5 Tips for Coping with Thunderstorm Anxiety
If your pup is easily scared by loud noises like thunderstorms or fireworks, then you know how difficult it can be to calm them down. It's one of the most stressful situations we can face as pet parents because we often feel helpless and unable to make them feel better. While you may not be able to cure their anxiety, there are a few steps you can take to help them cope with their fear in times of stress.
Create a safe place.
Give them a space to “hide out.” A crate with a blanket over it will help to create a den like atmosphere to help your pet feel safe and secure. Leave the door open when possible to allow them to exit if they want. Many dogs will often seek out an interior part of the home during thunderstorms, perhaps a bathroom or closet without windows. Watch your pup to find out where his safe place is, and make sure he has access to this area. Then add a bed, blanket or favorite toy or bone to make him more comfortable.
Apply calming pressure.
The same sense of calm and well-being that is brought to babies by swaddling them is made possible for your dog by offering them a comfort wrap. Thundershirts are a useful tool that apply gentle constant pressure to help soothe your pup's nerves.
Combat the noise.
Placing a white noise machine, radio, or relaxing music near your dog's crate or in his safe place will help to drown out the noise and to relax his senses. You might also try a distraction, like a long-lasting chew, bone, or interactive toy. If he's focused on an exciting task or tasty treat, he might not worry so much about what's going on outside.
Use calming treats and scents.
To minimize the effect of a stressful situation, calming treats are often a very useful resource. These natural and safe supplements can help even the most stressed out pups with the use of calming agents like melatonin, chamomile and tryptophan. Pheromone collars and essential oil diffusers can also help promote relaxation in pets.
You might think it's better to not draw attention to your dog during his anxiety, but on the contrary, this will only cause more fear and distrust. Instead, try offering cuddles and reassure your pup with petting. If he's more focused on the attention he's getting from you, he'll stand a better chance of forgetting that scary storm and allowing himself to relax again