Is your dog afraid of thunder, lightning and electrical storms? If he is, you know how it begins. You hear a rumbling in the distance; you see the cloud mass building and you are worried.
You ask yourself, where is the dog? You start looking around wondering if your dog has already heard the approaching thunderstorm and if he has already taken off.
Many dogs suffer from dog anxiety when a thunder storm is hitting and many will act extremely anxious for some time before you even notice the storm.
Dogs have acute hearing and their hearing is believed to be around nine times better than human hearing, so they can hear the storm coming long before you even notice it.
In this article we investigate the following points;
- Secure your dog.
- Offer food and water.
- Offer distractions.
- Check on your dog often.
- Get your dog an anti-anxiety coat.
- Some final thoughts on how to manage storm stress.
What to do if your dog is afraid of storms.
It is best if you notice before a storm hits to take action, but sometimes it might be too late and your dog may have ran off. When you find your dog, here is what you can do to reduce his anxiety during an electrical storm.
Secure your dog.
It is a good idea to secure your dog in an area where he cannot escape, especially if your dog is prone to running away during a storm. In a panicked state your dog may not be thinking clearly and might run across roads or intersections risking his life.
Offer Food and water.
Give your dog something to eat and drink. Sometimes it can help reduce anxiety responses if your dog has a full stomach. Even giving your dog a bone or chew treats can help to keep his mind off the storm.
Give your dog some distractions like some of his favorite chew toys, favorite ball or even a small cardboard box to tear up. Quite often this will not 100% distract your dog during the intense part of the storm but it might help during the build up lessening the anxiety symptoms at that time.
Check on your dog often.
It is a good idea to check on your dog every 5-10 minutes. Thunder storms don’t last very long – usually no more than half an hour. Do not be tempted to sit with your dog during the storm because if you are worried or anxious at all your dog will sense that you are concerned and this will, in turn, increase their anxiety.
When you go in to check on your dog stay really calm, try not to make eye contact and only touch your dog if they are settled. A panicked dog is not thinking straight and may see your presence as a threat.
Don’t be surprised if your dog growls at you. A severely anxious dog might lash out and even try to bite you, so be careful how you approach your dog. Remember that this is only an anxious reaction bought on by severe stress and your dog will calm down once the storm has passed.
Get your dog an anti-anxiety coat.
Dog anxiety coats like the ThunderShirt are proven to reduce the level of anxiety experienced by a dog during a thunderstorm. They cost under $40.00 which is a small price to pay for piece of mind.
Some final thoughts on how to manage storm stress.
Managing your dogs fear of thunderstorms doesn’t have to be difficult, it’s mostly common sense and with the right distractions and tools like an anti-anxiety coat, that can make all the difference.
Keep in mind that if your dog only suffers dog anxiety during times when there sudden or unexpected noises and sounds that this response is quite normal and does not make your dog very different to any other.
We hope that you have learned something to make your life a little easier when your dog afraid of thunder.