Summertime brings time outdoors, family gatherings, and celebrations. We hope you enjoyed our latest blog on local activities for the Fourth of July in Norfolk and Williamsburg. Unfortunately, the happiest of times can be stressful to your pets. Fireworks and thunder from summer storms can trigger your pet to hide, pace, pant and shake. We hate to see our pets stressed, so we did some research on the best ways to calm our furry family members.
Preventative Ways to Calm Pet Anxiety During Storms
1. Desensitize Your Pets
If you have just welcomed a new pet into your home, you may want to consider preventative measures for ensuring that your pets are desensitized to loud noises like thunder and fireworks. You can do this by playing a thunder or firework playlist for your pets. It is also recommended to give your pets treats while listening to the sounds of storms to create a positive association with loud noises.
If you did not get the opportunity to help with the process of conditioning your pet to be comfortable with loud noises, there are still some things you can do prior to storms to help ensure your pet’s safety.
2. Update Tags
It is important that your pet has updated tags at all times. Storms and fireworks can startle pets and they can get out of fenced yards or off the leash looking for a place to hide.
3. Exercise Pets
If you know that it is going to be a stormy afternoon, or that a firework show is happening in your neighborhood that evening, it is a good idea to exercise your pet in order to make them less anxious and more relaxed when the loud noises begin.
Actions for Calming Pets During Storms
1. Create a Safe Space
Make sure that your pet has a space in the home that they feel secure and comfortable in. If your dog hides in the bathroom, you can give them their favorite blanket or toy in that space to make them feel comfortable. Secure farm animals in their stalls or barn prior to storms or fireworks. Do not try to coax your pet out from their hiding spots.
2. Distracting Music
If you cannot be home during the fireworks, turn on distracting music or the television to create noise to minimize the loud noises.
3. Thunder Shirts
You can purchase a weighted vest called a thunder shirt for your dog. The weight of the vest is designed to comfort the dog. You can also dress your dog in an old shirt of yours. The dog will be comforted by your smell.
Using a diffuser, you can purchase “feel good” pheromones to help calm your animals.
Severe Cases of Storm Anxiety
1.Visit Your Veterinarian
If you have tried everything to help calm your pet during storms and fireworks, you should take your pet to the vet. There, the vet can recommend next steps and evaluate your pet for any underlying problems. Your vet may prescribe anti-anxiety medication or other remedies to help ease anxiety.
Are your pets afraid of loud noises? What has worked best for you? We would love to hear what has worked best for your pets.