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BOOM, CLAP, The sound of my heart..

Three cheers for that summer weather! Finally! Shorts and t-shirts, long evenings, boating, swimming and - thunderstorms!

Is your pet one to handle them calmly, or is there a serious phobia? Some of our pets, dogs almost exclusively, can become so anxious they can hurt themselves by going through glass windows, chewing through doors and breaking their teeth - not to mention waking their owners up at night.

One item that may help is a Thundershirt, which is a snug fitting vest that will feel like someone is holding them. If holding your dog helps him it is worth a try.

On good days, playing soundtracks of thunder constantly will help desensitize the pet - like living beside train tracks teaches us to ignore the noise.

Then there are calming drugs, either "natural" ones, like milk-protein extracts and pheromones, or stronger ones. Some can be given on a sporadic basis and others are best at a constant blood level. Given the unpredictable nature of storms, it is not a bad idea.

If the problem of storm anxiety is severe enough, please ask your veterinarian for HELP!

Dr. Barb O'Neill