5 Tips to Help Calm Your Dog During Thunderstorms

Wednesday May 5, 2021
Originally published on May 4, 2021

5 Tips to Help Calm Your Dog During Thunderstorms
  (Source:Paw CBD)

by Cami Cacciatore, Paw CBD

If thundershowers bring the cowers for your poor pup, it's stressful for both of you. Thunderstorms can even be downright terrifying for some dogs, causing them to whine, pace, pant, hide, shake, or injure themselves in a panic.

Not every dog shares this storm phobia, and for those that do, no one really knows why. Animals are very sensitive; it may be the rumble of thunder or wind, lightning, and static in the air, barometric pressure, or any combination of these signs of storms.

If thunderstorms make your dog a scaredy-cat, we've got five helpful tips for when the forecast calls for ruff weather.

Provide a Safe Space
Create a quiet, comfortable space in a familiar place where they can't see or hear the storm — their crate, a room or closet, under blankets, or even the basement. Turn on a TV, radio, or fan to provide white noise and help muffle loud sounds from outside. Classical music, especially, has been shown to soothe animals when they are anxious or afraid.

Make sure they have fresh water to drink since dogs often pant excessively when nervous. While making this safe space, it's vital not to confine them so much that they feel trapped, making their fear worse. And if possible, try to be home with them; being alone during a storm can make them even more afraid.

Stay Calm and Don't Coddle
Once settled in the safe space, spend time petting and talking to your dog. However, as much as you want to cuddle and console, don't overdo the coddling. Why? Too much attention can reinforce fearful behavior. While it's okay to be there, act normally and comfort with brushing or petting, distract with favorite toys, or engage in games or play. And if dogs hide during storms, don't force them out of a safe space, ignore them, or scold them for their fearful behavior. They look to us for comfort (without coddling) and will be calmer if you act like everything is okay.

It's also important to encourage calm behavior in your dog the rest of the time too. Reward your dog during non-storm times and praise them when they exhibit calm behavior. You can even teach them a "calm" command and reward them for being chill, rather than consoling them when they are fearful.

Try a Special Garment
The market abounds with special calming garments like caps, shirts, and wraps designed to provide constant, gentle pressure to soothe an anxious or fearful pupper. If you plan to try one of these garments, it's important to help acclimate your dog to using it.

Put the garment in your laundry basket for a few days, so it smells like you to put your pet at ease. Introduce the garment with treats, so they associate it with something yummy. When not in use, leave it in their bed or crate or snuggle them on the couch with it, so it becomes part of their "comfort" routine. Practice using the garment, so your pet gets used to it while calm and put it on when you know storms are on the way.

(Source: Paw CBD)

Desensitize Them to Storms
Just like training your dog to be calm the rest of the time, you can also work with your best friend to try desensitizing them to storms. One of the easiest ways is to play a recording of thunderstorm sounds at a low volume while providing positive interaction. Play a favorite game or just make it a fun time with treats and play.

Continue this exercise on a regular basis, gradually increasing the volume over time. Hopefully, with consistent training and positive reinforcement, your canine companion will be able to "weather the storm" much more easily.

Consider Calming CBD
In general, CBD can help support a sense of calm in our pets, making a great part of their daily wellness routine. But if your thunder-fearing best friend still needs extra comfort and care during storm season, consider a CBD product formulated specifically for calming with a soothing herbal blend and relaxing ingredients like melatonin or L-tryptophan.

Paw CBD Calming Oil comes in two strengths and a delicious blueberry flavor. You can squeeze it directly into your dog's mouth, drizzle it over food, or even use it to make homemade dog treats.

Paw CBD Calming Chews are also available in two strengths and a tempting turkey flavor. Soft and chewy, these treats are convenient and portable.

And if you can't decide, try a Paw CBD Calming Bundle that includes both the tincture and the chews.

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