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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ba~~~ Boom~~**! Celebrating July 4th

One does not have to be a connoisseur of dogs to know the havoc brought upon a dog by the July 4th celebrations of a town’s display of pride or the back yard fire cracker celebrations where little Johnny blows off his finger because playing with matches is just not good enough for him!  Heck, you only have to be a friend of a dog owner to hear the horror stories that are brought about during this celebratory day for millions of dog owners. 

Sad to say that the questions will be coming in fast and furious when Fido’s mom has just realized that her peaceful neighborhood of 20 years has been invaded by new youth and her Fido is shaking severely in the bathtub because her street is suddenly lit up like the pomp and circumstance of a graduation march with sparkers, screams, claps, and the boom of the back yard, illegal fireworks festivities! (quite the mouthful huh?)

How do you get your dog through this?

Many would tell you to get the dog prepared beforehand by playing videos or recordings before the dreaded day and gradually make them louder and louder as you go about your normal business in the home. This is great if you did not procrastinate trying this or you were not caught in its direct path like the lady in the above scenario.  

First and foremost keep the dog safe! And I do not consider leaving the dog in a locked car during festivities safe, just sayin’.  If you are not sure how your dog will react to a firecracker never let them out alone, grab a leash and walk ‘em, even if it’s your own back yard!  I had a neighbor whose dog ran off when a firecracker was shot off two doors down from her. The dog was lost for several days and it was an old dog that needed daily care. Thankfully someone found the dog and the dog was returned home safe and sound.

If your dog is like my Steeler boy, he knows how to open the windows and jump out. Be sure all your windows and doors are locked and secure, then call me to remind me to do the same! (I’m so forgetful these days!) 


 1) Don’t wait until 5 PM the day of the celebrations  to seek out a prescription from your vet for tranquilizers.  When you give a dog a new drug you want to make sure you know how the dog will react to it. Will there be an allergic reaction that will send you and Fido to the Emergency room?  Also In many cases meds need to be given an hour before you are expecting the mental trauma of noise to begin.

2) Okay so you didn’t give the above recommendation the forethought needed, no fear, you can pick up something at your local drug store. Benadryl allergy  will for the most part make Fido drowsy so that can help. (WARNING! DO NOT use the Benadryl allergy/ sinus!)  You can find information on dosing and precautions here.

3) The second over the counter medication you can try is melatonin and this can be given up to three times a day, but of course you want to read dosing, and precautions from the site below.   I have had great success with this during thunderstorms, so with my brood and size of dogs I order this by the bucket full!  Puritans Pride usually has great sales on this!

4) Another option that works for some (but it never did for me) is Rescue Remedy which can be found at health stores. I tried this product years ago at my sister’s suggestion and found that I had a hard time getting enough of the spray into the dog’s mouth so there was  no affect and the product was expensive. Not to mention most of the spray seemed to end up in my eyes as I looked closely at the dog’s mouth to insure it got in there!  Ugh, Dork! You can by drops to put in the dog’s water but if your dog doesn’t drink, well then it is useless as well.  As per the site below it has not been tested for safety and side effects. However I will give you this information so you can make your own informed decision. Every dog is different.

Let us remember that what works on humans does not always work or is not always safe for dogs.
**Never give any over the counter meds without first consulting your Vet please!**

Thunder Shirt/Anxiety Wrap
I certainly can’t dismiss this one as many have had great success with it and as I said every dog is different so why not give it a try. If it does not work the company will take it back and you get a refund, but order it now so it comes in time for the big day!   You can read my recent post on this product here.

DAP (dog appeasing pheromones ) diffuser  or collar

A lot of people swear that this also works though I have not tried it myself. This is a scent that mimics the scent of a mother dog when nursing her pups. I guess depending on how old the dog is will determine how well it works. If your dog has dementia and cannot remember the nursing stage it may do nothing to calm it!  Of course anything is worth a try. You can find these at your Vet office.
NOTE: I did take a Face Book poll with some of my dog owner friends, (and we all know how very reliable a Face Book poll is!)  1 out of 11 people thought it worked, 2 said it did not work for them, and 8 had never tried it. That’s it! The poll is now closed due to time constraints! More on DAP products here:

Turn up the volume!
 If you can stand it, turn up the volume to the TV to lessen the outside noise, the dog will likely still hear the boom but it may not be as intimidating.  Turn on the loudest fans you have as a white noise as well. Thank you Annette B for reminding me of this! Generally I tell people to use a floor fan when dealing with crying puppies, but I did not think about this other use!

Cotton in the ears, the dog’s ears of course!
Putting a wad of cotton in the ears may also help lessen the noise factor.

Make a Den
Some dogs only find solace in a darkened corner or closet, there’s nothing wrong with this to get them through the night. However, you do not want to coddle the dog who is scared as this reinforces that scared behavior and each time it will get worse, sometimes to the point where all loud noises become a problem.  Tossing a mind stimulating toy into the den may be helpful as the dog might concentrate on that. Something like a kong stuffed with cream cheese.

Work/play with the dog during the noise

If the dog is only slightly bothered by the noise start building up the confidence now through training and this can come in the form of fun such as  hide and seek or identifying objects. By doing this the dog has to use its mind, keep focused, and is rewarded through play. This will also help the dog to associate the noise with something fun happening. 

Last but not least  

And last but not least, if all else fails, remind your significant other  that if he/she really loved you, they would take the dog out for a long, long, fun car ride for a couple of hours until it is all over!

 What? No good?

Okay, okay, forget the significant other idea, best to punish the kids the day before the festivities for some reason only known to you, and then tell them in order for them to be un-grounded they must take Fido out for the night!   

Until next time, snap, crackle, pop and happy training!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Neater Feeder: Does it work?


A couple of weeks ago I opened my email to find an ad regarding the “Neater Feeder, a revolutionary new pet feeding system.”  This ad came to me from the same place as the ‘Pet Corrector” (which is air in a can) and Zero Odor.  Not being impressed with either of those two products I was very skeptical about the Neater Feeder.

Jeeze, ya think I’d learn already!

But I went on to watch the video of the product being used and when it started playing I laughed my ass off! (pardon the PG 13 wording) and  I continued to laugh as I watched a little 5 pound silky, a medium sized terrier type dog, and a  few cats eating out of  very expensive pieces of plastic and the nightmare  of the Critter Cooler popped back into my mind. The Critter Cooler, which I had purchased years ago, was in my opinion  nothing more than an expensive bucket, an over priced glorified piece of plastic which I invested in and did not get a good return on my investment. You can read my review of this product by clicking  here .  Please be sure to read the 'comments section" as well because the inventor of  the critter cooler is willing to work with you if you purchase it.
Ah, but I digress, back to the Neater Feeder. The video showed the dogs and cats eating as I mentioned above, but oddly enough showed no pets the size of my Newfoundland dogs which have jowls large enough to hold a small child!  Of course I was not surprised by this because no matter what a large mouth Newfoundland eats or drinks there is going to be overflow and it will come out hard and fast! Too fast for one to catch with a swipe of a towel and too fast to put another dish under the dog’s neck to catch the leftovers!

 When a Newfounland drinks, if the bucket is large enough, they stick their whole head under the water! This leaves them with a face dripping with whatever might be in the bucket at the time, which is not only water, it can include slimy drool, a bug, a leaf, or in my case a sock!   

Over the years I have purchased many items to prevent my floors from becoming a slip and slide water park. I have gone though placemats, (like the ones you see under dainty little dogs) oversized sized trays, bath mats, kitchen rugs, garage mats, and large towels.  The rugs got wet quickly and stayed wet until they started to fall apart or stuck to the floor, the towels got soaked as if I had just pulled them from the wash and the trays were too big and I could never get them placed just right so that the dogs would stand over them to drip! Believe me, I checked every slobber proof way that I could find to protect my floors from the dreaded drool and water filled jowls of a hefty healthy Newfoundland!

So when I stopped laughing, I watched the Neater Feeder video again and much to my angst I decided to try it. I say angst because its price was not exactly in the budget; however I was sure it would fail to deliver what it promised thereby yielding a return of my money. When it arrived on my doorstep I carefully opened the box and put it aside to eventually send it back.

So how much time should I give this product anyway? I thought two weeks would be a fair shake depending on how the product performed and my annoyance level. Actually I figured if it were going to fail it would fail sooner rather than later!

So here it is two weeks later and I absolutely love it!  I love it so much that I posted on my face book wall that 'I was in love!'  Of course most of my friends and family thought this meant I was getting a new puppy! Ah, such silly people.

My biggest flogger flinger in this house would be Steeler whose jowls measure three quarters of a pencil in height and almost a full pencil in length. I know a ruler would have been a better to use, but that would be too normal and harder to find! Because of my required job training's, there is a wonderful instructor who gives you a pencil each time you offer up a big mouth full of ideas and I am not short on  BIG MOUTH, just ask my co-workers!  Hence the reason for always having a pencil on my desk!  

Product Pros: I am basing my opinion on the Neater Feeder by using it as follows: For large breed dogs and specifically a Newfoundland type breed, as well as for 'water' only.  I cannot attest to it keeping food off  of the floor as I know and have witnessed Steeler sneaking over to Bentley's dish, grabbing a mouth full of food and running back to his side of the room to eat it before Bentley came in to catch him!  I do not think that even though Steeler had given his food thievery so much forethought, that  he would run the food back to his own dish and eat over it! 

1) It was easy to put together ( that is once you look at the picture and yes at first I did not look at the picture!)  What’s that? Did someone just call me Peter? (Sorry hon, I could not resist!)

2) It is very easy to clean  

3) It’s compact for its look, measuring in at 2 ½ pencils long,  1 ½  pencils wide and almost 2 pencils high. Yes, again no tape measure!

4) You can rinse it easy and refill bowls with clean water in a pinch:
I kept a jug of water near the bowl so in a pinch, like in the middle of the night, if the water dish was dirty (if you own Newfs you know what I mean) you could basically give the bowls a light rinse and pour the dirty water into the drain part of the dish then fill the bowls again with clean water. For some reason Newfs are particular about drinking from a dish that has their own drool in it but will drink just fine from a mud puddle!

5) Because of the height of the sides around the bowls and the fact that the bowls are inserted into the bottom tray it did not allow the underside of the  dog’s chin and neck to get into the water.

6) It kept a fair amount of water from running off of the dog’s body parts and onto the floor after a drink. I did not see the cups of water/drool/slime soaking into the floor as I had in the past. Occasionally when I interrupted them from drinking I saw a few drops on the floor.

7) When the time came to empty the base of water collected, I did not have to take out the bowls first, I simply lifted the top half of the feeder off the bottom half and set it on the floor.

8) I did not find that by using both bowls for water that I had to continue filling them even though they were a bit smaller than what I would normally use. In fact I found myself making less trips to the sink than normal and I can attribute this to two things, (A) I did not have to run to the sink and empty it each time a dog left its slobber behind, the drain in  the Neater Feeder did just fine for that. (B)  I kept a jug of water nearby at all times.    

9) Last  but not least, there’s a Sally mind in action so you know it doesn't end here!  Another use for this little product, something this company did not advertize and probably did not think about because they are selling it as a food and water dish, where as I was using it strictly for water, is if you put some ice cubes in the base, the water stays cooler longer.


1)  It is a bit pricey which may turn people away. So I would absolutely Google it and find the best price.

2) The bowls that came with it were two sizes though I am not sure why. I imagine the smaller one was for food but I used both dishes for water. It would have been nice to have both bowls the same size. 

Rating:  4 paws up, way up!

 My Video of the Neater Feeder click here