It’s the Labrador here, taking over the blog for a moment to introduce the article I had my human write. Between the lighting, thunder and those strange boom-booms that come once a year, I’ve had it up to here with the weather and you humans making things explode into funny smells. Lucky for me, my mom understands me pretty well when I’m scared. Here’s some things she does for me when the scary stuff happens. Use this with your companion and I’m sure it’ll help them like it does me.
And remember–we want to please you. We’re just scared. Please be patient with us; we need love all the time, especially when we’re frightened. Don’t you?
- Exercise. If you can, go for a long walk before a storm is set to hit, or before fireworks go off at night. The exertion of a walk won’t take away the anxiety later on in every dog, but I feel it helps take the edge off. Walks are healthy, too, and will make you and your dog sleep better later on. 🚶
- Hydrate. Keep your poochy well hydrated, especially when they’re panting a lot from anxiety, heat and other combinations of stress. Dogs can get dehydrated just like humans, especially in the summer. Your dog should always have access to fresh, clean water. Always. 💧
- Stay cool. Celling fans, box fans, frozen banana stuck in Kong’s, ice cubes, frozen broth cubes, frozen strawberries without the stems… You get the idea. When in doubt, check PetMD to see if it’s a safe food for your dog. ⚕️
- Be patient. Don’t yell at your dog for being stressed. Dogs are sensitive, intelligent creatures who depend on us for their care. Dogs have a different sensory experience than we do. They see differently, smell vastly better than we do and their hearing is also much more sensitive than ours. They didn’t sign the Declaration of Independence; they don’t understand how weather works. For all they know, they’re under attack and can smell gunpowder and other scents they normally don’t smell. The same goes for thunderstorms. Just try to imagine the situation from your dog’s perspective and your empathy will grow in leaps and bounds. ⛈️
- Distract & Comfort. Healthy treats, toys or food puzzle toys may do the trick. There are also Thunder Coats they sell for dogs that work on the premise of swaddling your dog and activating pressure points to comfort them. It doesn’t work very well on our Lab, but it may work for your companion. 🐩
- Be present. Keep the poochy inside during fireworks. A lot of dogs run away during Independence Day Weekend because they’re scared. Let them be with their people. Dogs are social animals who want to be with their pack–you.
- Music. Consider closing the windows to muffle the thunder; draw the curtains to hide the lighting flashes. Play soothing spa music on your phone. It’s free on YouTube. 🎵
- Last resort: Den. If done correctly, a clean, comfortable dog cage can serve as the dog’s den–their safe place they would have had in the wild. Place a thin sheet over their cage at night and keep it away from the windows. An oscillating fan set on low, soft spa music and a Kong with treats are also good. Don’t forget the water. The cage should always be associated with good things, like treats, safety and comfort for your dog. It’s their safe place to decompress and rest and weather the storm.
Have a tip of your own? Leave it below. Good luck to you and your companions getting through this summer season.
Love your dogs; they are very special creatures. ☺️👍