They always say April showers bring May flowers but never mention the thunderstorms that come with it. Storms can be fascinating but scary at the same time and especially with our furry friends at home. Pets may hide under blankets, beds, or unusual places before a storm even starts since their senses are more sensitive than ours. If you have a dog or cat that is afraid of storms, continue on to learn about new ways to help your pet cope during thunderstorm season.
The Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University explains that many pets become uncomfortable before storms as they can sense the barometric pressure and buildup of static electricity in the air. This is why your dog or cat might already be in their favorite hiding spots or trailing right behind you throughout the house. Pets don’t understand that thunder comes after lightning has struck, and sudden loud noises can also be very frightening to them, similar to the 4th of July when fireworks go off all day and night.
Anxiety signs to watch out for in your dog include shivering, whimpering, hiding, constantly moving, and in more severe cases soiling the home, destroying items, or attempting to escape. Cats tend to stick with hiding in small places that make them feel more secure and safe. It’s very rare to see extreme cases in cats like it is in dogs. It’s also important to note that not every pet is afraid of storms, so if you don’t see your pet showing any of the symptoms mentioned, don’t worry!
Animals can feed off your energy, so if you’re nervous, they will be nervous too. To help keep your pet calm, you can practice staying calm yourself and moving everyone to a safe, grounded room. A grounded room would be an area with no outside doors or windows, such as a tiled bathroom or a finished basement. Moving to this area will help decrease the amount of static electricity and pressure that your pet is feeling. These types of areas can help muffle the rolling thunder happening outside. Another tip is to place your pet inside a crate with a blanket on top to give them a safe space of comfort.
There are a few extra steps you can take to help your pet get through the storm season, such as medications, clothing, and common household items.
- Hillspet.com mentions the use of unscented dryer sheets can help reduce the static electricity in your dogs fur by lightly rubbing them on your dogs fur. However, this trick should not be used in cats as they tend to groom themselves more often than not, and the dryer sheet can leave a light layer of chemicals.
- The ThunderShirt ® is a wearable weighted blanket for your dog. It helps with storm anxiety, similar to an infant being swaddled for comfort and calmness.
- Anti-anxiety medications are another option for your pet. These medications are typically given 1-2 hours before the desired time and can be used as supplemental therapy in pets. With storm season right on top of us, it’s a good idea to talk to your veterinarian about some prescriptions to help with storm anxieties. Call or text us at 636-447-4555 or request an appointment online through our Petdesk® app for a consultation today.
Thunder, lightning, rain, and high winds are all elements that we start to experience at this time of the year. If you’re nervous, odds are your pet could be nervous too. Take these helpful tips and tricks to help your furry friend at home make it through another thunderstorm season.