Blog Archives

Taking into account a dogs ability to handle more bacteria without getting sick as us humans do, is it OK to give in to their constant attempts and just let them take a drink from the forbidden bowl? What do YOU think? We’d love to hear your response.

It may have a bad stigma considering it’s purpose is to house and flush bodily waste far far away from the premises, but is it all bad? The debate is a rather heated one as some could never forgive themselves or their dogs for doing this dirty deed. They go to great lengths and take extra precautions to keep the bowl stocked with little blue objects that promise to keep bacteria at bay and always being sure to close the lid promptly after doing their duty.

Then there are those…you know….”other” people. People who live by mottoes like, “A little dirt never hurt” and claiming some imaginary “5 Second Rule” as an excuse to eat food that has come into contact with the very surface that we walk on.

I am one of those two people, I will not tell you which one but you may be able to guess by the time this article is read. For now, here are some reasons why not to freak out if your pooch manages to take a taste from the porcelain punch bowl and why you might even consider it as a beneficial water source in your home.

1. It tastes great!  Dogs love toilet water. Cats too, though their reach often limits their ability. While it is hard for some to overcome the association of the commode to human waste, why wouldn’t a constantly cool, mechanically refreshing source of water seem the best choice (assuming you clean it regularly)? If they’re drinking it, it can’t taste all that bad.

2. It’s not as bacteria-ridden as you think.  Believe it or not, there are other more bacteria laden sources in the homes that we encounter up close and personally on a daily basis. Kitchen sinks and shower drains have replaced toilets as our homes’ most bug-ridden spots. One study suggests that your own toothbrush is probably dirtier than your toilet’s contents. Ponder that when it’s time to brush before bed. Don’t tell the kids though, as they may welcome an excuse to try and get out of brushing before bed.

3. It may actually be cleaner and safer than other water sources. Let’s be honest, how many of us clean the dog’s water dish before adding fresh water each morning? I’m not talking about a little rinse here, I mean get the soap out and give it a good scrub. And let’s not forget that you can take the dog out of the wild but you can’t take the wild out of the dog; a rain puddle, an empty bucket, even the stream leading from the gutters, your pet will find a water source of it’s own when convenient not “paws”ing to do a contaminant check.

4. Animals have a keen sense of smell.  Just knowing that a dog can positively identify the presence of a single drop of human blood in over a gallon of water, I’d tend to think they’d know better than to drink from a fecal-ridden source. Not that some dogs aren’t above snacking in the litter box or backyard, but that’s another story.

5. It makes good back up. In the event that you are not able to get home at the time you originally planned, your dog’s dinner may be late, but at least you know that they will be well hydrated.

If our pets gain access to the forsaken fountain on our watch we have to do the mature thing and take responsibility. Knowing what we know now, it’s really not that big of a deal if they do. On the other hand, those little round blue balls that stick on the inside and other toilet cleaners can do a lot more harm to your pet than the water itself. So if you are using harsh cleaners please protect your pup and keep the lid shut.


In our last article we found out that is was normal for our dogs to sleep half the day away. They’re not being lazy as we may be tempted to think or recovering from a secret active night life (that we know of). So what about cats?! They seem to sleep even more frequently than dogs. Cats sleep an average of fifteen hours a day, and some can sleep up to twenty hours in a twenty-four hour period. Which raises the question: Why do cats sleep so much?


The first thing you should realize is that cats are most active between dusk and dawn, which means that they sleep mostly during the day and become active around twilight. This can come as quite a shock if you’re bringing a new kitty home for the first time. Your cat will waste no time investigating and getting into trouble — usually while you’re fast asleep!  But as soon your cat is done with breakfast, as the rest of the world winds up for action, you’ll find him winding down for a long day of slumber.


 Cats have the physiology of a predator, meaning that they’re hardwired to give chase and hunt — mainly at night. Large cats such as lions have a similar pattern of sleeping during the day and hunting at night. Although they have been domesticated for the most part, housecats still retain that wild streak. Even cats at play will display the feline primal instincts of creeping about in the shadows and, without a whisper of warning, pouncing on their target prey.

And hunting prey takes an amazing amount of energy. Whether your kitty is hunting for outdoor prey or tackling a catnip toy, all that sleep he gets is reserve energy for running, pouncing, climbing and stalking.


Like people, cats either doze in a light sleep or sleep very deeply. When your cat dozes (which lasts about fifteen minutes to a half hour), he will position his body so that he can spring up and into action at a moment’s notice.

 During deep sleep, cats experience rapid (or quick) brain movement. Deep sleep tends to last about five minutes, after which the cat goes back to dozing. This dozing-deep sleep pattern goes on until the cat wakes up. Kittens and older cats tend to sleep more than the average-aged adult cat.


It should come as no surprise that felines are affected by the weather, just like us. Cat behavior can vary greatly, depending on their breed, age, temperament and overall health. But, whatever your kitty’s usual disposition, it has been observed that cats sleep more when the weather calls for it. Yes, even if your kitty is an exclusive indoor-dweller, a rainy or cold day will have him (and probably you) yawning and looking for some shut-eye.


Cats are crepuscular — which means that they are most active during the twilight hours of dawn and dusk. They tend to lay low in the darker night-time and day-time hours, when other predators may be hanging about. Some cats may be active at night as well, especially when they’re kittens. But, cats are also sociable and highly adaptable. This means that a cat is apt to adjust his sleeping habits so he can spend more time with his loved ones — meaning you. Cats will also adjust their sleep patterns to their feeding schedules, which is why an indoor cat sleeps more than a cat that roams outdoors.

Whether your cat is a spry kitten or a mature feline, his level of interaction and activity depends a lot on whether he’s constantly recharging his kitty battery. Cats may sleep a lot, but when they’re awake, they sure make the most of their time!


I have always been amazed at how after a night of sleep I wake up to start my day and our dog is staring at me blankly, not knowing what to do with himself, and just waiting for me to crate him. Sometimes he actually goes into the crate on his own. From there is snoozes for a couple of extra hours. How could he be so tired at 7:00 in the morning after a nights rest? My first theory was that he must be awake at night patrolling the house because that is something he does during the daytime as well, but after some research I realized that it is a normal behavior for dogs to sleep so much. 

It is normal for dogs to spend a good part of their life sleeping because that’s how they’re genetically designed. The time to worry is when your dog isn’t sleeping as much as he used to. Changes in sleeping patterns can indicate a problem such as a health issue or stress.


All dogs sleep a lot, some more than others. In fact, depending on the breed, your dog might sleep up to 18 hours a day. According to Pet Place, larger breeds sleep more. On average, a dog sleeps about 12 hours or so. Dogs don’t sleep the way we do. Instead, they take a lot of short naps. This helps them recharge their energy quickly, so they can be ready to get up and go again.


Wild dogs tend to be very active at night, often hunting in the darkness. Domestic dogs have adapted to their humans’ schedules, though, and they might snooze the night away as long as they have a comfortable place for it, complete with a comfy bed and also a room at an appropriate temperature.


Just like humans, dogs experience REM (rapid eye movement) sleep cycles. These are the deepest sleep cycles, necessary for the brain to process information. Since dogs sleep for short periods only, they need to sleep often in order to get enough REM sleep and be able to keep their brains in top working condition. While it takes humans 90 minutes to reach REM, dogs will reach REM in about 15 minutes, according to Perfect Puppy Care. This means they can wake and go back to sleep and be back in that vital REM sleep quickly. If you’ve ever seen your dog making weird sleeping noises or kicking his legs, you’ve seen REM sleep.


While tons of napping is common, your dog should not be asleep all the time. In between naps, he should be active and moving around. If you think Doggie is sleeping too much, he might be suffering from depression or a medical condition and need to take a visit to the vet. Some medications also cause sleepiness. Old dogs also sleep more, as do newborn puppies.


Yesterday we looked at many different reasons why a house-trained adult dog would suddenly begin urinating in the house. If you have ruled out any medical conditions then consider that your dog may be “marking his territory.” It is well known that dogs are territorial animals. They let other animals know what areas belong to them by urinating in a certain spot.

Your dog may be urine-marking if the issue is mostly urination. Dogs rarely mark with feces. Markings are a small amount of urine found principally on walls, cabinets and other vertical surfaces for male leg lifters. Even if your dog is a squatter not a lifter, she may still be marking with urine. Non-spayed or non-neutered intact dogs are more likely to mark their territory, however, even spayed or neutered dogs will mark if there are other intact pets in the house. One clear sign is when your dog urinates on things that are newly introduced to the house (a new piece of furniture, your friend’s purse, or new baby’s belongings); on things that have unusual odors, or on things that smell of another dog or cat. Another common scenario is when your dog is clashing with another dog or cat in the house. When a “pack” is not getting along, your dog may urinate in an attempt to establish dominance over the others

In order to reduce the odds of your dog urine marking in the home, spay or neuter him as soon as your vet recommends. Spaying or neutering could stop marking completely, but, if your dog has urine-marked for quite awhile prior to spaying or neutering, the behavior may continue. Also, take care of fights or dominance issues between your dogs. Having a healthy pack structure in your home where you are the pack leader is essential to eliminate dog behavior issues including. If your dogs marking is triggered by dogs being walked by your house or other animals, try to limit your dog’s ability to see these outside animals from inside your house. If you can’t keep your dog from the windows or doors, try to control the presence of other animals outside the house. There are sprays and plants that can help.

When urine-marking occurs, clean the area immediately. Clean with a stain and odor remover made for especially for pet stains to discourage the dog from returning to this spot. In areas where your dog has urinated try to keep him from it or take away the attraction. For example, if he has urine-marked a house plant, move the plant to another spot he can’t get to. If you can’t do this, try to change the meaning of those spots to your pet. If you feed or play with your dog in those spots, he will be less likely to remark there. Try to keep things that could encourage your dog to mark out of reach. Items such as visitors’ possessions and new things should be placed in a closet or cabinet for a while.

If your pet is urine-marking in reaction to an addition to your household (i.e., a new roommate, spouse, new baby, etc.), have that person and your dog get to know each other. Have them feed and play with your dog. With a new baby, give him lots of positive reinforcement, treats, and toys when the baby is around. If your dog urinates on your new baby’s stuffed toy, it isn’t from spite or jealousy. The unusual odors and noises of a new baby in the house are driving him to remark his territory and the new things in it. Be patient and help your dog to learn that the new arrival can be a bundle of joy for him as well.

Learn the signs that indicate your dog is about to urinate and watch for them when he is inside. If he starts, stop him by clapping or making other loud noises and bring him out to the yard. If he goes, praise him and give him a treat. If you find yourself in situations where you can’t keep an eye on him, put him in the crate, or place him in a small room where he hasn’t urine-marked. Another option is to put him on his leash and hook the leash to you to provide consistent accountability.

Make your dog work for his treats and rewards. This is a safe, non-challenging way to show you are the leader. It works on the premise that your dog must work for what he wants. Teach him basic obedience commands such as sit, stay, or down. Have him perform one of these commands before routine things like feeding or walks. Making it known to your dog that you are the leader will help to establish the hierarchy and reduce his need to urine-mark.

As tempting as it is, do not seek to punish your pooch for urine marking. After he has done his deed, he will not be able to make the connection that the behavior was what warranted it and you will create a dog who is fearful of his handler. While urine marking is often associated with dominance issues, anxiety can also be an option. An anxious dog may be stressed further by the sight and smells of other animals. If your dog is feeling overly stressed, think about talking to your vet about medications that may help while you work on his behavior through training.


If your normally well behaved dog is having “accidents” in the house, take note. From having a medical condition to marking his territory, there are many legitimate reasons why your dog might urinate in the house. The key is being able to determine what your dog is trying to communicate to you. Here is a list of common reasons why dogs urinate in the house:

1. Changes in the family A child leaving for college, a birth or death, or a divorce can cause distress in many dogs.

2. Home renovations Remodeling the house, especially with workmen coming and going, can lead to house-training problems. Even a new carpet with different smells can cause some dogs to leave their scent by urinating on it.

3. Deviations in the daily household routine Dogs feel secure when the family sticks to the daily schedule. If the dog is used to relieving himself at specific times during the day and his schedule is changed, he might have a hard time coping with it. When possible, make changes slowly so the dog can adjust.

4. Feeling stressed or overly excited Some dogs will leak small amounts of urine when overly excited, fearful, or stressed — it’s called submissive urination. Although more common in puppies, some adult dogs will also do this. It’s most often seen when a person is greeting the puppy or dog.

5. Hormone induced incontinence Spayed, middle-aged or senior female dogs might become incontinent due to a lack of estrogen. Estrogen helps maintain muscle tone of the urethral sphincter.

6. Age-related diseases Kidney disease, cognitive dysfunction syndrome and other conditions affecting senior and geriatric dogs can cause them to urinate more frequently or become incontinent.

7. Other health problems Infections, tumors, spinal cord injuries, kidney disease and problems with the bladder can cause incontinence in dogs of any age and can lead to house-training accidents. Diseases that cause increased drinking may result in increased urination and accidents.

8. Side effects of medications Some drugs can cause the dog to relieve himself more often and trigger house-training accidents. Talk to your veterinarian about any possible side effects related to the medicine.

9. Something new in the environment Some dogs urine mark when they encounter nonresident dogs in their environments or smell urine left in their environments by other dogs. A dog’s environment may encompass his home, his yard, the route he usually takes when on walks, friends’ homes he regularly visits, and parks or other locations he frequents.

10. Social triggers Exciting social situations can trigger urine marking. Some male dogs only urine mark when in the presence of female dogs (especially if they’re in heat), and some urine mark only when interacting with other male dogs. Some dogs only urine mark when visiting homes where other dogs have urine marked before. Other dogs only urine mark when they become highly aroused and overstimulated in social situations. These dogs often mark nearby objects, people or other dogs.

11.  Anxiety Some dogs urine mark when they experience anxiety. Anxious dogs might deposit greater amounts of urine than dogs marking for other reasons. They might also urine mark on spots that aren’t vertical surfaces. A number of events can cause anxiety and trigger urine marking, including the presence of new objects, furniture or luggage in a dog’s environment, the departure of a resident from a dog’s home, a new person moving into the home, and conflict between a dog and people or other animals in the home.

Once you’ve gathered specific details, it’s time to consult your veterinarian and have your dog given a thorough physical exam. If medical reasons have been ruled out, work with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist to identify the cause so that you can help correct the behavior.

Finally, whatever you do, don’t punish your dog out of frustration. Don’t yell, spank or rub your dog’s nose in the mess. This will not help the situation and may cause the dog to urinate behind the sofa or other hidden places.


That is about how long it has been since Family’s Pet Cremation relocated to our new facility in Arlington Heights. It was a step of faith along with much hard work to take things to the next level but it has been worth it in order to service more families and accommodate their needs during times of grief. Our new beautiful facility offers a place of refuge and peace for pet owners in the midst of great loss. A viewing room makes it possible to watch their pet’s cremation take place if desired. The memorial room serves as a private place to say goodbye or to hold a ceremony in honor of the pet that has passed. It is a gift to look back and see the dreams that have been fulfilled and just the motivation needed as we plan for the future impact we can make in our community and the lives we can touch. Thank you to all who have been a part of the team; you are family.

“A Mundelein pet crematorium is moving its business to Arlington Heights, following approval from the village board. Hoping to create a more welcoming atmosphere for veterinarians and pet owners, Al…” Read Article Here


It’s September. That means one universal truth for most children of the world: it’s back to school time. If your great dane is acting like he ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog lately, then it may be that he has the back to school blues. Yes, even your pet can get down when his favorite playmates have gone from full to part time. This can mean his life has gone from fun and fantasy to loneliness and boredom. He may be left feeling neglected and depressed. Alternatively, if he is spending long days in the crate, he may overwhelm you with all the stored up energy that is waiting to be unleashed once his family arrives.

Is your dog displaying symptoms of depression such as lack of energy, loss of appetite, hiding or cowering, and not wanting to play? Separation anxiety is another possibility. Unlike depression, separation anxiety manifests itself in erratic behavior, including excessive barking and whining, frantic clawing at doors, windows, or fences to get out, destructive chewing, and going to the bathroom in the house. Dogs with separation anxiety will be ecstatic when family members get home, whereas a depressed dog may not even get up from his bed. If your dog displays any of these symptoms, he may be upset by the recent change in schedules.

It is important to not disregard your dog’s feelings. Instead take a look at these tips to help your dog cope with the difficulty associated with this time of transition.


Remember that it is going to take some time. If your dog has gone through this routine in past years, he may remember the routine and settle in more quickly but if this is his first time, be sure to be patient as he learns to adjust to the new way of life. Having a simple routine in place can help alleviate any stress your dog feels. Even if your dog does not suffer from depression or anxiety, he will still appreciate this simple routine, which will ensure he gets enough attention and exercise.

AM Exercise: Exercise is essential for having a healthy and happy dog. Create a schedule with your family that gets everyone involved. Each morning someone should get up a little bit early, even just fifteen minutes, to take the dog out for a walk around the block or even the back yard before the day starts. Not only will this let your dog know you still care, but getting out that extra energy means he is less likely to be destructive while you are gone.

Upon Leaving: When it is time to leave for the day, don’t make a big deal of it. It is ok to pet your dog, but don’t get emotional. Dogs can sense your emotions. If you are upset, he will be more likely to be upset. Distract him with a toy or a treat-stuffed toy. For anxious dogs, leaving a radio or TV on can help.

Afternoon Break: Try to schedule someone in your family to go home around midday and let your dog out for some quick exercise. Not only does it break up the length of time he is left alone, but it will also relieve some energy. If no one in the family is available, consider asking a neighbor or hiring a dog walker. Taking her to a doggy daycare a couple of times a week is a good alternative.

Upon Arrival: When you return home for the day don’t make a big deal of it. If your dog has anxiety, making a grande entrance will only feed his anxious emotions. The best thing to do is ignore him when you first get home, then after a few minutes, calmly greet your dog and take him out to go to the bathroom if needed.

PM Exercise: When you finally arrive home, it is easy to put off the dog. You have had a long day, you had to cook dinner, help the kids with homework, and now all you want to do is sit on the couch. But your dog has been waiting for you all day and most likely has unspent energy. After his dinner, be sure to take him out for some exercise and play time.

Following this routine will help your dog have some things to look forward to each day and help him not to dwell on your absence. Continue to monitor him, and if his symptoms worsen or do not improve, take him to a veterinarian to rule out any medical conditions that might be causing the symptoms.


Pet loss is a difficult experience for pet owners as well as for the surviving pets. Though they cannot tell us how they feel, your pet may be going through a time of grief.  As owners, it is easy to overlook behavior changes while dealing with our own sense of loss. When pets grieve, they usually show their sense of loss with behavior changes such as depression or separation anxiety.

When the cat or dog first becomes sick or starts to decline, the surviving pets often begin to act differently . For people, this can be a time of preparation, and some of our grieving may be done well in advance of the pet’s actual death. Although we don’t know for sure if surviving pets realize their companion animal friends will soon die, they certainly do act like they are aware of the changes taking place . In fact, many sensitive cats react to their owners’ emotional upset and grieve in response to our changes of behavior over the heartache.

The surviving pet may seem withdrawn and depressed. Often the personality changes and a shy cat could become more demanding of attention, while a demanding cat may start to hide. One of the most heartbreaking situations occurs when the surviving pet cries and looks everywhere for the missing loved one. Sometimes it can be helpful to allow the surviving pet to say “goodbye” to the body after a furry friend has died. They may sniff and examine the body, cry or ignore it all together. All of these reactions should be considered normal. That’s the only way we can explain to them what has happened to their friend. Viewing the friend’s body allows them to understand he’s not coming back. They still grieve, but aren’t searching for their friend or plagued with curiosity any longer.

People go through several stages of grief including denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, while not always in this order. Pets have their own process of grieving which may include anger or depression until they finally work through the situation to acceptance. Just as people get over a loss in different time frames, some pets may take longer than others.

Owners and pets can provide mutual support as they grieve together. The bond they share offers comfort and safe place to release the painful thoughts and emotions of the loved one they’ve lost. Be sure to welcome your pet into your presence. Speak to them about the situation to help you both process. Although they may not understand your words, your pet will pick up on your emotions. Be careful not to baby your surviving pets, however, as this can be interpreted as a reward for acting depressed.

Play uplifting music to lift depression. An herbal remedy also helps a percentage of pets. The Bach Flower remedy called Star of Bethlehem is said to be particularly helpful for relieving sorrow and grief. You can find Bach remedies at many health food stores, or online. Also, the herb Saint-John’s-Wort acts as a natural antidepressant but must be dosed according to a veterinarian’s advice. If the depression doesn’t lift and lasts too long, your veterinarian may be able to prescribe an antidepressant drug.

The most effective way for you to help your pet grieve, and even yourself, is to give ample time for this necessary process. Though it hurts, the capacity to grieve honors the memory of the departed, and is a measure of the depth of our love. That truly is a legacy to celebrate.


You may have read headlines and heard stories of pets alerting their owners just in time to find safety before adverse weather struck. Before we know that a storm is on its way, your dog or cat may have felt it, heard it, or even smelled it.

According to an article by The National Geographic, some pets can smell incoming rain, feel trembles in the earth, hear thunder and wind, and sense pressure changes long before their human counterparts.

A study looking of animal reactions before major tremors, including the Northridge, California, quake in 1994, and the Greek and Turkish quakes in 1999 reports of peculiar behavior beforehand, including dogs howling in the night mysteriously, caged birds becoming restless, and nervous cats hiding.

Geologists, however, dismiss these kinds of reports, saying it is “the psychological focusing effect,” where people remember strange behaviors only after an earthquake or other catastrophe has taken place. If nothing had happened, they contend, people would not have remembered the strange behavior.

Regardless of the controversy, what we do know for sure is that animals are more sensitive to drops in barometric pressure than humans. Barometric pressure is the pressure of the atmosphere. A drop in pressure means that conditions may be ripe for a storm to develop. A dog may learn to associate this pressure drop with the arrival of a storm. Changes in the static electric field may trigger the same anticipation. Dogs may also pick up the subtle vibrations that precede a storm.

Additionally, it may be possible for a dog to hear a storm. Dogs can hear at much higher and lower frequencies than we do. A small rumble which may be almost imperceptible to us, does not go unnoticed to a dog. Another possibility is that dogs may smell storms coming. Dogs’ noses can detect concentrations of chemicals in the low parts-per-million range. In fact, dogs’ noses are said to be more sensitive than a mass spectrometer. Lightning ionizes air with the formation of ozone – which has a characteristic metallic smell. This may be the odor dogs detect, or some other odor associated with the storm.

Finally, a dog may learn to associate darkened skies and cloud patterns with a storm and you may only learn of the storms imminent arrival through observation of your dog’s behavior. For some dogs, thunderstorms are traumatizing events. They are so frightened by the storm that they may bark, hide, urinate, or defecate, and some dogs become destructive, particularly when forced to endure a storm alone. Others may react to the sound, but may remain relatively calm. The more anxious the dog in thunderstorms, the more he may react before the storm actually arrives thus providing you with a personal miniature weather predictor.

Listen to your pets when it comes to the weather. They have better senses than you do, and their early warning could just save your life. Should your furry friend alert you, be prepared to find a safe place for your family and pet with some basic survival accessories in place. Don’t forget to include some pet treats to thank your furry friend for their contribution to the family’s safety.


Catnip, the herb Nepeta cateria, is somewhat mysterious to us. By simply sniffing it, cats seem to be overcome with playfulness. It is a member of the mint family, nonaddictive, and completely safe for cats. So what is the secret to its overwhelming influence over felines?

Aptly named, catnip seems to only affect cats. Sniffing or ingesting this herb invigorates them through all of the five sense of sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch. It has a varying influence from cat to cat with some being more greatly affected than others and a small amount are not affected at all. After contact with the herb cats can display a wide range of behaviors from sneezing, sniffing, licking and chewing, head shaking, chin and cheek rubbing, head-over roll and body rubbing, eating the catnip, mewing and purring. The effects only lasts a few minutes.

Your cat may enjoy occasional contact with catnip. It can be purchased at the store in dry form as well as in many cat toys. Pet owners can even grow their own plant at home allowing your cat to approach it on his own time. No need to worry about your cat overdosing as its affects are due to scent and not consumption.

While catnip is not a necessary part of a cat’s diet, it can provide a fun outlet as well as a bonding experience for you and your pet.