The stormy weather brings bright lightning flashes and loud roaring noises – both can leave dogs and cats anxious and in panic mode. As a pet parent, you want to make this distressing situation comfortable for your fur babies. Fortunately, there are ways of keeping your pets calm during storms.
Why Are Pets Scared Of Storms?
Not all pets are bothered with the thunder and the lightning. However, if your dog or cat seems to freak out during a storm, it may be attributed to the following factors:
- Their hearing is more robust than that of humans. Human ears have a maximum sensitivity of 2,000 Hz, and dogs have 8,000 Hz.
- They can suffer from painful static shocks. Those with long or double coats are most at risk.
- Older pets can experience stiffness and joint pain during a barometer pressure drop.
- You may be showing stress, so they mirror it.
Sign Of Pet Anxiety During The Storm
- Shivering, Trembling
- Constant moving as if trying to escape
If not addressed immediately, their anxiety can turn into a full-blown Astrophobia, the technical term for fear of thunder and lightning.
Signs of Astrophobia
- Jumping over fence
- Freezing in fear
- Excessive Panting
- Being too clingy or seeking attention
- Urinating or defecating inappropriately
Tips For Keeping Pets Calm During Storms
- Create a safe place for them to go during the storm. Many pets find comfort in their kennel, the closet, bathroom, under the covers, inside a room without windows and in the bathtub – often thought of as them escaping static shocks.
- Engage them in usual activities. Give them their favourite toy, play with them or teach them new tricks. Keeping them preoccupied allows them to focus on things other than the storm. (Read: 5 Indoor Activities For Dogs That Will Keep Them Busy, How To Keep Cats Entertained At Home)
- Keep them indoors. Close the blinds, windows and doors, so they don’t see the flashing lightning from the outside. Put on some soothing music in the home as it can help drown out the thunder’s noise. Many experts say classical music helps calm anxious dogs.
- Keep their routine. Pets are very intuitive animals. It’s easy for them to realise if you’re overly stressing or acting out of character which causes them to be even more frightened.
- Avoid fussing over the situation. As a pet parent keeping pets calm during the storm may mean always doting on them when they’re scared. Unfortunately consoling them can reinforce the fearful behaviour. They may consider giving them attention during the storm as a form of reward.
- Speak to them in a soft yet encouraging voice and reward them for displaying calm behaviour.
- Never use a choke chain or a tether to restrain your dog. Dogs that panic can easily choke themselves on a collar.
- For extreme cases, please speak with your vet so they can provide other options such as therapy or prescribe some medication to help calm your dog or cat.
Keeping Pets Calm During Storms: Take Action When You Notice The Signs
Pay close attention to your pet’s behaviour during stormy weathers. Having anxiety over the weather is a form of stress for your pets, and similar to humans, it’s also a health risk. So upon noticing the signs, take action to help them cope and get over their fear. What you want to avoid is for it to develop into Astrophobia. It is a condition that is likely to become worse over time and much harder to reverse.
Read more articles about caring for your pets HERE.