dog afraid of thunderIn the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen some intense thunderstorms in our area. If they made your dog hide in the closet and tremble, he wasn’t the only one. Many dogs experience anxiety with loud noises overhead. Reactions can vary from excessive panting to vocalizing to destructive behavior. What’s a pet owner to do?

While every dog responds differently to anxiety intervention methods, here are four ideas that may help alleviate your pet’s fears and curb the accompanying behavior:

1. Thundershirts. Terrorized Terriers, worried Whippets* and other panicky pooches find comfort much the way a colicky infant finds relief when swaddled. Thundershirts provide gentle, consistent pressure that reassures. They are an inexpensive investment to provide relief in stressful situations in about 80% of the dogs that try them. For more information, click here.

2. Desensitization. No, you don’t have to move to an area with lots of thunderstorms. Try playing recordings of thunderstorm sounds quietly to allow your dog to get used to sounds of storms. Over a matter of weeks, gradually increase the volume. This method may not work for dogs that respond to a drop in barometric pressure.

3. Short-term medication. For the occasional or unexpected storm, ask us about prescribing a short-acting medication that you can administer to your pet to help him quickly adjust.

4. Long-term medication. When thunderstorm season starts in earnest, it may not be possible for you to be home during every storm to give medicine to or reassure your pet. A longer-term antianxiety medication at the beginning of the season may be a good solution. Talk to us about it.

If your dog’s anxiety is minimal, you may want to simply ignore him and observe his natural coping abilities. Many times, your pet will take cues from how you handle the loud noises.

If your dog is truly alarmed by loud noises like storms, give us a call. At Town N Country, we would love to help you find the best strategy for your pet to weather the storms of life.