Dogs often suffer from a fear of thunderstorms, of fireworks, or of other loud noises. For these dogs, the fear can become so intense that they can cause injury to themselves. If your dog suffers from one of these phobias, there are several things you can do to help relieve the fear.
Keep Your Dog Indoors
Always keep your dog inside if you are anticipating an event, such as a thunderstorm or a firework display, that he is likely to fear.
- If possible, block the windows so that the room is dark.
- Play a radio or television to muffle the sound. Running the air conditioning can also help muffle the sound.
- Try giving your dog a food puzzle or other type of toy to distract his attention.
Natural Remedies to Relieve Fear for Dogs
There are several remedies that can be used to help calm your fearful dog without the potential for side effects.
- DAP® (dog appeasing pheromone) is a natural occurring chemical that is secreted by a mother dog to calm her puppies. It works for mature dogs as well and is often effective in relieving mild to moderate phobias.
- Products such as Rescue Remedy® and Sleepy Time® are also natural remedies that may help resolve your dog’s fear.
- The Thundershirt® and the Anxiety Wrap® are two products that can be worn by your dog and they may be helpful in relieving anxiety. Their use is not limited to thunderstorm phobias.
- In the case of a thunderstorm phobia, you can try rubbing your dog’s fur with a plain unscented dryer sheet, the same type of sheet you throw in your dryer to remove the static from your clothing. This helps discharge the static electrical charge that builds up in your dog’s hair coat. This will work for some but not all dogs. However, it is a safe and inexpensive option to try.
Sedatives and Anxiolytic Drugs to Relieve Your Dog’s Fear
If all else fails, there are medications that can be given to help your dog relax and stay calm. These medications include diazapam (Valium®) and alprazolam (Xanax®). These are prescription medications. You will need to visit your veterinarian to obtain them. They should be used only as directed.
One medication that should not be used in these situations is acepromazine. Acepromazine is a good sedative and it has a place in veterinary medicine. However, it has no anxiolytic effect, meaning that it will not relieve your dog’s anxiety. Your dog will be unable to move or react but will still be frightened – not a very pleasant combination. This drug may actually make your dog’s fear worse, and it should be avoided.
These options are all short-term solutions. They can be used as needed to calm your dogs fears.
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