Hummus wearing a Thundershirt
Doggy Forum TRAINING

Thunder and Lightening…Very Very Frightening

March 15, 2020
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…

  1. Comfort – It is OK to comfort your dog and reassure them – massage, gentle stroking and gentle spoken reassurance will help.
  2. 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.
  3. Safe place – ensure your dog has a place they feel safe to retreat to, this could be their crate.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Thunder shirts – commercially produced thunder shirts wrap around the dog and provide a feeling of security and safety. These come in all sizes.
  7. Vet support – If your dog experiences full-blown anxiety/panic attacks you may wish to consult your vet for further advice and possibly medication.
  8. 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.
  9. 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!