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Thunder and lightening- very very frightening?
They don't have to be!
Spring is here; summer is fast approaching. And so is the accompanying stormy weather. Sadly, many dogs are scared to death when thunder and lightening occurs, and owners are beside themselves to help assuage those fears. Here are some things that can help.
First of all, if you have a puppy or a dog who is yet unimpressed by the wind, the rain, the rumbling in the sky, go out and PLAY! Yep, that's right. When stormy weather is imminent, and before it's too dangerous to be outside, get your canine pal out and throw the ball, play hide and seek, romp in the yard (not under trees, however), and give him treats galore! Have fun with your pet outside during spring and summer rain showers and while a storm is approaching. Associating positive, enjoyable activities and a happy attitude with rainy and stormy weather can go a long way to having a dog who isn't afraid of it.
Granted, for some dogs it's too late; the "desensitizing-to-storms" ship has sailed and their opinion of thunder and lightening has already formed. However, even for those dogs, some measures still can be taken to help them tolerate concerning weather better. For example, the appropriately named "thunder" shirt really can make a difference. And products like Rescue Remedy, D.A.P. (Dog Appeasing Pheromone), or various essential oils can take the edge off of a dog's anxiousness if his reaction to severe weather isn't completely debilitating. They are inexpensive solutions and they are worth a try.
But sometimes, as with a few of my own dogs, the best way for them to cope with a thunderstorm is just to find a safe place and wait it out: two of them find comfort by crawling under the bed during bad weather, and one handles it best if she can hunker down in her "happy" place - in my truck in the garage.
If you have tried any or all of the above options and your dog still is a basket case during thunderstorms, consult with your veterinarian. He/she may be able to prescribe a suitable medication that will help your dog get through the severest of storms more easily.