Stress Due to Storms and Fireworks

9193099396_8e41f609e4Many of the dogs in my practice suffer from storm and firework phobias. Herding breeds tend to be worse than other breeds. Some of these dogs are terrified by the noise and/or sounds produced by these events; others suffer milder distress. Owners need to know there is help available. I feel strongly that phobias like this deserve treatment.

I get asked a lot about Thundershirts. These are promoted as being cure alls for anxiety. Do I think they work? The answer is maybe, in some pets. There has been no research to generate an opinion. I do recommend Storm Defender capes as research has been done with this product. It has a different premise with a lining to interfere with static electricity during storms. Schuylkill Veterinary Hospital carries this product. It’s a no lose proposition…..if you use it three times and do not see improvement, you get your money back!

Many dogs need antianxiety medication. If used consistently at the first signs of fear early in the dog’s life, some dogs will eventually no longer need medicine ! The fact is, most owners wait to discuss this issue with their veterinarian when the dog becomes frantic during these events. Better late than never. But, the fact remains, it is best to address the problem right away. That way the dog does not live in fear and the owners can enjoy life a bit more.

I love helping my patients feel better. I know this is something that can be managed. Sometimes the medicines have to be adjusted or changed, but it is possible to give pets (and their owners) a better quality of life.


photo at top courtesy of Darren Hsu via Flickr