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What Does It Mean When Your Dog Barks While Sleeping?

We love how our dogs are such loving and fun companions.  They are sometimes verbal with their barking and/or they can tell us what they are thinking by just looking at them or their non-verbal cues. They will whimper or stand by the door when they want to go on a walk or nudge you to feed them.  But, what about if our dogs growl, bark or twitch when they sleep.  Usually, if this is the case, we can assume our dogs are dreaming.

Dogs bark or whimper in their sleep because they are dreaming

The reason why dogs bark in their sleep is because they have dreams just like humans do. Dogs go through a dream stage of the sleep cycle every time they go to sleep. You can tell when your dog is slipping into this stage by watching their eyes. Dreaming occurs in a stage of sleep known as REM (which stands for rapid eye movement), just as is in humans.

During this stage, you will notice that your dog’s eyelids are twitching rapidly as his eyes move beneath them. It is during this stage of sleep that your dog is likely to bark or make other noises such as growling or whimpering.

Dog Barks While Sleeping

 

What do dogs dream about?

There is really no way of knowing what dogs dream about as they obviously can’t tell us.  You can probably assume that our dogs’ dreams are related to an activity that happened in the day.  Could be as simple as a nice walk or how much they enjoyed their bone.   However, when your dog is barking or growling, it usually means that he or she is reliving a memory that caused him to bark or growl in real life. Dreaming is an important way for dogs and humans to process their experiences and learn from them.

Don’t wake up your dog if he is barking in his sleep

Just because a dog is barking, you cannot be sure that he is having a bad dream; he could simply be excited about eating his favorite bone or missing his dog pal.  But, even if you think your dog is having a nightmare, waking him up in the middle of the dream could be even more frightening than letting the dream continue.  Being woken up in the middle of REM sleep can be very shocking and disorienting, which could cause your dog to snap at you, so it is best to leave him alone.

Dogs need their uninterrupted sleep

Dogs, just like humans, need all the rest they can get. Dogs’ bodies and brains are often very active during the day as they run around and take on new experiences. Getting enough sleep is vital to allow your pooch to recharge his batteries and stay physically and mentally healthy. 

If you wake your dog up in the middle of a sleep cycle, he will not get the maximum benefit from that sleep, and he made find it difficult to drift off again. It is better to leave him be until he wakes naturally. Just like you, your dog depends on his beauty sleep to recharge. A good amount of uninterrupted sleep is essential for his healthy mental activity. Also, consider that if your dog is having a bad dream, waking him up may startle him and potentially lead to a defensive reaction and he could bite you.

Make sure your dog is sleeping when he barks

Dogs who bark in their sleep can be a nuisance, but it is better to let them lie. If your dog’s dreaming is disturbing your sleep, try moving its bed into a room further away from your bedroom. Also, check that your dog is actually sleeping when he barks during the night. It might be that he is in fact awake and trying to attract your attention. He could be bored, restless, lonely, thirsty, or too hot or too cold.

Your dog could be barking during his sleep due to change in his environment

If you find that your dog is in fact not dreaming but lying awake at night calling for you, then make sure that your dog’s sleeping environment is comfortable and he has access to fresh drinking water.  Try out a new bed or room to see if that helps minimize the barking while sleeping. Did his environment change at all which is causing your dog to whimper or notice?  Did you stop your daily exercise routine?  Exercise is the most vital component in getting your dog to sleep well at night.

Barking while sleeping is normal doggy behavior. When you hear your pooch dreaming loudly, don’t panic and don’t wake him up. Dreamy barking doesn’t necessarily mean that he is unhappy. It could simply be that your dog is dreaming about playing a game or exploring a new park. Help your dog to sleep calmly by making sure he gets plenty of exercise and playtime during his waking hours.  He will sleep more soundly and then you will also.

 

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It’s Amazing How Much Cats Sleep!

Anyone who has owned a cat is dumbfounded, at first, by the amount of time our cats’ spend sleeping.  In fact, cats sleep about twice as much as humans. Though their sleep hours may vary depending on their age, size and temperament, the average cats sleep about 13 – 16 hours per day or about two-thirds of their lives. The only other animals that sleep more than cats are bats and opossums.

Why do cats need so much sleep?

Cats’ penchant for sleep is still a mystery to all of us. However, one thing that can help us explain cats’ sleeping patterns is to understand that most of the cats are crepuscular animals which means active during dawn and dusk. Many cat owners assume that their cats are active at night because they are often awaken very early in the morning. The truth is that cats actually spend most of their night time sleeping.

Cats’ crepuscular nature comes from their hunting habit. Cats are natural predators that hunt for small animals such as rodents, birds or even bugs. Their prey is most active when the sun comes up in the morning and right before it goes down in the evening. When cats are not hunting, they take plenty of naps.

cat sleep love sleep

 

Cats’ love their daily naps

The first thing you should realize is that cats are most active between dusk and dawn, which means that they sleep mostly during the day and become active around twilight. This can come as quite a shock if you're bringing a new kitty home for the first time. Your cat will waste no time investigating and getting into trouble usually while you’re fast asleep!  But as soon your cat is done with breakfast, as the rest of the world winds up for action, you'll find him winding down for a long day of slumber.

 

Cats sleep a lot to conserve energy

Cats have the physiology of a predator, meaning that they’re hardwired to chase and hunt at night. Large cats such as lions have a similar pattern of sleeping during the day and hunting at night. Although they have been domesticated for the most part, housecats still retain that wild streak. Even cats at play will display the feline primal instincts of creeping about in the shadows and, without a whisper of warning, pouncing on their target prey.  Whether your kitty is hunting for outdoor prey or tackling a catnip toy, all that sleep he gets is reserve energy for running, pouncing, climbing and stalking.

Cats sleep in short cycles

Like humans, cats either doze in a light sleep or sleep very deeply. When your cat dozes (which lasts about fifteen minutes to a half hour), he will position his body so that he can spring up and into action at a moment’s notice.

During deep sleep, cats experience rapid (or quick) brain movement. Deep sleep tends to last about five minutes, after which the cat goes back to dozing. This dozing-deep sleep pattern goes on until the cat wakes up.

Even our cats are affected by weather

It should come as no surprise that felines are affected by the weather, just like us. Cat behavior can vary greatly, depending on their breed, age, temperament and overall health. But, whatever your kitty’s usual disposition, it has been observed that cats sleep more when the weather calls for it.  Even if your kitty is an exclusive indoor-dweller, a rainy or cold day will have him (and probably you) yawning and looking for some shut-eye.

Cats are more active at night time

As mentioned above, cats are more active at night between dawn and dusk. They tend to lay low in the darker night-time and day-time hours, when other predators may be hanging about. Some cats may be active at night as well, especially when they’re kittens. But, cats are also sociable and highly adaptable. Cats will also adjust their sleep patterns to their feeding schedules, which is why an indoor cat sleeps more than a cat that roams outdoors.

Every cat has a sleep schedule that they’d like to stick with and are creatures of habit. If you have discovered a change in your cat’s sleeping habits such as sleeping excessively more or less, it may indicate a problem that needs to be checked out by a veterinarian.

Our cats do dream as they sleep

Cats are often seen to twitch their paws and whiskers, move their eyes as if they are running and pouncing on small critters in their dream. Cats also go through both Rapid Eye Movement (REM) and non-REM sleep where during non-REM sleep, they repair themselves and allow their body to grow.

Cats usually sleep wherever they want or are comfortable

Cats sleep in any places they feel fit or comfortable. The criteria they are looking for in a perfect napping spot is usually a soft, warm, comfortable and safe place. However, if the temperature is high, they prefer sleeping all stretched out. If the weather is cold, they will curl up, cover their face with their paws or even lie nearby a heat source. That explains why love leaning by a computer or anything that generates warmth during the winter time.

If you are a new cat owner and are worried that your cat sleeps all day, you can rest assured that this is normal.  These adorable felines just love their sleep and certainly need it and when they are awake, watch out!

 

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The Cat’s Purr…Soothing and Possibly Healing?

There is no better sound coming out of our felines’ bodies than hearing them purr.  It’s such a warm, soothing sound and we cat owners usually associate it with pleasure.  After all, it seems as if our cats purr when we rub them or when they see us and hang out with us.  However, the actual purring is a little more complex than we sometimes believe.

How do our cats actually purr?

While experts still haven't discovered exactly why or the mechanism that creates the cat’s purring, we do know that purring happens on both the inhale and exhale for a constant sound. Cats that lose their "meow sound" which is the exhale, due to injury are often still able to purr, but cats with laryngeal paralysis lose their purr. It seems as if the internal laryngeal muscles, which control the opening and closing of the space between the vocal chords is what creates the purr sound.

Cats purr as an expression of themselves

Most cat owners, including myself, often consider purrs to be an expression of affection, and it is clearly a communication tool. Cats and kittens rarely purr when they are alone. Purrs are aimed at other cats or people. The purr has been described as the feline equivalent to a smile or the sound of contentment after we humans eat a meal…a silent moan or yum!  And we all make sounds for so many different reasons, such as happiness, nerves, fear--and a smile (or a purr) doesn't necessarily indicate happiness.

Cats Purring Load or Soft

Cat purring can occur under many different situations, even when our felines are frightened or in pain. Some animal behaviorists think that the purr is a sign of submission that signals to the other cats and people that they are not trying to be threatened but want some comfort and love. That may be why the purr is used both in times of contentment to express joy, and during times of stress to relieve tension.  You might have noticed that some cats purr when waiting at the veterinarian’s office; it’s their way of telling you to comfort them.  Conversely, when your cat comes to you with kneading paws and luxurious purrs, perhaps that's her way of calling you mom and getting your attention.

Kittens instinctively start purring almost at birth

The mother cat's purr serves as a vibration-or sort of language that tells her blind and deaf newborn kittens her location. Kittens begin to purr back by two days of age as that is their only way of communicating.

Purring may be one of the only specifically kitten-trait that the adult cats retain. The kitties often indulge in kneading behavior while they purr. Kittens knead, or tread with the front paws, against their mom’s breasts to prompt her milk to flow as they nurse. Adult cats often retain this behavior, particularly when they purr.  We’ve all seen the purr and knead which is almost like an inhale and exhale of energy.

Don’t worry if your cats don’t purr

There are some cats that just don’t purr.   But, that does not mean they are depressed or unhappy. It may simply mean that your cat is incredibly well-adjusted, and feels no need to purr. My cat, Sammy, doesn’t purr or hasn’t in a long time (and I can safely say he is a very well adjust cat)!  In a household with many cats, the most confident cat-in-control may purr less because he's already in charge, while the other kitties purr more in deference to his status.

Cats’ purring is believed to help healing

Some animal specialists believe that the cat’s purr can serve as a healing mechanism. Feline bones heal much more quickly than other mammals, and in human medicine, vibration of similar frequency to the purr appears to speed healing.

Some studies have shown that cats can purr their way to better health. This inherent ability is unique to cats because dogs along with other popular pet animals do not enjoy the same awesome healing capacity.  It’s almost as if they heavy inhale and exhale is calming them down while allowing some ailments or illnesses to heal.

Only small cats purr (you won’t see it in lions)

Only small cats have the capability to purr, while big cat relatives like lions are able to roar. Tigers have a kind of low-frequency purr that is beyond the range of hearing and happens simultaneously with their roar. This mysterious tiger sound has the power to briefly paralyze prey.

We aren’t really all too certain of exactly what makes a cat purr, but you, as the cat’s parent, know what makes your cat tick (or purr).  Whatever the reason for our purring cat, we cat lovers certainly enjoy the sound.  It’s such a soothing cat-specific sound that makes any cat owner happy!  And, if it helps them heal, what an amazing additional benefit.

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Pet Diabetes Awareness in Our Dogs

November is Pet Awareness Month

Guest Blog by Veronica Glynn, Founder of One Dog Organic

As with humans, diabetes can take pet owners by surprise and if left untreated, can be fatal.  Statistics show that approximately one in every 200 cats and one in 400-500 dogs are diagnosed with diabetes. (1)

In dogs, diabetes usually develops between the ages of 7-10 years but can occur at a much younger age. Seventy percent of dogs with diabetes are female and 30 percent male. The following breeds are at higher risk than others:

•    Dachshunds

•    Poodles

•    Miniature and Standard Schnauzers

•    Cairn and Australian Terriers

•    Springer Spaniels

•    Keeshonds

•    Samoyeds

•    Golden Retrievers (1)

Diabetes mellitus, or more commonly referred to as diabetes, is caused by a deficiency of a pancreatic hormone called insulin which affects the bodies’ ability to use energy found in food (sugars and starch). Normally these are broken down into something called glucose which then fuels the cells in the body but we need the insulin to help our bodies use this glucose. Because we cannot convert the glucose it builds up and can cause damage to the kidneys, heart, eyes or nervous system. If left untreated, diabetes can cause heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness and nerve damage.

While diabetes is not curable, it can be maintained with proper medication, diet and exercise. When these three items are properly maintained, your pet can live a long and healthy life.  Below are some signs and symptoms to watch out for. Always contact your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns.

 

Pet Diabetes Awareness

 

Early signs and symptoms:

Excessive urination

Excessive thirst

Hunger

Weight loss even with normal appetite

A dog who is affected by diabetes will be hungry a lot of the time due to the glucose not getting converted to energy and making its way to the brain. The glucose levels in the brain are too low so it keeps sending out the signal “I’m hungry!!”

Later signs and symptoms

Anorexia or complete loss of appetite
Lethargy and depression
Vomiting

Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) can also be an issue. As the sugar in the blood spills over into the urine, the animal will need to urinate frequently and in large volumes. This can in turn lead to dehydration, which then causes the dog to drink more water, which causes more urine which causes more… see the loop we just entered? Dogs who are hyperglycemic may appear confused, tired or shaky. They may collapse or have seizures due to all of the excess glucose flowing through their bodies.

After reading these signs and symptoms you may be alarmed and convinced your pet has diabetes. I know that my dog, Milo, has exhibited some, if not all of the symptoms listed above at one point or another. Hungry? Check. Thirsty? Check Check. Vomiting? You betcha.

If you are concerned your pet may have diabetes, there are home tests you can purchase from your local pharmacy or retailer such as Target or Walmart. I do caution people about playing doctor (which I am guilty of myself) as sometimes these ‘test-at-home’ kits can be faulty or the results may be unclear. If your pet does test positive for diabetes, the great news is that it can be maintained and with due diligence, your pet will live a long and healthy life. We had a diabetic dog while I was growing up and she required daily insulin shots and diet modification. She was a great dog and lived to be a very happy 13 years. 

 I am frequently asked if our treats are safe for diabetic dogs and the simple answer is, yes. However, because diabetic dogs are generally on special diets, I like for owners to get the okay from their veterinarian prior to feeding their pet new foods. After much research and careful consideration, we will be announcing a new recipe this holiday season specifically for our diabetic canines. We are so excited to offer a safe, nutritious treat that pet parents can feel confident feeding their beloved pet. If you have a diabetic canine and would like to be included in our pre-launch testing and sampling, please email me at vglynn@onedogorganic.com. Participating in our product testing is a great way to try new recipes and get free cookies!

See below for more information or for helpful tools to help you with your pet’s diabetes.

1.    Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine’s brochure on feline diabetes provides a link to a wonderful website on home glucose testing in dogs and cats. (2)

2.    The Food and Drug Administration approved the VetPen in March of 2014. The VetPen is the first insulin pen approved for use in dogs and cats with diabetes. For cats and dogs needing insulin, the use of this pen may make dosing more precise and giving insulin easier for pet owners. Dogs and cats receiving proper treatment for their diabetes have the same expected lifespan as those dogs without diabetes. (3)

3.    For nutritional information about your cat or dog with diabetes, the University of California Davis provides excellent information. (4)

About One Dog Organic: Founded in 2014, we are dedicated to making organic dog treats using 100% human-grade, GMO-free, fresh ingredients from the USA. Using pet nutritionist-approved recipes, every treat is made by hand in small batches to ensure freshness and quality. Our trusted recipes do not include chemical preservatives, artificial colors, flavorings, salt, hormones, fillers or by-products. If we won’t eat it, we won’t sell it! All of our treats are rigorously human tested for quality, and every product must receive the “paw” of approval.  Take a look at http://www.onedogorganic.com and begin making the change to a safe, nutritious treat for your pet today.

Source:

  1. http://www.diabetescare.net/authors/clara-schneider/dogs-and-cats-with-diabetes#ixzz3I2RU3bjl
  2. http://www.sugarcats.net/sites/harry/bgtest.htm
  3. http://www.merck-animal-health-usa.com/news/2014-3-19.aspx%20and%20here:%20  http://www.vetsulin.com/cat-owner/faq.aspx#c11
  4. http://nutrition.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/client_info_sheets/diabetes_mellitus.cfm

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Do Our Pets Grieve?

We all know how hard it is to lose one of our beloved furry family members when they cross to the rainbow bridge.  The mourning and sadness we feel is profound and we never forget our pets but learn how to cope with the grief.  However, what happens when our pets outlive us?  Do our pets grieve for their owners?

Studies show that both cats and dogs sense the loss of another pet, especially if they were close friends.  Cats can usually deal with the grief more readily and/or just don’t show the loss as readily.  Pets may also show signs of loss and mourning in ways that the remaining family or caretaker may not recognize. Although somewhat different, dogs do feel the loss of loved ones. Many dogs have a significant degree of attachment to their owner that leads to anxiety and distress when even short-term separation such as a vacation occurs and therefore the loss can be felt deeply.

Do all dogs feel the loss of their owner?

Dogs that are extremely attached to their owner and have a sense of separation anxiety are likely to be hit hard following their owners passing.  Some of the signs of these types of dogs are when the following has occurred in the past: bark, whine or howl immediately after you leave, exhibit destructive behavior in your absence (and often directed toward doors and windows); house soiling when you are away and/or depression when you go for a short trip.

Do Our Pets Grieve1

While we can't ask a dog how he feels, we can (and do) sometimes see all the visible signs of depression in grieving dogs that we see in a recently bereaved or an otherwise depressed person.  Dogs that are mourning will be unenthusiastic and lethargic, mope, eat less, become anti-social, sleep more or sometimes show the opposite spectrum and are restless.  Most dogs will lose weight and mope.  The signs are not that different than a human in mourning.

Dogs, like people, will usually get over their depression in time

As time goes on, dogs like humans, will become less depressed over time.  It can last a few months and sometimes even longer depending on the bond of the dog with his owner.

Below are some recommendations on how a new caretaker can help our dogs get through the loss of a loved one:

Allow time to heal the wounds and merely be supportive and loving to our dogs. Make sure the grieving dog continues to eat and drink, even if this means helping the dog eat his favorite foods.  Keep the dog on the same amount of food and maybe extra treats.  Spoil the dog!

If possible, try to have the dog with you or the new caretaker during the daytime and at night. Have the dog sleep in the bedroom with his caretaker or new family so he can have a new sense of belonging.

Provide distractions during the day such as toys, delicious food treats, games, daily walks so that the dog is gainfully entertained. Some coaxing may be necessary to get the dog off the couch and up!

Try to interest the dog in interacting with people or dogs. Sometimes a visitor dog to the house will stimulate the affected dog's appetite and activity to help get over the grief.

Daily exercise is extremely important as it has a calming, soothing, and mood elevating effect. Aerobic (running) exercise is best if this can be done to get the dog’s happiness level back up.

Medication, as a last resort, must be prescribed by a veterinarian and only when the anxiety is too severe for a dog to handle.

A dog’s grief is proportional to the bond with the owner

As much as we love our dogs, their separation anxiety and grief is directly proportional to the strength of the bond with us and is a function of the dog's reliance and dependence on us. Owners who feed into a dog's intense dependence on them are more likely to have dogs that do not cope well when left alone for any reason. The emotional pain dogs feel on their owners death is an extension of, an extreme version of separation anxiety.  It isn’t recommended that you detach yourself to your dog, but try to make it healthy.  If they are independent, your dogs will be better suited to deal with all kinds of separation anxiety, even just leaving them for the day.

Think of your pets as your kids

If you have friends or family that take care of your dog or dogs when you are away, have a plan in case something happens to you.  We want to make sure that our dogs or even cats are left in good hands with a home that will love them.  We spend so much time with our pets and they give us so much love that we need to think ahead as to whom and how they will be cared for in our absence.

 

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