The end of summer and early fall is prime time for thunderstorms, which can be a problem if your dogs hate loud noises. Storms can be especially scary for our four-legged friends, as we can’t explain that the loud noises and rattling shudders aren’t going to hurt them. If you have a dog who can’t deal with storms, here are a few tips to try to keep them calm.
Offer plenty of comfort and reassurance
Our dogs feed off of our emotions, so shouting at your dog if they are anxious and barking at thunder will only make things worse. If your dog likes to be held or pet, do so when it’s storming. Speak in a low, calm, even tone of voice, and reassure them that everything is fine. This along most likely won’t stop the problem if your dog gets worked up during stormy weather, but it will go a long way to making things better.
Turn on some background noise
If there is just very low, light thunder, a little background noise will go a long way to helping keep your dog calm. Turn on some soothing music - classical tends to work well - or some manner of white noise. Just a box fan running in the bedroom will help keep your dog from freaking out at every tiny noise. Mask a bit of it to help calm them down.
Grab a thundershirt
Thundershirts don’t work for every dog, but they do a great job of calming down the dogs they do work on. A thundershirts provides constant, light pressure to help your dog feel secure. Think of it like a literal support blanket. The key to ensuring the thundershirt works the way it’s supposed to is to put it on well before the storm arrives. If you wait until your dog is already scared or amped up, they are just going to start associating the thundershirt with that feeling. Try to put it on about thirty minutes before the storm arrives, and make sure the thunder has completely passed before taking it off. Give your dog a reward after you’ve removed the thundershirt, too.
Stock up on supplies
If none of this seems to work, then you may want to invest in some medication or other remedy to help keep your dog calm. There are a lot of products you can pick up from a pet store - Heavenly Hounds, ThunderWunders, Happy Travelers - that can all help keep your dog relaxed when thunder rolls in. You could also see your vet to see if there are any sedative options. If you take this approach, make sure you carefully read the directions for anything you are administering to your dog. You don’t want to give them too much and cause an even worse problem.
Storms don’t have to be stressful, and neither do messes. Keep a supply of Bio-nihilator around the house just in case your dog has an accident in the house. Hopefully you’ll never need it, but you will be glad you have it to take care of stains and smells when you need to.