Back in April I discussed dealing with noise phobia, particularly thunder, and promised an update after my research paper on the subject was complete. I am happy (and relieved - but that's another story) to report that the paper is finished!
To summarize, canine noise phobia is a common problem that, without treatment, will worsen over time. However, the issue can be managed with many different treatment options including medicinal, chemical, nutritional, herbal, hormonal, behavioral, environmental and sensorial. While no treatment has been found to completely cure canine noise phobia, research suggests several have high rates of effectiveness, especially if used in combination.
My own personal attempts at desensitization and counterconditioning with Ash did not work. However, we will try again this winter when we have several months without storms to interrupt any progress being made.
One product that my research uncovered and piqued my curiosity is melatonin. Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by the pineal gland, and it sets the body's internal clock in response to exposure to light. In birds and other animals in the wild, melatonin levels trigger spring reproduction, fall migration, and winter hibernation. Experiments using melatonin for noise phobic dogs has produced some dramatic results. Found in health food stores, pharmacies, and some grocery stores, it is available in tablet, capsule, or liquid form, and has shown no adverse side effects. I will be testing melatonin on Ash and will update you on the results.
If anyone would like more information on this subject please feel free to contact me.
Jeff Dentler, CPDT-KA, CTDI