My dog freaks out when there's a thunderstorm. What can I do?
We all love a cooling summer rainstorm, but thunderstorms can be very stressful for dogs. Why? Because loud noises and changes in barometric pressure are felt differently by dogs than humans, and dogs with noise phobias tend to suffer the most.
Fear of Loud Noises Like Thunder
A fear of loud noises is natural for both people and pets, as it protects us from harm and keeps us alert in potentially dangerous situations. But certain common or recurring noises such as thunder can produce consistent dog anxiety. In response, dogs might:
- Tremble and shake
- Cling to owners
- Bark excessively
- Cower and hide behind furniture
- Try to run away
- Have "accidents"
- Pace and pant
- Refuse to eat
What Can You Do?
- Provide a regular, comfortable hiding place where your dog can feel safe during a storm.
- Increase your dog's feeling of security by wrapping him in a Comfort Zone Calming Vest. The vest provides a swaddling-like effect, giving your dog constant, gentle pressure that relieves stress.
- Dogs often pick up on their owner’s stress, so if possible, try to ignore his fearful behavior.
- Try to refrain from comforting your dog too much as this may increase his stress behavior by rewarding and encouraging the behavior.
- Provide distractions like a new toy or chewy bone while the thunderstorm is going on. If your dog is sensitive to loud noises, try not to leave him alone during a storm.
- Above all, don't punish him for being scared. That will only add to the stress he can't control.