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Tag: calming

Cannabis oil treats might help your dog chill out during fireworks, storms, air travel

A Portland woman who launched a line of pet treats and supplements laced with a type of cannabis oil found what seemed the perfect place to market her products this week — a chain of fireworks stands in Oregon.

MaxDaddy treats contain CBD oil, a derivative of cannabis that company founder Carol Gardner says can help dogs with anxiety issues — including getting scared at the sound of loud fireworks.

CBD oil, which unlike THC, does not gets pets or people high, is believed by many to have relaxing properties.

md-home-nuggets-8oz-543x600MaxDaddy products include Bark Nuggets treats and Bark Dust, a powdered supplement that also contains CBD oil. The company is named after her English bulldog who suffers from anxiety.

“He’s the reason we actually started the company,” Gardner told KGW-TV in Portland. “It doesn’t zonk them out, it just makes them a lot calmer.”

Gardner said she hired two scientists and consulted with veterinarians when coming up with the product. CBD is a herbal supplement and therefore not regulated by the Food & Drug Administration.

How well it works to reduce anxiety in dogs, and whether it has ill effects, haven’t been fully studied.

But Gardner maintains the organic treats and dust can help dogs who panic during fireworks, thunderstorms and other high-stress events, like air travel or going to the groomer.

Gardner, 72, this week was selling MaxDaddy products, also available online, at all Mean Gene Fireworks Stands in Vancouver.

Selling fireworks-anxiety-reducing remedies at a fireworks stand makes a certain amount of sense — much like selling hangover treatments in a liquor store — and we won’t bother to state the obvious. (Namely, that skipping the culprit lessens the need for the remedy.)

According to the MaxDaddy website, MaxDaddy is a rescued English bulldog who has been with Gardner since he was five. He has suffered from joint pain due to arthritis, inflammation, anxiety and mobility issues.

Gardner was introduced to CBD, a natural product derived from agriculturally grown hemp plants, when she began looking for solutions for MaxDaddy’s health issues.

Michigan funeral home holds service for dog who comforted thousands of the grieving

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Hollie, a golden retriever who for 16 years comforted mourners at a Kalamazoo funeral home, was remembered yesterday with a ceremony in her honor.

Betzler Life Story Funeral Home held an open house for the therapy dog they believe to have been the first used in Michigan by a funeral home.

While more funeral homes have begun having therapy dogs on the premises, Betzler’s started their program at a time it was mostly unheard of.

Scott Betzler, Hollie’s owner, got the idea while he served on the board of directors of the Kalamazoo Humane Society. That organization offered a pet visitation program for nursing homes at the time, and Betzler decided to try to incorporate it at the funeral home.

“It was very different at the time to have a dog in a funeral home,” said Patrick Bauschke, a funeral director at Betzler. “But Hollie made it the most natural fit. She’s worked thousands of funerals and visitations and helped countless people.”

“Mention the Betzler name and chances are people will remember Hollie,” he added. “She happily greeted people at the door, mingled throughout visitations and services, and offered a calming and comforting influence on those who needed her most.”

Bauschke said Hollie had a soothing effect on visitors — “an unmatched sense of knowing just who needed her and when.”

holly2MLive reported that setting aside some time for people to remember and honor Hollie was an obvious idea.

“So many people have adored her, it is a time for people to come in and visit,” Funeral Director Joe Buysse said. “We have so many people who say, ‘I remember when I was here for Grandma or Uncle Charlie and she was here. She was a big comfort to me when I was a kid. Now I’m grown up.’ It is amazing how she has touched so many people.”

Hollie completed temperance training through the Kalamazoo Humane Society and was the first official funeral home therapy dog in the Greater Kalamazoo and Paw Paw areas.

Her work was featured in articles by the International Cemetery Cremation and Funeral Association, the Michigan Funeral Directors Association and the Kalamazoo Gazette.

She was often taken on visits to local senior communities, and visited elementary schools for book-reading sessions with children.

You can read more about Hollie’s life here.

With Hollie’s passing, the funeral home says her role will be taken over by Ellie, a 3-year-old English retriever who has been working alongside her.

(Photos: Betzler Life Story Funeral Home)

Music to their ears: Musician’s song for edgy dogs seems to near instantly soothe them

A musician who calls himself “gnash” researched, composed and recorded a song he hoped would calm his own rescue dog’s restlessness, and he says it’s working — not just for Daisy, but for entire rooms of shelter dogs.

Daisy — the dog Garrett Nash, or gnash, shares with his girlfriend — is prone to becoming “super snippy when she’s not medicated,” he says, and at those time she’s prone to nipping almost anyone within reach.

“I’m a dog lover and I make music, so I was trying to connect the two,” he explained. “I was just thinking maybe, since Daisy was hanging out with me every day in the studio, well then maybe there’s a way that I could make her calm down a little bit.”

He talked to an animal behaviorist, then contacted the team at Glasgow University who had done a study on music that calms shelter dogs — one that found reggae seemed to work best.

He learned what sounds most appealed to dogs, what tempos and tones and repetitions showed evidence of calming them.

gnashThen he headed to studio with friends and got to work, ending up with Daisy’s Song — a soothing, restrained and not too reggae-like number that incorporated what he’d learned and, more important, seemed to work on Daisy.

When they tested it out, with Daisy seated next to a friend she’s always seemed particularly prone to nipping at, it was nearly magical.

You can view the results in the video at the end of this post. Suffice to say, before the song ended, Daisy was relaxed and nuzzling up against the chest of that friend she seemed so fearful of minutes earlier.

Exactly what Daisy’s condition is I can’t say. In the video below, gnash seems to be saying the dog has “a thing in her brain called a shiner (?) that makes her super snippy when she’s not medicated”

I’m no vet, though, and I couldn’t find any references to a disorder known by that name. (Those with a better grasp or understanding are welcome to comment and fill me in.) The closest I could come was progressive retinal atrophy, which can cause a shining to appear in a dog’s eyes, can affect behavior and can lead to eventual blindness.

After the song seemed to work on Daisy, gnash took the track to the adoption center of No Kill LA, a shelter operated by Best Friends Animal Society.

There, too, the song seemed to have a calming presence. During a listening session, the dogs in the room grew less frantic, seemed more restful and content.

The song, and the video about its making, were posted last week on YouTube last week, where those leaving comments are reporting varying results:

“Both of my dogs were anxious-one about a storm, and one tearing up a toilet paper tube,” wrote one. “I played this, and both are now peaceful, laying down and sleeping. I am impressed. I’m thinking of a nap myself.”

“My boxer went from licking everything in site to snoring in 4 minutes,” wrote another.

“My dog is really hyper he never sits for too long on my lap, but this actually made him sit for 10 minutes and I could tell he was listening… Loved this.”

Some dog-less comment leavers reported it put them asleep, some said they loved it whether it works or not, and one said all his dog did was lick his privates.

But weed out all the goons and trolls, and the response seems mostly to affirm that gnash achieved what he was trying to do, and more.

I played it for my dog Jinjja. He was lying down when it started. He lifted his head, his ears perked up, and he started gazing around the room and ceiling. His breathing seemed to slow down. He came over to be petted, looked out the window and laid back down, his muzzle between his paws. He lay still for the next eight minutes of the song, eyes closed and his ears periodically flicking back and forth, then finally got up and exited the room at the 12-minute mark.

“Going into this, my hopes were that I was gonna make the song, play it for Daisy and a couple of other dogs and hopefully they would react in a way that would make them a little more chill,” gnash said.

Already, the results seem to be going beyond that, and raise hopes that it could serve to calm dogs in shelters, which only increases their chances of adoption.

“It’s cool because maybe like humans will be able to find this on YouTube and show it to their friends, and then maybe they’ll play the song for their dogs and then maybe humans will love it and pets will love it too and it will make everybody smile a little bit more and that’s all I care about.”

“All natural” dog sedative pulled off shelves

good-dogPetco  has pulled a “dog calming” medicine from its shelves after customers complained that, according to its ingredient label, it is 13 percent alcohol.

That’s about the same alcohol percentage as wine.

Made by Pet Organics, Good-Dog! is “for dogs that are unruly or hyper” and “helps to make your dog happy & content,” according to its label.

So would a nice merlot, but substantial amounts of alcohol aren’t recommended for dogs, and in large amounts it can by toxic.

More than 750 people signed a change.org petition for Petco to remove Good-Dog!, which claims to be made with “all natural ingredients.”

Petco spokesman initially said the product is safe, when used as directed — only a few drops should be added to the dogs water bowl.

“…This product has no negative effect on pets, and no known pet deaths or illnesses have been associated with this product in the 10 years it has been sold at Petco,” the spokesman said.

But after 7News in Denver reported the story, Petco announced that it has voluntarily recalled Good Dog Pet Calming Supplement, and issued the following statement:

“The health and safety of pets and people is Petco’s top priority. We sell a variety of calming remedies for pets with anxiety and also recommend that pet parents consult with their vet to ensure that there are no underlying health issues. In light of recent concerns expressed by some of our customers with regard to Good Dog Pet Calming Supplement, and this product’s alcohol content, we have decided to issue a voluntary recall, effective immediately…”

Dr. Narda Robinson, a veterinarian and physician at Colorado State University, said the case is indicative of a broader issue — a lack of regulation for homeopathic drugs for pets.

“If this product has a calming effect, it’s probably because of the alcohol, not because of the homeopathic medicine,” she said.

Dr. Tina Wismer, with the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center said many herbal medications have an alcohol base.

“They are supposed to be dosed at a couple of drops per animal. Certainly if they ingested the entire bottle and it was a small animal, they may become intoxicated,” she said.

LAX dogs provide different kind of security

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From an Irish wolfhound named Finn to a Rottweiler named Maggie Mae, 29 dogs of various breeds are providing a different kind of security for travelers at Los Angeles International Airport.

The dogs have been comforting frazzled travelers for a year now, through a program called PUP, or Pets Unstressing Passengers.

finnFinn started last November, the day after a gunman opened fire at Terminal 3 and left a Transportation Security Administration officer dead, according to the Los Angeles Times

“I think after the shooting, Finn attracted attention because he represented something comforting,” owner Brian Valente said in an airport statement. “As passengers asked questions about Finn and started to pet him, I could see their bodies relax and their demeanors change.”

The one-year anniversary of the program was marked yesterday at a meeting of the L.A. Board  of Airport Commissioners.

The dogs all wear bright red vests, and mingle with passengers in post-security-screening areas. The program is aimed at reducing the anxiety of travelers by letting them pet and play with the dogs.

The dogs are registered with Therapy Dogs, a national organization that supports pets that visit places such as hospitals, nursing homes and other special needs centers.

To see more of the dogs, click here.

(Photos: Los Angeles World Airports)

Calming dog biscuits? I’ll take two

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There’s an unusual energy in my house these days.

Her name is Darcy.

That bouncing bundle of Boston terrier, who has graced both my home and the pages of ohmidog! before, is back with me for another week as her parents get hitched in Hawaii. That’s fine with Ace, who enjoys periodically frolicking with her, followed by long periods of rest. Ace rests, anyway. Darcy rarely does. 

zendogLabelSo it seemed the perfect time to test — with her owner’s permission, of course — the new “Zendog Calming Biscuits” that were sent to me by Cranimals, makers of organic cranberry dog treats and supplements.

There were a limited number of the ring-shaped treats in the sample package, and I debated whether it would be best to give them to Darcy, or myself. Going the latter route had the potential advantages of (A.) Me being so calm that Darcy would pick up my calm vibe and be calm herself, and (B) Me being so calm that I really wouldn’t care if she was bouncing off the walls.

Seeing as Darcy — who possesses both an overactive mind and an overactive bladder — doesn’t seem to absorb any of Ace’s calmness,  and seeing as I just rent the walls she’d be bouncing off, I opted to try the biscuits on her.

First, we tried one in the morning. Darcy scarfed it down, then continued running around the house like a maniac, before settling down and gnawing on a long-since-spent marrow bone like there was no tomorrow. After about 30 minutes, she hopped into my chair, positioned herself behind me and fell asleep.

Was it the treat, or just her natural cycle? There’s really no way of knowing.

The next day we tried one in the afternoon, and it failed to slow her down at all. We tried one in the evening, but that’s when she usually quiets down anyway — apparently accustomed to an early bedtime. This morning I gave her another. She played all out with Ace for about an hour, which was enough to send Ace upstairs for a nap. Darcy kept going, like a pinball, for another hour — moving blankets around the house, gnawing the marrow bone, and looking for Miley the cat, who generally stays upstairs to avoid her.DSC08051

Finally she laid down at my feet, farted a few times (not necessarily from the Zen biscuit, it’s just what she does), looked around, got up, sniffed around, licked the kitchen floor, ran some more, acted like she needed to pee, went outside, didn’t, came back in, went outside again, peed, came back in and eventually dozed off. Again, there’s no way of knowing if the biscuit played a role in that, or if she just played enough to get tired.

I was probably overcautious with the biscuits, not giving her more than one a day, but I didn’t want her to OD and get stuck in a permanent state of Zen. (Cranimals say there is no danger of that.)

The biscuits are formulated with organic pumpkin extract, a natural source of tryptophan. Tryptophan — the same thing that makes us humans doze off after a big turkey dinner — helps induce calm by promoting the synthesis of sseratonin and melatonin, which Cranimals describes as the Zen hormones of the body.

Cranimals says the biscuits calm nerves and stomachs and are made with all natural, healthy, human-grade ingredients. Sources tell us that the inventor of the treats, Dr. Wilma Pretorius, the managing director of Cranimals, enjoys them with cream cheese.

As for my experiment, it’s inconclusive. Darcy was a dervish for a good two hours after her most recent Zendog Calming Biscuit. Then again, praise Buddha, she is sleeping now. As for the last biscuit in my sample, I’m thinking I’ll save it for myself.