Fear of thunder is a common phobia in dogs. Because they have extremely sensitive hearing, thunderstorms and other loud noises cause many dogs to become fearful. In many cases, such loud noises may cause a dog to run away or harm itself. Usually, the dog tends to hide, howl, bark, and scratch.
Thunderstorm anxiety is difficult to correct, but it is essential to try to do so, as it only gets worse with age. To avoid these stressful events, try out nine tried and true tips for calming your dog during thunderstorms:
1. Start training early in life
The best tip to help your pet overcome its fear of thunderstorms is to train it as a puppy to see it as a positive thing. If you train it while your puppy is young, you can help prevent unwanted behaviors later in life that stem from anxiety during thunderstorms or when there are other loud sounds.
2. Associate thunderstorms with positive experiences
To help desensitize your dog to thunder, you should associate thunderstorms with positive experiences, such as playtime or getting treats. You can develop a certain habit.
To follow this one of the best tips for calming your dog during thunderstorms, you should watch the weather forecast. As soon as the clouds begin to gather, go outside with your pet, work out the command, and reward the pet with a treat. For example, if you play with your dog during thunderstorms, it will not only be distracted but also associate loud sounds with fun activities. Then go to the house, as staying outdoors when it’s stormy is dangerous.
It is also worth noting that a dog will develop a positive association with cloudy weather only if you repeat this trick every time before bad weather.
3. Train Your Dog with Recording of Loud Noises
Another one of the most effective tips to calm your dog during thunderstorms is to train your pet with recording loud noises, such as thunder.
If your pet is especially sensitive, it makes sense to start preparing for thunderstorms in advance. To further help desensitize your pet, you can use recordings of thunder when there are no thunderstorms in progress. At first, it is quiet so that the pet notices the presence of thunder sounds but is not afraid of them. Then, after a while, slowly, little by little, increase the audio volume, allowing the dog to get used to it.
In addition, to make this tip to calm your dog during thunderstorms better, it is beneficial to associate the recordings with positive activities, such as playtime or getting treats. Then, ideally, when the dog encounters a real thunderstorm outside the window, your pet will not show much anxiety, as he has already heard it dozens of times through the speakers in your house.
4. Play or White Noise During Storms
If your lovely pet is alarmed by the sound of thunder, using music or white noise to mask the sound can help calm your dog. White noises are incredibly effective for calming your dog during thunderstorms. It creates an invisible barrier that surrounds the animal and gives it peace. As a result, the dog abstracts from external stimuli, quickly calms down, and falls asleep. Examples of white noise include the static found between radio stations or with an unavailable television channel.
5. Prepare a Safe Place to Hide Your Dog
Because fearful dogs can run away or become injured, it is important that you keep your pet inside in a safe place for calming your dog during thunderstorms. For example, a bathroom without windows can be used, and your pet may hide in the bathtub. Many dogs will also hide under a bed or in a closet, although you must ensure that such places are safe for your dog beforehand. However, if your dog is extremely fearful, placing it in a crate may be best.
Observe where your pet has got into the habit of hiding during a thunderstorm, and bring a comfortable bed, a blanket, your dog’s favorite toy, and a bowl of clean water to this place. Following this advice for calming your dog during thunderstorms, let this shelter be as convenient as possible. The main thing is that your pet feels safe.
6. Calming Your Dog in the Game During Thunderstorms
Veterinarians recommend that dog owners pay attention to logical games for calming your dog during thunderstorms. Working with them, the animal switches attention from the stress factor to solving the problem. Suitable fetch games and tug games – those in which constant interaction between the owner and the pet plays a key role.
7. Reward Calm Dog Behavior
Give your dog a toy or treat if he is calm or obeys a command during a thunderstorm despite fear. Teach your pet the commands to “relax,” “calm down,” or “quiet.”
However, never give a treat to a dog in a moment of panic and fright because of thunderstorms. This will only reinforce the pet’s restless behavior. Instead, ignore unwanted behavior. Otherwise, the next time your lovely dog will be ready to feign fear to get more treats and attention.
8. Wrap the Dog
Try wrapping your dog in a piece of clothing, or let him snuggle under your arm on the couch for calming your pet during thunderstorms. Your pet can cheer up when he feels this external influence: your pet is like a baby who feels safe if he is swaddled.
9. Talk to Your Veterinarian
If your dog is still anxious, no matter what you try, it may be time to speak to your veterinarian about medication for calming your dog during thunderstorms. There are also natural remedies that can help calm down your pet during thunderstorms, though you should always consult your vet before trying something new with your pet. You should also ask if your veterinarian can recommend a certified dog behaviorist for further assistance and training.
Nevertheless, leave the option with medicines to calm your dog during thunderstorms as a last resort and use medicines only as directed by a veterinarian.
For any dog owner, it is stressful to see a beloved pet suffering during a thunderstorm. However, with these six tips for calming your dog during thunderstorms, you can help bring relief to you and your pet.
Below, we have compiled a list of the most interesting questions about tips to calm your dog during thunderstorms: