Lightning flashing behind an apartment building

Symptoms and Treatments for Thunderstorm Anxiety in Your Dog

As beautiful and wondrous as thunderstorms can be for humans, they can be highly stressful to your dog. The thunder rolls and clashes loudly, scaring our loving companions into corners and under beds or driving them into barking and whining fits. The only thing a dog owner wants is to help their pet feel safe again.

How do you know if your dog has anxiety symptoms from the storm? What are the current treatments for dogs with thunderstorm anxiety? Check out our list of symptoms and treatments to find out for sure your pup is suffering from storm anxiety and how to best go about dealing with their stressful moments.

Symptoms

When the thunder begins, the loud, unpredictable bangs can make your dog afraid in a way they don’t know how to deal with properly. Your dog will know a storm is coming well before you, so watch for any changes in their behavior. Dogs have an instinctive sense of extreme weather changes, so you may see signs of stress before the thunder ever rolls. 

Some storm anxiety symptoms in your dog to look out for are: 

  • Constant barking and whining
  • Prancing around the house
  • Wide or worried eyes 
  • Seeming unfocused and not knowing where to look
  • Randomly urinating on the floor
  • Hiding under furniture, blankets, or in dark places

Once you narrow down your pup's symptoms to the thunderstorm stress, you will be able to move forward in trying some thunderstorm anxiety treatments for your dog.

Woman crouching in the woods while training a small white dog

Treatments

You can use various strategies for retraining your dog to know that storms are not as scary as they sound and that it’s safe to be inside. Here is a list of ideas to help create a treatment plan for your dog's thunderstorm anxiety.

Role Play

One excellent way to retrain your dog's mind on storms is to role play with your dog about what happens during a storm. 

  • On non-stormy days, play recordings of thunderstorms. As your dog begins to hear the sounds and react, refocus their attention on something else. 
  • Play fetch, rub their ears, or turn on other music to drown out the noise. 
  • Praise your dog with treats for participating in other positive behaviors and not allowing storm noises to get the best of them.

Role-playing can be an effective treatment for your dog’s thunderstorm anxiety if practiced regularly until you both meet the desired outcome. Using the role-play tools during an actual storm will show the progress made with your beloved pup’s retraining.

Safe Place

As your fur buddy relearns what it’s like to live through thunderstorms, providing them with a safe place to go is very important. We recommend having a few treats sitting on the pillow when the storm starts so they know where to go for safekeeping and rewards. A designated corner with a fluffy blanket or cushion will help ease the anxiety of your dog’s symptoms during the storm. The dog will love the comfort of this spot and lay there while the storm rages on.

Never Punish

Treatments for your dog’s thunderstorm anxiety should never include punishment for their fear. Storms impact dogs in ways we don't understand. When lightning is close enough, the electro-waves actively ignite electric pulses on your dog's fur. Thunderstorms can scare many people, so we don’t want to shame our pets for having a similar reaction. 

Instead of punishment, you should recognize your dog's fear and work with them to overcome the stress of the situation. It can take longer to successfully treat your dog's thunderstorm anxiety if you spend the first few years punishing your dog for being scared.

On the other hand, the reverse of punishment is not always the best policy either. Coddling your dog could make them more dependent on you than necessary. This means the next time there’s a storm and you’re not there, your dog could have a much worse reaction. As a possible alternative to cuddling your pet during a storm, invest in a dog compression shirt, designed specifically to make dogs feel safe and secure during anxious times. These handy items are essentially a weighted blanket for your pup!

Supplements

Supplements can also be successful treatments for dogs with thunderstorm anxiety. Giving your beloved companion CBD oil supplements can help relax their minds and bodies during the wild events outside the door. Most supplements, like CBD, are safe for dogs and can have a very positive impact on their anxiety levels and symptoms. Always make sure you check the label of any supplements you’re considering giving your pet to make sure they stay safe.

Ask a Vet

If you’ve tried a few things to help your dog through thunderstorms and they’re still anxious, it's time to consult your pup's veterinarian. Make sure to list the anxious symptoms your dog displays during storms. The vet can help with more recommendations to help your beloved pet explore new ways of handling thunderstorms. The treatment of dogs with thunderstorm anxiety can be tricky at first, but it’s one thing your vet has seen many times.

Pug with big sad eyes lying in a dog bed

How Chill Paws Can Help

Your reaction impacts the reaction of your beloved dog during a storm. When you fully invest in the treatment of thunderstorm anxiety in your dog's recovery and feelings of security, it will go a long way. Whether you are using role-play, muffled sounds, safe places, dog shirts, or asking a vet for help, you can always add Chill Paws CBD supplements to your dog's thunderstorm plan to achieve a chillaxed pup when the thunder crashes.

Chill Paws is a company that loves dogs and cats! We adore them so much that we have spent years creating unique CBD products to help our fur buddies stroll through life with ease of mind and body. Our high-quality CBD oil supplements can support your dog's mental state while a thunderstorm flashes by your house. Your dog will enjoy the taste of the CBD chew treats and feel rewarded for staying calm during the thunderstorm.


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