Menu

Perhaps you know the drill: A flash of lightning, a clap of thunder, and your normally calm dog is off whining and wildly searching for a hiding place. Animal behaviorists call this reaction “storm anxiety” or “noise phobia.”

And while it’s pretty common in dogs, it’s hardly easy to watch — or cure. But don’t ignore it, advises Matt Peuser, a Kansas veterinarian, explaining “Most of the time, they don’t grow out of it on their own, and many will get worse with time if nothing is done.”

Yet many owners are stumped about how to address the behavior. One reason is that no one has pinned down exactly what triggers it. It’s highly probable that pets with noise phobia also suffer from separation anxiety, according to a Cornell University study of 1,644 dogs.

On the other hand, your pet can seem fine for years, and then suddenly one day just starts whining and pacing before you even realize it’s going to rain. Experts think your little guy might be responding to a combination of barometric pressure changes that you don’t feel and low-frequency rumbles that you can’t hear.

What you can do

Surprisingly, joint discomfort can be another silent pre-storm trigger for older arthritic dogs. If your dog suffers with joint discomfort consult your vet about supplements that may help your dog cope. Talk with your vet.

If you learn some calming techniques now, you can help your best friend, regardless of whether the reaction seems out of character. Remember that even if storm anxiety crops up suddenly, treatments tend to take time to work. Usually, the time is worth it and can help you avoid having to use anti-anxiety drugs — not every anxious dog needs medication to cope.

“We have our best luck with a management plan that includes changing some features in the environment, applying some behavior modification techniques and some medication,” says Barbara Sherman, Ph.D., D.V.M., and an associate professor of veterinary behavior at North Carolina State University College of Medicine. Likewise, you shouldn’t rely on just one solution. Instead, try a combination of the ones we’ve gathered here — and repeat them often.

  1. Always reward calm behavior. Don’t wait for your dog to act fearful to give her attention. When you console a whimpering dog you’re actually rewarding the unwanted behavior. So instead, praise her and shower her with affection when she’s completely calm. That way she knows that this is the correct way to behave.
  1. Use a Thundershirt when it’s not raining. Lots of owners make the mistake of putting their dogs in these snug-fitting calming jackets (other brands include Storm Defender and Anxiety Wrap) after a storm has begun. In fact, having Rover wear the shirt before a storm hits, when he’s already happy and relaxed, will help him associate the sensation of wearing it with feeling calm.
  1. Create a safe, storm-proof place for your pet. Pay attention to where your pet goes when a storm starts. If possible, help make this her permanent safe zone by adding a blanket, toy, or water dish. Crates can be safe spots, but a key feature should be that it’s as far away from storm sounds as possible.

 

0

Comment on the Story Below

Related Posts

April 29, 2016

A Quick Pick-Me Up

I want you to imagine for a moment what it would be like if humans...
July 31, 2015

Dog Constipation: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatments

As one of the most common digestive problems among animals, constipation — the difficulty or...
September 6, 2019

Acute Diarrhea In Dogs

Diarrhea is a very common problem in dogs and usually manifests as loose or liquid...
Comments – Rules , Boundaries & Limitations

At Cesar’s Way , we strive to be a single pack, and packs have rules, and limitations. Here are ours for the comments:

  •  No bullying or harassment of fellow commenters. Keep it civil!
  • No foul language or obscenities, please.
  • No posting of external links

Also, please note that because of volume , we are unable to respond to individual comments, although we do watch them in order to learn what issues and questions are most common so that we can produce content that fulfills your needs. You are welcome to share your own dog tips and behavior solutions among yourselves, however Thank you for reading our articles and sharing your thoughts with the pack!

Trending Today

Trending This Week