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I have a thunderphobic border collie and I'm at the end of my rope. Here's our background.

 

I adopted Rowen, a red merle border collie, 2 years ago from a rescue program. DH and I were looking for another dog to add to our family (a dog and a cat). I found Rowen through petfinder and absolutely loved what it said about his personality. I had never had border collies before, but I liked what it said about him. The only negative was that supposedly he was a working herding dog that had become fixated on the owner's horses and thus they needed to get rid of him. Never disclosed anything about thunderphobia.

 

Well, the day we drove up to get him (about 2 hours), we brought our other dog to make sure they got along well. We met at an outdoor park and the rescue group had brought along some of their other dogs. It started storming while we were there. We liked Rowen, and took him home. It stormed the whole way home. I think this is what developed this fear in him. I also think he was abused as he was terrified around men for a long time. (He does great with men now though.)

 

He was 4 when we adopted him, and he fit in well. No accidents in the house, didn't jump on us or furniture, loved playing with our other dog, didn't mind the cat. The cat would actually sneak attack him all the time... it was cute. Then comes the thunder. I live in southern Louisiana (I'm talking 60 miles southwest of New Orleans...) and we have thunderstorms nearly every day. It wasn't so bad at first. He would just pant and pace a little when we were home. Then he started becoming destructive when it thundered and we were gone. He attacks everything standing vertical... the garbage can, the broom, mop, ironing board, $2000+ armoire, clothes hamper, barstools, etc. He's also ripped off the doorknob and locked me out of the house on many occasions. So we started kenneling him. At first this was fine. Then came the escape attempts. He was able to escape two different types of kennels. I know, I know, putting him in there is not the best of things, but I couldn't deal with the destruction as we are living in my in-law's garage apartment and we can't have the dog destroying their place. I worked as a vet tech last year and tried all sorts of drug therapy to no avail. Also tried desensitization therapy (hard to do, because it rains nearly every day here.)

 

Two weeks ago, DH, my 2 month old son, and I went to a family gathering on Saturday. Of course, we locked the dog in the kennel as it was supposed to rain. Well, the dog got so worked up, he made himself sick. On Sunday, he had diarrhea all over the kitchen. By Monday, it was like water so I took him to the vet. They agreed he just had gotten so worked up he cause himself to be like this. $200 and an overnight stay later, he was better. Now, back to present time. Yesterday it stormed all day. Really stormed. I was home the entire day, never left. He panted, paced, but eventually settled down. This morning, I get up, tend to my son, feed all the pets, and go take a shower. (DH had just let them out to potty before I got out of bed.) I get out the shower and there's diarrhea and pee all over the kitchen. My baby's crying, my hair's up in a towel, and there's a horrid smell and mess in my kitchen. So he worked himself up to illness while I was even home.

 

I can't do this anymore. I love my dog, but my baby comes first and I just can't do this anymore. It's not working. I'm miserable, and I know my poor dog is miserable.

 

Please, please, help us!!

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I have a thunderphobic border collie and I'm at the end of my rope. Here's our background.

 

I adopted Rowen, a red merle border collie, 2 years ago from a rescue program. DH and I were looking for another dog to add to our family (a dog and a cat). I found Rowen through petfinder and absolutely loved what it said about his personality. I had never had border collies before, but I liked what it said about him. The only negative was that supposedly he was a working herding dog that had become fixated on the owner's horses and thus they needed to get rid of him. Never disclosed anything about thunderphobia.

 

Well, the day we drove up to get him (about 2 hours), we brought our other dog to make sure they got along well. We met at an outdoor park and the rescue group had brought along some of their other dogs. It started storming while we were there. We liked Rowen, and took him home. It stormed the whole way home. I think this is what developed this fear in him. I also think he was abused as he was terrified around men for a long time. (He does great with men now though.)

 

He was 4 when we adopted him, and he fit in well. No accidents in the house, didn't jump on us or furniture, loved playing with our other dog, didn't mind the cat. The cat would actually sneak attack him all the time... it was cute. Then comes the thunder. I live in southern Louisiana (I'm talking 60 miles southwest of New Orleans...) and we have thunderstorms nearly every day. It wasn't so bad at first. He would just pant and pace a little when we were home. Then he started becoming destructive when it thundered and we were gone. He attacks everything standing vertical... the garbage can, the broom, mop, ironing board, $2000+ armoire, clothes hamper, barstools, etc. He's also ripped off the doorknob and locked me out of the house on many occasions. So we started kenneling him. At first this was fine. Then came the escape attempts. He was able to escape two different types of kennels. I know, I know, putting him in there is not the best of things, but I couldn't deal with the destruction as we are living in my in-law's garage apartment and we can't have the dog destroying their place. I worked as a vet tech last year and tried all sorts of drug therapy to no avail. Also tried desensitization therapy (hard to do, because it rains nearly every day here.)

 

Two weeks ago, DH, my 2 month old son, and I went to a family gathering on Saturday. Of course, we locked the dog in the kennel as it was supposed to rain. Well, the dog got so worked up, he made himself sick. On Sunday, he had diarrhea all over the kitchen. By Monday, it was like water so I took him to the vet. They agreed he just had gotten so worked up he cause himself to be like this. $200 and an overnight stay later, he was better. Now, back to present time. Yesterday it stormed all day. Really stormed. I was home the entire day, never left. He panted, paced, but eventually settled down. This morning, I get up, tend to my son, feed all the pets, and go take a shower. (DH had just let them out to potty before I got out of bed.) I get out the shower and there's diarrhea and pee all over the kitchen. My baby's crying, my hair's up in a towel, and there's a horrid smell and mess in my kitchen. So he worked himself up to illness while I was even home.

 

I can't do this anymore. I love my dog, but my baby comes first and I just can't do this anymore. It's not working. I'm miserable, and I know my poor dog is miserable.

 

Please, please, help us!!

Get drugs. I have had several dogs with thunderphobia - only one that was that bad but the others were difficult to manage as well. Go to the vet and get generic Xanax. There has also been another discussion here just recently on that same subject. The owner of that dog used a combination of drugs and it completely solved the problem.

 

I wouldn't even try to mess with behavior modificat for a dog that reacts that violently. It won't work. But medication will

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Do you live in Lafayette? That's where I am. I have a 4 yo thunderphobic BC rescue (and have a great vet here, who has prescribed Xanax and Clomicalm). This has helped Vala a lot. She used to dig in the house during storms; now she just trots into the bathroom (the safe place we made for her) and sucks alllllllllllllllllll the peanut butter out of a kong. Yesterday, for that storm (which for us was mostly rain) she was fine and not upset all day -- maybe you're southeast of here? Who's your vet? Was your dog also upset during the fireworks? Could be a bunch of stuff is freaking him out lately. Do you give the dog anything (like a kong) when you leave the house and kennel him to help distract him during the storm and make it more pleasant?

 

Here is the link to the previous discussion TommyCoyote mentioned: http://www.bordercollie.org/boards/index.php?showtopic=28578.

 

Here is a link to pharmaceutical management and seeing improvement in thunderphobia from Dr. Karen Overall, veterinary behaviorist extraordinaire: http://veterinarynews.dvm360.com/dvm/artic...l.jsp?id=136493. What have you tried before, pharmaceutically? I think Dr. Overall is right about avoiding Ace and Benadryl. Have you tried alprazolam (generic xanax)?

 

ETA: Also have you tried kenneling in the bathroom? Your kennel may just be making him feel trapped. The tub somehow does something for the static electricity in the air or barometric pressure. Encouraging Vala to always lie there, in a larger room with the light on, and giving her a kong really helped. She goes on her own now whenever there is a storm. And she doesn't shake anymore. It also helps to be calm but super positive and not coddle the dog at all during the storm.

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Do you live in Lafayette? That's where I am. I have a 4 yo thunderphobic BC rescue (and have a great vet here, who has prescribed Xanax and Clomicalm). This has helped Vala a lot. She used to dig in the house during storms; now she just trots into the bathroom (the safe place we made for her) and sucks alllllllllllllllllll the peanut butter out of a kong. Yesterday, for that storm (which for us was mostly rain) she was fine and not upset all day -- maybe you're southeast of here? Who's your vet? Was your dog also upset during the fireworks? Could be a bunch of stuff is freaking her out lately. Do you give the dog anything when you leave the house and kennel the dog to distract the dog?

Oh good. You are here. I was just trying to find the discussion where you used Clomicalm to help.

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What drugs did you try? Have you tried the Thunder shirt? Or thunder shirt in conjunction with drugs? I've heard excellent things about it and am actually contemplating getting one for reactivity issues. A friend of mine is using it for separation anxiety and another is using it for reactivity and thunder phobia and they've seen it working.

 

http://www.thundershirt.com/

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Do you live in Lafayette? That's where I am. I have a 4 yo thunderphobic BC rescue (and have a great vet here, who has prescribed Xanax and Clomicalm). This has helped Vala a lot. She used to dig in the house during storms; now she just trots into the bathroom (the safe place we made for her) and sucks alllllllllllllllllll the peanut butter out of a kong. Yesterday, for that storm (which for us was mostly rain) she was fine and not upset all day -- maybe you're southeast of here? Who's your vet? Was your dog also upset during the fireworks? Could be a bunch of stuff is freaking her out lately. Do you give the dog anything (like a kong) when you leave the house and kennel him to help distract him during the storm and make it more pleasant?

 

I live in Houma. I haven't tried Clomicalm but I did read about it on that recent thread during the first bout of diarrhea. We've tried Prozac and a list of other things and nothing seemed to have even the slightest effect on him. Fireworks didn't upset him at all. (Upset our other dog slightly though.) I have tried giving him bones, treats, kongs stuffed with all sorts of goodies. Doesn't work. He just goes into destruction mode.

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I live in Houma. I haven't tried Clomicalm but I did read about it on that recent thread during the first bout of diarrhea. We've tried Prozac and a list of other things and nothing seemed to have even the slightest effect on him. Fireworks didn't upset him at all. (Upset our other dog slightly though.) I have tried giving him bones, treats, kongs stuffed with all sorts of goodies. Doesn't work. He just goes into destruction mode.

 

This is so common there should be a local vet who can handle it. You just really need the Xanax (generic: alprazolam) first to get the dog under threshold. Then the other stuff will start to help. Please read Dr. Overall's article. My vet wanted me to try the other stuff first because Xanax is such a controlled substance; many vets down here won't prescribe xanax for animals because of that. Your vet may not have tried that. Since you've tried everything and nothing has helped, you could print out that article from Dr. Overall and bring it to your vet to see if he will prescribe xanax. As far as I know it's the only thing that calms the dog's mind down in addition to his body and right away too so you see immediate improvement and actually the dog learns over time with repeated administration of xanax + kong + positive reinforcement with the storms that they actually aren't that terrifying. But the only way to get the behavior mod to work is to bring the dog down under threshold first with drugs so the dog can still be in a thinking place during storms. The Clomicalm (generic: clomipramine) has helped too--but that, like Prozac or something, takes time. My Vala has only been on the clomipramine + xanax combo for about a month, and she's soooo improved. Believe it or not, it works really fast. She needs the xanax much less often now. We are actually hoping to get the clomipramine to a point to where it is all she needs, and only during storm season--lots of people only put the dog on it for part of the year down here for the summer and early fall--with maybe xanax here and there a few times a year for breakthrough like say during hurricanes, etc. -- that's how well it's working. And this medicine is cheap. Generic Xanax: $7 for a month's supply--during rain season. Clomipramine $12. No insurance or anything. Just from Walgreens and Walmart

 

ETA: Since part of the problem is that he is worse when YOU ARE GONE, clomipramine should really help (it's for separation anxiety too). I'm not a behaviorist, but it sorta sounds like stormphobia + separation anxiety = fear aggression for your dog.

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We have tried the bathroom. And the hallway. (It's the only "room" in the house away from windows/doors. I don't think he can ever find a safe place though. He paces and paces and paces. I don't coddle him. I've tried having him lay at my feet, or across the room. I've encouraged him to find a safe place in the laundry room, bathroom, the hallway. I've tried playing with him through it. I've tried giving him tasty treats. I'm at a loss. I don't know how much more of myself I can put into him as 125% of myself goes into my new baby already. I'm exhausted and feeling rather hopeless.

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You need the Xanax (generic: alprazolam) first to get the dog under threshold. Then the other stuff will start to help. Please read Dr. Overall's article. My vet wanted me to try the other stuff first because Xanax is such a controlled substance; many vets down here won't prescribe xanax for animals because of that. Your vet may not have tried that. Since you've tried everything and nothing has helped, you can print out that article from Dr. Overall and bring it to your vet to see if he will prescribe xanax. As far as I know it's the only thing that calms the dog's mind down in addition to his body and right away too so you see immediate improvement and actually the dog learns over time with repeated administration of xanax + kong + positive reinforcement with the storms that they actually aren't that terrifying. But the only way to get the behavior mod to work is to bring the dog down under threshold so the dog can still be in a thinking place during storms. The Clomicalm (generic: clomipramine) has helped too--but that, like Prozac or something, takes time. My Vala has only been on the clomipramine + xanax combo for about a month, and she's soooo improved. Believe it or not, it works really fast. We are actually hoping to get the clomipramine to a point to where it is all she needs, except maybe xanax here and there a few times a year for breakthrough like say during hurricanes, etc. -- that's how well it's working.

 

 

Thank you. Really. I've been crying all morning. We had tried the Prozac for months and months. I'll go to the vet armed with this info and I would think especially since I used to work there that getting him xanax shouldn't be a problem. It needs to work. For my sanity and his.

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I live in Houma. I haven't tried Clomicalm but I did read about it on that recent thread during the first bout of diarrhea. We've tried Prozac and a list of other things and nothing seemed to have even the slightest effect on him. Fireworks didn't upset him at all. (Upset our other dog slightly though.) I have tried giving him bones, treats, kongs stuffed with all sorts of goodies. Doesn't work. He just goes into destruction mode.

 

I could be wrong, but its my understanding that Clomicalm and Prozac are more long term anxiety drugs, you need Xanax or Valium.

 

I feel your pain, I lived in Charleston SC with Lacey, a Golden Retriever, officially the most thunder phobic dog I have ever met.

 

I adopted Lacey 2 years old, the story was she was an outside dog and as an adolescent during a storm lighting hit her owners garage and caused a small fire and the circuit box to spark. She had been terrified ever since.

 

I knew she was afraid but I had no idea HOW afraid she was when I adopted her. Lacey destroyed not one, but two clothes dryers ripping off the doors trying to get in; 5 interior doors trying to dig through along with 5 rooms of carpet because the digging meant she dig down through the carpet and pad; a Varikennel; several window screen and once a glass window. Her goal was ESCAPE ESCAPE ESCAPE at all costs. She nearly got out of a second story window that had been left open a crack and in the process broke the glass and got seriously cut up, she destroyed several of her own teeth trying to tear down door; she tried to escape the Varikennel and managed to pop off several screws holding it together (they just flew off with all the pressure) and tried to squeeze between the 2 halves and nearly strangled herself. She got loose twice over the years (usually because she could hear the storm long before we could and would break a screen and run away) and each time I found hr several hours later she would be MILES away.

 

She was a legend to all the local vets.

 

After 5 years of stress, a couple of thousand in repair bills and tearing my hair out, what worked was massive doses of Valium and assistance and company to the bathtub.

 

We found that of she couldn't escape she would try to hide in the tub or behind the toilet.

 

So for almost a year, whenever I heard a storm was imminent, I would sedate her with valium, and once it hit I would help her into the bathtub, turn the radio on inside the bathroom and feed her spoons of Breyer's all-natural vanilla when she would take them. Yup, I got up at 2 am several times and sat in the bathroom with her for 2 hrs until the storm passed. I would leave work early or my husband would, and ensured that she made it to the tub. After a while, I found that she started going to the tub on her own, or at least the bathroom. A few months after that, I could medicate her, help her into the tub and then leave after 15 minutes. A few months after that I could just go check on her to make sure she got into the tub OK (hey, she was taking a lot of Valium), a few months after that I dropped the dose a bit.

 

One day I woke up in the middle of he night to thunder and found her in her tub in her "zone" riding it out.

 

After a couple of years we moved to southern CA and in the desert we had very few thunderstorms and she was much happier in her old age (plus she went a little deaf).

 

Talk to your vet and see if you can find a safe place for your dog, and teach him to go there.

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So sorry. I use a vet out of Metairie that specializes in alternative and holistic care. She's had good luck with thunderstorm phobia - as much as anyone. Until then I would talk to your local vet about a script for xanax or valium, in addition to daily clomicalm. NOT ace (acepromazine). That will make it worse in the long run and many vets don't seem to understand that. It's a paralytic - the dog is just as afraid, but can't respond, so the fear gets worse and worse.

 

Once you get the heavy duty fear under better control you might consider a hunting dog crate for home use. They are pricey - sheet aluminum - but a dog can't get out or even get a grip enough to hurt themselves in one. Nobody likes to put a scared dog in "jail", but once the absolute terror is under control with meds the dog may find it actually more calming than being loose during events and when you are gone. I certainly understand your worry about a rental property.

 

Journey will respond later I'm sure, but she's had good luck with a chinese herb product your vet can order.

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I could be wrong, but its my understanding that Clomicalm and Prozac are more long term anxiety drugs, you need Xanax or Valium.

 

I feel your pain, I lived in Charleston SC with Lacey, a Golden Retriever, officially the most thunder phobic dog I have ever met.

 

I adopted Lacey 2 years old, the story was she was an outside dog and as an adolescent during a storm lighting hit her owners garage and caused a small fire and the circuit box to spark. She had been terrified ever since.

 

I knew she was afraid but I had no idea HOW afraid she was when I adopted her. Lacey destroyed not one, but two clothes dryers ripping off the doors trying to get in; 5 interior doors trying to dig through along with 5 rooms of carpet because the digging meant she dig down through the carpet and pad; a Varikennel; several window screen and once a glass window. Her goal was ESCAPE ESCAPE ESCAPE at all costs. She nearly got out of a second story window that had been left open a crack and in the process broke the glass and got seriously cut up, she destroyed several of her own teeth trying to tear down door; she tried to escape the Varikennel and managed to pop off several screws holding it together (they just flew off with all the pressure) and tried to squeeze between the 2 halves and nearly strangled herself. She got loose twice over the years (usually because she could hear the storm long before we could and would break a screen and run away) and each time I found hr several hours later she would be MILES away.

 

She was a legend to all the local vets.

 

After 5 years of stress, a couple of thousand in repair bills and tearing my hair out, what worked was massive doses of Valium and assistance and company to the bathtub.

 

We found that of she couldn't escape she would try to hide in the tub or behind the toilet.

 

So for almost a year, whenever I heard a storm was imminent, I would sedate her with valium, and once it hit I would help her into the bathtub, turn the radio on inside the bathroom and feed her spoons of Breyer's all-natural vanilla when she would take them. Yup, I got up at 2 am several times and sat in the bathroom with her for 2 hrs until the storm passed. I would leave work early or my husband would, and ensured that she made it to the tub. After a while, I found that she started going to the tub on her own, or at least the bathroom. A few months after that, I could medicate her, help her into the tub and then leave after 15 minutes. A few months after that I could just go check on her to make sure she got into the tub OK (hey, she was taking a lot of Valium), a few months after that I dropped the dose a bit.

 

One day I woke up in the middle of he night to thunder and found her in her tub in her "zone" riding it out.

 

After a couple of years we moved to southern CA and in the desert we had very few thunderstorms and she was much happier in her old age (plus she went a little deaf).

 

Talk to your vet and see if you can find a safe place for your dog, and teach him to go there.

 

Yes! This is great advice. Use the fast-acting pharmaceuticals (xanax or valium) to teach the dog that someplace is safe (recommend the bathtub or bathroom--unless you're scared of destruction--then yes, crate, but with positive things for him to do like a frozen PB stuffed kong) and eventually with the repetition of your taking them there and making it nice, they learn to go there on their own. (Others are right, Clomicalm takes time, it's just something I'm doing to help her long term, in addition to the Xanax... so she needs less xanax as time goes on. It's to make her more confident and calm so she doesn't need the Xanax as much.) Vala's case isn't as severe as Lacy's or your dog's, katieh, so this worked really quick for her. But coping with storms on their own is something that can be taught, with the right drugs and behavior mod, and the drugs don't have to be forever either--they're just a teaching tool.

 

ETA: It's also important to be positive (but not to the point that you are coddling--Vala actually got worse early on if I pet her, because it's like I was feeding into her idea that something was wrong). When thunder rolls for example outside, I say in a very happy tone (as I hear Vala typically getting up in the next room nervously) "You ready for your kong? Kong is going to time out!" (time out is the bathroom). And at this point instead of trying to dig frantically in a panic through the floor, she actually will come watch me stuff peanut butter in her kong or just trot happily to the bathroom. I'll give her the kong and then look at the weather to see if it's going to thunder for a while. If it's a long day of it, I'll give her the xanax too. If it's only a half hour or hourlong storm, I just give her the kong and shut the door. She doesn't shake anymore or tremble. She doesn't drool. She is learning that thunderstorms aren't all that scary--as long as she can get into the bathroom she's good--she just wants to lie in there by the bathtub and work on her kong. I think it helps that I give her the xanax in peanut butter too--xanax is so fast acting--peanut butter seems to have become this godsend comfort food.

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Clomicalm also takes up to a month to start working. I've seen it start working in a week or so, but it can take that long in some cases, every dog is different. I think they say at the least a couple of weeks to build up in the dogs system.

 

This is what our veterinary behaviorist told us also. Jack was taking 50 mg every 12 hours and it also took about a month for him to be able to handle the grogginess and go on about his business. The Clomicalm did take the edge off of his reaction to thunder and fireworks--he was still very unhappy and uneasy but he curled up in a tight ball on the floor and just growled, without lifting his head, at the worst booms. He only takes a pill in the morning now.

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Okay, so I was able to get xanax and clomicalm (generics). Well, I got the xanax already, waiting to figure out what to do about dosage size for clomicalm. Vet prescribed 40 mg tabs and the pharmacies only have 25, 50, 75. So when the vet gets back from lunch we'll figure something out. Wish us luck, because I don't know what I'll do if this doesn't work. I know it takes time for clomicalm to start working, let's just hope it really does work for him. Thanks for all of your fast responses! It really means a lot. I'll keep you posted.

 

 

For those of you who use xanax, how much? This vet prescribed 0.5mg pills... one every four hours as needed SPARINGLY. I only question as this wasn't the main vet and this one is sometimes a little ditzy. Does that sound about right?

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Okay, so I was able to get xanax and clomicalm (generics). Well, I got the xanax already, waiting to figure out what to do about dosage size for clomicalm. Vet prescribed 40 mg tabs and the pharmacies only have 25, 50, 75. So when the vet gets back from lunch we'll figure something out. Wish us luck, because I don't know what I'll do if this doesn't work. I know it takes time for clomicalm to start working, let's just hope it really does work for him. Thanks for all of your fast responses! It really means a lot. I'll keep you posted.

 

 

For those of you who use xanax, how much? This vet prescribed 0.5mg pills... one every four hours as needed SPARINGLY. I only question as this wasn't the main vet and this one is sometimes a little ditzy. Does that sound about right?

 

Clomicalm--Vala is 31.5 pounds and on 50 mg daily (two 25 mg pills, both taken in the morning). Vala started at 25 mg for two weeks and then we upped her to 50 mg. (Like any longacting psychoactive drug you get them up to the optimum dosage slowly to avoid ill effects.)

 

Xanax--Vala takes 0.5 mg as soon as she gets upset (she used to predict storms 3 hours before!!!). Now she only gets upset when the thunder rumbles or it starts raining... In the beginning, if you can beat the actual storm -- like 1/2 hour before, so the medicine kicks in first -- that works even better. Your goal is to get and keep the dog totally under threshold during storms so the dog can stay calm and do some enjoyable activity like eating a kong or ice cream as another poster suggested. My vet had me start Vala at .25mg, because she is very sensitive to medication, which is 1 pill; that didn't work though we saw some improvement; two pills does the trick. Apparently Xanax is tricky and the optimum dose is different for each dog. The one thing you have to watch is it does cause negative effects in some dogs so I'd give him 1/2 a pill first (.25 mg) and wait fifteen minutes to see what happens and then give another half a pill if no effect, continuing until you get an effect. I would expect an effect at around .5 mg if your dog is the same size as Vala but some dogs need more. But keep in touch with your vet and ask him before you defy the prescription advice. The limit on Vala at her weight for Xanax is 4 mg in a daily period (dogs need way more Xanax than people to get an effect--that's sixteen pills) but we never remotely approach that. The most she's ever needed is 1 mg (that's two doses of .5 mg, about 12 hours apart, during a really heavy stormy day).

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Clomicalm--Vala is 31.5 pounds and on 50 mg daily (two 25 mg pills, both taken in the morning). Vala started at 25 mg for two weeks and then we upped her to 50 mg. (Like any longacting psychoactive drug you get them up to the optimum dosage slowly to avoid ill effects.)

 

Xanax--Vala takes 0.5 mg as soon as she gets upset (she used to predict storms 3 hours before!!!). Now she only gets upset when the thunder rumbles or it starts raining... In the beginning, if you can beat the actual storm -- like 1/2 hour before, so the medicine kicks in first -- that works even better. Your goal is to get and keep the dog totally under threshold during storms so the dog can stay calm and do some enjoyable activity like eating a kong or ice cream as another poster suggested. My vet had me start Vala at .25mg, because she is very sensitive to medication, which is 1 pill; that didn't work though we saw some improvement; two pills does the trick. Apparently Xanax is tricky and the optimum dose is different for each dog. The one thing you have to watch is it does cause negative effects in some dogs so I'd give him 1/2 a pill first (.25 mg) and wait fifteen minutes to see what happens and then give another half a pill if no effect, continuing until you get an effect. I would expect an effect at around .5 mg if your dog is the same size as Vala but some dogs need more. But keep in touch with your vet and ask him before you defy the prescription advice. The limit on Vala at her weight for Xanax is 4 mg in a daily period (dogs need way more Xanax than people to get an effect--that's sixteen pills) but we never remotely approach that. The most she's ever needed is 1 mg (that's two doses of .5 mg, about 12 hours apart, during a really heavy stormy day).

 

Okay thanks. Rowen is about 50lbs. (I think he must be a border/australian mix b/c of his larger than most border collie size.) We're still working out what to do dosage wise on the clomicalm. I can't afford name brand clomicalm ($50+ a month from them), and so hopefully they can work something else out for us so I can get it from somewhere else. Been playing phone tag so we'll see.

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Thankfully, none of my current dogs fall under the thunderstorm phobics, but my Malinois who has since passed was terrible with storms. Initially he would just try to hide (bathrooms, closets, tubs, ect.) In his later age, he became so much worse. We used xanax and it was a dream... saved our house, and probably a few attempts he would have made on his life. It's a wretched thing to get through, but once you've got the right dosage (and timing) it's all downhill from there.

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Just because, she was a cute dog though...she died at 16 of heart failure and was always the Queen of our house...we had 7 dogs for a while and she ruled with an iron paw, that Lacey.

 

oldRoooncouch.jpg

 

Except the cat, who could do anything she wanted...

 

boogerandroo.jpg

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Just because, she was a cute dog though...she died at 16 of heart failure and was always the Queen of our house...we had 7 dogs for a while and she ruled with an iron paw, that Lacey.

 

 

She's very cute! I grew up with a golden who I loved dearly. And 16 is quite a good age for a golden!

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Xanax helps Mick a lot for his thunderstorm phobia. He basically keeps him from totally losing it. However, his version of "totally losing it" is way less severe than it is for your dog.

 

Other things that I found have helped is keeping him occupied. I'll just make him do obedience drills for as long as he'll put up with it. He definitely will never take treats from me during a storm. I'll praise him if he's listening and practicing obedience work, but if he slinks off to go shake in a corner, I ignore him. I don't want my praise to make him feel like he's scared for a reason.

 

Fortunately, Sinead isn't scared of storms.

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Another one whose dog has script for Xanax.

You might have to 'play' with the dosage a little bit to find out exactly how much works and when. Effects can be also be cumulative if given over several days( you may be able to lower dosage on,say, day 2).

 

*IF* you find that the dog becomes 'more' anxious, try switching to Valium.

 

Dr. Overall also has dosing recommendations...I think it's in her stormphobia article.

 

Fireworks don't affect my dog at all...it's the static. The "Storm Defender" cape may help or even wiping a dog down with a fabric softener sheet.

You may think I'm totally insane but my girl calms down in a vehicle....Vehicles can help a dog feel grounded, so, it might be something to try along with meds.

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Fireworks don't affect my dog at all...it's the static. The "Storm Defender" cape may help or even wiping a dog down with a fabric softener sheet.

You may think I'm totally insane but my girl calms down in a vehicle....Vehicles can help a dog feel grounded, so, it might be something to try along with meds.

 

Yeah, Mick is fine with fireworks and guns. Just thunder sets him off. Must be the static.

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Okay thanks. Rowen is about 50lbs. (I think he must be a border/australian mix b/c of his larger than most border collie size.) We're still working out what to do dosage wise on the clomicalm. I can't afford name brand clomicalm ($50+ a month from them), and so hopefully they can work something else out for us so I can get it from somewhere else. Been playing phone tag so we'll see.

 

there are purebred BCs who weigh in at 50. my vala is on the small side.

 

o i can't afford the clomicalm either! generic is clomipramine, get your vet to write you a scrip. call around. wal mart has it and so does walgreens.

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there are purebred BCs who weigh in at 50. my vala is on the small side.

 

o i can't afford the clomicalm either! generic is clomipramine, get your vet to write you a scrip. call around. wal mart has it and so does walgreens.

 

I finally got the vet to understand this and she rewrote the rx for 50mg. I'll be starting it today. And I got Ro as a rescue so who knows if he's purebred or not. It doesn't matter either way to me. :rolleyes:

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