How to calm a dog during a thunder storm is a big question, especially if your pup is one of those who gets really worked up!
Summer storms can be stunningly beautiful. Depending on where you live, there may be chances of dry lightning, thunder, rain, hail, or even tornados! While you are debating whether to sit on the front porch and watch or turn on a new Netflix series, your dog is assuming that the world is coming to a violent end. Summer Storm phobia can affect any dog at any age but is especially common in herding breeds and those prone to separation anxiety. Some dogs may grow out of their storm phobia but for many, it is a lifelong fear.
Why are dogs scared of thunder?
In order to determine the best way to help your dog cope with summer storm phobia, it is important to understand why dogs are scared of thunder. There are a number of reasons that dogs may be more sensitive to storms, even before they arrive:
- Barometric Pressure
- Static Electricity
- Low-Frequency Thunder
Some studies assert the change in barometric pressure may be felt some time in advance. Any change in the pressure or the weight of the air pressing against the surface of the Earth is called barometric pressure. Pressure tends to decrease prior to the arrival of bad weather. This reduction of air pressure against the body allows tissue to expand.
This expanded tissue can put pressure on joints causing inflammation and can also affect pressure in the sinus cavity. This could make it harder for older, more arthritic dogs to move around without pain, but serves as a physical indicator for pets of any health or age. People can also be sensitive to barometric pressure.
Most people assume that the loud noises from summer storms are what cause their dog to act out of character. Studies show that the uncomfortable feeling of static electricity through a dog's fur can be a big factor. Aside from the weirdness of having fur standing on end, there is a higher probability that your dog is getting micro shocks as they walk. This is similar to what happens when you drag your feet on the carpet while wearing socks. This is why dogs often hide in places like the bathtub or on a non-carpeted surface.
Dogs have amazing hearing in comparison to us mere humans. Not only can they pick up the low-level rumblings of a thunderstorm long before people, but they can also feel the vibrations. Hearing and feeling a storm that no one else detects can cause a sense of stressful anticipation, especially as the storm draws closer. Dogs may be interpreting this sound and feeling some sort of impending doom. By the time it actually arrives they could work themselves into quite a tizzy!
How to calm a dog during a thunder storm
It can be heartbreaking to watch your dog stress out during summer storms. Even the best-behaved dogs have been known to claw through drywall or wooden doors, chew up carpet or furniture, or break through windows in a panicked search for sanctuary. Here are some tips on how to help your dog relax.
It is not always easy to think far ahead for something like storms, but it is worth a shot. You can train your dog to sit, stay and roll over. You can also teach them to stay calm. Consistency is key. Behaviorists may recommend using a special collar on your dog while they are inside. The collar doesn’t actually have to have anything special about it but should be a signal for your pet to behave a certain way. Practicing placing the collar on your pet and having them sit quietly at your feet is a good place to start.
CBD Oil for Dogs
CBD oil is a natural option to promote a sense of balance or homeostasis during a stressful situation. The full-spectrum of cannabinoids in Receptra Pet CBD oil interact with your dog’s natural endocannabinoid system to incite various positive responses which may include a sense of calmness. CBD has been deemed safe for pets and humans by the World Health Organization.
Giving Receptra Pet CBD to your dog is something you should do each day. If you anticipate a stormy day and terrified pets, you may consider giving your pet (CBD also works for cats and other pets) an extra serving at some point during the day or night. Something as simple as giving a CBD dog treat could distract from the thunderstorms and refocus your dog on a more enjoyable activity.
Provide a Safe Space
Your dog may feel safer in a smaller area where they feel less exposed. Allow your pet access to his or her favorite hiding spot but do not close them in. Closing them in could make them panic even more. Your dog will often choose a place such as a kennel, closet, corner, or under a bed. As long as their space is safe and not overly invasive for owners it is a good idea to let them choose where they are most comfortable.
Thundershirt for Dogs
This snug-fitting shirt for your dog targets various pressure points, creating a comforting sensation similar to swaddling a baby or a weighted blanket. Thundershirts for dogs are a drug-free option for dogs that suffer from separation anxiety, fear of loud noises (thus the name Thundershirt), and travel anxiety.
One quick and easy rule for reducing static electricity is to just add water. Keeping a bit of moisture in your pet’s coat will help to reduce static build-up. Using a spray bottle with water or just wetting a comb and running it through your dog’s hair may be helpful. If you have a pet whose hair and skin is frequently dry, adding fish oil to their diet routinely could help year-round. Keep your dog off of carpeted surfaces when a storm is scheduled to roll in.
Enjoy the Summer Storm
With you and your pet both calm and collected, you can relax and really appreciate a good summer storm in all its splendor. Don't forget to check the weather, though. No one wants to be surprised, and it is best if you can plan ahead to keep your pet level-headed regardless of what kind of weather happens to roll in.