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6 Ways to Help with your Dog’s Thunderstorm Fears

Posted by Monster K9 on

You know that old joke about how the weatherman who predicts a 50% chance of rain is also predicting a 50% chance of sun? Using your dog as a storm forecaster is likely to give you a 100% chance of accuracy. Dogs with storm anxieties pace, whine and can cause destruction to your home or themselves. But since humans don’t experience the same thunderstorm pressure as dogs, we can find it difficult to identify with their distress.

 

How it feels

First, let’s talk about how dogs experience this weather. In addition to the noise of thunder, dogs feel the drop in barometric pressure and static electricity. We’re all familiar with that inner-ear discomfort during a plane’s takeoff and landing, and this is the sensation for our pets.

 

Veterinarians say it’s important to address storm anxiety early in your pet’s life. The phobia is progressive, meaning their fear worsens as time goes on, so it’s best to work with them as soon as they show signs of suffering. There are options ranging from behavior treatment to medication, but as always, it starts with adjusting the pet owner.

 

Don’t reward your dog for his anxious behavior

When your dog exhibits signs of distress or is having a panic attack, your instinct may be to soothe him but roll up that newspaper and bop yourself on the nose. Your calming voice and embrace only serve to reinforce that when he whines or stresses, he’s rewarded with your attention. The best way to show your dog love is by reinforcing his calm behavior during stress-free moments.

 

Some advise having a special indoor leash your dog is hooked to during regular training sessions. You’ll walk him around, have him perform his tricks and then sit with him on the floor, still hooked to the leash. Treats or words of encouragement underline that his cool conduct is correct.

 

Whatever you decide, it’s vital not to punish your dog for his freak-out. It’s natural and not misbehavior, so better to find an interactive, loving way to quell your dog’s fears.

 

Gradually introduce noises

Depending on the severity of your dog’s panic attacks, you may want to make a recording of loud noises, like thunder or fireworks, and play it for him at a low volume as your behavior and attention remain normal. Gradually increase the volume over multiple sessions to get him used to the noise.

 

The problem with this method is it addresses the noise fear only and doesn’t include barometric pressure or static electricity.

 

Distract and play with him

If you’re able to hold your dog’s attention during a storm, this is the time to practice tricks or play a game. Grab his favorite bone or toy, and have playtime.

 

Finding a port in the storm

Does your dog always go to his crate or beneath your bed as the thunder rolls? If so, this is his safe place, and it’s natural for him to want to hide. Encourage this.

 

Go clothes shopping

Not for you, but for your dog: Snug pressure garments like Thundershirt or Anxiety Wrap make your dog feel swaddled and comforted. A Storm Defender cape helps combat lightning’s electromagnetic radiation. (Heavy-duty aluminum foil can also help with electromagnetism: Try putting a couple layers over his crate or, if he goes under your bed, between your mattress and box springs.)

 

Anti-anxiety medication is a last-resort

If you’ve tried all of the above routes to no avail, talk with your vet about your dog’s anxiety and what hasn’t worked so far to see if she thinks medication is the next step. For milder cases of storm anxiety, you might try sprays such as Burt’s Bees Calming Spray (which is pH-balanced and has lavender and green tea) or Sentry Calming Spray (with a neonatal-mimicking pheromone).


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Truly Industructible

Due to their high quality and great customer service, I own all Monster K9 toys they have. We have a 2 year old Belgian Malinois that requires daily activities due to his breed. Thus, high-quality, low price toys are an absolute must.

We use this as our back up toy when his Frisbee is out of commission. If you throw this overhanded with your palm facing towards you and flick your wrist, it rolls AMAZINGLY on the ground. While our Malinois loves playing with it the most, all of our dogs love chasing it as speeds across the ground.

To top it off, once you're done with playtime, if you want to your dog have it for the rest of the afternoon, there's almost no chance they're going to destroy it. It's a very high-quality rubber that is very similar to the rubber used in reusable rubber firearm targets. When punctures or cuts are introduced, the rubber material instantly and naturally 'self-fills' the gaps so you can barely notice it's even there. This dramatically reduces the chance of open gashes, spaces, or weak points for your dog to grab a hold of to rip it apart.

We've owned ours for 5 months now and haven't had to replace it. For $13 plus free shipping, this puts other "tough" dog toys to shame.

The best there is!

While it may not be entirely 'indestructible', which is stated in the guarantee information, for $14 this is by far the best and most durable Frisbee on the market. Other companies will charge $20-$30 for "tough" Frisbees or cloth Frisbees and they'll last a week or two tops. This Frisbee lasts 1-2 months with our 70lb Belgian Malinois and is made with thick high-quality rubber.

I'll take that ANY day over spending $20-$30/wk on Frisbees, in which some are hard plastics that produces very sharp edges that are dangerous if ingested.

If you let your dog chew on it daily, you might see a slightly reduced life on this Frisbee. But if you keep it put up and only take it out only during play time, you'll easily get a few months or more out of it. Because of it's high durability, we let our Malinois have WAY longer than any other Frisbee we've bought in the past; and it still lasts longer than a multitude of other brands we've bought. Plus, he absolutely loves it!

Loved and Destroyed Frisbee

Rebel loved the frisbee. It last about 2 weeks. Can we get a ball as a replacement? We’very had much better results with the ball.

Ultra Durable ChewRing

Has been a GREAT CHEW, FETCH, OR TUG OF WAR TOY. The ring makes it difficult for my 85lb aggressive chewer to destroy unlike the stick whereas he can do damage to the end. Would like a ring in a large diameter. This inside hole size makes it harder to play tag of war with lager size dogs.

1 x Ultra Durable ChewStick Tug of war Toy

My two dogs enjoy playing with this stick together but playing time is limited because my aggressive chewer wants it to himself. The straight shape makes it easier for him to chew on the end and has put some sizable pits at the end. My fear is that with continued chewing he'll do enough damage to bite through and swallow a large chunk. It has to be taken away and put up when playing time "together" is over. No chew time alone.