Posted by & filed under dog, Thunderstorms

Hello readers – woof! CJ here, back again to talk about the hot topics related to caring for your doggo. As always, I’m joined by my trusty sidekick, Rex, and we’re here to discuss something that every dog can relate to, a fear of thunderstorms.

We know you can’t see us, but we’re very nervous to be talking about this – although we owe our readers the truth of this topic. So, let’s dig into it.

CJ: Okay, Rex, it’s safe to come out from under the table!

Rex: …but isn’t in thundering?

CJ: No, Rex, we’re just talking about thunderstorms.

Rex: Ruff! Well if there’s no frightening lightning, I’m ready to talk.

CJ: Great! Let’s start off by stating the obvious; thunderstorms are scary stuff, right?

Rex: You bet they are, CJ! Many dogs like us have a phobia of storms. It’s one of the more common experiences that dog parents run into.

CJ: But what is it about thunderstorms that give us dogs such a ruff time?

Rex: For starters – storms come with several triggers. Wind, loud thunder, bright lightning, barometric pressure changes, rumbles, and the static electricity are all things that dogs are sensitive to.

CJ: I’ve read an article that some dogs even experience unpleasant shocks from static buildup before storms. …Okay, I skimmed an article…

Rex: What really gets under a dog’s skin is the anxiety that comes along with frequent storms. Stormy season in the summer can be an especially hard time for canines who are sensitive to the triggers of thunderstorms – woof! And, the problem only gets worse for dogs that are prone to separation anxiety.

CJ: So, what can a dog parent do to handle their beloved dog’s distress? No pet parent wants to stand around while their pet is anxious and afraid.

Rex: Well, one of the best things they can do is reward calm behavior all year-round.

CJ: Interesting… why do that? Shouldn’t they take care of their dogs when they’re anxious, too?

Rex: When a dog is whimpering or fearful, owners think it’s their job to console and comfort their dogs. Doing this only rewards this behavior and supports it. It makes us dogs think that they’ll always have that security blanket when storms come, and it doesn’t encourage us to be brave and stay calm.

CJ: Ah, I see. So, you’re saying that our parents should train us to remain calm, and reward good behavior?

Rex: Woof, woof – that’s right! One idea is to practice getting your dog to settle on command. Try putting a special “inside” leash on your dog on a calm day. Tell them to lay near your feet and reward them when they stay calm. Then, when a storm comes, grab that same leash and have your dog assume the same position. Soon enough, they’ll understand that it’s time to be calm, cool, and collected.

CJ: Good idea! I also read that it can be helpful to create a safe space for your dog if they are nervous. I know that would help me; what are your thoughts, Rex?

Rex: Agreed! If there’s a quiet place in your home that can fit a crate or a bed, establish that as a “storm shelter” – but, I like to think of it as a neat fort! For added comfort, parents can play soothing music in order to ease their pet’s nervousness.

CJ: Hm – I’m feeling better about storms already! Thanks for the help today, Rex – let’s go build a fort!

Rex: Woof, woof – any time! Let’s go!

Well, that concludes another en-lightning chat about things pet parents should know for their dog’s well-being! We hope that you learned something and will be able to apply it to your furry family. When it comes to severe anxiety or issues triggered by storms, however, sometimes it might help to get the help of a professional veterinarian. To get answers from the experts, call Bulverde Animal Hospital today!