Do thunder and lightning storms panic your pet? As we start to endure unsettled weather, here are some tips and tricks to help calm your pet if they become frightened.
Keep them near you: Being around you can help calm your pets, as you will make them feel safe and more secure.
Keep them inside: Being inside reduces the noise from the thunder and by closing any
curtains/blinds you will also reduce the visibility of lightening.
Make a den: Having a safe place to go can really help. It offers comfort and can reduce the commotion of the thunderstorm.
Clothing: As strange as it sounds, wearing clothes can help relax pets (as long as they like wearing clothes and it’s not going to scare them more). There are jackets available that have been specifically designed for pets to wear during high anxiety periods to make them feel calmer.
Noise: Having the radio or TV on helps reduce the impact of the noise from the thunder. Remember that you may need to turn the volume up louder than usual.
Entertainment: Get your pet doing something to take their mind off the storm. If they know any tricks, get them practising, or hide treats around the house for them to scent out, or you could even create an indoor obstacle course for them…anything that will distract them from the scariness outside.
Holistic remedies: Some essential oils are known for helping to calm your pet. These can work wonders, but please make sure you are using remedies specific for the species. Essential oils can be toxic if ingested so ensure they are not where you pet your pet or another can reach them.
Training remedies: Talk to a behaviourist or trainer as they may have some exercises to put in place to help desensitise your pet to the thunderstorms. Use positive methods of training, as you don’t want them to associate anything to do with thunderstorms in an even more negative way. Our behaviourist trainer, Laura, is available for any questions you may have.
Medical remedies: If you are seriously concerned about your pet hurting themselves during thunderstorms then talk to your vet about possible prescription medication to help them.
No two pets are the same; you may have to trial a few different ideas or a combination of things to find out what will help your pet. Remember to be realistic. The idea is that your pet will be able to cope with the thunderstorm, NOT be suddenly happy that there’s a thunderstorm. What may work during one storm may not work the next time so be prepared to try a couple of the tips.
These tips can also be used to help your anxious pet during fireworks.
This article was provided by Pet First Aid & Training. Learn more about pet first aid by visiting petfat.co.nz