Living with Dogs in Illinois

When did dogs become domesticated?

Humans began domesticating the grey wolf thousands of years ago, and they may have been the first animals to be domesticated.  They proved useful as guard dogs, and were occasionally used for food or fur.  The humans took care of them, housed and fed them, and they grew into the companions we now know.  This practice continues into the modern world here in Illinois.  Hundreds of dog breeds are found across the world, with specialty ones becoming a popular collector's item.  Some dog owners are seeking a friend, while others look for an animal that sets them apart from other dog owners.

Why are dogs so cute?

There is actually more science to this question than one might think.  Humans become more willing to help anything they perceive as "cute."  These things, such as babies, typically have large eyes and small noses.  Dogs differ greatly from their grey wolf ancestors because we've bred them to look "cuter."  Humans are more willing to care for animals and dedicate their time to them if they are cute. 

Why are dogs the most popular pet in Chicago?

Though the cat lovers of the world might disagree with the philosophy, dogs are the most common pet.  This might be due to their "cute" factor, but it also draws in on their loyalty and devotion to their human counterparts.  Dogs typically develop attachments to their caretakers and trade them for love and affection.  Dogs are typically more physical towards humans and enjoy contact.  Their love for companionship makes them the most popular choice as a pet.  When choosing a pet, that's what people are doing; picking companions. 

Are rescue dogs in Illinois safe?

This will depend on the dog.  Since their pasts and lineage aren't known, many people are hesitant about getting a rescue dog.  Some shelters do temperament testing to see how the dogs are going to be around people, so that's something that people can take advantage of.  Spending time with the dog before officially adopting it can also be a good indicator as to whether or not the dog will be a good fit with you.  Find one that matches your personality.  If you're really active, adopting a younger, more energetic rescue is a good idea.  If you're slower-moving, pick an older, more mellow dog. 

Will my dog be jealous of my baby?

While many dogs will accept new additions to the family and be loving and protective, some pets might feel threatened or jealous. Especially since dogs develop such a strong emotional connection to their owners.  If this happens, there are several things you can do to ease into the adjustment.  Getting your dog used to the scent of your baby can often help them get used to the idea of having a new member in the household.  Let your dog sleep with an article of clothing or blanket that belongs to baby.  When paying attention to the baby, make sure you're including your dog as well.  Feed the baby and pat the dog at the same time.

Why is chocolate bad for dogs?

Chocolate contains different stimulants called methylxanthines, and they can actually be harmful to humans as well if ingested in large enough quantities.  These stimulants don't work well with the immune systems of dogs and can cause a variety of symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive thirst.  Severe cases can result in seizures or death.  Darker chocolate can pose a larger threat.  People should avoid feeding chocolate to dogs in general as a preventative measure.