Thunderstorms can leave your pets in a state of panic as the loud noises and bright flashes can scare and stress out your furry friend. We’ll take a look at what makes your pets so anxious during storms and how you can help it managing the situation and lowering their stress levels.
Why does my pet hate storms?
Storm phobia has been researched and proven to be real, with many pets experiencing this. A pet can go from tame and placid to agitated, nervous and overly clingy in a matter of minutes once a storm has started. These symptoms can be attributed to various factors:
- Cats and dogs can suffer painful static shocks in the build up to a thunderstorm.
- The overall noise and flashes can be overwhelming to your pets and cause a large amount of stress and fright.
- Older pets may experience joint pain or stiffness due to a change in barometric pressure.
- They may be intimidating you. If you become nervous or anxious during a storm, the pet may mirror your behaviour.
How can you make your pet more comfortable during a storm?
Here are some tips and tricks to calm your pets when a thunderstorm is coming…
- Safe place: when a dog or cat gets frightened, their initial response is to find a safe place to hide. This safe place could be the laundry or an internal room without windows to completely remove them from the surrounding situation. Many pets often find comfort in the bathroom either behind the toilet bowl or in the bathtub – often theorised as them escaping the static shocks that they can receive from the storm.
- Home alone: the ideal situation for your pet is to be home with them when the storm is coming. This will not only give them company and hopefully take their mind off the storm, but it will allow you to watch over your pet for any signs of stress or discomfort. If you can’t be home and know a storm is coming, get a friend or family member to watch over your pet.
- Keep them occupied: if your pet is occupied in playing a game, playing with their favourite toy, or there is music playing they will not be able to focus all their attention on the storm and therefore not be stressed about the event. The music can even drown out the noise of the thunder, however do not make it so loud that it now becomes a problem for your pet as their hearing is more sensitive than ours.
- Indoors: if your pet spends most of their time outside, maybe consider making an exception for them if there is a particularly bad storm on its way. This will keep them out of the weather, stop them getting in to possible trouble, and allow you to calm them down.
- Wear them out: to make it easier on you and less stressful for your pet, it is imperative to wear them out before the storm. Take them for a large walk or play with them until you tire them out. Let them go to the toilet before the storm and they should be too tired to worry about what is happening outside.
- Keep a routine: pets are very intuitive and will realise if you are acting out of character or overly stressing. Try keeping your same routine and shutting the curtains to stop the lightning from frightening your pet.
- Ask your vet: in some extreme cases, pets will need additional help to calm them during these storms. Your vet may prescribe some medication or even therapy to help calm your dog or cat.
These are some of our favourite tips and tricks to help with thunderstorms and keeping your four legged friend calm and happy. Over time you will be able to determine what works best for your pet as they will each react in their own way different situations. If you have any helpful tips or tricks, leave them in the comments section below.