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Why My Dog Is Afraid of Thunderstorms-Treatment Options
Thunder and Noises Making My Dog Afraid
Wonder why your dog is afraid of thunder or noises? Hopefully I can give you some insight as I had to do research myself. I have a golden retriever that is scared out of his mind every time a siren or thunder rolls around. He shakes so bad that I am literally afraid he is going to have a stroke. His eyes practically pop out of it's sockets and he follows me every where I go ahead of where I am going to walk to. If I am on the couch, he is trying to jump up on the couch and crawl behind me and the cushion. At first it was a little humorous, but as it persisted, I started to be concerned for his health and well being. After all, my dog is part of my family and I love him with everything.
Is Your Dog Afraid Of Thunder? Storm Phobia
It is heart wrenching as a pet owner to watch your beloved pet go into a frantic state of shock. When it thunders, does your dog pant heavily? Here are a few signs of your pet being afraid of thunder and noises:
- Heavy Panting
- Hiding Under Tables or Bed
- Hiding Behind Toilet
- Getting Between Couch and Chair
- Trying To Get To Enclosed Or Small Area
- Shaking and Trembling
- Following You From Room To Room
In severe cases of storm phobia, your dog may try to claw his way out of a room if he is shut in, jump through a window and even claw through drywall and carpet.
Puppy Stage and Storm Phobia
When my dogs were puppies, I never noticed any problem at all with storms or noises. I think they were pre-occupied with when they were going to eat or what they could get into. After all, puppies love to get into trouble and get into anything they see fit. As the light colored Golden started to get up in years, like 5 years old, that's when we started to notice his change. I actually took him to the vet to find out what to do because it was heart breaking and I literally was afraid something was going to happen like a heart attack or a stroke in my Golden Retriever.
The vet did give me some medicine to give him to calm him down, but I was reluctant to give it to him. All the medicine did was make him a vegetable basically and if it didn't storm when they said it was, then I had a dog that was just drugged up. We tried adjusting the dosage but there was no happy medium.
The said part is that most dogs don't grow out of storm phobia, in fact, it may get worse as the years go on.
What Triggers Storm Phobia?
The veterinarians have been trying to figure it out for decades what actually is the trigger point for your dog being so afraid. Some have concluded it could be:
- Barometric pressure changes that happens before a storm
- The rumble of thunder a dog hears before people do
- The combination of wind, thunder and lightening
How To Help Your Dog Through Storms
Now that you know that your dog isn't the only one out there scared to death of storms or noise, you need to know what you can do to help your little guy/girl. It's no fun for a person to be scared to death, so why would it be for your pet? They have no one to count on to hold them; like a baby crying for it's mother, except you. It's such a sad thing to watch and even a little frightening if it gets to that point.
Quite a few pet owners, including me, say that their dog was fine just up until this year. It seems to just come out of nowhere. Again, it normally doesn't go away, the anxiety may get worse over time. There are signs in some dogs early on in their life that may point to a problem with anxiety later on.
Storm Phobia Helped By Thundershirt
What Can I Do To Help My Dog Through The Storm
it's most important that you don't punish or yell at your dog because he is starting to get anxiety over thunder. That will do the dog absolutely no good and may make matters worse. Now the dog has two problems: he's scared to death over what is happening in his little world and now he's ticked off his owner. Neither one is a solution.
Try to talk calmly and smoothly to your pet. Caress and love him so he knows you are there and aren't going to leave him in this frightening storm. Offer your dog treats or a toy when it thunders, however; it's a very good idea to do this when they are puppies, not when the damage is already done. My dog could care less about a steak on the floor when it storms. I never saw any signs as a puppy he was going to have a problem and honestly, it never crossed my mind.
Some dogs like to be crated or in their pen if they have one. It is a small enclosed area and they feel safe. That trick doesn't work for all dogs though, my pet won't leave my side and it lasts for hours after the storm is over.
Medicines could be used as a last resort. I don't like to give my dog medicine but there are other medicines and new medicines they have come out with that don't make your dog pass out. I actually am waiting to get mine back into the vet as storm season is here and I feel bad for my dog.
Try a thunderstorm calming wrap. I have heard these work really well and am purchasing one myself. Someone just recommended it to me last week and I have read great reviews on it.