How to calm dogs during thunderstorms
Storm season can be a scary time for dogs.
Loud thunder and the crack of lightning can put them in an anxious state, and sometimes the most gentle animals can be sent into a frenzy destroying everything from the furniture to security screens.
In Queensland, storm season runs from October to April, meaning that for half the year you'll need to make extra provisions to keep your pet feeling safe and secure, and minimise any destructive behaviour that may occur.
The most important thing is to make sure pets have easy access to a protected area away from the rain, wind, hail and lightning.
Also ensure they are adequately enclosed, as many pets escape from the yard during a storm and can become lost or injured.
Many dogs fear thunder as they do not understand what it is or did not encounter it as puppies. It can be perceived as a threatening noise, similar to fireworks or gunshots.
Dogs may also be fearful of changes in air pressure and static electricity associated with storms.
There are lots of ways you can help calm your dog during a storm.
It's perfectly OK to reassure dogs by patting, holding or talking to them - this will not positively reinforce the anxious behaviour as was previously believed.
Giving your pet access to a safe, darkened, confined space such as a pet crate, small room or under a table can also help settle it. Synthetic pheromone diffusers, sprays and collars may be useful, as can a tight coat called a thunder jacket, or calming music - there are even pet-specific playlists available.
Medications, both natural and prescription, play a pivotal role in managing storm phobia in many pets.
Your vet can provide advice on different training techniques to use and prescribe medications to help manage your pet's fear and keep it safe.
Also, be prepared for extreme weather conditions.
Make sure your dog is registered and microchipped and be sure to include pet food and medication your pet takes in your emergency kit.
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