5 Quick Ways to Calm a Dog during a Thunderstorm
Just like us, dogs can get nervous when a thunderstorms rolls by. The flashing lights and sudden loudness of a thunderstorm can cause many dogs to go into hiding. Some dogs handle thunderstorms better than others. There are three potential reasons for this:
1. Genetics can play a part as every dog has a different stress threshold. Some dogs may decide to fight and others may decide to escape as part of their fight-or-flight response.
2. The dog’s surrounding environment can also play a part. If a dog lives in a noisy city then the sound of a storm might not be too far off from what she perceives as “normal”.
3. Some studies suggest that the build-up of static electricity in the dog’s fur can make them feel unsettled. This could a good reason why a lot of dogs hide in the bathtub or other enclosed spaces.
How to Calm a Dog during a Storm
1. Get Your Dog a Thundershirt
The Thundershirt is a worthwhile investment if you want to calm your dog without using any medication. The Thundershirt is an anxiety vest that can calm your dog during a storm by applying mild pressure to specific pressure points in your dog’s body.
2. Wrap Your Dog in a Blanket
It may not be as effective as a Thundershirt but wrapping your dog in a big, heavy blanket may alleviate some of your dog’s anxiety during a storm. Don’t spend too much time cuddling your dog as that could habituate the dog’s fear of thunderstorms, fireworks etc.
3. Maintain Your Calm & Composure
Dogs will look up to their owners for guidance when they come across an unsettling situation (such as the first time they hear a storm). Show your dog that a storm is not a big deal by looking bored and composed. You can do so by yawning, stretching, and showing no emotions when facing your dog.
4. Desensitize the Dog to Storms
If you live in an area that gets plenty of storms throughout the year then you can prepare in advance by desensitizing the dog to the noise of the storm. Go on YouTube and find a recording of a thunderstorm. Play the recording all day (at a low volume) and act like everything is normal.
5. Use Medication & Supplements as a Last Resort
Some vets may prescribe your dog medications or supplements, especially if there’s a chance of your dog hurting herself due to her fear of storms. Zylkene is a popular supplement that can calm agitated dogs. Check with your vet first if you plan on using over-the-counter supplements.