If you have a dog with storm phobia, a thunderstorm could be your worst nightmare. Your pets will whine, pant, cry, urinate uncontrollably, and even be destructive. So, how to calm your dog during a storm? Here, Animalsvote shares 8 effective ways to help you lessen anxiety in canines.
Be Home With Your Dog
For a dog with a history of storm phobia, being alone during the severe weather condition will only worsen the anxiety. Therefore, as a responsible pet parent, you should try to be home with him in such a situation. Update information by regularly listening to the weather forecast. Or at least if you can not make the way home, have somebody stay with your dog during the storm.
Read more: How To Get An Abused Dog To Trust You?
To reduce your pet’s anxiety, it’s a good practice to give him comfort and attention he needs to cheer him up. A fearful dog can be overstimulated and emotional during a thunderstorm. Thus, a hug with a soft and calm voice from you will show him that you’re always beside and there’s nothing to fear at all.
At the same time, you’d better monitor your own reaction. If you’re suffering from storm phobia yourself, try to stay calm. Otherwise, your dog will notice that his owner is stressed too, which makes his situation even worse.
Provide Distractions To Calm Your Dog During A Storm
Distractions are effective facilitators to redirect your dog’s attention from the thunderstorm. To better ensure that they do not focus on the storm, you can try some indoor gameplay such as a puzzle toy, fetch, and tug.
Due to the playful character, your pet is likely to have his attention switched to the game and the phobia will level off. Meanwhile, remember to offer a high-value treat to encourage your pooch during the whole process.
Offer a Safe Place
If your little furry friend is bothered by the storm, he will try to find somewhere that is safe to settle down. The place is like a psychological defense for pooches from the weather condition and can leave an incredible impact on their comfort level. The ideal hiding location could be under the table, under your bed, his crate, or behind the settee.
You should allow them to go there and leave them be. This is a good sign that they’re learning how to cope with the thunderstorm themselves. It’s also advisable to close the curtain to shelter your pets from the visual stimulation of the storm like lightning.
Compete With Noise
To soothe your dog into a calmer state, competing with noise should also be taken into account. If a completely sound-proof room is not available, you can consider turning on the radio, playing some music, or using a white noise creating machine. Dog-calming music and the other sources of noises could cover the sound created from the storm. What’s better than immerse yourself in melodies and relieve your pet’s anxiety at the same time?
Prepare Your Dog For The Storm
To better prepare your pet for the severe weather condition, you can plan some specific exercises. If the time is right, this preparation will help your dog calmer and even make him sleepy when the storm hits. However, remember to keep the activities in moderation. Also, if you know that the storm is coming, do not take the pet out for a walk. This is because he will be aware of the oncoming storm as well.
If possible, find some thunderstorm sounds to get your pooch used to them. Try playing the noise at low volume. To energize him, you can consider giving your dog treats/playing games with this as background noise makes. Over time, slowly turn up the volume to gradually create a positive experience of the sound. The aim of this preparation is to desensitize to the thunderstorm’s noises and hopefully lessen the shock when an actual one occurs.
Calming Remedies To Calm Your Dog During A Storm
For mild to moderate cases of storm phobia in dogs, natural therapies can be of much help. Many pet owners have tried to apply bach flower extracts ( which are found in Bach’s Rescue Remedy) in their pets to help them overcome the situation. Dog pheromones, diffusing lavender oil can promote relaxation, bringing your pet to a calm state.
The Final Solution: Visit Your Veterinarian
For the highly-anxious pooches who do not respond to the above methods, the final resolution is a visit to the vet. With this last resort, the medical staff will discuss and give you useful tips and medication to curb your pet’s storm anxiety. But remember that only all the above ways fail do you consider vet check-ups. This is because in some cases, vet visiting can worsen dogs’ phobia.