Thunderworks Blog

  • 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!

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    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.

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    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.

  • Singing for ThunderShirt by Special Guest, Sandy Robins

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    I have always been “blessed” with cats that sing in the car. But Ziggy out sings every cat I’ve ever known.

    When we took him home from the animal shelter, I put his vocals down to nerves.

    Not long after, we had to take him to the vet for his kitty shots. The moment we placed him in his carrier, the singing began.

    It started off with a tentative operatic dolcissimo (very sweet) “mew”. Followed by a second and then a third.  As we turned the corner he started scratching on the side of the carrier and the mew got more espressivo (insistent). Then he tried a new tactic and the mews got doloroso (sad and mournful).  From his perspective, he probably thought I wasn’t listening so he began to get more insistenta (insistent) until his vocals turned fortissimo (very loud).

    On the way home, it was a repeat performance. He wasn’t being naughty; he was really just stressed and anxious. Who knows what experiences he had an in a car before we adopted him.

    A few weeks later we were off to the vet again for follow-up shots. And soon Ziggy was singing the same aria. The next week, when it was time for his rabies shot courtesy of the animal shelter, we were back in the car and Ziggy was singing again.

    What was so interesting was the fact that it sounded like the same song.

    Cats in fact have quite a large vocabulary. Author and naturalist Jean Craighead George who writes about the language cats have in her award-winning book The Cats of Roxville Station and has studied cats in nature, says that the different ways in which a cat meows has a special idiosyncratic meaning. She has categorized some feline vocalizations as follows. They are written phonetically to emphasize the different sound and tones:

    In Kittens:

    • Mew (high pitched and thin) - a polite plea for help
    • MEW! (loud and frantic) - an urgent plea for help

    Adult cats:

    • Mew - plea for attention
    • Meow - emphatic plea for attention
    • MEOW! - a command!
    • Mee-o-ow (with falling cadence) - protest or whine
    • MEE-o-ow (shrill whine) - stronger protest
    • MYUP! (short, sharp, single note) - righteous indignation
    • MEOW! Meow! (repeated) - panicky call for help
    • Mier-r-r-ow (chirrup with lilting cadence) - friendly greeting

    Soon I worked out that Ziggy had composed a feline “song”:

    Here are his lyrics:

    Mew…mew…

    MEW!!

    Meow

    MEOW!

    Mee-o-ow

    MYUP! MYUP!

    MEE-o-ow

    MEE-o-ow

    Second verse same as the first.

    So I decided to translate. It goes something like this:

    Hello… Helloow …

    What’s happening here?

    This isn’t fair

    You scooped me out of my favorite chair

    I was a sleep

    What did you think --I wouldn’t make a peep?

    What’s happening now?

    Meeow miaow

    The vet!! Oh No!

    I don’t want to go

    I’m prodded and given a shot

    It calls for a total boycott

    Take me home….

    NOW!!!

    Meow….

    Finally I couldn’t take it anymore. There are always going to be vet visits for one reason or another. So I decided he was the perfect candidate for a feline ThunderShirt.

    I decided the best way to test the shirt was the take him one way to the vet without it and put it on for the journey home.

    I chose a fairly innocuous vet visit, namely, he was simply going for a Mani-Pedi. No needles or prodding involved. I even took Fudge along in the hope that seeing how she behaved would perhaps help him remain calm.

    No such luck. The outward-bound trip was typical – very vocal with Fudge simply staring at him in disbelief that a cat could make so much noise. So just before we popped him back in his carrier, I put him in a ThunderShirt. I reckoned he wasn’t going to have to walk around wearing it so he didn’t need to get used to it from that standpoint.

    On with the shirt, into the carrier and off we went home. It’s a 15-minute drive. And I must say Fudge and I enjoyed it immensely -- in total silence! I don’t say he enjoyed the ride, but he didn’t seem stressed and anxious to get out of the carrier, as was his typical modus operandi.

    I was amazed how it worked instantly. But apart from keeping him calm, it helped me to drive home fully concentrating on the road and not worrying about my feline passenger.

    When we got home, I took off the shirt and placed in his carrier, ready to go for next time.

     

    Sandy Robins  is an award-winning author and pet lifestyle expert.

    Follow her on Facebook here: http://www.Facebook.com/SandyRobinsPetLifestyleExpert

  • ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?... and maybe some fetch?

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    With football season commencing this month, we thought it would be fun to share some photos of NFL players with their favorite furry friends! See, even big burly linemen have a soft side for their pooch!

    Karlos Dansby, linebacker for the Miami Dolphins and his two ADORABLE pups!

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    Jacksonville Jaguars Quarterback, David Garrard and his super cute yorkie.

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    Chicago Bears running back, Matt Forte and his lovable dog Ali.

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    Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall and his dog duo!

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     Arizona Cardinals, AJ Jefferson takes a stretch break with his furry friend!

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    Miami Dolphins wide receiver, Davone Bess poses with his new puppy!

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    Jacksonville Jaguar’s quarterback Chad Henne and his canine companion!

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    Cheers and “ruff’s” to a GREAT NFL season!!!!

    Images Via

  • ThunderLeash Review

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    Thank you to Well Minded World for this great review!!

    http://wellmindedword.com/2013/09/10/thunderleash-the-simpler-no-pull-solution-has-become-our-no-choke-solution/

    Here is a preview:

    I loved how the instructions were right on the front. So simple!

    The ThunderLeash is a full leash, just like it says. It can be used as a regular leash when your dog isn’t pulling, and can quickly be converted while it’s on your dog, should your dog start pulling. The patent-pending “harness slot” allows you to simply wrap the leash around your dog’s torso, just under his “arm pits.”

  • Your Dog’s Bark… DECODED!

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    In an article from Psychology today, Stanly Coren, Ph.D dissects a dog’s bark to help pet owners understand what our dogs are trying to tell us.

    “Barking is an alarm sound. There is no threat of aggression signaled by the dog unless it is lower pitched and mixed with growls. Let's consider the interpretation of the most common barks,” said Coren.

    Rapid strings of 2 to 4 barks with pauses between is the most common form of barking and is the classic alarm bark meaning something like "Call the pack. There is something going on that should be looked into."

    Barking in a fairly continuous string but lower pitch and slower than the usual alarm bark suggests that the dog is sensing an imminent problem. Thus this sound means "The intruder (or danger) is very close. I don't think that he is friendly. Get ready to defend yourself!"

    One or two sharp short barks of high or midrange pitch is the most typical greeting sound, and it usually replaces the alarm barks when the visitor is recognized as friendly. Many people are greeted in this way when they walk in the door. It really means "Hello there!" and is usually followed with the dog's typical greeting ritual

    Long string of solitary barks with deliberate pauses between each one is a sign of a lonely dog asking for companionship.

    A stutter bark, which sounds something like "Harr-ruff" is usually given with front legs flat on the ground and rear held high and simply means "Let's play!"

    Hopefully these bark translations will help you understand your pooch better, the next time they are trying to get your attention!

  • It’s a Smoky Situation…

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    While we usually speak on the dangers and possible pet anxiety-triggers caused by summer storms, it’s important to be aware that forest fires can also bring stress to your pet. Lately, many of the areas in west coast region have been in flames due to forest and brush fires, and it’s not just the flames that are destructive- fire smoke can travel hundreds of miles, affecting the air quality throughout a whole region and forcing our pets to stay inside.

    For pets that are accustomed to consistent time outside, posting up indoors may spur on added anxiety or destructive behavior. To combat this, we suggest our ThunderShirt, ThunderToy and ThunderTreat to help calm your pet and keep them occupied as the smoke clears. While short trips to answer nature’s call are inevitable, keep in mind that heavy smoke can take a toll on our pet’s respiratory systems just as it can on ours. Additionally, if your home is in danger of a fire and you are forced to evacuate, the hustle and bustle of packing your things can spark anxious behavior in your dog. Consider using ThunderShirt when packing and to take with you to a safe location to help your dog stay calm and relaxed.

    Live in an area prone to forest fires? Here’s some safety tips for you and your furry friends!

    If your area’s air quality is labeled “unhealthy”

    • Shelter in place, stay indoors.
    •  Keep you and your pet hydrated to progress a cough and help prevent smoky air from settling in the lungs
    •  Use air conditioning if possible, to help filter air throughout a house
    •  Keep all doors and windows shut in both home and vehicles, if in a vehicle make sure the air conditioner is set to reticulate the air
    •  Humidifiers will help the air quality in a home or building

    If You Are Forced to Evacuate

    Plan ahead for a safe place for your pet
    Evacuation shelters generally don’t accept pets and for this reason it’s important to plan ahead to ensure that your pets and family will have a safe place to stay. Research hotels and motels outside your immediate area for pet policies and ask friends and relatives outside the area if you and your pets can stay with them in case of a disaster.

    Proper Identification and Updated Vaccinations
    Having your pet licensed AND microchipped can protect your pet and help identify them if they were to become lost. Also, keep your pet’s vaccinations current, and keep the records handy.

    Leave early and take your pet
    One of the most important things to do if you are evacuating your home is to take your pets with you because you may be forced to stay away longer than anticipated. In addition, leave early and don’t wait for mandatory evacuation orders because if emergency officials have to evacuate you, you might be told to leave your pets behind.

    If you are away
    The risk of a fire may strike when you’re away from home. Make arrangements in advance with a trusted neighbor (who is comfortable with your pets and knows where in the home they are likely to be) to take them and meet you at a specified location.

    Picture perfect
    Have a photograph taken of you with your pets to show proof of ownership should you become separated.

    Pet carriers 
    Have pet carriers ready that are the correct sizes for each of your pets. Make sure each carrier is labeled with your contact information, should you become separated from your pet.

    Prepare an emergency kit
    Have a pet emergency kit prepared and ready for a disaster like a forest fire. This kit should have:

    • Three-plus days supply food and food bowls, water and two weeks of your pet’s medications
    • A ThunderShirt
    • Litter boxes with litter, if you have cats
    • Extra leashes and collars
    • Vaccination and medical records
    • Photos and descriptions of each pet
    • Pet first aid kit and pet first aid book

    Emergency numbers:
    If you have to evacuate at the last minute and cannot take your pets, don’t be a hero and return to the danger zone to try to rescue them.  Contact a trained professional rescue team, such as your local animal humane society.

    (tips adapted via)

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