Thunderstorm phobia or anxiety is fairly common for many dogs. Dogs can sense a change in the barometric pressure, can feel the shift of static electricity in the air, or simply have a hypersensitivity to noise. Either way, this can be a very real problem for many dog owners. The range of ways that your dog shows anxiety can be from hiding in a safe corner until it passes, to attempting to go through the drywall. No matter the severity, we hate to see our pet suffer. Luckily, there are many ways to aid your pet in remaining as calm as possible.
The first priority should be the dog’s safety. Ensuring that the dog has a place where they are most comfortable and relaxed would be a great area to set up a space to ride out the storm. Thundershirts (sold on Amazon) are effective and reasonably priced. Oils are another perfect way to soothe your furry family member. Place the oil on your palm, then rub the inside of the ears and then along the whole body. Young Living has an entire oil faction designed specifically for pets. Specific oils that are known to relieve a dog’s anxiety are T-away, Tangerine, Valor, Stress Away, and Surrender. Please make sure to ask Heather or any of your pet styling professionals if you are interested!
Another way to make your own feel safe during storms is to create a “hidey hole” for your pet to get away to. This needs to come from your pet’s perspective, not yours. Take note of where they go to and make that a safe space for them. Be sure to not confine them in this area as that could make the situation worse.
Behavior modification or reprogramming is another useful tool when helping your dog with a stressful situation. Examples of this would be to create a tape of a noise your pet is afraid of. While playing this one very low level use positive reinforcement and play as a way to distract your pet but also getting them used to the noise. Be sure you are not soothing them if they act scared. This could be interpreted as rewarding scared behavior. Increase the sound while continuing the play and positive reinforcement. Repeat this method until your pet is not only comfortable with the noise but associates it with play time and rewards. This method needs to he used with caution. If pushed the animal could backtrack so he sure to consult with your local canine professional before attempting this.
No matter what method you decide to go with this needs to be in the best interest of your pet. Some dogs may respond better than others to different methods.