Between the loud crashes of thunder and intense flashes of lightning, it is no wonder that many dogs get scared and nervous during a thunderstorm. Thankfully, if your dog is one of them, there are some things you can do to help calm them down, when a storm hits.
Remain calm yourself– Just like children, pets can pick up on our emotional state. If you are suddenly cuddling your dog more than the usual, they will pick up on this and it may cause them to feel more anxious. Instead, just act calm and treat them as you normally would.
Create a safe haven– Dogs may certainly welcome a safe haven when the storm starts rolling in. Their safe haven should be in an area that is dark and away from any windows. The safe haven can be something simple like a comfy bed, their favorite blanket and some of their favorite toys.
Use positive reinforcement– When your nervous dog starts to calm down, it is important to use positive reinforcement for their behavior. Give them their favorite treats to reward them.
Use sound therapy– Sound therapy is great for dogs during a thunderstorm. You don’t want to play music that is loud or intense, as things are already loud enough outside. Instead, try playing some soothing classical music or some smooth jazz music.
Play a game– Playing your favorite game with your dog is a great distraction from the commotion going on outdoors. Dogs love to play and this is also a terrific bonding experience for the two of you. It will help them to take their mind off the storm and reflect it elsewhere.
Use a ThunderShirt– In case you haven’t heard of a ThunderShirt, it is a clothing item that your dog wears, which provides them with a gentle pressure to their body, to help ease their anxiety.
Seek the advice of your vet– If your dog has extreme anxiety during a thunderstorm, you may want to talk to your vet. They may be able to prescribe some anti-anxiety medication to help your dog with their storm anxiety.
I know our dog has gotten over her anxiety with storms…now, we just need to work on our poor cat! She’s an emotional mess whenever she hears thunder and she can hear thunder from miles away, it seems.