It’s thunderstorm season. For most dogs with anxiety, thunderstorms are their worst nightmare, mine included. When a thunderstorm rolls around, my pup, usually so calm, paces and pants, and burrows herself under anything she can. The loud crack of thunder and the flashes of lightning, it’s a mess. I try to distract her with food or treats, but nothing works. She’s too anxious, and thunderstorms can often last, and worse, come back.
I’ve grown up with dogs and, of course, thunderstorms. The two, for as long as I’ve owned a dog, have been enemies and, while treats and hugs could distract my past pups, my dog Xena, is a special one. She has terrible anxiety when it comes to any loud noises. I’m talking balloon popping, construction tools, thunder, everything.
With the other noises, she can run away from, or we can go for a walk from it and she’ll calm down, but with thunderstorms, there’s no getting away from it. Sometimes I feel so helpless because no matter what I do, I can’t calm her down, until I started listening to Vivaldi.
One day, we were having a thunderstorm and I was playing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. The thunder was booming outside and, like clockwork, Xena came trotting into my room. She came by me for comfort and when she started to hear the music, her breathing calmed. She wasn’t shaking as much, and to my surprise, she laid down at my feet, totally calm. A miracle!
I’m a big classical fan and I’ve heard that music, much like for humans, can calm a dog with anxiety, and it works! I play it all the time, so when a thunderstorm rolls around, or there’s loud noises, I turn on some music and her and I both have a nice, calming time. It’s a win-win situation.
I’ve played music on walks for Dogs Deserve It before, and for my buddies who were more anxious than others, it provided something else to focus on. A distraction. It made the walk more enjoyable for us, and to be honest, classical music can really put a pep in your step. So maybe, thunderstorm or just on a walk, play some Beethoven or Mozart.
Anxiety, especially during a thunderstorm or in any controlled environment, is a bummer and a half. It’s not something we, or our pets, can easily escape. It stinks to have to see our best friends in that state, but never fear! The point is find what’s best for you and your pet, maybe it’s classical music or maybe a squeaky toy. Whatever works! Just know that you’re trying our best, and they can feel that you’re trying, and that’s all that matters.
Unconditional love goes both ways.