While some pets don’t seem to mind loud noises and heavy storm systems, it’s not uncommon for your household pets to be affected when a big storm rolls through. A dog afraid of thunderstorms may curl up and hide, or, if you happen to have a more active and worried pet, they might turn to destructive behavior. Keeping dogs calm during storms can be a challenge. We’re here to help you (and them!) with some tips on keeping them calm and helping out with any potential anxiety they may experience due to nasty weather.
The factors surrounding why your dog is afraid of thunderstorms can vary – it could be that your pup has experienced trauma associated with loud noises or they are hypersensitive to changes in pressure associated with storm systems, or any number of other things. Regardless the reasons why, helping your nervous dog cope with fear or anxiety related to thunderstorms can be as simple as snuggling up with them. In some instances, helping manage their day to day anxiety through diet or other means can be beneficial to cutting off thunderstorm meltdowns before they even happen. We’ve put together some common reactive behaviors a dog afraid of thunderstorms might display, as well as some tips to help them cope.
How to Help a Dog Afraid of Thunderstorms – Behaviors and Remedies
Dogs are a bit like people in that they are all different little personalities – what works for one may not work for the next. We all have our own little idiosyncrasies and like their owners, some dogs respond to certain actions and treatment better than others. Here are some remedies for keeping dogs calm during thunderstorms – hopefully one will work great for you!
- Creating a Safe Space – Sometimes our pooches simply need reassurance and support in knowing they’re safe. Whether this means giving them a quiet dark place to hide, or surrounding them by their favorite toys on their favorite blanket, reassuring them can be as easy as giving them a safe place to weather the storm.
- Thundershirts – A pretty simple but impressive innovation, this product provides gentle but constant pressure to your dog – it has an amazing calming effect! We see the same response with swaddling infants or using weighted vests to help people with disorders like autism. It can cut out worried barking, naughty anxious behavior while you’re away, and the best part? It’s natural and holistic – a gentle squeeze to calm your pup down during storms, travel, fireworks and more.
- Consider Your Dog’s Joint Health – Ever heard someone say they can feel a storm coming in their bad knee? The same could be true for your aging dogs. Damaged or aged joints tend to feel the changes in pressure due to weather systems moving in and cause discomfort and pain. A dog afraid of thunderstorms might be experiencing conditions related to joint pain. A great way to proactively boost their joint health is to utilize healthy, natural joint supplements paired with a healthy diet.
- How Are You Acting? – Your pets look to you for a lot of things such as dinner, play time, groomings, to determine how to act. It may sound crazy but if you’re tense, agitated or anxious during a storm, chances are good your furry friends are paying close attention. They look to you to consider whether they should be alarmed or if it’s okay to relax a bit. Some reassuring words and calm demeanor may help more than you think.
- The Electric Theory – Some behaviorists believe that a dog afraid of thunderstorms isn’t concerned about the noise or change in pressure, but are uncomfortable with the static electricity brought on by harsh storm systems. Some believe that the best place for an anxious dog is in the bathtub, and others yet even think rubbing a dryer sheet (please use a dye- and scent-free brand to cut out chemicals and toxins!) over your pet can help with the tingling they might be experience. Let’s face it – static shock is unpleasant for everyone!
- Calming Supplements – Sometimes that anxiety is best handled with natural supplements that are geared toward calm and relaxation. Vital Planet’s CALM supplement is made to help with stressful situations – travel, thunderstorms, fireworks and separation are some common instances that can benefit from herbs like chamomile, lemon balm and valerian.
Hopefully your pet isn’t too scared or uncomfortable while getting past these scary storms and now you’re armed with a good toolbox of anti-anxiety methods to help your pet ease through thunderstorms naturally. Of course, if you’ve tried some of these more gentle remedies and your pet still seems to struggle you may consider consulting your trusted veterinarian. Dog anxiety can be easy to manage if you’re well equipped and ready to make the extra effort to make your pets feel safe. Good luck during your next thunderstorm, we’ve got our fingers crossed for you!