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Which Pet Should Your Family Adopt: Cat or Dog?

Which Pet Should Your Family Adopt: Cat or Dog?

Adopting a pet is a milestone for many families across America. In fact, almost 80 million households in the country own some type of pet, including a cat or dog. For many people, bringing an animal into the home is one of the most incredible moments of a lifetime.

But adopting a pet is not something that should be done on a whim. Bringing a living, breathing animal into your home is a huge responsibility. Be sure you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into before you make a decision that could negatively affect the rest of your new pet’s life.

For the purpose of this article, let’s take a look at what you’ll have to look forward to when adopting either of the two most popular pets in the US: dogs and cats.

Dogs

Our canine buddies come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but one thing is for sure: They really are man’s best friend. In fact, over 56 million households own at least one dog, making them the most common pet in America. And it’s no surprise why.

Dogs are incredibly loyal, and become emotionally attached to their owners. Though dogs understand humans are, in fact, not canines, they do think of their owners as members of their family. They’ll be just as excited to see you after a long day of work as any kid would be to see their mother or father.

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They’re also incredibly intelligent (despite some of the ridiculous situations they get themselves into). With time and effort, you can teach them to obey commands, and, of course, to do all sorts of fun tricks.

However, dogs are incredibly high maintenance animals in many different ways.

Dogs get used to a certain schedule, and they stick to it. Of course, this schedule is their own, and might not exactly jibe with your human timetable. If they’re used to going out to relieve themselves at a certain time, you better be able to let them out—or they won’t hesitate to leave a mess on your rug.

Speaking of messes, have you ever seen a dog wipe his feet after coming inside from the rain? They don’t. So, again, you need to be there with a towel to clean your buddy off before he tracks paw prints all over the house.

Most importantly, dogs require a lot of attention. I mentioned they are emotionally intelligent, which is a bonus when you need a friend to pal around with. But they can also be pretty needy (and nosy), especially during times when you might want to be left alone.

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Basically, owning a dog is like having a toddler—for twelve to fifteen years. I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing, but you should definitely know what you’re in for if you’re thinking of adopting a puppy.

Cats

Cats come second in popularity, with over 45 million households owning at least one feline friend. Not surprisingly, however, many of these households own more than one cat, since over 95 million belong to specific homes.

Many people tend to think a cat is a cat is a cat, but that’s simply not true. Much like their canine counterparts, cats differ greatly among breeds.

While each breed has its quirks, cats in general all come with similar pros and cons to be considered before bringing one home.

Unlike dogs, cats are pretty low maintenance animals. As long as they have food, water, and a place to do their business, they can be left alone all day—or even longer if need be.

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Well-nurtured cats are usually very affectionate and playful. Even when their claws come out during play, they likely won’t go into full attack mode unless they feel overtly threatened.

Amazingly, recent studies have shown cats’ purrs to be therapeutically beneficial to other animals around them. They may seem like lone wolf-type animals, but it seems cats do care about their owners in some way!

Of course, owning a cat isn’t all rainbows and cuddle sessions.

Though cats are playful, as mentioned, if they feel threatened, they can immediately get aggressive if they feel the need. This could lead to you or your children getting bit or scratched with fairly little warning.

Cats also shed constantly. Whether accommodating to fluctuating temperatures, or simply ridding their bodies of dead hair, cats seemingly never stop leaving clumps of fur around the house. They also don’t make it brushing them an easy process, either.

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And, of course, there’s the litterbox. If you have an indoor cat, be prepared to clean out their box at least once every two days—and even multiple times in a single day. If you neglect to do so, your little furry friend won’t think twice about using a different surface as their personal bathroom.

At any rate, cats are a great pet for those who don’t have the time for a dog, but still want an affectionate, individualistic pal to keep them company. Just remember: if you bring a cat into a home, the home belongs to them now.

Making a Decision

Clearly, a lot more goes into adopting a dog or cat than simply wanting one around. Adopting a pet can be a rewarding experience, but it can easily turn into a nightmare if you’re not careful. Think long and hard about what you really want out of a pet-owner relationship before you take on a responsibility you’re not ready for.

Featured photo credit: get a room, you guys by jeffreyw via flickr.com

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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