How to help dogs that fearthunder? Fear of storms and the fear of thunder, or at least loud and unpredictable noises, can really scare your dog. But why are dogs afraid of storms? While some dogs are indifferent and don’t seem to even notice the thunder, others are literally phobic and desperately start looking for a safe place to hide. Let’s discover how to calm a dog during thunderstorms with the best dog thunderstorm anxiety treatment!
Why are dogs afraid of storms
Generally, dogs afraid of storms will tend to hide under the bed or under some furniture, others may try to escape from the troublesome noises that stress them out, which is risky because they might get lost! It is always the fear of sudden noises that the dog does not expect, so in addition to thunder, some dogs may have a fear of slamming noises, slamming windows, the noise of lowering the blinds, and so on.
Some dogs are scared of the noise that the wind makes, which tends to occur during rain and which the dog may associated with the arrival of a storm. The storm phobia and phobia of thunder is still the most feared, because dogs who are afraid perceive it as a looming danger and he can’t figure out which way it is coming from, and thus can’t handle it.
Signs of anxiety in dogs
Most common signs of anxiety in dogs are:
- Dog is slightly afraid with a tendency to cuddle up to his human friend;
- An anguished and anxious state, the anxious dog will start to look around nervously. The frightened dog stands alert and will try to identify where the noise is coming from. In these cases he may move to and fro, never crouching or hiding somewhere, and may demand attention from his owner;
- A state of panic characterized by hectic running that may be alternated with moments of immobilisation to hide under the bed or furniture;
- In the most extreme cases: real loss of emotional control that may result in psychosomatic symptoms such as diarrhea in dogs, contraction of the perianal glands, hypersalivation and indirect aggressive dog behavior.
Many humans do not know how to behave when their dog is nervous, and often end up getting the opposite result, since, when worried by the dog’s behavior, we often try to reassure him, which does nothing but increase the dog’s anxiety since we are essentially calling attention to the problem. If we can manage not to worry or at least convey tranquility and calm to our dog in order to convince him that loud noises are not a problem, we may be able to reduce his anxious state.
Dog thunderstorm anxiety treatment
How to calm a dog during thunderstorms? A few possible remedies, which obviously depend from dog to dog and their individual reactions to loud noises are: distract him with a toy or a particularly tasty food. If he responds to this stimulus, then his stress level isn’t too high. If your friend is completely focused on the noise of the storm to the point of not even responding to the stimulus of food, it means that his state of anxiety is very high.
In these cases, some recommend getting the dog used to the scary noise by exposure therapy, which entails exposing the dog to the noise all day at a low volume and then gradually making it louder. Generally it is a method that works, even if it becomes a big problem if the dog is afraid of everything … In these cases the problem lies less with the noise itself and more with your friends general feeling of security, which can be worked on with a good dog behaviorist. However, starting with the noise that causes the dog anxiety can be constructive and a good first step. In alternative, you can try bach flower remedies for dogs and see if the situation improves!