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Updated: Apr 25

dog in rain

Does your dog have a built-in radar? How does he know there are storms coming if he doesn’t? Have you just heard the weather forecast, but your dog knows there are storms coming already? How do dogs sense that?

Our dogs have senses that we can’t even fathom.Our poochs’ extremely sensitive sense of smell tells them rain is coming. Lightning triggers ozone that has a distinctive smell dogs may pick up. Their sharp ears hear far off thunder that we have missed. Lightning sets off static electricity that they can sense. Most amazing of all, they sense the drop in barometric pressure that comes with changing weather.

With all these senses firing at once, a dog can tell if a storm is coming. Some dogs take ii in stride and only show minimal signs of sensing a storm on the way. Others, though, are more anxious. They may try to hide in their safe place such as in their crate, under a bed or behind the sofa. We once had a dog who tried to get in the open dishwasher to get away from a storm.Storm-fearing dogs can display their fear in multiple ways. They may pant, tremble, try to run away, have potty accidents or destroy their surroundings. In addition, they may want to stay close to you and start cowering or whimpering. All of these are signs of storm anxiety.

Before dogs were domesticated they relied on their senses to seek shelter from storms.  Their “advanced warning systems” told them a storm was coming and kept them safe. They would find a burrow or cave to shelter in until the storm passed.

If your dog is fearful of storms you can help him with several practices:

A storm haven- set up a place that is comforting and distracting from storms. Leave a light on to lessen the impact of lightning flashes. Leave some of their comforting toys nearby. You can also rub their bedding with dryer sheets to cut down on the static electricity they sense. 

Storm shirts - a wrap around shirt that hugs and calms your dog can be purchased at pet supply vendors. This sense of being hugged can help.

Work with dog training services - A trainer can set up a program of desensitization to storms and work with your dog.

Medications- In extreme cases your vet can recommend medications or natural herbal remedies that will calm your dog during storms.

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