As spring approaches, Rachael looks at storm fear and possible solutions for your skittish pup.
Thunderstorms leave my foxy little lady a trembling, hot mess. She paces, hides, shakes and pants. It's disturbing for me to see because I feel like I can't comfort her, and then I'm like, "Gah! How bad is it when I'm not here?" I instantly feel guilt, but that's a post for another day.
Many pet owners struggle with anxious fur babies when a thunderstorm hits. With storms, levels of anxiety can go from relatively mild, like Pippa, to destructive. Severity of thunderstorms can also play a role in the response of your pet. Mild thunderstorms elicit a similar reaction from the Pips, but a severe thunderstorm can be debilitating for her.
You'd think that we could just beckon our sweet babies to sit in our laps, so we can comfort them, but storm anxiety or fear makes normal lap dogs disinterested in our lovin'. Pippa rarely lets me love on her when it storms - she even turns down the treats that I try to lure her into my lap with; on a normal day, she wouldn't turn down a treat or my lap. She prefers to go into hiding whether it's under the bed, in her kennel or in the nook between the corner of the couch and the side table.
Dog trainers suggest that when owners know a storm is approaching, to help reduce their anxiety we should distract them with their favorite toy. Distracting them will help turn their focus from the storm to, "Yay! I'm having fun with Mom or Dad!"
Products also exist on the market that include plug-in dog pheromones to help reduce anxiety, as well as apparel like the ThunderVest or Thundershirts. For extreme cases, some pets may be prescribed medication from their Vet to help calm them during severe weather.