Novel Ways to Manage Thunderstorm Phobia in Dogs

There have been a number of recent veterinary studies that pertain to novel treatments for dogs suffering from fear of thunderstorms. All have shown promising results in many (but not all) cases. If your dog experiences noise anxiety that can't be controlled, check out these new management approaches.

The first involves the use of a commercial product called Dog Appeasing Pheromone (D.A.P), which, when combined with eight weeks of conditioning drills using recordings of the noxious sounds, can yield excellent results. In fact, in one study using this approach, owner satisfaction with results exceeded 83%!

D.A.P. is readily available through veterinary offices and pet supply retailers. Noise recordings of thunderstorms can be found online at various websites, including

A second approach utilizes “storm jackets” that serve to comfort the dog during the storm. There are a number of makes and models on the market, but I've found the most effective one to be The Storm Defender ( This jacket fits snugly and sports an anti-static lining.

I have clients that swear by these storm jackets; I have others that say they didn't work at all. If you want to see if your pet falls into this first group, check e-bay for a used jacket, as the savings could be considerable (versus buying new).

Finally, if none of the above work for your dog, ask your vet about the drug clonidine for use in treating thunderstorm phobias.  Originally used in dogs to diagnose certain hormone deficiencies, clonidine, when used at low dosages, can help “take the edge” off of anxious dogs. It needs to be used with caution, though, in pets with heart or kidney disease.

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