How much should my cat sleep?

Cats are true masters when it comes to sleeping. They can sleep any time, any place, under any circumstance. But why do cats sleep so much? Do they have sleep cycles like people do? Read on to find out more about cats and sleep.

Catnap

You may be wondering why your cat sleeps most of the time, don’t worry, cats actually require a lot more sleep than you and I. Cats are crepuscular creatures, crepuscular is just a fancy term that means they’re most active at dawn and dusk. Their vision is best adapted to the light levels at those times in the day so that is when they like to play, socialize, and hunt.

Younger cats and kittens require around 20 hours of sleep a day while adult cats will only need around 13~16 hours a day. Of course your cat may need more or less sleep than others just like the rest of us require different amounts of sleep.

Cats don’t really sleep eight-hour sessions like us, they will cycle in and out of naps throughout the day. While they are sleeping their senses remain finely tuned. They can jump out of bed at a moments notice to be alert. Just as quickly as they awoke they can fall back asleep.

Habits

Cats are predators and they are hardwired to chase and hunt small creatures, mainly at night. Although cats are domesticated, for the most part, housecats are still in touch with their wild side. Even when cats play they still show these instincts of creeping about and pouncing on their prey. Hunting takes quite a bit of energy and all that sleep is used to reserve that energy for hunting, running, climbing, and stalking.

Related: Is your cat board?

Sleeping Problems

Excessive sleep in kittens is rarely a concern but if your adult cat is sleeping more it may indicate a medical concern. Many feline diseases don’t begin to develop until adulthood. Any single illness can cause your cat to spend more time asleep. Excessive sleep in an adult cat could also mean they are in pain, such as arthritis.

If your cat seems to have endless energy and is sleeping less it may be a sign of medical problem such as hyperthyroidism. Other signs of hyperthyroidism may include weight loss, diarrhea, vomiting, increased appetite and thirst.

If your kitten seems lethargic or uninterested in her surroundings they may be sick and should be taken to the vet. Sudden changes in behavior, including sleep, can mean there is a problem.

Dog Flu Outbreak in Illinois

About the Illinois Dog Flu Outbreak 

There have been recent cases of Dog Flu breaking out all over central Illinois. Be cautious with your dog around other dogs.  Veterinarians say this is a new and highly contagious airborne virus that can spread quickly from dog to dog.

This virus can be transferred via nose and mouth secretions, coughs, and even sharing water bowls. Because this particular virus is airborne, it can spread without contact.

Most dogs are not naturally immune to the virus and when exposed to it will most likely contract it. 

How to Protect Your Dog 

The first thing you should do is talk to your veterinarian about canine influenza to see what they recommend is best for your dog. 

If you notice anything out of the ordinary isolate your dog and call your veterinarian as soon as possible. Do not wait or hesitate as this is a very aggressive virus and your should seek medical treatment immediately.  

A vaccine is available, if you have not already, the H3N2 vaccination is available for your dog. Discuss whether the vaccine is right for your dog with your veterinarian. 

Start boosting your dog’s immune system by feeding them a healthy and balanced diet.  Give them plenty of vitamins and minerals, essential fatty acids and probiotics. You can also use some of the many natural immunity boosting supplements and herbs to improve your dogs overall health and well-being.

Be sure to watch your dog for common symptoms such as: coughing, lethargy, lack of appetite, nasal or eye discharge. Give your dog lots of water and plenty of time to rest. 

If your dog does get the flu, keep them away from other dogs for at least 21 days.

Chocolate Overdose: What to do if they find your secret spot

Most of us have that secret spot of emergency chocolate, for those extra hard days.  Unfortunately, the chocolate stash can be very dangerous for our pets if they find it.

The question we end up asking ourselves is how much is too much chocolate, and what should I do if my dog eats chocolate?

How much is safe?

As long as you know how much was eaten and what sort of chocolate it is, it is relatively easy to work out if your pet is in danger. 

The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous, is the general rule. 

Dark, bitter baking chocolate contains more toxins than milk chocolate. Milk chocolate is not as toxic as dark chocolate, and white chocolate contains very little of theobromine, which is the concerning chemical found in chocolate. 

Other factors that may impact your pet include whether there were any other ingredients such as caffeine, sultanas, macadamias, and xylitol (also toxic to pets and used as an artificial sweetener).

Many pets are very sensitive to rich and fatty foods and will get a nasty bout of pancreatitis or gastroenteritis from overindulging. Also, pets that gobble the whole lot so quickly that they eat wrappers, foil and plastic are more susceptible to a foreign body problem as well.

What Does Chocolate Do to Dogs?

Chocolate contains theobromine which is a methylxanthine that stimulates the heart and nervous system while relaxing smooth muscle. The low-grade signs of poisoning often include vomiting, diarrhea, panting, restlessness, hyperactivity, and increased heart rate.

At higher doses, neurological signs such as tremors, seizures, coma, and death can occur. Often it takes a few hours to develop the dangerous symptoms and as theobromine has a long half-life it can take a few days for pets to improve even with treatment.

What Should I Do?

If you have a reason to suspect your pet has eaten chocolate, get them to the vet immediately.

If there is a chance that the chocolate is still in the stomach, including vomiting quickly is cheap, effective and safe. Usually, if the consumption was within an hour, inducing vomiting solves the problem. Insider tip: vets don’t mind making chocolate-eaters vomit – it smells so much nicer than the usual vomit!

 

Help Your Pet Avoid Heat Stress This Summer

Keep pets cool

Temperatures are already heating up around here, and were definitely finding it the perfect cure after these last few weeks of rain. But are your pets enjoying the heat? It’s very important for pet owners to be aware of the risk of heat stress in your pets.

Certain breeds are more prone to suffering from heat stress, like Bulldogs, Pugs and Persians, because of their long coats and short snouts. It’s important to implement measures to keep your pet cool on hot days, as heat stroke can be life threatening.

How to Avoid Heat Stress

Unlike humans, who are able to sweat to loose heat, dogs and cats cannot regulate their temperature in this way and rely mainly on panting and external cooling to lose heat from their bodies. This limits their ability to regulate their body temperature, which is why pet owners need to take action to minimize the risk of heat stress.

Some things you can do include:

  • Ensuring your pet has access to shade when outside, and the freedom to move into shaded areas;
  • Ensuring your pet has access to fresh drinking water inside and outside the house (ensure they are placed in a shady spot if outside and consider placing an extra bowl or two if you are leaving the house;
  • Avoiding excessive exercise/ avoiding exercise during the hot parts of the day/avoiding exercise entirely on very hot days;
  • Not leaving pets in the car, even with the windows open.

Signs of Heat Stress in your Pet

Being aware of signs of heatstroke may allow you to act quickly and prevent internal organ damage. These signs may include:

  • Excessive panting progressing to breathing distress;
  • Drooling, salivation
  • Very red or very pale gums;
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Restlessness, delirium, agitation, 
  • Seizures
  • Collapse/comatose

What to do if your suspect your pet has heat stress?

If your concerned that your pet it suffering from heat stress, remove your pet from the hot environment, wrap him or her in a wet towel or spray him or her with cool water onto the skin and fan to maximize heat loss and take home into your nearest veterinarian as soon as possible.

Protect your dog from Mosquitoes

It’s almost summer, but to us dog owners we know what season really is almost here: flea/tick/mosquito season. It’s that time of the year when you become wary of letting you dog walk through ominous-looking grass and uncut lawns. After all, mosquito bites carry deadly consequences and can transmit diseases like heart-worm and West Nile. But if encasing your dog in a protective, impenetrable bubble doesn’t work for you, here are some ways to keep your dog sage and bite-free all summer.

Whatever you do, DON’T use human insect repellent on your dog.Mosquito Protection-Dog

Human bug sprays are great for us, but they’re toxic for our furry friends. Deet, the main ingredient in most drugstore bug sprays, can cause vomiting, seizures, and skin irritation when exposed to dogs.

When applying bug spray, make sure your dog doesn’t lick your skin, if they do, contact your vet immediately.

Avoid leaving standing water around your home.

Mosquitoes, much like humans, need water to live. Restricting their access to water is the best way to keep adult mosquitoes from breeding and, thus, unleashing more mosquitoes into your home.
To prevent this, eliminate any standing water around your home. You might also want to empty your dog’s water bowl at night when you know they won’t be drinking it.

Don’t walk your dog at peak mosquito times.

Just like how us humans have rush hours, mosquitoes have their own time of the day when they’re the most active, and those times are at dawn and dusk. Avoid walking your dog during these hours and they’ll be less likely to be bitten.

Buy insect-repellent products made for dogs.

Fairly self-explanatory, but stick to products that are made for dogs. That way you know they’re safe to use. Most flea and tick products are formulated to repel mosquitoes as well.
K9 Advantix and Bio Spot are two examples of great triple action products that should keep your dog free of bites all summer long. You can also buy sprays and other insect repellents from your pet store.

Don’t ignore natural remedies.Mosquito Protection-Dog

If you’re not comfortable using chemicals on yourself, let alone your dog, there are lots of natural remedies for mosquito prevention that work just as well as the chemical ones. Lemon eucalyptus oil is an effective repellent that keeps mosquitoes at with its repugnant smell.

Geranium oil and soybean oil when mixed together can also be used as a repellent. Although you can find products with these ingredients in health food stores, you can also mix together these oils yourself and make your own D.I.Y bug spray.

Fix any broken window screens in your home.

Most mosquitoes get into the home through open windows or broken window screens. If you wake up with new bites on your arms, your windows might not be protecting you and your dog as much as you think.

Be wary of any holes or tears in screens that might be letting bugs in. And don’t forget to fill in the gap between the air conditioner and the window frame, too.

Internet Cat Video Festival Features Best Cat Videos

Internet Cat Video Festival

Do you love cat videos?

Of course you do!

Our research shows that 125% of internet users enjoy watching cat videos online. We were surprised the number was that low.

Since everyone loves cat videos then that means that everyone would be interested in the Internet Cat Video Festival. 

The Internet Cat Video Festival is described by its organizers as “the first offline celebration of online cat videos”.

The live event was held from 2013-2016 and gathered cat fans in a social environment to watch a curated collection of funny cat videos ranging from six-second videos to short films and everything in between.

Related: Cats and Cucumbers

The festival began as an event held at the Walker Art Center in St. Paul, Minnesota in 2013 but grew into a touring event in cities across the United States and even internationally to Ireland, Japan and Australia. 

After the 2016 festival, the Walker Art Center announced it was discontinuing the festival in order to pursue new projects.

The Walker donated its archive of related cat-themed ephemera to the Minnesota Historical Society and hopes others will be inspired to create copy-“cat” events of their own.

Related: 9 Weird Cat Behaviors Explained

The Internet Cat Video Festival did come to Chicago in 2013, 2014 and 2015, but if you weren’t able to attend, you can enjoy 60 Things I Learned At The 2013 Internet Cat Video Film Festival on Buzzfeed and watch a few selected Internet Cat Video Festival videos at Animal Planet.

Tips for Leaving Your Dog on Vacation

For many dog owners, leaving on vacation becomes a cause for anxiety when thinking about leaving your dog behind while you are gone.

We like to take our dog with us when possible but sometimes that just can’t be done. The logistics of the situation just won’t allow it. You might be going somewhere too difficult to take your dog or it could even be an unwelcome or even unsafe situation for them.

We’ve created a list of tips to help you out in this stressful situation with the hope that it makes things a little easier for you.

Chances are you’ll be more worried than your furry friend is so please try and have fun while you’re away.

Make sure your dog has up to date ID tags

We’re sure that you’re going to leave your do in the best hands possible but even then sometimes things happen. Make sure your dog has its tag with correct contact information on it.

Leave detailed instructions

Make sure your caretaker can get in touch with you and that they know what to do should any situation arise and you aren’t reachable. Be specific on how much food your dog gets for each meal, and how many treats they get. If they need medicine, leave instructions for how much they need to take and how to give it to them. 

Related: Pet sitting vs pet boarding

Keep in touch

Since we have tools such as Skype or Facetime, make a video call to check in on your dog. This always helps me out because I love the look on by dog’s face when she hears my voice. Her ears will perk up and I’ll get to see she’s okay and the warm feeling when she reacts to seeing me.

Make sure they’re aware of your dog’s behaviors

All dogs have they’re own quirks and behaviors that you manage without having to think about it too much. Your caretaker, however, will need to know if you’re dog will become a savage beast at the sight of a squirrel. Make sure they’re aware.

Leave comforting items for your dog

Perhaps you can leave a t-shirt in your dog’s crate so they can be comforted by your scent. Maybe you can leave special treats with them. Maybe if they’re being dog sat at their own home you can leave a radio on if they’re not used to the sound of an empty house. 

Related: The Advantages of a Pet Sitter Over Boarding

Don’t turn your goodbye into an event

If your dog is used to being left alone every day when you go to work, try keeping a similar routine. An unusual emotional goodbye may leave them feeling anxious. It may not be easy for you but you want to leave your pet feeling as relaxed and normal as possible.

Leave your dog in good hands

You can’t make it so that your dog is never sad or emotional. You can, however, make sure they are in a safe place where they will be well cared for. Leave your pet with someone you trust, whether it is a dog sitter or a pet boarding service. 

Know your dog loves you

We have never seen a case where a pet forgot who their owner is. Even the pets who enjoy the adventure of boarding with other pets and love their caretaker will still love their owner. Nothing will change that.

Stray Dog Adopted by Monastery, Becomes Friar and Internet Sensation

Carmelo the "Friar Pup"

Have you heard about Carmelo, the newest online animal sensation?

Carmelo, (also known as Friar Bigotón) was a stray who was adopted by the St Francis Monastery of Cochabamba, Bolivia. 

The monastery announced that the furry pup, whom they have named Carmelo, has joined their fold. He has even been given a habit to wear just like the rest of the friars.

“His life is all about playing and running. Here, all of the brothers love him very much. He is a creature of God” said friar Jorge Fernandez.

St Francis, who the monastery is named after is the patron saint of animals, so it was only natural for them to adopt this dog. They wanted to set an example for others to open their homes to animals in need.

Related: Three questions to consider when choosing a new pet

As often happens, the cute little animal has taken social media by storm, with millions of people sharing and commenting on photos of Carmelo. He’s even gained worldwide coverage from national media networks.

Carmelo’s adoption became possible through the Cochabamba, Bolivia animal rescue group Proyecto Narices Frías (Cold Nose Project).

They wrote on Facebook, “If all the churches of our country adopted just one dog and cared for it like Friar Bigotón, we are sure that the parishioners would follow this excellent example.”

It’s safe to assume that their example has worked and that many of Carmelo’s millions of fans have adopted other pets.

Related Post: Tips for the first 30 days of dog adoption

 

Is Your Cat Bored?

Take a look around your home. Are there things that your cat can do, play with and watch?

Kitty boredom can lead to a variety of problems and destructive behaviors such as:

  • Urinating outside the litter box
  • Overeating
  • Aggression
  • Scratching

Preventing Cat Boredom

It is important to provide your cat with a stimulating environment. This means an environment with things to do. Windows to look out of, things to watch, places to climb and safe toys to play with are all great ways to prevent boredom.

Here are some tips to entertain your cat and prevent undesirable behavior:
Cat Boredom

  1. Catnip – Cats LOVE catnip. Offer your cat some catnip on occasion to roll around in and eat. You can also revive interest in an old cat toy by sprinkling it with catnip.
  2. Window Perches – Cats enjoy having a comfortable place to watch what is going on outside. Purchase a window bed for your cat or position a cat tree near a window to create an outside view.
  3. Create an Outside View – Position a bird or squirrel feeder within viewing distance of your cat’s window perch.
  4. Cat Toys – Make sure that you are stocked with plenty of cat toys. Hiding and then reintroducing toys that your cat enjoys is a great way to keep them interested.
  5. Scratching Post – Even a declawed cat will enjoy scratching post. It’s an instinctive behavior that cats never lose. The scratching post should be tall enough that your cat should be able to really stretch when using it.
  6. Your Time –Take at least 10 minutes out of your day to play with your cat or allow them to curl up with you.

Keep in mind that behavioral problems can be caused by many things. Be sure to take your cat for regular checkups and vaccinations. A healthy kitty is a happy kitty.

Tips for the first 30 days of Dog Adoption

The first few days in your home are special and critical for a pet.

Your new dog will be confused about where he is and what to expect from you.

Setting up some clear structure with your family for your dog will be paramount in making as smooth a transition as possible.

BEFORE YOU BRING YOUR PET HOME

 

  • Determine where your dog will be spending most of his time. Because he will be under a lot of stress with the change of environment (from shelter or foster home to your house), he may forget any housebreaking (if any) he’s learned. Often a kitchen will work best for easy clean-up.
  • If you plan on crate training your dog, be sure to have a crate set-up and ready to go for when you bring your new dog home.
  • Dog-proof the area where your pooch will spend most of his time during the first few months. This may mean taping loose electrical cords to baseboards; storing household chemicals on high shelves; removing plants, rugs, and breakables; setting up the crate, and installing baby gates.
  • Training your dog will start the first moment you have him. Take time to create a vocabulary list everyone will use when giving your dog directions. This will help prevent confusion and help your dog learn his commands more quickly.
  • Bring an ID tag with your phone number on it with you when you pick up your dog so that he has an extra measure of safety for the ride home and the first few uneasy days. If he is microchipped, be sure to register your contact information with the chip’s company, if the rescue or shelter did not already do so.

Related: Rules of thumb in positive reinforcement

First Day:

  • We know moving is stressful — and your new dog feels the same way! Give him time to acclimate to your home and family before introducing him to strangers. Make sure children know how to approach the dog without overwhelming him.
  • When you pick up your dog, remember to ask what and when he was fed. Replicate that schedule for at least the first few days to avoid gastric distress. If you wish to switch to a different brand, do so over a period of about a week by adding one part new food to three parts of the old for several days; then switch to half new food, half old, and then one part old to three parts new.
  • On the way home, your dog should be safely secured, preferably in a crate. Some dogs find car trips stressful, so having him in a safe place will make the trip home easier on him and you.
  • Once home, take him to his toileting area immediately and spend a good amount of time with him so he will get used to the area and relieve himself. Even if your dog does relieve himself during this time, be prepared for accidents. Coming into a new home with new people, new smells and new sounds can throw even the most housebroken dog off-track, so be ready just in case.
  • If you plan on crate training your dog, leave the crate open so that he can go in whenever he feels like it in case he gets overwhelmed.
  • From there, start your schedule of feeding, toileting and play/exercise. From Day One, your dog will need family time and brief periods of solitary confinement. Don’t give in and comfort him if he whines when left alone. Instead, give him attention for good behavior, such as chewing on a toy or resting quietly.
  • For the first few days, remain calm and quiet around your dog, limiting too much excitement (such as the dog park or neighborhood children). Not only will this allow your dog to settle in easier, it will give you more one-on-one time to get to know him and his likes/dislikes.
  • If he came from another home, objects like leashes, hands, rolled up newspapers and magazines, feet, chairs and sticks are just some of the pieces of “training equipment” that may have been used on this dog. Words like “come here” and “lie down” may bring forth a reaction other than the one you expect.Or maybe he led a sheltered life and was never socialized to children or sidewalk activity. This dog may be the product of a never-ending series of scrambled communications and unreal expectations that will require patience on your part.

Related: How much exercise does your dog need

Following Weeks:

  • People often say they don’t see their dog’s true personality until several weeks after adoption. Your dog may be a bit uneasy at first as he gets to know you. Be patient and understanding while also keeping to the schedule you intend to maintain for feeding, walks, etc. This schedule will show your dog what is expected of him as well as what he can expect from you.
  • After discussing it with your veterinarian to ensure your dog has all the necessary vaccines, you may wish to take your dog to group training classes or the dog park. Pay close attention to your dog’s body language to be sure he’s having a good time — and is not fearful or a dog park bully.
  • To have a long and happy life together with your dog, stick to the original schedule you created, ensuring your dog always has the food, potty time and attention he needs. You’ll be bonded in no time!
  • If you encounter behavior issues you are unfamiliar with, ask your veterinarian for a trainer recommendation. Select a trainer who uses positive-reinforcement techniques to help you and your dog overcome these behavior obstacles.Congratulations! If you follow these tips, you’ll be on your way to having a well-adjusted canine family member.

SOURCE: http://www.zalaw.com/images/happy-dog.jpg

SOURCE: https://www.petfinder.com/dogs/bringing-a-dog-home/tips-for-first-30-days-dog/