What’s With the Whiskers?

Health

 

Hello everyone, CEO Olivia here. This morning I sniffed out a cat whisker on the floor. Dottie broke one off while practicing cat-jitsu with Jerry Underfoot. It got me wondering why us four leggers have whiskers but huMom doesn’t seem to have any.

The technical term for whiskers is “vibrissae” which are a special type of hair found in many mammals, including cool cats & good dogs. They differ from normal hair in that they are innervated which means they are directed by the nervous system. At the base of whiskers are special nerves that send sensory messages to the brain.

Whiskers can help determine wind direction on land or current direction in water. They also serve as receptors for important information about the size, shape, & speed of nearby objects, ultimately assisting dogs in ‘viewing’ an object more clearly, even when it’s dark (remember, vision takes a back seat to dogs’ other senses, like smell).

Both cats & dogs can reflexively flare their whiskers & point them in a forward direction when they feel threatened. This may be part of trying to look as big as possible to frighten off an aggressor.

Cats usually have 12 whiskers in neat rows on each side of their face. Dog whiskers aren’t quite so uniform & may appear anywhere on the face or chin.  It’s best to just leave whiskers alone as cutting or plucking them might actually be disorienting for your four legger.

So there you go. I’m still not sure why huMom has no whiskers, but she says she’s okay with it.

CEO Olivia

 

Emotional Support and Epilepsy

Health

Hello everyone, CEO Olivia here. If you follow me on Facebook, you know I’ve had a rough few days. The epi monster keeps lurking around the house despite our efforts to chase it off.

Fighting the monster is very draining both on me & my huMom. It takes 24 hour vigilance on her part which often means huMom gets a jolt of anxiety induced adrenaline every time I make a noise. Is the monster back? It also can mean little or no sleep for several days. I’m often attacked while sleeping; most often in the early hours of the morning.

During times like these, my huMom has to be focused & be mindful but that doesn’t mean she’s not emotionally affected.

It may be days after an event before my huMom can take a breath & process her emotions. Fear, anger & a feeling of helplessness all come out. Thankfully she has her journal/book of #*@!! where she writes all the things she doesn’t want out in our universe.  Most importantly she has her humans to talk to. Not just her close furriends but also those in inter-webs who also live with canine epilepsy. Those peeps can especially relate to the fight we are in. It’s through these connections that huMom finds the strength to prepare for our next round, when ever it may be.

If you live with an epileptic dog or cat, or any animal with special needs, you need to remember self care. Talk to someone about your anxieties. Rant & rage if you must. Write, scribble, doodle or copy & paste images in your journal. But what I want to emphasize most is that you are not alone. Having emotional support is very important & there is lots of it out there. Reach out.

CEO Olivia

PS: March 26th is Purple Day ❤  Show Your Support Show Your Purple ❤

Sticks and Bones

Health

Hi everyone, CEO Olivia barking. As I’ve mentioned, February is National Pet Dental Health Month. Good dental hygiene is as impawtant to us as it is for you. Today I want to mention a couple of things dogs commonly put in their mouths but in my opinion, maybe we shouldn’t.

Some good dogs like to chew on sticks or bones & their humans may think this is pawfectly fine. Although this is natural behavior, especially for our wild cousins, sticks & bones can be dangerous.

Branches, twigs or sticks splinter when they are gnawed on & those splinters can end up stuck in our mouths, throats or bellies, causing injury or infections. On top of that, sticks are dirty & may have mold or bacteria on them which can be pawsitively yucklicious to us dogs & even some cats but not good for us.

I learned the hard way that bones can be too hard for some dogs. I cracked a tooth while gnawing on a bone. Just like sticks, bones can splinter as well causing the same complications. Dogs love bones & it’s culturally acceptable to give a dog a bone (isn’t there a song about that?) but they can be dangerous.

Obviously there are numerous alternatives to gnawing on sticks or bones. No matter what you chose, be cautious. As I mentioned, I broke a tooth on a bone, huMom’s beloved Destabella got a stick lodged in the roof of her mouth & I’ve sniffed out some scary tales online of good dogs needing surgery to remove splinters. I haven’t shared them because they are dog gone gruesome.

CEO Olivia