As I sit here with no power other than that derived from my wireless card, I wonder why it is that some dogs are so terrified of storms? It has been told to me that cats act crazy when there are fluctuations in barometric pressure so I wondered if it affects canines as well. While I never looked into the veracity of the argument for cats, I did check into the one for the pooches since Val is absolutely terrified of storms. Of course, he has every right to be given that he endured Hurricane Katrina and its’ aftermath.
For those not familiar with Val’s story, he is a Katrina survivor who made is way on a transport with 120 other pooches from New Orleans to the Chicago area. Our family adopted him in March, 2006, and 7 months after the storm, he came to us weighing in at only 70 pounds with a host of other problems. 100% of sales from BRANDY AND VAL’S SPECIAL STORY benefit the rescue we adopted him and his sister from, Fortunate Pooches and Lab Rescue in Palatine, IL.
Anyway, back to the issue of storms. Several websites I consulted confirmed that dogs do have an innate sense of changes in air pressure and they can develop anxieties and phobias towards them. Because a dogs’ hearing and sense of smell is so much keener than humans, they are probably able to hear low rumbles of thunder approaching way before we hear them. In addition, due to chemical changes in the air that are associated with lightening or changes in particles from oncoming storms, they may actually “smell” the storm way in advance of when it arrives overhead. There’s even a speculation that dogs might actually receive an electric shock from the static buildup emanating from the storm. Fido may be reacting in advance of this by running around in circles or heading for the hills! It has also been noted that dogs will not “grow out of this” and their panic behavior might grow worse over over time.
While our other dog, Brandy, is unaffected by these storms, Val becomes very fatigued. His tail twists between his legs and he starts panting and shaking. When we are not home, he used to chew on our rawhide kitchen chairs (we finally figured out this one by covering the chairs during “storm” season when we are away). When around, he follows me around, encouraging me to go and sit in the close with him. I often do since I hate to see him so upset and this is the only remedy I know that seems to calm him down, poor thing.
Besides, TLC, WebMD lists some remedies you can try to reduce anxiety, including putting a snug fitting garment on the pooch that makes your pet feel secure and desensitizing your dog by playing CDs with thunderstorm sounds during the “off-season!”
How does your pup cope during a storm? If he panics, what remedies have you tried that works? Brandy and Val (especially Val) would love to hear from you.