What to Do if Your dog is scared of Thunder

If your dog is scared of thunder or fireworks, you’re not alone.

Unfortunately, many dogs are scared of thunderstorms since of the noise, wind, modification in pressure, etc.

If your dog is scared of thunder, she might:

pant heavily
try to hide
try to “dig” while indoors
paw at you
or even act aggressively.

Some dogs could harm themselves or damage home while trying to dig or “escape.”

If your dog is scared of thunderstorms, here are a couple ideas that can help:

What to do if your dog is scared of thunder

*Get my tips on how to help a dog during thunderstorms emailed to you in a pdf. Klikk her.
1. It’s ok to comfort your dog during a storm.

There are mixed opinions on this, however it’s ok to calmly reassure your dog when he’s scared as long as his habits is appropriate.

For example, you should calmly pet as well as reassure him if he’s lying quietly on his bed however not if he’s running around barking. encourage a more appropriate habits first, then reassure him.

I mean, what would make you feel calmer if you were scared? someone calmly telling you it’s ok or someone running around like a maniac looking out the windows saying “It’s OK! Det er greit! Det er greit!”

Encourage calm habits as well as remain calm yourself.

2. Distract your dog with highly valued chew toys or food during a storm.

Some dogs will be too scared to care about food, however it’s worth a try to distract your dog with something extremely tempting.

Use what you know your dog loves as well as something you are comfortable giving her.

Some examples could be:

a Kong toy stuffed with peanut butter, cheese, raw hamburger or jerky treats
a raw knuckle bone
pigs ears
bully sticks
a rawhide bone

These special treats are not meant to “reward” fearful behavior, they’re to distract your dog from the storm. You can ask her to sit or lie down first if you’d like.

*Get my tips on how to help a dog during thunderstorms emailed to you in a pdf. Klikk her.
3. provide a safe place for your dog to hide during thunder.

Allow your dog to crawl under a desk or to curl up in her kennel/crate if she prefers. Be cautious about forcing a dog in or out of a small space because a fearful dog is more likely to bite.

Don’t try to force your dog out of her crate to take her out to go potty or to feed her. just wait until the storm ends.

Also, for obvious safety reasons, make sure your dog can’t get out of the house or out of the yard. keep all doors as well as gates locked, especially if you have to leave your dog home alone.

Consider separating your pets if there is a possibility for aggression. On the other hand, some pets will provide comfort to each other.

4. use a Thundershirt for your dog during storms.

A Thundershirt is a tight-fitting vest designed to help a dog feel more comfortable in stressful situations. get one here.

The Thundershirt does make some dogs less fearful, however it is generally not a quick fix. Don’t expect a miracle. Instead, plan on using the Thundershirt in addition to the other ideas in this post. likewise see my post on Thundershirt reviews.

In addition to a Thundershirt, try using other tools that naturally make your dog calmer such as a dog coat, vest or sweater, a dog backpack, a harness, a gentle Leader, etc. Each dog is different, however my own dog becomes noticeably calmer while wearing these items.

5. create white noise for your dog during thunder

It does help some dogs if you’re able to drown out some of the noise by turning on the TV, music, air conditioning or loud fans.

Obviously, if you can close all the windows as well as blinds as well as sit in a central area of the house or a basement, that can likewise help some dogs.

How to desensitize a dog to thunderstorms

If you’d like to prepare your dog for future storms, I would think about the following ideas. (And please add extra ideas in the comments!)

1. Desensitizing your dog to storms.

The idea is to slowly get your dog used to the thunderstorm noise so it eventually becomes no huge deal. easier said than done, however we are lucky YouTube has literally hundreds of thunderstorm recordings.

I embedded one example below (link) that I thought was pretty good. Of course, if your dog is reacting to the modification in pressure vs. the noise, then desensitizing her to the noise will only do so much.

You can try a couple of things to desensitize your dog to thunderstorms:

One option is to randomly play the sounds softly without acknowledging your dog. No reaction whatsoever from you. Ideally, your dog will just learn these sounds are no huge deal, even as you gradually increase the volume over several days as well as weeks.

Another option is to give your dog a highly valued food reward while you play the videos. This can be to distract your dog at first however likewise to help him associate positive experiences with the storm sounds.

2. Natural calming remedies for dogs during storms.

I’m referring to natural products such as Bach’s Rescue remedy as well as Canine Calm. These products are marketed as natural products to help dogs remain calm in stressful situations such as when they are fearful of thunder or fireworks. Your dog does not need a prescription for these products.

Like the Thundershirt, natural remedies can be hit or miss as well as they’re generally not a quick fix. However, it is worth trying them in combination with other products as well as training methods.

3. talk to a veterinarian about anti-anxiety medication for your dog.

There are prescription medications to help dogs with thunderstorms, however I recommend you carefully weigh the pros as well as cons of a medication before giving it to your dog.

Commonly prescribed drugs for dogs with thunderstorm phobias include Acepromazine and Diazepam (Valium). You can ready more details as well as the pros as well as cons of those drugs here.

Make sure to ask the vet detailed questions such as:

– how far in advance do I need to give this anti stress and anxiety medicine to my dog?

– how does the medication work?

– will it really decrease my dog’s fear or just make him immobile? (How awful!)

4. provide your dog with lots of exercise before a storm.

I know, I make it sound like it’s that easy, however the less pent-up energy your dog has the better. I know so many people who think they can take their dog on a 90-minute hike on a Saturday as well as expect him to be tired the rest of the week.

If you’re able to provide your dog with adequate exercise every single day of the week, it will help her remain calmer as well as less anxious in general. If you have an anxious dog, exercise as well as structure are so important!

Other safety tips for dogs with a storm phobia:

Keep your dog indoors, at least during thunderstorm/fireworks season.
Don’t hesitate to hire a dog trainer or behaviorist.
Make sure your dog is microchipped. I likewise recommend ID tags, however if you’re concerned he’ll catch his collar on something you could consider a harness or a breakaway collar.
Hire a pet sitter to stay with your dog if you have to leave him home alone during a storm.

Why are dogs scared of thunder?

Dogs are likely scared of thunder since they don’t understand what’s causing the loud, rumbling noise. It’s natural for them to want to hide or investigate.

This is why you can help your dog’s storm phobia by providing some background or white noise to block out some of the thunder.

Do your dog have a fear of storms or fireworks?

What did you do to help him? let us know in the comments!

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

*Get my tips on how to help a dog during thunderstorms emailed to you in a pdf. Klikk her.
Related posts:

Can you reward a dog’s fears?Does the Thundershirt really work?Medication for dogs during fireworksMy dog is scared of fireworks

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