Being a veterinarian in Tampa, one of the most frequent issues we begin to deal with during the summer months is thunderstorm and fireworks phobias in our canine patients. With our summer weather patterns, there is no avoiding the thunderstorms but there are many ways to help your pets get through the season and be more relaxed.
One of the long term ways to go about handling this problem is desensitization and counter-conditioning. This essentially means getting your pet used to the sounds and stimuli of the storms. Some stores and online retailers have sold CD’s of storm sounds that you can play at low levels initially and gradually increase the intensity to get your pet used to the storm sounds. This process is a slow one and doesn’t address all of the stimuli associated with storms but can be effective in many cases. Also, this has to be started during a non-storm season to become effective. Another product you can try is the Thunder Jacket. This is worn by your pet during the storms to help them feel secure during the storms. Our clients who have used this seem to have a 50/50 split about it’s efficacy.
Many times our Tampa veterinarians are asked to prescribe medications to help relieve the anxiety of storms and noises. There are many different classes of medications used to perform this task so if one doesn’t seem to be working, there many be alternatives. In the very near future, a specific medication is being released for noise phobias so we will have to wait and see how this will work for our canine patients.
Unfortunately, there isn’t one particular thing out there that will help with all cases and the thunderstorms are a constant summer time event. Working with your veterinarian to keep your pet calm may take a few trials but usually, something can be done to help give them the relief they deserve. Hopefully your dog doesn’t have this problem but if it does, contact your veterinarian for help.
If you have any questions about this or any other dog or cat topic, contact our veterinary hospital in Tampa and we will be happy to answer your questions.