Storm Phobia or Storming Success

Thunderstorms can indeed be quite frightening. Many pups struggle to express their fear, which can lead to visible signs of worry or even panic. Helping them through these moments isn’t always straightforward, but here are some simple strategies to ease their anxiety during storms:

Dog looking at clouds
  1. Prior Preparation: For dogs with severe storm phobia, preparation beforehand is crucial for their well-being. Here’s what you can do:
    • Set Up a Safe Place: Create a comfortable, secure area where your dog can seek refuge during the storm. Crate training can work for a passive copper.
    • Stay Informed About Weather: Keep track of weather forecasts to anticipate storms and prepare accordingly.
    • Adjust the Environment: Close curtains or blinds to minimize visual stimuli from lightning flashes.
    • Provide Background Noise: Turn on the TV or radio to provide a familiar background sound that can help mask the noise of thunder.
    • Be Present: If possible, stay home with your furry friend to offer reassurance and support.
  2. Understand Coping Mechanisms: Recognise whether your dog is an active or passive coper. Active copers may exhibit behaviours like pacing or barking, while passive copers may retreat and hide. Respect their coping style and provide them with space to manage their anxiety.
  3. Identify Signs of Panic: Learn to recognise signs of panic in your dog, such as dilated pupils, heavy panting, rapid heart rate, drooling, and fidgeting. When in a state of panic, dogs are unable to respond and are solely focused on survival.
  4. Seek Professional Help: If your dog experiences severe panic during storms, seek assistance from your local emergency veterinarian. Additionally, consult your regular veterinarian for advice on managing storm anxiety, as there are various medications and treatments available to help alleviate panic including some newer ones like Sileo©.
  5. Consider Adjunct Treatments: Explore complementary treatments such as massage and high-quality essential oils. Certain oils like frankincense, cedar, and lavender can have calming effects during storms and help your dog relax.

By implementing these strategies and being attuned to your dog’s needs, you can provide comfort and support during thunderstorms, helping them navigate through moments of anxiety more smoothly.

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