We have been having an unusual amount of rain in Colorado this summer. With rain comes thunder and lightning, and the reminder of how much anxiety it can cause our dogs (and ourselves as well). And everyone has his or her favorite thunderstorm story. In many instances, dogs that are fearful of thunderstorms also experience stress with other loud noises like fireworks, gunshots, garbage trucks, and airplanes. The good news, however, is that dogs can benefit from calming therapies in these instances. For example, soft music, flower essences, and acupressure and massage can all be helpful in alleviating your dog’s stress in these situations.
Both acupressure and massage are effective tools in soothing and relaxing muscles and they work well in conjunction with soft music in a quite, peaceful, and safe area of the home. A good place to begin is by gently stroking your pet from head to tail in long, slow, strokes to relax them until they feel comfortable enough to lie down. To massage, create small, circular movements from head to tail along the sides the spine making sure to massage either side of the body equally as well as the base of the skull for energy balance. Acupressure is also a great choice to help calm a distressed and frightened pet. After massaging, apply light pressure to the area in the center of the skull between the ears.
It is essential that you remain cautious when working with animals that are scared as even the sweetest pets can act on impulse in situations that cause them anxiety and stress. Approach your pet gently and slowly and always pay close attention to their body language.