Like many dogs, two of ours get anxious/scared during thunderstorms, fireworks, and high wind and all three get anxious around the vacuum cleaner.
When they see the vacuum cleaner they instantly start to run around the house with their tail between their legs trying to get as far away from it as possible – and that is before we even turn it on!
Most times we put them outside when the evil vacuum is needed. But with storms its not so easy. Penny and Toni will certainly not go outside even if their bladder has other ideas.
Penny tends to shake and run around the house until she finds a “safe place” which usually is under a bed, in a closet, or under Jeff’s computer desk. She pants and shakes continuously until the thunder goes away. Toni has tried to get under the bed (perhaps a learned behavior from watching Penny) but mostly she will pace around the house and pant until things calm down. (Otis could not care less about storms and doesn’t see why the other 2 get so worked up about it!)
I have heard of many “treatments” for doggie fear/anxiety over the years, here are a few of them . . .
I have heard of this product from acquaintances and on TV, all the reviews have been positive. The Thundershirt uses gentle pressure to help calm a dogs anxiety. The website recommends using their product to help with various types of doggie anxiety and fearfulness, even problem barking and leash pulling can be helped with this product.
It makes sense to me, our dog Penny goes under a blanket or finds a small confined area (like under our bed) when she gets scared. The small, enclosed environment seems to help her work thru her fear, this product seems to do the same thing. And, with three color choices and embroidered name available, its stylish as well!
Check out the Thundershirt website for more details and testimonials.
We had been told by a family member that if you rub a dryer sheet on your dogs back to helps to calm them. I assume this has something to do with the static/electricity that builds up when a dog senses a storm. I don’t love this idea. Don’t those sheets have a bunch of chemicals on them? I think we did end up trying this one time but quickly gave up on it. Click here for an article about this method from Pet Connection.
Treats and Distractions
Some pet owners and experts claim that giving your dog a treat will help them associate the storm with a yummy treat. I image this would work best when taught to the dog as a puppy. The other option is to distract the dog during a storm by playing music or the TV loud enough so the thunder can’t be heard, and/or playing a fun game right as the storm is approaching.
Medicine and Natural Remedies
There are over the counter remedies available as well. We have used a product called “Kalm and Gentle” to give to the pups if a storm is approaching and to help Otis with his fear of going the the Vet (I’ll post about that adventure another day). There are many supplements on the market that claim to help ease a dogs fear. With any medicines and for severe sufferers your veterinarian should of course be consulted.
In the end, the only thing that works in our home is time and comfort. Giving our dogs a safe, comfortable place and being calm ourselves while we wait out the moment seems to be the best medicine.