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What He’s Wearing: Thunder Jacket Edition

Of course, I said yes when offered the chance to review a Thundershirt product.

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Two of the three current canine residents at Wayward House suffer from anxiety. The triggers are different.

For Luke, it’s stormy weather. Often, he realizes the weather is turning before we do. He paces. He pants like he’s having a heart attack. He glues himself to whatever human is in the house, following so close that he trips you. This might cause you to yell out, which frightens Luke even more.

Sometimes he just hides. He’ll stick his nose in a corner of the kitchen or climb into the bath tub where his panting sounds are amplified.

golden reteriver meme

A lot of times, we’ll just give Luke some Wal-finate, a generic antihistamine he often needs for his allergies, anyway. It makes him drowsy enough to forget about the storm.

But if I can avoid drugging my dogs, of course, I will. So, when a  thunder jacket for dogs by Thundershirt arrived in the mail, just as the skies began to darken, I immediately strapped that thing on Luke.

Boy, did he look good!

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The product did seem to work, as well. Although Luke definitely did not forget about the storm, he didn’t move around so much or pant his brains out.

He mostly just laid quietly in the bathroom.

And he didn’t seem to mind the jacket. I left the house for a couple of hours with him in it and returned to a happy dog who didn’t seem to have tried removing his outfit.

If I hadn’t seen the HBO movie Temple Grandin, starring Claire Danes as an autistic woman who helps redesign livestock facilities to minimize stress on the animals, I would have thought the thunder jacket for dogs was baloney right from the start.

But there is a method behind the garment. Temple Grandin is a real person who realized that in times of stress she felt better when she was hugged tightly or squeezed herself into a tight area. She also noticed that cows seemed to get less freaked out when herded through a narrow chute.

The same idea is reflected in the thunder jacket, which fits very snugly on a dog, making him feel securely hugged, without restricting his movement.

Around the house, I found that the thunder jacket made both Luke and foster dog Charlie Machete calmer.

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While a chill Charlie Machete is always preferable around the house, where I really need that guy to cool out is in public.

His anxiety trigger is other people and dogs. That’s why I take him on walks with the KC Pittie Pack, where he can be part of the group in a structured, safe way.

For our special Coast to Coast Bully Walk on Pit Bull Awareness Day, I wrapped him up in the thunder jacket with the hope that he’d be extra relaxed for this extra special event.

Coast to Coast Bully Walk

Lookin’ good but actin’ naughty.

Unfortunately, instead of behaving like the preppy gentleman his thunder jacket and bandana made him appear to be, Charlie Machete acted like a buffoon.

He acted huffy toward two dogs in particular and pulled on his leash way more than usual. I was pretty embarrassed.

But I don’t blame the thunder jacket. We walked in a different location than usual, and there were many new dogs there Charlie Machete had never before smelled.

Also: When we got home, I realized that his gentle leader had chafed his face. That would make anybody irritable!

I left the thunder jacket on him to see if it helped at an adoption event later that day, but the event was canceled.

I’m glad to have the product, though. I will definitely keep using it on both big dogs to see for what other situations it may be helpful.

What makes your dog nervous?

Big thanks to onetime guest blogger Sonia Charry and PawPosse.com for hooking us up with a thunder jacket for dogs by Thundershirt!

Disclaimer: I received a free product in exchange for an honest review.

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How To Make Sweet Potato Chews (Guest Recipe)

Peanut butter often gets the glory, but most dogs love delicious sweet potatoes, too.

Charlie Machete begs for a treat.

More sweet ‘taters, please!

The recipe I recently shared for no-bake sweet potato treats was well-received by readers – and, I hope, your dogs. Here’s another super easy sweet potato snack you can make for your pups. The recipe comes from another blogger and dog lover.

Many store-bought dog treats are the equivalent of doggie junk food. There’s no nutritional value, and some of the ingredients are better left on store shelves. So what’s a concerned dog parent to do?

Homemade sweet potato chews are an easy, healthy alternative to traditional treats. They’re packed with natural goodness and don’t require any special equipment to make.

All you need for these treats are:

–          Sweet potatoes

–          A cutting board

–          A sharp knife

–          A cookie sheet

–          An oven

Instructions: 

1)      Pre-heat your oven to 250 degrees.

2)      Wash and peel the sweet potatoes.

3)      Using your sharp knife, cut the sweet potatoes into slices 1/3 to 1/2 an inch thick. I recommend aiming for the low end, as thicker slices don’t turn out as well.

4)      Lay the slices on your cookie sheet about an inch apart. Be sure to use a light coat of cooking spray or olive oil if your cookie sheet isn’t non-stick.

5)      Cook for 90 minutes.

6)      Flip the slices, then cook for an additional 60 minutes. Cook in additional 10-minute increments if necessary.

Dehydrated sweet potatoes

Before. After.

Ideally, the treats will turn out as dehydrated strips. Thicker slices will need to be baked longer and will be slightly chewy; thinner strips should be baked for less time or they’ll crispy. Once cool, refrigerate to preserve their freshness.

These are treats you can feel good about giving your dog. Sweet potatoes are high in too many vitamins and minerals to list, plus they have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. This easy method of preparation maintains their health benefits which unnecessary processing reduces.

The other benefit of sweet potato chews is that they are a safe alternative to rawhide chews. In the past, rawhides have been found to pick up contaminants like salmonella during processing, leading to risk of illness. Many dogs get really excited about rawhides and chew off small pieces, which can be a choking risk. Rawhide is not easily digested, so if your dog swallows small pieces, it could lead to stomach blockages. Yikes. These sweet potato chews, on the other hand, are not made in a factory assembly line and are easily digested.

Sweet potato dog treats are healthy, safe, and easy to make. Your dog will love them. The first time I made them for my dog, she got excited every time I opened the fridge for a week, hoping her cuteness would earn a sweet potato chew.

Bon(e) appetit!

This guest post comes from Sonia Charry, who writes the Big Dog Blog at PawPosse.com. She’s constantly trying out new, healthy recipes for her family, which includes her dog Nala. Here, she shares the recipe for one of Nala’s favorite home-made treats.

Would your dog enjoy sweet potato chews?

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