Thunderstorms can trigger anxiety in dogs, causing them to cower and bark every time there’s thunder and lightning. This is not uncommon but shouldn’t be ignored as it could get worse over time. Even fireworks and gunshots can trigger their panic attacks if they have a phobia of loud noises. These tips will help you calm your dog during a thunderstorm.
You want to show your dog that there’s nothing to be afraid of so you shouldn’t be acting panicky. Dr. Ragen T.S. McGowan explains that our dogs look at us for reassurance, which is why you, too, should be calm when trying to console them.
Find a Quiet Space
If your dog is usually outside, let them indoors and find a space for them where there is less noise. This could be a quiet room, a spot under the bed, or their crate. Close the blinds or curtains to block out the sight of lightning as this could also be a trigger.
Divert Their Attention
There are several ways of doing this, including playing with them and giving them their favorite treats. Turn on the TV to mask the sound of thunder or search for “dog calming music” and play it in the background.
Wrap your dog using a small towel or a small blanket to make them feel safe or secure. This method is referred to as swaddling and is beneficial for dogs that suffer from anxiety. Take note that not all dogs enjoy being swaddled because it makes them feel trapped. Snuggling with them or giving them belly rubs could be an alternative.
Barking during a thunderstorm is a normal reaction but could be disruptive when it happens often. But scolding your dogs during their panic attacks could only worsen their anxiety and does more harm than good. The best thing to do is to take them to a vet to get a proper diagnosis of your fur baby.