How to Calm Your Dog During a Thunderstorm

Too Hot for Spot Tuesday Tip: Thunderstorm Dog Safety

If you’re like some dog owners, you’ve probably had several sleepless nights over the last week thanks to your dog’s “thunder phobia” resulting from the severe thunderstorms that have been plaguing the Northeast.

This fear can manifest in a variety of ways including – hiding, whining, scratching, slobbering, or destructive behavior – and it can get worse with age. Dogs possess special sensitivities that can make storms more terrifying. They can sense the change in air pressure, and may hear low-frequency rumblings that we, humans, can’t detect. 

07-08-14 Too Hot for Spot Tuesday- Thunderstorms Pic07-08-14 Thunderstorms PicSo, if you want to help calm your pup (and hopefully get some “shut-eye”) during the next thunderstorm, try these 5 tips:

  1. Stay with your dog if you can. Having you by his side will make him feel safer.
  2. If there are windows in the room, close the blinds or curtains, or cover the windows so the dog can’t see outside.
  3. Create a safe haven. Hiding is a natural instinct, so provide your dog with a safe indoor area, like a crate. If you have a wire crate, cover it with a light sheet. Leave the door open so your dog doesn’t feel trapped.
  4. Play calming music to drown out the thunder.
  5. Distract your dog. Try playing his favorite game and giving him treats. He might learn to associate storms with fun and play, rather than anxiety and fear.

If none of these work and your dog’s “thunder phobia” is really out of control, consult with your veterinarian.

For more summer pet safety tips visit: arlboston.org/summer-safety.