Dogs often are more aware of weather changes than other animals. That’s because their olfactory cortex (the part of the brain that analyzes smells) is 40 times larger than a human’s. That means the slightest change in air quality can alert dogs to danger. Canines also are far more sensitive to shifts in barometric pressure, so Fido might experience storm-related anxiety long before the weatherman makes predictions.
If your pet gets skittish during downpours, thunder bumpers and lightening storms, create a “safe zone” inside your home. Maybe a crate, a small room in the center of the house or a basement corner, where storms or less noticeable. Wherever it is, distract your pet from the commotion, especially excitable animals like dogs. Close the blinds; turn on the TV or radio, but not too loudly, and make your friend as comfortable as possible. Give him a blanket and a favorite chew toy. Feel free to leave the room, but don’t leave your pet stranded. Feed him regularly, play with him, reassure him and reward him for staying calm. But don’t coddle too much. Seriously. He’ll pick up on your pandering and wig out. Try to act as though everything is business as usual. And when it truly is, take the dog outdoors. Even if the storm wasn’t a big deal to you, it might have been for your pet.
Animals can often become aggressive or defensive after storms, as they sense that their territory has been invaded. Be patient and monitor your pets’ behaviors until you’re sure they can be unleashed.