If you have ever owned a cat, you know how funny and quirky they are. They communicate with us in so many ways without even opening their mouths. Of course, they do meow and cry sometimes when they want our attention; however, there are so may other fun ways they communicate with us. Like the rub! When our cats stroke and/or rub us, they are telling us a variety of things.
Cats rub to mark their territory
Our cats have glands on their foreheads, lips, front and back paws that secrete pheromones. These pheromones act as a form of communication. Cats produce several different pheromones that send various signals and affect a number of different behaviors. One well known function of pheromones is to provide information about the cat's reproductive status and receptivity to potential mates. Pheromones also are used to mark objects and territory and some signal comfort and familiarity. Pheromones are unique, like human fingerprints, and the way they are released is their personal greeting.
Cats rub to release these pheromones to make them feel safe
When cats rub their faces on different object and leave their scent, it reassures the cat that everything around them is OK and it is a way to make them feel safe. If there is more than one cat in the house, another cat can pass by the object and will usually stop and sniff, maybe even rub their faces on the object to leave their scent as well.
Have you ever noticed that when you put down a t-shirt that you have worn, that your cat automatically sits on it? Our cats sense our smell and want to mix their own with it to make them feel safe. It’s just another way to release these pheromones and mark their territory. Even if they get their hair or smell all over it, this display is a sign of affection and comfort for them.
Cats rub against us to communicate reminders
Cats will also use contact or rub us to communicate urgency, from a ‘hello- it’s time to feed me’ to a demanding or insistent rub down. If you have more than one cat, you might notice how they sometimes butt the head of the other cats and/or rub their faces against eat other. Only cats entirely comfortable with each other will use this type of mutual head butting. The physical contact of head rubbing creates a shared scent that helps cats to feel more comfortable with each other and more secure in their home territory.
The next time your cat rubs against your or another cat, you will know that this is his way of saying ‘hello’ and I care about you. It’s almost like kissing the cheek of another human. Your cat is claiming you as his own in his or her own way and saying ‘you’re mine’!
Our cats have fun and funny gestures and each cat has different things that make him or her tick! Most cats purr when content or excited. But, don't be surprised if your cat purrs for other reasons. My cat, Sammy, is not a big "purrer" while other cats purr simply by being touched.
Purring is way for your cat to breathe with the mouth closed
Many veterinarians have different theories as to what might make our cats purr, although none have yet been proven. One theory is that purring is the result of electrical impulses generated in the brain that are transmitted through the central nervous system to muscles near the larynx (voice box) and diaphragm. The nerve impulses cause rhythmic contractions of these muscles during both inhalation and exhalation, while the cat’s mouth is closed. Vibrations are felt throughout the cat’s body, but are audible from the nose and mouth.
Purring is a way to help your cat’s bones!
Veterinarians have found that sound frequencies in this range may improve bone density and increase the efficiency of the circulatory system. This may promote healing while the cat expends minimal energy. Studies have also found that the cat’s brain releases endorphins (happy hormones) while purring.
Purring is a way to thank you for caring
Purring is used as both a greeting and as a care-soliciting signal. Purring signals friendly social interactions between cats and is used when cats approach each other, are resting together, groom one another, rub against each other, or touch noses. Kittens start purring when first nursing, and the mother purrs back to the kitten, both reassuring one another that “all is well.” Both are satisfied and content. Kittens can purr and nurse simultaneously, but cannot meow and nurse at the same time.
Purring can also occur when a cat is scared or injured
Believe it or not, purring also occurs in sick, injured, frightened—and even dying cats. Experts believe this is the “care-soliciting” form of the purr, communicating to others that the cat feels bad and that he or she is not a threat. If your cat looks or acts sick, but is purring, you should take him to your veterinarian for a complete check-up.
Purring is a way to release energy
When your cat purrs, it not only demonstrates that he is happy, but it is a way to release endorphins. When your cat’s endorphins are released, it gives your kitty an ‘up’ feeling similar to that when he or she inhales catnip. These endorphins help keep your cat healthy and wanting more interaction which is good for you and your cat! A happy cat will live longer.
Our cats are mysterious creatures. The reactions they have and the sounds they make are part of their genetic make up. And, purring is yet another one of those fun and interesting sounds.
As much as we all love our dogs, let’s be honest…the shedding can be annoying. We seem to spend all day removing all the dog hair from the couch and then the next time we sit down, we’re filled with hair! There really is no way to stop shedding altogether, but with a good, healthy diet and grooming, the shedding can at least be minimized.
A healthy diet can help minimize shedding
If you are looking for a healthy dog food to help reduce shedding, make sure that the first ingredient is meat or protein. A cheaper or lower quality dog food has fewer nutrients and will cause excess shedding and an array of health problems in the long-term. Though high quality dog foods are more expensive, your dog doesn’t need as much to fill him up and will eat less making them less expensive in the log run.
Anti-shedding supplements can help
There are anti- shedding supplements on the market that can help reduce shedding. The supplements contain oils that help reduce your dog’s shedding. Your vet can probably recommend a good supplement for your dog. Or, a less expensive way is to add a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil to your dog’s food to help reduce shedding.
Make sure to groom or brush you dog daily
Brushing your dog on a daily basis is fundamental to reducing shedding. When a dog's fur is brushed, the loose strands of fur are collected by the brush. If left in place, your dog would naturally shed the fur throughout the course of the day. Therefore, when you brush your dog, it helps reduce shedding by collecting the fur before it falls off the dog's coat and lands on furniture, floors and all over your clothes!
However, don’t be alarmed if there is a lot of shedding in the first week or so; this is just a build up of dead hair. Once the dead hair is removed, the grooming will be quick and shedding will be reduced.
Regular dog baths can help reduce shedding
Although, it isn’t always easy, bathing your dog on a regular basis will help minimize shedding. If you bathe and then brush your dog, it will condition his skin and fur and collect all the fur that would have been shed had you not bathed him or her. Some dogs even like baths and you can try to make it fun for your pup by giving him or her treats after the bath.
If your dog is stressed, he or she will shed a lot
Stress can cause a dog to shed excessively. If for some reason, your dog starts to shed excessively, there might be an added stress in his or her life. If you think this is the case, take note of any behaviors or differences in your dog’s life. Did you move? Buy a new bed for your pup? Dogs are sensitive creatures and even the slightest change can increase stress and, in turn, shedding.
It is natural for a dog to shed. However, if you feed your dog a good, healthy diet and groom him regularly, it should help minimize the shedding so the fur isn’t everywhere!
Tips For Your Dogs At The Dog Park
If you adopted a dog from a shelter or animal rescue group, there is a chance that your dog might be skittish or fearful of people or other animals. Some dogs adapt quickly into their new home while other dogs need a little help from you and your family. If you take the time to understand what the dog’s fears and/or needs are, he or she will adjust in time.
Below are some tips to help your dog relax with you and your family.
Give your dog freedom to adjust to new surroundings
Allow your new dog to get the feel of his new home and if you have other dogs, allow the dogs to socialize without too much input from you. Too much attention or protection could cause jealousy. Watch carefully from the sidelines and try to not show favoritism. Your dogs should establish their family first. Allow the new dog to explore, find a favorite place and learn what is what in your home.
Try to understand your dog’s body language
Recognize your dog’s body language. Yawning and licking lips can be signs of nervousness. Your skittish dog might sit off to the side while you cook dinner or do your household errands as he or she watches while yawning and licking her lips. Ignore her behavior at first. After a few days, look her way, smile and say her name in a soothing voice. Calming her and helping her feel safe is important in helping her heal.
Try to gain your dog’s trust slowly
Give your dog some space, but also make time to spend with you new pup. You need to show your dog that you will not hurt him when you touch him. Take him on a morning walk and spend some time with him or her after. Start by simply sitting with her on the floor at his or her level. As soon as she is comfortable at this level, stroke her head and say her name, working up to a fully body pet and hug. Be patient and don’t take it personally if she doesn’t want the attention.
Be very lenient with accidents or strange behavior
Try no to overreact to accidents or strange behavior. Expect that your dog might pee in the house and do your best to just clean it up and not punish your new pup. If you act like it is not a big deal, your new dog will get over it faster. Sometimes, the only attention some rescue dogs have ever received from their owners is punishment. Dogs are social and they will do what it takes for some human interaction. Your new dog may have learned that accidents mean attention, so you’ll need to show her that she only gets attention from good behavior.
You need to be patient with your new dog
Be forgiving and patient with your new dog. There will be setbacks and you and your dog will make mistakes. However, with time and patience, your dog will come around. Dogs are inherently social so he or she will enjoy the love and compassion. And always reward your dog for good behavior. Positive reinforcement is the best way to gain your dog’s love and trust.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that some dogs take longer than others to adjust. But, with time, love and patience, you and your dog will be the best of friends.
Tips For Your Dogs At The Dog Park
If you have a big dog, you might be aware of or experienced an ACL injury in your dog’s leg or legs. A tear in the ACL (or anterior cruciate ligament) is very common among basketball players as well as big dogs. An ACL injury usually occurs when a dog's knee experiences too much twisting and ultimately tears, typically when a dog slips or suddenly turns when running. In addition, the ACL can deteriorate progressively over time due to obesity.
An ACL tear is common in many breeds
Dogs that are prone to an ACL injury are St. Bernards, Rottweilers, and are very common Golden and Labrador Retrievers. These breeds tend to have weaker back limbs and are therefore more prone to an ACL injury. These injuries can also occur when dogs are overweight and therefore put too much pressure on their limbs.
A dog that has a ruptured ACL will usually stumble and limp suddenly or hold the leg of the affected knee off the ground at an odd angle. Further, the knee might appear swollen and your poor dog might be able to put some weight on his or her leg, but will then hold it up again. Exercise typically aggravates the pain, while rest tends to relieve it. As soon as you see this happen, make sure to take your dog to the vet for further tests.
If the above happens, make sure to take your dog to the vet to diagnose whether your dog tore his ACL. Your vet will watch the way your dog walks, paying specific attention to the legs and knees. The vet will usually hold onto the dog’s femur and check the back legs. An X-ray is generally needed to determine if there is a tear.
An ACL injury usually requires surgery
Unfortunately, surgery is typically the best way to treat a ruptured ACL. However, if the ACL is only partially torn, treatment can sometimes heal the ACL injury. Swimming, low-impact exercises and different ways to manage the pain are sometimes the most effective types of non-surgical treatment. There are also many healthy vitamins and supplements on the market that specifically aid in strengthening your dogs bones.
Unfortunately, when a ruptured ACL is left to heal on its own without surgery, arthritis can occur. Therefore, it is important to monitor your dog’s health to make sure that the anterior cruciate ligament heals correctly.
How to prevent an ACL injury in dogs
The best way to prevent an ACL injury in your dog is to keep your dog active and lean. Exercising with your dog will help strengthen the knees and ligaments of your dogs. Further, make sure that your dog is at a good weight, especially those prone to ACL injuries, to prevent further pressure on their ligaments.
I hope that your dog never experiences an ACL injury as it is painful for your dog and for you to watch. However, if it does occur, don’t despair, because they are very common, just not a lot of fun.
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