While the loud booms and flashing skies during a thunderstorm can look interesting to humans, they can also spark a lot of fear in pets. As they are unaware of what is exactly going on, they can experience a significant amount of anxiety, which can also cause stress in an owner.
However, there are various ways of how to calm them through the storm, such as creating distractions, or putting them in an environment where they feel safe. It is important to know that it is not the thunderstorm they fear, rather, the noise caused by the storm. While dogs and cats will react differently to the noise, it is your job as their owner to provide as much comfort to them as possible.
When you find that your dog has a fear of thunderstorms, he or she will usually look to you for help. Whether they start shaking at your feet, howl during the thunder, or destroy your property, they are looking for your attention and comfort.
When cats fear thunder, they are not as dependent on humans; they will usually find a safe place to hide and wait until the storm passes.
Calm Your Dog Through a Storm: What to Do
When your dog is experiencing extreme anxiety during a storm, there are a few different ways to help them through it, including desensitization, calming, and comforting them with something. Remember that each dog will react differently to each method, so it is important to test each one to find the best solution for them to cope with their fear.
Desensitizing and Calming Behavior
The best way to handle a fear of thunderstorms is to overcome it. This method is highly recommended as it can prevent future anxiety with your dog, allowing them to get used to the sound rather than fearing it.
In order to desensitize them, play the sounds of a thunderstorm on a lower volume on your computer that will not cause them to react. Once they have become accustomed to the sound level, you can gradually turn up the volume as long as they remain calm. But always remember to reward them with this behavior by praising and giving them a treat.
Finally, you can put them to the test when the next storm comes around and watch their reaction. Just remember that if they do still fear the storm, do not scold them as it will only cause them to become more stressed.
Although this method will have to be used during each thunderstorm, it is often the easiest way to help a dog cope with their fear. As there are a number of different ways to distract a dog, you will learn what works best with them by learning their behavior.
Some pets only require attention by sitting with, petting, or playing with them. Offer them a squeaky toy, bone, or stuffed animal that will keep their mind focused on an activity rather than reacting to the storm.
Others may only need an environment in which they feel safe. Usually it is enclosed, such as a crate, under the couch, a closet, or even the basement.
You can also try blocking out the sounds of thunder by playing music just enough to overcome the noise. This way they can be distracted by soothing music rather than hearing large booms and cracks from the thunderstorm.
If none of these distractions work, visit your veterinarian to have them prescribe your dog an anti-anxiety medication that can lower their stress during the storm. Just make sure to give it to them beforehand.
The idea may sound strange at first, but putting a shirt on a dog during a storm has proven results as they feel safe being wrapped in something. It is not the shirt, rather, the snug, constant pressure provides them with a sense of security.
Consider buying them a sweater or jacket that is made for dogs so that they will feel comfortable during the storm.
This method has also worked for babies as they feel comforted when they are wrapped, hugged, or swaddled.
While many dogs experience high levels of anxiety and stress during a thunderstorm, they will resort in chewing on furniture or building materials to relieve their stress. As this is a normal reaction for many dogs during thunderstorms, it can cause severe amounts of damage to a property, even terrorizing the entire home if they owner is away. However, there are a number of local restoration professionals to fix the damage.
In addition, storms can cause much stress on your building materials. If you have found an overwhelming amount of debris on your property or it has been struck by lightning, you can call ServiceMaster for storm damage restoration services. They will arrive quickly, immediately removing the source, stabilize the property, and repair the structure to its original condition. Call your local provider for more information on how they can help you after a severe thunderstorm.