How to Keep Your Dog Calm During a Thunderstorm

Is your dog afraid of thunderstorms? Dogs can get very nervous when they hear loud noises or bangs, and thunder can be quite frightening for them. A loud crack of thunder can send your dog running for cover under the bed or some other place that they might feel safe. It is not unusual for a dog to suffer feelings of anxiety or panic during a thunderstorm; they might shake, quiver or behave erratically, showing signs of feeling completely terrified. It is so important to keep your dog calm during a thunderstorm, but sometimes it is difficult to know what to do to calm them down.

Here are some very effective techniques that you can use to keep your dog calm and stress-free the next time a thunderstorm rolls in.

1. Buy a thundershirt. A thundershirt is a special stress-wrap that gives your dog a feeling of well-being and comfort. It works the same way as wrapping a crying baby in a warm, soft blanket. Another great product to try is the Anxiety Wrap which works by targeting acupressure points to relieve tension (thanks to Dubuquedogtrainer for explaining it in the comments below).

2. Make sure that your dog has had plenty of exercise. Taking him for regular brisk walks will help to promote feelings of relaxation and well-being.

3. Create a safe place that your dog can run to. Dogs like to feel that they have a special place they escape to and feel safe. If you know in advance where your dog tends to go, then prepare the spot by lying down his favourite blanket there, together with some of his favourite toys and a bowl of water.

4. Reassure your dog. He will be looking to his owner for guidance and reassurance that everything is going to be OK. It is important, as a pet owner, not to display feelings of panic or anxiety yourself, because your dog will pick up on that. Instead, try to think happy thoughts and distract your dog by petting him and encouraging him to play with his toys as he would normally do.

5. Minimize the noise. It helps to keep all the windows and doors closed during a storm, to muffle the sound of the thunder as much as possible. Put on some soft music and create a soothing environment, which will in turn help to soothe your dog’s nerves. Keeping the curtains closed will also help to minimize the bright flashes of lightening which can also cause panic or anxiety for your dog.

6. Talk to your vet. If your dog is particularly afraid and you are concerned that thunderstorms might affect his health, then do not hesitate to talk to your vet. Getting a vet’s recommendation can be very reassuring for an owner who might otherwise be uncertain of what action to take. There are many types of medication available to calm your dog’s nerves; however this should be considered a last resort if all other attempts to calm your dog fail.

Above all, when trying to keep your dog calm during a thunderstorm, remember to be patient, kind, and always in control of the situation. A frightened dog should never be punished for erratic behavior; instead give him as much love and understanding as possible. By following these few simple tips your dog should feel much calmer during the next thunderstorm.

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Comments 27 comments

writer20 profile image

writer20 5 years ago from Southern Nevada

You are such a good person to put all this info on your hub.

Who's the cute doggie above?


Wealthmadehealthy profile image

Wealthmadehealthy 5 years ago from Somewhere in the Lone Star State

My dog likes to go to her crate during a thunderstorm. She feels safe in there and I put in her favorite toy. She calms down. Thank you for writing this hub. Great information.


chenderson00 profile image

chenderson00 5 years ago from South Carolina

Great tips and advice. My doggy gets so nervous during storms. My doggy likes to hoover over me and put her face in my face when it storms like - "Hey you, do something! Make it stop!".


Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States

Hi Cloverleaf! Great information. My dog is only afraid of me - sometimes. She doesn't mind the loud noises!


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

That puppy in the photo is SO adorable. My little 10 pound Bichon gets nervous but not terrified. She likes to cuddle with me during storms or fireworks. I really enjoyed this compassionate Hub about how to help our four legged friends. Hyph


Becky 5 years ago

I enjoyed your comments about keeping your dog calm. My dog is terrified of thunder and he dives under my desk. He feels safe there as I am sitting there and he lays on my feet. I try to reassure him that he is safe and I am there but I read that if you pity them it will make the situation worse. It will make them feel that there is something to fear. This made sense to me so it is reassurance and not pity that he gets. No "Oh, poor baby, are you scared." He gets "It's all right, I am here and you are fine."


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Great topic for a hub. Thanks for the tips! Very well written.


Cloverleaf profile image

Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada Author

I appreciate all your comments, thank you :-) What great dog owners we have here on HubPages!


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

A brilliant hub and I now look forward to reading many more by you.

Take care

Eiddwen.


ajaodegaard profile image

ajaodegaard 5 years ago

Thanks for the hub!My dog freaks out in thunder storms!


Cloverleaf profile image

Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada Author

Hi Eiddwen, how's the weather in Wales? I'm from England originally. Great to meet you.


Cloverleaf profile image

Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada Author

ajaodegaard, thanks for stopping by!


TheEpicJourney profile image

TheEpicJourney 5 years ago from Fairfield, Ohio

Very good tips! I honestly think your 4th tip about the owner remaining calm and reassuring the dog is the most important. I think our dogs are more in tune with us than we think. I personally LOVE thunderstorms and was really afraid that my dog Zoe would hate them or be scared of them. I especially got worried because she has a pretty big reaction to loud noises like trains, large truck banging etc. But she's about a year old now and through several thunderstorms she has been perfect. I've not been able to see any reaction of any sort. I think this is probably due to how calm and even excited in a good way I am with the storms :). Anyway just wanted to add my 2 cents to a good interesting article.


Cloverleaf profile image

Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada Author

Hello TheEpicJourney, and welcome my new reader!

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your first two hubs and I can completely understand why Zoe is so calm during thunderstorms. Your positive mental attitude is commendable and rubs off on her. She seems very happy!

Thanks for the follow; I will enjoy following your hubs also.

Cloverleaf.


felicitylovespari profile image

felicitylovespari 5 years ago

Very good info. My pups are generally pretty calm, but on the really bad ones they do kind of freak out. This is good info for keeping my sweet dogs calm next time we have a thunderstorm. Up up up. :)


Cloverleaf profile image

Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada Author

Hi Felicity, I hope your pups keep calm the next time you have a thunderstorm, what kind of dogs are they?

Thanks for the votes :-)


festersporling1 profile image

festersporling1 5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Good ideas. My dogs can get a little crazy when the lighting and thunder hit.


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 5 years ago from USA

My dog gets scared during thunderstorms too. He shakes and pants and drools all over the place. Sometimes he tries to climb under the bed, and winds up with scrapes and scabs, because the bed is too low for him.


Dubuquedogtrainer profile image

Dubuquedogtrainer 4 years ago from Dubuque, Iowa

Nicely done hub!

I want to let you know there is even a better pressure wrap on the market called the Anxiety Wrap. It is the original, patented pressure wrap designed by certified professional dog trainer and T-touch practitioner, Susan Sharpe.

The Anxiety Wrap was recently found to be 89% effective in a clinical research study conducted at Tufts University. To date there is no comparable study that has been done with the Thundershirt. Effectiveness ratings of "over 80%" are based on customer surveys.

I first became acquainted with the Anxiety Wrap a couple of years ago when I used it on my own dog. I was quite impressed with the immediate calming effect it had on her. Since that time I have been recommending the Anxiety Wrap to my clients with anxious dogs and I have seen the same consistently effective results.

I generally use the Anxiety Wrap as part of an overall behavior modification plan which may also include Through A Dog's Ear music as well as clicker training.

The patented design of the Anxiety Wrap offers some unique features, including greater coverage, a thinner and more breathable fabric and velcro fasteners on the top rather than the front of the garment, something that is an important consideration for sound-sensitive dogs.

The Anxiety Wrap provides more maintained pressure than any other product currently on the market and also works by targeting acupressure points and applying gentle pressure with rear leg straps that help to release tension in the hindquarters.

Animals Plus LLC also makes a Face Wrap, which is an elastic strap that fits across the dog's muzzle and around its neck. I have used this with quite impressive results in dogs that had anxiety-related barking.


Cloverleaf profile image

Cloverleaf 4 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada Author

Hi, Dubuquedogtrainer! Thank you for sharing this valuable information about the Anxiety Wrap. I had not heard about it before today, and it does indeed sound like a great alternative to the Thundershirt. I have added into my hub and directed readers to read your comment. Much appreciated!


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 4 years ago from UK

Thanks for this hub Cloverleaf - I have never heard of a Thundervest before, will be looking into it (my Airedale does not like fireworks).

Voted up, useful etc.


Dubuquedogtrainer profile image

Dubuquedogtrainer 4 years ago from Dubuque, Iowa

Thank you, Cloverleaf!


Cloverleaf profile image

Cloverleaf 4 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada Author

Hi Judi Bee, fireworks can be just as unsettling as thunder. I remember when my little collie used to run and hide in the bathtub whenever fireworks went off...you can't help but feel so sorry for them. The thundershirt makes a big difference; I hope it helps to keep your little guy calm. Thanks for the votes :)


ThoughtSandwiches profile image

ThoughtSandwiches 4 years ago from Reno, Nevada

Cloverleaf...

This is an awesomely helpful article for our four legged cowards! My current guy, Truman, handles storms pretty well but when I was married we had three dogs.

Whenever a thunderstorm hit...the Shepherd became 'Velcro' dog, the Sheep Dog went under the bed (where his butt didn't fit and stuck out), and the Chow always made a beeline for the bathtub. Needless to say...the cats were in business for themselves...

Great article which I am voting Up and Sharing!

Thomas


Cloverleaf profile image

Cloverleaf 4 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada Author

Hi Thomas, I thought your comment was just great! I can just imagine your "velcro" shepherd, sticking to you everywhere you went. I bet you miss those guys. Good thing you have Truman to keep you company. And cats? Yes, that's a different story. Best wishes, Louise.


cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 4 years ago from Western NC

Cloverleaf - we were having a thunderstorm last night. I was trying to wrap my poor dog in thick blankets but the poor guy shakes like a leaf! Have you ever tried Bach's Rescue Remedy? My pharmacist sister-in-law recommends it, but I haven't tried it. I want to go herbal, though. Any ideas?


Cloverleaf profile image

Cloverleaf 4 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada Author

Hi cclitgirl, oh your poor puppy! I have never tied Bach's Rescue Remedy, but I understand that it is supposed to help balance a dog's emotional state. It might be worth a try. Please let me know how you get on. If it's good then I would like to include some more info on it here in this hub.

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