Ok, maybe not afraid of the rain, but close…
On second thought, one of our dogs might actually be afraid of the rain. The second a drop of water falls from the sky, she refuses to go outside onto the grass, and if we force her to, she tiptoes around the dewy blades as gently as possible, acting like we are forcing a horrible death upon her.
With some of the recent storms that have recently taken over Ohio during the what should be sleeping hours of the morning, sleep has been hard to come by. If not for the loud bangs of thunder or the bright flashes of lightning, then it’s two 40+ pound dogs who think they are sneaky as they try to tip-toe onto the bed one paw at a time, then quickly lay down in a ball as still as possible. Stealthy they are not, but totally adorable they are.
Yes, our dogs, Sweetie and Brownie, are afraid of storms and want to snuggle in close as soon as that first clap of thunder sounds off in the far distance. Unfortunately, they don’t stay in that tight ball. Within minutes, they are sprawled out, and I am usually the one hanging on for dear life to the edge of the bed, clutching whatever piece of the blanket I can salvage for myself in an attempt to stay warm. I’ll try to make due with what I have, but soon, I start to slip off and know that something has to change.
“Go to bed.” I will say if Anthony does not beat me to it.
There are two audible sighs, and then two dogs jumping from the bed as they disperse to their own corners of the room to lay on their cushy doggie beds. I sprawl back out into my own comfortable sleeping position, close my eyes and finally start to drift off again…
…and five minutes later, as soon as thunder rumbles once more, I feel one paw at a time pressing into the mattress as a dog tries to sneak stealthily back onto the bed. And then the cat jumps up. And so the cycle repeats itself over and over again. On these nights, Anthony and I are lucky to get five hours total of broken sleep.
This pattern has gotten me to think that surely there is something that can be done to make our fur-babies feel more at ease during storms. After all, I doubt that our pets are the only ones who become anxious and afraid. Other than letting them take over the bed, here are some of the suggestions that I have found through doing a little digging around Google. Keep in mind that I am not an expert.
- Have a safe place for your doggie such as a crate so that he/she can feel safe. Placing a blanket and favorite chew toy in with then can help them feel secure. If a crate is not possible, make sure that your dog is in a secure area where they cannot get hurt. (woodbridgeanimalhospital.com)
- Use a recording of a storm. Play it softly at first while allowing it to gradually become louder. Go about your routine as normal while this is playing. This method can condition dogs to see that storms are nothing to worry about. (woodbridgeanimalhospital.com)
- If there are windows in the room, close the blinds so your dog cannot see outside. (purina.com)
- Use a wrap such as a Thundershirt, meant to ‘hug’ your dog and give him/her a sense of security. You can also use a cheaper option such as a small t-shirt that fits snuggly, but not squeezing too tight. (purina.com)
These are just a few tips that I stumbled across. Keep in mind that all dogs are different and all will react differently to various methods. One piece of advice that was found across all sites that I read was not to coddle your dog when afraid, as this just reinforces the frightened behavior during a storm.
What are some methods that you have found worked when it comes to keeping your dog (or cat) calm during a storm?