Having an anxious dog can be tough, particularly if they are afraid of thunderstorms. After all, there are many things you can do to mitigate anxiety-inducing situations for your pups, but controlling the weather is one thing that you just can’t do. Luckily, though, if you have a dog that is afraid of thunderstorms, there are some steps you can take to help make storms more tolerable and less panic-inducing for your pets. Here are some helpful ways that you can help out your scared dog during a storm.
How to Help Your Dog Who’s Afraid of Storms
Try a Storm Jacket
There are several companies who now make tight jackets that a dog can wear during a storm to help calm them. These jackets hug dogs’ bodies tight and make them feel like they are swaddled, which can bring them a sense of comfort and relief. One of the most popular brands of storm jacket is called the Thundershirt, which comes in different sizes to fit dogs of all kinds.
Create a Safe Space
Give your dog a safe space that he can go to when the weather starts getting bad. This space can be a whole room, which is sheltered from the outside (like a basement), or it can be a small space, like a crate outfitted with comfortable blankets and toys for him. By giving your pet a place to escape, you give him the option of finding a space where he can ride out the storm.
Try to Get Your Dog Used to the Sounds
You can try using recordings of rainstorms and thunder to get your dog used to the sound of storms. That way, they are not so jarring when they actually happen. You can find YouTube videos and MP3 files of sound effects that sound like storms. Start playing these in the same room as your dog at a low volume, then increase the volume over time. It can help to play these sounds for your dog during the winter, when storms happen less frequently, so you can prepare him for the summer, when storms happen more frequently.
Don’t Lock Your Dog Up
If you can avoid locking your dog up in a crate or kennel during a storm, that can help reduce anxiety. Dogs who feel trapped during a storm can get even more anxious and panicked — and dogs may even do things like chew through a crate or kennel if they get too panicked.
Distract Your Dog
During a storm, if your dog starts to get anxious, consider trying to distract him with a toy or activity that he loves. Get a new bone that tastes great and that he can gnaw on to get his anxiety out — or play fetch with his favorite ball. Reward all of his good, calm behavior when you’re distracting your dog, so that he realizes that the right thing to do in a storm is to be obedient and calm, not anxious and jittery.
Talk to Your Vet
If your dog suffers from storm phobia, your vet may be able to help. When you take your dog in to get his or her regular Bravecto chewable for dogs, ask your vet if there are things that you can do to help your jittery pooch better tolerate stormy weather. There may be natural supplements or remedies that your vet can recommend, which can calm your dog when bad weather arrives. Your vet may be able to recommend things like valerian, melatonin and more that are all natural and proven to treat nerves. Dogs who are severely storm-phobic may be able to benefit from very low doses of anti-anxiety medication that was created for pets.
This guest post is sponsored by our friends at Allivet Pet Pharmacy.