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Fear of Thunderstorms

Dogs have sensitivity to the static charge that is built before a storm, the change in barometric pressure and the smell of ionized air.

Some dogs cannot tolerate storms and show signs including panting, pacing, hiding, drooling, shaking or trying to escape. These signs of anxiety can surface as soon as a dog senses a storm is coming; long before the actual storm arrives. Dogs will head to the nearest tub, sink or toilet where the electricity is grounded or will retreat to where the sounds are less noticeable.

The best approach is to try to divert the fear. You need to try different remedies to find the one that best works with your dog. Here are a few suggestions:

  • play music to drown out the sounds
  • close the window curtains
  • mild anti-anxiety homeopathic remedies (Rescue Remedy or Nutra Calm)
  • Benadryl to cause drowsiness. Use l-2mg per pound
  • in severe cases a prescription medication can be issued. A T4 test can detect if your pet has a thyroid deficiency.
  • storm defender cape or anxiety wrap (with metallic liner) to block and discharge the static associated with a storm from their fur.
  • dryer sheet to remove static from their coat

Some dogs just need a safe haven such as the bathroom or a closet. Make sure this space is available to your dog when you are away and provide it with a soft pad.

Never reinforce the fear by cuddling. Do not punish the dog for his fears. Try to divert your dog’s attention and reward him when he is calm. Remember he will watch how you react to a storm. Be calm and cheerful.

Never lock your dog in a crate or other small space; it will cause panic in a fearful dog.

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This page was last updated on 3/27/2017