Michael Goldman here, with the Healthy Pet Network. As most of you know, we are overpopulated with dogs and cats. Many stay in shelters or worse waiting for a good, loving home that may or may not ever happen. More people than ever are helping by rescuing dogs or cats from shelters but if they don’t know what to look for, they may end up unhappy or even worst, by bringing the animal back to the shelter which is emotionally traumatizing and devastating to the animal. I want this to be a positive article series so for the next few weeks, I want to focus on the “How To’s” of finding the perfect pet for you and your family. My intent is to lessen the unhappy experiences and to greatly increase the positive experiences & relationships.

In the next couple of weeks, we will cover topics such as:

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We may not be able to ask our pets if they dream but all of the scientific data along with my own observations, point to the fact that yes, indeed, dogs & cats do dream.

According to researchers, our pets have the same kind of sleep patterns that humans have. That is, they have SWS, or Slow Wave Sleep, the first stage of sleep. This is light sleep in which the cat or dog are easily awakened. Your pet’s breathing is slow and regular but they are ready to spring into action if needed.

The other stage of sleep with which most people are familiar, and which our pets share, is REM sleep. This is when you see your pet twitching or moving their paws. A dog may bark, whine or growl in their sleep. Dogs, cats and humans have similar EEG readings at this point and we know that humans dream during this REM stage, so it makes sense to extrapolate that our pets are dreaming as well.

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Ear mites are a common parasite of both dogs and cats.  The most common ear mite found in our pets is Otodectes cynotis but what you should know is, it’s not important to know what kind of mite is present in order to treat the problem.

Ear mites are tiny, crab-like parasites that live in the ear canals and heads of dogs & cats but they can also live on other parts of your pet’s body.  They live on tissue debris and tissue fluids.  Although they can occur at any age they are most common in puppies & kittens since they have no immunity to them.  They are extremely contagious and can easily spread to other pets.  Mothers will often pass them to their puppies & kittens.  However, humans are not affected by them.

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You have just done a wonderful thing and adopted an older dog or maybe your older dog has been with you since they were a pup and you are just getting around to training them.  It is important to know that it’s never too late to do some training with your dog.  That old adage that says, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is all wrong.  You can teach an old dog anything you can teach a young dog!  Here are some tips to help you train your older dog.

1.  Before you begin any strenuous training (anything more than the basics such as Sit, Stay, Down, etc.) it is wise to have your dog examined by your veterinarian.  Sometimes the old guys can have some aches and pains that make it more difficult for them to do the harder physical tricks, as for example, rolling over. Your veterinarian can tell you if there are any lessons or tricks that your older dog should avoid.

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Even though my focus in this article is on dogs, with the exception of most insects & reptiles, exercise is important for most all of our pets. I remember taking my ferret on walks and how he played and enjoyed himself as we walked along.

As a onetime Physical Education Teacher, and then a certified fitness trainer, I understand the importance of exercise for your Pet. I am very fortunate as I love to exercise and my body feels VERY uncomfortable after several days of no exercise BUT imagine this……………

It’s another Saturday afternoon at home.  You and your dog are vegging out on the couch.  You’re watching TV and your dog is snoozing.  It’s hard to say which one of you needs exercise more.  This scenario probably fits many of us. The funny thing is just how often overweight dogs have overweight owners, isn’t it?

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