How to keep your dog Calm during storms and fireworks

By Nancy Hassel,

Have you noticed that lately more and more fireworks have been set off?  Or are you dealing with a lot of thunderstorms happening in your area?  And your dog is fully freaking out or paralized in fear due to sudden crackling of thunder or booms of loud fireworks?

A week or so ago, here on the eastern seaboard – we were getting a lot of thunderstorms, and my dog that is normally not bothered by them was definitely nervous after a few days of storms.   For us, it was in the middle of the night for most of the storms were passing through – so I didn’t have much time to prep for the storms to change Cody’s focus.  Normally if I know a storm is approaching I am able to use calming treats ahead of the storm, that work wonders – he is usually snoring through the entire storm!

Dog looking up at camera
Cody when he hears the word treat!

My favorite treats for this are Pampered Pets USA new line of Calming treats that we were lucky enough to try out – as they are literally just coming to market!   We have tried many many types of treats – and this by far has been the most effective for him.

Pampered Pets USA Calming Pet Chews

Another tip, if you don’t already have a weather app on your phone, I would recomend downloading the Weatherbug app.  During the summer we often have pop up thunderstorms that may not make the news or get an alert until it is already on top of you – but if you check the radar on this app which I find is very accurate, will give you a chance to prepare.   If you have that 20 minute window before a storm is approaching you can get those calming treats to your dog before they are in full panick mode.  (It’s also great to check if your about to go for a walk with your dog so you don’t get caught in a storm).  Now if they could just create and app to show what neighbor is setting off all those damn fireworks!  

Cody was never scared of fireworks or thunderstorms, but like with many dogs the older he gets the less tolerance he has for them, and often I see him shaking in his bed if a loud M80 went of nearby.  (Fireworks are illegal here in NY but you would not know it.)  

However, I definitely do NOT coddle him, “Awww what’s the matter, are you scared?”  “It’s ok buddy, you will be ok.”   Say anything like that in a baby voice, Cody shakes even harder and the ball he has put himself in on his bed seemingly gets tighter and smaller and shakes terribly.

So instead of coddling him, I don’t make a fuss over any fireworks, keeping myself calm – and often redirecting his focus with something like, “Hey, do you want a treat?”  And actually do a small training session with him, to get his mind off the fireworks going on outside.  This works very well for him, but I know this not work for all dogs, but you should try it – you never know your dog may respond positively and help take his mind off the noise going on outside.

There are many products on the market that help with calming or easying your dogs fear, but also knowing your dog, working with your dog with training and perhaps creating a safe space for them to retreat to if a storm is coming or fireworks are booming will help them get through this time of year.

Let us know what has worked for you and if you have a product that helps – tell us about it!

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