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Pets May Help You Sleep Better

Could snuggling up with your pet at night be good for you?

A new study from the Center for Sleep Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona found that while pets can disrupt sleep sometimes, they also can help us get a better night’s rest.

“If having a pet nearby helps them feel relaxed and gives them a sense of security, which permits them to fall asleep with less difficulty, then I think that is something that does deserve attention,” Dr. Lois Krahn told CBS News.

During this recent study, researchers surveyed 150 people about their pets and sleep habits. About 20 percent reported that their pets were disruptive while 40 percent said that their pets didn’t disturb them or actually helped them get a better night’s rest.

However, it’s important to note that the study did not specifically look at factors including the pet’s sleeping habits, breed, cleanliness or size, according to Palm Beach Post.

Previous research has shown how common it is to sleep with a pet in the United States. A survey of pet owners by the American Pet Products Association found that close to half of dogs sleep in their owner’s beds and 62 percent of small dogs, 41 percent of medium-sized dogs and 32 percent of large dogs sleep with their owners. The survey also found that 62 percent of cats sleep with their adult owners, and another 13 percent of cats sleep with children, according to WebMD.

Courtesy of CBS News

Climate Change Affecting Pets

Climate change doesn’t just affect habitats for wildlife. It’s also affecting cats and dogs.
 
Fleas and ticks are getting smaller, but there are more of them, they eat more often, and they’re causing problems in what used to be the colder months.
 
Heartworm is spread by mosquitoes, but those mosquitoes — which used to be found only in certain regions — are now carrying the disease all over the United States.
 
Increased temperatures have turned kitten season into a year-long event instead of a spring ritual. The weather is even disrupting hibernation for a California woman’s pet tortoises.
 
NASA recently declared that 2015 was the hottest year on Earth in 136 years of record-keeping with an average temperature of 58.62 degrees.

Climate Change Affecting Pets

Climate change doesn’t just affect habitats for wildlife. It’s also affecting cats and dogs.

Fleas and ticks are getting smaller, but there are more of them, they eat more often, and they’re causing problems in what used to be the colder months.

Heartworm is spread by mosquitoes, but those mosquitoes — which used to be found only in certain regions — are now carrying the disease all over the United States.

Increased temperatures have turned kitten season into a year-long event instead of a spring ritual. The weather is even disrupting hibernation for a California woman’s pet tortoises.

NASA recently declared that 2015 was the hottest year on Earth in 136 years of record-keeping with an average temperature of 58.62 degrees.

For pet-owners, those changes may mean rethinking preventive care like giving dogs flea and tick medications and heartworm pills.

For example, now that heartworm has been found in every state, “I don’t know why a person wouldn’t give his dog heartworm pills once a month. That seems like a no-brainer,” said Gregory D. Ebel, professor and specialist in infectious diseases at Colorado State University’s veterinary school in Fort Collins.

Ticks cause Lyme disease in dogs as well as in humans. The bugs are most active in warm months, but with cities in the Northeast and Midwest setting record highs this past December, calendars no longer offer guidance on when pet-owners should worry and when they can relax. Dogs should be checked for ticks, just like people, and veterinarians can offer guidance on a variety of pest repellent products.

Margery Cooper, a dog owner in Brooklyn, N.Y., lost her beloved dog Scout to complications from Lyme disease a few years ago. She’s now the owner of Penny, a mixed-breed rescue, and she’s vigilant about checking Penny for ticks, especially after they go on hikes together.

Madeline Bernstein, president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles, has even noticed changes in her 18-year-old tortoises, George and Mulan. They normally hibernate from October or November to April or May. But they were late going down this season and in mid-January, one of them was up walking around in 70-degree weather, Bernstein said.

She made sure it didn’t eat. “Going back to sleep with undigested food could kill it,” she said.

At work, Bernstein is surrounded by more evidence of climate change: twice as many kittens. “Flea season used to be seasonal too, but now we treat for fleas all year long,” Bernstein added.

John Trumble, a distinguished professor of entomology at the University of California, Riverside, said environmental conditions are creating larger populations of smaller fleas and ticks that will eat more frequently, develop more rapidly and spread more pathogens.

Courtesy of ABC News

Scientists Create IQ Test for Dogs

If you’ve ever asked your dog “who’s a clever boy?” there may now be a definitive way of getting the answer.

British scientists have devised what is believed to be the first IQ test for dogs, using a series of obstacles to assess the intelligence of 68 working border collies.
They found that much like humans, dogs do, in fact, have measurable IQs.

And given that dogs’ minds aren’t influenced by factors such as smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and drug abuse, they also offer a unique testing ground for scientists.

Researchers hope these tests will help our understanding of the link between health and IQ in humans.

“In humans, there is a small but measurable tendency for people who are brighter to be healthier and live longer,” explained Dr. Rosalind Arden, a research associate at London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) who helped carry out the study in conjunction with the University of Edinburgh.

“So if, as our research suggests, dog intelligence is structured similarly to ours, studying a species that doesn’t smoke, drink, use recreational drugs and does not have large differences in education and income, may help us understand this link between intelligence and health better.”

The tests may also shed light on dementia in humans.

“Dogs are one of the few animals that reproduce many of the key features of dementia,” added Arden.

“So understanding their cognitive abilities could be valuable in helping us to understand the causes of this disorder in humans and possibly test treatments for it.”

The tests included timing how long it took dogs to get food from behind different see-through barriers.

The animals were also repeatedly given two plates of food and assessed on whether they could identify the bigger portion.

Dogs that completed the tests faster were also more likely to complete them accurately, researchers found.

Unlike dogs kept as pets, the canines used in the study were working border collies more accustomed to farmyard settings, and not to games and food treats.

There were no significant differences between male and female dogs’ test scores.

 

Courtesy of CNN

YOU, YOUR PETS AND PARASITES: HOW MUCH DO YOU KNOW?

Parasites can transmit pathogens that cause health threats to pets and family. To prevent your pet from becoming a medical statistic, understanding parasitic control is critical to his/her overall health as well as your own.

Most pet owners think of fleas, ticks and mosquitoes as pests that present a threat only during summer and fall, but they are a year round reality that must be kept under control even in cold weather months. We all love those unusual warm days that pop up in December or a mid/late winter thaw—we always have one! Water and one “warm” day are all it takes to bring the mosquito life cycle alive again. In addition, while we keep toasty indoors all winter, parasites are also comfortable living in carpeting and other fiber materials within our homes.

The Culprits and what you need to know:

There are two primary concerns about parasites, for pets and humans: (1) Zoonotic Disease and (2) Vector-Borne Disease.

Zoonotic Disease is transmitted directly or indirectly from animals to humans, for example roundworms from a dog’s feces can affect the human eye and brain, potentially causing serious infection.

Vector-Borne Disease is transmitted by fleas, ticks, mosquitoes or other parasites that infest dogs and cats. Vector-Borne Diseases can also affect humans, for example, Lyme disease. In particular in North America, ticks are responsible for transmitting Ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, relapsing fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia. New England is an endemic area with a high occurrence of parasitic related illnesses.

  • It only takes one mosquito bite to infect an unprotected dog or cat with heartworms.
  • Approximately 300,000 dogs in the United States contract heartworms each year.
  • The treatment for heartworm disease in dogs can cost thousands of dollars; there is no cure for feline heartworm disease. The cost of prevention for both species is pennies per day and a worthwhile investment in your pet’s health.
  • By the time you see one flea, there could be an infestation of eggs and larvae (maggot like creatures) living in your home bedding, furniture, carpeting and floors.
  • Hookworms, an intestinal parasite transmitted by dogs to humans, can cause illness to both.
  • Ticks are infecting more dogs and humans with Lyme disease than ever before: every part of the United States now has ticks thriving within its borders.
  • Fleas can cause flea allergy dermatitis and secondary infections from excessive scratching; anemia and tapeworm infections.
  • Roundworms are the most common intestinal parasite in pets and the one most likely to be transmitted to humans. 15% of commercial potting soil contains roundworm eggs!

Battle Plan: Parasite Protection and Prevention!

Let’s review the risks if you aren’t providing parasitic protection year round because now you know that parasites can survive during the cold weather months.. They live in protective climates that may exist under the house, in garages or in rodent burrows. Ticks carry and transmit a range of serious diseases to both animals and humans, while fleas can, and often do, cause serious allergic skin reactions. According to the Companion Animal Parasite Council, fleas can cause anemia in small and young animals by feeding on your pet’s blood and they transmit the organism that causes cat scratch disease. In many cases, treatment is available but costly; in some cases the medical condition is serious enough to be fatal.

Regular, monthly administration of parasitic control costs pennies per day by comparison and offer THE best protection for your family and you. Your veterinarian can guide you on the options best suited to your pet’s life style from injections that protect for six months at a time for heartworm, to oral medication that you provide to your pet each month. The return on investment is good health!

One last tip: if you need a reminder to remember to administer your parasite prevention each month, just let us know and we’ll give you reminder options!