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Antelope Valley Animal Hospital
1326 W. Avenue N
Palmdale, CA 93551
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It’s A Thunderstorm, Help!

Everybody is afraid of something. Whether it’s spiders, heights, enclosed spaces or something else, most of us have that one thing that gets the pulse and anxiety levels high. Dogs are no different. Maybe you’ve got a dog that thinks a thunderstorm is a harbinger of the end of the world. When she hears that telltale BOOM, she might run in a panic, hide under a bed or even destroy furniture or other possessions. So what’s the best way to handle this fear?

First, give your dog a safe place, but remember that it’s safe from her perspective, not yours. When a thunderstorm takes place, watch where she tries to go. If she’s trying to get inside, consider installing a doggy door. If she heads for the bedroom, keep the door open. You can create a safe spot that’s dark, small and shielded from the noise. But be sure to let her come and go from this spot at will. If she’s confined there, it might create more problems.

The safe place approach doesn’t work for all dogs. Another option is to try to create a distraction. Turn the radio on to upbeat music, practice commands she knows or get a favorite toy out and play. Reward her with praise and treats for paying attention to the game or commands.

However, there are a few things not to do. First, don’t put her in a crate to keep her from causing damage. She’ll still be scared, and may injure herself trying to get out. Don’t reassure her, since you may reinforce the fear. Instead, behave normally as if you don’t notice her fear. Most importantly, never punish her for being afraid, since punishment will just enhance her fear. If all else fails, enroll her in dog obedience training or contact us, your local veterinary care center in Palmdale.

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