Thunderbolts (with or without lightning)… very, very frightening

We had a thunderstorm on Saturday night. Thunder and lightning seem to give Bella magical powers. Bella usually needs to get a running start in order to jump on our bed – however, during a storm she develops some sort of super jumping power in which she effortlessly lands somewhere in the middle of the bed. And then she paces. And jumps down. And paces some more.

As you have probably guessed, Ms. Bella is not exactly a fan of thunder. Poor pup – it’s only gotten worse over the years. We’ve tried many of the traditional suggestions to help her get over her fear (distraction, desensitization and the like), but nothing really works.

I recently saw a new product designed to help combat noise anxiety, but I’m not sure how I feel about it. Behold, the puppy earmuff.  Aside from making your pet look like a DJ, the Mutt Muff (more info here) is supposed to protect sensitive puppy ears from loud noises, including thunder.  I’m tempted to give it a try – though I am afraid we’d still need some sort of light-canceling goggles to keep Bella from seeing the lightning.  These earmuffs would only work if the noise is what’s really upsetting her.

The other option we’ve considered is the Storm Defender Cape.  This product appears to be more appropriate for dogs who are scared of the storm itself, instead of the noise.  I saw a few articles about this cape, and was intrigued by the idea.  At the first sign of a storm, you are supposed to put the cape on your dog – it’s lined with metallic fabric, which is supposed to disperse the static electricity from the storm and calm your dog.  (More info available here.)

So the question is… what is it about these storms that scares Bella?  Maybe I could just combine the cape and the earmuffs and Bella could moonlight as a superhero DJ.  (Kidding… though that does make for a funny mental picture.)  If we decide to give either of these products a shot, I’ll report back – and if anyone else has tried these or other solutions, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Keep your fingers crossed for no thunderstorms this week (or ever again)!

UPDATE:  There’s a discussion over at PetSugar on this very question, if you’re interested.

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