When your dog has a fear of thunder and lightning, it can cause him to cower, hide and act uncharacteristically. It can also cause you to feel helpless and unsure of what to do to make the situation better. Some simple actions and preventative measures can diminish the panic and fear that your dog feels during storms.
Check the Weather
When you know a storm is coming, you can plan accordingly to make sure your dog is not out for a walk, in a car or in the yard. If possible, take him out where he needs to go with as much time as possible before the storm comes. Inside, the noise can seem less drastic, he won’t have to see the lightning and he’ll be able to go where he needs to in order to feel safe.
Pay Close Attention
When a storm strikes and you first notice that your dog is frightened, pay attention to where he goes and what he does to make himself feel better. Whether he hides in his cage, runs for his favorite blanket or curls up next to you, have the space or item readily available next time a storm is coming. Being unprepared may cause your dog’s panic to be worse.
Don’t Force Your Dog to Cuddle
Some pet owners have a tendency to assume that when a storm comes, the dog needs to be hugged, cuddled and stroked. Let your dog go where he needs to, whether it be on your lap or in a closet. If he wants attention, he will go to you, otherwise, he will try to find a space that he feels is the most comfortable. If you feel the need to soothe him, do so with words.
Have Comfort Items Available
Your dog’s comfort items can offer distractions to help him get through the storm. For example, put out his favorite blanket, offer him some of his favorite treats and toss around a chew toy. It may also help him stay away from damaging and chewing on other items he shouldn’t be gnawing on, such as a pillow or chair.
Close Views of the Outside
Whatever room you and your dog are in, make sure the blinds are closed. Any view of lightning can upset your dog even more. In addition, if you are going outside and have the door open, keep the door closed and make sure he isn’t behind you when you open it.
Put On the Television
The noise from the television can block some of the sounds of the thunderstorm. Even if he is in a room where you are not, leave the TV on for him. If there is no TV in the room, leave on a radio for him instead.
If the problem gets bad enough, you can consider taking him to the vet, otherwise, trying other options first may work out well. Having your vet prescribe your dog medicine should be a last resort. After a few times, your dog may be able to get through a thunderstorm without panic and fear.