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Storm Phobia Awareness

Storm phobias are one of the most common behavioral problems dog owners face, but their cause is not entirely clear. Behaviorists are not yet sure what part of the storm frightens dogs most, whether they're reacting to lightning flashes, the sound of thunder, wind blowing around the house, or the sound of rain on the roof. Some dogs even start to pace and whine half an hour or more before a storm. They may be reacting to a sudden drop in air pressure or the electrical charge of the air.

Your best bet for helping your dog overcome his thunderstorm fears is to talk to your veterinarian. They can prescribe an anti-anxiety medication to help your dog remain calm during storms. You can also make sure your dog has a warm, safe "den" to retreat to when the weather gets too scary. You can try padding a crate with blankets or clearing a space underneath your bed. Just make sure that it's somewhere your dog can get out of whenever he wants. A panicked dog can do a lot of damage to his crate and himself if he's confined.

Another alternative is the Thunder Shirt. It's like a "hug" for your dog and allows most dogs to help them ride out storms calmly and contently.

Most important, though, is that your treat your dog gently and kindly when he is afraid. Don't cuddle and reassure him, because that will reward his scaredy-dog behavior, but definitely don't punish him for it either. Instead, just be calm and provide him with a safe, familiar place where he can feel secure and ride out the storm.

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