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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-31-2009, 05:39 AM Thread Starter
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thunderstorms

We got Gryff two summers ago this August. He has never been afraid of thunderstorms before. However, we had a wicked storm the other night and my poor dog didn't handle it well at all. He was trembling like somebody stuck his tail in an outlet! He was hiding under the furniture and snuggling on our laps (liked that part), shaking and panting.

I had dogs growing up that were afraid of thunder. Linny used to hide in the closet, under the bed, in the bathtub (pretty funny for an 80 pound German Shepherd). I suppose my question is a) is there anything I can do to help Gryff during a storm other than comfort him and b) any idea why he would suddenly be afraid of thunder when he never was before?

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-31-2009, 06:44 AM
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I have the same problem with Milo. His entire body trembles during thunder and lightening storms, and he wants to sit on my lap. I try not to make a big deal about the storm and just do everything as I always would. So far, it's not working - he's still terrified.

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-31-2009, 06:53 AM
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That is Isabelle as well. She has never had anything happen to her but it is very much her instincts. She has just always been my little weather bug. It usually starts a few hours before the storm gets here where her tongue comes out and she starts fidgeting. But she shakes, hides, and usually wants up against me. If I think about it, I try to give her rescue remedy. After living in So Cal and moving here, it got really bad our first storm- it had been about a year since she heard thunder. She went nuts. I try not to baby her but that time I did. She was so scared so I laid in bed and put her under the covers. She always wants to hide-protection instinct. My other two have no clue why Belle acts crazy.

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-31-2009, 08:13 AM
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Ivy, funny - I was thinking about posting the same topic today! Poor Cody is a wreck. Like you, when I first got him he didn't mind thunder at all. Since October he has the same reaction as Gryff - and as of this past weekend, he's now ultra-sensitive for days. There was a storm Saturday night and he spent the night in a corner, shaking. Now, if the heat in the house turns on, there's a "bang" on TV, etc. he starts shaking and looking to hide. I was wondering if he was sick but he is otherwise normal and even when he was in hiding, when I got the treat back out, he came running.

Tess on the otherhand is oblivious during the day but starts pacing and looking to hide under the covers if the thunder is at night (not very conducive for my much needed beauty sleep!)

Jill - Tess & Cody's mom
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-31-2009, 08:18 AM
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Brady is terrified of storms too. He wasn't afraid for a long time and then DH had him outside when a storm was rolling in and there was a huge crash of thunder that scared him. Ever since, he is terrified.


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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-31-2009, 08:25 AM
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I've had a number of dogs terrified of lightening/thunder storms. One was so bad (a huge german shephard/husky mix) that we'd go into the bathroom without a window, I'd throw a big bath towel over him and hug him to try to stop his trembling.

Cagney in my group now is badly frightened by the storms. When it gets really bad the only thing that seems to work is for me to get into bed, close the blinds completely and turn on the television just a little too loud to drown out some of the sound. Then we all snuggle in bed till it's over.

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-31-2009, 08:49 AM
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After all the dogs we have had over the years, only our lab, Barrett, freaks out from thunder. We think it started when he got spooked from our July 4th fireworks display held every year close by. We had him outside, and he went nuts and jumped the yard fence onto our deck. Ever since, we always put him the basement, but now the slightest storm comes up and he starts whining, trembling, and pacing like crazy. He can sense it long before it starts (we call him our weather man) and especially when he hears the lightning siren on our nearby golf course go off.

It got so bad a couple of years ago that I finally called the vet. It was no fun watching him so upset, not to mention having a dog that big wreaking havoc in the house racing around like a crazy loon. The vet suggested acepromazine, and he was supposed to have it 30 minutes before the storm on an empty stomach. Well . . . try to plan that with Mother Nature! LOL It did work a couple of times, 1/2 pill didn't do much, and a whole one knocked him out.

I doubt I would ever give that drug to a small dog. I might try Benadryl or one of the herbal calming remedies, but I think the acepromazine is too strong. It is also can drop their blood pressure, so I would ask a vet about all the side effects before asking for it.

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-31-2009, 09:12 AM
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django was SOOO afraid of thunderstorms. i do 2 things, when i know it's going to thunder, i get a dryer sheet (like bounce, etc) and rub it all over his body. our dogs can feel the electrical charge coming from the storm and it's very uncomfortable for them and scary. i know this sounds crazy but i was told this by a vet. also, for about a month, i played a cd of thunderstorms, very low volume, you could barely hear it but it worked. he's no longer afraid of storms
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-31-2009, 10:21 AM
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We had a dog years ago who would get terribly "freaked out" by fireworks and thunder (thank goodness thunder isn't much of a problem here in SoCal). We eventually ended up having to give him a mild sedative prescribed by the vet. We normally wouldn't have used drugs except we lived right by the LA County fairgrounds, where yearly, for 3 weeks straight every night, they'd have a fireworks show. This was in addition to the 4th of July...

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-31-2009, 10:30 AM
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Jasper is 3 and last summer was the first time he was ever afraid too. And he was freaked out. It will be interesting to see if it is as bad this year as a lot of his other shtick has subsided. Again, I think there is something that happens around two -- they are more aware of their surroundings. That is a great idea about the bounce dryer sheets and the recording...where did you get the recording?




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