Calm Your Dog's Thunderstorm Fear and Anxiety

7th June 2018

thunderstorms and dogs

Fear of thunderstorms and lightning is very common in dogs. Those big booms can be very scary. Many dogs can sense a storm coming from the rapidly falling barometric pressure. Therefore, your dog may show anxiety even before the storm can be heard.

Does your otherwise obedient dog begin to pace, pant, cling to you, or hide under the bed at the first sight of an approaching storm? In more severe cases, Bark Busters has even trained dogs that will break through a window out of fear.

  • Stay calm . Dogs can sense fear or discomfort from people, so it is important you remain calm during storms. Let your dog stay close and try and distract him by playing.
  • Don't scold or reward . Do not try to comfort him in a sympathetic voice; this will sound like praise and may increase his nervousness and confusion.
  • Keep it closed . Keep your windows and curtains closed to reduce noise and bright flashes. Turn on a TV or radio at a normal volume to distract your dog from loud noises and help him to relax.
  • A safe den . Provide your dog with a safe place to be during storms whether inside or out. Create a special den-like area in your home where your dog always feels safe and secure. If a storm is brewing, lead your dog to his special place to help him feel calm and protected. If you cannot bring your dog inside, cover his doghouse with a blanket to offer some protection from the bursts of thunder and lightning. Be sure your dog can come and go freely, since some animals become more anxious if penned up.
  • Medication. Consult with your veterinarian because there are many calming medications on the market that help dogs to cope with their fears and anxieties. Also, like swaddling a baby, there are snug-fitting shirts and wraps especially designed to calm anxious dogs.
  • Reconditioning. Dogs that continue to panic when a storm approaches may have to be reconditioned by creating an artificial storm with environmental recordings. This is something you should not attempt yourself, call your local Bark Busters trainer.

Some dogs with storm phobias are also frightened of other loud noises, such as fireworks or gunshots, but others are only afraid of storms. Bark Busters will help you get to the 'why' of your dog's behaviour and help you to manage issues or phobias.

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