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My shihtzu is 2 years old and is starting to get scared of our neighbours construction workers who are installing a pool. It has been 5 weeks of noises and over the past few days, he suddenly started to shake and hide under tables and in the mud room. I have been comforting him and reassuring him. What should I do to ease his nerves? I don't like seeing him like this.
 

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please stop the "comforting"

You are giving attention to an unwanted behavior. This will reinforce the behavior.

Give the dog a safe, quiet place for a retreat. Like a crate in a sound deadened room.
 

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It's perfectly fine to reassure a scared dog.

I would ask your vet for some fast acting, short term medications to help with the anxiety.
 
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Agree with LeoRose on both counts. Calm comforting won't reinforce fear, just avoid acting freaked out and scared yourself. If you really don't want to do medication, you can also get sprays and collars that contain calming pheromones that may help take the edge off - I know Adaptil is one that's commonly recommended. But short-term anxiety meds are also perfect for situations like these, if your vet agrees she's a good candidate.
 

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We've had fireworks firing all around for the past couple of weeks, and thunderstorms too and our dog gets really scared. We put a Thundershirt on her and it really does help. I hate to do it when warm but I hate to see her scared.
 

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I've used melatonin for dogs scared of thunderstorms (a couple of mine were fine when younger but started reacting in their old age). Only problem is you need to give it before the thunder starts. My guess is that may be true of any medication for calming. I know years ago when I had horses, they didn't respond as hoped to acepromozine unless it was administered when the horse was still calm.
 

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Reassuring your dog is fine.
There are a lot of different things you can try. What works great on one dog may not get the best results from another dog.
Thundershirts work well on a lot of dogs. Adaptil is also a good option that doesn't need a vet.
Your vet can also prescribe some drugs for your dog.
I have had super good luck with CBD products (Pet products don't contain THC, so your dog will NOT get high) for a variety of issues, from arthritis to anxiety. It's the only way we can get thru the 4th of July.

I would avoid sedatives, such as acepromozine and even Benadryl. They can make your dog calm, but they will still be anxious/worried.
 

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@storyist Not quite! These days there's fast-acting anxiety meds, 'fast acting' meds that take a little longer to kick in (though they usually last longer as a trade-off), and daily meds that need to build up in the dog's system for a couple weeks to be fully effective. How well and quickly they work are going to depend a little on the dog and situation, and generally the 'fast-acting' medication that needs a longer time to kick in is only prescribed to dogs with anxiety issues in predictable/controllable situations, like travel or separation anxiety.

Acepromozine used to be very popular for thunder phobia and the like, but is now almost never used for anxiety issues - and should absolutely never be used alone for that purpose. We now know that while it makes the animal outwardly calm, it does nothing for the underlying anxiety, so they're now experiencing the scary thing while unable to move properly. Understandably, ace often resulted in worsening anxiety for this reason. There's more options today, and they're more appropriate for actually handling fear.

(Obligatory not a vet, just saw a talk on psychiatric medication in veterinary medicine recently and found it very cool).
 
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