Entries in Dogs (5)


Pet Ownership Declines: Is the Economy to Blame?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The number of American pet owners declined last year – and researchers believe the economy could be to blame.

A new survey by the American Veterinary Medical Association shows the dog population declined by about two million, to 70 million nationwide, while the cat population fell by about eight million, down to 74 million. It's the first time dog or cat ownership has declined since 1991.

“[Pets] are expensive and so we can only speculate that part of this is due to the economy,” said Ron DeHaven of the AVMA.

Pets are also more common in family households, the number of which has also declined.

DeHaven also suggested that the high costs associated with pet ownership may have kept some from replacing older pets that passed away.

The survey is published in the 2012 U.S. Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New 'Beer' Has Dogs Barking for Brews

Richard Marshall/St. Paul Pioneer Press(SEATTLE) -- What's the legal drinking age in dog years?

That's what you might be asking yourself if you come across a bottle of Bowser Beer, a new brew crafted for a canine clientele. But you need not worry: this dog-friendly beer is non-alcoholic. Eschewing hops, which are toxic to dogs, Bowser Beer is a non-carbonated mixture of meat-broth and malt barley, with glucosamine added for joint health.

Creator Jenny Brown said she got the idea at a holiday farmer's market in 2007 for which she made spicy pretzels and, at the urging of customers, a peanut-butter alternative for their dogs. Thinking to herself, "What goes better with pretzels than beer?" Brown devised four beer recipes for her three dogs to taste-test. One recipe was the clear winner, and Bowser Beer was born.

"People have an incredible emotional bond with their dogs, so it's just natural for people to want to include them and say, 'My dog can have a beer too,'" Brown said.

Brown was looking for a job when she took Beefy Brown Ale, Bowser Beer's first flavor, to a pet expo in Virginia later that year. But the more she looked into it, she said, the more it started to dawn on her that she had a business opportunity on her hands.

Since then, she has shipped batches of beer nationwide, and dog-oriented businesses in 42 states have begun selling Bowser Beer, which now comes in a chicken-flavored variety, Cock-a-Doodle-Brew. The beer has taken off internationally, too, with a special edition selling in the pet section of London's Harrods department store.

At Diane Ludwig's Barkery Bistro, a dog boutique in Greenville, S.C., Bowser Beer has been on the shelves for the past three years. Ludwig said sales spike on Fridays, when customers stock up for weekend parties.

"Whether it's a football game or people are just having their friends over, they say, 'I gotta get a bottle for my four-legged,'" Ludwig said.

In Vienna, Va., Carol Fleming said customers at her grooming business, Vienna Pet Spaw, often buy Bowser Beer as a gift when a wine bottle feels too conventional.

"Even when they don't buy it, it's always a good conversation piece," Fleming said. "It catches your attention and gives people a good chuckle."

When customers purchase Bowser Beer through Brown's website, they can customize the bottle label with a photo of their dog and a brew name. I Don't Give a Shih-Tzu Brew and I Only Have Eyes for Brew, a batch dedicated to guide dogs for the blind, are two of Brown's favorites, she said.

Brown said she wants to grow her business "carefully," rather than rapidly adding new flavors. But the dog beer market might soon see a new Bowser flavor: seafood-, liver- and bacon-flavored beer are some of the possibilities Brown said she is researching.

Brown moved her company, 3 Busy Dogs, from Arizona to Seattle last month. Since then, she has marketed the beer to the local bar scene, betting on people's desire to bring their pooches to the pub.

"I've gotten a lot more interest here from bars that are adding it to their menus," she said.

Now available in plastic bottles to avoid broken-glass mishaps, Bowser Beer scores better with dogs when served outside of their normal drinking bowls, where they expect to find water, Brown said. Her recommendations: pour the beer over your dog's dry food, freeze it into ice cubes for your dog to lick, or let your dog simply drink straight from the bottle -- human-style.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


United Airlines Lifts Ban on Pit Bulls, Other Breeds

Jessie Huart and her dog, Slaw, a pit bull mix. (Courtesy Jessie Huart)(NEW YORK) -- An online campaign to lift a ban on certain breeds of dogs on United Airlines has succeeded.  A total of nine breeds, including pit bulls, had previously been banished from the airline.

The banned breeds (and breed mixes) were pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, preso canario, perro de presa Canario, dogo Argentino, cane Corso, fila Brasileiro, Tosa (or Tosa Ken) and ca de bou.

The effort to lift the ban on the breeds began when Jessie Huart was making plans to move from Hawaii back to the mainland in December 2011. When she and her dog, Slaw, a pit bull mix, had moved to Hawaii, they flew on United. That was before United had adopted Continental’s Pet Safe  program as part of the carriers’ merger.

“I had heard great things about Pet Safe and was making plans to fly on Continental. But then I saw that pit bulls were on the banned breed list,” Huart said. She filled out an email form online and then made reservations on another airline. But in late January, she recounted the story to a friend who suggested she start a petition on, the same site that got Bank of America to lift its proposed debit card fees. She did, with the goal of getting 1,000 signatures.

Nearly 46,000 signatures later, Huart is “thrilled” the airline has changed its policy.

“As a result of feedback, United will now accept previously restricted breeds of dogs traveling in a nonplastic, reinforced crate meeting International Air Transport Association Container Requirement #82. All IATA Container Requirements can be found on Information on breeds and other policies can be found on,” United Airlines said in a statement to ABC News.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Introducing DOGTV: Television for Your Pooch

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) -- Television is going to the dogs in San Diego with DOGTV, a new 24-hour channel for pooches that is meant to keep your dog company while you are gone.

According to the people behind the channel, the combination of devouring programming and pet treats will lead to “a confident, happy dog who’s less likely to develop stress, separation anxiety or other related problems.”

DOGTV, which launched on Cox and Time Warner digital cable systems in San Diego this week, is intended for dogs that are left at home during the day.

“If you are leaving your dog everyday and you feel bad about it and you’d like to do something that would improve the life of your dog…then this is a great, great opportunity,” Gilad Neumann, CEO of DOGTV, told ABC News. “Dogs that are left home alone for a few hours everyday tend to be very lonely, they develop behavioral issues, they are bored, they are stressed and leaving the TV on with proper content gives them comfort. It relaxes them, it stimulates them at times…basically it’s a little like a companion when they are left home alone.”

Sample programming includes a video of dogs playing with balls to give your pet stimulation, dogs sleeping to help soothe them, and a dizzying dogs-eye view out the car window.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Commercial Meant to Appeal to Dogs?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Nestle Purina created an interactive commercial now airing in Germany and Austria featuring different high-pitched squeaks and tones meant to appeal to the furriest of family members.

After consulting with experts in pet behavior based in St. Joseph, Mo., the folks at Nestle Purina learned that dogs’ hearing is twice as sharp as humans’.

“They can pick up frequencies which are beyond our range and they are better at differentiating sounds,” said Dr. Georg Sanders, a nutrition expert and consumer consultant at Nestlé Purina PetCare in Germany.

The commercial, made specifically for Beneful, first uses a squeak similar to the sound a dog’s toy makes, something that both the pup and its owner will be able to hear. The commercial also has the sound of a high-frequency tone -- much like a dog whistle -- that dogs respond to but humans can hardly recognize.

The marketing ploy follows another of the company’s campaigns, also launched in Germany, where dogs were able to sniff out the smell of Beneful dog food while on a walk with their owners on special posters. It seems the company hopes that by catching the pet’s attention they can also influence the people who make the shopping decisions in the household. But Nestle Purina says that the commercial is only meant to highlight the special relationship between owners and pets.

“We wanted to create a TV commercial that our four-legged friends can enjoy and listen to, but also allow the owner and dog to experience it together,” said Anna Rabanus, Brand Manager of Beneful for Nestlé Purina PetCare Germany.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio