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June 09, 2014 05:00 PM

Stormy Weather Causing Anxiety In Dogs

Sioux Falls, SD

How you behave when storms hit could be causing anxiety in your pet. Storm phobia is real and common in dogs.

When you hear thunder, you'll often find your dog under a bed or hiding in the corner. Many pet owners don't do the right thing to comfort their animals.

"We tell them it's going to be ok and we love them up and we make a big deal of it. Inadvertently actually sometimes furthers those anxieties because we are making a big deal out of the situation and the dog is becoming more and more anxious," Veterinarian Joe Spoo said.

Spoo deals with anxious dogs a lot this time of year. A client's dog recently ran away during last week's storm and wouldn't respond to its owners.

"It won't even return to people that it's familiar with because that amped up situation has just basically taken the dog off the deep end with anxiety," Spoo said.

If a dog's behavior becomes a concern around severe weather, training and anxiety medication can help. Spoo says pet owners should pay close attention to their dog's behavior when a storm is on its way.

"Most of these dogs that have these sort of problems are intelligent dogs that over-think situations and worry about things and so there's other training things that we can do to give these dogs mental stimulation that hopefully will decrease their overall anxiety and help with the storm phobias as well," Spoo said.

If you think your dog is a danger to itself or others during severe weather, call your vet.

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