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How do I rid the thunder phobia??

January 6th, 2006, 01:54 PM
Hi guys, I have an issue with my 5 yr old black lab and my 6 yr old cat.
Both of them are scared to death of thunderstorms. It wouldn't be such a big deal but when your getting woken up all hours of the night cause the dog is freaking out whining, and the cat is howling, it can be pretty nerve racking.
The dog won't calm down, during the day I can just leave and go uptown but then I feel guilty leaving her, so sometimes I take her, but now I think she believes that everytime it storms she can go for a car ride!! And the cat gets herself behind or under things and won't come out, and she gets so upset that she'll spend the majority of the day throwing up. It is so odd my other 2 cats sleep right through while the other cat and dog are near hysterics. It is out of control, and now that summer and its storms are around the corner again I would like to nip this phobia in the bud before I spend another sleepless summer, any ideas? Oh and I have bought this cat calmant liquid and it didn't do much for her at all. So any other ideas would be great.

January 6th, 2006, 02:37 PM
There are a couple of things that you can do. You could try keeping them in the same room as you are and try to be in a room that is more sound proof. This sometimes helps.

There is a way that you can desensitize them to the sound of thunder. You could try purchasing a CD/tape of a thunderstorm or make one yourself. Then you would play it very softly and gradually over several days (may even take weeks) you would raise the volume until they no longer react fearfully to the sound. When you are playing the CD, distract them with something they enjoy. Give them treats or have a play session. This way they will equate the thunderstorm to good things and not bad things. Over time they will be less scared and will eventually just ignore the thunderstrom entirely.

January 6th, 2006, 02:58 PM
How quiet is your home life. If it is regularly quiet I would start to add loud noises, chairs falling, pans banging etc. Also do you comfort them in any way when this is happening with them.

January 6th, 2006, 09:43 PM
It depends what they're afraid of. If it's just the noise, then that can be remedied how Beaglemom suggested. But if it's the whole sensation- the noise, the light and the magnetism stuff that they feel, then you might have a much harder time desensitizing them...

January 6th, 2006, 11:50 PM
My golden retriever was the same way.He was terrified of thunder. Finally my vet prescribed a tranquilizer for him. It did help alot.

January 7th, 2006, 06:59 AM
I have had 2 fosters that did not do well in storms. Hank would hide out in the shower in our master bedroom, this seemed to work for him and he was quite comfortable in there and would eventually fall sound asleep. We always knew when a storm was coming because he would start to pace and go in and out of our bedroom. My 2 dogs would check on him, lick him and nudge him and sometimes stay with him for awile it was something to see.

Griffin on the other hand did not do well at all and the vet had to prescribe something for him, there was no comfort zone for him. If nothing else worked I would rather give them something to help them through it then see them freaked out like that, but I would try other things fisrt and use drugs as a last resort.

January 7th, 2006, 01:48 PM
Good suggestions guys.

As for our home life, it is full of loud noises so I don't think that is the issue. I babysit for several people quite regularly and so there's always kids screaming and banging around or music playing or whatnot. And none of that ever bothers the animals.
I know that Shelby my lab got this phobia 1st, and Harley my cat, is very close to Shelby ( I believe she thinks she is a dog!) and I think the phobia kinda rubbed off on her, cause this just just started last year for Harley, where Shelby is going on 2 years now scared of storms. It was so bad last summer that I was actually taking the dog for drives at 2 am to calm her down and to let my spouse sleep so he wouldn't be tired at work. We live in a trailer,so it's hard to conceal noises.
Even when I go and sit with Shelby and try to comfort her she pants and whines and she feels all clammy, like shes in a nervous sweat.
She sleeps in the porch on a fluffy dog bed, but if we are not home when a storm hits she will pull all of MY (not my spouses) coats off the coat rack as well as my shoes and rakes them into a pile and lays on them,obvioulsy I am a comfort to her, so I even started spraying her bed with a light mist of my perfume and that kinda helps her. I will try anything!!!
As for Harley, well her throwing up has got to be stressful, I try to hold her and talk to her but she still freaks out and will hide in ANYTHING to get away from the sound.
I've tried playing music to conceal the noise, and playing with them to distract them but nothing truly helps. The other 2 cats I have act like they don't hear a thing.
The dog tells us a storm is coming a good 2 hours before it hits, she feels that static electricity a long ways off. She is also scared of fireworks. We tried taking her to the fair the night of the fireworks to show her it was okay and what was going on but she went crazy and was causing quite a ruckus with her barking. I don't know what else to do other then tranquilizers.
Are they expensive??