7 Ways to Comfort your Dog’s Thunderstorms

El Niño has finally arrived in Southern California. This month was filled with rain, thunderstorms, and tornado watches. This stormy season is expected to last well into March, so we have some time before the weather calms down. As you know, most of our dogs fear the howling winds, plummeting barometric pressures, and of course, the loud rumbling of thunder. Many times, we try to comfort our dogs with no avail. Dogs can not only damage your home when they’re scared, but can injure themselves. Here are some ways in which you can help comfort your dog during a thunderstorm.

Just because your dogs doesn’t take any drastic measures when they are afraid, doesn’t mean they aren’t suffering. It’s best to act when your dogs are young, or when they experience their first thunderstorm. “Storm phobia” is considered a progressive disease and can worsen with time.

Start when your pup is young. When there is excessively loud thunder, cuddle you dog and give him or her treats. Associating thunder with cuddles and love will help fight storm phobia.

Make their crate into a cave by covering it with towels or blankets. Hiding in a cavelike structure will ease the dog’s fear, giving them a sense of safety. Crate training them as a puppy will help them when they are older. Their crate becomes a safe place for them, helping them psychologically. Even if you didn’t crate train them as a puppy, it’s never too late to give it a try.

The loud noise is what is scaring your dog. You should put them in a room that is centrally located away from the outside. A big closet or a bathroom works perfectly. Also, mask the noise with music or a noise machine. Anything that will distract the dogs from the thunder will help.

You can desensitize your dog to thunder by playing thunder sound CDs or MP3s. Start off at a low volume so your dog can get use to the sound. Comfort them throughout the process with pets and affirmation. Slowly increase the volume as you’re comforting him.

It’s best to keep your dog off drugs, but if he’s having a hard time with the weather, it’s better to have relaxants than stress. All dogs are different and some may never feel comfortable during a thunderstorm. Your vet will know which drugs are best to help your dog relax during the next storm.

If you’re not comfortable giving your dogs drugs try a more natural approach. You can start by giving your dog chamomile tea. To get your dog to drink the tea, place a piece of meat in their bowl and pour the tea over the top. Your dog will then drink the tea to get to the meat, but be careful the tea is not too hot. You can also try lavender oil, bach flower extract (Rescue Remedy) or dog appeasing pheromones.

5 Nutrition Tips to Keep Your Dog Healthy This Winter

Golden Retriever Puppy Eating Preparing your dog for winter goes far beyond making sure they are warm and dry. Animals, much like humans, need to switch up their diet to accommodate the changing weather. Sadly, many pet parents do not understand the importance of their pet’s dietary needs. Dogs can experience both weight loss and weight gain during the winter months, fixing their diets based on their needs is most important. Here are 5 tips to keeping your dog healthy this winter.

1. Increase their calorie intake

For dogs that spend most of their time outdoors, consider increasing the amount of calories they consume. Colder weather means your dog is using more energy to stay warm. Feeding your dog an extra meal a day can make up for the lost calories. You can also add chicken broth to their dry food for about a 10% calorie increase. Also, switching to a higher calorie dog food is a simple way to ensure your dog is getting the right about of calories per day.

 2. Reduce

Obesity is not only a human disease, dogs can suffer from it too. In the United States, the percentage of obese dogs is going up. It is important to your dog’s health that you keep them trim and in good shape. You can cut calories for your dog by feeding them fewer treats or switching to a low-calorie treat. Also, measure out the amount of food you give to your dog and pour enough food for one meal, don’t simply pour food for the whole day.

 3. Choose Diet Food

Dogs are much like humans, they don’t want to starve to lose weight. If your dog is overweight, switch them to diet dog food. Dogs should lose their weight gradually in order for it to be healthy. Be aware, not all dog food is the same. Diet food may have the same calorie count as another brand’s regular food. The only time dog food can be considered diet is if the diet food has fewer calories than the same brand’s regular food.

 4. Give your dog supplements

Many dog food brands claim their food has a complete balanced nutrition, but your dog many need more than this. There are supplements out there for every need from digestion to vision to arthritic joints.

 5. Change your dog’s diet gradually

If you do plan to switch your dog’s food this winter make sure you do it at a gradual pace. If you switch your dog’s food too fast it may cause your dog to become sick or he may not eat his food. You should slowly mix the old and new food together, slowly mixing less and less of the old food. It should take about a week to ten days to fully switch foods.