Dealing with Dogs and Thunderstorms
As we face another round of storms coming up this weekend, I thought I would share some great tools, tips and links that were recently shared by Minnesota Sheltie Rescue. If you have a dog who suffers and shakes in fear during thunderstorms (and fireworks), you may want to check these out.
Create a safe place – The safe place should preferably be sound insulated (soundproof wallboard is an option) and have small or no windows, or covered windows.
Have super yummy treats handy (not day-to-day treats, something exceptional, human foods work well) After every boom, offer a piece of treat. Give the treat instantly, as soon as the noise is heard, but not before. For dogs who don’t eat, just offer the treat after every boom, making a (quiet) big deal out of it (“oooh, look what mommy’s got…!”).
Thundershirt- the best solution for dog anxiety
Thunderstorm cape – A cape to help calm your dog’s anxiety
Calming Cap – worn over the eyes
Mutt Muffs – Protects your dogs ears and can drown out the sound
Comfort Zone D.A.P. plug-in diffuser/collar/spray
TTouch - Use touch to help calm your dog
Through a Dog’s Ear – calming music
Hug therapy: Yes, it’s o.k. to hold your dog if your dog seems to find comfort in that! Fear is an emotion, not a behavior. Good things as perceived by the dog lessen fear, bad things intensify fear.
Please consult your vet when using the following:
Melatonin, 1.5 mg tablets (not capsules, not time-released, not sublingual, without extra ingredients). The dose is given either at first evidence of storm or prophylactically when storms are predicted. Dose may be repeated up to 3 times daily.
Composure (also available in liquid)
Homeopathy, consult a veterinarian who practices homeopathy on animals, to make sure you are using the right remedies
Medication is NOT A LAST RESORT! Storm phobias tend to only get worse – the sooner you address your dog’s anxiety, the more successful you will be and the sooner relief is found. DO NOT use ACEPROMAZINE with herding breeds. (Update: Based on feedback from several sources, I would NOT use Acepromazine with ANY FEARFUL dogs.)
Dog Anxiety Medications – Information on various medications for dogs.
Some additional information on how to cope with your dog’s anxiety:
Patricia McConnell, Ph.D. – Thunder Phobia in Dogs
Fearfuldogs.com – Storm and Sound Phobias