For many of our four legged companions, thunderstorms, they can be very traumatic, often presenting a range of behaviours that we would not ordinarily see in our pets including; hiding under furniture, drooling, pacing, barking and sometimes destructive chewing and even attempts to escape from the backyard or home. These can all be symptoms and behaviours of a storm phobic pet so it’s important that when dealing with a pet that suffers from storm or noise phobia to stay calm and be patient.
We do know that storm and noise phobia in pets is one of the most common behavioural problems however the reason some dogs fear storms and loud noises so much is not entirely known. The one thing we are sure of is that this can result in a very stressful situation for both the pet and the owners.
Tools to help
There are many safety measures that you can take to keep your pet safe and relaxed during thunderstorms. Talking to your local Greencross Vet would be the first step to helping your dog overcome their noise phobia. There are many options available to assist in desensitising your dog to storms and depending on the severity of the phobia it may be as simple as providing some of the following:
- Provide your pet with a safe and familiar place. A small space like a toilet or bathroom can make your pet feel secure.
- It is important to anticipate your pet’s reaction without letting them know, the best thing to do is keep routine and act as though nothing is happening, try not to mollycoddle them.
- Playing soothing music before your dog becomes frightened can help to maintain his composure, or at least be less stressed when the storm or fireworks hit.
- Thunderstorm and Fireworks CD’s are available that can be played around the house to expose your dog to the common storm noises which in turn will begin the process of desensitisation.
All of these techniques should be used in conjunction with training and positive reinforcement.
Depending on the severity of your dog’s phobia there are some natural anti-anxiety products that rely on the calming pheromones a mother dog produces around her pups which can be very effective.
Nutrition can also play a factor, and some wet and dry dog foods are especially formulated to help relieve anxiety.
If your dog suffers from storm or noise phobia contact your local Greencross Vet to discuss the best method that will assist in modifying your dog’s behaviour during storms and loud noises.