You see dark clouds roll in from the distance while raindrops patter on the rooftop. Lightening strikes and thunder cracks through the sky. Your poor pet scurries away to hide until the storm passes by. Sometimes, their fear is even paralyzing! It’s hard to see your pet scared of thunder, but how can you keep your pet calm during thunderstorms?
Preparing your pets for thunderstorms is crucial to ensure their safety and calmness during such events. Thunderstorms can be extremely stressful for pets, causing them to become anxious and frightened. By preparing them in advance, you can help reduce their anxiety and keep them calm. This can also prevent them from running away or hurting themselves in fear during the storm.
Understand Your Pet’s Fear of Thunderstorms
Some pets are afraid of thunderstorms due to a variety of factors. The loud noise and bright flashes of lightning can be overwhelming and scary for animals with sensitive hearing and sight.
Additionally, pets may associate the storm with negative experiences, such as previous trauma or being left alone during a storm. Changes in barometric pressure and static electricity may also contribute to their fear. Understanding and addressing the root cause of your pet’s fear can help you better prepare them for future storms.
Signs that Your Pet is Afraid of Thunderstorms
Most times you will easily be able to see your pet’s fear of thunderstorms. Their behavior usually changes and they may show one or more of the following signs:
- Shaking or trembling
- Excessive panting or drooling
- Hiding or seeking shelter
- Clinginess or restlessness
- Whimpering or barking
- Destructive behavior
- Loss of appetite
- Pacing or unable to settle down
- Abnormal urination or defecation
If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to take steps to help your pet feel safe and calm.
Create a Safe Space for Your Pet
To keep your pet calm during thunderstorms, you’ll want to set up a safe space. Creating a safe space for your pet during thunderstorms is essential to ensure their well-being and comfort. Pets that experience anxiety or fear during storms can become overwhelmed and may harm themselves or damage property.
Providing a designated safe space can give your pet a sense of security and comfort. It can also help prevent them from running away or escaping during a storm. Ultimately, taking steps to create a safe space for your pet can help reduce their stress and anxiety during thunderstorms.
Here are some tips on how to create a safe and comfortable space for your pet during a thunderstorm:
- Choose a quiet and secure location in your home where your pet can retreat to. This could be a closet, bathroom, or a quiet room without windows.
- Create a cozy environment with comfortable bedding, like a soft bed or a crate with blankets.
- Provide familiar toys, treats, and chews to keep your pet occupied and distracted from the storm.
- Play calming music or white noise to help drown out the sound of thunder.
- Use calming aids, like a calming collar or pheromone spray, to help relax your pet.
- Stay calm and reassure your pet with soothing words and gentle touches.
- Consider consulting with your veterinarian about medication options to help manage your pet’s anxiety during storms.
Distract Your Pet with Soothing Sounds and Scents
Distracting your pet with soothing sounds and scents can calm them during a thunderstorm because it can help to drown out the loud noises and flashes of lightning that can trigger their anxiety. By creating a soothing environment, you can help your pet feel more comfortable and relaxed during a thunderstorm.
Soothing Sounds and Scents to Consider
Choosing the right type of music, sound and aromatherapy is important to calm your pet during a thunderstorm. Soft classical music or calming instrumental music can help to create a soothing environment. White noise or nature sounds such as rainfall can also help to drown out the sound of the thunderstorm.
For aromatherapy, lavender, chamomile, or bergamot are good options to use as essential oils. They have calming properties that can help to reduce anxiety in pets. It’s important to avoid any scents or sounds that may be too stimulating or stressful for your pet.
Use Positive Reinforcement to Build Confidence
Another way to keep your pet calm during thunderstorms is with positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement can be a powerful tool to help your pet feel more confident during thunderstorms. By rewarding your pet for calm and relaxed behavior during a storm, you can help them associate the storm with positive experiences. This can help reduce their anxiety and fear over time.
Meanwhile, positive reinforcement can help build your pet’s confidence and trust in you as their caregiver. By providing positive reinforcement, you can create a strong bond with your pet and help them feel safe and secure even during a thunderstorm.
Here are some tips on how to use treats and praise to reinforce good behavior for pets that are scared during a thunderstorm:
- Use high-value treats, like small pieces of chicken or cheese, to reward your pet for calm and relaxed behavior during a storm.
- Start by rewarding your pet for small moments of calmness, like sitting quietly or lying down.
- Gradually increase the criteria for reward, such as longer periods of calm behavior or moving closer to the storm.
- Use a calm and reassuring tone of voice to praise your pet for their good behavior during the storm.
- Avoid punishing your pet for fearful behavior, as this can increase their anxiety and fear.
- Be consistent with your rewards and praise, even during less severe storms or during times when your pet is not as fearful.
- Consider using a clicker or verbal marker to help your pet understand when they have done something right.
- Keep treats and praise readily available during a storm, so you can quickly reward good behavior.
By using treats and praise to reinforce good behavior during a thunderstorm, you can help your pet feel more confident and reduce their anxiety and fear over time.
Consider Other Calming Aids to Keep Your Pet Calm During Thunderstorms
While positive reinforcement can be a useful tool for calming your pet during thunderstorms, it may not always be enough on its own. Luckily, there are other options available to help calm your pet during a storm.
One such option is a thunder jacket, which applies gentle pressure to your pet’s body and can help reduce anxiety.
Furthermore, hemp products for pets have gained popularity as a potential solution for anxiety and fear-related conditions, such as thunderstorm phobia. Hemp extracts contain compounds that may help to calm your pet’s nerves and promote relaxation. However, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian before administering any hemp products to your pet.
Talk to your veterinarian about prescription medication options, such as anti-anxiety medication, that can help your pet feel more calm and relaxed during a storm.
Get Help to Keep Your Pet Calm During Thunderstorms
It’s a good idea to talk to your veterinarian when you need help to keep your pet calm during thunderstorms because they can offer professional advice and guidance. Your vet can help you determine the best course of action based on your pet’s individual needs and health history. They can provide prescription medication options that are safe and effective for your pet.
Animal Care Center is here to help keep your pet calm during thunderstorms. Call us today to schedule an appointment.