How To Keep Your Dog Calm During Summer Thunderstorms
Believe it or not, I’m one of those weirdos who loves a good thunderstorm. I will actually find thunderstorm sounds on my white noise app to fall asleep to, and I have never slept more soundly. If a thunderstorm strikes in the middle of a workday? Uh oh, boss. Sorry… I’m gonna get a little sleepy.
I can’t say the same for my niece-dog (my nickname for my brother’s dog), Lola. Poor Lola whines and cries and is completely miserable when the thunder crashes and lightning lights up the sky. I feel so bad for Lola. Other dogs around Western New York are also shaking in their paws every time these thunderstorms sweep our area. What can you do to keep your dog calm during a scary storm? Here are some tips and tricks from dog owners and experts around the Internet.
Keep calm and play on
You know that whole “dogs can smell fear” mantra? Well, the same works in a thunderstorm - if you’re freaking out during a thunderstorm, chances are your puppy will freak as well. Do your best not to coddle them or soothe them (as hard as that may hurt your soul). Stay calm, talk to them in a happy, cheerful voice, and maybe even take some time to play with them.
Play thunderstorm sounds for them
That app on my phone that plays thunderstorm sounds to put me to sleep? You can use an app like that to play thunderstorm sounds for your doggie when it’s nice and sunny outside to help them get used to the sounds. That way when the real thing strikes, they might not be as afraid.
Keep an indoor “safe space” for them
Does your pup like to go in their crate when they’re afraid? In a closet? In your bed? The bathroom (the bathtub is one of Lola's favorite hiding spots)? Lean into it and let them find a place inside where they feel safe and secure.
Use a dryer sheet?
It may sound weird, but experts say that dogs can be afraid of thunderstorms as they approach because they can feel the static electricity building up in their bodies. Ouch! Rubbing their fur with a dryer sheet - the same kind that removes static from your clothes in the dryer - can ease them and give them some comfort.
Get your pup some “thunder clothes”
So many dog owners swear by tight-wrapped doggie clothes like special headwraps or a thunder jacket to keep their pup cool and collected when lightning strikes. Similar to the way a weighted blanket can help reduce anxiety in humans, some dog owners have found that this helps to keep their pup’s anxiety at bay by relaxing their nervous system. I know personally that this didn’t work for Lola, but every pooch is different and these may work for your scared doggo.
Worst-case scenario, there are medications a veterinarian can prescribe that can help ease your dog’s anxiety during a thunderstorm if it’s detrimental to their well-being - but they should only be used as a last-minute resort.