My dog hates thunder. Absolutely HATES thunder. In fact, he’s smart enough to also be afraid of the lightning because he knows thunder follows lightning.
Last Friday morning I had just been woken up by my alarm clock when I heard the rain hitting the roof. It was steady enough that I knew this wasn’t a quick little drizzle like we had been having. No, this was an actual rain shower.
Then came the lightning.
At that time I knew I was soon to be sharing the bed with a 90-pound chow mix who has no clue of his size and strength. Sure enough, one clap of thunder later, Riley was in the bed whimpering and crying.
Now normally, if we know the storm is going to last a while, my wife and I give the dog “Happy Bread”, which is just a slice of bread with a Benadryl pill mashed into it. Our vet had given us these other pills to give him, but they were too strong and seemed excessive. So the vet advised Benadryl as a safer, shorter-term option. Unfortunately, it takes a bit for the pill to kick in and so you’re stuck with a large, fuzzy baby clinging to you for the duration of the storm.
I opted not to give Riley any bread because I was up already and knew that I would be home with him for a while. I hoped I could just wait out the storm and he’d be fine. I didn’t realize we were finally getting the rain from Tropical Storm Bill and that Friday would turn into a very wet and soggy day.
By 11 a.m. I had gotten ready and was about to go take some pictures of the rising water around the area when I realized I hadn’t given Riley any bread and that he was still in a panic over thunder, even though it hadn’t thundered in quite a while.
I had to decide what to do. Do I just leave and hope he’ll calm down? Do I give him some bread and hope the pill kicks in quick and he just takes a nap? I opted to just go and hoped he’d calm down. I don’t like medicating my dog unless its necessary… My mistake…
When I returned home, I found that Riley must have had a full-on freak fest. He evidently decided he would get up on our bed, root around and strip the mattress of all blankets, sheets, and pillows. They were all strewn around the room. The hamper was tipped over and our clothes were everywhere. The bathroom door was open (no clue how he managed that with no thumbs…) and that garbage can was tipped over and everywhere. The toilet paper had been shredded, but I blame that on the cat. And to top it off, he’d knocked over the lamp on my wife’s nightstand and broke the bulb (the glass didn’t break, it just won’t work now).
So needless to say, from here on out, Happy Bread will be dished up before I leave.
I can’t be the only one with a pet that is afraid of thunder. How do you all deal with it? Any tips, tricks, or helpful pieces of advice that might help Riley deal with the thunder without the use of drugs?