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Maple Leaf Veterinary Care Center is a full service veterinary practice located in the Maple Leaf neighborhood of North Seattle.

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Calming Your Dog During a Thunderstorm

thunderstorm

Tips for Keeping Your Dog Calm During Thunderstorms

It is very common for dogs to feel upset by the booming thunder and flashing lightening of a thunderstorm.  In fact, because dogs are especially sensitive to barometric pressure, they can sense an oncoming storm before you can.  They may start to act anxious, chew on things or even run away in a panic.  While it may seem natural to sit down on the floor and coddle your dog in soothing tones during a thunderstorm, this will only reinforce his or her anxious behavior in the long run.  These tips can help you learn how to calm your dog during a storm by teaching him that it’s only noise and nothing to get upset about.

Calm Your Dog’s Thunderstorm Anxiety: Calmness Begins with You

First:   Dogs can pick up on their humans’ feeling, so it is important for you to stay calm if you are to be able to calm your dog.  If they sense your anxiety, that will only make them feel and act worse.

Second:  Provide a safe, enclosed, den-like area where your dog can securely sit out the storm.  A crate inside the house is the perfect place because they feel safer there with a blanket and chew toy to gnaw on.  If your dog is an outside dog, cover his kennel with a blanket and make sure he is secured inside.

Third:  If you do not use a crate to calm your dog, make sure the room where you keep him is safe and devoid of small or sharp objects that he could swallow or chew on, as they may do when they are stressed out.  Crating is recommended, but if this is not possible for you, make sure he has a soft, secure place where he feels safe.  Keep the doors and windows closed and curtained to dull outside noises and lights of the storm.  Sometimes turning on a TV or some music that the dog is used to hearing can dull sounds and help calm your dog.

Fourth:  Keep your dog away from exits and entrances into your home.  Some dogs become so stressed out that they may attack people coming in or out.  He may also make a run for it if the door is opened.

Fifth:  One great way to calm your dog’s thunderstorm fear is to condition him to accept that storms are nothing to worry about.  Using environmental recordings of storms, starting out softly and then making them gradually louder while having everyone else in the house go calmly about their business has reprogrammed many dogs to stay calm during a storm.  This may take some time, but many owners have had success with this method.

Note:  If your dog has an accident during a storm, be patient and understanding.  Don’t make a big deal about it and be prepared to clean up without a lot of fanfare.

***We urge you to have identification on your dog.  Both tags on the collar AND a microchip will help ensure the safe return of your dog in the event that he does escape***

 

Source: woodbridgeanimalhospital.com

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