Central Florida has more than its share of thunderstorms. How is this a problem for our dogs,
Many dogs suffer from noise phobias and in particular a fear of thunderstorms. Fireworks and loud music can have the same effect, but dogs are very sensitive to changes in the weather and with loud thunderstorms many dogs become very anxious. Owners worries with the start of summer and throughout the Hurricane season.
What happens when a dog has a storm phobia,
There are two basic behaviors. Most dogs are simply scared and looking for a place to hide. But other dogs become frenzied and destructive during the storm. I’ve had patients who will chew through sheet rock or jump through windows during storms. Destructive behavior can be seen on a otherwise calm and gentle pet.
What can be done to prevent thunderstorm phobia,
Start with socializing puppies at an young age. Don’t try to avoid situations with loud noises. Take advantage of thunderstorms and reassure the puppy so that fear is reduced.
Provide a storm phobic dog with a place to hide; the smaller and more confining the better. Plastic airline type carriers work well and can even be covered with a blanket to make it more cave-like. Sometimes even a blanket over a small coffee table provides the seclusion their are looking for. Anxiety can be reduced if the dog has a safe place to go during the storm.
Consult a veterinarian about behavioral modification or even medication. While difficult to do, desensitization training can help.