6 Ways to Help with your Dog’s Thunderstorm Fears

6 Ways to Help with your Dog’s Thunderstorm Fears

March 12, 2016

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).



Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

★ Judge.me Reviews

Let customers speak for us

322 reviews
79%
(254)
17%
(55)
4%
(13)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
Quality Dog Toy

I’ve purchased 2 tug sticks and 1 ring. My girls love them all. I have aggressive chewers and these toys are the best!

Good customer service

I had some issues with shipping but Monster K9 made every effort to over come and make up for time lost due to the lost package. Thanks, will definitely order again.

wow

so I bought a large ball for my abel he loves it I also bought a ring for it so he broke that one in like 10 min over all great products

Malinois Toughness

My Mal Max is 1yr old this week. He's like my son so naturally I bought him alot of toys. It took almost the Year to realize, Some dogs you can't buy just Any Toy for.
He wrecked all of them! A waste of alot of money!
Then I found Monster K9!
These are the kind of toys You need for a dog like My Mal Max!
Good to Meet You Monster K9!
My New Tug Stick for Max should be in the Mail Box tomorrow!
I'm excited and Max is too!

Great Investment

This ball is absolutely awesome. My K9 destroys every toy I've ever gave him. He has yet to destroy or and loves playing with it. The ball also bounces well and the lifetime warranty seals the deal. Great investment