Is Your Dog Terrified by Thunder? Is the 4th of July a Nightmare?
For dogs with a fear of thunderstorms, spring and summer and the infamous 4th of July fireworks can be super scary events. Fear can range from a bit of nervousness and unease to sheer “tearing at the walls, yelping and peeing everywhere” panic. Conventional options used to be to give the scared dog sedatives or antianxiety medications to get them through the storm or the 4th. Sounds ok, but when it comes to storms…how do you get the meds in the dog in advance of that summer storm that pops up while you are at work? We all know the weatherman/woman is never wrong, but even if they were 100% perfect in forecasting, who wants to have their adored dog drugged all spring and summer???
For some dogs with just a little fearfulness, positive conditioning can help. Every time it storms, give your dog a treat that he or she adores and sit with them and comfort them a bit, thus conditioning the dog to associate storms with yummy treats and pets. This would work for me, a candy bar would sure take MY mind off a little rain…yum. But, for dogs with more severe fear issues, this is probably NOT going to be enough.
Ok, one BIG bit of advice…do NOT go into uber-panic mode yourself, shrieking, “OMG, a thunderstorm…poor Fluffy, poor Fluffy, don’t be scared!” as you flap your hands and run around the house. This will NOT calm her down even a little, trust me. You, and other family members should stay calm, and keep your dog with you and in control. By maintaining a calm mood of presence you will be able to help yoyr dog stay calmer.
Many dogs seem to find comfort in a tight space, like a bath tub or their crate. They are seeking the security that a small or covered space can offer. There have even been some reports of success by wrapping your dog in a towel, sheet or even a shirt.
Our Relax Dog Aromatherapy has received many rave reviews. It is a natural, non-narcotic, gentle way to take the edge off your dog's anxiety and fear using gentle essential oils.
Our Great Pyrenees, Zoe, is afraid of loud noises. During hunting season, summer storms and the 4th of JUly, I dose her regularly with Relax Dog Aromatherapy and sit with her, calmly petting her and chatting with her during the worst of the storm or fireworks. She still may shiver a bit, but the frantic panting and salivating is not nearly as severe as without the Relax.