DOG E-news May, 2004

Cicadas, storms and choosing a boarding kennel

The cicadas are coming!

Much of the eastern US will see an emergence of 13-year or 17-year periodical cicadas in May and June. These gigantic bugs look threatening but are not harmful to people or pets. They do eat plants, though, and can cause havoc in the garden.

Cicadas make attractive prey for dogs because they aren't difficult to catch and they emerge by the hundreds of thousands in heavily infested areas. Dogs will often munch to their heart's content and may vomit or become constipated if they overindulge. Prevention may be the best offense; keep pets inside, limit their outside forays, or walk them on a leash to minimize opportunities to snack on the crunchy critters.

For more information (probably more than you wanted to know!) about cicadas, see the Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet at

Cloak may ease storm fears

Does your dog panic with the first rumble of thunder?

Tom Critzer's dog Cody did, and Critzer went to work on a solution.

An electrical engineer, he worked from the theory that dogs experience a buildup in static electricity as the storm approaches. He developed a cloak with an electrically conductive lining that discharges the fur and shields the dog from this static charge buildup.

"I invented this cape out of desperation," said Critzer. "My dog was severely phobic and would become highly agitated upon the onset of a thunderstorm. I did a lot of research on abnormal dog behavior, lightning, and static electricity, and developed the cape. It worked almost immediately on my dog."

Dubbed the Storm Defender, the cloak must be put on the dog when the static charge begins to build up. Owners with phobic dogs know the signs: dogs pace, salivate, whine, and try to hide, often before the first rumble is heard or the first raindrop falls.

"Properly used, the Storm Defender cape will greatly reduce the dog's fear," Critzer said. "The dog gets relief. After a couple of storms the dog learns that the static charge is no longer there and the other triggers like rain, wind, sound, temperature, barometric pressure, and even lightning itself lose their powers to induce panic."

Each cape is made to fit the individual dog.

Critzer has applied for a patent on the Storm Defender cape. A resident of Fairfield, Ohio, he has tested the cloak on more than 300 dogs with success. Testimonials and an order form appear on

For information on behavior modification to ease thunderstorm fears, see

Choosing a boarding kennel

"We're going to leave Sport in a kennel while we travel this summer."

A common decision, and judging by the number of boarding kennels, a lucrative one for people willing to work long, hard hours.

The decision to leave the dog is just the beginning; what remains to be determined is the type of kennel that fits the budget and the lifestyle to which the dog and the owners are accustomed.

What makes a good boarding kennel? Depends on what you are looking for. Sure, the good ones are clean and well-ventilated, offer protection from the weather, provide adequate space for the size of the dog, and guarantee medical care if the dog gets sick in their care. Most of the good ones offer 24-hour coverage with someone living on the kennel property.

However, after these basics, "good" is often in the eye of the beholder. For a crash course in selecting a kennel, see

A note of caution: make reservations as early as possible and inform the kennel staff of any changes in your schedule so they can be prepared to extend or truncate your pet's stay or make the space available to another client if you must cancel.

Norma Bennett Woolf

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