|Barked: Mon Sep 9, '13 10:55pm PST |
|Stress, anxiety, fear, aggression, and pain management of animal companions are no easier understood nor undertaken than similar issues in humans. Often, it's the symptom/s being treated rather than the cause/s.
Our 4yr old rescued female Phalene-mix (Coco) had terrible bouts of anxiety her first year with us during thunder storms and hearing thunder-like sounds from next-door neighbors rolling their trash containers to or from the street pickup location. She would pace frantically back and forth with rapid, heavy panting rejecting all consolidation or distraction by offers of play or food.
Our first solution was wrapping Coco tightly in a comforting towel or blanket and holding her tightly against our chest and shoulder. Sometimes it worked, more often it didn't.
Our second solution was to attempt to distract her from the source of anxiety (thunder or loud noise) by engaging her in play or light eating. This approach was less successful than the towel or blanket.
Our third solution was the pricy Thunder Shirt (about $40 at Petco). The underlying principle (liken to a baby in swaddling blanket) seemed to make sense. However, the associative timing of putting it on was often missed in the hectic process of getting the shirt on as quickly as possible... the theory (held by Caesar Millan and other animal behavioralists) being that an animal associates how it feels at the time of having the shirt put on such that the Thunder Shirt must be put on during a time of low stress/anxiety instead of during a time of high stress/anxiety.
A fourth option is medication, something that we personally reject for this discussion being that the side efforts often outweigh the benefits; unless, issues more serious than noise (such as pain) are presented.
There are many articles, forums, and blogs on the Internet on these issues. Here's a link to a well-balanced discussion by a medical professional on the use or nonuse of pharmaceuticals for anxiety management:
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