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

June 3, 2008 | By Pokeepsycheryl | 12 answers | Expired: 2353 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.

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DanaF
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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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Pskrha
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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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Julie Kay S.
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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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Cakesdog
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Jun 09, 2008

I think after a week solid of storms and floods here in Indiana I have at least found my answer to this. My dog tries to get inside the wall when he comes. I used to just hold her and talk to her. That didn't work. What works is distraction. And when the power is out like it was today, pick up your guitar and sing a few songs. Whether you can sing or play well, it distracts their hearing and must give them some peace. WHat do I know anyway. Maybe try it or find your own way to distract them. I disagree with drugging, but try not to judge.

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Katnboots1976
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Jun 08, 2008

I hate to say this, but soothing the dog is the worst thing you can do. All this does is verify to the dog his behavior is ok. In essence, you are rewarding the dog for freaking out over storms. My dog does the same thing and the more I ignored his behavior, the better he got. He's not perfect, but he's not pacing the floor anymore. He lays down quietly by me until the storm has passed. You have to treat this like any other unwanted behavior. If the dog pees in the floor, you don't soothe him afterwards. Same concept.

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Txchica1187
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Jun 07, 2008

There are herbal remedies out there and the presence of yourself is always very helpful to your pet. But, maybe talk to your vet about a dosage of Acepromazine if all else fails.

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Marta J.
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Jun 05, 2008

That's a tough one. Dogs can hear it comming long before we can and they smell the ozone from miles away. Dogs vary on the way they react. Some welcome being close to you and others it makes worse. When dogs get affection when they are under stress the affection can sometimes increase the anxiety. Example, when a dog is scared of something new and you pet it and say "It's OK, it's alright" the dogs gets the idea its OK and alright to be scared. The only thing I know for sure that works is, desensitizing the dog for whatever fear it has. It's a really long and complicated process. I've seen it done with virtual realty set up, with loud thunder, lightning, fire works and gun shots, using a treadmill while all this is going on. It took weeks but the dog finally got use to the noise. Some say you can play loud recordings of thunder until the dog finally gets used to it. Again it would take a lot of patience and time. I would try the medications others suggested first and see how it goes.

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Robin
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Jun 04, 2008

I would just talk to your dog and stay with him. You could use his favorite toy to distract him until it's over, or you could give him a treat or something.

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Deb  M.
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Jun 03, 2008

We use Star of Bethleham, made by Bach Essences. 4 drops directly to the tongue and can be repeated every 15 minutes up to 4 hours. I have never had to give more than 3 doses. You can get it at GNC or order directly from bachessences.com

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Anonymous
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Anonymous

Jun 03, 2008

My Duncan used to pace, pant, and hide. I would cover his ears with my hands and snuggle him. My presence helped. There are medications out there, but they wear off slowly. There are also some herbal remedies. This is something to discuss with your vet.

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