Thunderworks Blog

  • Running with Dogs!

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    Believe it or not, dogs can be very similar to us when it comes to exercise: We feel better once we do it, and we can definitely benefit from it. If you’re planning on running with your dog it’s important to get them acquainted so eventually they can become the best of running companions!

    It’s always smart to warm up before you start your run. Walk for about 5-10 minutes before you actually start running and check to make sure your dog isn’t experiencing anything abnormal like limping or excessive heavy breathing.

    Make sure your dog stays hydrated throughout the day. Dogs can easily become dehydrated, especially on long runs or in warm weather. Consider bringing a portable doggie dish, or you can teach them to receive water from a water bottle as well.

    Start out slowly, and then build your way up. Just as if you were training for a rave, it’s important to slowly build up your mileage. You don’t want to tire out your dog, and this is the best way to build your stamina, for the both of you.

    Always remember, safety first! Avoid running when it’s dark, always have a leash, and watch out for any unusual signs from your dog.

    Enjoy the miles!

  • Dogs are good for us!

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    Just in case you needed a few more reasons to love your four-legged friend, see the list below containing the “oh so many” great benefits of owning a dog.

    Physical benefits of dog companionship

    • Increase longevity after heart attacks. Dog ownership increases the odds for survival in persons who have had a heart attack from 1 in 87 to 1 in 15.
    • Lower cholesterol and triglycerides. People with pets have been found to have lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels when compared to people who did not have pets, even when matched for weight, diet, and smoking habits.
    • Decrease blood pressure and reduce stress. Studies of people undergoing stress tests or physical examinations have demonstrated that the presence of a dog lowered their heart rate and blood pressure during testing.
    • Increase physical activity and functioning. People who own pets often have better physical health due to the need to exercise and care for their pets.
    • Reduce medical appointments and minor health problems. The use of prescription drugs and the overall cost of caring for patients in nursing homes dropped in those facilities where companion animals became part of the therapy.
    • Predict seizures. Some people who have periodic seizures have reported that their dogs can sense the onset of a seizure before they can. Now it has been found that dogs can be specially trained to recognize some type of change prior to a seizure, and signal the owner of the imminent seizure. These dogs are called 'seizure-alert' or 'seizure-response' dogs, and can be trained to signal their owners from 15 to 45 minutes prior to a seizure.
    • Alert to hypoglycemia. There are also animals who alert their owners to episodes of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), which allows the owner to correct the level before serious symptoms develop.

    Emotional benefits of dog companionship

    • Adjust to serious illness and death. Children often turn to their pet for comfort if a friend or family member dies or leaves the family. Grieving adults who did not have a close source of human support were also found to have less depression if they had a pet.
    • Be less anxious and feel more safe. Pet owners tend to feel less afraid of being a victim of crime when walking with a dog or having a dog in the home.
    • Relax and reduce everyday stress. Pets can help us relax and focus our attention away from our problems and worries.
    • Have physical contact. This ability to have something to touch and pet is very important. More and more studies show how important touch is to our physical and emotional health.
    • Lift our mood. Pets decrease our feelings of loneliness and isolation by providing companionship to all generations.
    • Feel less lonely. Pets can help ease the sense of loneliness or isolation we feel.
    • Have something to care for. Everyone needs to feel needed and have something to care for. Many elderly citizens or people living alone will tell you their pet gives them a reason for living.
    • Keep active. Having a pet can help us remain more active. We may not only get more exercise from walking a dog, but we also increase our activity through feeding, grooming, and otherwise caring for our pet.
    • Have consistency. Pets provide some consistency to our lives. Caring for a pet can significantly affect our routine and gives us something to do and look forward to each day.

    Social benefits of dogs

    • Create a sense of closeness and well-being. Families surveyed before and after they acquired a pet reported feeling happier after adding a pet to the family.
    • Offer a topic of conversation. A study in a veteran's hospital showed that the residents had more verbal interactions with each other when a dog was present in the room than when there was no dog present. Dogs were also shown to increase socialization among persons with Alzheimer's disease in a Special Care Unit of a nursing home.
    • Promote interaction. Residents in long-term care facilities were more likely to attend activity sessions when an animal was going to be present.
  • ‘Tis The Season To Have Allergies

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    Yep, it’s that time of year… the trees are blooming, the pollen is everywhere and our poor pets feel it too!  While handling allergies is a pretty common fix for humans, dogs and cats can suffer from seasonal allergies as well. We’ve rounded up a few tips to hopefully make allergy season go a little smoother.  Keep in mind; it’s always best to consult your vet if you feel your pet is experiencing any kind of allergy or condition.

     

    Watch for allergy symptoms: Itchy pups are hard to ignore.  Allergy symptoms can include excessive licking, redness ("hot spots") or hair loss.

     

    Monitor the pollen count: Allergy season for dogs can mirror that of humans, so bookmark the pollen forecast in your area and monitor your dog for symptoms. Also, wiping your dogs' paws with a cool towel to remove pollen residue or scheduling a weekly cool water bath will help.

     

    Don't ignore household allergens: The most common environmental allergen is not pollen, but house dust mites and house dust. Do what you can to reduce the amount of dust in your home by vacuuming carpets well. Focus on your dog's favorite spots in the house such as under beds and near windows. Don't forget to clean window treatments regularly.

  • GREEN with envy? Yes, pets get jealous too.

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    Sure we’ve all heard it, “alpha dog, spoiled Cat, etc.” And it’s true, our pets experience the same basic emotions as we do: fear, happiness, anger, and even, jealousy. While most pet behaviorists agree that pets may not actually have the same feelings of “jealousy” that we do, they do react to changes that a new person or animal may bring.  Cats typically become super distant and aloof and dogs can become erratic and territorial.

     

    For any anxiety-ridden emotion, the Thundershirt might be a great way to combat these actions and calm down your animal.  Other tactics to help with pet jealousy include- giving your pet time to adjust to a new animal or person; providing separate areas for your pet to go to if they become stressed or erratic, and not immediately punishing them for anxious behavior.

     

    It’s also important to try and maintain the original routine you had with your pet, or if you are changing the routine, be firm and be the pack leader so that your pet will know to listen and follow.

     

    For more information on pet behavior, we recommend visiting Mikkel Becker’s blog on VetStreet.com.

  • St. Patrick’s Day Treats

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    Well as you may or may not know, we at ThunderShirt LOVE any reason to celebrate our furry friends!  We hope you enjoy this fun, healthy St. Patrick’s Day dog treat recipe… who knows maybe it will bring you both good fortune!

    Based off the flavors of the traditional Irish-American dinner of corned beef and cabbage, these treats are much healthier for your dog than the human version. In fact, one of the common spices in corned beef, paprika, is actually poisonous to dogs.

    Ingredients:

    1 cup flour
    ½ tsp salt
    1 tablespoon parsley
    1 tablespoon grated carrots
    2 tablespoons flaxseed oil
    ½ cup low-sodium beef broth
    Parchment paper
    Shamrock cookie cutter

    Directions:

    1. Mix flour, salt, carrots and parsley together in mixer
    2. Add flaxseed oil and mix
    3. Add beef broth; mix until all dry ingredients are moistened
    4. Roll dough out on floured surface to a 1/8” thick sheet
    5. Cut into shamrocks using a cookie cutter
    7.  Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
    8. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes

    Makes about 10-15 cookies, depending on size of shamrock.

    Be sure to let the treats cool thoroughly before giving to your dog. These make great party favors for St. Patrick’s Day guests, or just to spoil your own Irish-loving pup!

    Recipe via

  • You Lucky Dog!

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    Hey friends! We’re lucky to have you, and to celebrate our favorite Irish holiday, we thought we’d give YOU a free Thundershirt! Here’s how you can enter…

     

    Step One: Visit us on Facebook, and “Like” our page (if you don’t already).

     

    Step Two: Post a photo of your dog or cat to our Facebook wall, and finish this sentence as the caption: “I’m so lucky to have {INSERT PET’s NAME} because…”

     

    Step Three: Share your post with your own Facebook friends, and invite them to “like or comment” on your post!

     

    The post with the most “likes and unique comments” by 5:00pm EST on Friday, March 15, 2013 will win a free, embroidered Thundershirt!

  • Don’t Eat That!

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    While many of us may know the basic foods on the “do not eat if you’re a dog” list,   we still thought we would share a few more foods to NOT feed your loving furry friend.

    Avocados

    • Avocados contain a substance called persin. It's harmless for humans who aren't allergic. But large amounts might be toxic to dogs. If you happen to be growing avocados at home, keep your dog away from the plants. Persin is in the leaves, seed, and bark, as well as in the fruit.

    Onions and Garlic

    • Onions and garlic in all forms -- powdered, raw, cooked, or dehydrated -- can destroy a dog's red blood cells, leading to anemia. That can happen even with the onion powder found in some baby food. An occasional small dose is probably OK. But just eating a large quantity once or eating smaller amounts regularly can cause poisoning. Symptoms of anemia include weakness, vomiting, little interest in food, dullness, and breathlessness.

    Grapes and Raisins

    • Grapes and raisins have often been used as treats for dogs. But it's not a good idea. Although it isn't clear why, grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs. And just a small amount can make a dog ill. Repeated vomiting is an early sign. Within a day, the dog will become lethargic and depressed. The best prevention is to keep grapes and raisins off counters and other places your dog can reach.

    Macadamia Nuts

    • Dogs should not eat macadamia nuts or foods containing macadamia nuts because they can be fatal. As few as six raw or roasted macadamia nuts can make a dog ill. Symptoms of poisoning include muscle tremors, weakness or paralysis of the hindquarters, vomiting, elevated body temperature, and rapid heart rate. Eating chocolate with the nuts will make symptoms worse, possibly leading to death.

    Peaches and Plums

    • The seeds from persimmons can cause inflammation of the small intestine in dogs. They can also cause intestinal obstruction. Obstruction is also a possibility if a dog eats the pit from a peach or plum. Plus, peach and plum pits contain cyanide, which is poisonous to both humans and dogs. The difference is humans know not to eat them. Dogs don't.

     

    If Your Dog Eats What It Shouldn't

    Dogs explore with their mouth. And, no matter how cautious you are, it's possible your dog can find and swallow what it shouldn't. It's a smart idea to always keep the number of your local vet, the closest emergency clinic, and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center -- (888) 426-4435 -- where you know you can find it in an emergency. And, if you think your dog has consumed something that's toxic, call for emergency help at once.

    Information adapted via

  • Thundershirt In action!

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    Today we wanted to share some awesome user-submitted videos of how the Thundershirt works great on their dogs! If you have a video of your pet doing loving their Thundershirt, please feel free to share!

     

    We love that Conan loves is monogrammed Thundershirt!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mkp9rGZ6_bA

     

    So happy that Royal and Sandy are less anxious in storms!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXQc79l1fiA

     

    And we love this one!  This Thundershirt owner wanted to show how her dog Spirit, has relaxed so much by using the Thundershirt, that he no longer needs to wear it! Scout, the cat is happy about this one!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQeDITm_hsg

  • We {Heart} Pets... and so does our heart!

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    With National Heart Month upon us, we wanted to share some awesome information about how owning a pet has some pretty significant heart-healthy benefits!

    According to the American Journal of Cardiology, having a pet can actually assist in making the heart more adaptable for people with chronic diseases. An adaptable heart  means that a person’s heart rate will change as their physical activity or mood does, which is a positive reaction to maintain an overall heart-healthy balance.

    Studies have also shown that people who own pets, especially cats had a lower risk of dying from a heart attack or other heart problems than people who have never owned a cat before.

    And finally, a study done by researchers from Miami University and St. Louis University found that pets provide the same emotional benefits as human relationships.

    So you may want ask your pet to “Be Yours” this Valentine’s Day… your heart will thank you!

  • Facebook Contest: Love is all you need {to win a pink Polo}

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    That’s right! We are getting extra warm and fuzzy this month and want you to join in LOVELY fun! If you are looking for the perfect Valentine’s gift for your dog, enter our contest on Facebook for a chance to win!

    How to enter: It’s simple! Tell us what you love about Thundershirt, on our Facebook fan page and you’ll be automatically entered to win an embroidered Pink Polo! We’ll randomly select five winners, now through Valentine’s Day!  www.facebook.com/thundershirt

    Contest ends Thursday, 2/14 at 5:00pm EST.

    Looking forward to reading your entries!

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