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2012 UPDATE :: Try this new THUNDERSHIRT !

Is there anything that may help my poor girl overcome this fear? 
..... No.... not really ... age maybe..... sit by her (not coddle) just to assure her ... cover her with a light throw or blanket .... that is the only thing that kept ladyR sane and somewhat calm ... FOR 11 YEARS.
You will read below what all I did for MONSTER THUNDER.

BUT ... please try the supplements and techniques below, every dog is different,
you just never know what might work for yours.

One valuable tip :
When you KNOW FOR SURE there is not going to be anymore thunder ... 
FORCE her to go outside ... make sure you stay with her. 
This will PROVE to her that the thunder is over and she will go back to normal.

Theanine - ( starts working in minutes ), is natural 
Benedryl - sometimes this works great, depends on the dog.
Valium - liquid works real fast. (avoid the generic version)
Rescue Remedy - always good on some dogs
Baby Oil on cotton balls - dip part way, squeeze out excess, works very well ! ! 
Comfort Zone Pheromone diffuser - has proven to NOT work on thunder issues
Music for thunder fraidy cats.... by Sue Raimond 619-473-1213
Video tape this years Fireworks show on TV, use it whenever needed.
Keep a LOUD video movie on hand to put in when a storm is here

FIREWORKS - Afraid of B L O A T ?
Get some PHAYZYME 185mg GEL Caps at local drug store
Give him 3 gel caps in his breakfast, he probably won't eat dinner, so shove
3 more down him before the fireworks start.
Often using an Anxiety Wrap will allow him to sleep right through the storm. 
Many people have noticed much improvement within 
1 to 3 times of using the Anxiety Wrap.   Thunder Cape

Aromatherapy   ( a drop or 2 on a bandana )


Mellow Out -  
Herbal, takes about an hour to take effect. St. John's Wort, Valerian, Melatonin, and Chamomile 

Primorye GOLD  Very expensive

Rescue Remedy at the first crack of thunder.
2. Close all curtains.
3. Increase volume of TV or music.
4. Place dog in the CENTER of the house - this equalizes the sounds and vibrations.
5. Have dog sit on a rubber mat - this will ground the dog from static in the  
6. Silicone ear plugs - they can be softened by rolling into a ball, then
     they will conform to the ear cavity. Available at most drug stores. 
     If not avail... cotton ball with baby oil on it will deaden sound. <-- works for us
7. Then my Dane literally wears headphones used for target practice.
8. Crates are better, i admit, but mine are not we cover her with
     a small blanket. If crate trained, drape a blanket over it.
9. If at all possible, provide and train dog to go into a small dark space,
    such as a closet. I made room under my desk for my girl to lay in,
    on her rubber backed mat ( lessens static) .
    I blast the music. My foot touching her so she knows I am there.
10. With EXTREME MONSTER THUNDER..... I give 5mg. valium (not generic), only
    after all the above has been done, and the thunder itself is continuing
    to be extreme and you know it will go on for hours.

For normal minor thunder....
1, 2, & 3 are all that are usually needed. I usually take advantage
of these times to massage, brush or trim nails....the girls are used to
the noise of the Dremel grinder so it balances the minor thunder.

As a side note.....Monster thunder has brought on bloat in my
girl.....even tho behavior mod has helped with normal thunder,
where we live experiences the monster variety, and has become
a problem of gigantic proportions due to the possibility of bloat.

I, personally will never consider the use of any drugs other than Valium or Benedryl

I have also found that when I significantly improved the QUALITY (raw meat daily)
of my dog's diet.....I saw improvement in the fear ratio. Not alot, but some.

Ruby Ricciardi - FL, the home of Monster Thunder.

                 PHOTOS OF MY ladyR IN THUNDER MODE 
(pls note the lack of terror in her eyes - there are baby oil cotton balls
in her ears + the target practice head phones = no terror)

Also check out....... 
What does seem to work is simply misting the dog's coat
with water at the approach of a storm.
I used Turid's "yawn therapy" to help with a rescue Sheltie of mine who 
freezes at the first drop of rain. 
With the thunderbooms came the shakes and when I could pry him off 
the ground he would try and bury himself into me.
I began his treatment with some Rock Rose, a Bach flower remedy, And 
Mimulus, followed later by homeopathic Phosphorus at a 30C potency. My 
husband and I yawned through an entire storm, and finally got this poor boy 
to yawn back. Then I began to experiment with modalities, and soon learned 
that he did better if I would completely cover him with a blanket. Changed 
his body language for him. All these things, I think, have helped. It has 
taken about a year and a half, but he is much, much better about it 
now....He no longer freezes -- he may never ignore a storm but at least he 
can function now during one, without turning into stone.
Leslye Morrow
There is some anecdotal evidence indicating that electrical charge may 
build up in the dog's coat and discharge at random, giving the dog a shock. 
Many t-storm phobic dogs will curl up next to plumbing fixtures during a 
storm - those surfaces conduct electricity away, "grounding" the dog as it were. 
Many dogs happily ride out the storm when put into their owner's vehicle - again, a 
"grounded" environment. 
What does seem to work is simply misting the dog's coat
with water at the approach of a storm.
Another remedy for fear of storms and fireworks or sudden noises, is the 
homeopathic Phosphorus. Can be given before, during or after. 
These animals are generally very happy and outgoing. Cases needing
Phosphorus feel better resting in the dark, likes cold food and water, 
sometimes vomiting as soon as it warms in the stomach. 
This remedy is a pile of contradictions!
Mary Wulff-Tilford has a liquid alcohol-free extract in her Animal's 
Apawthacary called Tranquility Blend that you can squirt right into 
the dog's mouth. It's glycerin based so it has a sweet taste which 
makes it more palatable. It has valerian, skullcap, passion flower, 
and Oatstraw. It seems to help. You may have to give more than one 
The Vita Treat people came out with Pet Calm biscuits. They work 
better than the pills because the dog chews them up. They may be a 
little big for a daschund. If the storm isn't really a bad one, 
these work for my pit bull. But forget it, if it's a really bad storm.
Ark Naturals has a product called Happy Travelers and theirs has Kava 
(so I guess it's okay). St. John's Wort, Chamomile, Valerian and 
Melatonin. It's a capsule so it would dissolve faster than the 
tablets. There isn't enough melatonin in it to consider it a 
melatonin with herbs product.
Green Hope Farm has a flower essence called Anxiety that's for 
anxiety, nervous habits and obsessive behaviors such as excessive 
licking or feather picking, fear of people or of being handled, 
phobias, confused thinking, fear of loud noises including 
thunderstorms, overactive watchdog behavior including pacing. This 
is interesting because you can give it as a preventative. A couple 
drops a day and hopefully if a storm comes the dog will no longer be 
afraid. Which is nice if it works because then if there is a storm 
and you aren't there, the poor dog isn't going nuts.
Whole Dog Journal had a 2-part article about noise phobias. 
They suggest giving the dog a combination of 3 different flower 
remedies 2-3 times a day. Like the Green Hope Farm flower essence 
combination, it's supposed to help get rid of the dog's fear, not suppress the symptoms.
The article also mentions 3 or 4 nervine herbs that you can give on a 
long term basis. Many of them are in Mary's tranqulity blend.
Hope this helps 
The aggression also goes along with the sound phobias which
I also believe are caused by the distemper and rabies vaccinations.
*Eliminating grain has eliminated sound phobias in my Bullmastiffs
I found a product called "Therasticks", an anti-anxiety formula by
Pet Botanics made with Valerian Root Powder, St. John's Wort extract
& Chamomile Powder, that has really helped one of my Goldens with
thunderphobia. I give him 2 sticks a day when it looks like we might
be having some stormy weather and he chills right out. FMI on it you
can go to the website at: 
Our old girl, Flashy, was terrified of storms. We tried every trick in the 
book to help her. We were due to get hit by a hurricane and I didn't know 
what to do as we never found anything to get her through without the 
trembling, shaking, panting, just extreme stress, and with a hurricane on 
the way, I was terrified myself that she would work herself into a bloat 
after every vet in the area had been evacuated and the highways shut 
down. My vet said try benedryl instead of valium this time. I gave her 
two "bennies" (G) and she went out like a light for nearly 6 hours on the 
couch. I swear she watched the Weather Channel because she knew WAAAY 
before the pressure dropped, any noise or thunder for a couple hundred 
miles. She also must have heard the warnings that tell you to go to an 
"inside room" in the house, because she picked the bathroom in the middle 
and if the storm was *real* bad, she would ride it out in the 
bathtub. That was the only place she would hide. It had no windows and we 
would turn on the fan, the lights, and play a radio and I even put ear 
plugs in her ears. Nothing zonked her until the benedryl trick. Some dogs 
just do not respond to anything you try when the get that frightened.
Several homeopathic remedies are available in many health food stores, including the following. 
Phosphorus HPUS 30C: 
Drop 3-5 pellets down back of dog's throat (without touching them yourself) 
every 15 minutes until you see improvement in the dog's behavior, then stop. 
Dosage may be repeated if necessary. 

Aconitum Napellus 30C:   Given in the same way Phosphorus is used.
Wrapping for storm fear?
They wrapped the dogs in ACE bandages and it was amazing. 
Killian was wrapped in bandages too and also got to
wear a T-shirt (kid size 6-8). The T-shirt was very easy to put on and
worked very well. He just calms right down. 
Maybe a T-shirt would work? They said to put it on backwards (human front
is the dog's back).

= = = = MELATONIN = = = = 

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Volume 215, No. 1, July 1999. "Vet Med Today: Animal Behavior Case of the Month" was written by Linda Aronson, DVM, MA; from the Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA.

The following is an excerpt from an email sent by Dr. Aronson to one of our members, Rich Brady: "To treat thunderstorm phobia, I use a dose of 3mg for a 35-100 lb dog. Smaller dogs get 1.5 mg, and larger dogs may get 6mg. The dose is given either at first evidence of thunderstorm - dog becomes agitated, distant rumbling of thunder, etc. or prophylactically before the owner leaves the house when thunderstorms are predicted. Dose may be repeated up to 3 times daily. The latter may be used as a dose for animals with more generalized stress related disorders."

= = = = THEANINE = = = =
Natural Sedative - works faster than Valium
Theanine is NOT a drug.
Theanine is an amino acid found in green tea that produces tranquilizing effects in the brain
Enhanced feelings of wellbeing and control in response to stressful situations 
Relaxes without causing drowsiness
Helps cope with stress by modulating cortisol levels. 
Theanine, increases brain alpha waves associated with “relaxed alertness”
The Calming Effect of Theanine
Theanine is an amino acid found in tea that produces a calming effect on the brain (Yokogoshi et al. 1998b). It easily crosses the blood-brain barrier and exerts subtle changes in biochemistry that cause a tranquilizing effect. The production of GABA, the brain chemical known for its calming effect, is increased after taking theanine. Increased GABA can also put you in a better mood and create a sense of well-being. Dopamine, another brain chemical with mood-enhancing properties is also increased by theanine.
Japanese researchers have discovered that theanine is a caffeine antagonist, meaning that it offsets the "hyper" effect of caffeine (Kakuda et al. 2000). That is why many people will have a "soothing" cup of tea and not a soothing cup of coffee. Theanine does not cause drowsiness like kava kava, nor does it interfere with the ability to think clearly like prescription tranquilizers.
There is evidence that tea exerts far more than just a psychological effect. According to one study, drinking one or more cups of tea can almost halve the risk of heart attack (Sesso et al. 1999). Green tea contains a much higher concentration of theanine than other teas. Theanine has been proven to lower blood pressure (Abe et al. 1995; Yokogoshi et al. 1995; Yokogoshi et al. 1998a). It works through its GABA enhancing effects. Along with its calming effect on the brain, GABA also lowers blood pressure. Genetically hypertensive rats taking 2000 mg of theanine per kg of body weight each day showed significant reductions in blood pressure. Green tea extract contains a phytochemical known as GMA that also lowers blood pressure. Combining them may have significant effects. Theanine is now available in the United States as a dietary supplement.


© Copyright 2004, all rights reserved.