We’ve had such a year of them this year, year of what I hear you ask….storms!
Storms can often cause dogs to exhibit fearful behaviour such as shaking, whining, drooling and desperately trying to hide or escape.
I’ve had a few people contact me asking how they can help their dogs when the storms begin so decided the best way to answer would be through a post so everyone can access it. If you finish reading and need more specific help then your best of contacting me via the contact page.
Storms can affect different dogs for different reasons; some are sensitive to the atmospheric pressure changes, some to the noise and some to the visual effects such as lightening. Below is a bullet pointed list of things you can try to help your dog to cope:
- Thundershirts – can make some dogs feel better, they wrap around the dogs body providing a constant gentle physical security blanket effect and are reported to have a calming effect on the nervous system.
- Plug in diffusers – these are filled with pheromones or natural oils depending on which brand you buy, I personally have found that Pet Remedy gives good results. These products are non sedating but work on calming the nerves.
- Closing curtains etc – this helps those dogs who are scared of the visual effect of storms, it’s a simple yet very effective way of preventing the visual stress. You can also consider crating your dog (if they are already happily crate trained) and covering it so they can rest in peace.
- Inside noise – turn on the television or radio to override the noise of the storm.
- Desensitisation CD’s – various CD’s are available with noises on to help with a variety of phobias and amongst these is one that Victoria Stillwell has created specifically for thunderstorms. Her CD works by progressively raising noise levels but starting very low and these sounds are intermixed with relaxing music, they can also be paired with reward based training and the good thing about these CD’s is they can be used for prevention as well as cure.
- Flower remedies – Bach remedies are flower essences that can be added to food, water or given directly. There are many remedies available and you can contact them to get specific mixes for your dog, however, Mimulus can be an excellent choice for storms in most cases. Mimulus is good both for fears and noise sensitivity.
- Herbal remedies – these can be made up by practitioners or bought off the shelf. Dorwest Holst are well known suppliers of herbal remedies and are always happy to discuss your needs, their ‘off the shelf’ remedies include Scullcap & Valerian tablets for fear, anxiety etc helping to calm your dog.
- Massage/touch – sometimes feeling your relaxing touch can be enough to calm a stressed dog and help instil enough confidence for them to cope.
- Reiki – regular Reiki sessions can help aleviate general stress and help induce calmness and an ability to adapt and cope.
Beyond these suggestions, which you can do yourself at home, I would then suggest you contact a behaviourist to help you with things such as counter conditioning. T-Touch practitioners can provide other methods of helping your dog cope and you can also consider a visit to your vet if problems are severe as they will have other medication that they can suggest to you. Whatever you decide make sure you research well before making your choices as to what to do or use next.
Hopefully some of these suggestions will help you and your dog to find thunderstorms a less stressful time but if you are still having problems then feel free contact me for additional help.
NB – This blog is purely based on my own opinions, it your responsiblity to check up on and research the suggestions thoroughly then decide if they are suitable for your own dog.