Archive for Dog Products

By Chelsy Ranard

I wish I could give my fur-children the world. I dream of a room filled with cat trees, scratching posts, hidey boxes, and catnip for Kitten. I dream about a yard with a pool, giant sticks, treats hidden in every corner, meaty bones buried, and comfy beds for Titan. The reality is that I adopted my cat, Kitten (original name, I know), when I was a broke college student six years ago. We adopted Titan a few months ago and we are considerably better off now than I was back then, but we are still new homeowners without a ton of extra money. Ever since Kitten was a kitten I’ve been utilizing these thrifty tips to provide for her without breaking the bank. Now that I have a giant oaf of a German Shepherd running around, I’ve learned a few more tips as well.
1. Rescuing
Rescuing your pet instead of purchasing from a breeder is the first step to being a frugal pet owner. The fees that come with rescuing an animal usually go towards spay/neutering, microchipping, and initial vet visits for your pet if you’re rescuing from a shelter. Also, if you are adopting an animal that is older or black in color you will usually get a cheaper adoption rate on them because they have so many issues being adopted. Before you decide to bring a new, furry addition into your home, consider your local shelter before anything else.
2. Couponing
The holy grail of thriftiness! Couponing is an easy way to stay frugal in any area of life, really. But there are so many options for coupons these days. I’ve found coupon deals for Petco, PetSmart, BarkBox, and a dozen more stores that offer pet necessities. For the sake of being thrifty, I wouldn’t recommend using big name outlets frequently for your animal’s needs, but if you need to, be sure to find a coupon for the outlet of your choice.
3. DIY
There are so many alternatives that DIY offers that will save you a ton of money. My favorite DIY project for my pets are no-sew pet beds. It’s such a cheap and simple alternative to buying an expensive bed for your animal. Especially for Titan, a bed for a dog his size is not a cheap purchase. You can also create DIY cat and dog toys pretty easily using old T-shirts, empty water bottles, string, and other craft supplies lying around.
4. Thrifting
Shopping at thrift stores has the potential to save you a lot of money, but perhaps not a lot of time. The biggest issue I’ve run into with thrift store shopping is that you are required to do a lot of searching. However, buying old blankets at a thrift store to use as a dog bed is a great alternative to buying one from a store or making one. I’ve purchased tennis balls, blankets, craft supplies, cat boxes, and food/water dishes at craft stores for my animals at a fraction of the cost. Just be prepared to shop around if you can’t find what you need at the first thrift store you go to.

5. Baking

This has become my new favorite way to be frugal with my pets. There are many easy-to-follow recipes for baking your own dog and cat treats on Pinterest. Cat treat recipes are a little more difficult to find, but not impossible. The treats you can bake your pets are not only a cheaper alternative, but a healthier one as well. And for pups with a sensitive stomach like Titan, it’s been perfect. The recipes I use require six ingredients or less and it’s mostly ingredients I have in the house already. Titan’s favorite treat is a pumpkin treat that requires canned pumpkin, cinnamon, egg, and flour. Be sure to do your research and avoid ingredients that can harm your pet!

furgalpetbioAuthor Bio: Chelsy is a writer living in Boise, Idaho. She graduated with her BA in journalism in 2012. When she isn’t spending time with her animals or being thrifty, she enjoys camping, trying new beer, and exploring Boise with her boyfriend, David. Follow her on Twitter!

Photos By Chelsy Ranard

Whether your dog’s ears are long, shaped like a rosebud or bat ears, or they stand up in prick-eared fashion, it’s important to keep them clean. In extreme cases, dogs with dirty, infected ears can lose their hearing. Infected ears can lead to other health problems as well. Fortunately, regular ear cleaning is easy to do and it doesn’t require much in the way of accessories.

What you will need

You only need a few things to clean your dog’s ears:

 

  • Ear cleaner
  • Cotton balls or cloth

If you have a Terrier breed or a dog that has a lot of hair inside the ear, you may need a hemostat. This is a pair of tweezers with a small clamp-shaped end and handles so you can easily remove hair from inside the ears. This will allow air to get inside the ear and prevent ear infections. You can use a little ear powder sprinkled in the ear to make this hair easier to grip.

With most dogs you can simply use the ear cleaner and the cotton balls or cloth. You can buy ear cleaner from your veterinarian or from a good pet store or a pet retailer online. There are many good brands.

Cleaning your dog’s ears

To clean your dog’s ears you should make sure the ear cleaning solution is at room temperature. Nothing will make a dog squeamish about his ears faster than if you squirt cold liquid into them so make sure the cleaner is a pleasant temperature.

Try to clean your dog’s ears when you’re both relaxed. Your dog should be in front of you. It’s good if you have some treats with you so you can reward him for his cooperation.

Start by putting a few drops of the cleaner in one of your dog’s ears. Then gently massage the base of your dog’s ear. Slowly move your fingers over the base of the ear to loosen any wax and dirt that have accumulated. This should feel good to your dog. Then gently take one of the cotton balls or the cloth and stroke the inside of the ear to remove the loosened wax and dirt. Keep wiping the inside of the ear until the cotton ball or cloth comes away clean. You may have to put in a few more drops in your dog’s ear and massage a little more if the ear is very dirty.

You should not hold the bottle up and pour it into your dog’s ear. Not only is this unpleasant for your dog but that’s far too much liquid to put in your dog’s ear. It only takes a few drops of the cleaner each time to loosen the wax and dirt.

Once you have cleaned the first ear you can move over and clean the other ear. Make sure you give your dog some treats while you’re working to keep him cooperating.

Mites and infections

If your dog has ears that are no more than normally dirty, it should just take you a few minutes to clean them. However, if your dog’s ears are very gunky with brown or black wax, cleaning may take longer. This might indicate that your dog has had some mites or an infection at some time. Look for signs that your dog has any current infection or parasites. If you see anything that looks suspicious you should contact your veterinarian. Your vet can provide you with a miticide to get rid of ear mites. A yeast infection can be harder to eliminate. If you see signs of an infection you should talk to your vet and let him or her examine your dog’s ears.

In most cases you can clean your dog’s ears and be finished in just a few minutes. If you practice cleaning your dog’s ears each week then you will quickly spot any potential problems before they become something to be concerned about.

If you clean your dog’s ears gently and give him some treats while you clean, most dogs won’t mind having their ears cleaned. It also helps if you start cleaning ears when your dog is young so they know that it’s no big deal. Take care of your dog’s ears and you’ll never have a problem.

We usually think of our dogs’ paws as tough and able to take everything in stride, if you’ll pardon the pun. And most of the time that’s true. Under normal conditions, such as running and playing in the grass or on dirt, your dog’s paws can do their job. They can support his body and help him go from one place to another without any difficulty. But dogs live all over the earth with their human partners which means they can encounter some adverse conditions. Sometimes it’s necessary to protect your dog’s paws from bad weather, chemicals, and harsh environments.

Weather

One of the most most frequent problems related to a dog’s paws are bad weather conditions. Both extreme heat and icy cold can cause problems for your dog’s paws. In both cases the problem is often made worse by walking on pavement and other city surfaces. Hot pavement can hurt your dog’s paw pads, especially if he has to walk on excessively hot pavement for long periods of time. Your dog’s paws are not as sensitive as your feet, but you should definitely try to avoid hot pavement with your dog if possible.

In the winter, pavement can become icy and it’s hard for dogs to walk on the ice, just as it is for you. In addition, many cities put down de-icing chemicals on pavements and roads which are harmful to dogs if ingested. This means that if your dog licks his paws when he gets home, the chemicals can hurt him. So, if you take your dog for a walk on icy pavements or roads in the winter, be sure to rinse or wash his paws off with warm water when you get home so he won’t lick off these dangerous chemicals.

In both cases – hot and cold pavements – a dog’s paws can become chafed and cracked from walking on these less than ideal surfaces. Fortunately, there are some good products you can use to put on your dog’s paws which will help prevent this kind of chafing and cracking. Look for products for paws that say they toughen or protect a dog’s paws. They usually contain wax or petroleum jelly type ingredients.

Snow

Snow can pose a special problem for longhaired dogs and their paws. It will make little frozen balls between your dog’s toes and paw pads when he walks or plays in it. You can prevent this with some breeds by keeping the hair between the toes and pads trimmed. Or, you can be sure to rinse the paws with warm water when your dog comes in from being out in the snow to make sure the little snow balls melt away.

Paw care

You can also keep your dog’s paws in good shape by trimming the nails regularly. Nails that are allowed to grow too long can ultimately cause your dog problems. There are nail trimmers, clippers, and scissor-style cutters so you can trim your dog’s nails yourself at home. If you start when your dog is young and take off just a small portion each week, most dogs will tolerate the procedure well. If you or your dog hate doing nails, you can have your vet or a pet groomer trim the nails for you.

Booties

Besides bad weather and city living, some dogs live in places where walking can be difficult. Rocky landscapes, lots of snow, and other issues may present problems for a dog’s paws. Old age can also make it hard for a dog to get a good grip with his paws. In these cases, dog booties are often a good idea. You can buy sets of four booties or sets of two and use them only on the back paws. Booties with gore-tex soles are often recommended for better gripping. Booties for dogs can work the same way they do for humans – they protect the dog’s paws and give him added gripping ability. They’re especially good if the dog has to do any climbing and they can help with elderly dogs who sometimes have problems getting their balance on slippery floors.

Even dogs who live in the city can benefit from wearing booties to protect them from hot pavement, ice, and rain.

Keep in mind that some dogs have very tough pads and they probably don’t need to wear booties and only need to have sensible precautions taken to keep their paws safe. Every dog is different. But if you have a dog who does have more sensitive paws, there are some good ways to protect his paws no matter where you live or what the two of you face.

Many dogs suffer stress when they’re confronted with loud noises from fireworks or thunderstorms. Other dogs feel stress when they travel or when there are unusual things going on in the home such as workers visiting or a new pet in the family. Even a trip to the vet can cause a dog to become anxious and worried. There are all kinds of situations that can make dogs nervous. In these situations a calming collar can sometimes help calm and relax a dog. Even dogs in shelters and rescues have benefited from wearing calming collars.

How do calming collars work?
Currently there are two kinds of calming collars, though they work in similar ways.

Herbal collars
The first kind of calming collar uses fragrant herbs to calm and soothe your dog. The herbs are carefully chosen for their soothing qualities. These collars usually have cloth overlaying the collar underneath so the herbs can be sewn inside. This kind of calming collar is based on aromatherapy. The herbs are typically dried herbs so they do not contain essential oils that might irritate your dog’s skin. Collars that contain dried herbs usually continue to work for about 3-4 months.

DAP collars
The other kind of calming collar available now is a DAP (dog appeasing pheromone) collar. These collars work the same way that other DAP products work. Dog appeasing pheromones are pheromones that mimic the scent that mother dogs release when puppies are nursing. These pheromones are very soothing and calming to dogs. While many DAP products release these pheromones intermittently, when your dog wears a DAP calming collar, the pheromones are released in a sustained fashion. These collars typically last for about 30 days. They are usually plastic collars that can easily be adjusted to fit your dog. The pheromones are in the plastic of the collar and your dog’s body heat helps release them.

Both kinds of calming collars have proven to be effective with dogs who have stress and anxiety issues. Your dog simply wears the calming collar like an ordinary collar, especially when he might be facing a situation that would make him nervous. You should remove the collar before giving your dog a bath. Manufacturers usually suggest that you should not use these collars if your dog has skin lesions or irritated skin. The collars are non-toxic and your dog won’t be harmed if he chews on them though, of course, you should discourage any collar chewing.

Other therapies
If you have a dog who is afraid of thunder, fireworks, or who has other problems with stress and anxiety, calming collars are a good way to help reduce your dog’s initial stress. However, they are not a permanent solution. They don’t solve your dog’s problem. But they are a great way to help your dog stay calmer and feel better. This often makes it easier to work on a long-term solution to your dog’s issues. Calming collars are even good for working with dogs who have problems with separation anxiety. Once a dog begins to calm down and feel less fearful, it is much easier to work on some behavior modification solutions

DIY Doggie Pjs

One of the cutest trends  is doggie pjs. While they can get a little pricey if you’re looking at designer ones, others are pretty reasonable. Of course, if you can’t find ones that you totally love on your dog, then what do you do? You can make your own doggie pjs and still be on trend this year for cheap. Here is what you’ll need to do:

Find some cute baby onesies with legs at your local discount store, online, or even at garage sales. You can always find ones that match your pjs, or that compliment them. Finding a few that are really cheap at a discount store or garage sale can be great to practice on until you get everything down just the way you want. Not sure what size to get? It’s pretty easy, for dogs under 6 pounds, look for preemie clothes. For dogs from 6 to 15 pounds, look for newborn clothes. For dogs over 15 pounds, look for 0-3 month old baby clothes. If you have a larger dog, you will have to look for child sizes. Buying cheap child pjs at garage sales gives you an easy way to determine what size will fit your dog without spending a lot of time, energy, and money buying the wrong one and having to take them all back.

Once you have a few to practice on, start by putting them on your dog, but be careful with their tail for right now as you’ll make an area just for this later. You want the cute design to be up on the back, even if the zipper or buttons are there. Now, take a pen and mark along the behind (for the tail) as well as the stomach. You basically want to leave an area open for your dog to use the bathroom without getting it all over their pjs as well as a opening for their tail to move and wag. Once you have these areas marked, take the pjs off your pooch and cut along the line.

After you’ve got everything cut out, take a needle and thread or your sewing machine, and sew simple hems along every area that you’ve cut. This can be a bit time consuming until you get the hang of it, and you can also find hem tape as well as seam glue at local craft and sewing stores, or online. Once you get a little better with hemming up your dog’s pjs, you can get more fancy with different types of ribbon around the hem and other cute bric-a-brac as well.

Now that everything is sewn up, you are ready for your furry baby to sport their new pjs. It might take a bit for them to get used to the new clothes, but once they do and realize that they are snuggly and comfy, you’ll have a pj fan for life

We all know that our dogs have to have food and water and love, but there is more to caring for a dog than just those three things. There are many other areas, such as exercise, bathing, brushing, and so on that help ensure a dog is happy and healthy. If you are new to owning a dog or you simply want to make sure that you’ve got everything covered, here are five dog accessories that you simply cannot live without:

  1. Collar – This might seem like a given but you need to make sure that you have the right collar for your dog. Smaller dogs won’t need a big, sturdy collar, a thinner one will do just fine, but larger breeds will need a sturdy collar that won’t break when you’re out for a walk on a leash. You also want to make sure that you have the right fit on your dog’s collar, if it’s too small, you can choke your dog, and too big means they can slip out of it, losing any ID tags they have.
  2. Brush – You may think that you don’t have to brush your particular dog breed, but every dog needs to be brushed. There are several reasons for this, the main one being that it helps to curb shedding any time of the year. Every dog breed sheds, some just more than others, by brushing your dog, you can stop most of the shed hair from sticking to your furniture, clothing, car, and carpets. Plus brushing is a great way to inspect your dog for any bites, bumps, or other problems that you may not notice by simply patting them on the back. Talk with your groomer about what brush is right for your particular dog breed.
  3. Leash – Sure this one goes hand in hand with the dog’s collar, but do you have the right size leash for your dog? You want to make sure that you give your dog enough room to run without being so far away that you cannot control them. Also, you need a strong leash with a good clasp that isn’t going to break if your dog tugs on it. The last thing you want is for your dog to go chasing after a squirrel on a walk and get away from you and get hurt. Make sure that your dog’s leash is good quality that won’t break, yet still gives them enough room to run and exercise.
  4. Bedding – Some of us are guilty of letting our dogs sleep on our beds with us, but they still need their own bed, their own space. You can find all different sizes of pet beds that will fit your dog perfectly. These are pretty inexpensive, usually less than $20 (except for the very large ones) unless you want something very specific or designer, which will cost more. Pet beds offer your pet their own space in your house. You should set up their bed along with some of their toys in a corner or spot where they know that is their own space. It will give them a place to feel safe in when they are scared or lonely.
  5. Treats – We all love to reward our dogs with treats, but are you giving the right ones? Some treats can be bad for your dog, packing on extra weight they may not need or just being overall junk food for your pet. There are plenty of great treats out there that help with cleaning their teeth, bad doggie breath, and so much more. And if you are wary of all the different ingredients in your dog’s treats, you can easily make some of your own for your furry kiddo.

 

Of course, you may decide that you need other dog accessories for your pampered pooch, but these are the main five – aside from food, water, and love – to keep your dog happy and healthy for a long time to come.

Thanksgiving is nearly here once again and for most of us that means wonderful aromas wafting through the house and a table groaning under the weight of turkey and other favorite dishes. There will be family and friends gathered ’round and perhaps a slice of pumpkin pie. But, what about your dog? What does Thanksgiving mean for him?

 

Well, if you’re lucky, it won’t mean a trip to the vet because you’ve overfed him or given him some sharp bones to eat! Most of us want to share Thanksgiving with our dogs but, the truth is, Thanksgiving can be a dangerous time for pets. Rich foods can cause gastrointestinal upsets or even pancreatitis. Giving your dog a cooked turkey bone can lead to a punctured esophagus or other puncture in your dog’s stomach or G.I. Tract, so no cooked bones! Here are some other tips for you and your dog this Thanksgiving.

 

  • According to one poll, 56 percent of pet owners said they gave their pets Thanksgiving leftovers but you need to be careful about what you share with your dog. For instance, turkey is great. It’s an excellent protein that is nice and lean – as long as you remove the skin. And be sure to avoid giving your dog any cooked bones. Cooked bones are brittle so they can easily snap and form jagged edges that are harmful to dogs.

 

  • Say no to onion and garlic. Many Thanksgiving dishes contain onion, garlic, leeks, and scallions. If your dog eats these ingredients in any large amount, it can be harmful to him. These items are all members of the allium family and they have been linked to a form of anemia in dogs. Sure, you may occasionally give your dog something that contains garlic and it doesn’t hurt him, but don’t give your dog any foods that contain much of these ingredients.

 

  • Yes to veggies. It’s fine to give your dog some leftovers of green beans, cranberries, or even macaroni and cheese (if he can eat cheese). Mashed potatoes are good, too. Dogs enjoy many vegetable dishes. However, watch out for the “extras” and fancy fixin’s – those things added to a dish to make it special. For instance, if you add garlic or sour cream to your mashed potatoes, it could make it off limits for your dog. If you use cranberry sauce that has a lot of sugar added, it won’t be so good for your dog. If you would like to give your dog some veggies, try setting aside a bowl for your dog before you add the extras to it.

 

  • Avoid fat. Just avoid giving your dog extra fat, in general. While we like to see good named fat sources in dog food, it’s not a good idea to feed your dog leftovers that contain generous amounts of fat at Thanksgiving. Most dogs aren’t used to eating so much fat all at one time. The result can be an attack of acute pancreatitis. Vets report that the days following Thanksgiving are some of their busiest of the year for pancreatitis in dogs.

 

  • Be careful with other foods. There are some foods you should never give to dogs such as chocolate, macadamia nuts, grapes, raisins, pits from cherries and other pitted foods, and the artificial sweetener xylitol.

 

  • As for the pumpkin pie? Well, canned pumpkin, minus the spiced pie filling would be better for your dog. And dogs really don’t need whipped cream.

 

  • And one more time: No Cooked Bones! It’s fine if you would like to give your dog a raw bone such as a turkey neck. Raw bones are comparatively soft and easy for your dog to chew and digest. They won’t break off into jagged pieces when he chews them.

 

You can see there are many delicious things you can share with your dog at Thanksgiving. Just give some thought and care to what you give your dog and you won’t end up taking him to see the vet.

Lest you think that fashion is limited to clothing for dogs, there’s an entire world of dog fashion devoted to your dog’s surroundings. Beds and other furniture for dogs, carriers, strollers, backpacks for dogs, jewelry for dogs, sunglasses for dogs, hair dye and nail polish for dogs – even tiaras for dogs! If you can imagine it, someone is probably making it for your dog.

Beds and Furniture
Beds for dogs range from pretty blankets and cuddle-style beds that you can find at your local pet store to elaborate four-poster beds that are fit for a queen (or king). You can quite literally pay thousands of dollars for a dog bed if you’re inclined in that direction and you have the dough:

Of course, most dogs don’t sleep in beds so elaborate and you can find wonderful beds for your dog for reasonable prices. There are heated beds, beds with memory foam, bolster beds, and beds made out of all kinds of comfortable materials for less than $100. If you really want a bed with furniture style, you may have to pay a few hundred dollars.

You can find all kinds of stylish furniture for dogs, too. Perhaps your dog needs an armoire? You could hang his clothing in it. Some dogs have ramps or steps to help them get up and down from your bed or from sofas: And what pampered dog doesn’t need his very own toy box?

These are just a few of the pieces of furniture you can find for dogs. You can also find chairs, chaises, and small sofas designed for dogs that fit in with your own furniture.

Carriers and Strollers
Carriers come in many styles ranging from backpacks to purse styles. They can be extremely luxurious or more functional. Some of them are designed for flying with small pets on planes while others are good for taking your small dog with you when you go around town or if you’re in the car. There are also rolling carriers and sling/bag style carriers.

Dog strollers are made with a design similar to a baby stroller.


Other Accessories for Dogs

For the trendiest dogs you can find sunglasses, jewelry, and even go all out with the latest hair colors and nail polish. Glam hair colors wash out after a few shampoos. And fun nail polish for your dog is safe and easy to use. You can also use colored nail caps for dogs that fit over your dog’s nails.

Parties
We mustn’t forget all the ways you can decorate your home for parties involving your dog! There are colorful, fun cakes for dogs, party favors and toys for your dog’s guests, invitations, wrapping paper, paper plates and napkins, and decorations! Check online for terrific theme ideas for birthday parties and other parties for dogs. Your dog will be the host with the most when you coordinate one of these fashionable parties.

Really, there’s no limit to all the fun you can have with fashionable accessories for your dog, whether it’s in your home or dressing up your dog.

No matter what kind of clothing or costume you buy for your dog, or how much money you spend, it won’t look good unless you buy the right size. But how are you supposed to know your dog’s size? Especially when it comes to a costume? Afterall, if you’re buying a hotdog costume for your dog, who knows what size hotdog will fit your dog, right?

 

Measuring Your Dog

No matter what kind of clothes or costume you are thinking of buying, you usually need the same basic measurements from of your dog: the neck, chest, ribcage, and body length. The easiest way to measure your dog is with a measuring tape – the same kind that dressmakers use. You can find them at the drugstore or sometimes in the grocery store with the sewing things. If you don’t have a measuring tape you can also use a tape measure such as you would use for measuring a home project. As a last resort you can take a piece of string and use it to get your dog’s measurements and then use a ruler to measure the string.

You should allow plenty of space around the neck so the clothes or costume won’t be too tight. Then measure the other areas. Measure the chest from side to side at the wides points. Measure your dog’s ribcage just behind the elbows. To measure your dog’s body length you can measure from the back of your dog’s neck, where the neck joins the back, to the root of the tail – where the tail rises up from the body.

Buy Larger When In Doubt

Once you have all the measurements you can compare them with the sizes available for the clothing or costume you are considering. If there is any conflict in the measurements, you should always choose a larger size. For example, if your dog’s chest and body length suggest he should have a medium size costume, but his neck is larger, you should get the larger sized costume. If the clothes or costume are too small for your dog in any way, he may rip them or tear them either accidentally or by trying to make himself more comfortable. Always go larger if you have any doubts.

You should also keep in mind that it’s possible some clothes and costumes can shrink a little when you wash them. It can also be hard to predict how some clothes and costumes are cut or made. If your dog is borderline between small and medium or medium and large, getting the larger size will give him plenty of room in case the outfit runs small. You can always take the outfit in a little if necessary.

Accessories

When it comes to accessories like bows, hats, and other things, you can usually rely on the sizes given. Most of these items fit directly on your dog so there is less variation in how they are made for dogs.

If you’re buying a costume for your dog that is made of a stretch material, then it’s not as important to get bigger sizes since the costume is more forgiving. However, you should always keep your dog’s comfort in mind. Don’t try to wedge him into a tight costume or he’ll be uncomfortable.

Masks

Dogs often don’t appreciate masks and other accessories that go over their faces, even when they fit well, so if you need your dog to wear a mask for a photo, it’s a good idea to get the picture snapped quickly and then do away with the mask or face gear if your dog doesn’t like it.

Buy Early

Clothes for dogs can be found online and in pet stores. Costumes tend to be more seasonal, especially for holidays like Halloween. If you’re planning to have your dog wear a Halloween or other costume, it’s a good idea to buy the costume ahead of time and let your dog try it on so you can make sure it fits properly.

The summer months can be lots of fun for you and your dog but they also pose some special challenges. Specifically, the noise from holiday fireworks and thunderstorms can be upsetting to many dogs. Even dogs who have never been bothered by these loud noises before can suddenly develop fears about them as they get older.

If your dog has issues with fireworks or thunderstorms, we have some suggestions for you so you can help your dog.

Dealing with loud noises in general

Most puppies are unaffected by loud noises. They don’t yet have any fears or negative experiences associated with noise. You can encourage your puppy to take noise in stride by petting him, playing with him, and showing him that things are fun if someone in the neighborhood is shooting off fireworks or if there’s thunder. Your puppy will take his cues from you and your attitude. When there is noise you should:

 

  • Stay positive and upbeat
  • Play with your puppy with toys
  • Keep your puppy entertained
  • Act like the noise is no big deal

You should not do the following things:

  • Do not make soothing sounds
  • Do not coddle, cuddle your puppy or offer sympathy
  • Don’t act like the noise is scary

If you do any of these things, your puppy will think that the noise is something to fear. The more you cuddle and soothe him, the more convinced he will be that he should be afraid! It doesn’t take very long for a puppy to become a basket case when he hears any kind of loud noise.

The happier you act when there is any kind of fireworks noise or thunder, the easier it will be for your puppy to think the noise is okay. Show him that the noise is good or no big deal.

Socialization

Puppies and dogs that are well-socialized are also better able to cope with loud noises. These dogs are typically calmer and they have more self-confidence. They are less likely to become fearful when they hear unexpected noises. It’s easiest to start socializing a dog when he’s a puppy but you can work on socialization with a dog at any age.

Fireworks

If your dog is scared of the noise associated with fireworks, there are some things you can do to help him.

  • Do not take him to fireworks displays
  • Do not put him outside when you know there will be fireworks, such as the 4th of July
  • Make sure your dog is safely indoors when you expect fireworks
  • Turn up the TV or stereo to drown out the noise
  • Consider staying home with your dog to keep him company when you expect fireworks nearby
  • Ask your veterinarian for a sedative for your dog if he still has problems relaxing when fireworks are expected

You can also work on desensitizing your dog to the noise associated with fireworks. This involves recording the sounds of fireworks and playing them for your dog. You start with the sound very low and gradually increase it until your dog becomes comfortable with the actual noise level.

Thunderstorms

Thunderstorms can be a little trickier than fireworks since some dogs are also sensitive to the static electricity in the air and the drop in air pressure, and not just the noise. They can sense a storm approaching several minutes before there is any thunder. If your dog gives you this kind of warning about an approaching storm there are several things you can do to help him. Here are some suggestions:

  • Use a thundershirt for your dog. A thundershirt wraps snugly around a dog’s body and gives him a feeling of comfort. It also keeps static away from his body. You can also use a snug-fitting T-shirt or tube top for the same purpose.
  • Give your dog a gentle herb to calm him such as valerian. Valerian is used to help people sleep and relax and it helps many dogs with anxiety about storms. You can also use rescue remedy made from flower essences.
  • Some dogs like to take cover in a place where static electricity won’t collect, such as a bathtub. If your dog heads for the bathtub or the tile floor in the bathroom, let him go there. These places make him feel more secure.
  • Finally, you can also work on desensitizing your dog to thunderstorms the same way you work on fireworks. Record the sounds of a storm and start by playing it for your dog very quietly. You can gradually increase the sound level until your dog is comfortable with the full sound.

Noise phobias are not easy to overcome but you can help your dog get through them.