For those with canine companion who panic at the first peal of thunder, one of our first reactions is often to cuddle and coddle our frightened furbaby but a new study shows that this may not be much help to actually calm them.  The study measured the stress hormone cortisol to be up to three times normal levels while the dogs heard recordings of a thunderstorm. The company of other dogs did help, though vets say medications may be more effective.

Do thunderstorms make your dog tremble with fear with every rumble? Thunderstorm anxiety is common among dogs, sending frightened pooches shuddering under beds or even tearing up furniture. What’s really behind this pet panic?

“One thing that the study showed was their dogs got really upset whether they held them, whether they left them alone,” says Nancy Dreschel, a veterinarian at Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pa.

During the study, veterinarians sampled the dogs’ saliva from a chewed cotton rope after they listened to a thunderstorm recording. Vets then measured the stress hormone cortisol and found its levels increased an average of 200 percent during a storm!

Dr. Dreschel says, “Physiologically, they’re definitely responding — their body’s responding — to this stress.”

So how do you help Fido cope? Researchers say having other dogs around may help lower stress levels. “In dogs that lived in households with other dogs, their response was not as high and seemed to come back to normal more quickly,” Dr. Dreschel says. But don’t run out and get another dog just yet. She says talk to your vet first.

Researchers point out that having a multiple-dog household won’t cure your pet of storm phobia. If you have a dog with severe storm phobia, discuss behavior options, like medications, with your veterinarian. (Science Daily)

Neither of mine are much bothered by storms at all but my boy, Bruti, doesn’t care for loud noises of other sort, especially fireworks of course. This past summer I did get him a Thundershirt and while it’s not a miracle cure, it did sooth and calm him enough to make things bearable for him.

Do you have a thunder-phobic dog?  What do you do?


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