April showers bring lightning and thunder.

You know the drill.

When your dog hears a clap of thunder or sees a flash of lightning, they run under the bed or jump on your lap.

But why are your dogs so afraid of thunderstorms? How can you help your pet? And what can you do to make them less afraid?

Luckily we’re here to answer those questions.

Why Is Your Dog Afraid of Thunderstorms?

Experts believe that dogs can detect changes in barometric pressure, static electricity, and low-frequency rumbles. These atmospheric changes can sometimes cause painful shocks, which is what can startle your dog.

These shocks can cause dogs to run around the house looking for a spot where the shocks won’t be as painful.

How Can You help?

One of the best spots for pets is the bathtub. The material, often porcelain, blocks electricity and therefore blocks the shocks.

Another good spot for pets in is their own personal space. They should feel safe there and associate it with more positive memories. If you want more information on personal space for pets, you can read our blog.

Two other ways to ease the shocks are to rub unscented dryer sheets on their fur or to cover them in a dog jacket.

What Can You Do to Help Them with Their Phobia?

Most professionals recommend counter-conditioning and desensitization.

Counter-conditioning and desensitization involves rewarding your pet with a treat and showing them something scary. For this instance, the something scary could be a recording of the thunderstorm. Start the recording at a low volume and when your pet seems comfortable, you can increase the sound.  The ultimate goal is to get your dog to be relaxed during the storm.

If counter-conditioning and desensitization don’t work, you can ask your veterinarian to prescribe medication to help with your pet’s fear.

Treatment will vary dog by dog, and whichever method you use will take time, and you’ll probably have to take care of your pet during thunderstorms.

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