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I have a 10 year old Basset Hound. She has always been scared of thunderstorms and fireworks but she has gotten markedly worse the past 4 months.

We used to walk around the block every night. One night a few months ago we were walking and she heard 2 loud pops, like gun shots. She immediately turned and ran the whole way home. Now she will not walk around the block; the same block she has walked around for 10 years. We have to go to an entirely different neighborhood to go for a walk.

I work from home full time. For the past 2 years she would sleep on her bed in my office all day. Two weeks ago she started sleeping either under my desk or under my feet. She will sleep on her bed for only short periods and then to my feet she goes.

At night the smallest sound will set her off. It could be the ice maker, a text tone on the TV, or an imaginary sound she thinks she heard. Anything sets her off and she starts panting and pacing.

For the past 45 minutes it has been thundering and she keeps walking under my chair in circles and panting. She is driving me mad!

My vet prescribed her alprazolam and that works ok but I need an hour notice. It does nothing for pop up storms or a surprise fireworks show on a warm summer night. I have a basement that she will go down when she is super stressed but she doesn't stay; she constantly pants and paces and sometimes digs.

I have tried the thundershirt but that does little if anything. I have tried holding her but she just fights to get free. I have tried pheromone collars and that was a waste of $$$. I bought some hemp oil on Amazon but that doesn't seem to do much.

My favorite vet moved away and the new vet prescribed her trazadone daily but that just seemed to knock her out. She was too tired to go for walks.

Any ideas?
 

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She does sound very anxious if it isn't just loud noises that upset her but also household appliances.

There are ways of desensitising dogs to noise, starting with the noise being played really quietly and building up over time, with the aim being to change the dog's basic emotion to hearing the sound, from one of fear to something more positive. But at the age of 10, you have a lot of years of embedded emotions to overcome.

Coupled with that is that if she is so anxious, she will struggle to cope with learning to develop a more positive response because she will be permanently on high alert.

So, if it was me I'd be going back to your vet to see if they could prescribe something other than the trazadone, or maybe a lower dose, for her to take one regular basis. I know it isn't ideal to have her permanently medicated but if it lets her cope, her life would be a lot more relaxed. A lot of people take anti anxiety meds to keep them stable - not heavily drugged, just enough to deal with everything.
 

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When I get a dog I try to adjust them to noise quickly, i literally take my pups to bowling alleys and gun ranges lol. someone in my poodle forum said speakers on the fridge. In your case since she's not a puppy, maybe try that a speaker on top of the fridge with sounds like fireworks, and other sounds she gets uncomfortable with. start at a low volume and turn it up each day. They said on top of fridge bc you want the noise coming from above them. Might help desensitize her to the noise by getting her used to it. At first it may be uncomfortable but I hopefully she'll adjust to it where she doesn't think much of them anymore.
 

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also maybe cbd oil? i hear it works wonders for dogs with anxiety and they now make dog treats with it already in them.
 

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When you say youve tried the thunder shirt and the hemp oil etc , who long did you 'try' for?

I used CBD oil for Murphys firework anxiety last year but you have to start at least one week before so that it has a chance to build up .. ( I have to say it worked quite well all but the loudest and closest explosions were ignored)
Many things only work if you keep using them on a regular basis and sadly these tools because thats what they are only help if you anticipate the event . So if you know the storm is coming you put on the shirt an hour of so before allowing the calm to build..
We prepare for new years eve weeks in advance.. I hate it with a vengance because all over Christmas all Im thinking about is bomb proofing the house for new year but thats the only way to tackle it. Waiting until the first bag to respond is no good at all..
 

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Oh the fun of thunder and fireworks. Ive heard lavender oil helps a little bit with anxiety. Ive started giving my dog a seramind capsule each day. I cant use a diffuser because i have a cat and its toxic to cats.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
There are ways of desensitising dogs to noise, starting with the noise being played really quietly and building up over time, with the aim being to change the dog's basic emotion to hearing the sound, from one of fear to something more positive. But at the age of 10, you have a lot of years of embedded emotions to overcome.

Coupled with that is that if she is so anxious, she will struggle to cope with learning to develop a more positive response because she will be permanently on high alert.
She is extremely smart and has gotten used to things like my home automation. She used to get stressed when a light would shut off without warning but now motion activated lights do not phase her. Every year I think to myself I need to desensitize her but I fear making it worse. I will do some testing with her to see where her thresholds are.

also maybe cbd oil? i hear it works wonders for dogs with anxiety and they now make dog treats with it already in them.
I was thinking of trying this. I picked up a bottle of CBD oil yesterday and was going to try that.

When you say youve tried the thunder shirt and the hemp oil etc , who long did you 'try' for?

I used CBD oil for Murphys firework anxiety last year but you have to start at least one week before so that it has a chance to build up .. ( I have to say it worked quite well all but the loudest and closest explosions were ignored)
Many things only work if you keep using them on a regular basis and sadly these tools because thats what they are only help if you anticipate the event . So if you know the storm is coming you put on the shirt an hour of so before allowing the calm to build..
We prepare for new years eve weeks in advance.. I hate it with a vengance because all over Christmas all Im thinking about is bomb proofing the house for new year but thats the only way to tackle it. Waiting until the first bag to respond is no good at all..
I tried the thundershirt for a few hours but only put it on her after she was stressed. If I know there is going to be a stressful event I can medicate her. The issue is when some neighborhood kid decides to set of firecrackers or bottle rockets on a warm summer night. Fireworks for 15 seconds equals her stressed for an hour.

I will try your idea of using the thundershirt preemptively.

Thanks for the info on CBD oil, I was wondering if I had to give it to her daily. Sounds like from your experience I do.
 

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Have a look online for +CER - that's a positive conditioned emotional response which means that when a certain thing happens, your dog is conditioned (taught) to have a positive feeling about it.

This link is about dogs that react to other dogs, but you could adapt it to noises. However, like I said, after many years of reacting to noises it won't be so easy as for a dog who hasn't had so much time to embed her behaviour.

 
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