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Signs of separation anxiety in dogs D ogs are loyal and beloved companions that make great household pets. When leaving for work in the morning, dog owners may lament that they can’t take their furry friends with them. But it turns out those dogs might be even more upset that they can’t follow their owners out the door each morning. Separation anxiety is a significant issue that can affect any breed of dog. According to the ASPCA, separation anxiety is triggered when dogs become upset because they’ve been separated from their guardians, such as in the morning when owners leave for work. Separation anxiety is a very difficult problem for dogs, creating a sense of distress that can pave the way for destructive and potentially harmful behaviors. Dog owners may wonder what they can do to soothe their dogs’ anxiety so they can be left alone without experiencing the fear or distress associated with separation anxiety. Learning to recognize the symptoms of separation anxiety is a great first step in that healing process. • Urinating and defecating: Some dogs urinate or defecate when left alone, even if they’re potty trained. This is a sign of separation anxiety. The ASPCA notes that dogs that urinate or defecate in the presence of their owners are probably not suffering from separation anxiety but a different issue, and such behavior should be discussed with a veterinarian. • Barking and howling: Dogs experiencing separation anxiety may persistently bark or howl when separated from their guardians. Neighbors may complain that dogs continuously bark throughout the day, which can signal to owners that their dogs are experiencing separation anxiety. The ASPCA notes that barking or howling is typically only triggered by being left alone. • Destructive behaviors: Destructive behaviors when left alone, such as chewing on objects, door frames or window sills, is a telltale sign of separation anxiety. Some dogs will dig at doors and doorways, perhaps in an attempt to escape the home and follow their guardians out the door, or destroy household objects, including furniture. These destructive behaviors not only aggravate owners, but they also pose a significant injury risk to dogs. Dog owners typically do not witness the destructive behavior, which can cause injuries like broken teeth, cut and scraped paws and damaged nails. • Coprophagia: Some dogs defecate and then consume all or some of their excrement when left alone. This is all called coprophagia and likely won’t occur when owners are present. Dogs that act up when owners leave home aren’t being destructive for the sake of being disruptive. In fact, these dogs are often suffering from separation anxiety, the recognition of which can be the first step toward helping dogs overcome this troubling condition. Understanding feline diabetes D iabetes is a condition most often associated with humans. But this potentially debilitating disease can even affect pets, including the family cat. Feline diabetes can greatly affect cats’ quality of life. The Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine estimates that between 0.2 and 1 percent of cats in the general population suffer from feline diabetes. While that’s a low number, the potential dangers faced by cats with undiagnosed cases of feline diabetes makes it imperative that cat owners understand this disease and how to recognize it. What is DiaBetes? The cells in a cat’s body require sugar in the form of glucose for energy. Glucose in the blood requires the hormone insulin, which serves as something of a key that unlocks the doors to the cells, making them capable of employing the glucose for energy. The insulin attaches to the cells and lets the body know when to absorb the glucose. That process is essential for muscle function. When a cat has type 1 diabetes, glucose concentrations are high because of a decrease in insulin production. Type 2 diabetes, which is more common among felines than type 1, occurs when glucose levels are high because the cells are not responding to the insulin in an appropriate way. What are some signs that may inDiCate the presenCe of feline DiaBetes? Diabetes deprives the body of a necessary energy source, so when cats are suffering from diabetes, be it type 1 or type 2, weight loss is likely to occur. That weight loss occurs because cats’ bodies will turn to sources other than glucose for energy. In these instances, the body breaks down fats and proteins, resulting in weight loss. The CUCVM notes that this weight loss occurs even though cats’ appetites increase. Excessive thirst and urination is another potential indicator of feline diabetes. Cats’ bodies respond to elevated levels of glucose in their blood by excreting excessive amounts of the glucose in their urine. That high concentration of glucose in the urine pulls excessive amounts of water into the urine. According to the CUCVM, this results in increased urine volume, increased urinary water loss, a higher likelihood of dehydration, and an increase in thirst. Some cats experience nerve damage in their hind limbs as a result of feline diabetes. However, the CUCVM notes that this is a rare occurrence. Cat owners who suspect their cats may be suffering from diabetes should report their concerns to their veterinarians immediately. Treatment can be very effective and restore quality of life to cats. Get the scoop on pet food safety T oday’s consumers are more conscious than ever before regarding the foods and other substances they put in their bodies. It would stand to reason that those same concerned individuals also would extend that caution to the meals they feed their pets, as the basic principles of food safety also apply to pet foods and treats. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it is key to pick the right foods for pets, and to consider some important information before purchasing anything. The CDC does not recommend feeding raw foods to pets. Salmonella and listeria have been found in raw pet foods, as well as packaged ones sold in stores. In the United States, the Association of American Feed Control Officials regulates the production, transportation and ingredient suppliers of manufactured pet foods. With the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, these agencies help regulate animal feeds and impart new standards, process controls and other features. Pet owners concerned about their pets’ foods should look for approval from AAFCO as well as the FDA before feeding. Many pet owners prefer to seek locally sourced ingredients in the foods they select. This means protein and carbohydrate sources produced right in North America. Check package labeling to see where ingredients are procured if this is a concern. The same safe food handing procedures people observe when handling their own foods should be followed when they prepare meals for their pets. Before or after handling pet foods and treats, wash hands to prevent the spread of foodborne illnesses, states FoodSafety.gov. When possible, store pet food separate from human food, preparing the foods in separate spaces as well. Use a clean, dedicated scoop or cup to create a pet food serving. Follow manufacturer’s guidelines for food storage. An air-tight container is adviseable to keep the food fresh and free from possible contaminants. Pet owners also should routinely check for pet food recalls to ensure the brand they’re using is safe. Every effort pet owners make to keep their pets’ foods safe and contaminantfree keeps pets healthy and happy.