Thunderstorm anxiety is one of the most common fears for pets. Who can blame them? Storms are filled with loud booms, gusting winds, flashing light, and even more subtle changes such as drops in barometric pressure. If you have a pet that stresses over thunderstorms, try some of the following tips to alleviate some anxiety:
- Make a “safe” zone. A quiet, accessible area where doors and windows can be closed to limit your pet’s exposure to sounds and lights is ideal. A source of white noise such as a fan or radio often can help lessen anxiety as well.
- Distract your pet. Try to take your pet’s mind off of the storm by engaging in play or training exercises.
- Don’t be scared of drugs. For some pets, pharmacological intervention may be necessary. For milder cases something like a pheromone collar or outlet plug-in may do the trick. Other pets may need a prescription from a veterinarian for a sedative or anxiety-reducing drug.
- Behavioral therapy can help! Talk to your vet about exercises that you can do to get your pet used to storms. In extreme cases, consultation with a veterinary behaviorist may be necessary.
Storms can be scary, but luckily there are several things that you can do to make them less of a problem. Finding the right combination will take time and patience, but most pets can learn to tolerate storms.