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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-08-2008, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Thunderstorm phobia

My red Doberman, Scarlette, has had a fear of thunderstorms for a few years. At first it was no big deal, just some major panting, whining, and pacing. Last summer she figured out how to open the door of her crate so every time a storm came and we weren't home we would find Scarlette in the living room when we did get home. No biggie, I just put some clips on the door.


Fast forward to a few weeks ago. There was a storm IN THE NEXT COUNTY and she was whining, howling, biting at the cage and carrying on (we were in bed). Pretty soon I heard footsteps up next to the bed. She had bent her cage wires on the door enough to somehow squeeze through the opening. She had chewed on the bars so much that her gums were bleeding and she was blowing blood all over the carpet when she was panting. Luckily no serious damage was done to her mouth.


Today we had a pretty decent storm come through while I was at a baby shower. Jeff waited until after the storm was over and left for 10 minutes to go to the store. He left Scarlette in the kitchen and put up the baby gates. In the short time he was gone she freaked out and peed and pooped multiple times on the floor, ripped the rug, tore up a shoe, and tore into the bag of plant fertilizer he had tucked in the corner by the back door. The storm had already passed and she was still freaked out.


She is totally out of control and now I'm scared to leave her while we're at work. I'm afraid she's going to seriously injure herself trying to get out of the crate. I'm not sure how she managed to squeeze her 90 pound body through the small opening she created last time. What if we're not home and she does it again and gets stuck? What if her neck gets caught and she hangs herself? What if she gets stuck for hours while we're away and hurts herself and suffers the whole time we're gone? What if, what if, what if?


I'm going to call the vet and ask for some sedatives to give her whenever there's a storm coming. The trouble with that idea is that a storm might roll through in the middle of the day and we won't be here to sedate her.


Has anyone dealt with this and if so, how did you fix the problem?


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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-08-2008, 06:36 PM
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Puppers gets like that...and he can't be crated due to other problems...but we found his solution...for him its the bath tub with the curtains closed lol...he will freak out and hurt himself or destroy things, unless he can get in the tub and hide...

My papas dog is bad in storms, he used to have the metal bars kinda crate and she tore it up, so he got a crate like mine (plastic body, screws holding it togather, strong door) he puts a blanket over it and if a storms coming he turns the radeo (she has her own now) on right next to her cage and although she still cries, its nothing like before, he also has sedatives for the severe storms that shake the house

Carie
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-08-2008, 07:13 PM
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I never dealt with cases so severe before.
Most times the dogs are just whiny and shaking.
I hope you can work something out.I have no advice,but I wish you all the best!




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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-09-2008, 03:08 PM
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I would talk to the vet about the sedatives... also ask about some of the natural sedatives that are available ... I was at my local healthfood store picking up Leo's Dog food the other day and saw some natural sedatives available... Thankfully neither of my dogs have issues at this point, but I am considering using them on Leo in a few weeks when we bring him to be boarded for the weekend. He has never been boarded before and I am suspecting he might not do to well, because he has minor attachment issues to me (we take him on vacation with us, the attachment issues may be mine not his).

Good luck... let us know if you do find something that works.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-09-2008, 03:40 PM
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Yikes! I've never had a dog freak out like that before... How loud are you storms? Here we only get them once a year and they're not that bad.I think happydancer is on the right track. Maybe you could play some loud music with bass to drown it out? I've noticed my dogs go on "high alert" if I don't keep the radio on. Every time someone walks past our house they bark and bark. If I have the radio on, they only notice loud sounds.

I hope you can get her to calm down. Poor lady! I'm glad she didn't get hurt.

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-09-2008, 06:37 PM
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im sorryi really have no advice. my dog hated storms but just hid during them. my best wishes to you, I hope you find a solution

"If you can't change your fate, change your attitude." - Amy Tan
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-09-2008, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
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I don't think noise would work because she can sense the change in the barometric pressure. Like a few weeks ago when there was a big storm in the county north of us. We had some faint lightning flashes here but no thunder.


I was up with her most of the night because there was a storm. We live on the eastern side of Michigan and she was freaking out when the storm was still way over on the west side. Between getting up with the dog and then getting back up a couple times with the baby, I basically got about 2 hours (max) of sleep. It made for a really fun day at work today.


I called the vet first thing this morning and she gave me some sedatives that I picked up after work. Apparently dogs being terrified of storms is becoming a very common problem. They said this morning they had a dog come in that had shredded his front paws doing the same thing Scarlette does...trying to claw it's way out of the crate.


We were supposed to get some really bad storms tonight but they've down graded them to just rain showers so I don't think I'll give her anything tonight. We are supposed to get thunder storms off and on throughout the rest of the week so we'll see how this stuff works. Wish us luck!


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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-10-2008, 05:38 AM
 
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I wish you the best of luck and hope the sedatives work.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-10-2008, 05:58 AM
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Hope the sedatives work!!




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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-12-2008, 09:29 PM Thread Starter
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We have some bad storms coming into Michigan tonight. Scarlette started getting anxious before I got home from work so Jeff gave her a pill. I now have a very doped up Doberman who could barely make it back up the steps from her potty break. We can give 1-1.5 tablets as needed and Jeff only gave her 1 tablet (I know because I counted them to make sure he only gave her 1 tablet after I saw how sedated she is). I think next time we'll try giving just a half of a pill.



On the plus side, at least I won't have to worry about her tearing herself up trying to get out of her crate tonight.


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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-12-2008, 11:47 PM
 
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at least ya know they work?
HUGS!
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-13-2008, 06:19 AM
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Awww...well at least she won't be hurting hurself!!




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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-13-2008, 10:12 AM
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Sounds like me on medicine. A little seems to go a loooong way! I bet she's probably happier being zonked out because she isn't freaking out. I can imagine she's very scared to be doing the things she's doing. I hope it works out!

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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-14-2008, 07:19 AM
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Not sure how much truth there is to this, but .... A while back I read an article that said that it's the static electricity that builds up in their coats that causes dogs to get so anxious during storms. It said to simply rub them down with a fabric softener sheet to calm them down.
Sounds a bit crazy - but maybe worth a try.

Sharon
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