I have listened to all the songs of AC/DC, Bruce Springsteen and The Who which touch on the phenomena of adverse weather. I don’t recall any lyrics that refer to their dogs being so terrified they couldn’t hear their own guitars over the howling. But I guess that’s rock and roll for you. Here in the real world, thunder and lightning often results in terrified dogs who howl, bark and whimper (and may even need to be in your lap — great fun with a Great Dane). Thunderstorm anxiety is very common and can be extremely severe. And while a quick-fix may be anti-anxiety meds, I’ve seen considerable success with more “green” options:
The Thundershirt™ – No, this isn’t an X-Men accessory for dealing with super villains. It’s actually a velcro-sealed vest for your dog that works on the same principle as swaddling a baby. Gentle pressure on the body appears to have a calming effect on the nervous system and many of my patients have seen excellent results.
Bach Rescue® Remedy – A diluted solution of flower extracts, some of my patients seem to see positive effects when using this prior to storms or stressful events. While there are some questions around the clinical efficacy in people, some of my patients’ parents swear by it.
Antihistamines – Some over-the-counter antihistamines can provide fairly profound drowsiness in pets. I routinely recommend diphenhydramine, the active ingredient in Benadryl®. Always talk to your vet before giving any over-the-counter meds for advice on whether this medicine is safe for your pet.