The calm during the storm
Six tips for calming dogs and cats during a thunderstorm
Loud crashing. Intense flashes of light. No wonder some dogs and cats feel anxious during a storm. It’s a natural reaction that many humans feel too, but we shouldn't have to watch our furry family members suffer.
Whether your cat or dog becomes clingy, hides under the nearest upholstery cushion or tears up the carpet, try these six strategies to help keep them calm.
1) Maintain the status quo
Just like children, our furry companions tend to pick up on our emotions. If you’re overly protective during a storm and cuddling them more, your dog or cat will notice and possibly feel more anxious.
Instead, behave as if nothing is wrong and your dog or cat will have more reason to keep calm and carry on as well.
2) Shelter from the storm
If your dog or cat typically hides in subterranean places, like under your bed or in tight, cramped spaces, encourage them to retreat to their own safe haven. This can be their storm central zone, set up with a comfy bed and their favorite toys. Safe havens should be easily accessible whether there’s a storm or not.
Swaddling blankets often calm crying babies and can do the same for our furry friends. Purchase a pressure blanket you can wrap around your dog or cat any time they become stressed. The pressure from the blanket can provide a sense of security and protection.
4) Drown out the noise
Use “white noise” such as fans and humidifiers to distract from booming thunderclaps. TVs and radios tend to increase anxiety because they often deliver choppy reception with lots of static during stormy weather.
5) Positive Reinforcement
Once your furry family member shows signs of calming down, be sure to reward them. Just as you would give them their favorite treat or toy for a trick well done, reinforce their new, calm behavior by petting and giving them a tangible reward.
6) See the Vet
If your furry family member has extreme reactions to storms, talk with your veterinarian. He or she will be able to offer more specific suggestions based on your pet's personality and may also prescribe anti-stress medication to calm them.
Be prepared ahead of time so when a storm strikes, you’ll already have your pet’s safe, calm place ready and waiting.