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Fireworks phobia

September 22nd, 2006, 11:16 AM
One of my dogs Pepe hates fireworks and thunderstorms (no doubt gunshot, trains etc if he was ever exposed to those too). I bought one of those cds with recorded sounds on it of thunderstorms and fireworks - the instruction booklet tells me to start it off barely audible for humans to hear and over time increase the loudness.
I'd love for Pepe to get over his fears and phobias - it's heart wrenching to watch him dash for the kitchen and sit there shaking - we do as it says in the books, basically dont make a big deal out of it etc.
Now i'll get to the question - has anyone had any success with these kinds of CDs? I dont want to put Pepe through something potential upsetting for him if the things dont work!

September 22nd, 2006, 02:57 PM
I haven't had much experience with these kind of things, but my suggestion would be to leave the problem alone (plus, it's really not big of a problem...unless you alwasy have thunderstorms, play with fireworks, or fire off guns all the time :eek:).

In fact, you can probably use his fear to your advantage in terms of training! Suppose you didn't want him to go searching through garbage cans, then you just want until he does and play a thunderstorm or fireworks sound to scare him :evil: . I think after a couple of times he'll put 1 and 1 together and realize that searching the garbage can causes thunderstorms :dog:

September 22nd, 2006, 05:45 PM
I haven't had much experience with these kind of things, but my suggestion would be to leave the problem alone (plus, it's really not big of a problem...unless you alwasy have thunderstorms, play with fireworks, or fire off guns all the time :eek:).

I would have to disagree and say that it is a problem, and one that tends to get worse if left unchecked.
The thing with those tapes/cds is that thunderstorms sound different depending on your location, so the dog might be totally fine with the recorded version, while still being scared of the real thing. The other thing to consider is that some dogs are reacting to the static electricity, change in pressure or both along with the sound.

The idea of the cds, which is just desensitization, is still a good one though. If your dog is not so freaked out that he can't focus on anything else, try playing games during the storm. Make him find treats, play fetch or tug, practice his obediance commands, whatever is engaging enough to keep his attention. You basically want to keep his mind off the storm and teach him that storm=something really, really fun.

If he's just beyond that, you could try some of the herbal remedies available (Quiet Moments, Holistic Blend Pet Calmer, Bach Flower Remedies, Melatonin, etc.) to calm him enough to be able to do the type of thing I described above. There are also products such as the Anxiety Wrap, but I've never tried it, so I'm not sure of the effectiveness.If all else fails, you can talk to your vet about prescription meds like Xanax, though it's still important to continue working on desensitization even with meds, as they alone won't actually get him over the fear.

This is a good article on the subject:

September 22nd, 2006, 09:32 PM
There is also something called DAP...Dog appeasing pheremones...its like a glade plug in air freshener only WAY more expensive, I used it for Rocky when he developed some sort of weird "night time anxiety" It seemed to work like a charm. The idea is that it calms the dog or cat, they also make a kitty one, because it gives off a pheremone scent similar to "mommy"

Like Pitgrrrl says, you would still need to work on the problem but it may calm the dog down enough to get you started. You can ask your local vet about it. They sell it, but you may want to talk to them about how well they think it will work cause like I said its very expensive.. . I think it was $100.00 for the plug in thing and then the pheremone stuff which is refillable for a mere fifty bucks!
Alot of dogs in my neighbourhood have this problem cause we have fire works competitions down the street every year.

September 23rd, 2006, 08:24 PM
Hi there sorry to hear about your dogs fear of loud noises. I know exactly what your going through because our labrador/collie does the same thing.
She has had this phobia for over 2 years now and she has not got any better at all. Worst of all is we get thunderstorms in the middle of the night and she will keep us awake for hours on end howling and scratching at doors and whining, it's horrible. We have tried sitting with her while talking to her and petting her, playing loud music to try drown out the storm, we've taken her for car rides which actually works, but who wants to be driving around at 3:00 am? I did ask a relative of mine who has tried the thunderstorm cd's and whatnot if they worked for her dog and they didn't, so I never bothered to buy one.
After one night watching our dog shaking so badly during a storm that she made herself physically sick, I went to the vet for help and ended up getting some sedatives to calm her down. They work wonders!!!
Since she senses the storm coming from MILES away ( which is another big reason I don't believe the cds would fully work, dogs can sense the electricity in the air and hear the vibrations a lot better than we can) I give her one little pill 1/2 an hour before the storm fully hits and she remains calm.
It does remain in her system for about 12 hours....which is alright I guess, she usually just becomes very dopey and calm.
If its gonna let us sleep and prevent her from throwing up her supper and practically going into convulsions then I think it is worth the money.
I say go talk to your vet, he/she may be able to offer you a remedy.
Good Luck1

September 23rd, 2006, 10:06 PM
[QUOTE=trippincherriIt does remain in her system for about 12 hours....which is alright I guess, she usually just becomes very dopey and calm.

You should look at the link I posted above. I know alot of vets continue to use valium or ACE for storm phobias, but more recent information suggests using drugs like xanax as it stays in the system for a much shorter period of time and doesn't mask anxiety with sedation.

September 26th, 2006, 08:30 PM
Desensitation CD's can work if the fear is to noise only, Sunny used to be scared of thunder and I used for him and now he just sleeps through storm not even batting an eye.

Callie prior to me adopting her had broke through a window of a garage in her attempt to flee a thunderstorm. trying to densensitize her to the noide made no difference, she knew a storm was coming long before it hit, she also reacted to the lightening flashes, if I pulled out a flash light in the evening and moving it around, to her it resembled lightening and she would start to panic

September 26th, 2006, 08:37 PM
I lost Meiko just this Canada day(the longest night of my life), with the fireworks going off and then lo-behold... a thunderstorm immediately followed. If you ever do find a way to "desensitise" dogs to these things I would be very interested too. He also fears gunshots and now geese. ( he no doubtedly linked geese to gunshots :( )

September 27th, 2006, 11:02 AM
We get a lot of very loud storms during rainy/hurricane season which lasts 5 months of the year!!!! Then just as thats over we hit christmas and our neighbours have fireworks every single night for a week or two - we have asked them not to, my husband has had arguments with them and they wont stop. I've even asked if they will tell us prior so i can take him to a friends house away from the fireworks, but they never bother.
Pepe did escape once during their fireworks and i had to go after him in my car - i found him running down a busy street like his tail was on fire, and despite being 7 months pregnant had to tackle him like a rugby player and hoist him in to the car.
I am going to try to CD, the worst it can do is not work...but i'll see and let you know.