Q: What can I do to calm my dog down during thunderstorms?

June 3, 2008 | By Pokeepsycheryl | 12 answers | Expired: 2719 days ago

At the moment he hears thunder, he begins pacing the house, shaking and eventually ends up in the closet or under the bed. Is there anything I can do to prevent his fear? I've heard Benedryl works, but I want to be sure this is true before i give him some sort of medication that could effect him in other ways.

Readers' Answers (12)

Jun 12, 2008

Benadryl should be safe and hopefully it will work. We have a dachshund who hs gotten actual panic attacks (hyperventilation, pounding heart...) during storms her whole life. Our vet eventually prescribed a tiny dose of valium for her to take as soon as she started reacting. This has helped a lot, she just goes to a favorite spot and chills out. Since she will be 16 in a couple of months, there does not appear to have been any long term negative side effects.

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Jun 16, 2008

I, too, found that distration helps. My Malamute used to panic during thunderstorms and during fireworks on the 4th. Early on, I would talk to her and try to calm her down.....never worked...if anything, it made the situation worse and I ended up losing my patience with her. I found that if I turned the volume up on the television or the radio, it would distract her. Just don't leave your television on a local channel covering the fireworks on the 4th. :) I also starting ignoring the behavior (although it was very painful to ignore it, it was the best thing for her). Good luck.

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Julie Kay S.

Jun 11, 2008

I live in Ohio (we have lots of thunderstorms here as well as several tornadoes). If Wiggles gets antsy during a storm, I figure he may know something I don't, so I turn on the weather radio. Almost always, there'll either be a thunderstorm warning or a tornado watch/warning. Like dogs that warn their owners about homes being on fire, there may be a very good reason for your dog's being upset. With "garden variety" rainstorms, Wiggles doesn't even react. Even with storms that are passing at a distance, with the accompanying distant rumbles of thunder, he remains calm. Animals' senses are keener than ours, so there may be good reason for the anxiety.

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