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Thunderstorm Anxiety in Dogs

Does your canine buddy become a quivering ball of fear at the sound of thunder? Does Fido run and hide when skies darken? Man’s Best Friend is often very frightened by storms. In this article, a local Brandon, FL vet discusses thunderstorm anxiety in dogs.

Why Do Storms Scare Dogs?

There actually could be several reasons for dogs to be nervous about thunderstorms. Static electricity is one possibility. As one can imagine, it probably isn’t very comfortable to be covered in fur when static electricity is high. Our furry pals may also be frightened by the smell of ozone. Subsonic noises are another possibility: Fido’s sensitive ears could be picking up noises that are undetectable to us. Of course, it’s also possible that Man’s Best Friend just doesn’t like the noise and lightning flashes. After all, your cute pet can’t read weather reports!

Helping Fido Cope

There are a few things you can do to help keep Fido calmer during storms. First, if you know it’s going to storm later, walk him before the skies darken. You may also want to tire your pup out before bad weather arrives, as he’ll be calmer—and hopefully less jittery—if he’s a bit tired. Your canine pal may also be more comfortable in his crate or an interior room. Put a TV or radio on to mask the noise, and give your pooch a puzzle toy or chew stick to occupy himself with. You can also try desensitizing your four-legged friend. Get an app or CD that plays thunderstorm sounds, and play it at low volume. Once your furry companion has gotten used to it, slowly start increasing the volume. If your pooch gets accustomed to the background noise, storm sounds may not bother him as much. Pet-calming products, such as treats, sprays, and doggy shirts, can also help. Ask your vet for recommendations.

Tips

Never punish your furry buddy for misbehaving during a storm. Fido is acting out of fear, so reprimanding him for it may just make matters worse. However, you don’t want to coddle your canine friend too much, either. This would basically be rewarding your dog for acting scared, which may just reinforce his behavior. Ask your vet for more information.

Please reach out to us, your Brandon, FL vet clinic, for all of your dog’s veterinary care needs. We are happy to help!