Helping Your Dog Overcome Thunderstorms And Firecrackers

It’s that time of year when thunderstorms and fireworks can put a damper on your dog’s summer. So, how can you help your dog feel better when the storms roll through or when the neighbor decides to set off a roll of firecrackers? Here are some suggestions to helping your dog feel safe and overcome their fears. ​

  1. Make sure your dog always wears a collar with some kind of ID in case your dog is outside and panics. 
  2. Create a safe place indoors. Many dogs seek out the bathroom and hide behind the toilet. Create a hidey-hole for your dog by placing a heavy blanket over a crate. Place the crate in a basement or a quiet place of the house away from windows. Note: Don’t force your dog into a crate! Let them go in on their own and leave the door open!
  3. Run a fan or air conditioner, TV or radio. The white noise will help drown out the sounds.
  4. ​​​Kongs… Kongs… Kongs! Keep a few Kongs in the freezer filled with yummy food. IF your dog will eat, offer a frozen Kong!
  5. Thundershirts or a tight fitting T-Shirt can relieve many dogs in a fearful setting. I have even swaddled my own elder dog in a blanket which gave him great relief.
  6. Dog Appeasing Pheromone comes in a spray, collar or diffuser. I have used the diffuser in my home, and found it helped keep all my dogs relaxed during storm season.
  7. Behavior modification before the storms arrive. There are many sound CD’s to help desensitize your dog. Consult a professional trainer if you need help getting started.
  8. Consult your veterinarian. There are medications that may help!

Dogs can develop a fear of thunder, wind and fireworks as they age. Be empathetic to your dog, but try not to coddle. Set the environment up as much as you can to create a safe place and consult professionals if you need to.

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