Thunderstorms and Fireworks

Vet’s Wife Blog

As I am writing this, the weather reports are calling for thundershowers this afternoon, and looking out over Lake Huron, it looks as though the storm will arrive as promised.  My dog, Titan is lying next to me.  He, like most dogs, is a social guy who likes to be near people.  Titan is a retired police dog, and unlike a lot of dogs, loud noises such as fireworks and thunderstorms don’t seem to bother him.  BUT, a lot of dogs ARE bothered by either thunderstorms and/or fireworks and this shouldn’t be ignored.  Having a pet hospital in the Port Elgin and Southampton area means a lot of our patients are exposed to fireworks at LEAST three times a summer.  And I’m sure there aren’t very many places in the world like Saugeen Shores where you can watch spectacular storms come off of Lake Huron.

Storm phobia is considered a progressive behavioural disease.  Pay attention to your dog quaking and quivering under your bed—it may only get worse, and it is best to try to solve the problem now.  Don’t wait until your dog hurts himself, destroys part of your house, or escapes from your very well fenced back yard because of the thunderstorm OR your well meaning neighbours celebrating the long weekend.

Ask your veterinarian about a treatment plan for you and your dog.  It may include changing some features in your environment, behaviour modification, Dog Appeasing Pheromone (D.A.P.), or medication (to be used for the whole season or on certain days).  Not every dog needs anti-anxiety medication, but dogs can benefit from it.

Remember, this is a phobia.  If you think you can get your dog to “tough it out”, you are not as terrified of heights as I am!  Treat this seriously.  Your terrified dog (and your house) will thank you.

Remember, I’m not a veterinarian—I’m his wife.