Does your dog’s behavior change during a heavy rainstorm or thunderstorm? Do they become reclusive, shake, hyperactive, or destructive? If so, you are probably dealing with Thunderstorm Phobia. This behavior disorder affects dogs in many ways. It can also leave us, as their caretakers, feeling helpless and desperate when we see our loved ones in this state.
There are many causes of thunderstorm phobia that affect dogs in different ways. The sudden, loud noise of thunder is an obvious reason. Usually these dogs will react to other loud noises such as fireworks or gunshots. The sudden change in barometric pressure can be a trigger for their increased anxiety. Also, some dogs with orthopedic disorders such as arthritis, may experience more pain than usual.
There are some home therapies you can do to help decrease your dog’s reaction to a storm. First, never leave your dog outside during a storm. You can try putting them in a crate, with a soft bed, and a heavy blanket on top. Try playing soothing music or whitenoise to help drown out the storm noises (consider trying a soundtrack such as Through a Dog’s Ear). Dog Appeasing Pheremones (DAP) have a calming effect and can be purchased online. Some dogs may benefit from a type of wrap called a Thundershirt that can cause the release of endorphins to counter their high anxiety states. If your dog shows success with any of these therapies, be sure to praise them in a calm, loving manner.
At times, thunderstorm phobia will not respond to home remedies, or become worse as a dog gets older. The medical staff at the Berwick Animal Clinic can discuss other treatment options with safe anti-anxiety medications that can be successful in calming your dog. Their comfort level is as important to us as it is to you. Please do not hesitate to call us about your dog’s thunderstorm phobia as the season is upon us.
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