Storms can be truly frightening, especially for dogs who probably do not know what is going on and why. Sky turning dark quickly, the loud boom of thunder, bright flashes of lighting, strong winds and hail and even the possibility of tornadoes are the perfect recipe for some wound up fear and anxiety.
If your dog shows signs of being anxious or even scared of storms, there are some steps you can take to help your dog relax, and you should do it quickly before your dog’s fear turns into a severe anxiety issue.
Help your dog relax by creating a place of serenity for your dog
Find a safe, interior room in your home preferably on the first floor – especially if you live in an area where tornadoes are common. An interior space is safer for your dog, and the storms rumbles can be muffled to help your dog adjust. This room will be your dog’s panic room, a place for him to escape and relax. You may even want to consider playing a CD of soothing music to help calm him. Never restrict your dog to a crate during a storm, as this may only increase the fear.
Remove Storm Visuals
When a storm begins, immediately close your windows and curtains to help eliminate the scene of the storm from your dog’s view. This may allow your pup to feel safer and not have the scary bright flashes of lighting and items blowing scare him. If your windows have shutters, they should be secured tightly, to reduce the clashing sounds outside the house.
Distract Your Dog
Turn on the radio. Dance and play with your dog to distract him. By distracting your dog from the noise, and diverting his attention from the storm; he’ll calm down a bit. Play a favorite game, or snuggle up to watch a movie. If you under a tornado warning or your dog anxiety increases, take him to a designated room and spend time with him there.
If these steps aren’t working, your dog may have a more severe anxiety disorder associated with storms that require professional help. Signs that your dog is undergoing anxiety may include: excessive drooling, panting, shivering or hiding. Your dog may act badly out of fear and destroy furniture or have accidents inside. If a dog has storm anxiety, is left outside, there’s the risk he may try to run away. If you feel your dog has a serious anxiety, you should make an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss options of anxiety reducing herbal supplements or even medication.
Have patience and an understanding attitude when it comes to your dog’s fear of storms. It is a common occurrence for dogs to have this fear, with more than one-third of the dog population having the same fear. In time, you can help your dog cope with Mother Nature, by taking steps at home to relieve his fears or by getting additional help from your veterinarian. You are a terrific, responsible owner for trying to help comfort your dog.
For more than a decade, Susan Wright has been a practicing veterinarian who provides professional, quality care to domestic and family pets. Dr. Wright is a dog bark collar expert and writer. Susan composes articles that offer instruction, helpful tips, and advice on proper care of dogs in between vet visits.