There are very few dogs who are not at least bothered by thunder and thunder storms. With summer quickly approaching, thunder storms become a frequent occurrence that our dogs would rather do without. No matter how afraid of storms your dog is, we’re sure you can find at least one of these tips to help with their fears.
1. Turn up the TV or radio to mute the sound of the thunder. Some experts think dogs are more afraid of the thunder because of the static electricity or barometric changes but allowing your dog’s ears some relief from the loud crashing thunder won’t hurt and will probably help him to be a bit calmer.
2. Usually when dogs are anxious, they want to stay close to you and follow you around as much as possible. Other dogs like to hide behind furniture, in the bathroom, garage or basement to get away from the noise. If they want to hide, let them. This is their way of making themselves feel safe and protected. If your dog likes to follow you around like a shadow, do not scold him – let him stay close but do not coddle him. This will only reassure him that he has a reason to be frightened.
3. Try distracting your dog with a fun activity like throwing ball, playing tug-of-war or practicing their training. It is best to start this activity before the storm hits – that way your dog will already be distracted by the activity and may pay less attention to the storm. If your dog is too afraid and is not listening, stop the training immediately. You don’t want to make training a bad experience for him. Try giving small treats for doing small things such as sit or come – anything to make him “think” and distract his mind.
4. There are several different medicines that your vet can prescribe for your dog to use when there will be thunder storms, if his anxiety is that bad. These prescriptions are the equivalent to Xanax or Prozac but for dogs. There are also different herbal supplements that help as well. Talk to your vet about these different options and what may work best for your dog.
5. For some dogs, a great way to keep them calm is to swaddle them like a baby. This works especially well for small and medium sized dogs. Wrap them tightly so that only their head is exposed and hold them in your lap. You can use a blanket, towel or whatever will fit around their body. There is also a new product on the market called Thundershirt that provides this same type of comfort for your dog to reduce anxiety and stress.