My Beagle Is Afraid Of Thunderstorms: What To Do.
Is your beagle terrified of thunderstorms? For some beagles, it’s absolutely dreadful to deal with loud sounds like thunder and firecrackers; while other beagles seemed absolutely unfazed. Why is that? No one’s totally certain. Sometimes, puppyhood injury, (for example, being tied up outside for long interims) may have something to do with it. What’s sure is that for certain beagles, a minor instance of nerves can potentially build into a full-blown phobia.
My beagle Skyler was absolutely terrified of thunderstorms — and fireworks — and the vacuum cleaner. Anything loud would send him heading for the hills. Even changes in barometric pressure can have an effect.
Interestingly enough; did you know that static electricity during a storm, can cause a tingling in their fur making them quite uncomfortable? Nevertheless; when the thunder starts, his uneasiness would sink in.
Being scared of the thunderstorms, a beagle may seek refuge by hiding, drooling, excessive panting, urinating, trembling, whining, eye-rolling and/or frantic efforts to escape.
Now here comes the paradox: I didn’t want to make him overly dependent on me comforting him at any and every beck-and-call. After all, I didn’t want Skyler to interpret that by me trying to be reassuring, that that would validate his feeling of panic.
Yes, you want to be there for your beagle. But you don’t want to render them into a needy individual. Fortunately, there are ways that you can manage this effectively. Let’s discuss some ideas.
Keep Calm and Carry On
What do I mean by this? Well, if you keep the atmosphere in your home; calm, cool and collected — that will likely have a positive impact on your beagle’s demeanor.
Remember you don’t want to constantly console him or her. Otherwise, you’ll run the risk of either rewarding them for their fearful response or reinforcing that their reaction is warranted.
Sweat It Out
Okay, I’m not talking about a spa treatment or anything like that. What I mean is that before a thunderstorm rolls in, if you can get a little exercise in with them, it will help to mentally and physically relax them.
Associate Positive With The Negatives
Give your beagle an extra-special treat; such as a piece of cheese or bacon — or both (Skyler is spoiled lol). This will be a very welcome diversion from their negative (thunderstorm/loud noise) focus.
Thundershirt To The Rescue
To be honest, I had low expectations. This shouldn’t work — or so I thought. But it does!
Skyler would cower in fear when it came to thunder, firecrackers and drenching rains. This has enormously diminished since we’ve introduced him to his Thundershirt Anxiety Jacket (on Amazon). It is made out of soft, breathable fabric; and fits him quite well, as it’s easily adjustable with a wide velcroed tie. Simply — it’s extraordinary.
Static [Don’t Be So] Clingy
Martha Stewart once recommended to her readers that they rub dryer sheets on their dog’s fur during thunderstorms, to help minimize the effects of the static electricity. I would state one caveat if you’re considering going this route. Don’t use scented ones. Buy the purest dryer sheets you can find. This will help to avoid any issues if your beagle likes to groom themselves frequently.
Don’t Be So Sensitive
Desensitization can work effectively, as well. What do I mean? I would start by playing an MP3 or play a YouTube video of storm sounds at a soft volume. While your beagle remains relaxed at this level, say a simple cue word like “relax” and provide a treat every 15 seconds or so — then start gradually increasing the time duration between treats. Once you feel that they’ve got that, increase the volume and repeat the process. If you find at any time they start exhibiting nervousness, ratchet the volume back to the previous setting, recite the cue, and reward them for staying calm.
Now they’ll be better prepared for an actual storm, whenever it arises.
The Vet[ting] Process
At this point, if your beagle is still having difficulty adapting, you should consider having a conversation with your veterinarian. They will have the tools and knowledge to their avail to be able to help your fur baby that much more.
Helping your beagle to overcome this may take some time and patience, but both their quality of life and yours.