It's thunderstorm season and with thunderstorms comes, well thunder! Like fireworks during the 4th of July, thunder can be a very scary thing for some dogs while others are oblivious. If you've read or seen the movie "Marley and Me," you are aware of poor Marley's extreme fear of thunderstorms to the point of mass destruction! When dogs are afraid they are thrown into their basic animal instincts of fight or flight. They are either searching to take cover somewhere they feel safe or they may go on a wild frenzy of destruction trying to escape their fear. In either case, your poor canine companion is experiencing extreme stress.
What makes storm anxiety so terrifying for our sweet canine companions is that they have no one to fight and in most cases no where to flight to, so they are imprisoned with no relief of this debilitating fear. They can’t see or smell the object of their fear so there isn’t a way for them to check it out for themselves to satisfy their curiosity or conquer their fear. There is no escape!
Can you imagine being terrified and not having any where to run to or no control over your escape to a safer place? It is up to us to take this fear seriously and help our furry family member adjust through training, as well as providing a safe environment to help comfort them through the worse part of the thunderstorm. Playing soothing music in the back ground to help drown out some of the thunder noises helps. But, oddly enough trying to comfort them usually doesn't. Dogs can be trained out of their fears and should never be allowed to dominate you or your household by holding you prisoner to their fears. The remedy is to find a qualified dog trainer to help train you on how to work with your canine companion to hopefully either eliminate their fear all together or at least minimize it substantially. This will help them be more at peace and cope better during the stormy season as well as help strengthen the bond between you and your favorite furry friend. Sometimes, if the fear is beyond reproach you can ask your vet to prescribe your dog a mild sedative or find an herbal tincture that may help calm your little pal down until the storms pass. One way or the other, your dog is worth the time and attention it will take to help them overcome or, at the very least, lessen their fear of thunderstorms. And perhaps, you won’t be singing in the rain together, but maybe sitting in front of a nice warm fire peacefully enjoying each other’s company instead. Life is short, wag more, bark less!