thunderstormYou know the dog that hides in your closet is terrified of thunder and lightning, but you might not recognize these subtle signs of astraphobia, which is a fancy way of saying abnormal fear of storms:

1. Excessive panting
2. Trembling
3. Pacing
4. Vocalizing
5. Being destructive

Between 15% and 30% of all dogs exhibit symptoms of fear during storms. Dogs with only a mild reaction to the storm may be distracted with an indoor game of fetch-the-ball or simple obedience exercises. Others may feel more comfortable with the routine of going to their kennel or bed.
Some dogs consistently react to the drop in barometric pressure and aren’t so easily distracted. For dogs that perpetually find storms an anxiety-packed event, consider these strategies:

1. Thundershirts. For many of our clients, the gentle pressure of Thundershirts can calm and give relief in stressful situations. You can also make your own like this.

2. Desensitization. Playing recordings of thunderstorms quietly for your dog can help desensitize her. Every few days, play the recording a little louder. Reassure your dog with a routine that might comfort, like going to his kennel or bed.

3. Adaptil®. This product available in a spray, diffuser or collar can soothe a nervous pet thanks to a synthetic version of the pheromones found in a mother’s milk. Talk to us vet about a product that’s worked well for many adult dogs and puppies.

4. Short term medicines. When you know a storm is predicted or brewing, a short-acting sedative can bring your pet quick relief.

5. Longer term anti-anxiety medicines. If it’s the season for storms, you may want to consider anti-anxiety meds for a month or so rather than administering sedatives every day or two. With this sort of medicine, you won’t worry about not being home when a storm hits.

A visit with us can help you find the best solution for your pacing Poodle, disappearing Doberman, or bellowing Beagle. Give us a call and let’s set up a time to meet. With the right approach, you can help your dog overcome fearful, anxious behavior.