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Simon has started to develop some (mild) storm anxiety. We've had him about a year, and he's nine years old. Over the last year we haven't seen any signs of storm issues. He was somewhat fearful about the fireworks last July, but never reacted to thunder or lightening. We've had some very mild storms in the last week or so, and he's been anxious. A little whining, some pacing. We put his Thundershirt on, which helped some, but didn't stop the anxiety. He was able to be calm and sleep as long as he was with me or my husband, lying next to us on the couch touching us.

I've read that older dogs can develop new fears like this. Has anyone else experienced that in a senior? We're talking with our vet about what we can try (we'll probably start with trying a melatonin tablet when a storm is coming), but it's odd to me that a dog would start to be anxious about something like a storm as an older dog when they haven't been before.
 
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My last dog, a lab, was the same way. She was never the biggest fan of loud noises but tolerated fireworks and storms when she was younger as long as she was in the same room and could see us all acting calmly she would go on like normal (ball play, chewing a bone,laying down) just with unsure ears.
After she turned 10 she would just pace, panic, drool, and want to hide under all my pillows in the corner of my bed against the wall, impossible to comfort really.
For her she knew if she saw a flash the noise was coming so she was always put in my room where she wanted to be with heavy curtains drawn, I would sit next to the bed and calmly read in soft light and she was content to drool but remain in one spot.

I'm never surprised by new anxieties as a dog gets into the senior years, I think of it just like a senior person, you get older and you get forgetful, not as confident or daring, and some things just unsettle you that didn't use to.
 

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I've seen this in more than one dog, and it always seems to center around the dog being noise sensitive. The best I can figure is the dog is probably having some hearing issues as they age. Maybe not noticeable to the owner yet..but they don't hear as well as they used to. Then there's suddenly loud noises they can hear, and it startles them/makes them uneasy.

LOL, that's just my theory, don't take it for much more than that.
 

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Lily developed a fear of noises when she was about 12. It was so sad to watch she would hide in our closet. 4th of July we would go to bed early, turn on a fan and the TV to drown out the noise. It did help. The biggest problem we had was we live next to Camp Pendleton and they pratice bomb alot (the price of freedom) and it affected her alot. We didn't want to drug her, so we learned to deal with it.
 

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add me to the list. My lab mix started doing this when it rained. We don't get the same kind of storms in CA that others do (thankfully!!). I've always used a dog door and when it rained (mostly at night) she'd run out, stand in the middle of the yard and do her freaky scary bark. I'd bring her in, go to bed and she'd go out again. I finally did figure out we had to crate her then :)
 
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It makes me feel a little better to know that it might be somewhat common. Murreydobe, your theory makes a lot of sense to me, whether it's speculation or not. Possible something going on with eyesight, too, as the flashes of lightning can be disturbing.

I wish I could crate him, but he has some crate anxiety, too, so I'm better off just curling up on the couch with him.

Thankfully, Shanoa could not care less about storms or fireworks or anything like that.
 

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My first thought was what Murreydobe said. Possible first signs of deafness.

When our big ol' guy's hearing started to go (unbeknownst to us -- he was trained to hand signals, so we didn't realize at first that he was responding to visual, not verbal, cues), noises that he had been perfectly used to all his life started to upset him. It always happened when the windows were open and the wind came up, causing curtains to flap, shutters to bang, doors to blow shut, etc. If it happened at night, he would pace and whine, and a couple of times when we were out and had left the windows open, he absolutely destroyed my husband's office and started on other rooms. Total, unbelievable destruction -- and obviously a very, very stressed dog. It took us a long time to figure it out what on earth was going on, but once we learned to close the windows and soundproof the house as much as possible, the stressed behaviour completely disappeared.
 

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Yes two of my seniors did this. Ginger who is now 14 1/2 went through a terrible noise fear at around age 11 or so as her hearing declined. At this point she is mostly deaf, she can hear a few things but not much and she is totally calm and centered. We use hand signals with her for the most part. She doesn't even notice thunder anymore and that always bothered her even before she was old. As her hearing deteriorated she seemed frightened of many sounds, once she was basically deaf she was fine, couldn't hear them, I think it was the change in hearing that spooked her. She got freaked around the microwave beeping and other high pitched sounds at around 10 or 11. Sierra, her mama, also went through the same thing when she was around 10. Sierra was also better when her hearing was mostly gone.

Other things with seniors, Sierra became senile and would get lost in the backyard, so far Ginger has not. Gus my male lived until he was 13 and he did not get any sound sensitive problem, nor was he senile. However he would hear better than my girls as he aged. All these are normal parts of aging and I have always suspected that some older dogs do become sensitive to certain pitches and sounds as their hearing changes.
 

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My childhood dog is still truckin' up at my parent's house at almost 14 (GSDxChow) and over the last year she's really deteriorated. She's reactive over noises now, especially thunder, loud motorcycles, or things being dropped in the kitchen, She'll try to run away and will fear bark. Just this year now she growls at approaching people because she can't see who you are until you're close, when she used to have the attitude of a lab- new best friends! She gets lost going out to go potty too, like a previous poster said. Sad stuff, but its all just part of the process. I imagine it would be absolutely terrifying to lose your senses that relay the whole world to you, so I think the reactivity/fear isn't unfounded.
 
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At your recommend, I have that DAP diffuser running now, I couldn't keep my eyes open down there last night....lol....

That takes at least 24 hours to diffuse, but I rubbed a little of it on the dog beds the other day and Storm had her first perfect relaxed day. I am going to get the spray and maybe the collar.

And I would really recommend trying the L-theanine before a storm as well. I know someone who uses it before she takes her dog to the vet and it makes a world of difference.

I thought some of Stormy's problems were earing or vision related but she hears a collar tag jingle a block away, and can spot a bunny at the end of the alley, plus she checks out vet wise.

Simon looks in good physical shape, he's probably just a bit neurotic like my girl and it does get worse as they get older.
 

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My second Dobe, Lonesome, was never afraid of anything. A real tough guy. But as I remember, when he got to be about 11 or 12, he did start to be a little more fearful of thunder. Not anything extreme but just a bit more anxious.
 

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Cognative decline in aging dogs is something which can often be effectively addressed with the medication Anipryl. If I had an elder dog exhibiting behavioral changes that could not be attributed to hearing or vision loss, a trial month on Anipryl would be the first thing I would try.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
At your recommend, I have that DAP diffuser running now, I couldn't keep my eyes open down there last night....lol....

That takes at least 24 hours to diffuse, but I rubbed a little of it on the dog beds the other day and Storm had her first perfect relaxed day. I am going to get the spray and maybe the collar.
Really glad the DAP seems to be working! It also comes in a spray, which I find really handy. I spray it on Shanoa's collar (and let it dry before I put it on her) when I have to take her somewhere that might be a little stressful. I've also sprayed it on her bed when we go places.

I'll ask about the l-theanine, too.
 

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I don't remember Gin getting more fearful of loud moises as she aged, I guess mainly because she was terrified of them her whole life. Even as her hearing declined, she didn't show any more fear of thunder or fireworks than she had previously. It was actually somewhat of a blessing when her hearing declined to the point she she didn't hear most thunder, because then I didn't need to give her tranquilizers or Benydryl for stormy weather (of which we have a lot)
 
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My female starts to shake when she hears fireworks or thunder and she hears the popping of lightening...........we are going into hurricane season in June and I'm praying for a quite season ................from my lips to God's ears!!

PS When it's raining and the wind is blowing wild she is laying at my side. We snuggle during those times.............
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Talked with my vet yesterday, and we're going to try melatonin to start with. She said it's very safe, and it's an easy thing to try. Simon's dosage is between 10 and 20 mg of melatonin, so we'll start with 12 and see if it helps the next time there's a storm.
 
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I would also divide his meals up into small portions when you know in advance of a storm or fireworks. Good friend had her 9 year old Samoyed girl bloat after fireworks at a next door beach cabin when on vacation. Stress and panting can bring on bloat. Also always keep gax-x on hand. She had given a full dinner, about an hour later loud fireworks started and it was not the 4th of July. A smaller meal might have made the difference.
 

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I would also divide his meals up into small portions when you know in advance of a storm or fireworks. Good friend had her 9 year old Samoyed girl bloat after fireworks at a next door beach cabin when on vacation. Stress and panting can bring on bloat. Also always keep gax-x on hand. She had given a full dinner, about an hour later loud fireworks started and it was not the 4th of July. A smaller meal might have made the difference.
Thanks. Yes, we always have Gas-X in the house, and I'll keep this in mind. Good tip!
 
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