One of our dogs is of a somewhat, shall we say, shy demeanor. He's 7, but only lately has he started having issues with thunderstorms.
It's lightning that bugs him, not thunder. He's moderately concerned if it storms violently during the day, but nothing his anxious little self can't handle - mostly just looking around with his ears up. But if the storm kicks up after dark, the lightning flashes really upset him. He'll run around and do some pawing at the windows and whining. I do not want him to escalate to tearing up the house trying to get away, so we've ace'd him a couple of times recently.
I hate ace-ing him for storms, because I honestly am not sure what stresses him more - the storm itself, or the fact that the ace has him so "drunk" that he feels he has no control over anything. He's stationary, but he still trembles and pants.
I must say that we held off on this last round of storms, and he handled it well. The worst of it came through while it was still daylight, and we were sort of gauging whether we'd need to give him a dose before the second round hit after dark. The forecast showed a smallish line that would move through fast, so we just left the lights on in the house. He was a champ, even though the storm sirens went off. I am hoping this bodes well for the future and we won't have to give him anything.
I know ace CANNOT be given after the animal is already anxious. And as I mentioned, I try to avoid having to give it at all. But if I do need something - is there another mild tranquilizer recommended? I really do think the ace compounds his stress - he's just too wasted to do anything about it.
Thundershirts do help, but if your dog gets severe anxiety with storms, Xanax is an alternative. The referral vet clinic I worked for found it worked much better than Ace. The other advantage is it has a short onset of action and it doesn't last long in the dog's system.
Good luck! Canine phobias can be challenging - I'm dealing with a dog that has severe separation anxiety and is on two different meds daily, which help a little.
I have a German Shepherd who hates storms. And we have been getting plenty lately. I have never had to sedate him until this spring. He reacted very badly to ace. So I bought a Thundershirt. And some calming classical piano music that is supposed to be for dogs. The next storm on went the Tshirt and the music. I want you to know that I wasn't expecting a whole lot but was hopeful. Put him in his crate where he stays calmest and read a book. The music put me to sleep. The dog was calmer than usual. The real test was the latest line of storms that went on all night. Howling winds with thunder and lightening. I brought out the Thundershirt and the dog came up when he saw it and put his head in it. When he heard thunder he went to his crate. I cranked up his storm piano music and once again starting reading. Hours later the storms were over my storm phobic dog had never really gotten worked up. I believe the Tshirt is the main calming factor. But the music really does help. I feel pretty silly but of it works.
We just had to prozac my lab, I resisted at first but my goodness BEST decision ever!! Digestive issues have gone away, she no longer freaks out and sounds like she's having a heart attack when she's left somewhere I'm not and is just generally happier with life!
Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!
My GSD mutt gets valium for storms and fireworks, and it works. The vet who prescribed it warned that you have to administer it 1/2 hour before the storm, but that's not what I've found. It does make her high as a kite - she gets the munchies and makes bad decisions (like climbing a tree), but it does the trick.