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Curing The Fear Of Thunderstorms

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Summertime is full of excitement. Great vacations, cook-outs and, inevitably, thunderstorms. Many dog owners find that their fun and fearless dog has become a – gasp! – scared-y cat when thunderstorms roll their way. More pets run away during thunderstorms than any other time. Here are a few tricks to help soothe your dog and keep him safe:

- Comfort your dog, but don’t coddle him: It is OK to give your dog a pat and reassure him, just don’t over-do it. Handing out treats to stop howling and whining during a storm can reinforce that negative behavior you’re working so hard to stop. On the other hand, make sure you are not ignoring your dog either. The tough love approach can back-fire and fuel his fears even more.

- Allow your dog to hide: Give your dog one space to hide (preferably a crate), where he already feels safe. This will allow his fears to slowly subside over time. This is especially important if you travel with your pup and his surroundings are already unfamiliar.

- Desensitize: On non-rainy days play the sound of thunderstorms lightly as background noise. This will give your dog a chance to grow used to the sound gradually instead of being shocked when a storm passes by. This will also work if your pup is afraid of fireworks as they have a similar effect on most dogs.

- Speak to your veterinarian: Your veterinarian will be able to help you more thoroughly assess this problem. They may be able to provide you with more in-depth suggestions specific to your dog’s needs and could also provide your pup with medication as well.

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