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Dogs with storm phobias


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I really wasn't sure where to put this. We've had our pei Tempeh since she was about 4 - 5 months old (a foster fail). She's 4.5 now. This morning when we woke it was very overcast. I was at the computer and she started getting under the table and wanting me to squeeze her against the side. I could hear a bad storm coming. Then she had some shaking. Then she followed me everywhere and wanted me touching her. She is not a big fan of being confined or tightly cuddled or sometimes even being touched so none of this is normal for her. She even tried to come into the bathroom with me while I had a shower (even though she usually considers falling water akin to acid). I previously had an epileptic dog who got very scared during storms but he was like that all his life. His distress would rise with each thunder crack. Tempeh didn't shake or flinch with each thunder crack though so I was wondering - for some dogs is it about the atmospheric change rather than the noise? And this is one incident as an adult - does that have to mean she will be like this now every time there is a storm? This morning I chose to comfort and distract her and talked to her a lot (she likes to be talked to even though I'm not a huge fan of it). I don't want to reinforce the fears but since this was her first time like this I also didn't want her to feel abandoned when she was clearly seeking and needing comfort.

 

Have other dog owners just had random instances like this or is this a sign that storms might now be an issue for her? My previous storm hater used to destroy things in a major way if there was a storm and no-one around. I often had to pick him up and take him back to work with me to keep him safe or my parents would come over and sit with him. I wouldn't wish that level of fear on another dog.

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I'm not sure about whether this could just be a one (or two) off event now.

 

My severely storm phobic girl started off fine until she was at best guess nearly a year old (She is nearly 8). It has got so bad now that even if it starts to rain, she is shaking, quivering mess. I have tried a thunder shirt, DAP, rescue remedy - all the natural stuff. But she is so bad now that after a consult with a veterinary behaviourist, she gets a beta blocker to try and stop her having a heart attack. She also gets valium or xanax. I never pandered to her but after seeing her try to climb onto the cook top (which was on) and climb the shelves in the walk in pantry, I knew I had to try anything.

 

Perhaps if you can try even rescue remedy or something natural if it happens again and go from there. I sincerely hope it was just a one off, awful day for her.

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What is it that upsets them though? Is it the noise or atmospheric pressure or something else?

 

She settled quickly both times after the storm stopped. Was sooky la la all day and wouldn't eat much dinner. Quiet and sleeping for most of tonight. My sister was the one home this afternoon (I called as soon as I heard the thunder) and by the time I got home a few hours later she was all over me like a rash wanting serious cuddles. Very unlike her but good to know she trusts me enough to seek comfort.

 

Good idea about the rescue remedy. I always have that on hand.

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9 hours ago, Little Gifts said:

What is it that upsets them though? Is it the noise or atmospheric pressure or something else?

 

I'm not entirely sure. I always assumed it was pressure, but Scotties storm phobia went away entirly as he went deaf. So for him it was noise.

 

I can't remember if Guineas went away as she went deaf,  hers really only came on later in life after a dog who carried on like a pork chop stayed next door for a few weeks. 

 

Good luck with it all. 

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For my first cattle dog it was the noise.  I realised that she was deaf when she didn't react to a storm.  

 

It will get worse as she gets older so see if Google can come up with some proven suggestions to nip it in the bud.  

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Zeddy was a "late bloomer" to the storm phobic club... she was about 5 or 6 when it started.

 

I noticed that Zeddy's trigger was definitely the drop in barometric pressure before a good storm, and thunder and lightning certainly didn't help when the storm hit... she also had the noise phobia as well... *sigh*... fireworks were also a scary thing. The noise issue abated when she started getting hard of hearing, but the storm coming thing did not... so it was definitely the pressure that triggered her there... I'd know a storm was coming hours before it was obvious!

 

She used to get extremely clingy, trembly, and flighty. Her "safe" place was the bathroom... I'd pop her in there with a blanket, and she'd settle down and sleep through. If I wasn't home, I'd leave the bathroom door open for her to go there if a storm looked possible that day.

 

T.

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The smell of storms coming and the change in pressure use to set my storm phobic dog off, there would be storms over the ocean (we lived near the beach)  or over the nearby town which is 10 mins drive away and we couldn't hear anything but she would be a quivering drooling mess. We would check the BoM radar and sure enough there was a storm happening, we tried everything to calm her but the only thing that would work was drugs :( I can't remember what they gave her though.

--Lhok

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Thanks everyone. Seems like a few things might trigger the fear. I didnt see her do any ear swivelling but didnt think to look for her smelling the storm. Having had a boy so scared of storms I so don't want this to be a thing for her now.

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You can comfort all you want: fear cannot be reinforced as it's an emotion. :)

http://thebark.com/content/reducing-fear-your-dog <-- worth reading in full.

 

My dog has generalised anxiety disorder and OCD rather than storm phobia, but some people with storm phobic dogs swear that atmospheric changes set it off. Dogs' hearing and scenting abilities are spectacularly better than ours though.

 

I don't know if you need this info if you've dealt with it before, but in addition to CC/DS you could try:

- Thundershirt

- TTouch wrap

- Adaptil spray from the vet (cheaper than the collar or diffuser for situational things that don't happen too often)

- Some people have success with Rescue Remedy but I've never tried it

- Through a Dog's Ear albums (follow instructions)

- Crate training (a dark, comfy, safe place)

 

And if you pursue medication make sure it's an actual anxiolytic rather than something like Acepromazine.

 

Poor Tempeh. :(

Edited by Papillon Kisses
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Loki became storm and firework phobic around 7 years old which was around the time he started going blind. I have recently noticed that now at 15 years old he has stopped being scared. Apparently he is now so senile he has forgotten he used to have these phobias... I can never tell if he is deaf of just ignoring me, because, Shiba. 

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Molly was fine with storms until about 1 - 2 years ago. I don't exactly understand why suddenly both her and Zena came to be scared of them. I think for both of them it was the noise factor although last year when we had a storm in the middle of the night Molly wouldn't settle. I could tell she was watching for the lightening. I try to just carry on as normal when a storm is happening. She follows me closely and wants to be hard against me and shakes badly but I just try to keep normal telling her it's all ok. Funny thing when I mention thunder she looks straight up at the sky. My smartie pants girl.


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This sounds just like Panto. In hindsight I would medicate sooner rather than later based on my experience as her behaviours anchored and got progressively worse. Tempeh sounds like she is already beyond most of the controls already stated above. If you do medicate, I can't remember which one we used, but pls make sure it's not the one that just inhibits her faculties and she can still sense everything - it's what a vet started us on and it made things so much worse.

 

I read somewhere also about it being static in the air and the suggestion was to try a fabric softener sheet (rub it over their fur). I am highly sceptical of this but have yet to try it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's a tough thing to do, but you have to ignore the dogs change in behaviour and carry on as normal :(  If you follow your instincts and give her any extra attention, it reinforces her fears - it's a sucky feeling to ignore them, but it's better in the long term.

 

I had a GSD, who was a big friendly fella, but had severe hip dysplasia. He had no fear of storms as a pup, he used to love running around the backyard during storms, but one day while I was at work we had a very damaging hail storm, and unfortunately that evening he was due to go in for a hip replacement. I was young myself, so I just took him into the Vet, if I was older and wiser, we would have cancelled the surgery and re booked at a later date.Anyhow, long story cut a little shorter, from that day on, he was terrified of storms, to the point that he'd open the kitchen cupboards and hide in there while I did the dishes.  I made a huge mistake by comforting him the first time he exhibited this behaviour, I should have ignored him, gone about my business and seen the Vet to get some doggy drugs for the next storm,

 

With my next couple of pups I played a storm sounds CD whenever we where having a quiet, lazy evening, and when we had real storms I tried to treat the dogs like it was any old day. Zeus was a little concerned about the weather, but his sister Luna couldn't have given a toss (mind you, if she'd had an opposable thumb, she would have taken over the world - she was the most cunning animal I've ever met:) )

 

Smokey

 

 

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