Spring and Severe Weather Preparedness

Storm phobia is most common in dogs, but it can be expressed by all animals. They can be show fear and anxiety from the loud noises, rushes of heavy wind, flashes of light and sense the static from the electricity in the atmosphere — oftentimes before their owner can recognize the pending storm.

Signs of Storm Phobia

When storms are near, your pet may:

  • Bark excessively
  • Pace
  • Pant heavily
  • Stick near their owner
  • Hide under beds, sofas or in closets
  • Claw doors or walls
  • Chew carpet or furniture

How to Lessen the Stress

Rarely will this fear go away on its own. Owners must seek help for their pet:

  • Desensitize the animal to storm-related noises during calm weather by playing a recording of thunder noises.
  • Play calming music during a storm to drown outside noises.
  • Offer a distraction with a favorite toy, treat or game.
  • Provide an open crate or quiet room to escape during the storm. Be sure to not confine the animal within that area, allowing him/her to move freely as desired.
  • Consider a Thundershirt or other snug fitting clothing/wrap to help swaddle the animal and instill calmness.
  • Talk with your veterinarian about other behavioral suggestions or about medications for extreme cases.
  • Remember to take your pet with you to your safe shelter when warning sirens or other alerts are issued. Include your pet in your Ready in 3 plan.
  • Animals may run or sneak out during storms. Instill a microchip to help locate a missing pet and periodically update your information to provide current details.

Additional Spring Considerations

  • Remember that animals may not be in the same physical shape after winter’s rest. Go slow when starting an exercise routine with your dog.Insects can spread diseases to animals.
  • Continue heartworm medications, flea/tick treatments and check for insects when the animal returns from the outdoors.
  • Beware of “heat” cycles that may cause your animal to roam or change behavior.
  • Beware of wildlife that has emerged from winter protection and may also be in “heat.”
  • Be aware that your pet may come in contact or eat/drink pesticides, insecticides, cleaning materials or other chemicals. Put these materials in safe locations and recycle unwanted leftovers.