4 Ways to Help Your Dog Get through the Next Thunderstorm
Dog Anxiety Thunderstorm
As we make our way into the prime thunderstorm season of summer here in the Miami area, I can’t help but share a story that one of my clients told me a while ago. It involves a broken flat-screen TV, a thunderstorm, dog anxiety, and a 6-month-old boxer puppy named Bowser (my client was a big gamer).
Well, one Saturday afternoon, my client was watching TV on her 50-inch when she noticed the sky darkening outside. She decided that she had better bring Bowser inside from the fenced-in back yard. Bowser had joined the family the previous month, and she was still learning about what he liked and didn’t like. She thought that he didn’t like thunderstorms because just after she brought him home, he had seemed a little anxious as a storm passed through town.
To make a long story short, she was right. Bowser didn’t like thunderstorms. Just as she opened the sliding door to let him inside, the sky cracked loudly as lightning struck nearby. The overgrown puppy bolted past her into the living room where she heard another loud crash. Luckily, Bowser wasn’t hurt when the TV fell from its stand.
This story is a good example of how some dogs react to thunderstorms. Fortunately, there are some things that will help keep your dog calm during a storm:
Distract Your Dog
What’s your dog’s favorite thing to do? When the next thunderstorm darkens the sky, try playing with your dog with his favorite toy. You can also feed him his favorite food, like peanut butter or chicken. Over time, your dog will begin to associate thunderstorms with these positive things, which can help change his reaction to them. If you can’t seem to distract your dog, try using white noise to drown out the storm. Turn up the volume on the TV or put on your favorite music album.
ThunderShirt: It’s All about the Outfit
If your dog has trouble during thunderstorms and you haven’t tried the ThunderShirt, you may want to give it a try. This specially designed garment creates a buffer between the vibrations of thunder and your dog’s skin, and it’s similar to giving your dog a hug, which can be comforting. It’s an effective way to deal with dog anxiety of all types.
Create a Comforting Environment
If your dog has a safe space that he likes to spend time in, try to encourage him to go there during the next storm. If there is a toy that he likes to snuggle with, make sure he has it within reach. The same goes for any blankets or pillows that he uses. These will give a sense of familiarity to an otherwise frightening situation.
Control Your Body Language
Dogs can tell when we are stressed out. We get stressed out when we are witnessing dog anxiety. If you don’t control the way you hold your body, your breathing and other aspects of your body language, your dog will notice. During a thunderstorm, your dog needs as many calming influences as possible, and as their human, you are their main source of comfort.
I hope these tips will help you and your dog overcome the fear of thunderstorms. At the very least, I hope they spare you any broken electronics.