Whenever we see the forecast saying there is a thunderstorm approaching, we would think about entertaining stuff to do. Reading a book with a relaxing playlist playing on the back or sitting on your favorite spot on the couch watching a movie.
For some dogs, it is not the same. Dog scared of thunder is a common phenomenon that occurs occasionally. Experiencing a stormy night is not so pleasant for many of them, you can witness the consequences of your dog being anxious from a thunderstorm. From pacing, barking and running down in patterned circles to chewing and eliminating in the house.
There are a lot of reasons why your dog may get scared of thunder, so let’s know more about ways to soothe dog scared of thunder and what actually triggers this anxiety in our canines.
Dog Scared of Thunder; Common Triggers
It is an agonizing experience to watch your dog getting thunder phobia, even dogs that are known for good behaviors may get deeply affected with thunderstorms. Whenever this happens, you will find cues that will tell you that your dog is suffering from this situation.
Barking and running around is one of the common symptoms of a dog suffering from a thunder phobia to do, it may even reach a high level of danger that your dog may annihilate doors and windows or try to escape.
There is no solid answer for why a dog is having a storm phobia. A lot of justifications are there but not a single one of them is 100% proven to be right and proven one. Here are some of the reasons experts think that they may be the influence of such an issue;
A blend of natural factors like wind, the variation of barometric pressure, static electricity, lightning, thunder, and low frequent rumbling that humans can’t hear before a storm. According to some theories, dogs suffer from painful jolts from the electric static building up before a thunderstorm. This could be one of the reasons why your dog scared of thunder.
Past Unpleasant Experiences
If you adopted a dog from a shelter, typically, you won’t know if he had any type of anxiety or bad behavior how he/she actually gained it.
In the case of the dog fear of thunderstorms, the past owners maybe they tend to leave him/her out in the backyard or anything even if there was a storm, or maybe when he/she was in the shelter whenever there was a storm or any loud noise he/she couldn’t get comfortable for a long period of time so they are now getting back these memories and become scared as they were back then.
Predispose for Being Anxious
Some dogs are scared of thunderstorms because they are more prone to having this type of pf anxiety. Being predisposed has may form in dogs; dogs may get separation anxiety if they were left alone for a long period of time, others may get anxious about meeting a new pet, human or any new adjustment for the family.
Breeds like German Shepherd, Labrador Retriever, and Border Collie are being prone to be predisposed for anxiety. For small or toy breeds, Chihuahuas is prone to it too.
Dog Scared of Thunder; How to Ease It
So, your dog scared of thunder?
If your dog has this fear of thunderstorms, you will have to deal with it as if it is left it will get worse with time, so you need to keep in mind you will have to find a suitable way to make your pooch more comfortable when a storm hits your city.
No matter what the reason is, listed above or not, you will be able to soothe your dog with these solutions;
1# Give Your Dog a Safe Place to Hide in
You could choose any place that you think would be a good hide place for when your dog scared of thunder. It could be an open crate, the bathroom, an interior room where music is being played, or even the basement where your dog can’t see or hear what is going outdoors.
You could leave him to choose wherever he wants, typically, he would have a place to hide whenever there is a storm, you can notice where he actually goes, and make it his safe hide place.
Make sure not to limit your dog’s access anywhere he wants to go into the house, give him the will to come and go as he like. Some dogs when confined will be more anxious, so make sure your dog is staying in a comfortable place that he likes and have the will to stay or leave this place as he likes.
2# Don’t Encourage Fearful Reactions
A mistake that some of the pet parents fall for is to console their dogs when they tend to whimper or trying to climb on them, in fact, this encourages their fears to grow more and not the opposite.
But that doesn’t mean you will have to punish your dog for such an act too, this won’t solve the problem either, alternatively, you will have to train your dog to settle on command.
This act has to be done when there is no storm if you tried it when your dog scared of thunder you won’t get any positive results. Get a leash that could be used indoors and start to teach your dog to sit calmly and obey your command. Whenever there is a storm coming, you will have to put the leash on and command your dog to come and sit on the chosen place. Check 5 Basic Commands You Should Know About to know how to train your dog for the “come” and “sit” command.
You can distract your dog by giving him one of his favorite chew toys during a storm or try to give him a treat praising the calm behavior. The reason you are doing this is to make your dog forget about the thunderstorm by replacing his fear with a positive act that would ease his behaviors.
3# Tire Your Dog Before a Thunderstorm
If a storm is predicted, you should consider taking your dog out for some exercises and activities so when the storm is there, your dog will be both mentally and physically and that will help in calming him, also, extra exercise will increase the serotonin levels naturally in the dog’s body which is s a natural calming neurotransmitter.
You could use counter-conditioning to train your dog. Counter-conditioning is a process in which you will associate a negative experience with a positive one. Giving him his favorite toy or extra treats to divert your dog’s attention away from the thunderstorm.
4# Consider Using a Calming Vest
This is one of the options that I prefer personally. Having a dog scared of thunder myself made me think about the best option to calm him down during a storm, Using a Snug-fit shirt was great for my ‘Joila’. It helps the dog to keep calm by using a technique resembling the way we swaddle a baby.
It was so great for my dog that she actually wants to keep wearing it all the time! The swaddling effects lessen the anxiety of any dog that he may actually fall asleep.
You could try glamours dogs Relax Vest, it is made of quality garment that won’t hurt your dog’s skin, feels like you are cradling or swaddling your dog and easy to be cleaned.
5# Ask For Advice From Your Vet
It is always a good idea to consult your veterinarian when you are taking a decision for your dog. Vets have more information about how to deal with behavioral problems and attitudes and also, could give you a rescue remedy to calm your dog if his anxiety while a thunderstorm is excessive.
Rescue remedies or medication, in general, is not something we should give it to our dogs without a prescription from a doctor, so consulting your vet will give you more insights and solutions that are suitable for your dog’s condition.
Calming a dog scared of thunder is not a hard thing when you choose the best option for your dog’s condition. Tell us if your dog is scared of thunder or not and what you do to calm him.