5 Steps to Help Your Dog Feel Safe During a Storm
A storm is in the forecast, and you know what’s coming—your pup quivering in the bathroom or under the table, more and more anxious with every rumble of thunder. Dogs are often scared of the noise and flash of thunder and lightning. But for some, every element of this weather—the static electricity, the change in barometric pressure, even the smell of rain—creates the perfect storm (literally) of anxiety.
Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do to ease your pup’s fear. Here are five simple steps to keep your dog feeling safe:
1. Create a Save Haven
Find the most soundproof room in the house and make it comfortable with their bed, toys and treats. If they prefer a crate as their ultimate place of comfort, make this available, but leave the door open. You can even place a blanket over it to deaden the storm sounds further. Draw the blinds, pull the curtains, keep out those flashes of lightning.
2. Be There and Be Cool
Your behavior and demeanor play a big part in reassuring your pup. Be calm and use soothing tones to show them everything’s all right. Comfort and distract them with pets, and if they’re up for it, play a game of indoor fetch or tug.
3. Make Your Own Noise
Block out the noise of the storm with the radio, a white noise machine, or search the web for music designed to calm dogs (there’s a lot of it out there). Anything that cancels out the anxiety and reduces the sounds of thunder, wind and rain will help your dog cope and even forget their fear.
4. Swaddle for Safety
Various shirts and capes are available to calm pups by applying gentle pressure to their torso, like a swaddled baby. This soothes them, and some even reduce static electricity. If you don’t have a Thundershirt, you can still wrap up your pup, and wipe them with an anti-static laundry sheet to minimize the crackle.
5. Desensitize and Condition
As a long-term remedy to storm anxiety, work on desensitizing your pup to storm sounds by playing a recording of thunderstorm sounds very low while offering treats and positive interaction. Over a few weeks, in short sessions, slowly increase the volume, always pairing it with a reward. This will help desensitize your dog to storm noise and lessen or eliminate their anxiety when the clouds roll in!