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Thunder Shirts and Adaptil


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Our 5 year old pei girl has started reacting to storms since about a month ago. Last night she wanted a blanket all over her and then was trying to find a cave to sleep in. I went out into the shed and pulled out her soft crate (and a mattress so I could sleep on the floor beside her) and she finally settled enough to sleep. Her distress went on long after the storm had stopped. We seem to be having a very bad and early storm season so I don't see this ending anytime soon. The crate will stay set up and I will sleep with her anytime she needs it.

 

We've been trying Rescue Remedy but it has made no difference. What are people's experiences with Thunder Shirts and Adaptil collars or diffusers? Based on her size she needs a large thunder shirt but what is the sizing really like on them? She is close to the maximum so I am worried I wont be able to overlap it enough. And how do the collars work? Can they be activated as you need them and removed when you don't or once you activate do they just kind of keep releasing until they run out? Or is a diffuser better because you can move it room to room?

 

Tempeh is not into cuddles or being covered but she definately wants to be encircled when she is affected by an oncoming storm so I'm thinking the Thunder Shirt is a good option. It seems to be atmospheric changes upsetting her rather than noise. Any other product suggestions are also welcomed as this is a very new thing for her and we are willing to try anything as I used to have a boy who was so terrified of storms he would hurt himself to get to a human for comfort. We were unable to find anything that reduced his fear except being with a human (any human - he took himself to neighbours after busting out a couple of times, even breaking through their screen door to get in!).

 

TIA.

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Hey LG

Panto was a long term stom phobic dog.

Learnings - static, light and vibrations, make the ones in your control your friend. If her coat can get staticy, try remove it with a dryer sheet or quick groom spray and brush. Vibrations as distraction - loud music with the bass turned up to 'desensitise' the thunder itself. A BRIGHT room - so that it will be difficult to tell when the lightning is happening because a well experienced storm phobic dog can associate the lightning with the impending thunder rumble - Panto couldn't tolerate camera flashes the older she got.

Biggest lesson - medicate sooner rather than later (trying all the different 'natural' methods).

Get the sedative, not the one that dulls the senses. They'll have diff names but talk to your vet about what is right for her.

Big hugs to your poppet.

P

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Poor Tempeh :heart:

Might need to look into getting something similar for my Monty, or doggy door access to house/garage. Yesterday there was a big storm but I didn’t know it was coming so I left them out during the day. Checked the weather at around 11 and it was 100% chance of storm at 2pm. There was massive thunder and a little hail... at lunch I got a call saying Monty had escaped! (He hasn’t escaped in almost a year since we got the new fence!) A kind lady saw him, and we have a spare key so she let him inside the house for us thankfully. 

Last week there was a big thunderstorm at night and even though he’s not allowed on the bed he ended up sleeping with me all night, he was terrified poor matey. :heart:

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A few posters have shared storm phobia stories here on zencrate:

 

 

PS. to directly answer your OP, we have a thundershirt, adaptil and rescue remedy, all as useless as each other at this level of storm anxiety - and it sounds like tempeh is there.

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Interesting about the zencrate. That's what Tempeh tried to create for herself last night. At one stage she disappeared and I found her huddled inside my horn sewing cabinet (where the peddles are and the stool was pushed into). She also tried to get herself onto my bedside table shelf which is hard against the wall on two sides and the bed on the other. Once I put the soft crate up she went straight in and settled. It is overcast out there again now and she is under the computer table rubbing into my legs, crying and lightly shaking at times. I can't believe how quickly her anxiety has progressed. I'm going to bring the soft crate down to the lounge while we are up watching tv so she has somewhere to hide if she needs it.

 

I'm going to make an appointment with my vet (and I'm going to buy a Thunder Shirt to try because she seems to want pressure on her body). I was wondering though if anyone has tried any essential oils or whether I can buy DAP and diffuse it myself? I have a pretty good diffuser so it seems worth a try. I can see she is quite confused about how she is feeling. She has never been big on full body contact and now she wants it all the time.

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Before you spend money on a Thundershirt (because swaddling doesn't work for every storm phobic dog) make a temporary homemade swaddle with elastic bandage or a large scarf or tshirt etc.  DIY swaddle
If it helps, then by all means buy a Thundershirt as they are quick and easy to put on (compared to the bandage wrap etc.)

You could try Adaptil in the diffuser, buy the spray and twist off the spray top to fill the diffuser. Or try a few drops of Rescue Remedy for Pets (not the people one) straight on the tongue.

Edited by RuralPug
forgot link (rolly eyes at self)
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Just jumping in on this thread.

Molly has only just started getting anxious with storms as of last season and as LG has stated, this storm season seems to be here early. We usually try not to make a fuss of her and try to distract her but a very loud storm started the other night right as we were going to bed. I know she reacts to the lightening and she will head under the blankets to avoid seeing it but she wants to be right close to us and then the shaking and nervous panting started. It was also quite hot so I was worried about her being under the covers. I have never used anything to calm her down. I don’t think she’d appreciate a thunder shirt as she hates wearing any coats. I have been looking into the rescue remedy specifically for storm stress and was wondering what everyone’s opinions on it were. 

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Rescue Remedy did nothing here but it is still worth trying for your dog. Tempeh is not a coat fan either but we have another storm brewing this afternoon (she is wandering around crying already) so after I finish this post I'm hitting the big first aid bag for some wide bandages. When she is distressed I doubt she will even know she's wrapped up like a mummy!

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Our storm came about 3pm today. Not a lot of thunder. Mostly rain. Molly seemed just a little anxious. Once it stopped raining we went for a walk. She was quite ok. We also had an afternoon storm yesterday and she was just happy to sit on the floor beside me while I did some ironing. I think the night storms affect her more as she can see the lightening. 

Hope you no Tempeh got through it all ok this afternoon.

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Wow I am learning so much here. I posted elsewhere about thunderstorms and fireworks, loud noises, Lovan etc (I am all over the shop like a mad woman). My dog Snoopy will be 6 in June 2018. At first he wasn't too bad with thunder storms but as he gets older the worse he gets. I bought a thunder shirt a few years ago. It does help him a little so I wouldn't disregard one. The place I bought mine from said that if it was the wrong size to bring it back and they would exchange it. Snoopy weighs 7.1kg and I bought him a small one (and they only had it in bright PINK!) but he doesn't mind..... although.... then again that could be the whole problem?? :)  It fits snugly and they are stretchy but he still has room to move and I don't think its uncomfortable. I hope this helps.

 

Edited by Snoopy2446
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A TTouch wrap could be tried instead of the coat or simply a T-shirt tied tightly.

 

Adaptil: recommended 3 month trial. If diffuser doesn’t help try collar and vice versa. I don’t think it is safe to put the spray into a diffuser as I’ve been advised by a VB that it is not safe to put the diffuser contents onto a bandana. They are different formulations. Diffuser and collars cheaper to buy online, but buy from a reputable/approved stockist e.g. Budget pet products, pet circle (more listed on Adaptil website) as there are inferior knockoffs and overseas variants that have less of the active ingredient. The spray can only be purchased from vets.

 

Hope this helps.

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The key, to any of these remedies, relies on you as the dog's human, anticipating what's coming. This is often a difficult challenge, because innately, dogs will sense an upcoming storm WELL before you do. The shirt or adaptil or RR needs to be administered prior to the storm signals indicating and being picked up by your dog. Once the anxiety starts, it snowballs and continues for the dog. They're not fixes but more gentle preventatives. I find with all of these that they're usually for dogs at the stages where most dog people believe that the dog will be fine their reactions are just minor.

 

LG - for the DAP, the diffuser is the same as the mortein (or whatever brand it is) for the bug diffuser you get from the supermarket where you screw the bottom bit in, and I think there may be a Glade one as well. BE VERY CAREFUL with these plug-ins, please only turn it on when you are home. The potential for overheating and causing a house fire  from these devices is frequently warned by fire authorities. You could also dab a little bit onto a cloth and tie it around your dog's collar.

 

I found the Thursday Plantation Lavendar spray just as useful - again, remember I didn't feel any of these remedies made a material difference in Panto.

 

For your soft crate, consider wrapping heavy blankets around it to muffle sound.

 

I had read of other dogs benefiting from ear mufflers. It wasn't something I was able to train Panto into, she hated something over her head, but if you're capable and your dog takes to it, something worth a shot too.

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I also have a severely storm phobic girl. She is now so bad that even rain sets her off into a quivering wreck. I have tried everything I could get my hands on but nothing helps. When she started trying to climb the shelves of the walk in pantry and the top of the stove (which was on) I had a consult with a veterinary behaviourist. She now gets a beta blocker at the first sign of anything coming to slow her heart rate down. I had read once that Dr Sophia Yin (R.I.P) was looking after her mother's storm phobic dog and it died from a heart attack.

 

In saying all that, she still is a total wreck and I have to hold her tight and play music loud and just try and get her through it. 

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