Sunday, November 27, 2011

How to 'Cure' Your Dog of Thunderstorm Phobia

If your favorite canine friend has phobias, it means he experiences an irrational and disproportionate response to certain normal stimuli, for example, thunderstorms.

There appear to be genetic factors at work in the development of phobias. Studies show identical twins raised apart have been known to develop phobias to exactly the same stimuli.

In dogs, the herding breeds are more prone to thunderstorm phobias than other breeds.

Nurture, or environment, also contributes to phobia creation.

Negative experiences are the triggers. Your dog may have direct personal experience with a stimulus, or exposure to others (pets or people) who are fearful of the stimulus. Either or both of these circumstances can create or reinforce a phobia in your pet.

How Dogs Respond to Phobias

If your dog has a thunderstorm phobia he may try to run away or look for a place that feels safe from the storm. Then again he might stay right next to you and follow you from room to room, or he may go off somewhere to hide.

Other physical signs of a phobic reaction are panting, whining, barking and pacing.

His body may also show signs of stress, including:

* Dilated pupils
* Drooling
* Sweating (from the paws only)
* Rapid heartbeat
* Panting

One study of dogs with thunderstorm phobia measured an over 200 percent increase in plasma cortisol levels from exposure to an audio recording of a storm.

And even though it's impossible to scientifically evaluate the emotions of your phobic dog during a thunderstorm, you can safely assume he's feeling fear or even terror.

Thunderstorm Phobias Are a Special Problem

Thunderstorm phobias are different in many ways from other types of phobias.

Unlike most other phobias, there are number of potential thunderstorm-related phobia triggers. It's not just the boom of thunder that generates a fear response in phobic dogs. Lightening, wind, rain, dark skies, changes in barometric pressure and even odors can elicit a phobic response.

Strangely, many dogs with storm phobia aren't fearful of other loud noises. And dogs who are sensitive to other loud noises aren't necessarily storm phobic. Also, storm phobic dogs often know a storm is on the way long before humans do.

The standard therapy for canine behaviors that are fear-driven includes desensitization. But thunderstorm phobia is an exception, because it's difficult to mimic all the different triggers that set off a fear response – in particular changes in barometric pressure, static electricity, and whatever scents dogs seem to notice with an impending change in the weather.

In addition, desensitization is first and foremost about either eliminating or controlling the dog's exposure to the feared stimulus. Obviously, depending on where the dog lives, it's impossible to do this with any success when you're dealing with a thunderstorm phobia.

Another problem is that desensitization has to be done in each room of the house, because the new coping skill your dog learns in the living room will be forgotten in the kitchen.

These challenges make desensitization attempts much less successful and effective when it comes to storm phobias.

Storm Phobia Often Escalates Over Time

According to Dr. Nicholas Dodman, a professor at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University and founder of Tufts' Animal Behavior Clinic, many owners of storm phobic dogs don't seek help for their pets until the animals are between five and nine years old.

These owners typically explain their dog has been somewhat anxious during storms from a young age, but there has been a sudden increase in anxiety traceable to a particularly severe recent storm.

Dr. Dodman thinks the precipitating event for an increased level of phobic behavior could be caused by a static electric shock the dog endures during that particular storm.

His theory is based on his observation that many storm phobic dogs – about half in his experience – try instinctively to access areas where there are electrical grounds that protect from built-up static charges. These locations can include sinks, bathtubs, shower enclosures, behind toilets, or up against metal radiators or pipes.

Also, several dog owners have reported to Dr. Dodman that they have received static electricity shocks from their dogs if they touch them during a storm. It's an established fact static electricity fields build up during storms and some animals become statically charged.

Help for Dogs with Thunderstorm Phobia

Do everything reasonably possible to limit your dog's exposure to storms. Find a safe place your dog can go to avoid all aspects of the storm. Per Dr. Dodman:

"A basement, if available, is a great place to start. The safe place should preferably have small or no windows so the storm cannot be witnessed by the dog. Even small windows should be blocked off using cardboard inserts or fitted with thick, lined curtains. Basements have the advantage of being semi-subterranean, insulated against sound by thick concrete walls and surrounding soil."

If you can't make use of a basement in this way, you can consider outfitting a room in your home with sound-proofing wallboard and appropriate window coverings.

According to Dr. Dodman, this 'safe room' should have a solid-sided crate, and leave the door open. It should also contain food, water, treats and toys. At the approach of a storm, turn on the lights in the room so any flashes of lightening that make it through the window coverings won't be too obvious.

Play calming music (, in the safe room at a volume just loud enough to drown out remote thunder claps.

Spend some play time with your dog in the room when it's not storming, and then see if she'll go to her safe place on her own when she senses the approach of a thunderstorm. Your dog should have 24/7 access to her safe room, even when you're not at home.

Other suggestions:

* Purchase a storm jacket for your phobic pet. There is the Storm Defender, the Anxiety Wrap, and the Thundershirt to choose from (and there may be others as well). Some of these wraps have anti-static linings; all are designed to be snug-fitting to give dogs a feeling of being swaddled that is comforting to them. All three have proved very helpful for a certain percentage of dogs with storm phobia.

You might also consider a Calming Cap.

* Ttouch is a specific massage technique that may also help anxious pets.

* Consult your holistic vet about homeopathic, TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and Bach Flower Remedies that could be helpful in alleviating your dog’s stress. Some products I use, always in conjunction with behavior modification:

- Herbsmith Calm Shen

- Homeopathic aconitum or Hyland’s Calms Forte

- Bach Rescue Remedy, Rock Rose, Mimulus or other similar remedies depending on the animal

- Spirit Essence Storm Soother

- OptiBalance Fear & Phobias Formula

- Green Hope Essences Anxiety Formula

* Ask for help. If nothing you attempt seems to help your phobic pet, I recommend consulting an animal behaviorist in your area through the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. You can also visit the Animal Behavior Society website, where you'll find a directory of Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists (CAABs).

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dog Food & Treats Coupons

Dog Food & Treats Coupons

$3/1 Nature's Recipe coupon - "Nature’s Recipe® dog food uses only high-quality ingredients with added vitamins and minerals, and never any fillers or artificial preservatives."

$30 in Science Diet Coupons - Sign up for the Healthy Mobility Challenge to get your coupons.

$2/1 Pro Pac Superpremium Dog Food - "Experts agree that quality pet nutrition enhances the quality and length of your pet's life. You can be confident that you are giving your pet the best when you feed PRO PAC ®."

Canine Cavier Coupons - Three listed: Save $2 on a 14 lb bag, Save $14 on a 30 lb bag or BOGO 1.1 lb bag.

Free bag of By Nature Dog Food - Rebate form. "Corn, wheat and soy can be tough on your pet's digestive tract. That's why you'll never find it in a bag of By Nature® pet food. Crafted with only the best ingredients, our all-natural and nutritionally complete pet foods ensure long and active lives."

BOGO Alpo Coupon - Facebook coupon.

Free Honest Kitchen Dog Food Sample - "The Honest Kitchen provides natural human-grade pet food products for dogs and cats. Our gourmet recipes are 100% natural and gently dehydrated, not extruded.

Hill Science Diet Ideal Balance Dog Food - rebate for up to $12.99 of purchase.

BOGO Purina® Pro Plan® Wet Dog Food - "Buy one (1) can of Purina® Pro Plan® brand wet DOG FOOD and get one (1) can of Purina®Pro Plan® brand wet DOG FOOD FREE (up to $1.79) any size, any variety.

$3/1 Purina® Pro Plan® Dry Dog - "Save $3.00 on one (1) bag of Purina® Pro Plan® Dry Dog food. Any Size, Any Variety."

$3/1 Purina® Pro Plan® Selects® Dry Dog Food - "Save $3.00 on one (1) bag of Purina® Pro Plan® Selects® brand dry DOG FOOD. Any Size, Any Variety."

Milkbone Coupons - Sign up for valuable Milk-Bone® dog snack coupons.

$1/1 Crunch & Clean Dog Biscuits - "These unique biscuits are a breakthrough in dental health — clinically proven to reduce new tartar formation. In fact, just 2 yummy Crunch 'n Clean biscuits twice a day won’t just make his tail wag faster, they’ll fight tartar before it’s a problem."

$1/1 Nylabone coupon

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Stem Cell Treatment for your Labrador Retriever

Is your Labrador Retriever entering their golden twilight years? Is movement painful and slow, slowed by hip dysplasia, arthritis or other degenerative joint diseases. Stem cell therapy may be of help.

Stem cell therapy is not a new procedure but more veterinarians are now offering stem cell therapy for dogs, as it is believed that the stem cells can increase the dogs ability to decrease inflammation while helping the injured tissues to regenerate. The pricey yet powerful procedure is helping ease arthritic pain for more and more dogs.

"Veterinarians and researchers describe stem cell regenerative therapy as a major scientific development in the treatment of arthritis, hip dysplasia, ligament and cartilage injuries and other degenerative joint diseases in dogs, cats, horses and other animals. The technology uses an adult animals own stem cells to heal itself."

"Vet-Stem Regenerative Veterinary Medicine reports the Current Canine Uses for Stem Cells:

The following conditions have been treated by companion animal veterinarians with reported favorable outcomes:

* Canine osteoarthritis - hip, elbow, knee, shoulder
* Canine immune mediated polyarthritis
* Tendon and Ligament injuries
* Integrated with surgical repair of joints or ligaments"

"One year ago, 12-year-old pit bull mix Sherman and Gunner, a 9-year-old Labrador, were hobbling around and in visible pain. Now, their owners say, they are active and energetic... Dogs show off benefits of stem cell therapy

Veteran's Day Honor: Search & Rescue Dogs of 9-11 Receive Breakthrough Stem Cell Regenerative Therapy from MediVet-America ... One of the last surviving search & rescue dogs deployed in the 9/11 attacks, now 15 years old, will receive a breakthrough stem cell regenerative treatment from MediVet-America to help ease crippling arthritis and live out her days in greater comfort. At least two other 9/11 dogs also will receive the same stem cell therapy.

Dog With Severe Hip Dysplasia Receives Help With Stem Cells...

3-year-old black lab is one of a handful of dogs in California to receive this new treatment for hip dysplasia. Cost is a fraction of full hip replacement surgery but is still in early stages, though dogs have shown success in being pain free.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Win one year's worth of Hill's Science Diet Healthy Mobility Dog Food

Register for the Healthy Mobility Challenge and receive an entry in the Healthy Mobility Challenge Sweepstakes.

Hill's Science Diet Healthy Mobility Challenge Sweepstakes

The Hill's Science Diet website challenges you to switch your dog's food to Healthy Mobility Dog Food to promote an active and healthy life. Hill’s states that in just 30 days you can see a difference in your dog‘s mobility!

* Revolutionary, tested nutrition specifically formulated to help dogs facing quality-of-life changes due to mobility problems.

* High levels of omega-3 fatty acids for enhanced active mobility and improved joint flexibility in just 30 days.

* EPA, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate for essential bone and joint cartilage support.

* High-quality lean proteins for lean muscle and ideal body weight.

* Clinically proven antioxidant blend for healthy immune function.

When you register for the challenge, you will also receive $30 in Hill's Healthy Mobility Coupon offers as well as being automatically entered into the Hill's Science Diet Healthy Mobility Challenge Sweepstakes, where 30 winners will receive Free pet food for a year!

Hill's Science Diet Healthy Mobility Challenge Sweepstakes ends at 11:59 PM EST on December 31, 2011 and is open to all legal U.S. residents who are at least eighteen (18) years of age.

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Dealing With Hot Spots on Your Labrador Retriever

A hot spot (acute moist dermatitis) is a painful skin condition that commonly affects dogs. It typically first appears as a small round lesion on the skin, then quickly grows larger and more irritated looking as your Labrador Retriever licks or chews on it. Frequent scratching, chewing or licking on one place can result in a hot spot (acute moist dermatitis).

Hotspots can be caused by an allergy, flea infestation, arthritis, ear infections, anal gland problems, poor grooming and mange.

Dog Hot Spots a Common Dog Skin Problem...

It is important to treat hot spots promptly to prevent spreading. Treatment must be directed at stopping the growth of the hot spot and eliminating the cause.

How to Deal With a Hot Spot on Your Dog ...

"Natural and holistic remedies are beneficial for both humans and animals. They are a gentle and safe alternative for breeds of all ages, and also support overall health and wellbeing. Homeopathic ingredients including Arum triph, Viola tri, Comocladia, Chamomilla and Cina provide symptomatic relief for itchiness, scratching, redness and burning and restores the skin and coat back to health... Natural Help For Hot Spots in Pets

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Free Honest Kitchen Pet Food Sample at Honest Kitchen Resellers

Request your voucher for a Free Sample of Honest Kitchen Pet Food.

"The Honest Kitchen provides natural human-grade pet food products for dogs and cats. Our gourmet recipes are 100% natural and gently dehydrated, not extruded."

Their recipes are made from human-grade, whole-food ingredients, gently dehydrated and balanced to meet a pet's nutritional needs - simply add water.

To get your Free Honest Kitchen Pet Food Sample voucher, "Like" their Facebook page, fill in the form and they will e-mail you the voucher. Bring the voucher to your local Honest Kitchen Reseller to claim your Free Pet Food Sample.

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Monday, November 07, 2011


Here's... Pinky!!


Photos from: Rajasekharan (India)

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Sunday, November 06, 2011

Nestlé Purina TV Ad is Going to the Dogs

Picture this …

You and your favorite canine buddy are hanging out together at home.

The TV is on in the background. Suddenly your dog looks toward the screen and his ears perk up.

Then he quickly stands, wagging his tail, and inches closer to the set.

With his eyes fixed on the screen, he cocks his head in that irresistible way he has. You swear he's smiling.

You look at what he's looking at, and it's a commercial for a popular dog food. You have no idea why your adorable pooch is so spellbound by the commercial.

But what is the likelihood you'll remember his reaction the next time you see that particular brand of dog food in the store?

There's a pretty good chance, don't you think?

Dog Food Marketed Directly to Dogs

The diabolically clever pet food marketers are at it again!

Believe it or not, Nestlé Purina has introduced a pet food commercial in Austria that uses high-frequency tones and other sounds known to catch the attention of dogs.

These sounds include a squeak like the noise a dog toy makes, a tone similar to a dog whistle, a soft, high-pitched ping, and whispering.

If you pay attention you'll hear the squeak, the ping and the whispering, but probably not the high-frequency tone. Your dog, of course, will hear all four, and may or may not have an observable reaction.

The sounds aimed at the dogs are designed not to detract from the message being delivered to their human owners.

"We wanted to create a TV commercial that our four-legged friends can enjoy and listen to, but also allow the owner and dog to experience it together," said Anna Rabanus of Nestlé Purina PetCare Germany.

And according to Xavier Perez of Nestlé Purina PetCare Europe:

"The television commercial aims to reach both the pet and the owner, supporting the special one-to-one relationship between them."

"We want to position our brand as one which understands the unique relationship between owners and their dogs."

Pardon my cynicism, but despite the cleverly crafted spin about owners and dogs sharing a special moment together watching a TV commercial, I think what the company actually set out to create was an ad that would cause their dog food to fly off store shelves.

Toward that end, makes this observation:

It's unclear whether appealing directly to nonhumans will pay off for Nestlé. On the one hand, according to traditional free-market economic theories, manufacturers direct their solicitations to rational agents who trade their currency for goods and services. Dogs, while they may very well be rational, lack purchasing power and can make consumer choices only by proxy, presumably by pestering their owners.

On the other hand, the same is true for children, and manufacturers have little difficulty marketing their products to them.

Marketing Campaigns Don't Always Reflect the Quality of the Product

Taking off my skeptic's hat for a minute, let me say I think it's perfectly fine to appreciate clever, appealing product marketing campaigns.

I just caution you not to assume that because the ad is a knock-out, the product is high quality.

Case in point, here are the first four ingredients in the 'original' formula of the dog food featured in the Nestlé ad:

* Ground yellow corn
* Chicken by-product meal
* Corn gluten meal
* Whole wheat flour

It's too bad a pet food manufacturer who is incorporating dog-friendly sounds in its commercials isn't incorporating dog-friendly, species-appropriate nutrition in its pet food products.

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Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Reasons to Spay Your Female Dog

All About Labradors Guest Post by Crissi Cooley of Oh My Dog Supplies.

If you have a female dog, you may want to consider having her spayed, especially if you don't plan on breeding her in the future. The last thing you want is your dog to get pregnant when you are in no way prepared to deal with puppies. It is fairly easy to have your dog spayed and it can be done comfortably with anesthesia today. While this is not the right choice for every dog, here are some of the reasons that you may want to consider this for your female dog.

Reason #1 - No False Pregnancies

One of the big reasons that you should considering spaying your dog is that no false pregnancies will occur when you do this. Sometimes females that are not spayed may end up having a false pregnancy after their heat period. Their belly may increase in size and sometimes they may even have milk production as well. While it doesn't sound bad, this can cause a variety of hormonal changes in the body of your dog. They can stress out your dog and make her more likely to get infections or other illnesses.

Reason #2 - No Pregnancies

Another reason to spay your female dog is so that pregnancies don't occur. Giving birth can often be dangerous for some dogs, especially if a smaller dog is accidentally impregnated by a larger dog. There is the fact that you may not have a way to raise puppies and you may not be equipped for a dog to give birth either. There is no worry about pregnancy if your dog has been spayed.

Reason #3 - Protection against Certain Health Problems

Spaying can give your dog protection against some health problems as well. Dogs that are spayed don't have to worry about uterine infections. Endometritis and pyometra are two infections that can affect female dogs that are not spayed and both can be deadly. There is no risk of these problems in a female that has been spayed.

Reason #4 - No Heat Periods

There are no heat periods to worry about either when you have your female dog spayed. When a dog goes in heat, usually they have a blood discharge, which can end up being quite messy. If your dog is an inside dog it can lead to stains on your furniture and your rugs. This also may lead her to seek out other males, which is definitely not something you want if she has puppies. You'll avoid the mess and other problems of heat periods if your dog is spayed.

Reason #5 - No Confinement for Your Dog

There is no need to confine your dog during her heat period if she is spayed. When a female goes into heat, leaving her alone can mean puppies. Males that smell a female in heat can come from all over and can even jump fences. You'll have to keep her indoors or keep your eye on her all the time. You may even have to start walking her. This can definitely be a difficult problem, but one that can be avoided with spaying.

Content written by Crissi Cooley of, where you can find a extraordinary variety of ceramic dog dishes online.

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