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I have a 9 year old lab mix named Tracey that we rescued from the pound about 4 years ago. She’s an absolute angel but is terrified of storms. And lately it’s just been getting worse.
She will just stand on you, no matter how many times you push her off, and pant and slobber in your face. She shivers like crazy too. I’ve tried everything that I know to do and none of it works.
Please help, for me and my family’s sanity and for hers.

Thanks!



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Have you tried over the counter calming aids (drops, treats, collars, thunder shirts, etc)? My grandparents swear by their thundershirt for their dog who is terrified of storms.

If she absolutely won't calm down with any of those, you could also talk to your vet about a short-term, fast-acting medication for her fear as well.
 

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What have you tried?

You can try a thunder shirt. Also, you could try putting her in her crate, then completely covering it with blankets so it is absolutely dark. My parents had a dog absolutely terrified of storms, and the only way he would stop crying is if they put him downstairs in a crate, then covered it. He would then sleep comfortably through the storm. If nothing like that works, you can talk to your vet about medication you can give her during storms to keep her calm.
 

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If you don't want to go with a prescription, you could try essential oils. I don't know which ones would work for that; my dogs don't have that issue but you could look it up. You just have to make sure the ones you use are safe for dogs and that they're diluted properly.
 

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Old dogs tend to have this problem and it tends to get worse as they get older (sometimes dogs have it from a young age as well). The best thing you can do is simply crate the dog in the basement and cover the crate so it is like a safe den. Leave the dog alone there. Drawing the shades and shutting the dog in a single room can work as well if the dog is not destructive.

The more you interact with a dog that is scared the worse they get.
 

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Anti-anxiety meds. I wouldn't bother with any of the natural remedies; in my experience (and as reported by Karen Overall) they generally don't have any effect on severe fear/anxiety. I'd ask your vet about Sileo (if you are in the US), or other fast-acting anti-anxiety options. Xanax is a common one, but it's not the only (or necessarily best) one.
 

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She will just stand on you, no matter how many times you push her off, and pant and slobber in your face.
If the dog crawled up on me, I wouldn't push her off. I'd simply deal with the slobber.

If the dog was the type to run under the kitchen table, for example, I might try the covered crate idea to see if that provides any relief. But not for a dog who seeks the security of their owner's lap.

Comfort her. She's telling you she needs you, and feels safest while in your company. Just keep an old bath towel handy.
 

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It's a myth that comforting a scared dog reinforces the fear. Patricia McConnell wrote a good piece on dogs and thunderstorms that talks about this. And if you want some suggestions for dealing with storms, check out the links at the bottom of this post.
I agree. We've had plenty of dogs who wanted to crawl in a corner, and others who would come to us for comfort. The ones who came to us for comfort never got worse (aside from Cody, who seemed to get worse and worse the older he got, but he was put in a covered crate). The first real thunderstorms we had Ralphie for, he crawled on my lap and would not leave. I petted him and cuddled him and eventually encouraged him to lay beside me instead of on my lap, haha, but he's actually not afraid of storms anymore! He stands outside and watches the storm roll in, thunder and all, until it starts to rain. So obviously, allowing him to cuddle when he's afraid hasn't made him more afraid.
 

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As gingerkid suggested, Sileo may provide some relief. Otherwise, I don't believe there is any guaranteed cure, only ways to reduce the anxiety.

There are two additional things you might try:
1. What happens if you take her for a walk, before and then during the storm? Some dogs react badly inside, but relax when outside during a storm...
2. How is her hearing. As dogs age, if their hearing degrades, their reaction to thunder, etc. may increase.
 
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