Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Thunder Phobia

Have I ever talked about Bernie's thunder phobia before? It seems the older he gets, the worse he gets when it rains and storms. It breaks my heart to see my usually fearless tyrant; shaking, panting, and very fearful. It started when he was about 2 years old, which is interesting that he never had any issues before the age of two.

I have tried classical conditioning with treats, and replaying thunder CD's and offering high value treats, and Bernie is too worked up to even touch or sniff what I have to offer.  I have also tried the DAP (dog appeasing pheromones) which is a plug-in that releases a pheromone scent of a lactating mother dog, this seems to help a little with him.  Next,  I tried Rescue Remedy for pets. Rescue Remedy is a mixture of   flower essences, that in homeopathic studies, have shown to reduce stress and anxiety. This also helped a little with the anxiety.  So as of right now when it storms, I put Bernie in his crate, with a blanket covering all but the front (so it's a safe little den) and wait out the storm. Some people say to pet your dog, some say not to coddle your dog, but neither petting Bernie or not petting Bernie has much of an effect on his behavior during a storm.

I am STILL searching for the right combination of methods to help Bernie during storms. I just ordered the 'ThunderShirt' that has been the new hot item that can help pets with anxiety and stress. The pressure from the wrap is supposed to help calm the dog during fearful situations. Dogs have an 85% improvement rate in anxiety, when wearing the ThunderShirt. I will be sure to give an update on how it works for Bernie.

For further great reading and a more profession opinion, check out what Patricia McConnell has to say about: Thunder Phobia

Update **on chlorine & animal health**

After talking with my holistic vet about my dogs and using the pool, she suggested if I let them swim in the chlorine, that I be sure to supplement them with Iodine.  She told me that chlorine pulls the iodine out of you & your dogs. So be sure to give them something rich in Iodine; such as Plaque Off (also works wonders with plaque and bad breath) Kelp & seaweed are also rich in natural Iodine. Definitely an interesting find in my chlorine safety research!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

To swim or not to swim...Chlorine & our dogs

Any of you dogs out there water dogs? My chocolate & tan cocker spaniel, Reese is a water dog. She sees a pool, beach, or lake and cries and cries to go in. I take her to dog beach, and she swims her little heart out. And to my in-laws, who have a really nice salt water pool. Until now, I was never concerned with Chlorine. 
We just bought & moved into a house that has a beautiful, chlorine treated pool. We know we want to switch to the salt water pump, which will cost roughly $1,500 for us to make the switch. And a new roof comes before that, pooey. (to read more on how saltwater pumps in pools work, go here)
So I began reading up on the Chlorine we are putting in the pool to currently keep it clean and maintained.  Now let me just forewarn, am I over the top about my pets? Most will say yes. Will swimming in a chlorine pool kill your dog? No. But it can cause some serious health issues over time. 
Let's start by looking at what Chlorine is exactly. Chlorine is a natural gas, that under certain pressure & temperatures is turned into a liquid. It's most commonly used as a disinfectant in pools and water.  (yes, the amounts are regulated by the government of chlorine in your drinking water, and it's vital to ensure clean drinking water)....as a gas it can be very dangerous though. 
You can tell children not to drink the pool water and to keep their eyes closed while swimming, or wear goggles to protect them. But what about our pets? Dogs tend to want to drink pool water and ingest much of it when swimming, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Dogs ears, eyes, and nose are far more sensitive than ours.  Not to forget their skin,  and chlorine dries out their skin and coat
So is it bad for them? Yes, it can be. And in undiluted or large amounts, it can be toxic. But for those of you with chlorinated pools, who are not interested in changing to saltwater, you can lessen the amount of chemicals you put in your pool and make it a little safer for your pooch to swim.  Always give a bath after they get out of the pool, be sure to rinse eyes with clean water, and if they swim often, use a moisturizing conditioner on them after you shampoo.  

Friday, April 16, 2010

Our great Etsy finds of the day.....

Love ALL her stuff! Dawn is actually making me some custom cocker appliques!  She is so sweet & easy to deal with!

I also stumbled upon this super cute shop, with custom items...wouldn't you guess I am having a set of pot holders made with a cocker on them?  ((shock))   persnickety <3 pelican

Love etsy!!!!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Busy Buddy = good doggie

When I need a break from the pups, to read, or get some cooking done...I give them something to occupy themselves, so they don't feel so neglected :)  Our newest toy, is the Busy Buddy Twist n' Treat.  
I buy the little Zukes training treats, or use some kibble, stuff it in there and whaaa-la! The dogs are happy, and occupied for a good 15-20 minutes. I was surprise how fast they got the concept too. Even my little yorkie-mix, Bernie was batting it all over the floor dashing when a treat fell out. After all the treats were out, he walked back into the kitchen & let out a little 'Rufff'. I think he was telling me to add more treats :)  Watch my dogs playing with theirs here: MackPack loves Twist n Treat

Monday, April 5, 2010

Dogs helping soldiers

We all know the great benefits of owning a pet. Now the government is starting to realize it.
Great write up on trained therapy dogs helping wounded soldiers.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Happy Yappy Easter!!!!

Easter means spring, jelly beans, eggs, candy, and great weather!
Happy Easter from my pack to yours!