Do your pets sleep in your bed with you? Are you getting a good night’s sleep?

Good morning – the alarm rings and you wake up refreshed and ready to start a new day. Is that your experience? Or is your experience one of restlessness, turning and tossing, and perhaps bouts of insomnia – definitely not the restful and rejuvenating experience sleep is meant to be. If your experience is the latter – one question a sleep expert would ask you is – do you sleep with your pet?

In the United States it is estimated that 50 percent of dog parents and 62 percent of cat parents share their bed with their pets. Many sleep experts warn that this practice can lead to sleep deprivation. Increasingly we are reminded of the importance of getting a good night’s sleep for our general health and well being.

The Center of Sleep Medicine at the Mayo Clinic did a number of studies after they found that more than half of the patients seeking consultations at its sleep clinic were pet owners who felt their pets were disturbing their sleep. However, a recent study surveyed 150 patients who visited the Mayo Clinic in Arizona: 56 percent of the study participants shared their bed or bedroom with their pets – of those, 20 percent reported sleep problems because of pets, however, 41 percent felt their sleep improved because of their pets. The participants said they felt more relaxed, secure, and enjoyed the feelings of closeness and companionship with their pets in the same room or bed with them. The conclusion of many researchers based on these results and similar studies is that sleeping with your pets can be beneficial.

My two cats sleep with me. The older one is absolutely no problem. Rowdy, the younger one wants to play at 4:00 AM and if his playfulness wakes me up I usually put him out of the bedroom and close the door. If I’m sleeping soundly and don’t hear him I am usually awakened by a loud crash – such as a potted plant pushed off a shelf….(what was I thinking anyway – a plant on a shelf ? Definitely too tempting for a kitten). I’m sure my sleep is somewhat disrupted because of sleeping with my cats but the closeness and companionship are worth it.

I loved this article by Bill Barol, Why It’s So Wrong – But So Right – to Sleep With Your Pets


Animals Recognized as Sentient Beings

Animals Recognized as Sentient Beings Dog Cat High-Five

2015 was a good year for animals – France, New Zealand and Quebec either created or changed their laws to reflect that all animals are sentient beings who feel emotion and pain. They are able to feel fear, sadness, pleasure, anxiety and love.

All animal lovers probably believe this to be true and do not require further evidence as proof. These changes, however, are exciting and evolutionary – they are definitely steps in the right direction. They reflect the changes in the way animals are being viewed:   as “beings” rather than as property or possessions.

The implications for animal abuse/cruelty cases and animal welfare are far reaching: prosecution of animal abuses will be easier and the punishment for animal abuse can be harsher.

Additional Information:
New Zealand:  “To say that animals are sentient is to state explicitly that they can experience both positive and negative emotions, including pain and distress,” said Dr. Virginia Williams, chair of the National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee, New Zealand. “The explicitness is what is new and marks another step along the animal welfare journey.”

“Expectations on animal welfare have been rapidly changing, and practices that were once commonplace for pets and farm stock are no longer acceptable or tolerated,” said New Zealand Veterinary Association president Dr. Steve Merchant.  “The bill brings legislation in line with our nation’s changing attitude on the status of animals in society.”

France – On 28th January 2015, the French National Assembly voted in favor of an amendment which modified Civil Law in the country. In response to the move to recognize the sentience of animals, Mike Baker, Chief Executive of World Animal Protection said: “We wholeheartedly congratulate France on the passage of the new amendment which formally establishes what we already know in our hearts: animals are ‘living, sentient beings’ that deserve protection. Recognizing that animals can feel pain and distress is an important step in preventing their suffering. This vote by the French Assembly will help ensure that animals are able to have a good life.”

Quebec:  The Quebec national assembly passed legislation that better protects animals and defines them as sentient beings. Agriculture Minister Pierre Paradis, who spearheaded Bill 54, is hoping it will help transform Quebec into a tough animal welfare jurisdiction. The bill states that “animals are not things. They are sentient beings and have biological needs.” For many people, that might seem obvious, but until now an animal in Quebec has had the same legal rights as a piece of furniture.

More Information:



Warnings about peanut butter with xylitol have been circulating on various websites and social media posts recently. We checked to see what peanut butters contained xylitol and found that most brands do not contain xylitol. Five brands that do contain it are: Go Nuts, Co.; Hank’s Protein Plus Peanut Butter; Krush Nutrition; Nuts ‘N More; and P28.

Though this is good news for our peanut butter-loving dogs it is “bad” news for doggy parents because xylitol is a sugar substitute that is increasing in popularity. The Pet Poison Helpline (PPH), states that xylitol causes hypoglycemia and hepatic necrosis in dogs. The number of reported exposures has been increasing.

Xylitol is a natural sugar alcohol normally found in small amounts in many fruits and vegetables. It is popular because of its many beneficial properties: sweet as sugar but contains fewer calories, does not promote diabetes, and has plague-fighting properties. Xylitol is found in chewing gum, breath mints and dental products like toothpaste and mouthwash. It is also found in nasal sprays, OTC sleep aids, multi­vitamins, prescription sedatives, antacids, stool softeners and many other products like ice cream and chocolate. It is sold in bulk as a substitute for sugar in baking.

Since this is an ingredient found is so many products we need to be extra careful about keeping our dogs safe from ingesting it in any form. It is also a reminder that foods that are safe for us are not always safe for our pets.

Awareness is important – check labels looking for keywords that can indicate that a food contains xylitol. Other words or phrases to look for are “sweetened naturally” or “natural sweetener.” Chemically xylitol is classified as a sugar alcohol and that is another phrase to check for. Also be careful of products labeled “sugar free” or “no sugar added.”

Signs of xylitol poisoning in dogs include weakness, lethargy, collapse, vomiting, tremoring, seizures, jaundice, malaise, black-tarry stool, and even coma or death. If you suspect your dog ingested xylitol, contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately for life-saving treatment.



November is Canine Cancer Awareness Month

The devastating effects of canine cancer have been experienced by so many pet parents. It is difficult to grasp the pain and grief this disease has caused.

Chase Away K9 Cancer is a fantastic organization that works to not only fund research but also helps to support families going through this tough time with comfort, information and awareness.

Statistics show that cancer affects 1 out of every 3 dogs, and of those, over half will die from the disease. According to the National Canine Cancer Foundation, it is the leading cause of death in dogs over the age of 10 and that fifty percent of dogs over the age of 10 will develop cancer at some point.

Watch for the signs and symptoms of cancer. The sooner the disease is detected the better the chances of recovery.

Cancer - SignsWe look forward to the day where no one loses a best friend to cancer.

For more information and resources:

Chase Away K9 Cancer was founded in 2006 by Cera Reusser to bring together people and dogs to combat and eventually defeat this horrible disease. It is a division of the National Canine Cancer Foundation. Donations received fund canine cancer studies and help raise K9 cancer awareness.

The National Canine Cancer Foundation is a national non-profit corporation dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health issue in dogs by funding grants directly to cancer researchers who are working to save lives, find cures and treatment for dealing with canine cancer. #


Good Reasons to Foster

In a recent conversation a friend shared that his children were begging for a dog.  He stated his concern that he was depriving his children the joy of having a dog as part of their family.  However, he also said that he wasn’t in a position to make a life-time commitment now.  I asked if he had ever considered fostering a dog.  There was silence and then he said, “I didn’t know you could do that!”  His kids are true animal lovers and fostering could be a perfect solution for his children and for one lucky dog.

There are so many good reasons to consider fostering – here are just a few:

  • Fostering gives you the joy of having a pet without the responsibility of a long-term commitment.
  • Fostering gives you the satisfaction of getting a pet ready for their furever home by sharing your home, time, and friendship.  It provides foster pets with opportunities for socializing and training that are not available in a kennel or shelter.  Foster pets get a chance at becoming cherished pets.
  • Fostering is a great opportunity for families to work on a project that is fun and teaches responsibility.  The addition of a pet brings joy to a home even temporarily.  There is a sense of accomplishment when your foster becomes part of a furever home.  Your family may decide to foster another pet.  Fostering can also help a family find out if it is ready for the responsibilities of having their own pet.
  • Fostering offers financial support.  The rescue or shelter usually is responsible for the financial needs of the foster pet such as any necessary medical treatments your foster pet requires during their stay with you.
  • Fostering a pet gives you a first-hand understanding of the personality traits of your foster.  The knowledge you gain about your foster pet will help the rescue or shelter find the best furever home for your foster.

Fostering is a major of time and effort.  Welcoming a foster pet into your home will require changes to your lifestyle.  AND saying Good Bye will be difficult.  Yet so many foster pet parents and families agree that the rewards of fostering outweigh the costs.

Check the  Animal Rescues & Shelters section for more information on individual rescues and shelters.

Fosters Save Lives