Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dalmation Dealing with Thunderstorms

As I may have mentioned before my 11 year old Dalmation, Cassie, is absolutely TERRIFIED of thunderstorms.  Well... thunderstorms and fireworks.  When she was younger it wasn't as big of a deal; she'd pace around the house a few times and had a few shivers when the biggest of lightning strickes would create a giant roll of thunder but she'd calm down as soon as the storm was over.  As she's gotten older, her reactions have gotten so much worse.  In recent years she's begun to shake like an epileptic, she can't think, her hear rate goes through the roof, and she slobbers and pants like she's having a stroke (and this is a dog that rarely even opens her mouth except to eat). Now I think that Mace and I would have been able to cope even with these dramatic reactions to thunderstorms if they ended as soon as the storm did, but she'll literally do these things for hours and hours after the storm has passed and wears herself out to the point of total exhaustion.  The last couple of storms had been so awful that we thought Cassie might have a heart attack. There just wasn't anything we could do that seemed to help her.  I really thought that the next thunderstorm could be the death of her.

So I talked to a few friends that have similar issues with a few of their pets and my friend Meredith told me about a website that had a great varriety of anti-anxiety meds for dogs that might help.  She also gave me an idea of how the couple of brands she used on her cats helped but recommened a few of the lesser expensive ones to try first since her cat goes ballistic at just about the drop of a hat and Cassie's issues are only on specific occasions.  She didn't need something that would be a daily anti-anxiety med.  So Mace and I hopped online to see what we could find ASAP.  We read all the reviews, weighed our options carefully, and decided on one called TranQuil Tabs for Dogs.  What we found out was that the strongest active ingredient in the stuff was L-Tryptophan (yep the same stuff that puts us into a turkey induced coma after Thanksgiving dinner). 

After a few short days we got these in the mail and really it couldn't have been any better timing since the day we got them we had a terrible thunderstorm that evening.  Now even though these tablets are chewable and apparently chicken liver flavored, getting them in Cassie can be a little difficult if we don't have her take them before a huge clap of thunder.  Her brain just goes so wacky that she doesn't even realize that she's been giving something yummy to eat.  So down the gullet we have to force them.  If however we get them to her when we first start to hear those low rummbles up the valley before she gets freaked out, she eats them right up and is looking for more.  Within about 10-15 minutes she's soooooo much more relaxed.  No more pacing, panting, and shaking (unless its a really big clap of thunder) but then she calms right down again.  She isn't exactly at "normal" Cassie levels but its such a dramatic improvement from before TranQuil Tabs that I really have no room for negative commentary.

Actually the only reason I'm writting this post this morning is because we're in the middle of another huge thunderstorm (thunder, lightening, hail, rain, the works) and yet she's laying here with her head on my lap breathing normally and only picking her head up and giving a little shiver when the thunder gets really bad.  Even though I didn't get her meds in before the storm and she was panicking like crazy it still only took about 10 minutes for the good juices to flow and she calmed down.  I love her sooooo very much and I am so happy that we got her these treats.  Now all I have to do is remember to give them to her on the 4th of July before going to the fireworks booth so she's not clawing at the walls when the fireworks start going off around town... but I'm sure that will be another post.

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