Fear Of Thunderstorms In Cats And Dogs

It's not uncommon for pets, like your furry companion, to exhibit signs of fear during storms. While these behaviors may not seem serious at first, it's important to understand that thunderstorm phobia can worsen over time. This can lead to significant stress, potentially causing mental and physical health issues for your pet. By addressing their fear, you cannot only improve their well-being but also prevent potential long-term effects on their health.

What Causes Animals To Fear Storms?

While fear of thunderstorms is common in pets, delving into the reasons behind this anxiety is crucial. Understanding these causes can help you empathize with your pet's distress and take appropriate action to alleviate it.

Thunder and rain's loud and unexpected noises are major factors. Pets' inability to identify the source of these sounds can make them even more frightening. Behaviorists note that other elements of a storm, such as darkening skies, sudden lightning flashes, and changes in air pressure, also contribute to this anxiety.

Not all cats and dogs suffer from thunderstorm phobia. A pet's personality plays a role; generally, nervous pets are more likely to be afraid of storms. Additionally, pets not exposed to storms when young may react more negatively than adults.

Tips For Reducing Stress During Storms

Many pet owners might think that thunderstorm anxiety is just something their dog or cat has to endure. However, you can take steps to make storms less traumatic for your pet.

Create A Safe Space

One of the most effective things you can do is ensure your pet has a safe place to retreat during a storm. If your dog or cat already has a preferred spot when they are anxious, this is the ideal location for their safe space. Add a bed or crate, food, water, toys, and treats to make it more comforting. Cover the safe space in a room with windows to reduce noise and visual impact. Keeping the light on will also make lightning flashes less noticeable. Ensure your pet can access this space quickly, even when you're not home.

Behavior Modification

For dogs, behavior modification, desensitization, and counter-conditioning can be effective long-term strategies to change their reaction to storms. One approach is to have your dog perform commands to earn rewards, which distracts them and helps them associate the situation with positive experiences. Desensitization can be more challenging since replicating all aspects of a storm is difficult. However, for dogs terrified of storm sounds, you can play a CD or video of a storm at low volume while engaging with them or giving them treats. The key is to avoid punishing your pet for any negative behavior caused by anxiety, as this will only worsen their fear.

Pheromone Therapy

Pheromone therapy is an effective way to improve your pet's emotional state and behavior without medication. Synthetic pheromones mimic those released by nursing dogs and cats, providing security. For cats, facial pheromones, which they use to mark territory, can make them feel safe in their environment. Pheromone products are available in various forms, such as sprays, collars, and plug-in diffusers. Remember that pheromones may take 10-20 minutes to start calming your pet and do not work instantly.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Best Selling Combo

Best Selling Combo

Heartgard Nexgard Combo for Dogs Flea, Ticks & Heartworm Treatment