Is your dog afraid of thunderstorms? When lightning flashes and thunder rolls, many dogs become anxious and fearful. Here are some tips on how to calm and comfort your dog during thunderstorms and noisy weather.
A dog's ears are much more sensitive to loud sounds than our own ears. Many dogs have noise phobias that can be triggered by fireworks, gunfire, construction sounds, heavy traffic, and other loud noises. If your dog is one of these poor pups, thunderstorms are probably very high on their list of scary noises!
A dog's storm anxiety might be triggered by the following:
Fear of storms can produce some decidedly unwelcome behavior in even a well-trained but terrified pet. Dogs don't understand where the noise is coming from when the thunder rumbles; they just know that the sound makes them scared and anxious.
The PARC vet hospital explains that thunderstorm phobias can cause extremely fearful dogs to exhibit destructive behaviors like ripping up carpets, clawing through drywall, and even breaking down doors in their frantic efforts to escape.
Dogs suffering from thunderstorm anxiety may exhibit these signs of fear and panic:
Thunder and lightning aren't the only parts of a thunderstorm that may be terrifying your poor dog. Driving rain, pounding hail, and howling winds amp up the fear factor, too.
You may want to work with a canine behaviorist before storm season arrives in your area if your dog has an especially bad storm phobia. This is important since Veterinarians.org says that in really extreme cases of storm anxiety, a dog may turn on family members and bite them out of sheer terror.
As pet parents, we want to do everything possible to alleviate our dog's fear during a thunderstorm. The terror of a dog during thunderstorms is absolutely heartbreaking for a loving dog owner to watch. All we want is for them to be able to take a thunderstorm in their normally happy-go-lucky stride. So, what steps can a pet parent take to help their beloved dog at least approach that blissful state?
Playing a recording of a distant thunderstorm at a low volume will let your dog slowly get desensitized to the sound of rumbling thunder. If your dog can't even bear listening to a muted thunderstorm, try a white noise machine instead. White noise will at least help mask the sound of approaching thunder, while drawing the drapes will block out the sight of those fearful flashes of lightning.
If you're expecting a thunderstorm later in the day, tire your dog out with a long walk or run, a robust game of fetch, or an extra-long session on the treadmill.
Also, provide a safe place for your dog during thunderstorms. Their preferred safe space might be their kennel (especially if it has a comfy crate pad and a cover to block out the sight and sound of the storm).
Other options might include a luxuriously comfortable dog bed in your bedroom closet or a dog floor pillow in a quiet interior bathroom. However, they might prefer burrowing under the covers of your bed. If the space is soundproof, so much the better!
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Don't indulge your dog's anxiety! Try playing a favorite game with your dog during thunderstorms. If that doesn't work, provide your anxious dog with a safe place and some comfort aids to help them calm down.
Provide a space where they feel safe, and turn on a white noise machine or play soothing classical music for your dog during thunderstorms. Also, you can use an Adaptil pheromone diffuser or dress them in a Thundershirt to help ease their storm anxiety.
You never know where you and your dog might be during a scary thunderstorm! Your dog's favorite blanket and a special toy may be enough to keep them at least a little calm until you can get them safely home.
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