Spring has Sprung…and that means Thunderstorms!
Updated: Apr 2, 2018
As a Meteorologist, I love a Great Spring Storm. But…as a pet parent who has HAD dogs that were absolutely terrified of thunder…I understand how incredibly difficult these storms can be for some pets and for the humans who love them.
Before I had Enoki, I had Shiitake and Chanterelle (mom and daughter). As brave and brazen as they were in everyday life, when a strong storm was approaching they become completely different animals. They frantically paced around the house, could not sit still, tried to jump out of the windows, tried to push open the doors and even tried, without success, to fit into the nearest dishwasher or dryer or cabinet space. It was very hard to watch and even harder to control with just a simple “It will be okay”... (that does not, at least in my experience, ever work!)
So, here are some suggestions for those who can relate:
PLAN Ahead. When your local meteorologist predicts Severe Thunderstorms (okay, I know we don’t always get it right, LOL) please listen! Check out the Radar (you can find it on your local National Weather Service Web page). If you see a line of storms heading in your direction, take action. Shut the windows and secure the doors, remove objects on the floor that could harm your pet.
Set up a safe spot for your pet, away from the windows, someplace they can retreat to and feel safe… put in a favorite bed, pillow or toy, make it as comfortable and secure as possible. Put on some soothing music or turn on the TV, sometimes that can drown out the sound of thunder. Speak calmly to them. Try to stay near them if possible, petting and comforting are enough to sooth some pets. Others may like to stay glued to you, that’s fine but don’t praise them for being scared. Distract them by pretending that nothing is wrong. If you can, engage them in a physical activity, throwing the ball, brushing, anything to take their mind of the storm. For some this might help.
Try natural pet oils. I have seen a wide variety that claim to help during storms and stressful situations. Some owners swear by these. Look for the ones that are natural and made especially for animals. Get recommendations and talk to other pet parents who have had the same issues and who may have found solutions that really work. I have heard great things about Rescue Remedy.
Consider a Thunder Shirt. (I’m sure there are other brands too) I am not endorsing this product, but I know many people who love it. It’s a compressed shirt made especially for pets that swaddles them… and, somehow, they feel more secure while wearing it. It’s certainly worth a try. It comes in different sizes, but please be sure you get the correct fit.
Contact your vet.
Sometimes it can be a medical condition causing your pet the added anxiety, maybe an inner ear condition or something else. It’s important to, at least, rule this out. If it is a medical concern, then you can treat it and hopefully your pet will be fine. Otherwise, if your pet’s anxiety is severe, you can talk to your vet about tranquilizers. (DO NOT give your pet human medication!) For Shiitake and Chanterelle, the only thing that ever truly worked was tranquilizers. They were not terribly expensive, and I only gave them to them when I knew the storms would be strong and last for a long time. I really hated to use them, but my girls’ distress was just too extreme. I always gave the lowest dose possible, and I had to give it to them BEFORE the storm, once it arrived it was too late. The pills needed to absorb into their systems, so by the time the storm arrived they were relaxed but not knocked out… and nowhere near as frantic. Oh! And I felt better too.
Shiitake and Chanterelle
And, finally, if you have a suggestion please share it…and let me know if you try these and what works for you and what doesn’t.