Category Archives: pack

Should You Sleep With Your Pets?

By Stacy Mantle

The Mayo Clinic released a study that states sleeping with your pets could, and I quote, “Make You Dog Tired.”

My initial question is: “How long did it take these geniuses to come up with this theory, and how much did it cost us, as consumers, for them to complete a study that really could have been accomplished by just contacting me?” As the owner of fourteen cats, three dogs (one of which is half-coyote) and a plethora of other little creatures that may or may not be visiting at any certain time, I can attest to the fact that, of course sleeping with your pets will make you tired.

For instance, last night in the hot deserts of Arizona, we had a huge lightening storm. Under normal circumstances, the most catastrophic event that occurred for most people during said storm was a temporary loss of power. Not true for our household. In our household, the most catastrophic event that occurred was being bombarded by fourteen half-wild cats as they scrambled under the bed covers, three paranoid dogs as they struggled to climb up on the (thankfully) large bed, and a slightly irate husband. Obviously, this proved to be a serious disruption to an otherwise restful night of sleep.

The study went on to say that, “…when a dog was permitted to sleep in the bedroom, it has only a 57% chance of being allowed to sleep on the bed.” I find this interesting mainly because they neglected to mention the number of cats who shared their bed. This is primarily due to the humiliation of cat owners in admitting that they have a choice in the matter. If these cat owners’ homes are anything like mine, they don’t have, nor will they ever have, a choice on where the cat sleeps. Cats are notorious for simply sleeping where they choose, and God help the person who tries to move them. Therefore, I’m assuming that roughly 100% of the cats slept on the bed in contrast to the 57% of dogs.

But that’s not all! In addition to this already disturbing trend, “Snoring was reported in 21% of dogs and 7% of cats.” (Again, this is more than likely due to the cats’ reluctance to admit that they snore).

The Mayo clinic study also stated that, “…nearly 60 percent of their patients with pets, slept with their pets in the bedroom.” I’ve done the numbers, my friends, and that is a lot of pets who are disrupting the sleep of otherwise normal human beings.

The Census bureau claims that there are currently 106,566,000 households in the US (a figure that I can’t help but think is seriously understated. But, we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt). In addition to this large number of people, there are 60 million dogs, and 70 million cats that currently claim “pet” status. Now, if every household in the US has one cat and one dog who own them, then that, in essence, means that 82% of the residents in our beautiful country are being deprived of sleep each and every night. I find this interesting, as the article goes on to say that more deaths occur from falling asleep while driving than from drinking and driving.

While this study does in actuality, exist, it is obvious they have forgotten several important points. First, there is little hope of successfully sharing a bed with your pets, unless of course, you are like my husband, who could sleep through a nuclear attack, without any of the following events occurring:

· Heat exhaustion from the body heat of all the animals accompanied by the average 110-degree desert heat.

· Noise pollution from the hissing, barking, growling, and general irritation resulting from cats and dogs sharing a bed together, not to mention the snoring.

· Bodily injury from the occasional night stalker cat that chooses to use your naked back as a scratching post.

But there is good news among these disturbing figures. First, the Mayo Clinic also did a study some time ago discussing the positive effects that pets have on people. These consist of lowered heart rates, a sense of calmness resulting from petting your animal, and an overall decrease in disease amongst pet owners.

So, while we may run the risk of dying in a car accident from sleep exhaustion, the good news is that you will have a much lower level of stress during the accident.

Ultimately, the risk falls to you. And I, for one, am willing to accept the potentially deadly car accident over not sleeping with my sleep depriving pets. In all, it is just a part of learning to live amongst animals without becoming one – a task unto itself.

Read more articles by Stacy Mantle

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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Being a Responsible Pack Leader

Responsible Pet Ownership is in part the ability to be a responsible “pack leader”. Here are some very general hints on how to do this:
  1. Understand your pack: This is the most important. Learn the body language of your pets. Since they can’t really speak, it’s only through body language that we can identify the reasons behind behavior. No animal attacks without a warning sign. They always tell you when enough is enough, and each animal has their own method of communicating this.
  2. Be Fair: Treat all members of the pack fairly. If one is disciplined for stealing a treat off the counter, ensure that all are disciplined in the exact same way if or when they engage in the same act. Being predictable will help your pack trust you.
  3. Be Consistent: Animals, like people, need to understand that there are rules. They also understand that there are consequences if those rules are broken. Biting, growling, or negative behavior should never be encouraged.
  4. Be Organized: Organization is key to maintaining a healthy pack and being an effective pack leader. The less chaos, the better the performance. Stay on a schedule for feeding, walks, and playtime. Sure, go ahead and introduce your pup to new things. It’s important for their development, but do it in an organized, calm manner.
  5. Training: Much like people, certain people have certain abilities and temperaments. Pushing an animal or pet into a specific task or role can almost guarantee disaster. Find out what they like, what motivates them (a ball, a treat, affection) and use that for training. The best trainers in the world use positive reinforcement and offer animals roles doing what they are already good at and enjoy.
  6. Trust No One: Don’t turn your dog into a babysitter or guardian. Certain animals are predisposed to certain roles and not all of them fit what you may view as the “perfect pet.” They may not have the tolerance level for children and if that’s the case, don’t try to force them into the role.
A Note on Trust: Domesticated does not mean “trustworthy”. I love my pets – all of them – and I’m more guilty than most in anthropomorphizing my pets. But, there are limits. Understand that a dog’s reaction to a crying baby can easily be to pick it up by the neck just as they would a pup. Their responses are not the same as ours. Realize that changing the order in which pets are fed can result in a battle for dominance. Why? Because they see things differently than you or I.
What I’m trying to say is that years of conditioning do not make an animal trustworthy. Animals are unique, each hold different roles in a pack, and we empower them to make decisions. Be a responsible pack leader and never provide an opportunity for them to take advantage.
You’ll find that these skills also translate into being a good family member and a great member of society. Like us, most animals are prey-driven and pack-oriented. They are social creatures. Respect your pets and they will return that respect.

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.