Our Favorite Questions
We never stop asking questions because we know it leads to solutions that make a real difference in the lives of animals.
From antibiotics to anti-parasitics, dental to dermatology, nutraceuticals to nutritionals, we keep asking how we can bring relief to the animals that matter to you. And those questions keep leading us to better answers.
Click on any question to discover new insights on what we’ve learned and how we can help.
Can dogs be hypnotized?
The belief that people can calm animals or put them into a trance dates back to ancient times, and continues to show up throughout history. In the late 1800s, Hungarian scientist Ferenc Volgyesi insisted any species could be hypnotized and claimed to have hypnotized every animal at the Budapest Zoo. Experiments by Nobel Prize winning scientist Ivan Pavlov showed that dogs could easily be conditioned. Decades later, American hypnotist John Morgan has started to use the principals of hypnosis to calm dogs with behavior problems, while researchers, veterinarians and animal trainers are still delving into the question.
At Virbac, we’re also asking if there are unexpected approaches to help veterinarians successfully manage behavior disorders in pets. We believe it’s vital to find innovative answers because behavioral problems can jeopardize the relationships between pets and their owners. And, if treatment is delayed, the problem becomes worse..
Our questions have inspired new solutions specifically formulated for pets with behavior problems. Virbac behavior brand products include help for pets suffering from stress, fear and anxiety, cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS), as well as support for improving behavioral problems related to brain aging in older pets. Look into our eyes...and you’ll see hundreds of pets that are more relaxed.
Do cats hold grudges?
That may depend on the cat’s age. As one veterinarian explains, “Kittens are notorious for their short memories. It’s often necessary to correct kitties for the same things, over and over.” In other words, kittens may not have enough memory to hold a grudge. Older cats are another story.
A cat’s memory can last as long as 16 hours compared to a dog’s memory, which typically lasts no more than 5 minutes, according to research at the University of Michigan. What’s more, researchers at Tufts University found the structure of cats brains is similar to humans. Cats have the same lobes in the cerebral cortex (known as the “seat” of intelligence) as humans. Cat owners aren’t surprised. They’ll tell you their cat reminds them when it’s mealtime, can open doors, and uses body language to communicate. And yes, some cats may still be perturbed (hours later) for something like being shooed off the sofa.
At Virbac, we wondered how memory loss affects the behavior of older cats and dogs. We asked how we could help veterinarians manage behavior disorders related to brain aging, and our questions led to new solutions for behavioral problems in senior pets. The Virbac behavior brand also includes innovative products for pets, young and old, suffering from stress, fear and anxiety, and cognitive dysfunction syndrome. Maybe one day we’ll even discover how to eliminate grudges.
Do dogs smell change?
The jury’s still out on this one. Some schools of thought argue that dogs and cats have some telepathic or extrasensory abilities, which detect change. For example, it’s not uncommon for owners to swear that their pets “know” when they are about to go to the veterinarian. The flip side of the argument says that dogs and cats rely on their super-sniffers - not ESP - to detect change. Unlike people, a dog interprets the world primarily through chemical communication, e.g., odour. The portion of the canine brain dedicated to analyzing smells is 40 times larger than a human’s! When pets seem to have the uncanny ability to “know” when change is coming, they are actually detecting even the slightest shift in molecules of odours their people are putting off. This works for predicting everything from thunderstorms to walks in the park.
At Virbac, we know that pet owners are very sensitive to changes in their dog’s behavior and energy level. So we asked ourselves if there was a way to help dogs with hypothyroidism. It’s how we developed SOLOXINE® (Levothyroxine Sodium) Thyroid Supplement that keeps thyroid levels regulated day after day after day. So dogs can sniff to their heart’s content without missing a beat.
Do dogs giggle?
Many pet owners claim that their dog’s open-mouthed, goofy expression indicates their dog is actually laughing. But is it really true? According to Patricia Simonet, a Cognitive Ethologist and Animal behaviorist at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, dogs do laugh but it doesn’t sound like a human’s laugh. It’s actually a rhythmic pant. She describes it as “hee, hee, hee” without the “ee.” In a dog’s world, a dog laughs to initiate play. This stimulus is so strong people can initiate play with dogs just by imitating a dog’s version of a laugh. One research study* showed that when a recording of a dog’s laugh was played at an animal shelter, it helped reduce stress behaviors in all of the resident dogs. Even small puppies reacted by starting to play!
At Virbac, we understand just how important it is to maintain the smile that means so much. Our complete line of C.E.T® Home Dental Care products, make it easy for clients to fit their pet’s oral health into their daily routine. So that the giggles can keep coming for everyone to see.
Do cats dream?
Yes. We have all seen Fluffy or Socks twitching their paws, swishing their tails or chattering in their sleep. We know that cats (and dogs too) experience Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep just like people do. This is the stage in the sleep cycle where dreaming takes place. The only thing we don’t know is exactly what pets are dreaming about. It’s fun for pet owners to see if they can actually follow the sequence of their pet’s dream. Whether the cat is stalking her prey in the wilds of the back yard, or scrapping with the neighbor's cat, chances are, you can see it being played out in their wiggling, twitching and meowing.
At Virbac, we asked ourselves how we could help pets enjoy uninterrupted slumber. It’s what led us to GLYCOTECHNOLOGY that keeps bacteria and yeast from adhering to the pet’s skin and causing irritation. When they feel all comfy and itch-free, cats can dream without a break in the action.
Can dogs predict the weather?
Generations of people have used their animals as their own personal Doppler radar systems because dogs (and cats too) seem to have a sixth sense when it comes to predicting storms and other natural phenomenon – although it’s never been proven. However, minute changes in barometric pressure, sound levels, ozone levels, and smells may be picked up by animals with their extra-keen sensory and hearing abilities. So when a pet hides under the bed when a storm is coming, he may just be on to something. (Although the local weather person’s job is probably secure.)
At Virbac, we asked ourselves if there was a natural way to help pets with their inner meteorologist. It’s what led us to develop ANXITANE® (L-Theanine) Chewable Tablets that calm anxious pets without sedation so they always have a sunny disposition regardless of the weather.
Do dogs like to wear clothes?
The answer may very well be yes. Since pets have become accustomed to living in controlled, cozy environments (just like us) they may need a little padding when going outside. Many veterinarians suggest extra protection for dogs living in cold climates, especially those with shorter coats. (Even tough breeds like Boxers and Bull Terriers!) Small and toy breeds like Chihuahuas, Dachshunds and Toy Poodles are very vulnerable to the cold. Clothing that helps the pet be more visible in the dark is also a wise choice in canine couture. Of course, the most important thing to consider is comfort and safety. The clothing shouldn’t restrict the pet’s movement in any way. It shouldn’t be too tight or too loose or it may snag on something. If a dog seems to enjoy it and there is no safety risk, playing dress-up is perfectly fine.
At Virbac, we asked ourselves if there were ways we could give pets a coat of protection regardless of their environment. It’s why we introduced the PREVENTIC® Tick Collar for Dogs that prevents ticks from attaching for 3 months. That’s the kind of protection every dog will love to wear.
Do cats really hate water?
In spite of a long-held myth about cats loathing water, some cats really love it. Many cats enjoy stepping into the shower, playing with a dripping faucet or drinking running water. Their tolerance for water may depend on how they are raised. Cats that need to be bathed often can actually get used to it. If water has been used to stop unwanted behaviors, their aversion may be quite dramatic.
The Turkish Van breed of domestic cat loves the water. Vans will actually swim into the harbor to greet fishing boats! In the wild, many large cats are natural swimmers and will cross rivers and lakes. Some Asian cat varieties actually dive in headfirst and swim underwater to catch fish.
Do dogs have senior moments too?
You forget where you put your coffee cup. You greet a longtime client in the exam room, but suddenly can’t remember her name. You rush to get something from the pharmacy, but can’t recall it once you’re there. Many of us have had these “senior moments” but do dogs have them too? The answer is “yes”. The cause is often a condition called Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS). It’s not just old age, but a progressive neurological condition that causes changes in a pet’s behavior. If the family’s faithful companion starts to develop signs of confusion or disorientation, it could be a signal that CDS is the culprit.
At Virbac, we asked ourselves if there was a way to help older pets stay young in mind. It’s how we developed NOVIFIT® (NoviSAMe® ) Tablets to help reduce the signs of CDS so older pets can continue to enjoy life to the fullest. With fewer “senior moments,” every moment of life is little more special.
Why is a dog's tongue so big?
The tongue has many important functions for dogs – not just to transfer slobber from their mouth to someone’s face. The large size of the tongue allows dogs to bring food and water into their mouths, and to help chew and swallow the food once it’s there. Dogs also use their tongue to groom and to lick their wounds – literally. Many pet owners believe that dogs actually sweat through their tongues. In reality, when Fido pants, the saliva evaporates which cools down his body – just like sweating does for people. The only sweat-producing glands in a dog’s body are in his feet.
At Virbac, we asked ourselves if canine athletes and weekend warriors need a boost after exercise just like people. It’s what led us to reformulate REBOUND® OES Oral Electrolyte Solution that helps pets quickly rehydrate after exertion. So their tongues don’t have to do all the work to cool them down.
Do dogs feel embarrassed when they get a bad haircut?
A dog comes home from the groomer and runs straight for a hiding place under the bed. “I think she looks adorable but she acts like she doesn’t want anyone to see her,” a pet owner writes in a blog. A dozen more owners chime in, and agree their dogs definitely get embarrassed by a “bad hair” day. The emotional nature of dogs is a touchy subject. Until recently, most Behaviorists believed dogs only experienced the primary “instant-reaction” emotions, such as fear, joy, sadness and anger. But studies in the past few years by neurobiologist Friederike Range, University of Vienna, suggest dogs also experience more complex secondary emotions, including jealousy, embarrassment, guilt and empathy.
Animal Behaviorists, like Marc Bekoff, professor emeritus at the University of Colorado, have also dedicated thousands of hours to observing, videotaping and studying dogs. While critics remain skeptical, Bekoff’s research seems to confirm a bad haircut or a silly Halloween costume could easily trigger feelings of shyness or humiliation in a dog, especially when people laugh at or tease them. As natural historian Jake Page explains, “Biology no longer dismisses dogs and other animals as furry automatons driven only by instinct and food.”
At Virbac, we try to imagine how a dog with a painful and unsightly skin disorder feels. Since skin problems are one of the most common reasons pet owners see their veterinarians, we’re asking if we can provide better dermatologic therapies. The more answers we provide to both prevent and treat miserable and embarrassing skin conditions, the more ways we can help pets feel happy.
Do dogs have GPS?
Some pet owners may insist their dog or cat has a built-in homing system, but there is still a lack of evidence to fully explain how lost pets find their way home. Scientists are fairly certain dogs and cats navigate by a combination of innate abilities, including simple observation of the landscape, mental mapping, and their especially keen senses of hearing and smell. There is also a theory that dogs and cats, like birds, may use magnetic fields to guide their way.
At Virbac, we’re dedicated to guiding the way to better answers in animal health care. Like asking if we can take dermatology treatment in a new direction or find alternate routes to more effective skin care for pets. Since skin problems are one of the most common reasons pet owners consult their veterinarians, we continue to add to our extensive line of dermatology products, including treatment for allergic dermatitis, keratoseborrheic disorders, infectious dermatitis and otitis externa.
And we’ll continue to lead the way with solutions that differentiate Virbac dermatology products from the rest. These innovations include SPHERULITES® Microcapsules, an exclusive extended release technology that prolongs the benefits of our shampoos and cleansers. There’s also GLYCOTECHNOLOGY, a novel approach to reducing the risk of infection and inflammation of the skin. If there’s a new direction to keep pets comfortable, we’ll take it.