My pet is afraid of thunderstorms what should I do?Back to overview
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Thunderstorm anxiety is a common problem for many dogs. If your dog has experienced a thunderstorm, with the sights and sounds of heavy rain and lightning, these weather changes become signals telling your dog something scary is going to happen.
Dogs that are anxious might:
People often wonder if they should comfort their pet during a storm, and if comforting will make things better or worse?
If you can successfully calm your dog with attention (petting, hugging or sitting close) and your dog likes it, then do it! If you are not successful at calming your dog, then it’s not helpful. If that’s the case, consider some of these ideas:
-swaddling: make or purchase a clothing item that mimics the swaddling effect
-white noise: use music or a fan to muffle storm sounds.
-change areas: move to a quiet area in your home, away from sights and sounds of the storm.
-make it fun: distract your dog with games or reward based training.
Some dogs suffer extreme thunderstorm anxiety and they panic. In this case, contact your veterinarian to discuss options available for your pet. Safe and effective natural supplements like Zylkene can be used daily during thunderstorm season, or be given whenever you think a storm is coming. Medications such as valium or trazodone can also be effective.
Once you’ve established what works, always “err” on the side of caution. Give your pet the natural supplement or medication that helps.
Don’t wait! The sooner your pet feels better during a storm, the quicker you’re on your way to a better experience the next time.
Article written by Dr. Colleen Wilson, veterinarian at Orleans Veterinary Hospital, ON.
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