|Thunder and lightning, very very frightening…. (apologies to Queen)
Storms can bring anxiety or stress for our dogs. It’s best to prevent fear and anxiety and implement a slow and controlled desensitisation program before we get lots of unpredictable storms.
Let’s give you some strategies to help you help your puppy this stormy season…
- Comfort – It is OK to comfort your dog and reassure them – massage, gentle stroking and gentle spoken reassurance will help.
- Safety – make sure your yard/environment is absolutely secure. When dogs are panicking and frightened they can try to escape from places where previously they haven’t attempted to. Make sure their ID/Microchip details are up to date – just in case they get out – they may run a long way as they attempt to escape from the thunder.
- Safe place – ensure your dog has a place they feel safe to retreat to, this could be their crate.
- Chews / licky mats – chewing and licking are calming activities for dogs. Have some good quality chews on hand eg. bully sticks, kangaroo tails (be careful with bones) or a licky mat smeared with something yummy like peanut butter or sardines.
- Aids – Adaptil is a spray (or used on a collar / bandana) that can calm a dog – this uses natural pheromones (mimicked from the ones released by their mother during breast feeding) to reduce stress. Rescue remedy – while this homeopathic remedy is for humans it is suitable for dogs and can act as a calming therapy.
- Thunder shirts – commercially produced thunder shirts wrap around the dog and provide a feeling of security and safety. These come in all sizes.
- Vet support – If your dog experiences full-blown anxiety/panic attacks you may wish to consult your vet for further advice and possibly medication.
- Weather forecasts – keep informed of upcoming storms. Your dog may “feel” them coming well before they arrive. This way you can be ready and prepared.
- Practice when there is NO thunder!! Find a noise CD (or youtube movie sound effects) and play it softly while pairing it with something your dog LOVES – playing ball or tasty treats.
Note: Quality chews, licky mats, rescue remedy and thunder shirts are available for sale from Playful Paws.
Woof and Wags,
Megs, Buddy, Walt and Team!