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How The Thundershirt Calms My Miniature Schnauzer During Fireworks And Thunderstorms
My Miniature Schnauzer Wearing Her Thundershirt
The 4th Of July Fireworks Really Frightens My Dog
Loud noises frightens my Miniature Schnauzer. The first day of July each year I begin to dread the 4th of July! I know what’s coming! My little dog, Baby, is very afraid of fireworks, thunderstorms, and the visit to the Veterinarian. Her little body actually trembles! From what I have read this is a very common problem for dog owners. My neighbor has a cat who is also terrified. It is a phobia! This phobia does not affect all dogs. It can happen to any dog, any breed, any size, any age. I’m told this phobia can get better or worse with time. In my case, it seems to be getting worse as Baby gets older. Baby is 5 years old now and if the problem gets any worse, I don’t know what I will do.
Definition of Brontophobia
What Is Brontophobia?
Brontophobia is fear of thunderstorms. It can affect humans and animals alike. Some people are so afraid of thunder they will run and seek shelter away from the noise. They may hide under a bed just like a dog would do. If there is an inpending storm, they will not go outside.
I Know Exactly How Baby Feels About Fireworks
I know how Baby feels. When I was a child, I was terribly afraid of thunder storms. My Daddy would try to calm me every way he could think of, but nothing worked. One day during a terrible storm he made me sit with him on the porch as the lightening popped and the thunder boomed. He would point out how beautiful the sky was when it lit up. He laughed and said the noise was just God bowling! I saw no beauty in the display of God’s fury, and I got no comfort from God’s game of bowling!
I broke away and ran to my room. I got behind the door. To calm myself, I sang the old hymn “God Will Take Care of You”. I trembled and sang until the storm finally passed.
I can remember when I was about ten years old; I had gone downtown to see a double feature. My favorite, Roy Rogers was in a movie. When I came out of the theater, there was a terrible storm going on. I was to meet my Mother who was shopping at a department store three blocks away. I panicked. I was afraid to go where my Mother was. I began to run aimlessly. I was running up and down the street, crying, when she met me and rescued me.
My Best Friend
Baby After Taking A Tranquilizer Pill
I Can Completely Sympathize With My Dog
My fear of storms never got better as I grew up. When I had children, I didn’t want them to be afraid the way I was. When a storm came, I would gather them around the piano and we would sing together. I would just pretend I wasn’t afraid at all. It must have worked because not one of my four children pays any attention to a storm. It doesn’t bother them at all.
So, you see, I can completely sympathize with Baby. I know exactly how she feels: scared to death; trapped with no way out; sheer panic; short of breath and panting.
I have talked to my Veterinarian about this problem. He gave me a tranquilizer to give her when a storm was approaching. Here in South Florida the storm comes very quickly. By the time the pill takes effect, the storm is over.
My neighbors begin their fireworks early on the 4th of July and they go until the wee hours of the morning or until they run out of fireworks. I can't keep Baby drugged up that long! After the pill wears off she is “hung over”. You can tell by her photo how limp she is!
Ways To Help Your Dog With Their Fear Of Fireworks
I’ve read all about ways to help your dog to get over this fear.
There are CD’s that are supposed to desensitize the dog by creating sounds like a storm. (That would panic her even worse!)
Someone invented a shirt that hugs the dog and is supposed to reassure them. (My hugs do nothing to make her better). They named this garment the Thundershirt. I later bought one of these and it really works. Read on to learn just how well it works on Baby.
Some say to put cotton the dog’s ears (Baby would just shake them out)
There are sprays with some kind of a diffuser that releases pheromones into the dog’s environment like a room freshener. People don’t notice it. It’s supposed to help the dog feel less anxious and safer.
There are herbal remedies that are a combination of flower essence and is supposed to calm the dog.
Other tips include playing with your dog during a storm to distract them. That would not work with Baby. I cannot get my hands on her. She is too far under the bed and will not come out.
Sign In Front Of Animal Welfare League
Some Dogs Panic At The Sound Of Fireworks
My neighbor across the street has a beautiful, quiet, well-mannered German shepherd. He stands with his feet on the top of their chain link fence to greet anyone passing by. The 4th of July, he went nuts when he heard the firecrackers go off in the neighborhood. He leaped right over the fence and was gone. The owners found him the next day about 3 miles from home. He was lying on the side of the road, dead. He must have run in front of a car in his desperate attempt to get away from the noise.
Dogs have been known to run through a plate glass door because they are out of their mind with fright. I had a friend who left her Boxer in his crate for the day. There was a bad storm that day, and when she came home from work, his metal crate was bent and mangled. Can you just imagine how that dog must have felt: being locked in a crate with NO escape, and the fear he must have felt?
I went to our local bank this morning, and there were three separate posters asking for help in finding a lost dog. The dogs had been missing since the 4th of July. Lord only knows where they are. I hope they are found safe and sound.
A friend of mine works at our local Animal Shelter. He told me just today that for the past three days, a family has been in there hoping someone had found their dog and brought him in. He feels so bad for these families because he is a dog lover, too.
Don't Symphathize With Your Dog
Dog experts say to just make sure the dog is in a safe place. Don’t leave the dog outside where he can run away. I read that the worst thing you can do to cuddle the dog and say reassuring words. Don’t say, “it’ll be o.k., don’t worry, etc.etc.” That is my natural thing to do. I want to hold Baby and reassure her that this will pass, and everything will be fine.
A Dog's Hearing Is Superior To That Of Humans
I have spent considerable time researching this real life problem. A dog’s hearing is much better than ours. That is a known fact. The frequency range of dog’s hearing is approximately 40 Hz to 60,000 Hz. That means that the dog can detect sounds far beyond the upper limit of the human auditory spectrum. Dogs have ear mobility which we don’t possess. They can rapidly pinpoint the exact location of a sound. They have 18 or more muscles that tilt, rotate, raise, or lower the ear. A dog can identify a sound’s location much faster than a human can, and they can hear sounds at four times the distance.
I have never understood how a dog hears so well. A breed like Baby has ears that hang over the opening in the ear. It would seem to me that would prevent her from hearing very well. I would think that a dog that has ears that stand straight up would hear much better. That does not seem to be the case.
Baby Loves Her Walks
You Can See The Fear In Her Eyes
Baby Is Afraid To Take A Walk
Baby’s favorite thing in the world is going for a walk. The day after the 4th of July, I had to drag her out of the house. Really, I had to pick her up and carry her out. She was a wreck. She would walk along, stop, then look back at me with that expression of absolute fear that the boom boom sound would come back. The next day was somewhat better. She was still afraid to go out, but she did on her own accord. Things were going along really well until about half through the walk, she heard a LOUD boom! I was glad she had her halter on instead of a collar; otherwise, she would have bolted and broke the collar!
Baby, My Miniature Schnauzer
This Is Baby Before I Discovered The Thundershirt
A Review Of The Thundershirt
One of my daughters got ME a Thundershirt for my birthday!
She knew how stressed out I get when Baby is scared of loud noises, so she bought me a Thundershirt. I had seen these advertised on TV and different places, but I didn't think they would work. You know, it really does work. The shirt applies gentle, but constant pressure on the dog's torso. The causes an amazing calming effect for the dog. As soon as I put it on her, she immediately calmed down. It is a miracle!!! Just imagine infants being swaddling; same principal.
The manufacturers advise if your dog will be wearing the Thundershirt for more than two hours, remove it and check for any possible irritation, which they say is rare.
I didn't have any problem putting the Thundershirt on Baby. It was a little tricky attaching the Velcro fasteners in the proper places to get it wrapped around her properly, but once I got it on her, she didn't mind having it on at all. I think she rather liked the feel of it. I rewarded her with a piece of chicken.
Now, as soon as I hear thunder in the distance, I put the Thundershirt on Baby until the storm passes.
Next 4th. of July I will be using the Thundershirt, and I think it will relieve her fear of the noise. I wish I had invented the Thundershirt!
Getting Ready To Put The Thundershirt On Baby
The Thundershirt Is Now Wrapped Securely Around Baby
Baby Is Very Relaxed With The Thundershirt On Her
Could We Just Dispense With Fireworks?
If and when I ever get another dog, I will buy the desensitizing CD’s and play them for the dog when they are just a puppy. If I start early enough, I think that might just work. Maybe the dog will get used to hearing those loud boom-booms and not be afraid when the actual noise occurs.
I am so happy I discovered the Thundershirt! It has truly helped Baby calm down at the sound of thunder. I'm anxious to try it the next time she hears fireworks.
I am a very patriotic person, and I would like to celebrate the 4th of July, but could we just dispense with the fireworks?? Think of all the money we could save.
Am I the only dog owner who feels this way?
A Word Of Advice On The Thundershirt
I have found from experience: I MUST put the Thundershirt on my dog BEFORE THE FIREWORKS BEGIN! If she hears ONE boom from a firecracker, it's too late, and the Thundershirt will NOT WORK! She is already in that panic mode.
So, my advice is to put the Thundershirt on your dog well before you expect to hear Fireworks.
The Thundershirt Can Be Used For Cats, Too
The Thundershirt can also be used to calm cats, too. It is usually a real chore to transport a cat to the Veterinarian's office for their check ups.
Some Veterinarians are now using the Thundershirt in their clinics to help calm their feline patients!
Would your try the Thundershirt for your dog?
Is Your Dog Afraid Of Fireworks?
Another Great Hub by mistyhorizon
midget38 wrote a great Hub about fears in dogs
- Symptoms of fear in dogs and how to help our pets overcome them
On the different things that make our dogs afraid and overcoming them.
An Excellent Hub By Alexadry On Dog Behavior
- Dog Behavior: Can you Reinforce Fear?
We are always told not to pet, cuddle or comfort a fearful dog because this may reinforce fear. But can fear really be reinforced? Learn what the experts say about this.
Another Hub With Some Good Advice By drmark1961
Other Hubs I have written about Baby
Positive Comments On The Thundershirt
I invite you to read the positive comments I have received about the Thundershirt. These are from people who have actually used the shirt or had experiences using it.
© 2012 Mary Hyatt