June Newsletter

Summer Storms & Your Pet

Summer Storms & Your Pet

Pets are extremely sensitive to the environment. They sense an approaching storm before you do… and its arrival may frighten them. Know how to calm your dog or cat if that occurs.

Storm season is here, and if you have a nervous cat or dog, they may begin to show signs of fear as one approaches. Whether your pet is scared of lightning, thunder, the smells or even the change in barometric pressure, a storm can set off a series of behaviors that can be alarming to you and dangerous for your pet.

Dogs may run under the bed, begin barking in agitation, break housetraining, go on a chewing frenzy or even injure themselves trying to escape the scary sounds. Cats show their distress by hiding and/or avoiding the litter box.

Especially for Frightened Dogs. You can show your dog that storms don’t have to be scary. Relocate with the dog to a windowless room or a basement where exposure to the storm will be reduced. Holding them in your arms and speaking in a gentle voice is calming. Or distract the pooch by playing a game using a favorite plaything. Consider setting aside particular toys or treats for use only during a storm so that your pet associates the frightening stimulus with a pleasant experience.

Especially for Scaredy Cats. Thunder typically isn’t as big a problem for cats as it is for dogs. Their storm behavior usually involves hiding in a place with less noise. Cats are much less likely to become actively phobic, but if you do have cat storm problems, they can be treated in many of the same ways you would deal with a dog. Take your cat’s thunder-traumatized ears to the quietest place in your home, or distract the cat using treats or other engaging items such as a favorite toy or laser pointer.

Both dogs and cats benefit from a little white noise. Turn on a low-volume radio or fan to dull the sounds of the storm.

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If simple behavioral fixes don’t help, speak with your veterinarian. Prescription anxiety medications can help, and over-the-counter sprays and other solutions for reducing stress are available as well. Your veterinarian will be able to help you to determine whether your pet’s storm anxiety is something to be concerned about. Getting to know your pet through regular visits can aid her in figuring out the best way to tackle the phobia.

As a preventative measure, have your pets microchipped and registered in case they escape during a storm. That will make it much easier for a PetRescuer to reunite you and your pet after the storm clouds disappear and the sun returns.