Providing A Safe Haven For Your Dog During A Thunderstorm

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When a thunderstorm moves in, many dogs battle symptoms of severe anxiety, such as uncontrolled shaking, whimpering, skittishness, loss of bladder control, vomiting, flatulence, increased heart rate, quick respiration, and panting. As part of their basal canine instincts that would have helped them survive in the wild if they were feral, dogs are very sensitive to barometric changes, thunder, lightning, wind, darkness at odd periods in the day, and other different sounds in their environment, such as wind blowing and knocking things down.

Your pet may have an uncontrollable urge to go hide; in most cases, the best thing to do is to let him. If your pet chooses a reasonable hiding spot for thunderstorms, leave your dog be. A location, such as under the bed, is perfectly fine. Pets may seek out more obscure locations, such as under tables, behind the toilet, a laundry room or closet; just make sure you know of the location your pet uses to hide in the event you need to find your pet and evacuate.

If your pet does not have a specific spot to self-soothe in the event of a thunderstorm, or if your pet barrels into things in an attempt to escape, you may want to train him to go to a “safe haven” location. You can use your pet’s crate or choose a trial location, such as a closet where you can sit with and comfort him through the course of the storm to let him know that it is a safe area for him to hide until the noise and storm activity has passed. You will likely have to remain with your pet on such occasions until he considers the space as safe.

You will, however, not want to confine a frightened animal whose natural instinct is not to be in an enclosed area. Your dog may hurt himself or inadvertently you trying to escape the enclosure. With a little careful observation and a little tender love and care, you will be able to help your pet manage his fears during a thunderstorm.