Tech Tip of the Month: Helping Pets Deal with Thunderstorm Anxiety

Many pets are afraid of thunderstorms. This can manifest in different ways. Some pets just need to be near their owners and get the assurance that everything will be all right. They may freeze, shake, or urinate on themselves or in inappropriate places. Some will run and hide under things– the kitchen table, the covers, or any other place where they think they’ll fit. Still, others absolutely panic, and destroy anything and everything around them trying to get away from the thunder.

Our pets can sense a storm is coming long before we do. They notice the change in the air pressure and may start to react while it is still sunny and nice outside. Since they cannot understand what is happening, they may act as if they believe the world is crashing down around them.

There are a few ways to help them during this time of stress. Ideas can be as simple as sitting with them and reassuring them; this may work for pets with mild anxiety. Playing soft music, encouraging them to play with their favorite toy, or giving treats can also help distract them from the loud, scary, noises. There are shirts and blankets designed to fit your pet very snugly which can reduce anxiety for animals who are moderately afraid. These can be purchased online or at pet stores.

For the most stressed animals, there are medications that will reduce the anxiety caused by the storm; these work best if given well before the stressful event occurs; i.e. before the storm starts. Speak with one of our veterinarians if you believe medication may help your pet. Each pet is different, and what works for one may not work for another. Some may need a combination of techniques in order to adequately manage their anxiety.