Is your dog afraid of thunderstorms and loud noises?
This is a common problem faced by many dog owners. The good news is that there are options to help address your dog’s fears.
You may have seen the calming supplements and treats available at your local pet store.
But, there are also many effective home remedies to manage your dog’s fear and anxiety. Not only do these approaches work, but they are also budget-friendly.
Provide a Safe, Secure Space
The most important and easiest solution is to provide your dog with a safe space. This is somewhere that he can go to feel safe and secure.
If you are crate training, leaving your dog’s crate open during a storm is a good option. He can come and go as he desires.
You can also create a safe space outside of a crate if you prefer.
Ideally, it should feel den-like. Try setting up a bed under a side table with a blanket to cover the ‘walls’.
You may have heard about the ThunderShirt, a calming vest recommended by many professionals. But, like many products, these vests come at a higher price.
The good news is that you can make your own DIY anti-anxiety wrap at a fraction of the cost. All you need is an ace bandage.
Place the middle of the bandage across your dog’s chest. Bring both ends around your dog’s body to cross at the shoulder blades.
Then, bring the loose ends down to your dog’s abdomen where you cross them again around his stomach.
Finally, bring the ends back up to the center of his back and tie them in a knot. Make sure to tie the knot so it sits off to the side of the spine to avoid discomfort.
You want the full wrap to be tight enough to create pressure, which is what gives the anxiety-relieving effect. But, be careful not to wrap too tightly.
During a storm, try putting on some calming music to create a more relaxed atmosphere.
Studies have found that classical music has a comforting effect on dogs. In a shelter setting, dogs appear less stressed or anxious when this music is playing.
Don’t Reinforce Fear Behaviors
When your dog is acting fearful, pay attention to how you react. If you are cuddling your dog or giving him a lot of attention, you may be making the situation worse.
This reinforces that their behavior is the correct approach.
The more attention you give him, the more you are communicating that he is reacting properly.
Instead, give him space. Use the above options to create a calm home space and help him relax.
Call Your Veterinarian
If you have tried to address your dog’s fears with the above tips and it still doesn’t work, call your vet.
They may be able to prescribe a sedative or prescription anxiety medication. These are stronger than the over-the-counter options you may have already considered.
Of course, you should make sure that you are familiar with any possible side effects.
You can also pair these medications with some of the other options. But avoid pairing medication with supplements without asking your vet first.