Thunder, Lightning, and Fireworks OH MY!
It’s that spectacular time of year when the family gathers down by the lake to watch the fireworks only to look at the ground and think, “Where’s the dog?” During the festive celebration of lights and loud cracks of noise, “Buddy” is now deep under the bed clawing a large hole into the bottom of your box spring. It seems that “Buddy” is going through some noise related anxiety.
What to Look For
Many of our animals develop or experience some form of noise/storm anxiety. With the darkening sky and looming thunder/lightning, our pets may begin to show signs of fear and nervousness.
Depending on the severity of anxiety, you may see heavy panting, restlessness, pacing, hiding, vocalizing, or destructive behaviors like scratching or chewing objects. “Buddy” may be trying to comfort and distance himself.
Things to Try
So how can we help “Buddy” from feeling so helpless and frightened? Here are some easy tips to comfort our pets in times of need.
- Move your pet to a secluded room away from windows and the ability to see flashing light.
- Turn on a warm/soft light.
- Create some “white noise.” Start a fan or soothing music to drown out background noise.
- Wrap in a blanket or use a “Thunder shirt” to swaddle and decrease static electricity in the haircoat.
- Allowing your pet to be in the place he/she chooses during high anxiety times.
- Distracting him/her with mental stimulation using games, toys, or chewing treats.
- Diffuse calming essential oils like Lavender into the air.
- Use a soft and calming voice to speak to your pet.
- Do not force your pet to “face” his/her fears by subjecting them to the fear stimulus. This will worsen anxiety and breach trust.
Medications for severe anxiety however, ALWAYS consult your veterinarian before giving any over-the-counter or prescription medications.
Keep in mind that everyone can enjoy summertime festivities…in their own special way!
Happy 4th of July and Midwest weather patterns!