Do Fish Sleep?

Everyone needs sleep. Every night average people perform a sleep ritual: We change into pajamas, crawl into our soft comfy beds, close our eyes and enter into a restful state. Our hearts slow down, we breathe slowly and regularly, and our muscles become relaxed. Once or twice an hour we roll over, but we are no longer tuned in to our environment. We spend about 8 hours a day sleeping – that’s one third of our lives.

Sleep means different things to different forms of animal life. The Saunders Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary sums it up pretty well: A period of rest during which volition and consciousness are in partial or complete abeyance and the bodily functions partially suspended; a behavioral state marked by characteristic immobile posture and diminished but readily reversible sensitivity to external stimuli.

Most animals have some daily pattern of rest and activity, and in many species these daily cycles are similar to people running around during the day then lying down at night and doing nothing or sleeping. It is believed that fish are no different, although it is a controversial subject. Some fish keep very still, experiencing a quiet period (quiescence) that you might call sleep. Scuba divers often handle reef fish in the middle of the night without startling them and can even lift some species out of the water before they awaken. Tropical freshwater fish in home aquaria appear to be resting immediately after turning the lights on in a room that has been darkened for several hours. Unfortunately, fish have no eyelids so it is difficult to tell whether they are asleep or not.

Why We Sleep

No one knows for sure why creatures sleep. But there are two basic theories:

  • Sleep has a restorative function – It’s possible that sleep helps the body recover from all the work it did while it was awake.
  • Sleep has an adaptive function – It’s possible that they sleep in order to protect themselves or conserve energy. When fish move into their hiding places to rest, their body needs are lessened and they avoid getting eaten.
  • Different Strokes

    Being asleep can mean different things to different fish. Some fish and amphibians reduce their awareness but do not ever become unconscious like the higher vertebrates do. Fish have time periods when they become less aware of their surroundings but their brain waves do not change, and they do not exhibit REM sleep. They aren’t quite asleep but they don’t seem to be fully awake either.

    Some fish undergo a yearly sleep cycle. They hibernate and their metabolic rate slows down. Although they do not hibernate like mammals, as environmental temperatures fall, their metabolic rate and activity decrease, and they go into a stupor and stop feeding. They usually adopt a position towards the bottom of the pond.

    Some fish practice estivation, a state of torpor or dormancy in which they spend time during hot, dry periods to protect themselves from dehydration. The African lungfish buries itself in mud and survives the dry season protected by a cocoon of mud in the riverbed. Carp spend the winter partly buried in lake mud, and in tropical countries many fish sleep, or estivate, through the summer months when swamps and rivers dry up. Walking perch and lungfish bury themselves in mud, leaving only an airhole open, and breathe by means of their lungs. One of the gobies of the Ganges River delta digs a burrow and sleeps through the dry months with only the tip of its tail touching the water. It apparently breathes through its tail.

    Some fish make elaborate preparations for sleep. In David Feldman’s book When Do Fish Sleep?, a scientist describes the nightly ritual of a tired parrotfish that lives in reefs near shore. The parrotfish squeezes into a crevice on the reef. Once settled in, it begins oozing a jelly-like mucus, which forms a protective membrane over his body, and then he nods off into a deep sleep.

    Some fish are motionless in the water during the night, while other fish, like rockfish and grouper, don’t appear to sleep at all. They rest against rocks, bracing themselves with their fins. Some freshwater fish, like catfish, swim up under a log or river bank for shelter during the day.

    Finally, some fish don’t hide the fact that they take an occasional nap. One of the favorite habits of the clown loach, which has alarmed most new clown loach keepers in the past, is that of resting on the bottom of the aquarium on their sides. They appear as though they are dead or sick, but this is just one of the positions that they adopt when resting.

    It’s probable that fish do sleep in some form, whether slowing down or coming to a complete stop, whether hiding or doing it right in the open. But when they sleep the slightest ripple in the water will disturb them. Nevertheless, in some way they rest, just as we do.

    Why Do Cats Arch Their Backs?

    When we think of scary cats, we are likely to imagine the typical “Halloween cat.” We usually see him from the side with an arched back and his fur standing on end. The ears are flattened against the back of the head, the corners of the mouth are pulled back to bare the teeth, the whiskers are drawn against the side of the head, and the nose is wrinkled. These cats can look pretty scary.

    And that’s the point. Cats that display this posture are usually in a frightened and defensive mode and are merely trying to look bigger and more threatening to the opponent. Turning sideways with the back arched presents the largest view of the cat’s body. Arching the back is usually accompanied by the hair standing on ends, called piloerection (pil is Latin for hair), especially on the back and tail. This is the same thing as the goose bumps that you experience when you’re frightened or cold. Piloerection is caused by constriction of tiny muscles at the base of the hairs and helps to make an animal appear larger.

    Cats are able to arch their backs because their spines contain nearly 60 vertebrae, twice as many as humans have. Cats are very flexible; their lifestyle includes plenty of stretching and relaxing to encourage this. The cat’s daily routine includes a precise and complex stretching exercise. Watch your kitty when he first wakes up. He will likely stretch his paws in front of him, elongating his body with his rump and tail in the air. Then he will pull his back up into a high arch. He isn’t feeling threatened, of course; but he is keeping himself in shape so that he can assume the posture when he needs it.

    Cats aren’t the only members of the animal kingdom that use this ploy. Several animals assume a defensive threat posture when they feel threatened. For example, the cobra snake raises the front part of the body and spreads his neck into a hood; mammals, including the dog, raise their hair or fur; lizards inhale air and hold their breath; and fish erect their fins and intensify their colors.

    All of these behaviors make the animal appear larger and more threatening and are all meant to cause a potential competitor or predator to look elsewhere for a smaller and less daunting victim.

    10 Excuses for Your Dog’s Bad Manners

    Have you ever been embarrassed by your pet’s behavior? Are you tired of the looks of disdain from family members and guests and wish you could come up with the perfect explanation? Here are just a few “excuses” you might find helpful during those uncomfortable, red-faced moments.

    1. Your dog sniffs at your visitor’s crotch.
    a. He’s getting so old. He meant to jump up and lick your face but he forgot to jump up.
    b. I’m having him trained to search for bombs.

    2. Your dog steals the roast beef off the counter.

    a. I guess he was tired of waiting for us to stop chatting.
    b. There must have been something wrong with the meat. He eats anything questionable so we don’t get sick. (Funny, it is usually the meaty main course.)
    c. Hmm, I thought that beef may have been a little “ripe” anyway – just as well.

    3. Your dog gets out of the yard and tears up your neighbor’s garden.

    a. He’s already caught three groundhogs over there!
    b. Oh, no! Spot wouldn’t do that.
    c. He must really feel at home in your yard.

    4. On your daily walk, your dog lifts his leg on your friend’s prize roses.

    a. I read somewhere that urine has a protective effect on flowers.
    b. He thought your flowers looked dry.
    c. Roses are his favorite flowers.

    5. Your dog jumps on little Aunt Millie at the front door.

    a. Such a sweet doggie. He loves his Aunt Millie and can’t get enough of her.
    b. Now don’t spoil her, Aunt Millie!

    6. Your dog sheds and most of the hair lands on your guest’s black trousers.

    a. What great pants! They make you look terrific!
    b. It’s the newest trend. And just think – you don’t owe me anything!

    7. Your dog scratches and licks himself in the middle of the living room.

    a. He’s just a show off! He knows we can’t do that.
    b. He just had an operation; he must still feel those stitches.
    c. He’s training for the Animalympics.

    8. Your dog begs at the dinner table.

    a. He never does that!
    b. He must really like you.
    c. He always picks the thinnest person at the table!

    9. Your dog barks at each newcomer for several minutes.

    a. Don’t pay any attention to him.
    b. He never usually barks at our guests.
    c. What did you say to him?

    10. Your large dog jumps up on and lies across the sofa – and your friends.

    a. Just ignore him.
    b. Does he have enough room?
    c. Just push him off if he gets too heavy.


    Understanding Dogs: How Do They Smell, See, Hear, Feel & Taste?

    Understanding Dog Senses: How Dogs Smell, See, Hear, Feel & Taste

    Your dog’s senses allow him to behave and perform in ways nothing short of magical. Dogs perceive the world differently from the way we do – we share the same senses, but with remarkable differences.

    How Dogs Smell

    The first thing your dog does when you walk in the door is sniff your legs. Dogs gather a lot of information from a quick sniff of their environment – both physical and emotional details. He smells where you’ve been and even how the experience affected you. Dogs sniff each other and each others’ secretions constantly, monitoring various physiological and emotional changes on an ongoing basis.

    Dogs live in a world of odors. Their sense of smell is their most refined sense; in fact, it is so refined a bloodhound can identify scales of skin shed by humans three days previously. They can also detect drugs in hidden in body cavities, can sniff out rats, termites, bombs, missing persons, bodies drowned or buried in snow or rubble, and even the presence of melanoma cancer. Their noses are about as sensitive as our eyes.

    The scrolled, scent membrane inside a dog’s nose is about four times greater in area than the equivalent smell organ in humans. In the dog’s nose, there are over 200 million scent receptors in the nasal folds compared to our 5 million. Moisture on the nose helps to capture scent and transmit it onto odor-sensitive nasal membranes, which cover the nose’s wafer-thin turbinate bones. These bones comprise of convoluted folds, ensuring that the tiniest amount of scent is captured within them.

    How Dogs See

    Have you ever noticed how your dog acts when you are approaching him from a distance? He sees you immediately, and he stops and stares; but it’s obvious that he doesn’t know who is coming toward him. You start talking to him, perhaps calling his name, but he is still unsure, although he will act interested. Finally, when you get close enough to him that he picks up your scent, he will run to you happily.

    Your dog trusts his sense of sight the least. However, while smell is his most refined sense, sight is his strongest. Dogs have no good biological reason to identify different colors. Though they can distinguish between certain colors, their color vision is limited and the colors may appear muted to them. Dogs see more clearly than humans do in dim light. This allows for increased movement definition of prey animals. Although their ability to see detail is limited, they are quite exquisitely sensitive to movement, and are able to pick up even very slight movement of hiding prey. A stationary object may not be noticed from a distance, but the dog will see it as soon as it makes a move.

    How Dogs Hear

    You must have experienced the result of your dog’s super hearing ability. You are sitting in your favorite chair reading or taking a nap, with your faithful pet lying at your feet. It’s blissfully quiet – not a sound to be heard. Suddenly your dog leaps to his feet and begins barking loudly, his protective bark, and you run to the window to see who is approaching. But there’s no one there. At least not at first. It takes moments before someone actually comes into view and walks by the house or into the yard.

    The dog’s ability to hear is incredibly acute compared to humans. They can hear sounds over a wider range of frequencies and a greater distance than we can. Also, experiments have shown that a dog can locate the source of a sound in about six-hundredths of a second. Their highly mobile ears capture sounds and funnel them down to the eardrum. You might see your dog cock one ear to capture the initial sound, and then use both ears to catch the maximum number of sound waves. Protection and guard dogs use their sense of hearing, along with their sense of smell, to detect possible intruders, sometimes from great distances.

    Understanding Dog Touch

    Touch is the first sense the dog develops and remains a powerfully important sense throughout his life. Mothers begin touching newborn puppies almost immediately after birth by licking and nuzzling. Touch-sensitive hairs called vibrissae, which are capable of sensing airflow, develop above the eyes, on the muzzle, and below the jaws. The entire body, including the paws, is covered with touch-sensitive nerve endings. The physical sense of touch is very sensitive, although dogs do have a high threshold of pain. 

    Body sensitivity varies among dogs, but most enjoy being stroked around the head, chest and back. The most sensitive nerve endings are along the spine and towards the tail, and dogs show great enthusiasm in pats or extended rolls and slides on the grass.

    Why Do Cats Spray?

    You may have witnessed this scene too often: Your cat backs up to a vertical surface with the tail lifted vertically, and directs a small amount of urine in a fine spray from beneath his tail. The spray hits the surface approximately one to two feet from the ground. This activity is accompanied by an intense quivering movement of the tip of the tail, sometimes treading, and a look of intense concentration on your cat’s face.

    Spraying is not a litter box problem; it is an important part of nonverbal communication among cats, helping to establish and define boundaries and reassure cats whose area is whose.

    Cats mark their territory by spraying urine in order to deposit pheromones. Pheromones are substances produced animals to serve as a form of chemical communication. In cats, several different pheromones are secreted by different regions of the body. By signaling to other cats they affect a number of behaviors, including attracting a mate. Some pheromones are used to mark objects and boundaries, whereas others send a signal of familiarity and well being. Pheromone combinations are unique, like human fingerprints, and their deposition acts as a calling card of sorts.

    Cats use a variety of methods to mark their territory, such as scratching, rubbing against things, and leaving their feces uncovered. Spraying is the most common method of urine-marking. Intact males have the greatest motivation to mark because of their testosterone-driven territorial agendas, but neutered males also spray if aroused. Though females can spray, especially intact females in heat, they urine-mark more commonly from the squatting position.

    Urine-marking can be performed with the cat in a standing position or in a squatting pose. The volume of urine passed ranges from small and almost insignificant to a regular flood, and vertical surfaces or strategic locations are often the target. There is also a type of “virtual” marking behavior in which no urine is passed at all, so-called phantom spraying, though owners do not usually regard this as a problem.

    If your cat is spraying, there are several things you can do:

  • Have your veterinarian examine your cat to rule out the possibility of a medical problem.
  • If your cat has not been neutered, consider having it done. This may solve the problem completely.
  • Clean urine marks thoroughly with a special product designed to neutralize the odor. Avoid ammonia-based products, which smell like urine. The smell of urine or ammonia encourages the cat to spray on the same spot again.
  • If your pet is in a stressful situation, try to identify and eliminate the cause of the stress.
  • Use a commercial pheromone product such as Feliway® to discourage your pet from spraying.
  • Can Dieting Be Harmful to Your Cat?

    Understanding the Dangers of Dieting to Cats

    In the United States, both cat and owner have overindulgence in common – too much food and too little exercise. Today, pet food is abundant, available, nutritious and palatable. And obesity in pets is common, affecting between 24 and 40 percent of all dogs and 6 to 40 percent of cats.

    A healthy cat’s body is proportional – his ribs can be felt and folds of fat aren’t easily seen. An overweight cat has a noticeable paunch, a broader conformation and ribs cannot be seen or felt easily. Fat cats don’t have the “tuck” normally seen in front of the hindquarters.

    By itself, obesity carries with it its own set of physical problems that can contribute to a pet’s early demise. Fat cats have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, liver disease, diabetes, orthopedic problems and even neurological problems. As our cats’ protectors, we should take obesity seriously and feed and exercise them sensibly.

    The causes of obesity are really simple: increased energy intake compared to decreased energy output. So the obvious solution is to decrease intake and increase output. In other words, restrict your pet’s caloric intake and get him moving.

    Unfortunately, unlike dogs, you cannot always safely put overweight cats on a hardcore diet, and it should never be done without the close supervision of a veterinarian. Fat cats that suddenly have restricted diets are at great risk to develop hepatic lipidosis. In fact, some veterinarians do not recommend dieting for cats unless they weigh more than 14 pounds.

    Hepatic lipidosis is commonly called fatty liver syndrome because the cat’s liver actually becomes filled with fat. It is a severe liver disease that can be fatal and typically occurs when an obese cat suddenly stops eating. This causes a mobilization of his own fat stores and results in excessive fat accumulation in the cells of the liver. This excessive fat accumulation impairs the normal function of the liver cells, resulting in liver failure.

    The cause of hepatic lipidosis in most cats is the not eating – it doesn’t matter what made the cat not eat, just not eating for a sufficient period of time can lead to hepatic lipidosis. In some cats, this condition can develop in as little as three days of not eating. In others, starvation for extended periods won’t lead to hepatic lipidosis.

    Your Cat Must Eat

    You must make certain that your cat ingests sufficient calories to make it unnecessary for him to metabolize fat. A good program for cats limits weight loss to no more than 4 percent per week to prevent problems associated with overly rapid loss of weight. The essence of weight-loss diets is to provide a proper balance of nutrients while meeting the special dietary needs. Weight reduction diets tend to be low fat and high fiber, and this makes the food restriction less psychologically stressful by helping the cat to feel full.

    Feed your adult cat one ounce of canned cat food or 1/3 ounce of dry food per pound of body weight daily or 30 to 40 calories per pound, per day. There are no hard and fast rules; your pet may need less food if he’s less active or more if he’s very active. In addition, here are a few diet tips:

  • A drastic reduction isn’t necessary; only a moderate reduction plan is recommended by most veterinarians, except in special cases.
  • Make sure that all family members stick to the plan. One person can spoil the results.
  • If excessive food intake was the source of your pet’s obesity, plan on feeding the proper maintenance amount.
  • Feed his daily portion in three or more meals, so he doesn’t feel slighted.
  • Eliminate all treats, especially from the table. These are typically high in fat and calories.
  • If dry food had previously been left out free-choice, leave food out in portions instead of in unlimited quantities.
  • Feed some canned food to replace some of the dry food. It will be more palatable and is lower in caloric density since it’s over 75 percent moisture.
  • There are many foods lower in calories. These are especially good since you can feed your pet the same bulk amount, while cutting back calories.
  • Fun, play and games help reduce weight while keeping your pet happy. They will keep his mind off the loss of food and provide needed exercise.

    During your cat’s weight loss program, monitor his food intake closely, and be aware of the signs of hepatic lipidosis. He may be vomiting, depressed, and listless. Other symptoms include weight loss, decreased muscle mass, and a yellow color in the eyes, ears or mouth. Finally, your cat may stop eating entirely and show no interest in food. If he stops eating for more than a day or two, consult your veterinarian immediately.

  • Feline Cancer: What are the Warning Signs?

    The Warning Signs of Cancer in Cats

    Not too long ago, when a cat owner learned that a pet had cancer, it meant a death sentence for the animal. But, thanks to advances in feline cancer research, things have changed.

    Cancer is an uncontrolled growth of cells on or within the body. It may be localized, or it may invade adjacent tissue and spread throughout the body. Cancer is common in pet animals, and the rate increases with age. Dogs get cancer at roughly the same rate as humans, while cats get fewer cancers. Cancer accounts for almost half of the deaths of pets over 10 years of age.

    Unfortunately, the cause of most cancers is not known and therefore prevention is difficult. One known cause of cancer is an injection, most often a vaccination, which may spur an overzealous inflammatory or immune system reaction to the vaccine. This is called an injection-site sarcoma. Other cancer, such as breast cancer, is largely preventable with early spaying. Fifty percent of all breast tumors in dogs and 85 percent of all breast tumors in cats are malignant. Spaying your pet prior to the first heat cycle will greatly reduce the risk of breast cancer.

    Cancer can occur in almost any location or body system – for example areas such as the skin, gastrointestinal tract (stomach, bowels), urinary system (kidney or bladder), blood, nervous system (brain tumors), and bones.

    Different types of tumors can grow in each location of the cancer. A cellular diagnosis is needed to determine the “type” of cancer. For example, cancer of the skin can be due to basal cell tumors, squamous cell carcinoma, mast cell tumors, lymphosarcoma and fibrosarcoma. Each tumor type within a location has a different treatment and prognosis.

    Signs of Feline Cancer

    Do you know the signs of cancer in cats? Cats get many of the same types of cancer as humans, and frequent physical exams and diagnostic tests help detect cancer before it is too late for treatment. Some common types of cancer in cats are:

  • Skin tumors. Although they are very common in older dogs, they are much less common in cats. However, most skin tumors in cats are malignant. All skin tumors – lumps or masses of any sort – should be examined by your veterinarian.
  • Lymphoma. This form of cancer is common in dogs and cats, and in cats it may be associated with feline leukemia virus (25 percent of all cases). The most common form of lymphoma in the cat affects the digestive system. The most common signs are lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Mammary gland tumors. These tumors are more common in the older female cat. It is the third most common type of cancer in cats, behind skin tumors and lymphoma. Over 85 percent of these tumors in cats are malignant. Typically, a lump is felt in the breast tissue. Although they are most common in intact cats, they can also occur in spayed cats.
  • Abdominal tumors. Abdominal tumors are common, but it is difficult to make an early diagnosis. You should be aware of any weight loss, protracted vomiting, continual diarrhea, and/or abdominal enlargement and see your veterinarian if these signs occur.
  • What to Watch For

    Signs of cancer in cats may include: 

  • Any lump or mass that appears to be increasing in size
  • Any sore that does not heal
  • Change in bowel or bladder habits
  • Difficulty urinating or defecating
  • Unexplained bleeding or discharge from any body opening
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Persistent lameness or stiffness
  • Offensive odor
  • Difficulty eating or swallowing
  • If you notice any of the symptoms, consult with your veterinarian. If found early, most of these cancers can be cured with surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of the three, and early diagnosis will aid your veterinarian in delivering the best care possible.​​

    New Pain Drug To the Rescue – Deramaxx

    Novartis Releases New Pain Drug Deramaxx in 2002

    Managing and alleviating pain is one of the prime considerations in treating animals, and effective treatment of pain is often a complex and difficult task.

    One product now on the market should make it easier to control pain in dogs. Deramaxx (deracoxib), Novartis’ first pain medication for pets, has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration since August, 2002. Although the initial approval for Deramaxx is for postoperative pain in dogs, Novartis is seeking regulatory approval for chronic pain in dogs as well. Deramaxx is classified as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).

    What Are NSAIDs?

    NSAIDs are a classification of drugs that are effective in reducing pain, inflammation and fever. You might be familiar with some popular NSAID drugs that you can buy without a prescription, such as ibuprofen (Advil®), naproxen (Aleve®), and aspirin. There are several more that can be prescribed by a physician, and they all carry the risk of causing stomach ulcers, liver injury and kidney damage in animals as well as people.

    To understand the properties of Deramaxx, it is important to understand the mechanism of NSAIDs. These drugs suppress inflammation and pain by inhibiting the body’s ability to synthesize hormone-like chemicals called prostaglandins, which are made by the body in response to cell injury. The drugs actually inhibit an enzyme called cyclo-oxygenase (COX), which is necessary in the formation of prostaglandins. In other words, by inhibiting the COX enzyme, the formation of prostaglandins cannot occur.

    COX has two known forms: COX-1 protects the stomach lining and intestine and helps maintain normal function in the kidney; COX-2 is involved in making the prostaglandins important in the process of inflammation and is also important in maintaining the normal function of the kidney. Most NSAIDs currently available inhibit both COX-1 and COX-2.

    Deramaxx is unique compared to other NSAIDs in that it only inhibits the COX-2 prostaglandins responsible for pain and inflammation. Currently, the drug is used in the treatment of pain associated with surgery, especially fracture repair and cruciate rupture in dogs. Dogs usually receive their first dose several hours before the surgery to allow time for it to be effective. Then it is continued for up to seven days.

    The drug has been thoroughly tested and few side effects have been reported. The most common side effects are anorexia, vomiting and leakage from the surgery site. If the drug is given in very high doses or for a prolonged period of time, kidney damage may occur.

    However, while generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, Deramaxx can cause side effects in some animals. It should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug. It should be used with caution in animals that are dehydrated or those with kidney disease, heart disease or liver disease. The manufacturer recommends that Deramaxx not be used in dogs weighing less than four pounds (2 kg) or puppies under four months of age.

    Deramaxx may interact with other medications, so be sure to consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with Deramaxx. Such drugs include aspirin and steroids.

    Deramaxx has not been tested in cats and should not be used in this species.

    For more information about Deramaxx, call Novartis’ toll-free Guarantee Hotline at 1-800-327-9745

    Sleep Behavior of Dogs

    Canine Sleep Behavior

    There’s no doubt about it: dogs sure know how to sleep. The amount of time spent napping varies from dog to dog and depends on the dog’s age and personality. Counting little naps and longer snoozes, most dogs sleep about fourteen hours a day.

    Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much?

    Nobody is sure why dogs sleep so much. The amount of sleep that an animal needs depends upon its species. Horses and cows may sleep only three or four hours daily, because they require long hours of grazing to supply their bodies with sufficient food. Bats and opossums may sleep closer to 20 hours.

    The various breeds of dogs also seem to have different sleep requirements. Some very large breeds of dogs, like Newfoundlands, Saint Bernards, and mastiffs, often spend a great deal of their lives sleeping – perhaps up to sixteen or even eighteen hours a day. For this reason they were often referred to as “mat dogs,” because they could always be found lying in front of the fireplace, much like a giant, furry hearth mat.

    Dogs sleep more than us, but they wake more frequently than we do. How much and when they sleep depends on the level of activity in their environment. A dog living as a pet in the home is likely to sleep more than a dog that works for a living, like a search and rescue dog or a dog working on a farm. Dogs are lucky – they are able to adjust their sleep pattern so that they can be awake when there is something to do, and asleep the rest of the time.

    Of course, today’s modern indoor dog sometimes sleeps out of boredom. You can help your pet by providing plenty of stimulation during the day – this can be in the form of toys, a companion, or plenty of walks and playtime with you. If he has enough to do during the day, he may stay awake when the sun is up and sleep at night when you do.

    Normal Dog Sleep Patterns

    Dogs have the same sleep patterns as humans. When your dog first goes to sleep, he enters the slow wave or quiet phase of sleep. He lies still and is oblivious to his surroundings. His breathing slows, his blood pressure and body temperature drop, and his heart rate decreases.

    After about ten minutes, your dog enters the rapid eye movement (REM) or active stage of sleep. He rolls his eyes under his closed lids, he may bark or whine, or may jerk his legs. During this stage, the brain activity is similar to that seen during the dreaming sleep of humans, and is evidence that dogs have dreams.

    Incidentally, adult dogs spend about 10 to 12 percent of their sleeping time in REM sleep. Puppies spend a much greater proportion of their sleep time in this type of sleep, no doubt compacting huge quantities of newly acquired data.


    Where Dogs Sleep

    You may think your dog will sleep anywhere, but some dogs are very particular about where they sleep. In the wild, dogs sleep in dens, and your dog may seek out a sheltered place in your home, such as under a bed or in a closet. You may notice your dog circling or pawing at his sleeping place before he settles. This is to make a comfortable, den-like depression in which to sleep (even though it doesn’t have much impact on a short pile rug).

    You can make a comfortable bed for your dog or choose from the variety of plush beds at your pet store. Some people love snuggling up to their dogs at night and there is no question dogs love sharing their owners’ bed. Advocates of this method say it strengthens the human-canine bond – not to mention the comfort and warmth your dog can provide for you. However, some animal behaviorists say this can upset the sometimes precarious hierarchy, because the dog may get delusions of grandeur. In other words, he may think he is higher on your household’s social scale than some other members of the family. Four-on-the-floor may be the order of the day for some of these characters.

    The Great White Shark

    It’s time to give the great white shark a break. Thanks to the movie industry that has depicted great whites as man-eating machines, this magnificent animal may be the most frightening shark to all humans. But although the species is responsible for an average of two to three non-fatal attacks on swimmers, surfers, and divers each year, its role as a menace is greatly exaggerated. More people are killed in the United States each year by dogs than have been killed by sharks in the last hundred years.

    Try looking at the great white with an open mind. They are truly amazing creatures. They have roamed the ocean for at least 400 million years and have earned their title of King of the Ocean. During this time they have changed little.

    The upper teeth are large, broad and triangular, while the lower teeth are slightly more slender. All teeth are serrated. Like other sharks, the great white continually loses its teeth and replaces them with new ones. Their eyelids are fixed in their sockets, but they have excellent eyesight and can hear well enough to detect prey at great distances. Their sense of smell, which improves with hunger, is quite sharp. Even more prominent is their ability to detect other creatures’ electronic fields.

    Great whites are the strongest swimmers of all sharks and cruise at speeds of less than 1 mph. They are not man eaters, but they are meat eaters. Along the west coast, they feed on sea lions and seals. In the western north Atlantic they feed primarily on dead whales. Meals are infrequent and attacks consist of one massive bite taken from under or behind the chosen prey. Humans who have been bitten once generally can escape if they can make it into a boat or back to shore. Sharks usually lose interest after one bite.

    As highly adapted predators, sharks play a key role in maintaining the balance in aquatic environments. However, some specialists believe they are endangered due to shrinking food sources and overfishing by trophy hunters. To remedy this situation, the U.S. Senate recently passed legislation to prohibit shark finning in all U.S. waters, and the state of California has placed the white shark on the protected species list, which means they are now legally protected from unlawful killing or exploitation.