Sophinator Posted November 21, 2008 Report Share Posted November 21, 2008 OK. I have a thunderstorm phobic dog and here's how I dealt with it. Let me preface my remarks by stating that here in the Midwest we don't just have run-of-the-mill thunderstorms. We also get those supercell behemoths that spit out golfball to baseball sized hail and some very powerful tornadoes. In addition, thunder is not necessarily a rumbling sound but can be explosive--heck, you can feel the shock waves if you're close enough to the lightning strike. We usually have two or three human fatalities from lighting in the metro area every year. So, yes, you need to respect those storms. Anybody who says they've never felt a tinge of alarm has either not lived here long enough or is full of cattle droppings. It's not surprising that there are dogs like Sophia who freak out. What is surprising is that there are some dogs who only freak out when the storm is particularly violent. Well, at least Sophie is not one of those dogs who tries to escape, damaging the house and herself in the process. Her method of coping with storms is to curl up in a tight ball and shake nonstop. Still, that can't be healthy for her. And she won't go out to do her business if there is a storm anywhere in the vicinity or even residual rain. She's held it for 24 hours rather than go outside! At first I was doing all the wrong stuff. You know, comforting her when she was scared. Since she was getting recurrent bladder infections the first year she was with me, I was also dragging her outside to pee. Well, she was too frightened to relax and pee--all I was accomplishing was scaring the poor dog to death. The vet gave me some sedative pills. They did work but they weren't practical. You'd have to give them to the dog an hour in advance (not feasible when a storm strikes in the middle of the night or you aren't home.) And they wear off after two or three hours, not particularly useful when I leave the house at 6:30 AM and the storm doesn't materialize until 2:00 in the afternoon. We tried desentization. Was making some progress, until a horrendous storm struck in the middle of the night (in December, for crying out loud!) We were back to Square One and then some. I have found that melatonin is somewhat effective. Sophie is still scared and still hides out in her bed but at least she doesn't shake. She's reached a point now where even without melatonin she will only shake if the storm is particularly violent. I've found that the best thing to do is to do nothing. Let her go hide out in her bed (nice and cozy between my bed and the wall.) Ignore her. She'll come out when she's good and ready. It works for us. Now if I could just do something about the Fourth of July fireworks.... Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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