Calgary

Calgary thunderstorms have some dogs suffering extreme anxiety

This year's thunderstorms have caused extreme anxiety in some dogs, leading some concerned pet owners to seek out anti-anxiety medication.

Calgary's stormy summer has been hard for some nervous dogs

Hector gets extremely anxious when thunder and lightning storms hit Calgary. (James Protz/Kate Adach/CBC)

This year's thunderstorms have caused extreme anxiety in some dogs, leading some concerned pet owners to seek out anti-anxiety medication.

Jalees Razavi says each time a storm hits, his 11-year-old golden retriever Hector panics — hiding, scratching walls, and licking his paws so excessively he gets severe wounds.

When storms hit, Jalees Razavi cuddles Hector to try to keep him calm. (Kate Adach/CBC)

Razavi and his family do what they can to calm him.

"[We] put a blanket around his body and we hug him, so that he feels not stressed. In his mind it is doom and gloom, the sky is falling. So we want to let him know it's not falling, and we are with him if it falls."

Razavi says Hector has calmed down since a veterinarian prescribed anti-anxiety medication. But the pill takes a few hours to kick in.

"So we actually start giving him the medication on the day that they're anticipating thunder storms," he said. 

In a summer of what feels like non-stop thunderstorms, many Calgary-area dogs have been suffering severe anxiety attacks.

"We're noticing more people reaching out through social media asking for support with the rescue dogs, just helping to calm and comfort them during the storms," says Natasha Pupulin, the animal behaviour coordinator with the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society.

"The trouble with this year is that the storms, there's so many of them back to back. And they keep seeming to be louder and louder. So dogs that previously didn't have any issues, I find they're developing issues this year."

Natasha Pupulin, the AARCS animal behaviour co-ordinator, with Javier, a four-year-old mixed terrier who gets scared in storms. (Kate Adach/CBC)

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