It’s summer time in Northeast Ohio, and a seeming fixture on the daily weather forecast is “scattered thunderstorms.” And we know this at the Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic because we get more calls from our dog owners about dealing with and treating thunderstorm anxiety and phobias. The phone calls reach a climax just before Independence Day with the plethora of fireworks that are to come.
The first thing to understand about thunderstorm phobia or firework phobia with our canine friends is that they are true phobias.
phobia (n): an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular objects, class of objects, or situation
There is no chance at taking a logical approach to calming an illogical fear. No amount of calmly telling your dog, “It’s okay,” is going to convince a dog that the fearful situation in which it finds itself is “okay.” In fact, our attempts to verbally soothe our canine friends often serve to reenforce the phobic behavior.
Phobias are a form of mental suffering, and in veterinary medicine, we have no interest in allowing animals to persist in suffering.
There are a variety of ways to help relieve the mental suffering of noise phobias, from desensitization strategies to pharmacologic help. The goal is quality of life, and we ought to be able to achieve better quality of life for our phobic, suffering patients. If you’ve got any questions about your pet’s phobias, give us a call at 330-929-3223 to set up a time to meet with one of our doctors.