Five Essential Tips to Keep Your Dog Calm During Thunderstorms


Expert Advice to Help Your Furry Friend Weather the Storm

With the MET Office warning about the imminent arrival of thunderstorms, it’s crucial to prepare our beloved pets for the anxiety-inducing weather. Given that over half of UK households now have pets, ensuring their safety and reducing their stress levels during storms is more important than ever.

Thunderstorms can be a frightening experience for dogs, with loud bangs, flashing lights, and changes in atmospheric pressure all contributing to their anxiety. Dogs are sensitive to these environmental shifts, often becoming distressed even before the storm begins. 

Key signs of anxiety in dogs include: 

To help manage your dog’s anxiety during thunderstorms, Bella & Duke’s Expert Dog Behaviourist Nikki Mather shares five tried and tested tips:

1.     Use Calming Sprays and Chews – Products like Calm & Balmy can help reduce general anxiety. Providing your dog with a long lasting chew offers a perfect distraction that can keep them occupied from the loud bangs and flashes.

2.     Prepare in Advance – A great way to build up your furry friend’s tolerance to storms is by desensitising your pet to storm sounds throughout the year, try playing recordings at a low volume and slowly increasing it at a pace they’re comfortable with. This can help your dog become more accustomed to the noise and limit any anxiety in the long run. Also be proactive on storm days, taking your dog out for their walk nice and early to set them up successfully with more chance of them sleeping through the storm. 

3.     Manage the environment – Thunderstorms are a sensory overload for our canine companions, from the sights, smells and sounds, it’s a lot to take in. Closing curtains and playing some background noise can dampen the sound of thunder and block out the flashes of lightning, helping to create a calmer environment for your pet.

4.     Provide a Safe Haven – Ensure your dog has a cosy, secure space to retreat to during a storm. This safe haven can help them feel more protected and less stressed. You can even try putting on some calming music like classic or reggae which has been proven to slow your pet’s heart rate down and slowly reduce their stress levels. 

5.     Be a Calm Presence – Stay calm and reassuring around your pet. Dogs pick up on their owner’s emotions and act as a mirror image. So if you remain calm, it can help your dog feel safer and more secure. Remember, it is ok to comfort your pet during the storm if they look to you for reassurance.

Nikki Mather, Expert Dog Behaviourist at Bella & Duke, said: “Thunderstorms can be overwhelming for our pets, causing significant stress. It’s essential to be by their side, providing comfort and a sense of safety. Stay relaxed and composed. If you’re calm, your dog is more likely to stay calm, too. Understand your dog’s unique reactions and be there to support them.”

By following these tips, you can help ensure your furry friend remains as stress-free as possible during the stormy weather.

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