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D2005-27

Dear Daisy Dog

My dog Misty is terrified of thunderstorms. How can I calm her?

Daisy Responds

My brother Sam has the same fear. At the start of a storm, he opens the door to the basement, dashes down the stairs, and hides in a small work room.

If Misty can’t find somewhere in the house she feels safe, she may require what my other brother, Murphy, used: medication.

Two months before each thunderstorm season, Murphy started taking daily anti-anxiety medication. When the storms came, he was calm.

Many anti-anxiety medications work best if begun a month or two before needed, so keep them in mind next spring.

To address Misty’s immediate problem, ask your veterinarian about medication you can give as needed. For maximum efficacy, it must be administered an hour or two before a thunderstorm.

In addition, teach Misty to be calm during storms by playing a thunderstorm CD during a pleasurable activity, like eating.

This behavior modification technique is somewhat effective for dogs sensitive to the storm’s noise, but it is less effective for dogs that react to the changes in atmospheric pressure that occur during thunderstorms.

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