Thunderstorm anxiety is very stressful for dogs, and it’s tough for a pet owner to watch. Although many dogs are scared of construction noises, loud traffic, and fireworks, for many dogs, thunderstorms are they worst because they happen more frequently. In fact, as many as 30% of dogs are terrified by the driving rain, howling wind, and loud rumbles of a thunderstorm.
For many dogs, the fear comes from not knowing where the noise is coming from. They often pant, tremble, pace or hide for the duration of the storm. Dogs with severe thunderstorm anxiety have even been known to chew through drywall and make other frantic attempts to escape.
If your dog suffers from thunderstorm anxiety, these tips may help him stay calmer until the storm passes.
5 Tips to Calm Your Dog During Thunderstorms
- Give him a safe, quiet, dark place to ride out the storm. When dogs are scared, they go wherever they feel safest. It could be under the covers on the bed, in a closet, or inside their kennel.
- Stay calm throughout the storm. Trying to console your dog and making a big fuss over him will only reinforce his fear. He will take his cues from you, so it’s best to be present, but calm. You can offer a distraction if it seems to help, like brushing his hair, throwing a toy, or just some cuddles on the couch.
- Invest in a Thundershirt. Thundershirts are snug shirts that wrap around the dog and apply constant, gentle pressure. It has a similar effect as swaddling a baby. Some dogs find it very soothing.
- Drown out the scary noises with familiar sounds like the TV, a radio, or even white noise. Soothing music might be enough to calm him down until the storm is over.
- Most importantly, talk to your vet about the problem. They are used to help pets with thunderstorm anxiety and can prescribe anti-anxiety medication to calm dogs who are afraid of noises.
Thunderstorm anxiety is stressful for you and your dog, so try taking these steps to help your dog cope. It may end your sleepless nights of staying up to console your terrified dog!