Thunderstorms and fireworks cause considerable anxiety for many dogs. Fortunately a variety of techniques can be used (often in combination) to try to reduce their distress. These include:
Allowing the dog inside the house where it feels more comfortable.
Providing a small, enclosed cubby where the dog may feel safe.
Behaving in a calm and authoritative manner to get the dog to drop and stay, or stay in a cubby
Using a Dog Appeasing Pheromone diffuser in a fixed air space (this diffuser lets out a synthetic scent hormone (that only dogs can smell) that helps to calm the dog).
Stroking or massaging the dog.
Medications can be used in the longer term to calm the dog and reduce its anxiety.
Other medications can be given half to one hour before fireworks or a forecast storm which also reduce the dog’s anxiety.
Gladesville Vet Hospital has a desensitisation compact disc that can be borrowed and played at increasing loud volume, whilst the dog is reassured.
Referral to a specialist animal behaviourist for further advice.
If your dog suffers from thunderstorm or firework phobia then please make an appointment with one of our veterinarians for further advice.
(Partially based on information provided by the animal behaviourist Robert Holmes).