Posted by: sue | 2004/10/12

Thunderstorms and Staffies

I have two female Staffies from the same litter. They are about 7years old now. They are and always have been petrified of thunderstorms. They pant,shake and shiver for hours before we even hear anything and for long after the storm passes. Is there anything that can be done to help them and at the same time save our sanity?? They are very healthy, happy dogs and we have never had any fights between them, in fact they sleep in the same bed and still out of the same bowl!!
It's just stormy days that drive us crazy.
I appreciate your time.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberVet

Hi Sue
This sounds like a phobia (Brontophobia) and you need a behaviourist to spend time taking the history and assessing the dogs to get anywhere. I don't know what you've tried. In most cases this needs medical intervention and systematic desensitisation or approximation therapy together for a few months to break the compulsive behaviour. Drugs ranging from Rescue Remedy to Anafranil have been used along with a behaviour program, in some cases to no avail, but in others with success. There is a new system which I saw mentioned on the net called DAP - not sure what it is, but perhaps you can find out. To contact an accredited animal behaviourist see
Karen Gray-Kilfoil

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: Buffs | 2004/10/13

My one kitty is the same, she goes under the bed and wont come out until its over (she used to hide under the closet but now shes getting a little too fat for that!) what we do now is play music quite loud so she cant hear it! that seems to work

Reply to Buffs
Posted by: Chill | 2004/10/12

This is a huge thing with some dogs - my little rescued dog has the same problem, and he's just as terrified of fireworks... BAN GUY FAWKES!!.

I've tried everything to help him get over this but after 9 years it isn't working... so, when I KNOW there's going to be a problem, like on 5 November or New Year, I give him some drops of Tincture of Valerian (which has the same stuff in it as Calmettes, only it's a) cheaper and b) easier to adapt to a suitable dosage).

If you want to try this, I'd give them about 15 or 20 drops, a few hours apart. It isn't really a tranquilliser, they won't get all dopey, but it takes the edge off the stress. Just measure the drops into a teaspoon, and then suck them into a syringe, add a bit of water and squirt it down their throat. Tastes awful, but they won't really mind.

Works well on human stress, too!

Reply to Chill
Posted by: Carol | 2004/10/12

You are going ta have to start a process of desensitizing them ... when u see weather approaching dont fuss at all , carry on as if everything is normal .... try and play a game with them or distract them .... they arent young dogs anymore so this could be quite a process ... u made need to consult a behaviorist as well.

U can also give them rescue drops which is a homeopathic remedy that i find very effective with my dogs.

Reply to Carol

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