Hurricane season is in full swing here in Georgia and as the summer progresses the storms often become more intense. The increase in rain, lightning, and wind can be pretty scary for us, but did you know it can be even scarier for your pets?
Lots of pets suffer from anxiety due to loud noises, and thunderstorms are no exception. Many pets show obvious signs of distress during storms such as:
- Whining, howling, or barking
- Soiling indoors
- Hiding under or behind furniture
- Chewing or destroying toys, bedding or other items
- Digging at carpet or door thresholds
- Jumpiness or aggression
Anxiety symptoms can also be more subtle or appear very similar to normal behavior depending on a pet's personality. While many pets may display a combination of the above signs, some pets may only display subtle body language in the form of a tucked tail, lethargy, or ears that lay flat against the head. Others may simply pant, pace, chew, or scratch more than usual. If you've noticed any of these behaviors during a storm, your pet could be suffering from storm-related anxiety.
Learn more: Stress in Dogs | Stress in Cats
There are many different options available to help pets relax, even in stressful situations. If you've noticed signs of stress in your pet during a thunderstorm, schedule an appointment to talk to your veterinarian about your pet's unusual behavior. He or she can provide several recommendations to provide relief for you and your pets while at home or traveling.
Here at Greenbrier Veterinary Services, we recommend the Feliway and Adaptil product lines for pet stress management. These products mimic naturally-produced pheromones that cats and dogs recognize as comforting and come in a variety of forms, including plug-in diffusers, wipes, spray, and collars that can be worn all month long. Feliway and Adaptil products are safe for kittens, puppies, and adult pets, and can be purchased exclusively from your veterinarian.
Remember that pets often tune into the feelings of their owners. If you're uncomfortable during storms or other potentially stressful situations, your pets may pick up on your discomfort and express similar feelings in the form of anxiety-driven behavior. Remaining calm and relaxed in stressful situations can help your pet do the same.
Having a disaster preparedness plan can help your family (and your pets) remain calm and in contact during emergencies. Sit down and talk with your family about what to do and where to go in case of an emergency or natural disaster. Be sure to discuss how you prefer your pets to be handled in such a situation, and by whom. Then be sure that your pet has all the proper identification, such as a name tag with an emergency phone number and a microchip. If you and your pets become separated, these multiple forms of identification will help to ensure that you are reunited quickly.
For more tips on including your pets in your disaster preparedness plan, visit the ASPCA's Disaster Preparedness Checklist.
Is your pet having issues remaining calm during storms? Call Greenbrier Veterinary Services today at 762-233-2380 to discuss all of the behavioral correction options that are available.