Comes the monsoon and starts the problem of thunderstorm anxiety in pets. The rumbling of thunder, lightning and strong winds can even cause the most well-behaved pets to pant, tremble, hide and growl. In extreme cases, pets can even become aggressive and chew carpets or jump around the doors and windows.
Why Are Pets Afraid Of Thunderstorms?
Pets react to storms even before it occurs. It is a known fact that dogs and cats have sensitive hearing than humans. Hence, they sense the change in air pressure and hear the rumblings of thunder even before we humans do.
Lightning and thunderstorms are caused by build up of static electricity. Dogs and cats experience this static shocks in their fur because of the static buildup. Adult pets and pets with a larger coat are even more vulnerable to static buildup.
Hence, you’d have noticed that whenever your pet expects a thunderstorm, he/she immediately rushes to the bathroom or an enclosed space. Since these places are grounded, the threat of static buildup is relatively less.
If your pooch is scared of thunder, here are some things you can do to alleviate his storm anxiety.
How To Keep Your Dogs & Cats Calm During Thunderstorms?
Switch to Storm Treats
In pets with mild thunderstorm anxiety, counter conditioning can help. Whenever you anticipate a thunderstorm, always keep your pet’s favourite toys and treats on hand. Yummy treats like chicken or cookies can keep them excited. You can even try playing some brain games that will arrest the attention of your pooch and keep him involved.
Whenever a thunderstorm hits, distract your cat with a treat or a game. In this way, you can recondition your cat’s emotional response to thunderstorms. Your goal is to condition your pet to associate thunder with something that is not unusual or dangerous.
Give your Pet a Safe Relaxation Place
Provide a safe indoor area for your pet to hide. If your pet prefers to be inside the crate, allow them to be in it, but keep the door open so that your pet doesn’t feel trapped. In case your dog or cat is not trained to be in the crate, create a comfortable space in a corner of the room.
Fill that space with familiar and essential items such as a dog bed, blankets, toys and a water bowl so that your pooch has quick access to all that he needs. Play some soft music in the background that helps your dog or cat to relax. Cover and close the windows so that they cannot see what happens outside.
Wrap Your Pet
For some pets, having anxiety, soft pressure is quite relaxing. Pressure wraps, like jackets and vests, apply sustained, comforting pressure to your pet’s upper body. The fitting of these snug garments should be firm and similar to swaddling a baby. You can either buy commercial anxiety wraps available in the market or make a DIY version. Try a t-shirt wrap and apply an ace bandage over the top for firm pressure.
Prepare For the Next Storm
Play thunderstorm recordings quietly for your pet and give them some toys to play with while the sound is ON. You can control the frequency and intensity of sound. In this way, you can expose them to thunderstorm noise and train them to not get tensed. Start with a low volume and gradually keep increasing it while your cat or dog is engrossed in games.
The goal of this activity is to prevent thunderstorm fear in the pet and increase its ability to stay calm. When the real thunderstorm arrives, your friend will be better prepared to cope with it. This technique especially works well with pets having noise phobia.
Whether you’re dealing with an adult pet having thunderstorm phobia for years or you want to prevent a puppy or kitten from developing it, the best way to help them is to show empathy. You can take all these above steps to make your pet feel safe and secured instead of frightened.