Here comes another thunderstorm with lightning and loud thunder and off your dog goes to hide under the bed or jump in your lap. Have you considered your beloved pet is suffering from a not uncommon condition known as storm phobia in dogs? You can bet he or she is if this is their normal reaction when a storm blows through. There are several ways this phobia can manifest itself, so below we will cover what to look for.
Storm Phobia in Dogs
Commons signals for this problem include excessive panting, trembling, suddenly defecating or urinating, hiding behind furniture, wanting to be held by you until the storm has passed, crying or whining, and dilated pupils. I had a dog that had a mild form of storm phobia in dogs but he reacted in a rather odd manner when the thunder and lightning start. If he could get out, he ran out into the rain and barked at the thunder and lightning like by doing so the loud noises are going to stop!
According to the article quoted below on Dogs.About.com these simple tips can help your dog thorough a storm.
There are ways you can indirectly comfort your dog during thunderstorms (or other sources of fear and anxiety). One thing you can try is to provide a comfortable hiding place in the quietest part of your home. A crate with a soft bed inside and covered with a sheet might make your dog feel safer. Try playing music or white noise to drown out the noise. Consider trying a CD like Through a Dog’s Ear. In addition, using Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP) in the “safe place” might also help. Some dogs benefit from a type of wrap, like the Thundershirt, that is believed to provide some comfort during times of anxiety, stress and fear.
This condition normally is more likely to happen with certain breeds such as the German Shepard, Collies, and other dogs with the natural “herding” instinct but can become apparent in all breeds also. There are at present no veterinarian recommended medications for treating this problem. One of the best ways to help your dog through these episodes is be calm and gentle with them while speaking to the dog in a reassuring manner. Calmly petting the dog while speaking in a calm reassuring voice allows your dog to know you are there and he or she is safe.
If calming the dog doesn’t work, another excellent method is to use the “Thundershirt”, which you will see advertised here on the DogingtonPost.com. Click on the ad for more info.
We have a dog now that trembles and pants uncontrollably in a storm unless he is wearing the Thundershirt. With it on, he is just a little wary during a storm, but no longer trembles and pants. As a matter of fact, we now know when a storm is coming, because a couple of minutes before we start hearing it, he will go over to where we keep the shirt and start begging or whining until we put it on him.
Dealing with storm phobia in dogs can be difficult but is manageable if the owner takes into consideration this is a real and very terrifying condition for the dog. Plenty of reassurance and love will go a long way in helping your dog handle storms in a more stable way.
Have you owned a dog with this condition? Please pass this article along to friends who have pets suffering from storm phobia and any comments below are appreciated.