Dogs Scared of Thunder & Storms – What to Do

Is your dog afraid of thunder or bad storms?  Does your pet dog get scared, nervous behavior prior to and during thunderstorms?  Well this is a common problem amongst many dog owners.  Some dogs have such a serious issue with this that they may vomit due to fear, or even attempt to break out of the house.  The phobia in question may actually be more of a noise phobia caused by the loud sound of thunder.  Many dogs suffer from this fear of loud noises including thunder, fireworks, airplane motors and other loud noises.  Some of the common symptoms associated with a dog who is scared of thunderstorms include panting, pacing, crying, remaining close to the owner and in extreme cases it can bring a dog to destructive behaviors.

There’s several things you can try to keep your dog calm during a bad storm.  Some dogs prefer to stay close to their family members or owners during a storm.  So it may be a good idea to allow this particular behavior, but don’t go overboard in comforting.  It’s been recommended that you don’t use a comforting or sympathetic voice with the dog during a storm, because it could cause them to get more worried.  Instead try using a playful and hearty voice because it may instill more confidence in the dog.  Also, avoid petting, stroking or giving your dog treats, as these may also reinforce that the scared behavior is acceptable in that situation.

Giving your dog a safe place to stay is essential during a severe storm.  Some dogs may prefer to hide under a bed or specific piece of furniture.  The basement is another safe haven that many dogs find comfort in from a storm.  If you can train your dog to go to a specific safe place during a storm, this can go a long way towards keeping your dog calm and feeling safe.  You may need to stay with them if you are in the home to further alleviate their fears.

Another thing to try is making a recording of thunder noises to use as a training tool.  Some people have reported using these recordings at a low level around their dogs and gradually increasing the volume levels to get the dog used to them.  This may work with some dogs, but others may not be so easily fooled.

A home remedy mentioned for calming dogs prior to storms is to rub a fabric softener (anti-static cling) sheet on the dog’s coat.  It’s been reported that this has helped to reduce a dog’s anxiety prior to and during a storm.

Your veterinarian may recommend an Anxiolytic medication for your dog such as alprazolam, diazepam or clorazepate.  There’s also many great products available on the market to help soothe your dog’s stirred up emotions during a storm.  Make sure to consult with your veterinarian before introducing any new medications or products into your dog’s health routine.

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