curious dogFew things strike fear into the heart of a pet like a raucous thunderstorm. Most animals have some level of noise aversion anyway, but storms can present a myriad of challenges.

If your companion suffers from pet noise anxiety, a thunderstorm can be a harrowing experience. Knowing how to help your pet cope ensures his or her safety and alleviates harmful stress.

Prepare for the Boom!

Addressing pet noise anxiety means knowing how to recognize signs of fear. Acute anxiety can produce many symptoms, including:

  • Panting
  • Attempting to escape
  • Shaking
  • Drooling
  • Urination/defecation
  • Vocalization
  • Destructive behaviors
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dilated pupils

If your pet suddenly goes into panic mode, you may be dealing with an anxiety or phobia that requires professional attention.

Other Tips for Pet Noise Anxiety

  1. Stay indoors. One of the biggest dangers of thunderstorms and pet noise anxiety are accidents that occur when a pet is left outside. It’s not unusual for a pet to bolt across the street in fear, risking getting hit by a car or becoming lost. During a storm (or any noisy event), make sure your pet is safely inside and all doors and windows are secure.
  2. Prepare a comforting den. Figure out the quietest place in your home (preferably without windows) that can help take the edge off pet noise anxiety. Create a comfortable retreat by including favorite blankets, a bed, and distracting toys. If your pet is crate-trained, you can also use this as a relaxing spot (keep the door open).
  3. Don’t leave your pet alone. Stay with your fur friend during the worst of the noise and ease some of his or her fear with positive distractions.
  4. Get the right tools for relaxation. There are also several products that address pet noise anxiety and stress. For example, the Thundershirt is designed to apply gentle, steady pressure on your pet’s torso, inducing a sense of relaxation. Pheromone sprays, such as Feliway, can also be useful. A white noise machine or specially composed CD can be effective as well.

Long Animal Hospital Cares

Even with calming tools and techniques, some pets continue to experience more severe levels of fear. If pet noise anxiety is causing destructive behaviors or is placing your companion at serious risk, it may be time for a professional consultation.

Along with medications, gentle desensitization, and counterconditioning, our team can also assist you with behavioral problems that affect quality of life and overall health.

While we can’t stop thunderstorms, we can lessen stress and pet noise anxiety with preparation and planning. Please contact us with additional questions. As always, the team at Long Animal Hospital and Emergency Center is here to help!