Dear Homeward Bound: How can I calm my dog during thunderstorms?
Dear Homeward Bound,
With the crazy weather and thunderstorms lately, my dog has been really nervous. Is there anything I can do to calm him down before and during thunderstorms? He seems to get nervous even before the storm starts.
It certainly is that time of year. Our dogs have better senses than us and one of the reasons your dog becomes anxious even before the first flash of lightening is because he can sense the drop in barometric pressure that comes before a storm. There is also some research out of Tufts University that shows that static electricity builds up in a dog’s fur and this can contribute to fear as they anticipate tiny shocks.
To help your dog, pay close attention to where your dog likes to go during a thunderstorm and then see what you can do to make that area safe, including having a white noise machine that may serve to lessen the sounds of the storm. It goes without saying that if you can be with your dog that is the best thing; my dog likes to bury his head in my lap during storms. You can also wipe your dog down with anti-static dryer sheets (make sure to look for an all-natural brand.) if you know there is a storm on the horizon.
Last but not least, if your dog’s anxiety is really severe and you worry that he may hurt himself, talk to your veterinarian about anti-anxiety medications.
Mark A. Nelson of Bristol
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