Calming the Storms of Life for Your Dog

on 05 April, 2018

April showers may bring flowers, but it’s not all roses for many dogs. Does your pup predict storm better than your favorite weather person? Do you know it’s going to rain because your furry friend starts to pant, pace, drool, quiver, hide in the bathroom (or other enclosed space), or becomes hypervigilant and extra clingy?

Many dogs experience anxiety when spring rain showers hit. The changes and elements that accompany thunderstorms are quite amazing. We don’t really take much notice to them. Yet, it should be no surprise that our intuitive canine companions are aware and affected by the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) environmental variations.

As a pet parent, it can be heartbreaking and even frustrating to see our pups in distress. So, I’ve compiled a list of canine calming products and remedies that have helped friend’s, client’s, and my own dogs. Sometimes, a combination of the following have been helpful. Sometimes, none have been effective. Simple solutions like rubbing a fabric softener sheet over your dog’s staticky coat might be helpful in a storm, but these products can also be useful for easing a variety of anxieties.

Do your own research and use the following at your own risk. Of course, these suggestions are NOT meant to take the place of working with a professional positive reinforcement dog trainer, or discussing and treating your pet’s anxiety with the guidance of your veterinarian or vet behaviorist.

Calming Products For Pups

  1. Thundershirt – aids calmness by applying constant and gentle pressure.
  2. Herbal Calming Collars – uses dried herbs / herbal aromatherapy blends
  3. Pheromone Based Calming Products - purports to replicate natural maternal pheromones that give puppies a sense of security and comfort - diffusers, sprays and collars are available
    *On a personal note, I saw the most noticeable difference these products can have on individual dogs when using a pheromone diffuser. My dog seemed completely unaffected. Yet, as soon as I plugged it in, a guest dog’s head flipped and their nose perched in the air. A few sniffs later, the normally hyper dog laid down for a long nap. She remained unusually calm the rest of her visit, too.
  4. Essential Oil Based Products – Commercial diffusers, sprays and drops, as well as DIY recipes for diffusing, applying, ingesting and spraying essential oils or blends are available on line. Some people diffuse lavender or apply a dab with a carrier to their pet’s collars or beds where it won’t make direct contact. However, the verdict is still out on using essential oils safely for pets and I recommend doing your own research.
  5. Rescue Remedy for Pets – a combination of Bach Flower Remedies available in drops to put in your pets’ water dish
  6. Tellington Touch Massage and Wraps – T Touch is a method using combinations of specific touches, lifts, and movement exercises to release tension and increase body awareness.
  7. Music – Maybe just some background noise will help your pet cope, but there is music therapy designed specifically for dogs available on line and through device apps. I’m trying to remain impartial to brands and products on my list, but there is no doubt that “Through a Dog’s Ear” and “Relax My Dog” on YouTube play a role in curbing Dolly’s inside barking – especially in the wee morning hours.
  8. DOGTV – an audio-visual therapy for dogs (just google it. Lol!)
  9. Thundercap – a see through fabric cap that reduces visual stimulation
  10. Hemp and CBD Products – with the growing popularity of marijuana use to treat numerous conditions, there are capsules, treats, and oil drops available for dogs containing these cousins in the plant world
  11. Prescription Drugs – veterinarians and vet behaviorists can prescribe anti-anxiety and calming medications for your pooch

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