Updated: Jun 19
Summer brings many beautiful things. There are parties, large gatherings, enjoyments and much more. However, summer also brings thunderstorms and fireworks. Some people find thunderstorms enjoyable, while a whole lot find them threatening. The same is the case with our pets. Pets get upset with the sound of thunderstorms and fireworks.
NY Times tells that 40% of the pets suffer from noise anxiety and most of them suffer in summer. It can be even more frightening to see your pet being anxious about the sound of thunderstorms and fireworks. It can be heartbreaking to watch because the most well-behaved pets can begin to pace, pant, cling to their owners or hide in the toilet or closet.
They can express their anxiety in several ways. In severe cases, dogs can chew carpets, claw through drywall, or break through windows in their panic state. Experts say that thunderstorm and firework phobia is real in dogs, and it shouldn’t be ignored. Experts also say this phobia doesn't come out of dogs on its own, and it may worsen over time.
Most veterinarians prescribe medicines for the treatment of this phobia; however, there are many natural and holistic ways to calm dogs during thunderstorms and fireworks.
Causes of Thunderstorm/Firework Phobia in Dogs
There are several factors that contribute to the anxiety of dogs during a thunderstorm or firework nights. Different dogs differently behave when they feel anxiety. Let us discuss the factors that work together to cause thunderstorm/firework phobia in dogs.
Thunder and Boom of Fireworks
Dogs don't understand what thunder is, why is it happening and whether it will be harmful or not. Therefore, they get startled and frightened because of the unexpected BOOM and feel afraid. Noise anxiety is common among dogs, but an unexpected loud noise becomes even more problematic.
Multiple reports have made us believe that the unexpected loud noise affects puppies and older dogs. It may even cause heart attacks. Therefore, veterinarians don't recommend exposing dogs outside during a thunderstorm or fireworks.
Changing Barometric Pressure
Dogs are very sensitive creatures. They have a very good sense of smell and hearing. Whenever a thunderstorm happens or a firework pop, there is a change in the pressure of the air. The change in air pressure causes the air gases to move differently.
Dogs sense this change in the air gases and associate it with the trauma caused by loud noise. The change in the movement of gases becomes a stimulus as well as a contribution to triggering anxiety.
Any unpleasant event has its adverse effects. In addition to the actual event, the side events contribute to the association and trigger more unpleasant effects. A thunderstorm or a firework is associated with bright flashes of lightning.
The sudden lightning startles the dog, and it becomes a sign of stress because the lightning is always associated with noise/thunder anxiety. Your dog will always associate the bright streaks of lightning with an unpleasant thunderstorm or firework experience.
Dogs are very sensitive to static electricity. You have experienced that rubbing a balloon creates static electricity that can cause your hair to stand on end. The same static electricity is created when a thunderstorm hits. Dogs can experience the same sensation all over their body, and their hair starts to stand before, during and after the thunderstorm.
Dogs Can Hear Low-frequency Sounds
You may have experienced your dog predicting a coming storm. They can predict because they can hear low-frequency sounds and start showing anxiety symptoms mentioned below.
Signs of Thunderstorm and Firework Anxiety
Every dog can express different behaviors depending on the kind of stimulus. However, there are some general behaviors based on which you can understand whether your dog is experiencing fear or not. It is not necessary for your dog to express all of the mentioned behaviors. Your dog can express any of the below-mentioned behaviors to express its anxiety or fear.
Your dog may bark or whine.
Hiding or near the owner at all times
Ears pinned back
Tails down or pulled between legs
Run or trembling its body
Need to go to the bathroom inconsistently
Having destructive behaviors such as destroying the furniture
Your dog may become oversensitive to noises and express anxiety about not-so-loud noises
Your dog’s posture may be low to the ground; he may not stand confidently
You should not ignore these behaviors even if they go away after the storm is over or the fireworks are done. You should understand that it is a serious psychological problem for your dog, and you need to do something to help your dog come out of this situation.
Here is what you can do to calm your dog in thunderstorms and fireworks.
Natural Ways to Calm Your Dog During Thunderstorms and Fireworks
There are several ways that can keep your dog calm during a thunderstorm or fireworks. You are the most trusted companion of your dog, and therefore they want a helping hand from you. The following are simple ways to calm mild anxiety dogs.
You should create a place for your dog where he can retreat in times of thunderstorms or fireworks.
You can play soft music and close the curtains to keep the environment as calm as possible.
When your dog is in a panic condition, you should keep guests away from your dog.
You can wrap your dog in a soft blanket to keep calm.
You can use extra support for severe anxiety dogs such as CBD, acupressure, etc.
How can CBD be helpful for your dog?
Natural supplements such as cannabidiol (CBD) are very helpful for the fear and anxiety of dogs. CBD has calming effects on dogs, and because it is natural, it doesn't harm your dog. It is the best-known natural drug used in a number of health conditions, including anxiety. Here are the ways CBD can be helpful for your dog.
CBD chews are available in the market, which can serve as a great deal for your dog to change its behaviour towards phobias. The regular use of CBD chews can help change the behavior of dogs over time. Being proactive and getting your dog on CBD before the stressful event is always best. It can take time for the CBD to be effective in the body. So, using it the day of fireworks may not work. CBD can decrease the fear and replace the dog's anxiety response with a normal one.
Looking for a local option for CBD treats? Contact Gilmore Dog Bakery in Charlotte, NC.
In this case, it is possible to desensitize your dog towards fear and anxiety-related situations, i.e., thunderstorm and fireworks. With the help of the right tools and behavior training, your dog's fear and anxieties can be desensitized. CBD can help encourage relaxed and calm behaviors. Training them to reinforce the same behavior can help desensitize anxiety and fear.
Nausea and Digestive Disorders
Nausea and digestive disorders are one of the first reactions to thunderstorms and fireworks. Younger ones can suffer the most from nausea and other digestive disorders. They are unable to cope with such stressful events, and it causes dietary imbalance. CBD can alleviate these feelings and in turn help the pup's digestive system.
Offering CBD in a diet is like planning ahead to protect your dog from such unpleasant events. It serves as a counter phobia to let the undesirable event pass calmly and additionally get the other benefits of CBD. This is also called preventative care.
One of the most desirable effects of CBD is improving sleep quality. Good sleep is associated with mood, good behaviour, good health and wellbeing. CBD is therefore considered one of the best solutions for dog anxiety and fear during thunderstorms and fireworks.
How can acupressure be helpful?
Dogs love to receive acupressure therapy, and it is very easy to do. Acupressure therapy triggers the release of feel-good hormones in the body, and it gives your dog a calming effect. Your dog will start to breathe deeply, feel a little sleepy and get out of the anxiety and fear. You may not imagine that only a few moments ago, your dog was shaking with anxiety.
What does it do?
Acupressure brings a positive emotional state to an already anxious dog. Your touch transforms the anxiety and fear feeling into a positive, calm and happier feeling. When you become close to your dog for acupressure, it creates a positive association of good feeling. You can train your dog to habituate to this positive feeling.
With continuous practice, you will be able to utilize acupressure to lower your dog's stress levels. It is worth giving it a try. Your dog will be better able to cope with the thunderstorm and firework anxiety.
How to Learn Acupressure
You can take acupressure classes in Charlotte, NC! Learning the basics of acupressure, how to locate points, the benefits of each point, the techniques of applying pressure, and more can help you help your pup in situations that cause anxiety. Look for upcoming classes in our events page.
We offer classes throughout the Charlotte area and discuss many topics such as anxiety, allergies, tummy upsets, overall health and more!
Check out our YouTube video on the acupressure point GV 14 for anxiety!
Book Routine Acupressure Sessions
Booking sessions is the best way to help your pup. The acupressure practitioner looks at the animal holistically (as a whole) to create a session plan to help balance your dogs emotions. Providing your dog with routine sessions can help maintain their health and help your pup be calm and confident in situations that were once stressful and caused anxiety.
Our Nationally Certified Animal Acupressure Practitioners are passionate about your dog and tailor each session to their needs. We support their natural abilities to heal themselves emotionally and physically. We would love to meet your pup and provide the best preventative and complementary care to them!
Dogs are very sensitive companions. They can even sense changes in air pressure before a thunderstorm. Thunderstorm and firework anxiety are common in dogs, and you can deal with it with a multi-modal approach. You should create a safe space for your dog where he can go in stressful events. Additionally, you should use natural remedies such as CBD and Acupressure to better support your dog to cope with undesirable conditions.