Want to learn how to calm your dog during a storm? If your typically brave dog has a tendency to turn into a scaredy cat whenever a storm rolls in, don’t fret. Many dogs get nervous or anxious during storms.
But here’s the good news: if you can identify what exactly it is about storms that makes your dog feel afraid, you can usually take steps to keep them calm—and also reduce the amount of whining, chewing, and scratching you have to deal with as a result. But before we get into the tips, there’s one important question you need to answer.
What is Your Dog Afraid of?
Let’s face it—storms can be scary! The world turns dark and cloudy, the rain can be heavy, the lightning is unexpected, and the thunder can even rattle your dishes if it’s close enough. The key to learning how to calm a dog during a storm is to figure out exactly what is making your dog nervous.
Is it the loud noise? Research shows that thunder can create anxiety in dogs, just like guns or fireworks can. If this is the case, your biggest challenge will be to reduce the noise your dog hears during the storm.
Is it the storm as a whole? Some dogs get anxious at the combination of sensations that come with a storm—even the changes in pressure and the smells. In this case, you’re probably best off keeping your dog completely insulated from the storm as much as you can.
Or is it a variety of stresses working together? For instance, separation anxiety in dogs might mean you should keep them some company to prevent them from getting nervous.
Once you understand what exactly is making your dog afraid, it’s much easier to help keep them calm.
5 Tips on How to Calm a Dog During a Storm
Here are some specific tips to help calm your dog.
Let Your Dog Inside
It might seem obvious, but if your dog is outside when a storm is on the way, then let them inside. Being out during a storm—or even before a storm—can make your dog feel exposed and even endangered. Let them inside where it’s dry, well-lit, quiet, and where they can feel more secure in your company.
Play Calming Music
Consider playing some relaxing music, such as spa music or yoga music, to help create a calming atmosphere inside during a storm. Not only can this help to calm your dog down, but it will also act as white noise, helping to make any thunder sound a little less loud by comparison.
Create a Safe Sanctuary for Your Dog
This can be an especially important tip if it’s ever loud inside your house—such as during a party, a loud movie, and so on. Giving your dog a little space where they can go to feel safe is a powerful way to help keep them calm during a storm. A small, contained room like a closet could be ideal. And make sure to include some creature comforts there, like a bed, a bone, a bowl of water, or whatever will make your dog feel at home.
Keep Your Dog Away from Windows
When your dog is inside, the scariest part of a storm is liable to come in through the windows. Think about it: lightning may flash through the windows, scaring your dog with sudden light; and when thunder strikes, the sound is liable to be loudest by the windows. A loud thunderstrike can even cause your windows to rattle, making the sound even louder inside.
So keep your dog away from those windows. Once again, a quiet, windowless closet might be the ideal place for your dog to feel safe until the storm passes. And if you don’t have a room like that, at least make sure to draw the curtains or the drapes to cut down on the light and sound.
Keep Your Dog Comfortable
Does your dog have a favorite blanket, bone, or toy? If so, this is a great time to make sure they have those items that might help them feel a bit more comfortable. Another way to achieve this is by simply keeping them company during the worst part of a storm! Your presence will help them feel more safe than they would on their own.
If these tips aren’t enough, some medication might be in order. Benadrayl for dogs might be a good way to help encourage your dog to take a nap while the worst of the storm happens. But always make sure to speak with your vet about this first, to ensure you’re using a safe dose of a safe medication.
Hopefully these tips have helped you learn a little more about how to keep a dog calm during a storm. Try them out the next time those rain clouds roll in, and see if your dog responds to any of these tips in particular. Every dog is a little different, so find what works for you and go from there to keep your dog feeling secure during inclement weather.
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