Helping your Dog Get Through that Thunderstorm

May 11, 2017

helping your dog through the tunderstormDogs are members of the family and it can often be troubling to see them afraid of things that aren’t likely to hurt them. Vacuum cleaners and musical instruments become parts of our daily lives, yet they can be terrifying to pets. A major source of fear and anxiety in dogs is thunderstorms. This is referred to as storm anxiety by animal behaviorists. Although it may seem like it isn’t a big deal, this storm anxiety can cause a dog to do damage to itself or its surroundings. Dogs have broken toenails, bruised or cut themselves in a panic induced by thunder. They can also tear furniture and scratch at walls and doors in an attempt to flee from the noise. Whether the dog is a puppy or an adult, there are different ways to combat this frustrating, but unnecessary fear.

Training Puppies Not To Fear Storms

If a dog is trained from a young age not to fear thunder and lightning, it will grow up to be an adult that weathers the storm well. Below are a few methods of dog training that teach a puppy to not fear thunderstorms:

  • Play CDs of Storms During Calm Weather
  • Provide Treats Whenever It Storms
  • Play Loud Music To Compete With The Storm

A puppy that is subjected to the sounds of thunderstorms during calm days will learn that the noise is not an unusual one and will not be fearful. Playing loud music or white noise can help drown out the storm and giving treats during a storm will teach the puppy to associate thunder with good things. Another option for during the day while you are at work is dog daycare. People in the Lakewood and Golden areas can kennel their dogs during the day at a professional dog boarding business. By informing the dog’s caretakers of the training routine, they will ensure that the same methods are employed during any storm that may happen during the day.

Coping With An Adult Dog With Storm Anxiety

When dealing with an adult dog that has always suffered or has recently developed storm anxiety, the best options also reinforce the same dog training as used with puppies. In addition to the above suggestions, there are some other options that can be tried:

  • Reward Calm Behavior
  • Provide A Safe Place To Hide
  • Consider A Thunder Shirt
  • Talk To A Vet About Medications

By rewarding calm behavior, a dog owner shows the pet that remaining calm will result in treats. Though it’s alright to comfort a frightened pet, overly lavishing them with attention during storm anxiety will exacerbate the behavior.

Providing a kennel or other safe place to hide will help calm a fearful pet. If a kennel is already a part of the dog care routine, it can be moved to a basement or interior room that will provide better insulation from the sounds of a storm.

A tight fitting garment called a thunder shirt might also help with storm anxiety. Some people have found that the tightness of the garment provides a type of hugging feeling for the pet, producing a sensation of general well being.

If the dog suffers from extreme anxiety or continues to get worse despite attempts to alleviate the fear, a veterinarian might prescribe anti-anxiety medicine for the dog that should be used when storms occur.

Consider Dog Boarding

Dogs that suffer storm anxiety can also be afraid of other loud outside noises. If the owner spends all day at work, the pet is left to fend for itself at home and may become destructive during storms. A good idea for these cases is to enroll the pet in dog daycare. A licensed facility and its trained staff are equipped to handle all dog care needs, even for pets who suffer anxiety. Using this service ensures that the dog’s training is upheld during hours that the owner is away, as well as providing the comfort of knowing that an anxiety-ridden dog is not tearing up the house or himself.

People who reside in the Golden and Lakewood areas should consider dog daycare as an alternative to leaving their pet alone all day. Dog boarding is easy and can provide a great deal of comfort to dogs that suffer from both separation and storm induced anxiety. The owner gets the satisfaction of knowing that their pet is safe and well cared for while they work and many facilities offer flexible drop-off and pick-up schedules that will fit most work shifts. Whether there is storm in the forecast or a string of sunny summer days, boarding a dog might be the best way to ensure that a pet is getting the attention they need and deserve.