How to Calm an Anxious Dog During a Hurricane
Hurricane season is going strong; unfortunately, that’s not good news for many pups. We don’t know precisely what storms and hurricanes trigger anxiety, but the effects are authentic: pacing, panting, hiding, chewing carpets, clawing drywall… No one wants to see their fur baby go through this, so we want to help you solve your pup’s hurricane anxiety.
As a caring pet parent, how can you calm an anxious dog during a hurricane? You can apply these same tips to anything from tropical storms to thunderstorms.
Create a safe space
First, you should bring your dog indoors well before the storm hits. Once indoors, your dog needs a safe space to hide from the storm. It can be anything from a crate to a soundproof room — the best way to see what your dog prefers is to follow where they go during a storm. Include your dog’s favorite toys, treats, and bed in the safe space, and let them get used to the room for weeks before the storm season. Let them seek out their safe space and don’t lock them in.
Yes, you can practice calmness! Practice having your pup settle on command in the weeks leading up to the storm season and on calm days. Teach them to lie calmly at your feet and remember to praise and reward them for their calm behavior. You can also buy a unique leash only used for this exercise. Your dog will recognize the exercise when you take out the special leash.
Desensitizing to storm sounds
Before the storm season, begin playing storm sounds to your dog (there are CDs and streaming recordings specifically designed for this). Ensure the volume is low at first, and encourage your pup with treats as you listen to the storm sounds together. Over days and weeks, you can increase the volume of the sounds as you continue to reward your pup for staying calm.
Prepare your home
Install hurricane windows to block out the storm if you can. Just pulling the shades will block things like lighting flashes and some of the sounds of the storm. You can play soothing music to your dog (some studies suggest pups love classical music) or try to supplement the storm sounds with TV and radio or white noise.
Dogs recognize many of their owner’s emotions and respond to them. That means if you’re stressed, they’re stressed. That’s why you need to stay calm and be present. Consoling your pup too much can worsen their stress, so distract them with toys, playtime, or treats instead. Remember to stay home with your dog — your presence alone provides comfort.
Consider calming supplements to help you calm an anxious dog during a hurricane, thunderstorm, or any other source of stress unique to your pup. Okoa Pet’s “Hush, Puppy” CBD calming treats for dogs are all-natural soft chews that combine broad-spectrum hemp extract and other calming ingredients. They’re specifically designed to help your pet cope with external sources of stress like hurricanes. You can find more information on them here.