A Pet Owner’s Guide: How to Calm a Dog During a Storm

A Pet Owner's Guide: How to Calm a Dog During a Storm

A loud thunderstorm can be enough to turn even the biggest, toughest guard dog into a quivering puddle of fur. If your dog is afraid of thunder and lightning, then the summer storm season can be tough for you all — but there are ways to help your pup cope with their fear of storms. In this ultimate guide, we briefly explain why dogs are afraid of storms and then dive into 12 practical tips for calming your dog during a storm, from distracting them with bully sticks to trying anti-anxiety medication:

Why Are Dogs Afraid of Storms?

Multiple aspects of storms cause anxiety for dogs, all of which are heightened due to the dog’s increased sensitivity. For one, many dogs are noise averse — not just to thunder, but also other loud noises such as fireworks and gunfire. A noise that simply sounds loud to humans can be overpowering to a dog and send them cowering in fear.

The flashing lights from lightning can also be another contributing factor to a dog’s fear during thunderstorms. (This may also be another reason why your dog doesn’t like fireworks.) The lightning essentially acts as a strobe light in the sky, which is bewildering and frightening to dogs who don’t understand what’s happening.

Lightning is also related to another cause of dog’s discomfort: static electricity. Lightning is caused when the ice crystals in cold clouds bump together with the water droplets in warm clouds. This friction produces electrical charges that result in lightning. It also increases the static electricity in the air, which can cling to your dog’s fur and make them extremely uncomfortable.

Dogs who are afraid of storms may participate in behaviors such as howling, excessive barking, destroying things, and urinating or defecating in the house. However, their anxiety behavior may also take more subtle forms, such as panting, drooling, trembling, shaking, lowered ears and tail, widened eyes, and clawing. Keep an eye on the forecast and also on your dog’s body language to see if they are afraid of storms, even if they don’t make a commotion about it.

How to Calm Your Dog During a Storm

If your dog gets anxious during thunderstorms, don’t despair, because there are plenty of practical steps that you can take to make the experience less stressful for both of you. Here are 12 things that you can do to calm your dog in a storm:



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