Sunday, June 30, 2013

Summer Fears - Thunderstorms and Fireworks - Non Medical Ways to Calm Your Dog

Summertime can be a lot of fun for the family pup but it can also be very frightening.  Warmer temperatures bring thunderstorms and the July 4th holiday celebrations include fireworks which, for many dogs, can cause anxiety.

The noise of these events can cause the fearful dog to hide, bark excessively, or lick themselves until their skin is raw. Medications can help but before you reach for the pill bottle you may want to try some non-medicinal remedies first.

Don't React Negatively

Your dog takes many clues from your verbal and non-verbal behavior. Reacting negatively to these events will signal to your pup that there is a need for concern.  Do you run frantically to close windows at the first rumble of thunder you hear? Your dog will sense the change of your behavior (from calm to frantic) and associate it to the noise of the thunder, therefore seeing it as a cause for alarm.

Don't Anticipate Their Fear

Running to your dog to calm them at the first pop of a firecracker is telling them the noise is something to fear. Doing this you can actually be teaching your dog to be afraid.

Provide a Safe Haven

Many dogs will run underneath a bed, in a closet, or other small space at the first pop of a firecracker
or roll of thunder. Providing a cozy "safe haven", a place where pup can relax and feel safe and secure at any time.  A dog crate with cozy bedding, that can be covered with a sheet or towel, will make a "cave like" area that dogs like. Be sure that it is in an area with frequent activity so you pup is not isolated which my add to their feelings of anxiety.

Dress for Success

Many pups have found relief with use of the Thundershirt, a tight fitting shirt that gives dogs comfort and helps to relieve anxiety. There is no medication involved and it is available in all sizes to fit every  dog.

Thunderstorms, fireworks, and their loud noises come and go. Keep your dog as calm as possible until the event passes and quickly return to the activities they enjoy.

1 comment:

  1. Great advice! We just had people setting off fireworks last night and we have been having storms. Dakota barks like crazy at thunder and fireworks but I try not to make a big deal out of it.