Regardless of their size, your dog probably has no trouble acting tough when it feels the need to protect you. However, underneath that bravado is probably a total softie. And while your dog’s gentle nature is usually reflected in affection and other positive traits, there may be one issue that concerns you. The issue we’re talking about is storm anxiety. For owners of dogs with this condition, watching this type of anxiety take over can be very difficult.
In a matter of seconds, a dog can go from its normal happy self to being visibly anxious. Depending on the specific dog, actions that go along with this condition may include pacing, hiding in the closet, squeezing into a tight space like behind a toilet, clawing walls, chewing carpets or even trying to break through something like a window.
Before we cover any more information about this condition, it’s important to note two things. First, dog thunderstorm phobia is a very real condition in dogs and one that shouldn’t be ignored by owners. And second, a common misconception about this condition is that dogs grow out of it. In most cases, that’s simply not the case.
Tips for Helping a Dog Feel Better During a Storm
Although experts haven’t pinpointed the exact cause of this condition, most believe it’s the result of a combination of wind, thunder, lightning, barometric pressure changes, static electricity and low-frequency rumbles. That’s why a dog may begin showing signs of anxiety before you’re even able to hear that a storm is building.
With some dogs, this type of anxiety may be present from when they’re very young. And with others, it’s actually a condition that can develop later in life. While there’s no cure for storm anxiety, there are definitely ways to help manage it.
The first thing you can do is reward your dog’s calm behavior on a regular basis. By engaging in this type of training when it’s not stormy, you can create a habit which can be very useful when a storm does start brewing. The next way to help is to create a safe place where you dog can retreat during a storm. Common options include a basement corner, small room with calm music playing, open crate or even a bathroom. The best way to pick a spot is to watch where your dog naturally goes during a storm.
Another option is to put a snug garment on your dog. Studies have shown that snug-fitting shirts and wraps may be useful to calm anxious dogs. Finally, since dogs are more likely to have worse anxiety symptoms when they’re alone, bring your dog to our awesome daycare facilities on spring days when you can’t be at home and it’s likely to storm.