TACKLING THUNDERSTORM PHOBIA
Suzanne Stack, DVM
Anyone who has lived with a thunderstorm phobic dog knows the agitation, anxiety, fear, and, worst of all, escape response that accompanies thunderstorms. While some dogs might exhibit only mild restlessness, panting and perhaps seek refuge in a closet or bathroom, other dogs demonstrate severe anxiety behaviors, some of which may be life-threatening.
You should always consult your veterinarian for guidance in moderating thunderstorm phobia, but a number of options have been tried with variable success. Each greyhound will respond differently to any given technique or medication, and should have a veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist managing any treatment.
Listed below are a few methods of treating thunderstorm phobia that you might find useful:
Thunderstorm Phobia, or Pass the Prozac Please
This article appeared in
Celebrating Greyhounds in 1996, and describes the many modalities
attempted in controlling severe, life-threatening thunderstorm
phobia experienced by the author's own Greyhound. These treatments
were recommended and managed by Dr. Nicholas Dodman, a veterinary
behavioral specialist, after personal consultation at his clinic
at Tufts Veterinary Hospital.
"Tom Critzer was desperate to help his dog, Cody, overcome his storm phobia. Cody's reaction to thunderstorms would begin before there were outward signs of a storm or heat lightning. If he was inside the house, Cody would pant, pace, continually bark and claw at wallpaper in fear. Once while outside during a storm, Cody panicked and ripped through the canvas on a camper.
Tom, with degrees in psychology and electrical engineering, began to research. He came across a theory that the static charge before and during thunderstorms was the trigger that upset dogs. He developed a cape with a special metallic lining that discharges the dog's fur and shields him from the static charge buildup.
His patented invention, the Storm Defender cape, has since helped thousands of dogs with an over 95% success and customer satisfaction rate.
Storm Defender, LLC continues as a family business with the goal of helping dogs and their owners throughout the world." (courtesy www.stormdefender.com, with thanks to Andrew Critzer)
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