Animals

Help your dog overcome the fear of lightning

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Dogs, like us, they may also experience anxiety and stress, in some cases in such a strong and continuous way that it can be a real problem for the owner.

The usual thing is that a dog be more nervous with the removals or any change in their environment, such as the arrival of another pet, including the change in furniture, at other times it is due to the fear they feel about firecrackers or storms.

For these cases we have prepared some very effective simple tips.

1. Discard the presence of any disease. As stress or anxiety can appear due to a hidden pain, before any change in the dog's behavior we should consult with the veterinarian, he will guide us according to the case.

2. Use signs of calm. When we are with the dog, our communication should make him gain confidence and that his relationship with us does not deteriorate because of his behavior. Some authors have developed complete works on this subject and all of them advise against forcing the animal or punishing it. In severe cases, canine ethologists can help us.

3. Use pheromones. To manage stress in dogs, compounds that mimic the smell of the nursing mother are used. Its effectiveness exceeds 80 percent and today its use is widespread in veterinary clinics, hairdressers and residences, where they are normally dispersed in the environment with diffusers.

4. Veterinary prescription medication. This method is reserved for professionals, who usually use them in extreme cases and only if other treatments have failed. They usually work better when combined with behavior modification techniques and may be indispensable in acute cases of anxiety. If your veterinarian prescribes it, remember that it is most likely that you have to withdraw it little by little to avoid “withdrawal syndrome” problems, since they are addictive.

5. Special foods. It has been shown that certain nutrients have a relaxing function in the body, which is what special foods for stress contain. Of course, remember that stress and anxiety are disorders, so we recommend you go to the veterinarian and follow his advice.

These methods are not the only ones, much less, since a good number of other alternatives are available, from consolidated therapies such as veterinary acupuncture, to the most innovative, such as holistic, through homeopathic or Bach flowers . There are also methods such as sustained pressure or massages according to the T-Touch technique. As we see, every time we have more weapons that allow us to fight against the stress and anxiety of the dog.

One of the most frequent cases of stress in the dog is the fear of firecrackers. In this video our ethologist who gives some easy and useful guidelines.

Thunderstorms can stress dogs

According to a study by professionals from the University of Pensinvalnia, in the US, and published in the journal Applied Animal Behavior Science, between 15 and 30 percent of dogs have episodes of stress due to fear of lightning and thunder.

For this reason, it has been found that animals that are afraid in these circumstances secrete 200 percent more cortisol hormones, as a response to the stress they are suffering.

Among the reactions of dogs to a thunderstorm, we can point out:

  • They tremble.
  • Hide the tail between the legs.
  • Howl
  • They seek to hide in some corner, or under the beds.
  • They bite furniture and other objects.

The best way to help a dog who is afraid of thunderstorms is to remain calm and try to reduce his anxiety with games and other positive experiences.

Learn the reasons why some dogs are afraid of lightning and thunder

But why hairy react in this way to loud noises such as those caused by a storm?

Everything seems to indicate that, over centuries of evolution, feeling fear has enabled dogs to escape and be safe from many dangers. Thus, the alarm caused by the anguish leads him to seek refuge urgently.

But we must not forget that the developed sense of hearing of dogs also contributes to amplify their fear, because they perceive the noise caused by the lightning to fall much more intensely than humans.

Remember also that, Because of their great hearing, they notice the arrival of a storm long before we can do so.

What to do to help a hairy man who is scared of storms

So, before the imminence of a thunderstorm, the best thing you can do to help your furry is:

  • Keep calm, in order to help your four-legged friend in the best way possible to overcome the fear of lightning and thunder.
  • Try to prevent or reduce your dog's anxiety. For example, it seeks to distract you and relate the situation to positive experiences, such as games.
  • Do not leave it outside the house even if the animal has a place to shelter in the patio, garden or terrace. Get it in and place it in the place where noises reach the least.

Other options to calm your dog when there is lightning and thunder

To help overcome the fear of lightning and thunder that your furry has, you can also:

  • Put on the radio or make him listen to some instrumental music that helps him relax.
  • Use anti-stress pheromones. These substances that are sold emulate those used by bitches to calm their puppies. In any case, ask the veterinarian.
  • Resort to desensitizing treatment. Consult an ethologist about the different techniques that are used so that your dog can gradually get used to the ru>

One thing to keep in mind is that 35 percent of the consultations received by the Clinical Ethology Service of the Veterinary Hospital of the University of Zaragoza are related to the so-called dog phobias, including fear of storms.

So don't underestimate the subject and if your hairy is part of that percentage, better stay tuned for weather forecasts.

Ideally, the animal is not alone during a thunderstorm. So if you can't be with him, ask a friend or relative to come to your house to accompany him and help him cope with the situation as content as possible.

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