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Northtowns Pet Blog: Helping Thunder Phobic Dogs | Pets

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Northtowns Pet Blog: Helping Thunder Phobic Dogs
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Northtowns Pet Blog: Helping Thunder Phobic Dogs
Tips for comforting your pup during a storm

As the saying goes, April showers bring May flowers.  And in Western New York, we certainly get a lot of rain and, unfortunately, thunderstorms.

Some dogs  do not have a fear of storms.  But for many dogs, storms bring panic and fear. Sometimes this fear even extends to the precursors to thunder, like dark skies, lightning, or changes in barometric pressure. 

The ASPCA recommends the following strategies to help your dog through a storm.

  • Comforting your dog with petting, praise, or massage/TTouch
  • Playing calming music
  • Using a TV, radio, fan, or canine noise-reducing headphones, such as Mutt Muffs, to muffle storm noises
  • Distracting your dog with a stuffed Kong, scattered treats, or a game of tug or fetch
  • Putting a body wrap on your dog, such as the Thundershirt or Anxiety Wrap
  • Exercising your dog on days when storms are coming

As a long-term solution, the ASPCA recommends counterconditioning your dog to thunderstorms, which is what I’m doing with Remy as a preventative measure. As I mentioned, this involves associating the scary sound with treats and toys. Ideally you’ll want to start with a recording of thunder noises at a low volume and gradually increase the level before a real storm comes. 

Many people have had good results by using the Thundershirt in combination with a counterconditioning program.

If your dog has a serious fear, you can also speak to your veterinarian about anti-anxiety medicine or herbal remedies.

How does your dog react to thunder?

 

Laura Stauffiger is the proprietor of Laura’s Critter Care, an in your home pet sitting and dog walking service in Amherst, and a member of Pet Sitters International and PetsitUSA. For more information, visit her website or send an email

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