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Many people (even mature, otherwise courageous adults) get frightened by storms. The crash of thunder, the threat of flooding, the howling wind — it can be very spooky indeed! It’s obvious, really, why so many horror stories start out ‘On a dark and stormy night’!
However, it’s not just human beings who can be frightened and made anxious by inclement weather. Pets, like dogs, can suffer from anxiety during storms as well. Even a dog that is safe and secure inside your home, during a relatively mild storm where there’s no real threat of danger, might suffer from anxiety.
There are any number of reasons why a dog might have storm anxiety, but a common one is that they’ve had traumatic experiences in the past. If your dog is suffering from anxiety during storms, you can do something about it. Read on to find out whether your dog has storm anxiety, and learn about some of the things you can give your dog for anxiety during storms.
At Bondi Vet, we’ve used our veterinary expertise to find the best products and advice for helping dogs cope with storm anxiety. If you’ve noticed the signs of heightened anxiousness in your dog during a storm, check out some of the dog anxiety products that we’ve vetted for our customers.
It’s normal for pets like dogs and cats to experience some level of anxiety amid the loud noises of a storm. For some dogs, however, storm anxiety can spiral into a serious problem. When you start to see certain behaviours in a dog, it can be a sign that their anxiety has become unusually severe, and that they’ve developed a storm phobia.
Signs of storm phobia include:
If you notice that your dog is developing storm phobia and has a particularly high level of anxiety during storms, you can take action.
Wondering what to give a dog when they’re anxious and scared of a storm? There are many natural products available. We’ve searched the market to bring you some of the best and most effective products for storm anxiety. For example:
Herbal tinctures: Safe, expertly researched herbal medicines can make a difference in the anxiety your dog feels during a storm. The purpose of these tinctures is to calm the nervous system and reduce stress hormone levels, resulting in a more relaxed disposition for your dog. You may find a reduction in behaviours like pacing, barking, shaking, whining, and other signs of storm stress.
And, so that your dog will enjoy taking the herbal tincture (and so that the feeding process won’t spiral into even more anxiety!) the All Natural Herbal Tincture we offer in our store has a delicious bacon base that dogs love.
Hemp anxiety aids: Hemp products, like hemp anxiety aid and hemp seed oil, are increasingly being used by people. And, in what is good news for people with dogs who suffer from storm anxiety, there are some anti-anxiety hemp products on the market that are intended for dogs as well.
We sell hemp anxiety aids that are made in Melbourne, Australia, and are made from a blend of natural ingredients, including:
The hemp seed oil being used in these dog products is 100% cold pressed and of human grade. And not only might it help your dog with the anxiety symptoms that they experience during storms; it may also help with things like your dog’s overall health, skin, and coat.
Many of the things you can give a dog for storm anxiety are taken orally, either in the form of medication, supplements, or treats. But as well as things you can feed your dog for storm anxiety, there are non-digestible items that might alleviate their bad-weather worries.
A weighted jacket: In recent years, weighted blankets have become all the rage for people with anxiety. The constant light pressure they apply feels something like a hug and releases similar feel-good chemicals in our brains that can help us feel less anxious. Well, the same sort of treatment is also available for dogs. There are now weighted jackets for dogs that apply gentle, constant pressure, and have been shown to help with the anxiety that many dogs feel.
A weighted jacket can be helpful for storm anxiety, and also many other non-storm related anxieties that a dog might feel. Fireworks, a trip to the vet, travel, meeting new people: a weighted jacket might be able to help with all of those anxiety-inducing scenarios, and more.
Calming, cuddly toys, blankets, and bedding: When a small child is having anxiety sleeping through the night, a favourite toy or blanket often goes a long way towards calming them down and making them feel better. The same thing can work wonders for dogs.
When suffering from storm anxiety, a dog will often seek comfort in the part of the house where they feel most safe. This might take the form of diving under a bed, or cuddling up next to you. By increasing the comfort and cosiness of your dog’s special place, you can make your dog’s safe haven feel even safer. Try buying a comforting new dog bed, or finding a blanket or a toy that your dog can particularly enjoy.
A DAP dog collar: DAP stands for Dog Appeasing Pheromones. These natural chemical signs are one of the ways that dogs can communicate with their puppies, and assure them that everything is okay. A DAP collar will replicate those pheromones. These collars are able to make dogs feel less anxious during difficult, stress-inducing events, including, but not limited to, storms.
There are several ways that you can set up your home to make it more friendly for a dog that has storm anxiety. The most important thing is to create a space where the dog can go to feel safe and take refuge.
It might be an open crate, a basement, a bathroom, a relatively soundproofed room, or something else. Usually, it’ll be a place where the sights and sounds of the storm are muted. A good way to pick a location is to see where your dog naturally wants to go during a storm and to use that space. Make sure that your dog can come and go, freely, from space, since being confined may make them even more anxious.
To deal with storm anxiety, some people give their dogs anti-anxiety drugs. In extreme cases, and in discussion with a trained veterinarian, this might be the right course of action. However, just as is the case with people, there are many drawbacks and dangers that can arise from using anti-anxiety medication.
If your dog is suffering from storm phobia, there are a great many things that are worth trying before resorting to drugs. For example, many people find that herbal supplements, a safe space in the home, and better overall dog-mental-health can make a massive difference in improving how dogs feel during storms.
A dog that becomes overly anxious during storms will often also be suffering from other, non-storm related anxieties. Conversely, a dog with more robust mental health may develop the ability to weather storm anxiety. Try spending more quality time with your dog, playing with them, and doing activities that they enjoy.
You might, for example, like to try taking them for a long walk (but we would recommend that you do that on a bright and sunny day, when there’s limited risk of a storm breaking out).