My Dog Hates Thunderstorms

Your handsome boxer Hunter is a big, happy-go-lucky pooch who seems to wear a Superdog suit, except for one small detail: Hunter is terrified of thunderstorms. When Hunter detects a rumble 10 miles away, he cowers under the table. The closer the storm gets, the more agitated Hunter becomes, until he paces the house in panic. You’re afraid Hunter will injure himself by jumping through a window, or by destroying your house one baseboard at a time. You’ve decided to ask your Colorado Springs veterinarian to help you resolve Hunter’s thunderstorm phobia.


Panic-Prone Pooches

Herding breeds such as border collies, who are famous for their super herding skills, seem to have more than their fair share of storm-related meltdowns. If Hunter battled with separation anxiety, or another fear-driven behavior, he’d also be more likely to be scared of storms. Some dogs are terrified of thunderstorms but handle fireworks just fine; other canines lose their cool over any noise that’s louder than they are.


Sources of Storm Anxiety

Maybe the crashing loud thunder is what scares Hunter the most; or perhaps he’s disoriented by the screaming wind and dazzling lightning that seem to attack from all sides. Maybe Hunter even senses storm-related barometric pressure changes; or he gets mild electric shocks from static electricity build-up. Hunter’s storm phobia really gets cranked up as warm weather spawns more pop-up and squall-line thunderstorms.


Searching for a Safe Refuge

Try to help Hunter find a safe shelter from the storm. Settle him in a small interior room, and pipe in some music to deaden the thunder. Your relatively soundproof basement might also have a few corners into which Hunter can burrow. Offer Hunter multiple storm refuges, and don’t lock him in a small space, as that will probably panic him further.


Calm Them With Clothing

Makers of snug, clingy canine sweaters and wraps claim that their product helps panicked dogs feel secure and safe in uncertain situations. This non-prescription option isn’t guaranteed to work, but it might be worth a try. Ask your vet for his opinion before seriously considering a purchase.


While the storm’s raging, help Hunter focus on something familiar, such as an obedience task. Ask Hunter to lie calmly at your feet while you give him plenty of praise for his good behavior. When you see your Colorado Springs vet next month, share Hunter’s positive experience in getting through the storm.


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