Hurricane season begins in June — so you know what that means? Thunderstorms!
Experts say up to 30 percent of dogs experience storm anxiety (also known as astraphobia) with symptoms ranging from nervous moaning to destructive behavior. Here are some great tips for keeping your furniture in one piece and your dog calm during a storm.
1. Don’t comfort your dog when he acts afraid
According to Pedigree, giving your dog hugs or special attention can actually reinforce his fearful behavior. They suggest focusing more on speaking to your pet in a happy, playful voice to give him confidence. And remember: Never punish fearful behavior. If you can get your dog to play with you during a storm — that’s all the better, Pedigree said.
2. However, do make your dog comfortable
Petful.com recommends finding a comfortable place — a ridiculously plush dog bed, a rug, a crate or space under a bed, even in the bathtub — that the pet thinks of as a safe haven. Offer a few reassuring words. You might want to remind your pet that a cherished toy is still here, just waiting to be played with. While you’re trying to cuddle your dog, you are trying to keep them happy.
3. Bring your dog inside
PetHealth.com says the best place for your dog is the most sound-proof area of your house. Dogs left outside during a thunderstorm are affected more than dogs that are inside, according to PetHealth.com. Some dogs will attempt to escape from your yard or fight to get into your home. While damage to your property can be extreme and costly, it’s the damage your dog could do to itself that is dangerous – or deadly.
4. Turn down the noise, Turn up the music
Multiple sources recommend playing calming, soothing music for your dog during a thunderstorm. It’s a common form of pet therapy that is has proven to be highly effective. Another common approach that utilizes sound is desensitizing your dog — especially you ones— by playing a thunderstorm soundtrack when it’s not so gloomy outside.
Several websites provide thunderstorm soundtracks to help dogs with astraphobia. Of course, nothing is better than free in this case. YouTube has hundreds of soundtracks available for free use, some of which go for as long as 10 hours.
5. Don’t lock your dog up
The Human Society strongly suggests to not put your dog in a crate to prevent her from being destructive during a thunderstorm. Your pet will still be fearful when she’s in the crate and is likely to injure herself, perhaps even severely, while attempting to get out of the crate.
6. Go space age with electromagnetism
PetMD.com said your dog can become sensitized to the electromagnetic radiation caused by lightning strikes. One great way to shield your dog from these potentially fear-provoking waves is to cover their crate with a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil.
In the end, if your dog has severe astraphobia and you’re unable to achieve success with the tips we’ve outlined here, we strongly recommend consulting a veterinarian.
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