Dealing With Fido’s Thunderstorm Anxiety

It’s thunderstorm season! Many of our dogs don’t take kindly to storms—fortunately, there are a few ways to help your canine companion remain calm. Learn more here from a Greenwood, IN veterinarian.

Distractions

Sometimes, simple distractions are all that’s needed to prevent your dog from becoming anxious before or during storms. The distraction technique is particularly effective with puppies! Try playing with your dog when you know a thunderstorm is on the way, and keep it up throughout the bad weather. With any luck, your puppy will be so enthralled that he won’t even notice what’s happening outdoors.

A Safe Space

Do you have a quiet basement or back bathroom? This is a great space to set up a “safe zone” for your dog. Include a pet bed, several of Fido’s favorite toys, and a few soft blankets. Lead your dog to this area and keep him company while a storm is approaching and until it has passed.

Anxiety Products

There are a variety of products made specifically to help calm dogs’ anxieties. Thunder clothing is a popular choice—most often, these are “jackets” that wrap tightly around your dog to help them feel secure and comfortable. You can also try using calming sprays or calming chews. Ask your veterinarian for a recommendation on what sort of calming product might work best for your canine companion.

Desensitization

Desensitizing your dog to thunderstorms most often involves playing a recording of a thunderstorm at a low volume, perhaps for several days or even weeks, and then gradually increasing the volume over time. The idea is to help get your dog used to the noise of a thunderstorm, thereby keeping him calm when the real thing comes along. Be sure to ask your veterinarian for advice before trying a desensitization technique on your dog.

See the Professionals

If you still can’t seem to help your dog remain calm during storms, or if your canine companion’s thunderstorm anxiety is getting worse, it’s time to pay a visit to the vet’s office. It’s possible that dogs, in addition to fearing the loud booms and bright flashes, can sense changes in air pressure and static electricity when a storm rolls through, frightening them even further. Help from a professional animal behaviorist or trainer might be necessary.

Do you have questions about your dog’s anxiety? We’re here to help! Call your Greenwood, IN veterinary clinic today.

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