Ah summer. The long stretches of daylight. The joyful laughter of children playing. The loud ka-booms from the sky.
Oh yes. Summer brings with it not only refreshing warmth and rain, but serious storms as well. For people in certain parts of the country, thunderstorms or tornado warnings can be a weekly event. Extreme weather is a reality many of us have to just accept, but for our dogs it can be absolutely terrifying.
Without the foresight of knowing that the storm will eventually pass, dogs can grow extremely anxious with thunder. Whining and pacing are signs that your dog is not comfortable with Mother Nature’s plans. So what can you do to ease the situation?
- Be safe. The first thing of course is to make sure that you and your pets have appropriate shelter. If it’s just a thunderstorm, then being indoors away from any lightening strikes is definitely the safest place. In the event of tornado warning, be sure to get to a basement or some lower ground away from windows.
- Crates are your friend. If your dog does the antsy-pants dance during thunder, she may feel safer in a crate. Give her a soft place to lie down and place towels or sheets over it. Put in one of your old t-shirts that still smells like you in there as well. It should feel like a childhood fort – someplace safe and snuggly where monsters can’t get in. Crate training in general ought to teach your pooch that the crate is a safe spot. In time, she’ll know to head there during storms.
- Thundershirts can provide hugs. Thundershirts are snug-fitting “shirts” for dogs that give them a feeling of extra protection during anxious moments. You can purchase one or make your own. If your dog gets clingy and needs extra attention during a story, these can come in handy. They don’t replace a human, but they can offer comfort.
- Soft music can ease everyone’s minds. Playing some gentle sounds can let your pup realize that whatever is outside isn’t bothering folks inside. Music, or even you speaking in a soothing tone can relax your dog and let her know that you are not bothered by the storm.
- CBD oil or other calming treats. If your dog tends to seriously lose her mind, then talk to your vet about getting some non-THC cannabis treats for your pup. There are also prescription tranquilizers available – it’s up to you and your vet to determine what would work the best. If your dog gets destructive during anxiety, then this ought to be something you consider.
- Have pee pads and DogSheetz at the ready. Fear can make a dog lose control of their bladder. If a storm is going on and on, your dog is not going to want to relieve herself outdoors. You can’t really blame her. However, nature will call. It may not be something you want to encourage, but knowing that she has an option might ease some of the anxiety. If your dog is pee pad trained, all the better. And have some DogSheetz ready on her bed in case of an accident!
What has worked best to calm your pet down during a storm? Let us know! We’d love to hear your advice.