Okaw Veterinary Clinic LLC

140 West Sale Street
Tuscola, IL 61953



  Scared of Storms? Help is Available  



We are in the thunderstorm season. Pets who are afraid of storms are likely having a tough time as are their owners. There is help and there is hope.  

Many trainers and tv shows give a lot of information about ways to train your dog to be less afraid. These techniques can help for the mildly frightened dog. Training must be practiced on non storm days. For the dog to learn. This is the key - do the teaching and rewarding for calm behavior on non stormy days so the dog is able to learn.
There are also products such as Adaptil, special capes and shirts, and other calming products to use. These do help, but must be used before the pet gets upset, or when they are mildly anxious. When there is a very high level of anxiety it is difficult for these products to help activate a calming response.
Anxiety and fear shuts the brain down from learning. There is actually a change chemicals and activity in the brain in fear that blocks out part of the area of learning new things. The animal stays in the panic state and can not help it. The triggers of thunder, wind, rain change in air pressure and electrical charges are steadily increasing the fear. This is why you can see dogs start with whining, then refuse to go out, then increase to pacing and searching or worse. When they are up to whining, or searching for a place to go their brain cannot handle hearing a new command or taking a reward for a down and stay.
There are new medication plans and therapy plans for dogs with thunderstorm phobia. A plan is best developed for your pet in with you. For dogs that are really affected and the owners affected, there is hope. The plans are centered around antianxiety medication combined with a therapy plan to learn how to be calm in the storms. These are newer techniques that veterinarians offering behavioral services are best at applying for your pet. The medications are not sedatives, and dogs that had both the medication and therapy plans for one storm season often were off meds and doing much better by the next year. 

If your pet is stressed out storms, we can help. Give Dr. Foote a call to set up an appointment for a behavior consult.

Print off the Thunderstorm check list and read Butterscotch's playlist for storms.

 - written by Dr. Sally J. Foote


Okaw Veterinary Clinic
140 W. Sale
Tuscola, IL 61953
(217) 253-3221


Mon & Fri 8 am - 6 pm
Tues & Wed 8 am - 5 pm
Sat 8 am - noon
Closed Thurs & Sun

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