Helping your dog deal with thunderstorms
Not all dogs will react to thunderstorms. Some dogs will sleep through it, but others will respond differently.
Dogs can sense thunder long before it comes and starts pacing up and down, panting, trying to get under the bed etc., to hide. This can be hard for owners to watch
In severe panic attacks, dogs have been known to claw through walls, chew carpets, or break through windows to escape due to panic. (This is generally unsupervised dogs)
It is not uncommon for dogs to be afraid of loud noises, such as Thunderstorms, and it is a genuine phobia. Please do not ignore your dog or think he is simply being naughty.
Try to be home if you know that storms have been forecasted.
Things you can do to help your dog calm down and cope. with Thunderstorms
- Let your dog sit next to you – be calm and quietly comforting
- Try a little gentle massage around the head, ears and neck
- Create a “safe place” that your dog can go to during storms and fireworks– this could be a crate that is covered by a blanket providing a safe, calm haven
- Pet Remedy” diffuser and spray is a new and natural way of tackling stress and anxiety using slow-release technology. A unique treatment of Valerian essential oil, blended with Vetivert, Basil Sweet & Sage
- A Thundershirt can have a comforting effect. It is a pressure garment that is said to have a calming effect similar to swaddling a baby producing a calming pressure that likely releases a hormone similar to endorphins. It’s like a “hug” for your dog and allows most dogs to help them ride out storms calmly and contently. It is reported that over 85% of Thundershirt users have reported on a significant improvement.
- Play classical music.” Through A Dogs Ear” is music therapy to prevent and treat canine anxiety. You can download music from Amazon.
- There are a number of herbal-based treatments on the market. Dorwest Herbs are one company.
If your dog does not respond to the above ideas, consult with your vet, who may suggest a sedative. This should be administered by your vet and only when all else has failed.
You can try to desensitize your dog to the sounds of thunder by playing a CD of thunder recordings at low enough levels that don’t frighten your dog while giving him treats or playing a game.
Experts caution that desensitization can have limited success in an actual storm because you can only recreate the noise and not the other factors bothering the dog, such as static electricity or changes in barometric pressure.