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What’s That All About – Thunderstorm Phobia
Why are Dogs Scared of Thunder?
Does your pet suffer from a fear of thunderstorms? Pet Insurance Australia investigates Storm Phobia and the reasons why your pet could be showing signs of anxiety when it comes to thunder and lightning.
As many cities prepare to bear the brunt of the spring storms, many pet owners will also be preparing their beloved companion animals.
Is it normal for dogs to be scared of thunder?
In short, yes. For some pets, the sudden onset of storms can send them into sheer panic. Some pets will show different symptoms ranging from slight to the extreme. For pet owners, the distant rumble of a thunderstorm, particularly if they are away from their pet, can cause a state of terror for the safety of their cat or dog.
What are the symptoms of storm anxiety?
• Rapid or excessive panting
• Destructive Behaviour
Some pets will begin to show these symptoms as the storm is approaching this can be due to the sudden drop in barometric pressure. Many cats and dogs that suffer from anxiety due to storm activity will show symptoms long before a storm has hit. Our pets are so in-tune that dogs can even detect changes in the electricity and air pressure as the storm approaches.
Other triggers may include;
• sounds of thunder or rain
• darkening skies
How to calm my dog during a thunderstorm?
If you suspect your dog is becoming overly anxious in regard to storms, it’s advisable to seek veterinary advice quickly. The sooner you get on top of the anxiety the easier it will be to control and avoid. If left, it can escalate. For extreme anxiety your vet may suggest calming medication during storm activity or advise on other treatments including desensitization programs and behaviour modification.
Other tips include:
• Make a safe room – keep your pet in a safe zone during a storm. Some owners use a bathroom or laundry as the metal can disturb the static charge – this is why some pets will cower or hide near showers and sinks.
• Have plenty of hidey-holes for your pet. Think washing baskets on their sides lined with towels or boxes.
• Play music. Classical music has been known to drown out the sounds of a storm and calm pets.
• Products – consider using pheromone diffusers or a storm jacket that can help reduce anxiety caused by thunderstorms.
• Keep your pets indoor during predicted storms.
Storms can also lead to damage around the home and to your pet. Being prepared is key. Carry out additional environmental checks during wild and unpredictable weather to ensure your pets area is safe from fallen branches and damage to kennels or pet doors.
During high wind and storms some dogs and cats can become disorientated. This can lead to a number of animals going missing. Always keep your registration up-to-date and check your pet’s microchip yearly. Without a microchip, your pet could be up for adoption within seven days of being found! Keeping your pet’s area safe and secure alongside contact information can help protect your pet during unsavory weather conditions.
Also consider developing a pet emergency kit that contains important information like vaccination cards, alongside food bowls, a spare collar and lead, medication and basic first aid equipment.