Reposted from Parade.com ~ July 18, 2014
By Alison Gwinn
If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, then cats and dogs must come from Jupiter. How else to explain some of their, well, alien behaviors? Just what, exactly, is a dog thinking when he rolls around in something stinky? If a cat naps on a computer keyboard, is it because she’s expecting an email? We went to the experts (the human kind!) for answers.
My dog seems to run in his sleep. Could he be dreaming?
Perhaps. “We can’t really ask them,” says veterinarian Melissa Bain, associate professor at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, “but
we think they dream.” That’s because their brain-wave patterns resemble those seen in people. “Dogs go through sleep cycles very similar to humans’, with periods of deep sleep and periods of rapid eye movement, or REM, sleep,” says Stephen Zawistowski, Ph.D., an applied animal behaviorist and science adviser to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “Dreaming happens during REM sleep, which is also when dogs twitch their legs, move their lips, or vocalize.” Wonder when your own dog might be dreaming? As a dog starts to doze, and his sleep becomes deeper, his breathing will become more regular, says canine behavior expert Stanley Coren in his book How DogsThink. “After a period of about 20 minutes,” Coren writes, “his first dream should start.”
Do dogs and cats have a sense of humor?
According to the experts we spoke to, studies have not yet been done to assess pets’ sense of humor. But if we’re talking about a sense of fun, then the answer is yes. We humans so prize fun in dogs, we’ve ranked the breeds on a playfulness scale. Among those at the top: Irish setters, English springer spaniels, Airedales, miniature schnauzers, and poodles. As for cats, says Jackson Galaxy, host of Animal Planet’s My Cat from Hell, “The fact that cats live willingly with us is proof positive they have a sense of humor!”
What is my cat trying to tell me when he rubs up against my leg?
Cats have scent glands on both their cheeks and the base of their tails, and they are leaving their scent marks. “Rubbing against humans and other cats can help maintain the very important group scent that serves as a social glue,” says Nagelschneider. “Cats feel affiliated and relaxed with those that carry the group scent. People have the same last name in families, but cats have “scent last names.” Rubbing can be proprietary in nature as well, and the cat may be claiming you if he or she rubs on you. This also goes for leaving their scent and pheromones on objects they want to claim to let other cats know they’ve been there. For example, a cat may mark a couch if they can’t mark you because you’re busy putting the groceries away.”
For more mind-blowing pet concepts check-out the full article.
This month’s feature pet is Julio, a four year old Bengal kitty who is a member of the Orozco Family. Julio recently visited with Dr. Margo Reid and had his first dental procedure. While hanging out with the Campus Veterinary Clinic staff, Julio stole their hearts and the decision to make him the July Critter of the Month was unanimous. So without further ado, we present to you Julio’s Story, told in his own words:
This is my story!
Hi, my name is Julio and I am about 4 years old and I am “street smart” because my previous owners abandoned me, probably for health issues, and I was discovered by a “good Samaritan” who was walking his dog as I wandered the “mean streets.” I was placed in a foster home for Bengals in August of 2011. They called me “Lieutenant Julio” because I must know everything going on in the house.
I immediately reached out for my new mom when I saw her because I knew we would be a great team. I jumped into her arms to give her hugs and the deal was sealed. That was the day I adopted her. She also got me a step-brother named “Rusty” who mom says was too cute to pass up. He keeps me company and provides me with plenty of exercise.
I follow my new mom everywhere, meowing, even into the bathroom. I love the water and she finally picked me up and let me take a shower. After she discovered how much I like water, she shares showers with me all the time. Well that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
For more info regarding the alluring and exotic nature of the Bengal cat check out our most recent newsletter.
Warmer days tempt us to spend more time outdoors, frequently in the company of our dogs, who enjoy running and rolling in the grass and sniffing the flowers. The downside of this wonderful time of year is the potential for all of those lovely growing things to provoke allergic reactions.
Like us, dogs develop environmental allergies. Is this a condition we just have to contend with year after year, or is there something more we can do to help our pups?
In an allergic condition, the immune system overreacts to a perceived invader. Normally, a dog’s immune system can distinguish between a threat and a non-threat. Pollen and other mild allergens are essentially non-threats and really shouldn’t cause an immune reaction, but in some dogs, they do, for reasons not yet fully understood.
Allergy symptoms come in many forms, from increased sneezing and running eyes to itchy skin and rashes. Humans reach for tissues, but dogs don’t have this option, so they rub their face on the floor or ground and paw at their eyes. In cases of atopic dermatitis, a skin disorder, increased ear-scratching and foot-licking are common; all of this scratching and licking can result in secondary bacterial skin infections, which further complicate the overall problem.
Veterinarians traditionally rely on either antihistamines or corticosteroids to ease the symptoms, and prescribe antibiotics in cases of infection…
In the end, allergies are, unfortunately, common in both dogs and their people. Those who are willing to dig down and address the root cause of the allergic response may be able to not only improve the immediate condition, but also have a dramatic impact on their dogs’ health and longevity as well as reduce the need for many prescription medications.
Everybody loves a good comeback story. Our friend Nikko the Husky mix had a rough start in life luckily things turned around for him. Jing and Gary, his human companions, nurtured and loved this adorable pup until he became the handsome boy he is today. Our staff were unanimous in nominating Nikko as our March “critter.” Here’s his happy tale!
We’re so grateful that he’s turned out to be both such a healthy and
loving companion, particularly since when he was first rescued he was
37lbs and had chronic belly aches and a few non-stop vomiting
incidents that had us running to Campus Vet. Nikko now weighs in at a
‘husky’ 64lbs (we gotta lighten up on the treats!) and has grown from
being a punky, street dog with a rebellious attitude to well-behaved
and a somewhat mellow boy. He’s also super relaxed – during his first
thunder storm he fell asleep in what we now know is his favorite
position – upside down, dead-bug pose.
Likes: the kids in the neighborhood, pig ears, running away from dad
(towards mom) when getting ready to be taken on a walk, audibly
passing gas, other dogs’ balls, pack walks with friends, tiny sticks,
squirreling and shedding.
Dislikes: the home alarm system