Are you worried that your dog is afraid of thunder? Do sudden noises such as fireworks freak them out? If yes, they are probably noise-sensitive.
Getting petrified by thunder is completely normal behavior for a pooch. It’s loud, it’s sudden, and it’s coming from an unseen source-how terrifying!
Just like rainstorms, fireworks are completely unpredictable to a dog. They have several similar traits, such as sudden strange noises, explosions, and flickers of light..
However, this fearful behavior of dogs adds to the intense situation. They might not be able to process the situation and start acting strange. They can panic and exhibit bizarre behaviors such as excessive barking, trembling, chewing stuff, and making a frenzied effort to escape.
First thing’s first: You need to understand the logic behind your pooch’s compulsive behavior. Whatever they do when they get petrified is non-voluntary.
They have little to no control over it. Your goal should be to gently manage their emotional state. With your help, your dog can become content and hopefully feel safe..
If you don’t know where to begin, don’t worry! Here are some ways that can help if your dog is afraid of thunder!
Don’t Punish Them
Pushing your dog, pulling them with their collar, or scolding them is of no good. Your dog would get trapped in the vicious cycle of punishment anxiety linked with the rain thunderstorm.
They might get temporarily silent due to your aggressive behavior. Yet, this only happens because scolding can only restrict behavior. It is not of any help for their fearful state.
Instead, this coercion can only make the circumstances more stressful. They might start to associate rainstorms with pain and agony. It can lead to losing their trust in you. As a result, your canine might never overcome this issue.
A great way to comfort your dog is to prepare things beforehand. Try to distract them with stuff that they like. Beloved distractions include toys, chew candies, rawhide bones, and bully sticks.
You can also use a snuffle mat and hide kibble or treats inside. These mats are a great way to divert the attention of dogs. Other than that, food puzzle toys can also be used.
The key point to note is that initiate this step a little before a downpour. Otherwise, they may connect these things with the rainstorm. This could result in avoidance of all these items due to a negative association.
Relieve Their Anxiety
Try to engage your dog in activities they enjoy a lot. Some dogs chew papers and destroy cereal boxes. Let them chew on and destroy some things that you won’t need anymore.
This will help them to calm down and stay relaxed. Although, it is not recommended for a dog who ingests such items.
Additionally, you can play games with your pooch, such as fetch, chase and hide and seek. You can stroke them lightly or have cuddles. Just try to comfort them! It’s no fun being afraid of thunder.
Pheromone devices are also used for calming dogs. These products are thought to relieve agitation and distress when canines start acting up. They come in the form of home diffusers, pet collars, sprays, and wipes.
Several devices with names like Pet-Ease, Adaptil diffusers, and Nutrivet are available on the market. However, it might not work if the pet is immensely worked up.
There are no side effects when using these devices. The downside is that there is little to no scientific evidence supporting their efficacy. It might work for your pooch or not!
Comfort Your Dog
The best thing you can do for your furry baby is to make them feel secure. To tackle a nighttime rain thunderstorm, allow them on or near your bed. This will keep your little guy more calm and relaxed.
If you’re not comfortable with that, use a dog crate. Dogs treat their carriers as their territory. You can place the crate inside your room. This will relieve your dog from excessive stress.
However, this has to be done before the storm initiates. Shifting your mutt suddenly to the crate can make them more nervous and frightened.
Do not behave anxiously in front of your dog in the case of a sudden downburst. This will only add to their fear and irritation. Canines can sense your feelings within a snap. Therefore, try to be more understanding and lenient with your scaredy dog.
Separate From Other Pets
Sudden noise and lighting of fireworks might make your pet aggressive. In that case, they might start barking at other animals . In the worst cases, they can also start fighting with them.
Thus, it is advised to separate your fearful canine from other pets. If you’re thinking of using a crate, stop right there!
Keeping other pets free while caging them can make them feel very frustrated. They might try to escape the carrier and injure themselves during the whole process.
Try to avoid the situation. Just shift them to a different space where they cannot see the other pets.
However, do not leave them all alone. This can cause separation anxiety in your puppy. They might stop trusting and become more annoyed. Turn on a TV or radio to help cover the sound of the storm and of other pets.
Make adjustments in your surroundings to combat strong winds and large hail! Dogs are well aware of the concept of “seeking refugee”. They will take it as a place where they can sneak in to stay safe.
This place can be your storeroom, their crate, or confined spaces like under the sofa. You can cover their crate with blankets to make them comfortable. However, make sure it does not get overheated. The carrier should be airy and well ventilated.
Train your dog to reach that place in case of danger. Your dog will automatically hide there in a rain thunderstorm and feel relaxed.
For lightening, you can use curtains that are tinted shades. This will diminish its effect. To combat sounds, you can play their favorite sounds. This will divert their attention.
You might need some extra help to relieve your puppy. In that case, anti-anxiety medicines can help you out.
These drugs are usually prescribed to handle the dogs safely. An agitated dog might start to behave aggressively while damaging its surroundings.
In the worst scenarios, they can try to escape from the scene and get into an accident. Thus, using medications can be an effective way of calming your mutt.
However, it is necessary to consult a vet for a medical prescription. The right dose and intensity can vary from one canine to another. You can also seek a behavioral specialist for a second opinion.
There is an abundance of calming products like CBD, hemp oil, and goji berries on the market. One of these may be just the thing to relax your pup.
Does Desensitization Work?
Have you ever experienced a quiet snowfall? It provides you with a relaxing aura that calms your soul. Now try it with a snow spray. It can never be a substitute for real snow.
The same goes for the desensitization of dogs for fireworks and thunderstorms. The sensory stimuli imposed by an actual storm cannot be replaced by a CD of explosion sounds.
There is no scientific evidence that supports this idea. This is merely a myth. Moreover, it can further sensitize your pet.
Additionally, desensitization takes a lot of time and effort. While the results are unclear. It would be better to work with your dog with the methods listed above.
It is completely normal if your dog is afraid of thunder and fireworks. Those sudden outbursts can scare anyone. Put yourself in the shoes of your little mate and don’t go too hard on them and yourself.
To save you from stress , try some of these practical ways to calm and protect your dog in stormy weather.
Is your dog afraid of fireworks and thunderstorms? Give this article a read to help them out.