Many dogs suffer from fear during rain and thunderstorms. They might pant excessively, drool, pace, hide, or become frantic and destructive. Oftentimes, it is impossible so calm them down and it becomes a stressful experience for everyone in the house. These tips can help you soothe your dog and decrease the fear and stress they feel.
Music and Fans
Next time there’s a storm, play some relaxing music. Many dogs experience a positive emotional reaction to calming music, and these sounds can appease them during a storm. The music will distract them from distressing sounds of thunder and keep them calm until the storm passes. Turn a loud fan on to drown out sounds of rain and thunder.
If your dog views the crate as a safe place, try leading it to the crate next time you suspect rain is imminent. Cover the crate with a blanket to increase their feeling of security. Being closed in a small area might help your dog feel sheltered and safe from loud, scary noises. Make sure you stay nearby the crate to let your dog out if it shows signs of distress in the crate. Crating is also beneficial if your dog become destructive and has injured itself out of fear during a thunderstorm in the past.
Training: Adjust to Loud Noises
The best way to help your dog adjust to stormy weather is through training. Training a dog to remain calm on a rainy day can take time, so this step needs to be enacted before the storm hits. Start by playing videos of rain and thunder on the lowest volume setting. Scatter treats for your dog as the sounds play. Gradually increase the volume at the beginning of each training session. If your dog starts displaying signs of distress, lower the volume and take things more slowly. When a real storm hits, scatter treats and avoid showing signs of concern for your dog. It can be hard to ignore the dog when you’re worried about it, but acting normal will prevent the dog from associating your concern with impending danger.
Last Resort: Medication
After exhausting your options and your dog is still experiencing distress during storms, it might be time to speak to your veterinarian. They will be able to prescribe medication to keep your dog calm during a storm. It is not a perfect solution because most medications take an hour to have an effect and it is difficult to predict when a storm with hit. But for some dogs, medication is the only option.
If your dog displays signs of fear and unease during a thunderstorm, there are several options you can try to reduce its stress. Soothing music and crating are great to try for quick fixes. Training a dog to adjust to loud noises by creating a positive association with them takes time, but it will be beneficial far into the future. As a last resort, medication may be required to help your dog stay calm during bad weather.
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