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Discussion Starter #1
I need help and advice!!!!!!

I am currently on vacation in Hawaii (1000s of miles away from home), which should be the dream of a life time, and all I want to do is go home. Things were not going well yesterday shortly after I got here and this morning was not great (long story and not dog related), but then things got much worse with one phone call from home.

I have a pet sitter and a friend that are taking turns watching the dogs at my house. My foster, Trelkez, stays in one of the bedrooms when no one is home in order to prevent my alpha female from picking a fight with him. I have known that he has a fear of thunderstorms and I have been using rescue remedy to try and calm him during storms. The pet sitters knew this and have been giving it to him if the weather called for storms.

My friend calls to tell me that Trelkez has broken both of the windows in his room. Thankfully he does not appear to be hurt and there was no sign of blood on him or anywhere in the room. The glass broke and fell into the space between the window and the storm window. Thank god I have storm windows and he did not try and jump out the window. It is a 15 foot drop from one of them due to slope of my yard. I think all of this is due to the thunderstorms.

I can not keep him in a crate because he has broken out of a plastic and metal crate during storms in the past. I figured I would rather him scratch up the door or break something in the bedroom then to have him hurt himself further trying to break out of a kennel (he broke one of his canine teeth getting out of the metal crate). I never thought about him trying to break the windows out.

I am thousands of miles away and all I want to do is run to him and comfort him and I can't. To make matters worse I will not be home for another week. I feel so bad right now, because I feel like I let him down. I am suppose to take care of him and make sure he is safe and I haven't.

My wonderful friend that went over to take care of the dogs and walked in to find this has cleaned up all the glass and boarded up the windows. He says that Trelkez is obviously stressed but appears ok physically. He has his ears and tail down as if to say I am sorry for all the mess I made, but I am just so scared. This is the part that is killing me. I know how he is and I know that he thinks he is in trouble for making a mess and right now the last thing I care about is a few broken windows. I will deal with that later.

I have called my vet and left a message. It was 10:00 pm at my home when I got this phone call, so the vet is closed. She knew I was leaving to go to Hawaii and that I had a pet sitter watching the dogs. I have asked her to call me as soon as she gets in regardless of what time it is in Hawaii so that I can talk to her about getting some prescription medicine to calm/drug him. I don't know what else to do. It is suppose to storm at least 3 out of the next 7 days that I will be gone. I don't know if I should have him boarded so that he can not try to escape again, but I don't know if this would be worse because now not only will he think I have left him, but he will also be in a strange place. Also, I don't think there are any boarding facilities in Knoxville that has someone on staff at night. What happens if there is a storm at night and he freaks out.

I am just so frustrated. I have thought about just packing my stuff and flying back tomorrow. I don't know how I am going to be able to enjoy my vacation worrying about him. I just want to cry, AGAIN.

Does anyone have experience with severe fear of thunderstorms. If so what do you do? If you use drugs, what kind? Do they have any side effects or possible reactions. I am worried about drugging him because no one will be there to watch him if he has a reaction?

WHAT DO I DO????
 

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I'm so sorry this is happening while you are on your dream vacation!

Val (WiscTiger) has a dog with thunder storm phobia. I have had several who were afraid but not to the degree that they broke anything. One of the volunteers in the gsd rescue I worked with had one who would literally climb walls and shred furniture, she was so terrified.

I would definitely get something to sedate him. Hopefully that will take the edge off. The other things are DAP plug ins or spray (on a bandana), Ttouch and the anxiety wrap but the latter two won't help him without you there. I used to leave the radio and tv on very loud to drown out some of the sounds. That does not help the barometric pressure though.

Some dogs find the bathroom the most comforting place during storms (Basu would go in the tub or shower).

I don't know about boarding, especially is someone isn't there 24/7. He doesn't sound like a dog that would do well kenneled.
 

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When a thunderstorm is comming sarge will velcro himself to us until it passes, he wont go potty or go near a window or a door. If its night time he jumps into our bed and cuddles up to us. He normally sleeps in his crate with the door open. I cant see locking him in there and him being afraid just so I dont loose a bit of sleep. So he sleeps with us and whimpers and whines a little but I think he feels safe being close to us during storms.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
To make matters worse this is my foster with a bite record. He was recovering from Heartworms and not in my care at the time. I really don't think he would bite someone now, but I feel I have to be honest with anyone that might be caring for him.

My friend is not comfortable enough with him to take him to his house overnight and my pet sitter has cats which is a big no for Trelk.

I have been trying to rack my brain and think of anyone that might be willing to just go and sleep at my house for the next week and then have my pet sitter and friend check on them during the day. Of course the fact that it is 2:40 in the morning back home is not helping, because I can not call anyone right now. Plus it has to be someone that Trelk already knows and that limits the number of possibilities drastically.

I swear, I don't think I am ever going on vacation again unless I can take the dogs with me.
 

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i have never had one afraid of T-storms. i am trying to figure out where or how the fear would start. weaker nerves maybe? a dogs reaction to their owners fear or T-storms? to much coddling during T-storms? a bad experience somewhere along the way with T-storms? maybe somehow working on postivie association during T-storms would help? i am thinking as with any fear issue slow progression in facing that fear without hiding etc.

i know your on vacation, and can imagine how upset you are being away when this is happening. hopefully you can find a temporary solution, then somehow try and rehab the dog from fear of t-storms when you get back.

debbie
 

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Discussion Starter #6
He was kept as an outside dog by his previous owner. Every dog that I have fostered that was an outside dog has been afraid of thunderstorms. It doesn't really matter what the cause. And yes, I am well aware of the various methods to help him overcome his fear. All of which take lots and lots of time. Unfortunately, that is not what I have right now. I need advice on what to do NOW so that he does not hurt or worse kill himself before I can get home.

He jumped up on a table and broke a window that had at least a 15 foot drop down to the ground. The only thing that stopped him was the storm window, which he could have broken just as easily as the regular window. My only thought is that the window breaking scared him as much as the storm.

I am looking for anyone that has experience using tranquilizers (sp). At this point, I think this is my only option to keep him from hurting himself. The big question is should I drug him at home where I have petsitters checking on the dogs three times a day or at a boarding facility with staff on site all day, but not at night.

I'm leaning towards having the pet sitter take him to the vet in the morning and having the vet sedate him and keep him at the office during the day to make sure there is no reaction, then the pet sitter can take him home where he will stay the rest of the week with more sedatives if needed.
 

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yes, i agree, take him to a vets office where he can be monitored for reactions to sedation if thats the route you choose to take. i would not want the stress of being away and wondering if my dog was ok at home. things can definitely happen in between pet sitters coming in throughout the day.

i am sure once you get home you will look into trying to rehab this dog from the t-storm problem, so that hopefully someday you can go away without worrying.

good luck
debbie
 

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Is there another foster that could take him for the next week? That is what I do when I will be gone for any length of time. I think that might be best for him. If not then I would go the vet/boarding route, but make sure they all know of his fear of T-Storms.
Good luck and keep us posted on what you have decided.
 

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I also agree....have the petsitter take him to the vet....sedate him....LIGHTLY! Then the vet can watch him until he goes back home.

Hansel (foster) and Gretchen are afraid of T'storms. The rescue remedy didn't work but the Pheromone Spray did. You can buy a plug in for the room or a spray to put on bedding etc. It's about $40 at my vet.

That may not work for you since Treklez fear is severe.
I know how you feel being 1,000's of miles away....you just want to be HOME!!
 

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Originally Posted By: debbiebyes, i agree, take him to a vets office where he can be monitored for reactions to sedation if thats the route you choose to take. i would not want the stress of being away and wondering if my dog was ok at home. things can definitely happen in between pet sitters coming in throughout the day.
This is basically my suggestion. Have the sitter take him to your vet's office and board him there so he can be monitored until you return from Hawaii. This way you won't have to worry, he'll be better off in a more controlled environment, and you can enjoy your trip.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
There is no one at the vets office from 6 at night until 7 in the morning. I have someone coming by my house every 8 hours or less so I actually feel better with him at my house. Plus I don't want to add to his already stressed system by boarding him in a place he has never been.

I have talked it over with a friend that has experience with this and we are going to give him benadryl to knock him out so that he can hopefully sleep through the storms. He will get one in the morning and one at night on days that are not calling for storms and 2 in the morning and 2 at night on days with storms. My pet sitter is going to pick up one of the comfort zone plug ins at the store today and he is going to wear one my T-shirts with my smell on it. I have done this with another foster and it does help. They are also going to try to make a little tent area out of one of the tables that is in his bedroom, so that he will have a dark place to curl up during a storm. The windows are now boarded over so it should already be pretty dark in there.

I haven't spoken with the vet yet. I know Monday's can be crazy at the vet. I am going to run this by her and see if she has any other suggestions.
 

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I read this post quickly so I apologize if I'm repeating anything someone might have said but growing up our GSD was terrified of storms. It got so bad that we just had to tranquilize her if there was a major storm or on the 4th of July. She would break stuff and once even broke her own leg trying to hide.

We always felt awful about it but it was for her safety. She had a prescription. Benadyrl worked when we didn't have a refill if we needed it.

Sounds like what you need to do for your foster until you can get home.

I hope the rest of your trip is a good one though I understand wanting to get home to him.
 

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I also have a thunder phobic GSD's and it has gotten worst over the years. He was content as long as he could get into the tub, which he still can, but now if it starts to get cloudy, he will panic. If the wind picks up he will again panic. What I am having a hard time with is his energy has been fed to one of my other shepherds.... I have tried the t-shirt, done the benadryl thing, used melatonine, turn up tv's and or radios, shut all the shades in the house, none of this seems to be working. I have also taken him out in the storm and tried to make it a positive experience for him. What bothers me the most, is I can not fathom being this afraid of anything. I have heard that it could be his thyroid, does anyone have experience with this?
 

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Originally Posted By: jazy's mom
I am thousands of miles away and all I want to do is run to him and comfort him and I can't.
I hope you seriously don't mean this. If you do this, your dog will get worse. If you are doing it, stop doing it immediately.

My dog (Doerak) was seriously afraid of thunder, fireworks, and any loud noises when he came to live with me. He would try to claw through the glass patio door, full body, to get inside. One time in the garage, he tried to crawl into the cabinets. My dog would definitely not want to be in his crate during a storm, so I'm not surprized that your dog broke out of his.

Now fireworks don't bother him at all. He used to run an hide during storms even before I could hear the thunder. Now he will only hide if the thunder is very loud and some of that is probably due to my own discomfort in really bad storms.

I did not coddle, or comfort him and never spoke to him during storms when he was stressed. I let him do what he needed to do. Usually he would hide in a closet or the basement. Sometimes he'll sit in the powder room, now that he's much better. Sometimes I'd look at him in the closet and in an upbeat joking tone ask him what he was doing in there. He gradually improved to the point he's at now.

I hope your storms are over now. I don't know what you've tryed so far, but next time there's a storm see where your dog wants to be. If he's too far gone, guide him into the basement, a walk in closet, or a windowless bathroom and see if he'll lay down. You don't have to close the door all the way, but in the beginning I would close it part way. Just don't try to comfort him. It also helps to pretend you don't hear any thunder yourself. And don't talk about it to your husband or worry, because your dog will pick up on your stress. I know it's hard, and even harder because you are so far away. But, by now he's forgotten about the storms anyway.

Good luck and I hope you feel better.
 

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I dont think she means run to him and comfort him in that way.

Shes far far away and cant do anything. I would want to run home to my dogs to. Why? Cause they know me and and more comfortable with me being there as aposed to someone else.

Comfort doesnt = coddle. You can comfort a dog just by being there and doing nothing.

You know I'll help in anyways that I can. I cant do much cause of my situation, but im here if you need me!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks GSDolch, you are exactly right. I know not to coddle a dog that is scared of storms. I just feel bad that I can't do anything to make him feel better. I have been working with him to try to get over this fear, prior to going on vacation, but as anyone who has dealt with this, knows that this takes time.

He has never reacted this badly and I am almost positive that it is because I am out of town and he feels abandond. Remember this is a foster dog and I am his third owner. He is very attached to me and I am sure this making things worse for him.

Edited to add: I spoke with the vet and she agreed with me about the benadryl and leaving him at home so as not to further stress him. We have not had anymore storms in Knoxville, so he is doing fine now, but the pet sitters are still giving him one benadryl twice a day just to be on the safe side.
 

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My dog paces during storms and I just read somewhere that you are supposed to keep them distracted, work them with treats so they associate it with good, keep other noises like TVs louder than the storm and keep the lights on so they don't notice the lightening as bad. I don't know if it will work with your dog, but I know I will be trying it on mine since she hasn't gotten to such a bad point yet. She doesn't like it when I shoot my gun either but I know I can cure her from that. We had a GSD/Husky years ago that found out a little varmint would become her toy after we shot and she was just like a hunting dog when the gun came out after that. I think they know the difference though.
How much Benadryl are you supposed to give? Is it by weight? And how long does it take to have an effect? I haven't tried that yet, but if it works I might.
 

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Originally Posted By: MaryJ
How much Benadryl are you supposed to give? Is it by weight? And how long does it take to have an effect? I haven't tried that yet, but if it works I might.
It usually goes by weight, your vet might be able to tell you how much. Im not sure on the amount/weight ratio. It doesnt take to long to kick in, guess kinda like humans it depends.

Trelk (or truck as I call him :p) is no small puppy, he def. needs the two. lol.

Im glad he is doing better. Anymore word on him? Is he still doing OK? When will you be back? Bring me back something? (j/k j/k :p)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I have been talking daily with the pet sitters (even talked with the dogs today on speaker phone LOL). Trelk is doing better but there has not been any storms. They are calling for 30% chance today and the next two days there are chances of storms also. He will be getting the full dose for the next three days and I am praying that this keeps him mellow and calm.

Trelk is around 85-90 lbs and the vet said he can have 2 pills three times a day. This is the same thing the box says for adults.

GSDolch, my flight arrives in Atlanta around 6 or 7 Sunday morning. I have to drop off my mom and her friends over in the stone mtn area and then head home. I am hoping to be home around 1:00. Cross your fingers that I don't get a speeding ticket on Sunday.

I picked up a few pieces of coral and other rocks and shells yesterday on the beach. I will bring you a few pieces and some postcards.
 

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Keeping fingers crossed that you dont get one...and I was just joking about bringing me something..but I mean if you really WANT to, id never pass up some coral to go with my seashells :p

The storms are supose to come our way to, ive been keeping an eye on them also. Maybe we'll get lucky and they will be small or just pass or go away or something...
 
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