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Discussing the problem with your veterinarian is the obvious next step. Depending on the severity of the condition, a veterinary behaviorist may even be recommended.
Whatever your veterinarian’s exact recommendations, getting dogs to calm down using behavior modification will always be a primary part of the picture. With that bit of the solution in mind — and with Arkana as inspiration — I’ve put together this short list of commonly recommended items designed to help ratchet down the stress so many of our dogs suffer during this time of the year.
1. Crate. This is the lowest-tech way I know of to keep a dog comfy during a thunderstorm. But not all dogs will naturally seek out this kind of shelter when a storm strikes.
2. The Thundershirt or Anxiety Wrap. These products work by “hugging,” a method that’s been found to reduce anxiety levels the same way swaddling helps infants. It doesn’t work for all, and for most it does help it won’t eliminate anxieties completely, but it’s always worth a try.
3. Storm Defender Cape. Everyone seems to have heard of the Thundershirt, but few appear to know what the Storm Defender Cape does. Unlike the Anxiety Wrap or Thundershirt, the Storm Defender Cape works to protect dogs from the static electricity associated with electrical storms. It works like a belted blanket, covering the dogs with a metallic lining designed to deflect the static electricity.
4. DIY static electricity deflector. Want to test the theory? Use one of those metallic-lined thermal blankets you might already own as part of your camping gear. Or if your dog likes to hide under the bed or head off to his crate when it storms, consider covering the top of his crate or the boxspring with a layer of aluminum foil.
I’ve even made my own “storm defender” blanket to use on last year’s storm-phobic foster dog, Rosebud. I simply folded a twin-sized lightweight blanket in half over a layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil after securing the foil to the blanket with double-sided tape. I then stitched up the sides and randomly quilted down the middle for good measure. It took me all of a half hour. (But I cheated and used a sewing machine.) During storms we simply covered her with her “thunder-blankie.”
5. Doggles. I’ve heard of some dogs getting used to the tinted version of these goggles for a room-darkening, stress-reducing effect. It’s somewhat akin to putting a set of blinkers on a horse so she won’t spook at things.
6. Through A Dog’s Ear. For stressed-out dogs, these CDs apply a music therapy approach to help reduce anxiety. Simple Mozart piano pieces populate these recordings with the goal of refocusing an angst-ridden dog’s attention on something soothing.
I’m sure there are other items designed with the goal of canine relaxation in mind. Do YOU have any more ideas for Arkana?
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
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