I’ve just found out my rescue dog is terrified of thunderstorms. We’ve had a couple of bad ones recently and he spent the duration panting, trembling and trying to dig under our sofa! We don’t have storms very often, but how can I help him when we do?

Kirsten Dillon advises…

It’s so distressing watching our beloved pets suffer like this and sadly, fear of one type of loud noise can often quickly transfer to other things, such as fireworks and traffic. Ask your vet for Sileo – a gel that can be gently syringed between the cheek and gum for fast absorption and has a hugely successful outcome on calming noise-sensitive dogs. You administer it if you know a storm is forecast, but even if you get caught out, it starts to take effect in around 10 minutes, so it’s well worth having some at home at all times. Along with this medication, make your dog a safe place to hide if he wants to. I know dogs that crawl into washing machines, into under-stair cupboards, wardrobes – anywhere they feel safe – so you can be as creative as you like. If he’s going for the sofa, perhaps make a covered den behind it? Put on some calming music – lots can be downloaded from Spotify or YouTube, and CDs are available to buy online. Or maybe he would prefer the regular TV for normality? You can also try an Adaptil plug-in diffuser or collar, which can help anxieties (www.adaptil.co.uk) and perhaps draw the curtains against the lightning, if that helps. Whatever you do, keep calm yourself and help him feel safe. If he is seeking a cuddle, then please give it to him. You cannot reward fear, so don’t worry about making anything worse.


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