A dog scared of a storm is not just a cliché of modern society. On a general basis, dogs tend to feel unusually sensitive to any storm-related phenomena.
When I was small, I used to believe that a dog scared of a storm was just a childhood story. However, after many years of experience in dealing with dogs, I can assure you that dogs hate thunders. Take my lovely Labrador Leah for example. Whenever she feels that a storm-related occurrence is coming (she is like a living barometer), she gets hyper-sensitive. The tale signs of a dog scared of storm are recognizable: excessive panting and drooling, hiding, urinating, whining and the occasional frantic efforts to escape. When it comes to Leah facing a storm, she does all the above.
Is my dog scared of storms?
Some scientific studies have shown that dogs are actually scared of the uncomfortable feeling of static electricity. It is like they feel a tingling through their fur that makes them very edgy. When this happens, the frantic behaviour begins. According to Dr. Nicholas Dodman, a veterinarian professor at Tufts University, dogs experience numerous shocks from static electricity. This explains why they tend to run towards your room or places that are grounded. “What areas are grounded? Basements, bathtubs, and other enclosed spaces, most often. The bathtub is an excellent place for your dog to remain before, during and after a storm passes”, said Dr. Dodman.
Tips to sooth your dog
Now that you understand the reason why a dog scared of storm behaves in that manner, learn how to sooth him. Here you have some tips
- Control your own behaviour during a storm
You may probably think that constantly petting or consoling your dog is the proper modus operandi during a storm. This is false. If you do this, your dog will think that it is a reward for his fearful response. Nevertheless, you should not punish your dog either as it will only increase your pet’s anxiety. Just project a calm behaviour and provide your pet with just the necessary attention. A dog scared of thunder can calm down if you play with him or groom him.
2. Use a dryer sheet
According to Dr. Marty Becker, dryer sheets have helped his dog and he does indeed recommend them to counter static during a storm. Still, make sure that you use an unscented brand when you wipe your dog. Avoid doing this too often especially if you groom your dog frequently. Some sheets may contain unwanted chemicals and you don’t want them to lick these residues.
3. Switch your dog’s environment
A very effective way to calm a dog scared of storm is to change his location. This helps to reduce the storm’s volume for your pet thus making him less aware of it. Leah likes to stay in my room where the TV noise masks the storm outside. It is what experts call a “white noise”. Also, consider allowing your dog to gain access to the basement or rooms without any windows. For pups, consider using closets or the area under the bed.
If your dog exhibits an intense fear response to storms, follow these advices and you should be able to sooth him in the future.