How to Naturally Calm Thunderstorm Anxiety in Your Pet

July 17th 2019

By Katie, RVT

This summer, Calgary seems to be under a thunderstorm warning every week. Is all the thunder and lightning stressing out your pet?
Sometimes pets can even start acting strangely as a storm approaches. They can feel the electricity in the air, the change in the temperature and wind.
So how can we help our pets deal with their anxiety during thunderstorms? Lets first look at the subtle and not-so-subtle signs of pet stress.

Thunderstorm Stress and Your Dog

The booming of thunder and flashes of lightning often stresses dogs out. During a thunderstorm, does your dog go and hide, put their tail between their legs, have accidents in the house or even tear things apart? Do they shake, bark, whine, or pant? If your dog displays any of these behaviours, or any other signs of stress during a thunderstorm, keep reading.

Thunderstorm Stress and Your Cat

Like dogs, cats may hide, yowl or make strange noises when the booming and banging of thunder and bright flashes of thunder frighten them. The physical signs of cat stress can be dilated pupils, shedding, raised fur on their back and a puffy tail. If you have an outdoor cat, check to make sure they have found shelter, and if possible, find them an indoor space to ride out the storm.

How to Calm your Pet Down during a Thunderstorm

Creating a calm, quiet space for your pet is the first step. Find a spot in the house away from windows, like the basement, and put on some calming music or the television.

If the thunder is very loud and shaking the house, you can even try getting into the bath and let them snuggle with you. Being in the bath can help reduce the vibrations.

If your pet has a crate or special bed, they may be able to relax there with their favourite treat or toy. Sometimes just having a safe space that they know no one will bother them, reduces their anxiety.

Distractions! If they’re not too anxious, you can play some of their favorite games, brain puzzles, fetch, or give them a snuffle mat to play with.

Natural Anxiety Reduction Products for Pets

There are multiple products that can help with the anxiety caused by thunder and lighting:
  • Thunder Shirts (they fit tightly to your animal and “hug” them in calming pressure points on the body
  • Calming Chews
  • Calming Sprays
  • Anxiety Supplements
  • Anxiety Medications
  • Lavender collars
  • Dog Ear Muffs

If your pet gets stressed during thunderstorms, please come and see us for suggestions on supplements or call us at (403) 615-8016 book a consultation to talk about medications.

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