Unlike thunderstorms, which tend to appear in warmer weather, rain storms and wind storms can appear at any time of the year. As a dog owner, it’s important to be prepared so that you can protect your dog and keep them calm during harsh or noisy weather. Find out all you need to know about keeping your dog safe below.
Walking your dog
Always check the weather before walking your dog. If a storm is due, think about when is best to walk them. It’s better to stay safe indoors than go out for a walk during heavy wind or rain and risk upsetting or scaring your dog.
If you need to take them out to go to the toilet, use your garden (if you have a garden and it’s safe) or stay as close to your house as possible. If you’re using your garden, make sure to keep them on the lead so that you can keep them away from any branches that may fall down or any flying debris. Always check that the garden is safe before letting them out.
If you’re out walking and get caught in a storm, remember to keep your dog on their lead and get home as quickly as possible.
Mask the noise
If your dog gets upset by the sounds of the storm outside, why not mask the noise by doing one of the following:
- Use white noise
- Play calming music to help drown out the sound of wind or heavy rain
- Turn the TV or radio on
- Play some interesting videos
- Close the curtains to help muffle the sounds outside
Noises from the storm may upset you, but remember that your dog can always tell when you are stressed. The key to keeping your dog calm is to remain calm yourself, or at least to act in a calm way. By keeping your body language relaxed and confident, you show your dog that that they have nothing to worry about. Talk with a calm voice and give your dog a reassuring cuddle, but only if that’s what they want.
If your dog is scared and decides to hide under the bed or behind furniture then let them. If may be that’s where they feel safest. Don’t try to tempt them out, but just keep checking on them and talk to them in a reassuring manner. If they come to you for comfort, make sure that you give it to them.
Why are some dogs more scared of heavy rain or loud wind than others?
Whether your dog is scared of loud noises can be influenced, to some degree, by breed, age and sex. Even the way your dog reacts to loud sounds could be partly controlled by their genes, with research showing that some breeds are more likely to pace when stressed, while other are more likely to hide.
Keep your dog’s microchip details up to date
Always make sure your dog’s microchip details are up to date (such as your address and contact details). Should the worst happen, and you get separated from your dog, it’s important that you’re reunited as quickly as possible. If your dog’s microchip is registered with Petlog, you can upgrade to Petlog Premium and be able to update your details for free.
How can I preparing for a storm?
If you know a storm is on its way, there are a number of steps you can take to help your dog feel more at ease.
- Top up your dog’s water bowl. Dogs that are nervous or stressed pant more and become thirsty.
- Feed your dog before the storm is due to arrive. Once the wind and the rain begin, your dog may be too anxious to eat.
- Walk your dog well before the storm is due as it may be some time before it’s safe for your dog to venture outside and relieve themselves.
- Don’t forget to block off cat flaps to stop dogs (and cats) escaping.
- Make a safe den for your dog to retreat to if they feel scared. You could drape a thick duvet over the top of it to make it more sound proof, but make sure that the duvet is secure and can't fall on to your dog. Fill the den with their favourite blankets, toys, or an item of unwashed clothing to help them feel more secure.
Training and behavioural issues
If your dog usually reacts badly to rain storms or heavy winds then there are a number of ways you can work on together to make them feel more confident next time. We recommend speaking to a dog behaviourist in your local area, as they are experts in the field. They can offer invaluable advice, which will help to safeguard the health and happiness of your dog.
For more information and advice, you can find a puppy foundation course with The Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Training scheme, or browse our full list of The Kennel Club Accredited Instructors or find a dog training club near you.