For many dog owners, it can be worrisome when their dogs start to act up due to various things. It can be unpredictable how your dog reacts to certain things – even normal things that humans don’t notice at all.
Some things like noises, flashes of lights, and other inanimate objects might not bother us in the slightest but are scary for your dog. And one of the most typical fears that dogs have is the sound of thunder.
A thunderstorm is like multiple scary things combined into one for some dogs. So it’s not surprising that they are so scared of thunderstorms that they start to shake or flee.
If you really care about your furry friend, I bet you can’t stand the sight of them being scared like that. There are some tricks you can do to help a dog scared of thunder shanking. And we’re going to learn about the solutions and advice on handling a fearful dog.
Why are so many dogs afraid of thunderstorms?
The answer may surprise you. It’s because they can’t hear and sense any changes in their environment, which causes them to panic when a storm approaches or pass through with all its noisy chaos.
Pets can also experience storm phobia, and it can be caused can by a combination of barometric pressure changes, static electricity, thunder, or even loud noises. Canine noise aversion can be caused by loud sounds such as lightning or thunder.
Separation anxiety can happen to your pet when they are left alone because they want close contact with owners after experiencing something traumatic. In some extreme cases, there could even be some type of static electricity involved if your dog shows signs of fear during a storm.
9 Tips That Can Help Your Pup Relax In A Storm Phobia
A pet such as a dog can have sensitive hearing. That is why you notice that they start barking when they hear the door open. However, when a storm comes, this gift can become destructive. Here are some tips to help a scared dog during a storm:
#1 Train your dog to remain calm during a thunderstorm phobia
Training your dog should be on top of your priority list. Training your dog to be calm during thunderstorms can save you a lot of trouble later. It can be a challenge to train your dog, however, but there are some methods like using a special leash or just simply implement a routine.
#2 Reward your dog when they’re calm
Some experts said that it is a mistake to pet and console your dog when they’re whimpering or cowering because it will just encourage that sort of behavior in the long term.
So you don’t want to console them, but you don’t want to scold them either. Otherwise, you’re going to encourage them to be clingy. So what you want to do is to teach them to be calm during thunderstorms and reward them when they’re following your instructions.
#3 Stablish a safe place for your dog
Some dogs love to have their own space where they can relax and sleep. This kind of private and safe space is also useful during thunderstorms. Preferably in the basement or the bathroom, where the dog can’t hear or see what’s happening outside.
But don’t confine your dog in a closed space because some dogs can get anxious when being confined. You can also play some music to help calm your dog. Your dog’s crate can be a safe environment because it is an enclosed space where they can feel protected.
#4 Neutralize the sounds of a thunderstorm
One method that is effective to help your dog get used to the sounds of thunder is by playing recordings of thunderstorms at low levels. Low enough that your dog isn’t frightened by it. Help train your dog for future storms with this counter conditioning method.
While the recordings are playing, don’t forget to give your dog some treats or play with them. Then, gradually increase the volume and repeat the process until your dog is completely used to the sounds. Next time the storm comes, your pet will not fear the sound.
#5 A snug garment during a storm phobia
A snug garment is always effective at calming down a frightened dog. There is something called a Thundershirt or Anxiety Wrap, which is a pressure garment that has a calming effect on dogs, that owners can get. The effect is said to be a placebo, but the results are real. This method is certainly worth a try.
Nicholas Dodman, professor at Tufts University together with Nicole Cottam, conducted research on this topic and found it effective in relieving anxiety during an actual storm by having an anti-static lining. The placebo cape called “Storm Defender” helped reduce static buildup and static electricity on those anxious dogs.
#6 You have to stay in a calmer state
Some dogs can detect your uneasiness and fear. If you’re panicky during thunderstorms, chances are your dog will too. It is imperative for you to stay calm during thunderstorms. You can hide in a room where you think you can be calm and play around with your dog.
If you can remain calm until the thunderstorms are over, your dog will be calm as well. The good news is that you can simply watch a movie or listen to some Jazz music on low volume keep yourself calm during the storm.
#7 Don’t leave your dog alone if you hear loud noises
This tip is important for dogs who can’t be left alone, especially during scary situations. If you think your dog is afraid of thunderstorms, try to be at home with them and accompany them during the storms.
Just simply sitting beside your dog should help your anxious dog a lot. Other sounds like white noise or fireworks can also increase the dog’s fear, especially during storm season. As a pet owner, you should stay close to your dog if he is showing signs of anxiety or thunder phobia.
Fireworks can sound so loud that they can scare both humans and dogs. One thing that you can do is play some music during the storm. It will help drown out the storm noise and help keep your dog distracted. However, try to play songs that do not have lots of low frequency in them.
#8 Provide distraction during a canine thunderstorm phobia
Sometimes dogs can get scared of thunderstorms because the sounds are the only things in their minds. By providing distraction during thunderstorms, you can help your dog to ignore the sounds and stay calm.
You can do that by petting the dog, playing with the dog, or simply giving your dog some treats or toys. Do that one thing that your dog loves to get him distracted. In severe cases, you can also allow your dog to lay next to you in bed.
#9 Ask your veterinarian how to treat separation anxiety during storms
Sometimes the problem is more serious than you’ve had anticipated. If you’ve tried everything and failed, or perhaps you think the problem is severe, you can always consult with your vet. Your vet may have some ideas to help a dog cope with its fears and also provide some medications that may be needed.
Even though your pet does not usually show signs of separation anxiety, they may still feel uncomfortable and unfamiliar with changes caused by a thunderstorm. Anti-anxiety medication isn’t always needed or advised, but if the case is severe, it will be helpful for the dog.
Thanks to CBD, now there are natural ways to help calm your dog with positive results. One thing that you need to worry about is the dosage. But you can always start with the lowest dosage possible to be safe. Ask your veterinarian if they can prescribe any veterinary medicine to deal with storm anxiety.
A dog’s coat can be uncomfortable and even painful when it is charged with static electricity. The changes in the atmosphere or air pressure that occur just before a storm cause an unpleasant build-up of this harmful charge, which may result in producing painful shocks.
Furthermore, a treat can distract your pet during heavy storms and thunder phobia. If your pet is afraid, don’t let him suffer like that. Take care of your pet, and make sure to follow the tips above to reduce fear and anxiety from your pet.
A lot of dogs are scared of thunderstorms. So don’t panic when you see your dog whimpering and crying during thunderstorms. Follow the methods above that are highly effective, or simply visit the veterinarian for more solutions when it comes to storm anxiety.