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249 Waverley Road, Mount Waverley, VIC 3149

Help…it’s raining!!! – Weather Anxious Dogs

Dr. Ashley Lim BVSc (Hons), Associate Veterinarian

Dog fears can range from things that are truly legitimate phobias to downright hilarious. Dog not wanting to walk on manhole covers? That’s funny and not a huge imposition on your life.  Dog with a thunderstorm phobia? That’s understandable, however, it can become a serious problem if she tries to escape every time it rains. Dogs can display a range of fearful behaviors from trembling and hiding to becoming destructive and escaping during stormy weather.

What can you do if your dog exhibits these behaviours?

Provide a quiet space for them to hide. This can be a small room without windows like a laundry or toilet where they can hide during a storm. A crate or cage is a good alternative as it prevents your dog from escaping or potentially destroying furniture. Put your dog in the crate during thunderstorms and cover it with a heavy dark blanket to reduce the stimulation from the storm. If your dog is not crate trained, click here for a great video on how to do that. If your dog has access to the crate during the day, she may choose to go inside even when you are not home during a storm.

Try a thundershirt. Thundershirts are thin, snug doggy jackets that give your dog a sense of security and comfort (almost like being hugged). You should put these one in normal weather and allow her to associate it with positive things like treats and toys. Thundershirts are more likely to work with dogs showing mild to moderate fearful behaviours, not severely affected ones. Dogs can be left with these on during the day (with the exception perhaps in extreme hot weather).

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Secure your dog. Repair any broken fences and cover up any dug holes under fences or if possible keep her inside during rainy weather. Escaped dogs run the risk of getting lost or hit by a motor vehicle. If your dog has escaped, try ringing your local vet clinic or council to see if they have been picked up.

Should all your attempts fail to control the problem, seek veterinary advice. We often try to use a combination of mild sedatives and/or antidepressants to try and help these anxious dogs.