While most northerners are preparing for the first blanket of snow to start their winter, Houston has been inundated with yet another rainy season with thunderstorms, flash flooding and even tornadoes. Some dogs take this all in stride, jumping in puddles and soaking up the indoor time cuddled under a blanket with their best friend. Other dogs, to put it frankly, freak out. They become anxious: whining, hiding under beds or in closets, pacing back and forth, or acting out by tearing up some part of their environment to deal with their anxiousness. There are, however, techniques to soothing your pooch through Houston’s November weather.
The first tactic is to keep the dogs in a room or a crate where they are not confronted with the storm through a window or door. The crashing thunder and flashing lighting is less of a trigger if they can’t see the storm and only hear some of the thunder at a volume consistent with other neighborhood noises they are more familiar with. Here at Urban Tails, since we have windows in our day care rooms, we will remove a stressed dog from the day care floor and let them calm down in one of our lofts where the thunder and lightning aren’t as much of a stress factor.
Another technique is the use of Thundershirts. This is a relatively new product designed specifically for stressed and agitated dogs. Made of t-shirt like material and fitted with flaps that allow it to wrap tightly around your dog, it provides comforting pressure that calms dogs during many kinds of stressful times like storms, traveling, fireworks, and can even help with separation anxiety. While the patent is pending, the product has worked wonders for many dog owners. At Urban Tails, we have Thundershirts set aside for those dogs we know will be anxious while staying with us.
In severe cases where dogs tear up a door or the flooring of their environment, whether they are crated or not, the veterinarian can save the day with medication to help your pet get through the storm without injuring itself or your home. These medications are more often than not tranquilizers that induce a state of calm restfulness so be sure you are aware of your dogs’ reaction to these as they can impede their abilities of movement.
Many owners are familiar with what causes their dogs’ stress and will notify us of what behavior to look out for and how they can best be comforted. Sometimes it’s as easy as a soothing voice or comforting cuddle, a distraction like a tennis ball to chase, or a few minutes to themselves. Be sure to speak to your veterinarian about how best to deal with stressful activity that can affect your favorite canine and if Urban Tails can help out in anyway, please let us know!