Veterinarian: “Your training techniques are your best friend. Start teaching them young that it’s okay.”
TOLEDO, Ohio — Severe spring weather can be scary for people, but as most pet owners know, the season’s storms can also be a challenge for our companion animals.
Dogs can tell when a storm is coming as they sense a drop in pressure. When that happens, they can get stressed and become destructive.
But luckily, there are some ways you can help your pets stay calm.
“My pitbull actually has drugs for those occasions because he’s very high anxiety,” said dog owner, Kenzie White. “For this one [dog] though, she gets antsy, so we turn the TV on, we have lots of distractions, lots of snuggle time, lots of treats.”
“Sometimes they’ll bring meds for dogs to have. Sometimes they bring a thunder shirt or something similar,” said the owner of Woofgang Dog Daycare, Elaine Karamol. “Something snug that kind of holds them or sometimes the staff picks them up and holds them.”
If snuggling or medicine doesn’t do the trick right away, veterinarian at Midway Animal Hospital, Steve Huff, suggested taking your animal into a room with no windows. If the pet is used to being in a kennel, that will help them feel safe and secure. You can also distract them with toys.
Experts urge owners to never punish pets for being scared during a storm. The calmer you are, the calmer your pet is.
“They feed off your energy, so if you’re irritated they’re thinking, ‘what am I doing wrong? I’m just so scared.’ So they just need you to be there to comfort them,” White said.
Huff said you can also try and desensitize your pets to storms. Take them outside before it comes so they can get a feel for the senses or play storm CDs in the house.
“Your training techniques are your best friend,” he said. “Start teaching them young that it’s okay. Get them used to those sounds and smells and things like that.”
After all, a dog is a man’s best friend.