Summer is fast approaching and, if you’re anything like us, you’re looking forward to plenty of fun times in the sun with your fur-babies! However, summer’s not always fun and frolics as it can bring about numerous hazards for pets, ranging from heat-related illnesses, to summer allergies, to exposure to ticks and other parasites. Yet another challenge that your dog may face over the summer months are summer storms which, for many animals, can be a huge source of anxiety.
Why do storms cause anxiety in animals?
In reality, it’s not just animals that can become extremely anxious during a storm. Many of us humans do too! But while us humans can turn to coping mechanisms such as mindfulness, deep breathing exercises and other stress-management techniques to help alleviate our anxiety (not to mention our access to resources such as weather forecasts and emergency alerts that can help us prepare for severe weather), animals rely heavily on their instincts and may not have the cognitive ability to understand the cause of their stress or how to manage it.
For many animals the loud noises of thunder, sudden flashes of lightning, and strong winds can be frightening and overwhelming, while changes in barometric pressure and the build-up of static electricity can also create an uncomfortable or unsettling feeling for them. It’s also worth remembering that some animals may have had negative past experiences, such as being caught outside during a severe storm, which can contribute to their storm stress.
As pet parents, it’s our responsibility to provide our furry friends with the support and tools they need to manage their storm-related anxiety.
How to help reduce storm anxiety in your dog
One of the first things you can do to help your dog is to create a safe and comfortable space. This space should be in a quiet and secluded part of your home and should have familiar items such as a bed, blanket, or a favorite toy. You can also use a crate or a covered den to provide an added sense of security.
It’s also important to provide a calming environment during a storm. Play soothing music or use a white noise machine to help drown out the noise from outside. You can also use essential oils such as lavender or chamomile, which have calming properties and can help your dog to relax.
Safe, gentle support can also be provided through a natural medicine such as HomeoPet Storm Stress. This homeopathic pet medicine can help promote relief from fear and anxiety in dogs, cats and other animals related to thunderstorms, rainstorms, hurricanes, howling winds, and similar weather or noise events.
Another helpful tip is to distract your dog during a storm. Engage them in playtime or offer them a treat to gnaw on to help take their mind off the noise and commotion outside. You could also use this as an opportunity to teach them a new trick or skill, such as learning to fetch a toy or giving a high-five.
Most importantly, be patient and understanding with your furry friend. They may need extra reassurance during a storm and that’s okay. Your presence and comfort can go a long way in helping them feel safe and secure.
Managing summer storm anxiety in our animals is an important aspect of responsible pet ownership. By creating a safe and comfortable space, providing a calming environment, and using safe medication, you can help your furry friend feel more at ease during thunderstorms.