Dogs and Thuderstorms
Author: Vebo Pet Supplies Date Posted:8 September 2022
Over the years, we have met a lot of owners with dogs that are not particular fond of thunderstorms. They range from mild cases like hiding under the dining table to severe cases of going completely berserk. Sometimes customers are really desperate and have tried literally everything, thunder CDs, thunder vests, crate training, calming scents and finally medications. So we thought we would share some of the things that we have learnt over the years.
From our experience, there are 3 main things that seem to set off a nervous dog during a thunderstorm:
- The visual (i.e. lighting)
- The sound (i.e. the thunder sound)
- The static
The first one rarely causes too much problems. Many people has gigantic high definition TVs at home these days, so if flashing lights are a problem, the dog would probably have gone crazy a long time ago. But generally speaking, people can easily solve this by keeping their dogs indoors during a bad storm, so the dogs can't see the actual lighting too much.
The thundering sounds are a bigger problem. Dogs have much better hearing than us, so if loud thunders are strong enough to scare small children, they will definitely scare a lot of dogs. So it makes some sense to try playing thunder CD tracks to help desensitise their dogs to this particular sound. Unfortunately we found the success rate is not very high. A real thunder can actually shake the entire building a little, unless you have a really really powerful sound system (and very understanding neighbours), it would not be easy to reproduce that kind of sound at home.
This brings us to the last one, which a lot of people do not know about, static charge. If you still remember from primary school science class, lighting is caused by a build up of charges. In a bad thunderstorm, sometimes enough static charge can build up so dogs can feel their hair standing and skin tingling. If the static is strong enough, sometimes it is possible to get a little zap (like in winter when we touch a doorknob).
We believe many dogs with really really bad thunderstorm-phobia are probably ones that have been zapped before. If you try to imagine it, you can feel your hair rising and skin tingling, it doesn't go away and gradually builds and builds, there is nothing you can do to stop it. This helps to explain why some dogs act the way they do, they look like they are trying to "escape" something and keep running around.
If you have a dog like that, here's something you can try. Fill your bathtub with 1-2 inch of water and put your dog in there. What you dog is trying to "escape" from is static charge, so by "earthing" your dog and releasing the charges, the tingling will be gone and your dog may start to calm down.