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Drugs for dogs/ Thunder phobia
An_220616 posted:
We also have an 80# dog, (a 9 year old Golden), who over the past 2 springs has developed an intense fear of loud noise in general, and in particular, thunderstorms. As a physician, I initially tried her on a low dose (5 mg) of Valium/Diazepam, which would typically be a reasonable calming dose for most humans. It had no discernable effect on our Golden whatsoever. We discussed options with our Vet, who recommended 20 - 30 mg of Valium on an "as needed" basis and/or 20 mg of Prozac/Fluoxitene every day. I did not want to go the Prozac route, although knowing that the recommended amount of Valium would totally (and perhaps dangerously) sedate most people for a day or two, I did not feel comfortable starting her off at a dose that high either. Dogs apparently metabolize tranquilizers differently than humans however, and require larger than what would be considered "usual" human doses. I initially started her on 10 mg of Valium before storms, and gradually increased the dose to her present level of 25 - 30 mg, which seems to be effective and allows her (and us) to sleep for 3 or 4 hours.
The weather last spring/summer was considerably calmer than this year and Valium on an as needed basis did seem to work fairly well. I had hoped to keep her permanently off of Prozac along with anything else that she needed to take on a daily basis, but circumstances dictated otherwise.
This year we seem to be having frequent severe thunderstorms during the middle of the night, several times per week. After several nights of fragmented sleep, I regretfully decided that one of us needed to be on Prozac. 'Crazy Chloe' won. I decided then that it was time for our dog to experience 'better living through chemistry'. She has been on generic Prozac almost 3 weeks now, and it has seemed to calm her down fairly well, with no obvious adverse side effects. We still use the Valium as a back up medication, as well.
Please be sure to check with your own Vet however, to make sure that you are using both the right drug and the right dose for your dog. I like the behavioral modification techniques mentioned above, and will also give them a try.
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tinydogsrule responded:
I use 'the thundershirt' on 2 of my thunder fearing pomeranians, as we have raging thunderstorms here in New Mexico. It helped 100% with one pom and about 50% with the other one. I was super skeptical and still have zero idea how or why it works (Temple Grandin's sqeeeze machine theory perhaps?) but it is making a difference. My other 3 are not bothered by the thunder, but ARE bothered by the 2 that go crazy, so keeping them quiet helped everyone be happy (especially me trying to sleep!).

The thundershirts also helped the 2 goofy ones during the fireworks drama out in our rural area on New Years and 4th of July.

I find they work best if you can put them on early -- BEFORE the fearful even occurs, if at all possible.


William Draper, DVM, better known as "Dr. Will," is a well-known small animal practitioner in the Atlanta, GA area. He grew up in Inglewood,...More

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