Now Buy a GoPro Camera Harness For Your Dog

GoPro's new Fetch Dog Mount. GoPro Inc

The video camera maker has launched a new product for pet lovers

Now you can feel even closer to your dog by seeing the world from a more canine point of view.

GoPro, which makes tiny cameras popular with adventurers and travelers, has launched a new camera mount for dogs called Fetch. The dog harness is adjustable to accommodate dogs of all sizes, and GoPro cameras can be attached in two different locations: on the dog’s back and underneath its chest. With Fetch, you can watch your dog chew its bone close-up or frolic through a dog park.

GoPro's new Fetch Dog Mount in action.
GoPro’s new Fetch Dog Mount in action. GoPro Inc

The harness is washable and includes a tether to make sure the camera stays in place. The harness is by no means cheap, costing $60 (camera not included), and as of Wednesday afternoon, the product was already out of stock. You can check it out here.

The other dogs at the dog park will be so jealous.

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