No matter where you live, a thunderstorm can strike at any moment. An unexpected storm may be a stressful experience for you and your best friend. As a responsible pet owner, it is beneficial to know how to calm a dog during a thunderstorm. For this reason, we sat down with our Trupanion veterinarian Dr. Caroline Wilde to learn about how to calm a dog during a thunderstorm and the benefits to help keep your pet calm for the future.
What to do if your dog is scared
during a thunderstorm
How can a thunderstorm affect dogs?
Since thunderstorms may pop up with little to no warning, it may be hard to know whether your best friend is stressed by the storm. In fact, there are several reasons why your dog may be scared. For example, “the noise, vibrations, changes in air pressure, and the lights can cause severe fear and anxiety in dogs,” points out Wilde. Also, it may be the intensity of the thunder or not knowing exactly where the noise is coming from.
Signs of stress from a thunderstorm
Every dog is different. Some puppies may not be affecting by their environment, while other dogs may be sensitive to noise or the anxiety may grow over time.
Wilde weighs in on the following
common signs of stress or anxiety during a storm:
- Destructive behaviors, like urinating
If your dog is experiencing any of these, please seek the care of your veterinarian. They can help determine the stressor and recommend a treatment plan. Consider keeping a journal and letting your veterinarian know how your pet acts during the storm. It may helpful when determining the root of the problem.
The benefits of calming your dog
during a thunderstorm
With stress, anxiety, and your pets, it’s really helpful to prepare as much as you can. Naturally, the last thing you want is an overly stressed dog, which may be overwhelming for the entire family. Wilde points out the benefits of calming your dog during the storm and what it can do for the long-term.
- When a dog is scared of thunderstorms, it may be helpful to know when storms are anticipated. For example, you can be proactive to decrease anxiety, as once the dog is showing these signs, it is more difficult to calm them down.
- Your pet’s anxiety and fear may become quite severe. There are many different ways to try to help your dog feel less anxious. Consider putting your pet in a dark room, as isolated from the storm as possible. Also, white background noise, like a fan or television may be beneficial.
- Speak with your veterinarian regarding other options for the management of the thunderstorm phobia. Some dogs may benefit from anti-anxiety medications. These medications are more effective when given prior to the storm’s arrival. There are also products such as “thundershirts” which can help some phobic dogs.
Learning how to calm
a dog during a thunderstorm may be beneficial for the entire family
When your dog is stressed or anxious, there may be a chance you’re stressed or anxious. As a pet owner, it’s hard to watch your pet under stress or be in pain. Take it one day at a time, give them plenty of cuddles and positive reinforcement. By working with your veterinarian and staying on track with your dog’s treatment, over time you will see progress.
What helps calm your dog during a thunderstorm?
learn more on training and behavior, read How to
Crate Train a Puppy