Dog laying down waiting for the rain

While we often look at our dogs as a source of comfort, sometimes they need comfort of their own. Storms are a common fear among our furry friends, but we might not give them everything that they need to help overcome this fear.

So, here are 10 different things that you can do to help your dog when the next storm comes. Whether it’s getting them through the storm without freaking out too much or overcoming their fear entirely, there are great tips here.

The 10 Tips to Calm a Dog During a Storm

1. Give Them a Hiding Place?

The dog is hiding under the sofa and afraid to go out
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Effectiveness: Moderate
Ease of Completion: Easy

If you want your dog to feel safe during a storm, they should have a safe place to go. Some dogs prefer hanging out in their crate during storms, and some vets will even recommend crate training your dog to help them cope in such situations.

But while a crate can be a great option, it’s not the only one. It’s all about finding a place where your dog feels safe, and you know your dog best. Make a great environment for them that helps them feel safe and comfortable as they ride out the storm.

2. Stay Calm

Dog playing with his fleece toy
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Effectiveness: Moderate
Ease of Completion: Easy

Our dogs feed off our emotions, so if you’re not calm, your dog won’t be either. You don’t want to run around from place to place trying to figure everything out, and you don’t want to act like a storm is a big deal.

Be happy, give your dog attention, and try to play with them. Most importantly, act like everything is normal and stay calm.

3. Be Around

woman and dog sitting on sofa at home
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Effectiveness: High
Ease of Completion: Moderate

This is the most important thing that you can do to help keep your dog calm during a storm. Dogs love being around their people and many dogs have separation anxiety. When you pair that with an event like a storm, it only makes everything worse.

While you can’t always be there for every storm, do your best, anyway, as it will go a long way in keeping your dog calm and happy.

If you are home with your dog, try to stay with them, but don’t overcrowd them either. You don’t want to create more anxiety for them by making them think that something bad is happening. Simply being there for your dog and acting like everything is normal will go a long way.

4. Close the Shades

Venetian Blinds
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Effectiveness: Moderate
Ease of Completion: Easy

This is an easy thing that you can do to help keep your dog calm during the next storm. Sometimes it’s not the thunder that scares your dog, but the flashes of light coming from the lightning. They don’t know what it is and those flashes can be scary.

Closing the shades prevents lightning from flashing into your home, and this can help keep your dog calm because they won’t even realize it’s happening. Don’t rush around to close them, but casually do it when you realize that the storm is coming or happening.

5. Drown Out the Noise

woman watching tv with her dog
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Effectiveness: High
Ease of Completion: Moderate

If your dog can’t see the lightning and can’t hear the thunder, there’s not much left to scare them. That said, dogs have sensitive hearing. So, turn on the television or music to help drown out the thunder. You might be able to make it through a storm without your dog ever even realizing it happened.

Even if your dog does realize it, drowning out some of the noise will help alleviate their concerns and might make them think that it’s over before it really is.

Don’t go overboard, though, as you don’t want to freak your dog out with all the loud noise!

6. Use a Thundershirt

 

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Effectiveness: Moderate
Ease of Completion: Moderate

Many products are advertised as being able to help calm your dog. Some are just marketing gimmicks, but thundershirts can genuinely help keep dogs calm during a storm. The added weight provides a calming effect. Just ensure that you get the right size for your dog. You don’t want to put too much weight on them, or else they’ll simply feel uncomfortable throughout the entire storm.

Finally, keep in mind that while these products help most dogs, they’re not foolproof. If your dog clearly doesn’t like the thundershirt, don’t try to force it on them.

6. Use Pheromones

Dog playing sniffing puzzle game for intellectual and nosework training
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Effectiveness: Moderate
Ease of Completion: Moderate

Dogs navigate the world through their noses. So, it makes sense that if you’re trying to calm them down, using a scent can go a long way.

Look for a dog-specific pheromone to help calm their nerves. It might just surprise you how effective it is. While pheromones might not be the final solution, they make a great addition to any of the other methods that you decide to use.

8. Try Desensitizing Them

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Effectiveness: Moderate
Ease of Completion: Challenging

This is a controversial tactic, but it helps many dogs. It’s also one of the few solutions that can help your dog overcome their fear of storms.

Desensitizing them to thunder starts with creating a sound playlist with the noises. From there, put on the playlist at a low volume during portions of the day that you’re at home. The goal is to have it at a level that your dog can hear, but not at a level loud enough to freak them out.

Get them used to the sound, then play it slightly louder and continue the process. If you’re successful, your dog will get used to the noise and won’t even flinch the next time that a storm rolls through!

9. Distract Them

playing with dog
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Effectiveness: Low
Ease of Completion: Moderate

Dogs don’t always have the best attention span. While that can be frustrating in certain situations, it’s ideal in this one. See if you can get them to play one of their favorite games or with a few of their favorite toys.

You can also give them a few treats or just hang out with them to try to distract them from the storm. Anything that you can do to get their mind off the storm will go a long way in keeping them calm.

10. Ask a Vet

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Effectiveness: High
Ease of Completion: Easy

While we like to think that we know everything about our dogs, sometimes a vet can give us valuable insight into our dog’s behaviors. They can also give you tips and tricks that you might not have thought of, and they can prescribe medications and supplements that can help the most severe cases.

Veterinarians have spent years in school learning how to help animals, and they’re one of the most valuable sources of information out there. Listen to what they have to say, and your dog might be able to put their fear of storms behind them.

Things to Avoid

While it’s important to know what you can do to keep your dog calm during a storm, it’s also crucial to know what not to do. For one thing, never scold or punish your dog while they’re scared. When they’re scared, they’re not trying to upset you, they’re just looking for comfort.

You also don’t want to ignore the problem and hope that they figure it out on their own. They most likely won’t, and there’s a good chance that the behaviors will simply get worse without treatment.

Finally, do your best not to leave your dog alone during a storm. Sometimes it’s necessary, but it’s always best to stay with your dog during a storm to help keep them calm.

Conclusion

With so many great tips out there on what you can do to help your dog out through a storm, it’s up to you to incorporate as many of these ideas as possible to help keep your dog calm during the next storm.

If you address the issue early enough, you can help your pup overcome their fear, and they might just come to comfort you the next time that a storm comes through!


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