Thunder is one of the scariest things to experience for most dogs, and it sets them on edge as nothing else does. Why are these precious creatures so afraid of this naturally occurring phenomenon? What is dog thunderstorm anxiety, why are dogs scared of thunder, and how can you help your furry friend through it? Let’s see.
Dogs And Thunderstorms
Dogs bark and howl and get stressed out during thunderstorms. You might notice your pup showing signs of stress, such as curling into the fetal position, hiding, or licking their paws.
Most experts and trainers believe this happens because dogs are easily overwhelmed by the loud sounds that accompany a thunderstorm. Because of their heightened capabilities, they are more sensitive to sounds than we are. A dog’s hearing is more than ten times better than ours, so if you think a thunderstorm is loud, what do you think your pup feels?
You might also notice that your furry friend can start stressing out way before the first strike of thunder hits. That is because they can detect thunder before we can hear it due to their heightened senses.
It also makes sense that they would want to find shelter from something that sounds as menacing as a thunderstorm. It is a natural instinct to survive anything loud. The static electricity accompanying thunderstorms further worsens the situation.
How To Help Your Dog During Thunderstorms
Taking care of your canine friend means soothing them when they are agitated. Some of the ways you can do this during thunderstorms include:
Give Them Space
Sensory overload during a thunderstorm can easily overwhelm your pup. When this happens, they might seek a safe space away from people. It is important to understand when this happens and give them the necessary space. Do not be harsh, especially when they start overreacting, causing destruction.
Your dog might also start whining, barking, or howling during a thunderstorm. Do not shout at them to stop doing that. It is a way for them to cope with the stressful situation, and they will stop on their own with time.
Let Them Play With Toys
Find your pup’s favorite toys and put them in their sleeping area or where they are when the thunder starts. Also, find some licking or chewing toys they can use; they might start chewing or licking themselves without the toys, which can harm them. The toys act as a positive outlet to take their minds off the loud noises.
Treats, Treats, And More Treats
Another way to keep your dog preoccupied is by giving them something to eat. You should be moderate with the treats you give them; you don’t want to overfeed your furry friend just because they are stressed.
Experts recommend giving them a treat that can occupy their time. You can, for example, smear cream cheese or peanut butter on their playing mat. They will be distracted by trying to lick it off, distracting them from the noise.
You can also use calming treats, peanut butter kongs, and CBD oil to soothe them when they start showing signs of anxiety.
Provide Background Noise
Refocus your pup’s attention from the noise by playing something that blocks the thunder noise. They will probably be less stressed if they can’t see or hear the thunder and lightning. Play some loud sounds, such as the TV or calming white noise. You can also talk to them softly while petting them.
Read Your Dog’s Body Language
It is easy to assume that your pup is being destructive or loud for no reason. This happens mostly before the first boom of thunder (before we start hearing it). Instead of getting angry at your dog when it acts out, observe its body language to know if there is an underlying reason for its actions.
Look for signs of stress, such as running in place, yawning, or hiding. This can help you identify their coping mechanisms early on, giving you time to react before the dog spirals out of control.
If you know there will be a thunderstorm, take suitable protective measures before it hits. A plan before the thunderstorm can help you soothe your pup, preventing it from getting rowdy.
Dogs are not a fan of thunder, and now you know why. It is important to prepare to calm your dog when the thunder hits to prevent them from getting stressed. The loud noises can spook them out, so interpret their body language and provide them with ways to cope.
Play some background noise, give them treats, and let them play with their toys to help them ride out the storm. You can also use CBD oils and chews for pets to calm them if nothing else works.