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Thunderstorms, Dryer Sheets, & Chemicals Oh My!

I recently posted the below picture to social media:

I was a bit concerned because I know that many dryer sheets contain chemicals and artificial fragrances (which is why I suggested using an unscented sheet). Sure enough, I received a comment about the chemicals found in dryer sheets.

I am one of those dog moms—I research just about everything for my dogs. I really try to keep things as natural and healthy as possible. I chose massage for my aging dog because she was developing arthritis and I did not want to put her on meds, especially since her liver was compromised.

When I heard about dryer sheets helping with thunderstorm anxiety, my first thoughts were about the chemicals in the sheets. Then I started thinking about this idea in a different way.

If I had exhausted multiple other possible ways to help calm my very anxious dog during a thunderstorm, and nothing seemed to help, I would probably be willing to try just about anything. Seeing my dog afraid and anxious–shaking, panting, hiding, etc because of a storm leaves me feeling awful and helpless.

That’s where the dryer sheets come in…They are one more simple tool to utilize. They are inexpensive, easy to find, and very easy to use—a gentle wipe down your dog’s body is all it takes.

Do A Little Research!

Worried about the chemicals? Do a little research! I did a quick internet search for non-toxic, fragrance-free dryer sheets, and guess what?! Lots of brands and types are available! I even saw one that declared itself to be “pet safe”.

However, that still wasn’t enough. So, I did a little more research, and found all kinds of information about dryer sheets helping pets during a thunderstorm. The ones I read all pretty much said the same thing–dryer sheets can help calm (many) anxious pets during a storm.

I chose the below (portion of an) article to cite because it was written by a veterinarian–Dr. Marty Becker, DVM. Thunderstorm Fears Aren’t Always About Noise By Dr. Marty Becker DVM | November 2, 2011 “Thunderstorms are more than just noise: The atmospheric pressure changes, the sky lights up, rain pounds the roof and static electricity builds up around your pet. One surprising tip that works on a fair number of dogs: Take an unscented dryer sheet from the laundry room and wipe your dog with it lightly. This eliminates the static electricity that builds up in a dog’s coat during a storm, and for some dogs this is all they need to settle down. This eliminates the static electricity that builds up in a dog’s coat during a storm, and for some dogs this is all they need to settle down. Now, since I started mentioning this tip on the national tour for my book Your Dog: the Owner’s Manual, I’ve had a couple of people question the advice. Not whether it works — it does for many dogs, including mine — but because of the supposed danger of wiping a dog’s coat with a dryer sheet. These folks always point out the scary-sounding chemicals in the product, along with the fact that the manufacturers of dryer sheets caution that the product is not meant to be eaten. Of course, I never suggest feeding the dryer sheet to the dog, but I will say you shouldn’t ever use one on a dog who grooms himself a lot. Why? Because pets with that habit are much more likely to ingest anything placed on their coat via licking All you need is a light wipe to reduce the static electricity on your dog’s coat. Try it. If it works, I wouldn’t worry about occasional use. If it doesn’t, then it was worth a try, especially when you consider how much some dogs suffer during electric storms. “

Choices, Choices, Choices

In the end, the choice is yours, I’m simply sharing this information. Chemicals suck, and seeing your pet suffer from extreme anxiety sucks too. Plain and simple, it’s your choice as a pet parent to make.

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