Dogs and storms
We may not think about it twice but for some pets such as dogs, storms can be terrifying. The sudden and unknown sounds can cause dogs to panic, feel threatened and bring on anxiety. It can be tough as pet owners to see our otherwise happy pups in such a state. What can you do?
Stay with your dog and bring them inside
Dogs affected by storms may start to pant heavily, shake, seem uneasy, pace, hide or even try to run away. The best thing you can do is bring your dog with you, and indoors. Leaving a dog outside will make the problem far worse. Remember that your dog will most likely not understand what is happening and find the loud sounds frightening. They need to feel safe and protected. Bring them indoors and stay with them. It’s also important that you are calm and relaxed, this will assist in reassuring them that everything is going to be OK.
Minimise the sound of the storm
Some storms are wild and hard to block out. However, try to sound proof your home perhaps by closing shutters, putting calm music on or even the television. If your dog is really struggling, you may want to find a quieter place in the house like the laundry or basement. Make it cosy for them but don’t leave them there alone. They will still need comfort and reassurance.
Comfort your dog
There are mixed opinions about the best way to manage a frightened dog during a storm. However, remember that your dog is most likely to know you best! And seeing your face and relaxed demeanour will only be helpful. Try talking in your regular voice, stay calm, pat them and just be with them. Some dogs can become very frightened and it may take time to calm them down. Be patient and stick with it. The storm will eventually pass, and their nerves will too.
In serious cases, you should consult your vet.
Some helpful advice can be found in our article: How to Manage Your Pet's Thunderstorm Phobia
You only want to use medications if you must. This is a conversation best had with your vet. Also look at natural alternatives that can help to calm pets too.