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Dr. Andy
Dr. Andy, Medical Director
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 30035
Experience:  UC Davis graduate, emphasis in dermatology, internal medicine, pain management
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Hello, my 12 year old Border Collie is terrified of storms,

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Hello, my 12 year old Border Collie is terrified of storms, he has been like this since he was a puppy. However, recently he has started to be destructive and injuring himself. We have tried all types of remedies and my concern is now he is going to keep getting worse. We hate seeing him so distraught, can you give us some advice? Thank you very much! Tracey and Nathan
Welcome! My name isXXXXX am a UC Davis graduate, and currently, a Medical Director of a veterinary hospital.

I am sorry to hear about this concern for Rusty.
Definitely, the supportive care needs to be a bit stronger than just a shirt or the homeopathic remedies.

DAP diffuser – Release dog pheromone into the air and can help with stress. You cannot smell it:
DAP Diffuser

Composure Liquid- another supplement that can sometimes be of some benefit for agitated or stressed pets.
Composure Liquid

Rescue Remedy (another popular choice):
Rescue Remedy

Now, I wanted to mention a few other supplements first, just in case, none of these have been considered.

By far, one of the most popular therapies to help with thumderstorm phobia is Xanax. Yes, the same xanax people take.

Information on Xanax:

Xanax for Pets

You will see the reference within the link about its use for thunderstorm phobia.

I also like to make sure that the television or radio is turned loud, to help cover up some of the thunder sound.

Please let me know if there is anything I did not cover for you. I hope that information has been helpful.
Please remember to select Reply to Expert, if for any reason you need further clarification, have more questions, or were expecting a different type of answer. Please, hold off providing your feedback rating until you have asked all your questions. Otherwise, I greatly appreciate your rating to close the question. My goal is to try and provide you the best answer possible.
Dr. Andy

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Dr Andy

Thanks very much for the information. Throughout his lifetime, Rusty has been terrified of storms, so we have tried everything we can - including Rescue Remedy, loud radio, securing him in a safe enclosure (our garage).


His behaviour recently is increasingly getting worse - he has just chewed the stainless steel door handle, and pulled out all the Gyprock/Cladding inside the garage, along with scratch marks on the concrete floor.


He used to just tremble but we have noticed he is just getting worse with his age. It seems as though he is getting a bit of dementia, but I am not even sure that is possible in dogs!


My fear is coming home and he has severely hurt himself or worse.... I am usually home during storms but sometimes that is not always possible. I am no expert but love my dog completely as I do my children, I am concerned his heart may fail!!


My husband and I love him dearly, and have been discussing euthanasia but again we are confused and uncertain as we just want what is best for Rusty. I can't see him getting any better due to his age.


Thanks again for your assistance, we are very upset to be even discussing this but as I said we need to keep Rusty's well being at the forefront of our minds. I might also mention we have 3 small children and would hate him to lash out at them, although he has never displayed any aggression towards them, but he did try to bite me during a storm recently.


Thanks again for your assistance.


Understood Tracey.

There are definite behavioral modifiers that can help and I would STRONGLY encourage you to discuss with your vet about a trial using Xanax as needed.

Also, remember, that Xanax ideally is given a few hours before the onset of thunder "noise"

Good Luck Tracey.
Hope that additional information helps. Definitely, reply to me if there is any other way I may assist you. I hope my responses have been satisfactory?
Dr. Andy
Dr. Andy and other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks Dr Andy, we will certainly give that some thought. You have been very helpful in this extremely confusing and emotional time. Kind regards Trace

Your very welcome
Dr. Andy