28 February 2018

How much sleep does your dog need?

Hello fur fam!

If you’re a dog parent, you know they love to sleep. But why do they sleep so much, and are they really dreaming when you see their paws twitch in their sleep?

Keep reading to discover the answers to these questions and more.

How much do dogs sleep?

On average, dogs spend 12 to 14 hours per day sleeping. Your dog’s particular sleep needs may vary around that range, depending on his age, size, breed, activity level, and overall health:
  • Larger breeds tend to sleep more than smaller breeds.
  • Working dogs with activity-filled days sleep less, while those who lead sedentary lives will sleep more.
  • Puppies can spend up to 20 hours sleeping a day. Growing and learning how to be a dog takes a lot of energy!
As dogs age into their senior years, they spend more time sleeping since they tire more easily.

Wild dogs and wolves may sleep even more than domesticated dogs. They have to hunt for their food, which expends more energy. When food is scarce, they need to conserve their energy. An expedient way to do that is by sleeping.

Do dogs experience the same sleep cycles as humans?

Like humans and other mammals, dogs progress through different stages of sleep. Also like us, dogs experience REM sleep.

The main difference between dog sleep and human sleep is how much time they spend in the different stages, as well as a dog’s tendency to sleep in bursts throughout the day. Dogs tend to experience sleep-wake cycles of 16 minutes asleep, 5 minutes awake – quite the contrast with our typical sleep-wake cycle of 7 to 9 hours asleep, 15 to 17 hours awake.

When dogs fall asleep, they enter deep sleep. Their breathing and heart rate slow while their blood pressure drops. About 10 minutes in, they enter REM sleep and dream like humans. You can often identify this stage because their eyes roll under their eyelids, and they may start twitching in their sleep as they dream of chasing after squirrels.

Since dogs are always on the alert to protect their pack from intruders, they’re able to wake more easily. It’s common for them to wake up before completing a full sleep-wake cycle, from deep to REM sleep. As a result, scientists estimate they need to sleep more often overall in order to get their sufficient amount of REM.

What does a day in the life of a dog look like?

The typical dog spends half of his day asleep, and nearly a third of his day just lying around. The rest of his day is reserved for playing, using the restroom, and begging for treats.

Dogs are flexible sleepers. They have no problem adjusting their sleep schedule to their owner’s needs. If you work a 9 to 5 job, your dog may adapt to spend more of the daytime sleeping, so he can be awake and available to play with you when you get home at night. Working dogs like police or service dogs have more energy, and can stay awake for longer stretches of time performing their important duties.

Dogs don’t sleep as deeply as we do. That’s why they can wake up immediately if necessary and bound out of bed to raise the alarm for an intruder or gobble up the kibble as you pour it.

When is my dog sleeping too much?

If you note drastic changes in the amount of time your dog spends sleeping, or he seems excessively lethargic, it could be indicative of a larger problem. Lethargy is a common symptom of diabetes, parvovirus, Lyme disease, depression, and hypothyroidism in dogs.

If a major upset occurs in the life of your dog, such as the death of a loved one or a big move, he may sleep more or less than usual. This is a normal reaction, as dogs find comfort in routine and a major change affects their emotional wellbeing, but keep an eye out if their sleep doesn’t return to normal within a reasonable amount of time.

Some dogs with shorter noses are also at risk for sleep apnea, which can make your dog more tired during the day due to experiencing less restful sleep.

What are the common dog sleep positions?

Does your dog have a favorite sleeping position? Dogs tend to sleep in one of three positions, and they have a reason why for each.
  • On their side with four legs stretched out: This is a comfortable position for your dog when he’s feeling very relaxed. It also exposes some of his belly to the air which can help him cool down.
  • On their back with all four paws in the air: When a dog is in this position, he’s at his most vulnerable. It’s the toughest for him to get up from and it exposes his neck and belly. If you catch him in this position, you know that he feels safe and secure. It’s also a good way for him to cool down since his belly is exposed.
  • Curled in a ball: This is the least comfortable position for a dog to sleep in, as it requires them to use their muscles to stay curled up. However, it is the easiest for them to spring up upon waking, making it a defensive position. Dogs who have been abused or are unsure of their environment often sleep in this position. However, sometimes dogs sleep curled up simply to keep warm.

Your dog may sleep in any of these positions with their back to you, or another human or animal member of the pack. In dog packs, dogs sleep to each other for comfort and safety, so consider this a high honor. Your dog views you as part of the pack!

How can I help my dog get better sleep?

Follow these tips to give your pup more restful shuteye.
  • Give your dog plenty of exercise and playtime during the day to stimulate his mind and tire him out by bedtime.
  • Feed your dog well. Some pet foods contain fewer nutrients than others, which can lower your dog’s energy during the day.
  • Don’t miss your vet check-ups. These regular appointments are a good way to identify any health conditions early on.
  • Give your dog a comfortable place to sleep.
If you choose to share your bed with your dog, like nearly half of dog owners do, make sure you get a mattress that’s big enough for everyone to fit, and offers excellent motion isolation so you’re not woken up by them moving around. Memory foam and latex mattresses are good options for pet owners.

If you prefer your dog sleeps in a kennel or dog bed, make it cozy like a den would be in the wild. Give them a blanket or even a dirty old t-shirt that smells like you to provide comfort. There are various dog beds available to suit your dog’s favorite sleep positions – big ones made for stretching out vs. small nesting beds for those who like to curl up.

28 September 2017

Run Buddy Mobile: A mobile dog gym offering fitness sessions!

There's no doubt that exercising is beneficial for leading long lasting lives in humans. Countless studies have been done and the fact is that maintaining a well balanced diet with exercise is crucial for living long and healthy lives. The same goes for your pets. My dogs are seniors and I have had both of them since they were eight weeks old. They are now both older than a decade which is sometimes unheard of in dog years. From the time that I decided to embark of a long term goal of becoming a dog owner, I made a promise to myself and to my dogs that I would provide the best care for them so I could provide a life of joy for each of my two dogs. For everyone that meets my two little dogs, no one believes how old they are. They are vibrant, active, trim, healthy and full of love. Make no mistake that this was through years of educating myself in what my dogs needed, wanted, and what served them best in order to live long lives.

You see, as many of you can relate, dogs enrich our lives. Studies show that actually owning a dog lowers blood pressure and adds years to the owner's life. It's only natural that I want to have my dogs alive for as long as possible, for the gift that any pet brings us, is well, priceless.

I recently heard about a new company called, Run Buddy Mobile, and I really loved their concept. They are not paying me to do this review, nor am I getting and free rides with them, I just simply wanted to showcase them on my blog because of what the company stands for and for what my blog stands for.

Pet owners usually lead very busy lives, I know I for sure do. The reason I even have a second dog was to keep the other one company. I felt an incredible amount of guilt working 8-10 hours daily and being away from my fur kid. I feel a little at ease knowing that they have each other to play with. I'm also at more ease because I have a Furbo dog cam where I constantly check on them during the day and feed them treats. That has resulted in a small bit of weigh gain, which leads me to my next point. Dogs are living breathing beings and they require movement and exercise just like anyone! Can you imagine being stuck home all day with nothing to do, no where to walk or run do? I'm sure some of you would be like, that sounds amazing to sit on the couch all day, but let's be honest, we all love being active!

Serious problems can occur with lack of exercise. Run Buddy Mobile explains that:

Dogs can be like young children. If you don’t give them something constructive to do with their energy, they’ll find something to do on their own-and you may not like it!
  • Destructive chewing, digging or scratching
  • Investigative behaviors, like garbage raiding
  • Hyperactivity, excitability and night-time activity
  • Unruliness, knocking over furniture and jumping up on people
  • Excessive predatory and social play
  • Play biting and rough play
  • Attention-getting behaviors like barking and whining

Most of us are so tired from our own workday that the last thing we want to do is rush home and take the dog out for a daily run. Here's where Run Buddy Mobile comes in! They are a canine exercise service brought to your doorstep. Your dog simply steps inside their climate controlled mobile unit to experience the happiest thirty minutes of their day. Each mobile K-9 fitness unit is fitted with state-of-the-art equipment to accommodate any size and breed with the utmost safety and comfort. You can cheer your dog along the way or feel free to let our friendly professionals do the work for you.

The benefit of exercise and play for your dog are many, but here are a few listed on RunBuddy Mobile's website:

  • Reduce or eliminate the common behavior problems listed above, such as digging, excessive barking, chewing and hyperactivity
  • Keeps dogs healthy, agile and limber
  • Reduces digestive problems and constipation
  • Helps timid or fearful dogs build confidence and trust
  • Dogs feel sleepy, rather than restless, at bedtime or when you’re relaxing
  • Keep dogs’ weight under control
This passed weekend, my apartment complex was having a Pet Palooza Social for all residents and their four legged family members. RunBuddy Mobile was on site, and I captured the moments on camera! I want to mention that I was SUPER surprised that my two senior yorkies enjoyed this, I was skeptical because of their age, but sure enough they had a BLAST and were pooped! Please enjoy 

☝️☝️☝️☝️☝️ Actual footage of Jolie after one session with Run Buddy Mobile ☝️☝️☝️☝️☝️

13 July 2017

Review - Chewy Exclusive Human-Grade Dog Food, Tylee’s.

Chewy is so excited to announce the NEW Chewy Exclusive Human-Grade Dog Food, Tylee’s. These formulas are made with human-grade ingredients just like you’d find at the grocery store—real, whole foods you can see and identify. To prepare this nutritiously delicious food, simply defrost it and serve it. Each recipe is grain-free and has only one source of protein, so it’s perfect for pets with sensitive tummies or allergies. This food can be served as both a complete meal or as a topper to go along with your pup’s diet.

Bebe and Jolie were lucky enough to be selected for a 30-day challenge with Chewy’s exclusive Human-Grade Dog Food, Tylee’s. I was interested in participating because I have never heard of a raw food diet for dogs. My dogs are senior pups with pancreatitis and are missing 70% of their teeth, so I take special care and concern when selecting food. I have to make sure that they can eat it comfortably without harming their gums and I also need to make sure that the fat and protein ratio is correct. I try to stay under 12% of fat and over 20% on the protein portion. We received the Turkey sample which was 13.5% fat and 14% protein.

My first thoughts on the product was that it was a cool concept. The food arrived in a box with dry ice in it, so the unboxing was fun and at the same time a little scary. I’ve never really handled dry ice before. I placed the item in the freezer and waited for my dogs’ current food to end its course.

I was instructed to take out the food and thaw what I needed for the week, however because I have two dogs I just placed the whole bag in the fridge and let it defrost over the course of two days. When serving the dogs the food, they went nuts. They barked at me and begged, which they normally do not do, nor is it allowed! I didn’t notice a strong odor from the food but clearly, they could pick it up.

I was nervous about giving my dog food that is wet, I like them on dry dog food diets as I have found that their stools are firmer and smell less foul on a grain free dry kibble diet.

I was super impressed with the ingredients in this food. It contained: Turkey Heart, Deboned Turkey, Turkey Liver, Water, Cranberries, Zucchini, Spinach, Sweet Potato, Sunflower Seeds, Tricalcium Phosphate, Sunflower Oil, Chia Seeds, Ground Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Cod Liver Oil Powder, Ground Cinnamon, Dried Kelp, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Rosemary Extract, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate.

With ingredients like these it was fairly safe to say my dogs were eating a better-balanced diet than their human!

Here is what the food looks like, it was a bonus that it was super soft and easy for them to swallow given the fact that most of their teeth are missing.

Over the next week I fed them about 3/4 cup of food a day. They inhaled their food very quickly and this went on until the food was finished. I did notice that I had to feed them more than once a day on this diet. I think it’s because when I have their dry kibble out they eat it throughout the day and that probably accounts for sustained energy. With this food, they seemed to be hungry all the time.

I didn’t notice any changes in their skin, they didn’t break out or itch which is good. I did notice that their hair was smoother and glossier. I only note this because I bathe my dogs in a self-wash station every 5-7 days and the conditioner that I always use had burst in the bag, so I skipped the conditioner and I noticed that their hair was softer and smoother than usual, I blame the food as it’s literally the only change in their routine life.

Their stools weren’t as firm as when on dry kibble which I didn’t mind but I did notice they were pooping a little more frequently. This didn’t bother me either, makes me wonder if they were perhaps backed up more on the kibble dry food diet.

My final thoughts on this product was that I really did enjoy it. I haven’t seen my dogs go so crazy for a food unless I’m holding up cheese or bacon and I can’t and don’t’ feed them scraps. It’s bad for them at their age. I was concerned with having to feed them more than once a day, as they were always seeming to be hungry on this food.

I would like to give the other flavors a try, perhaps something with a higher calorie and protein content.

Disclaimer: This food was provided to us by Chewy for an honest review.