With autumn often comes extreme weather and severe storms across the US. Severe weather can be terrifying for anyone, but especially pets. If the sound of thunder sends your fur-babies into hiding, know you're not alone.
For whatever reason, dogs are especially prone to storm anxiety, though cats can also suffer from it. Some pets experience such severe storm anxiety that they will harm themselves. Thankfully, there are some things you can do to try to curb the symptoms of storm anxiety. Before we get into ways you can keep your pet calm during extreme weather, let's discuss the telltale signs of storm anxiety in pets.
Here are a few different tactics you can try to keep your pet calm during extreme weather.
Sometimes, drowning out the sound of thunder and rain is all it takes to calm a nervous pet. Compete with the sound of thunder by playing a TV show or some calming music. Keep the volume at a reasonable level, though, since loud noises can worsen a pet's anxiety.
Many dogs and cats find refuge in their crates during storms since these mimic the dens of their wild ancestors. Use your pet's love of their crate to create a safe space for your pet. Drape a blanket over the crate to buffer the sights and sounds of extreme weather.
You may also want to put some blankets and pillows inside the crate to keep them as comfortable as possible. Give your pet things to occupy their time while in their safe space. Interactive toys like food puzzles can provide pets with the stimulation they need to get their mind off the storm.
Many pet parents have success in using calming wraps for their pets. The constant gentle compression feels like a warm hug, which cats and dogs often find comforting. You can purchase calming wraps online for around $30 to $50.
Pets are very sensitive to the vibes their pet parents give off, and if you're anxious, your pet will be, too. Try to stay calm and use a soft voice when your pet is experiencing storm anxiety. We know this is easier said than done, but it's crucial that you stay composed when extreme weather is afoot.
Though there are few studies on the subject, there is promising anecdotal evidence that pheromone therapy can help with situational anxiety. Pheromone calming products come in many forms, from diffusers to sprays and scented collars. These products calm pets by mimicking the scent released from lactating mammals.
Desensitization is an excellent tool to help dogs get over their fear of storms. To do this, you'll need a recording or CD of thunderstorms. If you don't have a CD player, try searching online for thunderstorm videos (there are tons on YouTube). While playing the thunderstorm soundtrack, give your pet lots of pets and treats. With consistent exposure, treats, and some luck, you may be able to forge a positive association.
If you're unable to keep your pet calm, no matter what you do, it might be time to talk to your vet. Your vet may be able to prescribe your pet medication to help with their storm anxiety. Vets can also refer you to a behaviorist to help you tackle desensitization.
Extreme weather is nerve-racking enough as a human, but put an anxious pet into the mix, and things can get even more stressful We know it's difficult to stay calm during extreme weather, but it's essential you do. Pets feed off our energy, and the more collected you are, the calmer your pet will be.
Try soothing techniques like putting a blanket over their crate and playing white noise on the TV. Never try to pull your pet out of hiding since this will only cause them more distress. If all else fails, talk to your vet or chat with a vet now; they'll be able to prescribe something to help alleviate your pet's storm anxiety.