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A remedy for thunderphobia?

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Oddly enough, the best remedy for thunderphobia I found for a previous dog was exposure--she was one of those dogs that ran about terrified, panting, climbing in and out of the tub panting. She was my mums dog until 7 years old. When I got her, we took her camping, canoe tripping, every other other weekend during a summer of daily thunder storms. She spent stormy nights on top of my husband, panting & shaking, but by the end of the season, her phobia was down to mild fear, and indoors at home, pretty good.

We mostly ignored her fear; by that I mean, carry on as usual. Pet her or play with her if she was into that. I remember playing tug with a log during an incoming thunderstorm--that kept her busy, then having to hide under a tarp. But mostly, just left her alone to chose how she wanted to deal with things, let her pace, let her cuddle, let her hide, but not interfere unless we had to--she was not destructive.

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^^ Unfortunately that doesn't work for a lot of dogs, perhaps not even many. I suspect your experience was pretty unusual, though certainly wonderful and I'm glad it worked that way for your dog.


I've used melatonin with Bodhi, and when he was at his most fearful when he was younger I'd hug him firmly when he was frightened. It calmed him to the point that now, at ~10 1/2, he's only mildly worried about thunderstorms, though still more frightened by fireworks and gun shots.


But I've had dogs in the past that a medication like this would have been a godsend for, whose noise phobia never abated but actually got worse the older they got. It's really awful to watch a dog like that and not be able to do anything to help them through it. :(


As an odd aside, I've noticed that some dogs don't seem to be as frightened of thunderstorms when they're outside as when they're in. Odd, but it's definitely something I've observed.


Then there was Chance, who used to chase thunder. :rolleyes:

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Two of my dogs are thunderphobic. If they're outside, they want inside NOW. As long as Tex is on my bed or in my closet he is stable. Georgia, on the other hand, is much worse. She shakes and trembles; and will try to get into kitchen cabinets, behind the toilet, and many other places she does not fit. Two weeks ago she came into the shower with me. We've used ThunderShirts, calming treats, and Xanax. The Xanax helps to take off the edge. And as long as she can be near us, she's not in a complete panic. We do comfort her in a calm manner, not in a coddling way. I feel badly for her in the summer. On the NC coast we are prone to pop up thunderstorms. For this reason she is kept crated during the day.


Faith...odd little thing that she is...doesn't really care about storms.

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I finally came to the point where I realized that there is nothing I can do for Dean but let him ride it out, shake, drool, and go kind of catatonic. He took meds for years, but all they really did was give him the ability to bounce back after the storm was over. He retained that after I weaned him off the meds.

I tried just about all of the usual things that are suggested (thundershirt, melatonin, DAP, etc).


As far as desensitization goes, or "having a party" while it thunders, that was actually far more cruel than just letting him ride it out on his own. That boy would get a panicked look in his eyes, turn away, and drool more if you put a raw steak in his face during a storm.

So, I make him comfortable and let him be, and once the storm is over, he's OK.

Tessa is also afraid of storms, but she does not go into that kind of a truly phobic state. I can give her food, and the thundershirt helps her.

I'd be willing to try that new drug with Dean if his vet would prescribe it. I'd have to make sure it wouldn't be a problem with the meds he takes for his hip, though.

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My neighbor is trying the Sileo with her one dog that is extremely thunderphobic. Today is her first try and her dog is barely reacting at all, basically came downstairs briefly when she heard thunder, then went back upstairs and got on the bed. Granted, the storms are skirting us, but if it works as well as it seems to be so far for her it'll be a life changer for her dog.



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