“Dogs are minor angels, and I don't mean that facetiously. They love unconditionally, forgive immediately, are the truest of friends, willing to do anything that makes us happy, etcetera. If we attributed some of those qualities to a person we would say they are special. If they had ALL of them, we would call them angelic. But because it's "only" a dog, we dismiss them as sweet or funny but little more. However when you think about it, what are the things that we most like in another human being? Many times those qualities are seen in our dogs every single day -- we're just so used to them that we pay no attention.”
― Jonathan Carroll
“The dog is the most faithful of animals and would be much esteemed were it not so common. Our Lord God has made His greatest gifts the commonest.”
― Martin Luther
“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day.
It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.”
― John Grogan, Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World's Worst Dog
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, FFCP, CTDI