How can I help my dog overcome thunderstorm anxiety?

Rain, wind, and thunder can all contribute to storm anxiety, but you can help calm your pet. Some dogs are prone to storm anxiety, including: herding dogs, hounds, sporting & working breeds, and rescued dogs who have lived in shelters or may have been abused or abandoned by a former owner.

• A retraining program may desensitize your dog. Play a soft recording of thunder and reward your dog with treats when he exhibits no anxiety. Over time, increase the intensity of the storm sounds while rewarding calm behavior. Progress VERY slowly.
• Talk to your veterinarian about anti-anxiety medications that may be appropriate for your pet during storms.
• White noise (an electric fan, radio or TV) may help block out storm noise and create a distraction.
• Pad your pet’s crate with blankets or clear a “safe place” under a bed for comforting shelter. Be sure it’s a place your pet can get into and out of easily on his own.
• Remain calm when your dog is fearful to increase his sense of security. Do not reward fearful behavior, but never punish or scold your pet for being afraid.
• Anxiety can cause some dogs to become destructive. If possible, stay indoors with your pet during storms. Your presence will help keep your pet calm.