Helping your dog to deal with thunderstorms
Not all dogs will react to thunderstorms. Some dogs will sleep through it but others will react to different degrees.
It can be heartbreaking to watch. Even before the first clap of thunder, otherwise well-behaved dogs may begin to pace, pant, shiver, cling to their owners, hide behind the settee etc.
In severe cases, they may claw through walls, chew carpets, or break through windows in their escalating panic.( these would be unsupervised dogs)
Thunderstorm phobia in dogs is real, not uncommon, and should not be ignored.
Try to be home if you know that storms have been forecasted.
There are things that you can do to help your dog calm down and cope.
- Let your dog sit next to you – be calm and quietly comforting
- Try a little gentle massage around the head, ears and neck
- Give your dog a “safe place” – 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 the significant improvement.
- Play classical music. ”Through A Dogs Ear” is music therapy for the prevention and treatment of 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 any of the above ideas do 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 that may be bothering the dog, such as the static electricity or changes in barometric pressure