Spring has sprung and you know what they say about this time of year… April showers bring May flowers! While we all love to stop and smell the roses, the showers that it takes to get these flowers to bloom oftentimes brings a hefty dosage of anxiety for our furry friends.
That’s right, today we are talking about all things storm anxiety! What it is, why it happens and what you can do to help your dog all spring, and summer long (trust us, those summer storms are just as bad, if not worse than the ones you have in April and May).
What is storm anxiety in dogs? - Definition and signs
When it comes to our canine companions, storm anxiety refers to the anxious reaction that a dog experiences at the first sound or whiff of a storm coming. Storm anxiety can show itself in many different ways including, but not limited to:
- Lowered ears and tail, wide eyes
- Panting and drooling
- Whining or howling
- Involuntary indoor urination
- Destructive behavior or even self-harm (i.e., clawing in an effort to escape, running away
If you notice your dog exhibiting any of these signs when a storm is taking place, your dog may be struggling with some storm based anxiety.
Why do storms cause anxiety in dogs?
Typically when it comes to storm anxiety there are three things that result in anxious feelings in our furry friends. These things include the most obvious, noise, as well as changes in barometric pressure and electrostatic charges.
Noise Based Fears
The noise is often the most common source of the anxious feelings our dogs experience during thunderstorms. Even us humans can react when the thunder starts booming. It’s unnerving. However, we have different coping mechanisms and understand that the thunder won’t hurt us. For our furry counterparts though this noise is just plain scary and they won’t understand why the noises are occurring. This is similar to why dogs struggle with fireworks as well.
Changes in Barometric Pressure
Did you know barometric pressure changes can be a major trigger for dogs' anxiety and fear? Barometric pressure is a natural measurement of the air pressure around us, and it can fluctuate frequently, especially before bad weather strikes. As the pressure drops, it can cause a slight expansion of a dog's body tissues, which can lead to discomfort and unease. Even if the discomfort is not significant, dogs may still become anxious due to the sudden and unexplained pressure changes. That's where ThunderShirt® can help - our patented design applies gentle, constant pressure to your dog's torso, which can have a calming effect on their nervous system and help them feel more relaxed and confident, even during changes in barometric pressure.
Changes in Electrostaticity
Thunderstorms and other weather changes can create electrostatic charges that can be uncomfortable for your dog. Dogs with double coats or long hair are especially susceptible to these little sparks of static shock, which can cause them to develop a dislike for thunderstorms. If your dog is one of these pups, there are a few things you can do to help them feel more comfortable. You can try using a fur grooming/conditioning spray to help reduce the static electricity in their fur. Simply spray your dog down and make sure the conditioner gets through all their fur, including their paw pads. You should also keep your dog away from metal objects and switch to glass water bowls to help minimize the shocks. With a little extra care, you can help your dog feel more at ease during thunderstorms and other weather changes.
What can you do to help your dog with their storm anxiety?
If you’re still here chances are you are looking for solutions to help your dog with their storm based anxiety. Lucky for you we have a few ideas and options in mind!
Mask the Noise
One of the best ways to help your dog face their noise anxiety is to mask the noise during the storm! Masking the noise can include using a white noise machine, or playing a calming video during the triggering event and lucky for you, we have one ready for you to play right here.
Create a Storm Anxiety Survival Kit
For some dogs they need more than just a buffer to drown out the storm and for those dogs, we have a full suite of calming solutions and we even offer a bundle where you can save and get all three of our amazing solutions!
Already used by millions of dogs, ThunderShirt®'s patented design applies constant, gentle pressure on a dog's torso, and this pressure helps to calm most dogs. ThunderShirt® is a safe, drug-free solution; great for training; helps to calm in over 80% of cases and is also recommended by veterinarians!
ThunderEase® for Dogs
Is your dog not the cuddle type or hates wearing garments? If so then ThunderEase® may be the solution for you! ThunderEase® helps your dog feel calm and comfortable by mimicking a mother's natural pheromones. ThunderEase® helps reduce some anxiety symptoms and unwanted behaviors and helps your dog feel safe and less stressed, totally drug free.ThunderEase® comes in different application styles to fit your lifestyle as well!
ThunderWunders® Calming Chews
Last but not least, we have ThunderWunders® Calming Chews! ThunderWunders® are a dog favorite because of how tasty they are! ThunderWunders® Dog Calming Chews contain ingredients that may promote rest and relaxation for your dog, so you can spend less time struggling and more time snuggling. Packed full of thiamine, L-Tryptophan, melatonin, and other calming ingredients, our chews may help your dog relax in situations that may cause them anxiety.
Pro Tip: ThunderWunders® need to be digested prior to the storms rolling in for the calming effects to take place so we recommend giving your dog the recommended amount 30 to 45 minutes prior to a storm’s arrival.