The heat wave is still in full swing, and down here in the South East of the UK, its already 31 degrees at 10am, with it forecast to be 35 degrees with high humidity. This can only mean one thing, thunderstorms. The UK in the next 72 hours is forecast some violent thunderstorms and flash flooding, so please stay safe.
So what do you do if you have a noise sensitive dog? There are a few things you can do to help your dog in this time.
• Don’t leave your dog outside if they are terrified of storms; bring them in to the safety of the house. Your dog can sense a thunderstorm before you can hear it, so be mindful that you may witness some strange behaviour before the storm starts.
• If, like me, you are terrified on thunder storms, try not to let your dog pick up on your fear, as this will only make it worse for them.
• If your dog is showing signs of fear and anxiety, try not to make too much of a fuss of it. This is a very hard one I know, but if you do, you could be reinforcing the fear response. However, don’t reprimand your dog for its behaviour when its scared, as this will just increase the anxiety levels. I have found that giving a stuffed Kong toy, a chew or something similar is sometimes enough to distract and reduce anxiety. If the fear response at times of loud noise is extreme, then it may be best to consult your vet, who can recommend a behaviourist that can work with you and your dog to try and reduce its fears.
• Give your dog somewhere dark and cosy that they can go that they feel safe. Maybe a den under the stairs or a crate, with the door left open, covered by a blanket.
• Leave the TV or radio on loudly to try and disguise some of the noise.
• If you have a DAP or Pet Remedy diffuser, turn it on as this can calm your dog. Also DAP or Pet Remedy Sprays sprayed on bedding or a bandana can help.
• One of my dogs is very noise sensitive, so I have a ‘Thundershirt’ for her. I am not sure of the exact science but I believe it works like swaddling a baby. Putting a snug fitting t-shirt on your dog can have the same effect. I find that this calms my dog down almost instantly.
• Give your dog a couple of drops of Rescue Remedy, as this can help calm. Or talk to your vet for other calming ideas, or in severe cases, to get sedatives. Under no circumstances should you give your dog any human calming medication as this could have severe consequences.
• If you have a dog that you let off lead, then be mindful of the weather if storms are forecast. Sudden loud claps of thunder could make your dog bolt, and result in a lost, scared dog.
If you are caught outside in a thunderstorm, then you need to protect yourself and your dog. Put your dog back on its lead straight away if it isn’t already, and ideally find a safe place to shelter (or get home if safe to do so) as soon as you can. But if you know a storm is coming or is likely to come, the safest thing to do is not walk your dog in the first place. The following link explains what to do if you are caught outside in a thunderstorm: