Does Your Dog Have Thunderstorm Anxiety?

Summer storm season is upon us. Many dogs suffer from thunderstorm anxiety, and may exhibit fearful behavior, aggression, or even house soiling when a storm rolls through. Many experts believe that dogs can sense changes in air pressure or static electricity, contributing to the anxiousness already in place due to the loud booming of thunder and bright flashes of lightning.

Does your dog suffer from thunderstorm-related anxiety? Below, a Cameron Park, CA veterinarian offers help.

Distract Your Dog

Some dogs simply need a distraction from the mayhem happening outside. Try keeping your pet’s attention with toys, treats, games, and other fun indoor activities. If at all possible, stay away from windows so that your pet has less of a chance of becoming frightened by lightning. It can also help to play some background noise, like the television or music from a stereo or radio.

Create a Safe Zone

In a quiet, secure basement room, try making your dog their very own safe zone. Set up a pet bed, a few soft blankets, and some of your pooch’s favorite toys. When a storm approaches, lead your dog to this area and sit with them until the bad weather has passed. The familiarity and comfort of the pet bed and toys, along with your loving presence, is likely to make your canine companion feel better until the storm is over.

Some dogs also feel better when wrapped snugly in a blanket or garment, like a dog sweater. If your dog accepts wearing these items, see if they help your pooch feel better during storms.

Consult a Veterinary Professional

For dogs with more severe thunderstorm anxiety, a veterinary professional should be notified. Dogs may benefit from a program of desensitization and counter-conditioning, which usually involves playing recordings of thunderstorms at low volumes. Over a period of days or weeks, the volume is increased. In this way, your dog can get used to the sounds of the storm and be less frightened when the real thing comes around.

Dogs can also be prescribed medications to help with anxiety. Often, a combination of medication and desensitization techniques works well to minimize storm anxiety in canine patients. In addition, professional animal behaviorists and trainers can be consulted in special cases.

Would you like more information on thunderstorm phobia, desensitization, and canine anxiety? Give your Cameron Park, CA veterinarian’s office a call today to find out more.

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