Thunderworks Blog

The Best Dog Anxiety Treatment

  • How to keep your dog safe & cool this summer

    Don’t know about y’all, but down here at ThunderWorks’ HQ in Raleigh, NC it is already up to a sweltering 95 degrees out and we’ve still got a few months of summer left. Now, imagine wearing a fur coat every time you walked out your door…That’s what your dog is dealing with while you're shooting down your slippin’ slide. So, how do you keep your dog cool on a hot day? We’ve got some helpful tips! Check ‘em out:

    #1 Never leave your pets in a parked car
    It can get to over 120 degrees in a parked car, even if it’s only 85 degrees outside. Even with the air conditioner on, leaving your pet in a car can be dangerous or even fatal. After just 15 minutes, your dog could start overheating. After 30 minutes, your dog could suffer brain damage, irreversible organ damage, seizures, or may die. Try leaving your dog at home, having a friend or family member watch them while you’re out, or visiting dog-friendly restaurants and stores.

    Lots of places are dog-friendly these days. Here’s a short list:

    • Lowe’s
    • Home Depot
    • Pottery Barn
    • Macy’s
    • Bass Pro Shops
    • Barnes and Noble
    • LUSH Cosmetics
    • Restoration Hardware
    • Gap
    • Bloomingdale’s
    • Urban Outfitters
    • Anthropologie
    • Free People
    • Foot Locker
    • Bebe
    • Nordstrom
    • Old Navy
    • Saks Fifth Avenue

    You can find even more stores and restaurants near you that allow dogs at BringFido.com.  

    #2 Watch the humidity
    Our friends at the Humane Society of the United States say “it’s important to remember that it's not just the ambient temperature but also the humidity that can affect your pet.” According to Dr. Barry Kellogg, VMD “Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves, and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels—very quickly.”

    #3 Take your dog’s temperature
    If you think your dog is overheating, you can take his temperature to tell you if there is a serious problem. It should never get over 104 degrees. If it does, you can follow these instructions from the Humane Society for treating heat stroke. Common signs to watch for are: heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, and unconsciousness. Some breeds of dogs—like boxers, pugs, shih tzus, and other dogs and cats with short muzzles—will have a much harder time breathing in extreme heat.

    #4 Limit exercise on hot days
    Avoid being outside during the hottest parts of the day and limit the intensity and duration of exercise at those times. Asphalt can burn your dog’s paws and pets with white-colored ears and fur are more prone to getting skin-cancer (try applying sunscreen to your dog’s fur and skin for extra protection against harmful UV rays). Simple adjustments like walking earlier in the morning or in the evenings, can help your dog a lot.

    #5 Cool your dog down quickly with a pool of water
    Dogs actually sweat through their feet (who knew? Well, we did, that’s who). Fans blowing air don’t work as well for dogs as they do for people. Try applying cooled towels to their head, and offer small amounts of cold water. For maximum cooling, let them stand in a pool of water and soak their feet. As intuitive as it may seem, don’t use ice though. It can actually cool them off too fast and constrict their blood flow.

    #6 Provide ample shade
    A doghouse does not provide relief from heat—in fact, it makes it worse. Instead, make sure your dog has shelter from the sun in a more open space in your yard. It could be under a tree, using a tarp, or awning. The more open-air, the better.

    #7 Try frozen treats
    Pop some peanut butter, wet dog food, or even treats in the freezer or fridge for a nice snack to keep your dog cool inside the house, his kennel, or outdoors.

    #8 Watch for signs of dehydration
    Other than just panting, dogs can show several signs that they need water you may not even notice. Here’s a quick list:

    • Eyes appear sunken
    • Back is warm to the touch
    • Mouth is dry with thick saliva
    • Head is visibly tired or lowered
    • Skin lacks elasticity
    • Vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite
    • Feet are unstable
    • Urine is dark or discolored

    We hope these tips help you keep your furry friend cool, and most importantly SAFE this summer!

  • 5 tips for a stress-free pet this July 4th

    Pets and fireworks go together about as well as grape jelly and tacos (actually, our dog would still probably find that delicious). It’s because of cats and dogs’ fireworks anxiety that July 4th is one of the biggest days for pet stress. In fact, shelters report the largest amount of runaway pets the day after the fourth of July, caused by fireworks, large crowds, and unfamiliar environments. Nearly five dozen lost dogs were reported at San Diego shelters alone in 2016, according to Fox News. What we associate with fun celebration, pets associate with loud noises, bright flashes, and anxiety. They may panic, bark uncontrollably, chew through leashes, dig under fences & run away, claw destructively, suffer seizures, or even run into traffic trying to escape the scary sounds. But fret not!  We’ve got plenty of handy tips to keep your pet safe and sound this holiday. 

    1. Get a Pet ID:
      If your pet runs away due to noisy fireworks, making sure your pet is chipped and wearing tags with up-to-date information is one of the easiest ways to ensure he is returned to you safely. Consider adding your phone number to his tag in addition to your pet’s name. And, it’s always a good idea to keep a recent photo of your pet on hand if you need help finding him. If your dog is picked up by a shelter, many will post photos on their websites as soon as they are kenneled. You can also use a service like Finding Rover - a free facial recognition app for your phone. 
    2. Avoid Fireworks:
      You can go see fireworks, but leave your pet at home. They have much more sensitive hearing than humans and can easily get over-excited in a big crowd. Often, pets will seek shelter when anxious, which takes us back to tip #1. Whatever you do, don’t leave your pet in the car. During the summer months, you car can get up over 100 degrees, which could cause fatal heat stroke.
    3. Crate your dog:  
      If you regularly crate your dog, he may find the crate a place of comfort during fireworks. Make sure his favorite toy is available for further distraction. A nice treat doesn’t hurt, either.
    4. Don’t Leave Pets Outside:
      Similar to tip #2, this tip goes a step further by leaving your pet indoors instead of outside in a gated fence. The insulation of your home acts as a nice buffer to loud noises and will help drown out any bangs and booms so your pet feels more secure.
    5. Don’t Scold a Scared Pet:
      It’s natural to panic if you see your pet dart off, but be careful not to scold him too harshly. This will scare and confuse a dog and reinforce fearful behaviors.

    Bonus Tip: Come on, you saw this one coming. The BEST way to help your pet feel safe and calm, remedy shaking related to fireworks and other “not-so-fun” behaviors is to get ‘em a ThunderShirt! It’s designed for just such occasions. Anytime your dog or cat is showing signs of anxiety, ThunderShirt can be worn with a comfortably snug fit, like a nice hug. Spray a little ThunderEssence with 100% natural essential oils on your ThunderShirt for an even calmer pet. Both are clinically proven and vet recommended to help reduce the fears and anxieties related to thunder and fireworks. And, they’re both an all-natural, drug-free solution over using sedatives.

    Have a safe and happy Fourth of July, everyone!

  • USING PRESSURE TO TREAT YOUR DOG’S SEPARATION ANXIETY

    WHAT IS DOG SEPARATION ANXIETY?

    Leaving your dog or puppy home alone is never easy, but for many dogs, separation from their families can cause severe anxiety and real problems. Veterinarians and trainers call this condition “dog separation anxiety.” Based on our survey of over 2,000 dog owners in the United States, over 13% of all dogs suffer from separation anxiety. And the consequences can be severe for your dog, your family and your property.  Continue reading

  • USING PRESSURE TO TREAT YOUR DOG’S FEAR OF THUNDER

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    WHY ARE DOGS AFRAID OF THUNDER AND OTHER NOISES?

    According to our research, dog thunderstorm anxiety or fear of noises can arise from a variety or combination of factors. Some dogs have suffered a traumatic event involving loud noises or lightning strikes that creates a historic "trigger" for them to become anxious. Some dog breeds may have a genetic predisposition towards noise anxiety while some studies suggest that storm or noise anxiety could be a result of aging or hearing loss. No matter the specific cause, the need to relieve your dog’s fears becomes clear when your dog hides, shakes, or worse every time a storm rumbles.  Continue reading

  • IT MIGHT NOT BE “JUST A NOISE” TO YOUR DOG!

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    Unfortunately, for a dog that is afraid of noise, no amount of explaining or consoling will help. Noise Anxiety is a very real and very common problem for dogs across the globe. Nearly 15 million dogs suffer from noise anxiety severe enough for their owners to seek help. That’s a lot of anxiety! If your dog suffers from noise anxiety, there are alternative choices, to expensive medications, available to help relieve the stress.  Continue reading

  • USING PRESSURE TO TREAT DOG ANXIETY DURING CAR TRAVEL

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    WHAT IS CAR TRAVEL ANXIETY?

    While many dogs enjoy car rides, for some others, a car ride can become a trip of anxiety or over-excitement. According to our survey of over 2,000 dog owners across the United States, over 5% of dogs suffer from issues during travel. These issues can create real problems for taking your dog to the veterinarian, the groomer, or anywhere involving a car trip. Many dogs are so fearful of traveling, that even getting them in the car can be a struggle. Other forms of travel are also difficult for many dogs. Air travel in particular can be a very traumatic event that often require heavy sedation. Continue reading

  • Camping With Your Pet!

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    Summer gives so many of us a great excuse to get out in the fun, sun, sand and trees! We hear that many of our ThunderWorks customers LOVE to bring their furry friends along when going on a camping trip! SO, looking for some quick tips and info to make sure your camping trip is safe and fun with Fido? Our friends at PetFinder.com offer some great ways to prepare for a fun weekend with the family… including the four-legged members!

     

    Before you leave:

    Check to see whether the camping area allows dogs, and familiarize yourself with the rules for pets at the site.

    Talk to your veterinarian and make sure your dog is healthy and up-to-date on all required vaccinations, particularly rabies. Ask your vet whether your dog should be vaccinated against Lyme disease, a tick-borne disease. Discuss appropriate flea and tick control. Be sure your dog is protected against heartworms, which are transmitted by mosquito bite and have been reported in all 50 states, according to the American Heartworm Society.

    Have an appropriate collar or harness with an identification tag. Use a cell phone number where you can be reached at all times, not a home phone number, on the tag. Microchipping your dog will provide an additional measure of protection in the event that your dog becomes lost. Register the microchip – or make sure the information is up to date if your dog already has a chip — so that you can be contacted when your dog is located.

     

    Packing for Your Dog

    Bring water for your dog to drink if a water supply is not available at the campsite. Do not allow your dog to drink out of standing bodies of water. Your dog should continue to eat his regular diet during the trip; pack enough food and treats to last for your entire stay. Pack a food dish and water bowl. Bring bedding and toys to keep your dog occupied as well. Take a copy of your dog’s health records and vaccination reports, especially important if you are crossing state lines. Other essential items include a leash and collar or harness, a carrier or other means to confine your dog when necessary, bags to pick up your dog’s waste, a first aid kit and any medications your dog takes regularly.

     

    What To Do with Your Dog While Camping

    Once at the camping ground, keep your dog on a leash or otherwise confined so that other campers are not disturbed and your dog is not at risk for becoming lost or injured. Be aware of keeping your dog away from things such as campfires and cooking utensils that can cause injury. A “leave it” command is also useful in case your dog begins to explore or picks up something dangerous in his mouth.

     

    Keep your dog close to you during your camping expedition. If you are unable to supervise your dog, be sure he is properly confined. Do not leave your dog confined in a closed car or tied to a stationary object though. Provide a carrier, crate, or portable fencing unit instead.

    While camping, check your dog’s fur and skin regularly for ticks as well as for plant material like thorns or burrs. Plant materials should be brushed free of your dog’s hair, if possible. In some situations, cutting or shaving the hair may be necessary to remove these items.

     

    Remove ticks promptly by grasping the tick near the skin and pulling gently and slowly away from the skin. Wear gloves when doing so. Do not handle ticks with bare hands as they can transmit diseases to you as well as to your dog.

     

     

    Do you bring your dog camping with you? What tips can you share?

     

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  • Summer Barbecue Safety For Your Pup!

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    The weather is warm, the sun is shining, sounds like a perfect time to cook up some delicious food and invite your friends over! However, a typical barbecue can be an unsafe place for dogs. Here are some things to keep in mind when celebrating the sunshine this summer.

    Keep Your Dogs Away From The Grill

    The actual Barbecue itself can be an unsafe place for your dog be around. Not only can it be extremely hot, but the proximity of propane tanks and sharp barbecue tools not the best place for your dog to be roaming. Create a barrier between your pup and the barbecue or try to give your dog something more fun to do like chasing a ball or playing with a toy.

    Watch For Hazardous Foods

    Possibly the biggest hazard to your dog at any BBQ is the food that is being served. Dogs naturally flock to food, but there’s a lot of food at a barbecue that can make your dog sick. Be sure to avoid foods with bones (steak, ribs, chicken, etc.) also keep away corn cobs, onions and chocolate. Bones can cause your dog to choke or perforate their bowl, onions (and many other foods) are toxic to dogs and corn cobs can cause a bowel obstruction. Chocolate is a classic dessert food and it can be fatal to your pooch. Even foods that are dog safe can cause harm when they’re hot off the grill and may burn your dog’s mouth.

    Keep An Eye On The Garbage

    Just because you’ve gotten this far by hiding the food, doesn’t mean they won’t work hard to find it in the trashcan. Make sure you have a waste bin with a lid and that the trash is in a somewhat hidden place from your dog.

  • Tips To Keep Your Dog COOL And SAFE This Summer!

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    Summer is just a week away and for many areas throughout the United States, the temperatures, they are a rising!

    We looked to our friends at the Humane Society of the United States for some tips to follow to keep our pets cool this summer:

    #1: Never leave your pets in a parked car

    Not even for a minute. Not even with the car running and air conditioner on. On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels. On an 85-degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. Your pet may suffer irreversible organ damage or die.

    #2 Watch the humidity

    It's important to remember that it's not just the ambient temperature but also the humidity that can affect your pet. Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves, and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels—very quickly.

    #4 Take your dog’s temperature

    Taking a dog's temperature will quickly tell you if there is a serious problem. Dogs' temperatures should not be allowed to get over 104 degrees. If your dog's temperature does, follow the instructions for treating heat stroke.

    #3 Limit exercise on hot days

    Take care when exercising your pet. Adjust intensity and duration of exercise in accordance with the temperature. On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours, and be especially careful with pets with white-colored ears, who are more susceptible to skin cancer, and short-nosed pets, who typically have difficulty breathing. Asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet's paws, so walk your dog on the grass if possible. Always carry water with you to keep your dog from dehydrating.

    #5 Don't rely on a fan

    Pets respond differently to heat than humans do. (Dogs, for instance, sweat primarily through their feet.) And fans don't cool off pets as effectively as they do people.

    #6 Provide ample shade and water

    Any time your pet is outside, make sure he or she has protection from heat and sun and plenty of fresh, cold water. In heat waves, add ice to water when possible. Tree shade and tarps are ideal because they don't obstruct airflow. A doghouse does not provide relief from heat—in fact, it makes it worse.

    #7 Cool your pet inside and out

    Freeze some pet-safe foods like peanut butter or wet dog food to make a cool appetizing treat. Always provide water, whether your pets are inside or out with you.

    #8 Watch for signs of heatstroke

    Extreme temperatures can cause heatstroke. Some signs of heatstroke are heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, and unconsciousness. Animals are at particular risk for heat stroke if they are very old, very young, overweight, not conditioned to prolonged exercise, or have heart or respiratory disease. Some breeds of dogs—like boxers, pugs, shih tzus, and other dogs and cats with short muzzles—will have a much harder time breathing in extreme heat. If you think your pet is suffering from heat stoke, apply ice packs or cooled towels to their head, and offer small amounts of cold water- consult your veterinarian immediately.

    We hope these tips help you keep your furry friend cool, and most importantly SAFE this summer!

  • June is National Pet Preparedness Month!

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    With many parts of the nation already devastated by harmful wildfires in Southern California and flooding and tornadoes throughout Arkansas, Alabama, Kansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Iowa and Louisiana, June marks National Pet Preparedness Month. We want you to use National Pet Preparedness Month as a positive reminder to proactively make preparations for your pets should they encounter a natural disaster.

    Remembering to include your pet in disaster plans can reduce potential dangers for the pets themselves, pet owners and first responders. Like humans, our pets can become even more stressed or anxious at the onset of a severe weather event, which is why keeping pets calm during the evacuation process is a crucial component to pet disaster preparedness. Not only does a calm pet make for a smoother evacuation, but it also minimizes the chance for your pet to be left behind or lost during a disaster.

    Here are some tips to keep in mind when preparing for a possible severe weather event.

    o   Be sure your pets have a permanent pet ID such as a microchip to help locate them in case they become lost.

    o   Try to keep a pet as calm as possible during a severe weather event. Use a ThunderShirt, keep their favorite toy around and try not to overexcite them.

    o   Make a disaster kit with extra pet food, litter, water and accessories (toys, dog bed) to have in case you are left home with no power, or are forced to evacuate your home.

    o   Keep photographs, medications and medical records for each pet stored in sealed/waterproof plastic bags (and cloud back up if applicable) to bring with you in the wake of a disaster for locating purposes.

    o   Find out ahead of time if the evacuation destination is pet-friendly. If not, make arrangements for a place to take pets if a disaster hits.

    o   Make sure that your pets are up-to-date on their vaccinations. If a pet needs to be boarded, kennels typically require proof of current vaccinations.

    o   Assign a back up caretaker (such as a neighbor or nearby friend) who is comfortable taking the pet should you not be able to return home during a disaster.

    Stay safe friends!

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