Some dogs may find the sound of thunder, pyrotechnics, or gunshots to be unpleasant. Others experience all of it, including the smell of rain as well as thunder, lightning, barometric pressure change, and static electricity. Still some canines suffer from generalized anxiousness that gets worse during storms. Working with your vet to identify the type of stress your dog is experiencing—noise phobia, storm phobia, separation anxiety, or a combination of stresses—will help you choose the best course of action for your pet. Your veterinarian may suggest drugs to aid if the level of anxiety in your dog is so high that they are injuring themselves or damaging property. We are concerned about the mental and physical harm they might inflict on themselves during this extremely stressful situation. So, how can you manage a dog’s storm-related fear and anxiety? Here are the tips for keeping your dog calm in a storm:
Stay at home with your pet
A dog who already fears thunderstorms will become even more anxious if left alone. If inclement weather is predicted, make an effort to stay inside or arrange for someone to watch your dog while it storms.
Provide your dog with the comfort and care she requires to reduce her anxiety. Because they are overstimulated and emotionally charged, anxious dogs are unable to learn, therefore soothing them does not reduce their dread. To keep your dog comfortable during the storm, try giving him a relaxing massage.
A dog’s anxiety is likely to escalate if it is disciplined or neglected while going through a stressful experience. Instead, use a positive stimulus to divert and relax your dog, such soft patting. If your dog is still interested, try indoor fetch, tug of war, or giving him a high-value chew.
Provide a Safe Area
Put your dog’s crate and/or bed in the room in your house with the best soundproofing. Dogs’ natural psychological defense is their crate, which has a huge impact on how comfortable they are. Additionally, closing the blinds will protect your dog from the storm’s visual excitement.
Compete With Noise
When a room isn’t totally soundproof, use a radio or white noise machine to drown out the noise. A extremely anxious dog may benefit from dog-calming music to block out the sound of the storm.
Use desensitization techniques.
By using a stormy sound CD, try to desensitize your dog to the sound of storms. Start off by playing the CD very softly while providing your dog with a lot of nutritious goodies and encouraging socialization. Desensitization can reduce or even get rid of storm anxiety by gradually raising the loudness over a few weeks.
Natural treatments can be very beneficial for mild to moderate storm anxiety. A thunder jacket can soothe your dog into a calmer mood by simulating cradling. Dog pheromones, lavender oil diffusers, and Bach flower extracts (found in Bach’s Rescue Remedy) can all help with relaxation.
Think about a tight-fitting outfit.
Sherman, a consultant for Thundershirt, a so-called pressure garment that is believed to have a relaxing effect akin to swaddling a baby, believes snug-fitting shirts and wraps expressly designed to calm anxious dogs are worthwhile to try. A metal fabric-lined cloak sold as the Storm Defender, which is supposed to shield dogs from static shocks, also seems to have an effect on some dogs. The advantages of these clothes have only been reported ad hoc. According to research author Nicole Cottam, MS, behavior service coordinator at Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, “there was a trend toward the Storm Defender functioning better” than a placebo cape in a 2009 trial, but the differences were statistically insignificant. A study conducted by Tufts academics is being funded by the creators of the Anxiety Wrap, another compression garment.
For advice, consult your veterinarian.
The doctor can examine whether medication may also be required and may have other suggestions for behavior adjustment. Although not every dog needs anti-anxiety medicine, Sherman claims that canines who are suffering from extreme anxiety will benefit greatly. In severe situations, owners would keep their dogs on the medication for the entire season, while others will give their pets medicine in the morning if a storm is predicted for later in the day.
While the primary goal of training is to gradually expose the animal to higher levels of the stimulus while it is still relaxed, matching a particular favorite reward with each training session might aid in the animal’s development of a positive and pleasurable connection with the stimulus. Your dog will eventually look forward to each fresh exposure to these muted levels of the stimulus if you identify and save the pet’s special reward for each desensitization session (counter-conditioning). Determine which rewards should be utilized for a counter-conditioning program by performing a reinforcer assessment (finding your dog’s favorite reinforcers). Use the less preferred rewards for other types of training.
It is your obligation to ensure their safety and give them the required tools or strategies for protecting your pets against natural occurrences, whether physically or mental.