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My Pet World: Simple solutions for a panicking dog at the vet’s office

Cathy M. Rosenthal, Tribune Content Agency on

Start with one idea here or combine a few ideas, depending on what works for your dog. Your vet can prescribe medication for those visits if these suggestions don't work. But give these things a try first before you go that route.

Dear Cathy,

You recently responded to a reader whose pet was reacting badly to storms. I suggest the reader use the Thundershirt® when no storms are imminent, preferably when an enjoyable event is happening so that her dog doesn't begin to associate the aid with a future noisy event.

Too often, if the aid is only used when a storm is imminent, the dog associates having that on with the stressful event and can begin reacting even when there is no storm. It may take some time for the dog to re-associate the Thundershirt® with being secure and free from harm, but it can also be done with the help of pheromones. The dog has to begin to associate their use with good events, not coming unpleasantness.

— Margaret, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Dear Margaret,


You're right. Dogs can associate any anxiety-reducing clothing, like a Thundershirt® or Anxiety Wrap®, with the actual noise event if they only wear it when that noise occurs. The wrap itself can then trigger the dog to panic long before the first crack of thunder.

When training, it's essential to let the dog wear these wraps sporadically; sometimes, when fun things happen, like going for a walk or playing a game, and sometimes right before the noise event. Because the noise from a storm or fireworks is traumatic for them, they can still be triggered to associate the wraps with the storm even if they wear them when happy things are happening as well.

By mixing it up, though, you can keep the dog guessing and perhaps reduce their susceptibility to being triggered by the clothing alone.

Dear Cathy,


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