Advice by a Markham Veterinarian: What Can You Do If Your Dog Is Afraid Of Thunder?

By June 28, 2013 February 28th, 2019 Uncategorized

Vet clinics in Markham as well as many dog owners are bracing for the thunderstorm season.

Your dog is whining, scratching the carpet to dig a hole into the basement, trying to squeeze into the kitchen cupboards or under the couch, and is salivating, panting, and shaking…
Dog owners whose dogs are afraid of thunderstorms know this all too well… A storm is coming up. What should you do? Our instinct tells us to help our furry kids by assuring them that everything is all right. We want to put them on our laps, pet them, talk to them, and help them get through this nightmare. And it gets worse every storm.

Well, our instinct is wrong.

As usual, we humans like to treat our pets like little humans, but they don’t see it that way. Dogs think (if they actually reason?) that if we pet them, if we give them attention, if we comfort them, we are rewarding them for the behaviour they are expressing. “Dogs live in the NOW, not the PAST or the FUTURE”, said Dr. Marsig, veterinarian at an animal hospital in Markham.

So, if you pet and comfort your dog while s/he shows signs of stress and fear, you indirectly tell them that she is supposed to act stressfully… and the result is reinforcement of this behaviour. We people play a role in the development of thunderstorm phobia.

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Animal Hospital of Unionville, a vet clinic on the north side of Hwy 7, serving all pets in Markham, Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Stouffville, and North York since 1966. We are your family vets for dogs, cats, pocket pets (rabbits, chinchillas, gerbils, mice, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, skinny pigs, etc.), ferrets, and birds (budgies, cockatiel, parrots, amazon, cockatoo, love birds, conures, African greys, finches, canaries, etc.).

Disclaimer: No part of this website constitutes medical advice. Readers are advised to consult with their veterinarian.

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