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Posted on 05-07-2017

How to Help Your Pet Cope During Thunderstorms

This spring, McHenry County has already seen some pretty epic storms and we have a feeling the inclement weather isn’t done for the season yet. When the thunder starts flashing and the big booms fill the sky, does your pet get scared?

Thunderstorm anxiety isn’t uncommon for both dogs and cats, no matter the age or background. Just like small children sometimes feel (and even adults!) the storms sound scary and we all know the damage that a nasty one can cause.

If your pet quivers as a storm rolls in or tries to hide, there are a handful of remedies and precautions that pet owners can take to help lower their pets’ anxiety and help them to comfortably, and quite literally, weather the storm:

Create a quiet, safe zone.

Is there a room in the house that’s a bit calmer and where your pet feels as ease? Perhaps something that’s located away from the windows where sounds sometimes get amplified or sound louder as they are right outside the door? Fill this quiet space with some blankets, food and/or water dishes and toys so your pet feels like they are safe and have some of their everyday comforts.

Remain calm for your pets.

Pets are very intuitive, how else would they know when you’re upset and need some extra love after a hard day, so try to remain calm for them. If you seem anxious, are constantly checking out the windows or are frantically running around the house your pet will pick up on these actions and feel like there is a reason to panic. Take deep breaths and try to distract pets will play or other activities that seem normal.

Don’t be overly sympathetic.

Dogs especially are very eager to interpret attention as a reward. If they are whining or shaking and they receive extra attention for these acts, they may feel like that’s an appropriate action to obtain some extra pets or kisses. The more you act like normal, the more your pet will – and it will help keep bad anxiety habits at bay.

Talk to your veterinarian about precautionary measures.

In some extreme cases, just like options available for anxious pets during Fourth of July fireworks, some anxiety medications can be administered. Or, there are some products that can be purchased at pet stores that we recommend for helping to ease your pet during storm anxiety.

If your pet shows signs of anxiety during storms and the above suggestions aren’t working for you, please let us know how we can help. We want to ensure that your pet is comfortable and safe at all times, including inclement weather and are happy to discuss alternative options that may be a fit for your unique pet and lifestyle.

We hope the storms don’t last all spring, but that your pets are as safe and content as possible when thunderstorms do (inevitably) roll in. 

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