I think I've asked this before, but it has been a long time and a non-issue until recently.
It has been awhile since I've been on, so quick backstory...Quill is an almost four-year-old German Shepherd x Malamute x Elkhound mix. He is extremely sensitive, anxious, and generally fearful with the capacity to be pushed to fear aggressive. Along with general anxiety, he has horrible separation anxiety. He is on fluoxetine daily, and does have alprazolam for extra anxiety-inducing events (bolding that, so people know he is already medicated).
In general, he's fine outside of his kennel. His SA manifests in restlessness and refusing to play/eat, which I am fine with. He eats before I leave and when I'm home, he doesn't need to be playful, I can manage that. He adores his kennel when I'm home and the door is open (naps in there, retreats to it when he's stressed, etc). If I try to kennel him with the door shut, it is a different story. He stress pants until his bed is soaked, chews at the bars, screams, etc. So, I usually leave him out in the house.
However, recently he became 1,000,000x more fearful of thunderstorms. In the past, he was fine if I was home, but I was informed he was showing signs of fear when I was gone (stress panting, shaking, etc). Now, he's terrified and shaking even when I'm home and SO much worse when left alone. He literally chewed through my ex-boyfriend's wooden door the other day. I was at a conference, so my ex was watching him (and he's 100% comfortable with the ex), and while the ex was at work...a huge storm rolled through and he came home to Quill with bloody gums on the other side of the door with his head poking through. Obviously, this is NOT okay. Both for Quill's health and safety, and in general eating doors is not a habit I want him to develop.
He's only done something similar once before, and it was after a long stretch of me being super busy and the last day him being left for ~9 hours, which is super rare for him. And he didn't eat the whole door, he chewed it a bit. That was about 2 years ago, so he was much younger and hasn't done anything like this since. It always is the front or back doors, and with the storm once he was in the dark, small back entry he didn't touch the other door. I'm not sure if this is because he didn't have time, or because he felt safe in the small, dark space. He generally retreats to the smallest room in the house (such as a bathroom) during thunderstorms.
I want to be able to kennel him so he can be safe, but chewing on metal isn't ideal either. He is in a wire crate right now, and has a plastic one as well, but either way he chews at the metal and screams. Does anyone have any thoughts on how I might help him calm down in the crate?!
A few things to note:
- He is medicated. He is on fluoxetine daily, and I can't give him alprazolam every day.
- He is 100% fine if I crate while I'm home. Maybe a peep or two, but not the stress like when I leave.
- I leave a fan running right next to his kennel and the tv on to try to drown out thunder and help him think I'm still there.
- I've tried adaptil collars before with very little lucky, but am debating adding a diffuser to my new house because...it can't hurt?
Thanks for any advice!!