For some dogs there seems to be nothing more terrifying than a thunderstorm. Whether it’s hiding in a closet, under a bed or between the owners legs there are many who seem inconsolable, and they often seem to sense the storm is before it arrives. Thunderstorm anxiety is very common, and ranges from mild cases to severe phobias. The good news is there are a number of strategies to help your dog deal with the fear and emotion.
What can owners do?
1. Provide a safe, supportive environment
The best initial advice is to be there for your dog. Support them, console them and pat them. Give them a safe place such as their bed, a dog crate or a seat on the floor next to you. Even dogs with mild anxiety should be supported as thunderstorm phobia is often progressive, and can worsen over time if not helped. Leaving a dog to ‘toughen up’ won’t help with anxieties – in fact it will usually make them worse. Crates can work especially well with some dogs as they simulate a natural den, where a dog would instinctively seek to hide in the wild.
Counter-conditioning can also help. Try to associate the thunderstorm with something good. Find a treat your dog really loves and save these as a special reward for thunderstorms or anxious times. This can help slowly build a connection between a storm and a positive experience. Playing with a dog, inside of course, can also help great a good association, and may take their mind off the storm. Some owners further this training by coupling it with desensitisation – search for some thunderstorm sounds on the internet and play these at a low volume on a normal sunny day, whilst giving treats and pats. This can help a dog slowly ease into the counterconditioning with only a mild anxiety.
3. Give your dog a thundercoat
Some owners also find a storm jacket or thunder coat can really help. This is a fairly snug fitting jumper or vest that is worn by the dog, and the compression seems to make a dog feel safe and secure.
4. Apply pet CBD oil
Lastly, Creature Comforts CBD Oil for pets helps. CBD is a natural relaxant that relieves pets’ anxiety by interfering with the enzymes and breaking down endocannabinoids e.g. Anandamide to create balance and invoke harmony in the bodies. CBD is safe, non-addictive and non-psychoactive, and can be a great aid in helping to calm anxious dogs. We recommend owners to commence with one dose of CBD per day for their dogs, with the proportion of 0.5ml per 10kg of body weight, and sprinkle the oil carefully over their food in its bowl. Creature Comforts CBD has developed an appetizing rotisserie chicken-flavored CBD oil that has been proven to help reduce anxious behaviors. Click here to learn more.
Speak with your veterinarian on other treatment options for your furry friend!