When you are a dog owner, the summer months can mean a lot of great times out and about with your beloved pooch. However, it can also mean that your dog will be running around barking crying, and trying to burrow or hide when thunderstorms hit. Many dogs have a strong fear of thunder that can lead to problematic behaviors and even injuries or illness. Get to know some of the ways that you can help your dog deal with their fear of thunder so that you and your veterinarian at the vet hospital can keep your dog as healthy and safe as possible.
Get Your Dog A Compression Garment
Compression garments for dogs, often referred to as "thunder shirts" are garments that fit your dog snugly and provide compression or gentle squeezing. The sensation of being squeezed when frightened has an effect on your dog's entire body, specifically their nervous system.
When pressure is applied to the body in the form of a compression garment, it suppresses what is known as the sympathetic nervous system. This slows the heart rate, breathing rate, and helps to calm an animal down. In the case of your dog, it can help stop their fear reaction to thunder. These garments can be purchased through your vet or at a local pet supply store and can be a lifesaver when your dog acts up.
Another option to help your dog feel better and calmer when the thunder begins to rumble is to treat their fear and anxiety with medications. Anti-anxiety medications are available in a variety of forms for dogs.
It is, however, very important to take your dog to the vet or to the animal hospital before you give them any medications, even over-the-counter ones. All dosages for dogs as well as the medications they can take depend on their weight, breed, as well as other medications they may be on or health conditions they have.
A veterinarian can give you prescription medications for your dog's anxiety that they can take as needed in high-stress situations (like during a thunderstorm). Oftentimes, depending on your dog's size, you will have to cut the pills into halves or quarters to get the right dosage. Some vets also recommend antihistamines like Benedryl or Zyrtec to help calm a dog with a chronic fear of thunder down. But, again, consult with your vet first so you do not accidentally overdose your dog on antihistamines.
Now that you know a few of the ways that you can help your dog deal with their fear of thunder, you can be sure that you are doing everything you can to take care of your dog and keep them healthy and safe at all times. Contact a vet hospital for more information.