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With the approaching storm tonight, we thought it appropriate to repost this article:

It is not unusual for people to be afraid of thunderstorms…so why should it be any surprise that dogs may be afraid of them as well.  Signs that your dog may be anxious about an approaching or current thunderstorm include panting, trembling, pacing, cowering, hiding, destructive behavior and “potty” accidents.

And don’t be surprised if your dog senses a storm coming before you do.  Dogs can be especially sensitive to the changes in barometric pressure so they may start showing the warning signs of anxiety before you even know the storm is approaching.

Many experts recommend you do not encourage your dogs’ fears by comforting them during a storm.  We disagree to a certain extent.  If a family member is scared, of course you should comfort them and your dog is absolutely a part of your family.  Allowing your dog to rest up against your leg or giving a petting or belly rubbing session could give the dog the comfort he or she needs.  However, if your 120 pound dog all of a sudden crawls up in your lap or some other line is crossed, you may need to try some other options.

Here are 10 suggestions that might make a thunderstorm a more pleasant experience for your whole family:

  1. Dogs, like children, absolutely play off your emotions.  If you are scared of the storm, many members (both two and four legged) may join you in your fear.
  2. While talking to your dog, keep your voice happy and calm.  Even if comforting words are being spoken, if there is apprehension there, your dog will not be convinced all is fine.
  3. See if your dog responds to background noise.  Try the television or different types of music.  Soothing music may be best, but like people, dogs may enjoy different genres.
  4. Provide your dog with a safe place.  Some dogs like to be under the bed, kitchen table, or other piece of furniture.  Others may prefer a dark room, closet, or even the shower or bathtub.  It may be as    easy as leaving their crate open and allowing them to relax there, but these other suggestions might give you some options.
  5. Some dogs may just need a good long hug.  The closeness and calmness of you may be enough to calm their nerves and get them through the worst of the storm.
  6. Do your best to distract your dog with his or her favorite game or toy.  Keep their mind off the storm with a long game of fetch or teaching them a new trick.
  7. Keep “special” treats on hand just for storms.  If there are treats your dog normally does not get that he or she is especially fond of, he or she may learn to look forward to a storm rather than fear it.
  8. Some suggest wrapping your dog up.  Similar to the sometimes calming effects of swaddling in an infant, wrapping your dog with a t-shirt or an Ace bandage may help them to remain relaxed during a storm.
  9. If your dog becomes particularly agitated or destructive during a storm, it may be time to talk to your vet.  They may be able to prescribe a mild sedative to keep your dog calm. You could also ask your vet about the use of Melatonin, which is a natural herbal supplement typically used by people experiencing insomnia.  However, it is important to get a solid recommendation from your vet about the use, dosage and brand of supplement of Melatonin to give your dog as some pills may be mixed with other vitamins and size of the dog definitely matters when using this supplement.
  10. If you want to try a proactive approach to prevent further fear of storms, pick up a thunderstorm cd or find a storm soundtrack on YouTube.  Play the cd at a very low volume level and see how your dog reacts.  Use some of the tricks listed above if your dog becomes agitated during the cd.  Continue the process at higher volume levels until your dog seems more comfortable.  You’ll know if you’ve made any progress when the next Spring or Summer storm rolls around.

We wish you the best of luck in dealing with thunderstorm anxiety during this storm season.  Do your best to remain patient with whatever unusual behavior your four-legged pal may display and keep in mind all the time you dog has been understanding of your fears or high levels of emotion.

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Did you know that approximately 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs every year and children are the most likely victims?  May 19 through May 25 is Dog Bite Prevention Week.  We, at DogWatch of Columbus, feel it is extremely important to not only train your dog, but train your children as to the do’s and do not’s of dog safety.

We’ve compiled our 21 years of working with dogs into a few tips below that can help keep your children safe.  Check out these tips and be sure to share them with your kids.  Who knows, it might prevent one of them from being bitten some day.  Teach your children:

  1. To never approach a dog they don’t know.  Be especially wary if the dog is behind a physical fence.  Never tease a dog that is behind a fence.
  2. To always ask the owner before they pet a dog.  Teach them to then ask how the dog prefers to be petted (behind the ears, on his back, etc).
  3. To slowly put their hand in front of the dog’s nose before they pet a dog.  This way the dog can get their scent and it will help to put the dog at ease.
  4. To never put their face in the face of an unknown dog.  Bites to the face are the most heartbreaking.
  5. To never attempt to hug or pick up a dog.  On the opposite side, never attempt rough play with a dog you don’t know.
  6. To avoid eye contact with an unknown dog as in dog talk that means a challenge of authority.
  7. To always approach a dog so they can see you.  Never “surprise” a dog from behind as a scared dog is more likely to bite or nip, if only for self defense.
  8. Signs that a dog may not want to be approached.  An unapproachable dog may have his ears back, the hair on his neck may be raised, his teeth may be showing, and he may be growling or skittish.
  9. The signs of a friendly dog.  A wagging tail, tongue lolling out of his mouth, a dog “smile” if you will, eagerness to interact, and ears perked are all signs that a dog is ready to be approached, so long as permission has been granted by the owner.
  10. To never approach a dog that is off leash without an owner present. This is doubly important if the dog appears skittish, aggressive or confused.  Tell them to find an adult immediately so that the adult can call animal control.
  11. To never to run from a dog even if it is charging them.  It is far better (though harder) to stop and stand with your arms in and head down.  Avoid eye contact so that the dog does not feel threatened. The child will no longer seem like a threat to a dog if they are still and quiet and the hope is they will not attack.  If the child continues to run, the dog will pursue until the “prey” is caught.
  12. A tip from one of our customers, Bridgett Shoemaker, who is an avid runner.  While running, slow to a walk if you are approaching a dog on a run.  Dogs get nervous when someone is running towards them and should relent if the runner approaches more slowly and avoids eye contact.

Obviously, it is important to properly socialize and train your dog as well, but we feel it is just as important to teach your kids about other dogs because you never know how well other dogs have been trained.

We hope this helps educate you and your family and helps to create awareness during National Dog Bite Prevention Week.  Please call us at 614-527-3799 or contact us if you have any questions.


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From February 23 through March 3, 2013 we will be manning a booth at the Central Ohio Home & Garden Show.  When you find us at our booth, you can get a free gift simply by "liking" our Facebook page or if you're ready to set up an estimate or installation, you have a chance to spin our new PRIZE WHEEL that has opportunities to win some pretty cool add-on's to your system or 50% off the installation of a Performance Series Hidden Fence.

The show hours and location as well as a $1 off coupon can be found at http://www.dispatchevents.com/content/sections/central-ohio-h-and-g/index.html .  What are you waiting for?  We hope to see you very soon!  If you have any questions, please contact us or call 614-527-3799.  We'll be at the show over the weekend, but will return your call as promptly as possible.

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With all the snow that is currently falling, we thought it was a good time for a reminder of pet safety tips in all this snow.  Snow can be enjoyable for man and beast alike, but it does present some dangers.

 

You may think that just because dogs have all that hair that they won’t get cold.  This is a common misconception, especially for smaller dogs.  A good rule of thumb is to keep dogs outside for only as many minutes as compared to their weight.  For example, our Miniature Schnauzer, Potter weighs 15 pounds so he should only stay outside about 15 minutes.

 

Also regarding the cold, although we’re sensitive to dogs and their extreme hatred for doggie clothing most times of year, on a day like today, a sweater or turtleneck would probably be appreciated by your four-legged-pal.  It will help him retain his body heat better than without; therefore allowing him to enjoy the snow as much as you do (okay, probably even more).

 

De-icing salt can be dangerous to dogs as it is toxic if consumed in large quantities.  In addition, salt can irritate dog’s skin, paws and eyes.  That being said you really have two options.  Buy the de-icing salt that is safe for dogs (such as EcoTraction).  Or simply try and keep your dog away from areas you have spread ice melt or wash his paws (and any other place the ice melt touched) upon returning inside.  A Facebook friend and dog trainer, Nico Kramer was kind enough to remind us of a couple of these tips.

 

Speaking of toxins, puddles can be carriers of all sorts of them.  Traces of antifreeze, windshield washing fluid, ice melt and coolant can be found in puddles, so please, don’t let your dog play in them or drink from them especially during the winter.

 

Don’t forget to shovel a “potty path” for your dog if you have a fenced in yard.  Or if you’re taking them for walks to relieve themselves only walk as long as your dog wants to.  Upon their return inside, check them for ice or clumps of snow and remove them gently.  This will help to prevent frostbite and wiping them down removes de-icing salt and possible toxins mentioned above.

Frostbite can be identified in dogs as skin turning red, gray or white.  If suspected, take your dog to a warm area and apply damp, warm cloths until the area appears flushed.  Then call your vet for further instructions.

 

If you have a pond in your yard or neighborhood, you need to be especially careful and keep an extra watchful eye on your four-legged-pal.  Although a pond may appear solid and frozen over, this could be misleading.  Falling through ice to the icy waters underneath is a danger to dogs and children alike.

 

Finally, if you keep your dog’s food and water outside, be sure to check the water regularly to make sure it isn’t frozen.  Dehydration can be an issue during the winter too.

 

We hope this helps your family and your dog enjoy this winter wonderland we find ourselves in today.  Now, get on out there and have a dog-gone good time!

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Looking to get your pet's picture taken with Santa?  Look no further!  Here is a list of places and times you can find the big guy in the red suit that is ready for some fur-friendly portraits:

Dec. 13 5:30 - 8:30 CHA PetPeople 6415 Perimeter Dr. Dublin
Dec. 15 11:00 - 3:00 Cozy Cat Cottage Mutts & Co. 5125 Hampstead Village Dr. New Albany
Dec. 15 10:00 - 4:00 Central Ohio Greyhound Petco Westerville
Dec. 15 11:00 - 3:00 CHA PetPeople 4010 Powell Rd. Powell
Dec. 15 11:00 - 4:00 Colony Cats (&dogs) PetSmart Rome-Hilliard Rd. Hilliard
Dec. 15 11:00 - 4:00 Hand Me Down Dobes PetSmart Hilliard
Dec. 15 11:00 - 4:00 New Beginnings PetSmart Grove City
Dec. 16 11:00 - 4:00 New Beginnings PetSmart Grove City
Dec. 16 10:00 - 4:00 Central Ohio Greyhound Petco Westerville
Dec. 16 11:00 - 3:00 Cozy Cat Cottage Mutts & Co. 5125 Hampstead Village Dr. New Albany
Dec. 16 11:00 - 3:00 Cat Welfare Petco 5030 North High St. across from Graceland
Dec. 16 2:00 - 5:00 Powell Animal Welfare Society Mutts & Co. Dublin
Dec. 16 11:00 - 4:00 Colony Cats (&dogs) PetSmart Rome-Hilliard Rd. Hilliard

A big thank you to Pet Butler of Central Ohio the information!

 

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