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How to Create Your Dog’s Stress-free Safe Space

How to Create Your Dog’s Stress-free Safe Space

Thunderstorms, fireworks—of course, any unexpected loud boom in the sky could make your dog feel scared out of their tail.  They can’t always understand why it’s happening—anxiety alert!—and it’s not something that happens often enough for them to get used to it. There are many ways you can bring your pup comfort (which you can check out here,) but one that’s often overlooked is to create a safe space for your dog.  A place where your pup feels MOST comfortable during the storm! 

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Practical tips to ensure your dog’s safety cave is up to par: 

1. Make it cozy.

Build a spa-like den to help your dog weather any thunderstorm. And just like at a real spa, it’s all about the cozy comforts. So throw in their favorite items — beds, blankets, pillows, and even a t-shirt that smells like you. To top it off, add some pet-safe essential oils for an extra touch of tranquility. 

To capture that “den” feel, some dogs may prefer a crate in their safe space, especially one covered in blankets. Others might enjoy a tent-like structure made with blankets or sheets draped over chairs or a table. And if your pooch likes a bit more room to stretch, consider using a playpen or exercise pen to create a designated comfy and cozy area. 

Experiment and see what works best for your scared dog. Whether that’s an enclosed space or a more open area, make sure to include their comfort items to fight off anxiety attacks.

2. Soundproof it.

When it comes to creating a safe space for your dog during thunderstorms, soundproofing is key

The loud booms and crackles can be incredibly unsettling and anxiety-inducing for our four-legged friends, but muffling the sound can lessen the storm’s impact and make scared dogs feel more at ease.

Try using acoustic foam, soundproof curtains, or even soundproof paint to soundproof a room. If that’s not an option, just make sure you choose the quietest room in your home.  Either way helps with whatever Mother Nature throws your way.

3. Introduce more calming sounds. 

Even with soundproofing, some noise may still cause anxiety for your scared dog. What can help minimize any lingering sound in your dog’s safe space (and create a calming atmosphere)? White noise, soothing music, or DOGTV can all be great tools.

By providing these relaxing distractions, you can promote a sense of calm and create a peaceful environment for your dog during the wildest of thunderstorms or fireworks.

4. Provide boredom busters. 

Dogs can easily get restless and anxious when cooped up for too long. That’s why your dog’s den should be filled with the best “keep my dog busy” toys when a thunderstorm hits.

Think of mentally stimulating toys, like puzzle games, to keep their minds occupied. You can also try hiding treats around the room or providing a chew toy to help alleviate any stress. By keeping your pooch entertained, you’ll not only distract them from the storm but also make their safe space more enjoyable.

5. Be there if you can.

Nothing brings your dog more comfort than YOU. While it’s important to provide them with a cozy and safe space, sometimes our furry friends just need their favorite human to feel less scared.

If you’re able to keep your dog company, it will make a big difference. So, the next time there’s a thunderstorm or fireworks display, sit with them and offer some calming pets or snuggles to help ease their anxiety. If you’re not available, consider enlisting the assistance of a trusted pet sitter or friend.

Ah, doesn’t this room just sound cozy? You’re nailing it by providing your scared dog a haven during loud storms or celebrations.

If your dog still struggles to cope with the noise and chaos, even with the ultimate haven, speak to your veterinarian or a professional dog trainer about your pup’s thunderstorm anxiety. They can give you additional options, such as medication or behavior training, to help your dog navigate that stress more easily.