Dogs Vs Thunderstorms – Tips To Help Calm Your Dog

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Dogs vs thunderstorms - tips to help keep your dog calm
Dogs vs thunderstorms – tips to help keep your dog calm

– Readers of the Daily Dog may recall our recent post on the Thundershirt dog calming vest that helps dogs stay calm during thunderstorms. In today’s Post we follow up with a list of helpful tips provided by Veterinarians – tips that also help dogs combat thunderstorm anxiety.

With Summer rolling on, much of Australia has experienced its fair share of thunderstorms this season. At pups4sale we regularly hear disturbing reports of dogs being beside themselves during storms, taking off at the first rumble of thunder in the distance, or even dogs disappearing never to return as a result of fleeing a thunderstorm.

To help our readers prevent scenarios such as above from happening to their own four-legged friends, from right here in sunny (and thunderstorm prone!) Queensland we have the first list of suggestions from Bmag:

Bring your pets inside – don’t wait to see if the storm hits before locking your pets safely away.

Ensure your pets have up-to-date identification and vaccinations – in case they do escape, this will help to bring them home quickly and in good health.

Consider your pets in your evacuation plan – if you have to leave, will you be able to bring your pets with you to your destination? Some relief shelters and hotels don’t accept pets, so consider leaving them with friends and investigate boarding kennels, veterinarians, and what shelters accept animals.

Always ensure you properly restrain your pets, even when travelling in cars, as their agitation from the storm can cause them to act out of character. Remember your agisted animals (pets kept off-premises on another property, like horses) – consider their safety and incorporate plans for them in your evacuation strategy.

Cater for your pets in your emergency kit – don’t forget to include their food, water and medication when preparing. If pets go missing, check with local pounds, animal shelters, animal control authorities, RSPCA and boarding kennels – and remember to take a recent photo of your pet with you to help identify them quickly.

Animals can be distraught and disoriented after a storm – try and keep them calm and comforted during and after by re-establishing routine. Storms can wash away the usual sights and smells of the neighbourhood so keep an eye on pets for a few days after to make sure they’re settling in again.

Watch out for unexpected dangers – don’t let pets roam free in case there are fallen power lines or even snakes that have been disturbed by the weather

Petmd from the United States has some additional valuable suggestions to add:

Staying In – if you’re staying home to ride out the storm, keep your pet in its carrier or on a leash. You never know when you might be forced to evacuate. And even if that doesn’t happen, you don’t want to be tracking down a petrified pet during the chaos. Therefore, secure your pet before the storm hits.

Stay Calm – whether you leave early, choose to stay, or are required to evacuate due to the storm’s severity or due to house damage, remember to stay calm. Your pet can sense your emotions, so a calming demeanor can lead to a less-panicked pet. Oh, and don’t forget to speak to your pet in a calm, soothing voice, too.

The pups4sale team think the above provides some very handy, practical suggestions dog owners would be wise to take on board should their dog suffer from thunderstorm anxiety. Combined with using the Thundershirt vest we have previously recommended, such tips will definitely help minimise harm coming to our best friends the next time a thunderstorm rolls in.

Editor’s note: As always, the Daily Dog does not seek nor accept any financial inducement for recommending a particular product – such as the Thundershirt vest mentioned in this Post.

 

6 Responses to “Dogs Vs Thunderstorms – Tips To Help Calm Your Dog”

  1. Ildiko Szecsi

    Basically they can even collecting dogs from my property, saying they were out wondering. Where is the justice it’s true or false. It’s happened many times the dog catchers lure out the dogs from the property and catch them. Eventually the “new” rule cause more trouble for the good owners NOT for the bad ones

    Reply
    • pups4sale

      Ildiko, indeed we know personally of cases such as this where dog catchers have used lures – including bitches in heat – to lure dogs out of their own yards in order to keep up their quota of catches. From our first hand experience this is not an urban myth at all. As we have posted previously on ways to protect our dogs from being stolen (click here for examples: http://blog.pups4sale.com.au/search/theft), the same could be applied to the Dog Police doing the wrong thing. Hidden cameras particularly are a great way to achieve a “gotcha” moment for the good guys!

      Reply
  2. Jennifer Kirvan

    I’ve found distraction therapy works really well during thunderstorms. Bring your dog inside, Get the treats out and play fun games. Footy with a small soft football is basically toss and chase. Tug ‘o war. Up, over & under an obstacle course. The kids can make one with tables, chairs and several sheets. Break a treat into tiny pieces and hurl them into a suitable room, saying “Find”. The dogs have fun exercising their noses. Obedience games. Brooom brooom is another fun game with an old broom kept specifically for this game. The dog helps ‘sweep up’ by hanging on/pushing the broom. They’ll soon associate thunder with fun. Like car keys jingling means “Whoopee, car ride”!

    If you are out, when a thunderstorm is due your dog needs somewhere safe to retreat to with a security blanket / soft toy, and a rag/old jumper that smells of you, close to your house. eg a sheltered large kennel next to the back door, or a spot (piece of old carpet) under the house.

    Of course micro chipping is the best security option if your dog bolts, plus a mobile phone number on it’s collar. I’ve found and returned many dogs following thunder storms, and firework displays. Owners should be aware that their dogs can travel many, many miles from their home. Once I found a kelpie that was about thirty miles (55 km) from it’s home.

    If the RSPCA tries to put you off by saying they have found a dog similar to yours, “…but it can’t be yours, because it was found out whoop whoop…” insist on seeing it.

    Also, people assume the RSPCA will contact them, but they don’t! Always physically check the pound. Even though you have given a detailed description of your dog/cat over the phone to the RSPCA/pound, they wrongly tell owners that their animal isn’t there.

    Reply
    • pups4sale

      Some great ideas there, Jennifer. Each dogs is an individual of course, and what works for one is not so effective for another. At pups4sale we desensitize our own dogs to storms and loud noises from an early age, as every summer here in Queensland we can guarantee our dogs are going to hear plenty of thunder! We have found this to be an effective strategy for our dogs, so that by the time they are adults they aren’t fazed at all by storms. So for us, early intervention is the key.

      Reply
  3. Patti

    Thanks for posting these great tips to help dogs. Some can apply to cats, too 🙂

    Reply
    • pups4sale

      Yes Patti, there’s no reason why not. People often don’t realise that cats can get just as upset by storms as dogs sometimes.

      Reply

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