We humans love to complain about the weather but for some pets fall storms are a much more intense experience. Many of our beloved companions experience true anxiety during loud weather.
What does this look like? It can be a huge range of stress related behaviors from excessive yawning, hiding, whining, shaking to inappropriate soiling, destruction of their surroundings and self harm.
For the people who love these animals, they become more than a little concerned about incoming weather. This can be a big deal in their houses. Sound familiar?
What To Do If Your Pet Experiences Storm Phobia?
If your pet experiences storm phobia there are several things to look into to try and help your friend through rough weather. Firstly, talk to your veterinarian about the situation. They have heard it before and may be able to give you suggestions that are tailored to your pet’s specific needs.
This is a trickier problem than it initially appears and most owners find that they have to try a number of tactics before they find a workable system that improves their pet’s experience during thunderstorms. Storm phobia is also more likely in pets that have other types of anxiety. Knowing this could play a role in the recommendations given by the pet health care provider. There will likely not be an instant fix with a magic one-and-done pill from your vet but involves patience combined with teamwork to find a long term solution.
The Most Important Action You Can Take…
The most important thing is to make sure the animal has an environment that is as safe as possible so they do not harm themselves. Many times this is a challenge in itself, but it is a priority.
Additional Tips For Pets That Have Storm Phobia
Never scold or punish a pet’s fearful behavior as it tends to exacerbate the problem and move you further from your goal of stress free storms. Finding a space in your home where there is less noise and lighting from the outside environment is the most likely spot for success. Many times this is a bathroom or basement space that is a little quieter or without windows but each home situation is unique.
Some pet parents develop systems where they have a radio playing or a fan running to help cover the external noises. Some pets respond well to special vests they can wear during stress and there are various other companies working to create noise muffling kennels that may help with this common challenge. Nothing seems to work for all the storm phobics out and usually it takes a few tries to get the set up that works best for everyone.
Veterinarians will sometimes prescribe medication that can help with these phobias if there is warning that the storm will be coming. This is a little tricky for many owners and not right for every animal as there are some whose medical history or household lifestyle do not fit well.
The ideal solution is usually a combination of environmental modification and behavior training, which involves patience and consistency from the people living with these sensitive souls. Keeping a journal of the animal’s behavior can also be useful in figuring out what tactics seem to help most and if things are moving in the right direction.
As we head into storm season, this is a possible opportunity to plan ahead to find ways to help your furry friend make improvements if they struggle with inclement weather.