Monthly Archives: October 2013

  • Happy Howl-O-Ween! Your dog deserves a Treat, don’t you think?!

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    Who says Halloween treats are reserved for humans only? Here’s a simple, healthy and ThunderWorks approved treat that you can make for your dog this Halloween!!! These peanut butter dog treats provide a good source of protein for our pups and the pumpkin adds extra fiber and digestive properties to your dog’s diet!

    Ingredients:

    (makes 25 treats)

    • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
    • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    Instructions:

    •  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
    • Whisk together the flour, eggs, pumpkin, peanut butter, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl. Add water as needed to help make the dough workable, but the dough should be dry and stiff. Roll the dough into a 1/2-inch-thick roll. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
    • Bake in preheated oven until hard, about 40 minutes.

    MMMM…. Here’s to treating (and not tricking) your furry friend!

  • We’ve got news!!!! (Hint, it’s stylish, warm and will still calm your pet’s anxiety!)

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    We are thrilled to introduce the new ThunderCoat and the ThunderSweater! The ThunderCoat and ThunderSweater offer a stylish and unique clothing system that snaps onto the outside of the ThunderShirt, providing added warmth and protection from rain if needed. Both styles come with a ThunderShirt included that can be easily unsnapped and used on it’s own, without the ThunderCoat and ThunderSweater outerwear.

    And just look how fashionable they are!

    Coat3

    The ThunderCoat features a khaki trench coat styled design that is fully lined, water-resistant and has a removable hood. Perfect for owners who enjoy a daily walk with their dogs, regardless of the forecast. The ThunderCoat is available in sizes XXS-Large and retails for $69.95, and comes with a ThunderShirt included.

    Sweater3

    The ThunderSweater provides added warmth and style for dogs, ideal for colder months or prolonged time outdoors. The cable-knit sweater features a classic khaki, ash grey and heather grey color blocked style and is available in sizes XXS-XL. ThunderSweater retails for $59.95 and comes with a ThunderShirt included.

    Both the ThunderCoat and ThunderSweater can be purchased at www.ThunderWorks.Com

  • Contest Time! Share Our Halloween Tips!

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    It's CONTEST time!! Halloween is almost here, and in addition to talking about fun and festive pet activities, we'll also be sharing some important safety tips to keep in mind this time of year. So, help us spread the word and keep our pets safe this Halloween! 
    Look out for these Halloween safety images on all of our social media profiles: 
    Share them out with the Hashtag #ThunderTips The more places you share, the higher your chances will be to win a $100 shopping spree on ThunderWorks.com!

    We'll randomly select one winner, we'll be following the image shares everywhere… Spooky!!

    Full details here: http://get.thunderworks.com/halloweentips/

  • Guest Blogger: Sandy Robins

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    Thanks again to Sandy Robins for her guest blog post this week!

    Howl’oween is the most popular event on the pet calendar. Most dogs seem to enjoy accompanying their family members to go trick and treating in the neighborhood as well as the camaraderie of taking part in a special doggie parade.

    However, if your dog is a scaredy cat when it comes to all this dress-up fun and activity, it’s important take his anxiety seriously. Don’t subject him to an outfit and force him to come face to face with other dressed up dogs in the neighborhood. Rather leave him at home and put him in a ThunderShirt if you think the constant ringing of the doorbell is going to upset him too.

    Multi pet households, usually means each dog has a different personality and there’s no reason for your more gregarious pooches to lose out on the fun.

    If you are planning to dress up your outgoing doggie family members, be sure to purchase outfits well in advance and allow your pets to try them out at home on several occasions before the actual day. There’s no shortage of costume ideas for dogs of all shapes and sizes.  And while it may be traditional to transform your pooch into pumpkin, a witch or the devil, in fact, anything goes! You can find pet costumes at just about any major retail outlet, Halloween or pet specialty store nationwide.

    When selecting a costume, look for soft, lightweight fabrics and no loose ties. Avoid any ornamentation that could possibly be swallowed. If your dog simply refuses to dress up, consider painting a fun design on his fur with non-toxic pet paint that will easily wash out afterwards. www.Petpaint.com. Kids will definitely enjoy getting involved creating fun designs. You can use cookie cutters in fun shapes to hold again his fur and spray on the paint. Whatever you decide, always ensure your dog is wearing up-to-date identification tags.

    When it comes to trick and treating, chocolate is highly poisonous for dogs and candy is as bad for canine teeth as it is for humans. Most doggy bakeries go to town on occasions such as Howl’oween making biscuits shaped in all sorts of appropriate festive shapes such as witches, bats and devils. So be sure to get your pet his own supply of doggie confectionary.

    Dogs that like to carry things around in their mouths may even enjoy a rawhide-shaped pumpkin or cat. Don’t forget to cater for trick or treating dogs that come to your home too!

    If you are taking part in a doggie parade, dress up your pooch just before the line-up, as some costumes tend to be warm.  Be sure to take plenty of water along for your pet to lap up en-route. Again, double check that he’s wearing ID!

    Never let children take charge of the dog on trick and treat neighborhood outings; there are far too many distractions. Holding a flashlight and a candy bag is probably all they can handle. Instead, make sure your dog is on a strong leash with an adult on the other end and don't allow your doggie pal to accompany children right up to the front door in case the incumbent witch-dog or barking bat is not welcoming to any visiting canine on his doorstep!

    Have fun and make sure your dog doesn’t eat all the treats he gets in one go!

     

  • Fall Safety Tips for You and Your Dog!

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    Fall can be one of the most beautiful times of the year! With the colors changing, the school season beginning and the weather cooling off, it’s definitely one of our favorites. However, did you know that fall does present some possible dangers for our pets? We’ve compiled some tips to keep you and your dog safe and happy as we happily welcome autumn.

    Keep school supplies away

    For pet owning households with children in school, fall means stocking up on school supplies like markers, glue sticks, pencils and erasers. While most kid-friendly school supplies do not pose any toxic risks- it’s important to keep them out of your pet’s reach. If ingested, supplies pose choking hazards as well as risks of dangerous gastrointestinal blockages.

    Ease into outdoor activity if needed

    In some areas of the United States, it’s simply too hot in the summer to take your dog for runs or to endure outdoor activities for long periods of time. Now that the weather is cooler and you and your dog can enjoy more time together outside!  Keep in mind that dogs, just like humans, can become out of shape and may require some initial training to get their bodies back into outdoor hiking and running shape.

    Be weary of rodent traps and poisons

    Autumn is generally a popular time for rodents to seek shelter in human homes, forcing many homeowners to use poisons and traps. If you must use these products, keep them as inaccessible as possible from your pets as they could cause serious physical and medical harm.

    Watch out for snakes!

    According to the ASPCA, autumn is the season when snakes who are preparing for hibernation may be particularly “grumpy,” increasing the possibility of severe bites to those unlucky pups who find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. Pet owners should know what kinds of venomous snakes may be in their environment—and where these snakes are most likely to be found—so they can keep pets out of those areas.

    We hope these quick tips were helpful for you and your pet and wish everyone a happy and SAFE fall!

  • Guest Blogger: Mikkel Becker

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    We’re thrilled to welcome back well-known and respected pet behavior and training expert, and Vetstreet.com contributor, Mikkel Becker on our blog today! She’s talking separation anxiety in our pets… Take it away, Mikkel!

    Countless canines become anxious when left alone. Stress upon separation spans from mild anxiety to an extreme state of panic. Whenever a dog is anxious at separation, it’s important to address the issue immediately, starting with a visit to your veterinarian. Stress upon separation rarely goes away without intervention, but more often, escalates over time. Caretakers of dogs who are anxious when left alone, find that normal tasks, like going to work or going out on a date, are difficult to impossible. The situation can become so severe the dog causes serious harm to themselves or to the home. Even for dogs who internalize stress, the state they are in emotionally is damaging long term to their health and affects their ability to cope with everyday stressors.

    There are numerous indicators of a dog nervous with separation. Signs can include excess salivation, panting, hyper vigilance, whining, barking, acute anorexia, pacing and inability to settle. Anxiety can amplify to the point of self-injury where the dog causes themselves serious harm as they attempt to claw, bite and jump out of exit points. The household also suffers devastation. Doors, crates and windows can be damaged as the dog attempts to flee, while household items like couches can be ravaged from anxious chewing. Dogs become so nervous they may even lose control of bodily functions and have accidents in the home.

    Dogs in this panicked state are literally helpless at their own behavior. Dogs don’t do these destructive behaviors out of spite as a way to teach their person a lesson for leaving them. Instead, their behavior stems from a root emotion of fear. To change the behavior, the root emotion must be changed.

    In my profession as an animal trainer working in conjunction with numerous veterinarians, including my father, Dr. Marty Becker, I help address separation anxiety on a regular basis. Separation anxiety is one of the most common behavior problems in dogs, with 20-40% of dogs reported as having the condition.

    Thankfully, with the right combination of training, environmental modification and veterinary intervention, separation anxiety can be decreased or eliminated. Whether a dog is only moderately nervous or in an all-out panic, it’s important to take the necessary steps to help a dog overcome their distress when left alone.

    Keep in mind, before training begins, it’s important to train under the supervision of a veterinarian who can rule out any medical conditions contributing to behavior and properly diagnose separation anxiety if needed.

    As an animal trainer, I want to share with you several of my top tips for addressing separation anxiety. The training is also helpful as a preventive tool against the development of separation anxiety.

     

    1. Use a ThunderShirt. One of my favorite tools in my training arsenal is the ThunderShirt. Regardless of the size or breed of the dog, the ThunderShirt works on about 80% of dogs. Even without any training, the ThunderShirt drastically reduces anxiety with near immediate results. The ThunderShirt works to non-invasively calm dogs in a similar manner to swaddling a baby.

    2. Many dogs dislike being crated, and some of their panic may stem from being shut in an enclosed area. If your dog dislikes the containment aspect of separation, find a more open area of the home to leave your pooch in that’s doggy proofed. The area of the home should have windows, as dogs feel less enclosed when windows are present. If you have a secure fence and your canine is not an escape artist or incessant barker when separated, consider allowing access the outdoors. By opening up the dog’s area, canines are less likely to feel trapped, and may relax as a result.

    3. When you leave and when you come back, keep attention on the dog as minimal as possible. A simple, non-emotional goodbye or greeting will do, rather than hugs, kisses and emotional words. The more calm and nonchalant the greetings, the less worked up the dog will get. When you return, wait five minutes or until the dog calmly settles into a relaxed sit or down, before acknowledging.

    4. Reduce departure cues. Throughout the day, even on weekends, randomly put on your shoes, pick up the keys, turn on the car, open the garage and do other cues that may signal you’re leaving. Often dogs become anxious even upon the perception of these cues, because they signal you’re leaving. However, if you do these cues with the end result being you still stay home, the cue loses its meaning.

    5. Train your dog to enjoy time alone in their own area. Put the dog in a certain area of the home, like an xpen, or tether the dog with a leash and harness next to a comfortable area, like a dog bed. Place food puzzles or long lasting chews in these areas for the dog to nibble on. To begin with, sit a few feet away and get the dog comfortable with just a short distance separation. The training can be made more challenging later by giving the food item and leaving to go into another room or going outside. Return to the dog before they finish eating their food reward. The idea is to have separation happen with associated pleasurable rewards and at a pace the dog can remain relaxed at. Play classical music during separation, proven to calm pets, to further promote relaxation.

    6. Protect your pet. During training, management techniques like sending the dog to doggy daycare or a dog sitter during inevitable long departures is helpful. In some cases, medication from your veterinarian added in combination with training, will provide especially anxious pets with the best chance of recovery.

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