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Looking after your pets during thunderstorms

You and I are capable of understanding that thunderstorm noise is temporary and unlikely to be harmful, but pets often become terrified and disoriented. Here’s how to prepare your pet for thunderstorms, and keep them calm …

Preparing your pet for thunderstorms

  • If possible keep pets indoors when thunderstorms are expected, preferably with human companionship
  • Close all windows, curtains and doors where possible to block out flashing lightning and sounds.
  • Provide toys, treats and other distractions to keep pets occupied. A frozen treat like a chicken stock popsicle is advised.
  • Try to stay home with your pet if thunderstorms are expected.
  • Make sure your pet is micro-chipped or appropriately tagged for easy identification if they become lost.
  • Speak to your pet’s vet about supplements and medication available for managing anxiety caused by loud noises

How to keep an anxious or scared pet calm

  • Turn on music or the TV to muffle the sound of thunder.
  • Don’t fuss over or punish your pet if she becomes agitated with the sounds, doing so only makes the behaviour worse.
  • Act as if all is normal and ignore the fearful behaviour (unless hazardous to your pet)
  • Provide a secure place (preferably indoors) so your pet can’t escape your property if startled by loud noises.
  • Allow your pet to hide in a ‘safe place’ if they choose. This might be a blanket-lined cupboard, pet cave etc. When scared of sounds they can’t pinpoint the location of, dogs often prefer small enclosed areas.
  • If your pet runs to hide in a corner or under the bed, don’t try to coax him out, let him be where he feels safe.

 

Source: JSPCA