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.