Thunderstorm And Fireworks Anxiety In Pets: Helping Them Cope

WelsNat_iStock_000071875971_LargeAs thunderstorm season and the 4th Of July approach, many pet owners know what to expect; a season dealing with a trembling, anxious, possibly destructive pet that is trying desperately to escape the noise and confusion that the summer months bring. Thunderstorm and fireworks anxiety is very common among pets, and for some it can be severe enough to turn into a real phobia.

Since we can’t completely remove our pets from exposure to loud noises, it’s important that we understand how to minimize their anxiety and keep them as calm as possible.

Understanding Pet Anxiety

Pets exhibit many physical manifestations of stress and anxiety, much like humans. Regardless of what may be causing the anxiety (loud noises, confinement, separation, etc.) pets often exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Incessant barking
  • Chewing, scratching, and other destructive behavior
  • House soiling
  • Hiding
  • Aggression
  • Weight loss

Chronic anxiety can have negative impacts on your pet’s health. Please give us a call to schedule a wellness appointment and behavioral consultation for your pet if he or she is experiencing any of the above symptoms on a regular basis.

Thunderstorm And Fireworks Anxiety: Tips For Calming Your Pet

The sights, sounds, and smells of thunderstorms and fireworks can cause many pets to experience high levels of anxiety. We recommend the following tips for making your pet more comfortable at home during times of stress:

  • Stay close to your pet and offer reassurance
  • Distract your pet with a favorite toy or game
  • Bring pets inside well in advance of a thunderstorm or fireworks display.
  • Your pet’s fear may cause him or her to attempt to “make a break for it”, so make sure all windows and doors are securely fastened.
  • Play the radio, TV, or utilize a fan for white noise to help drown out some of the outdoor sounds.
  • If possible, get your pet set up in an out of the way “safe room”. Provide his or her crate, water, food, bedding, and toys.
  • Allow your pet to move about the house at will. Confinement can often increase anxiety in pets.
  • If you will be having a 4th of July gathering or are planning on leaving for the day or evening, consider arranging for your anxious pet to spend some time in the home of a trusted friend or family member.
  • Utilize a Thundershirt or other pressure garment or wrap.

If you have any questions about noise related stress or would like to discuss possible medication or other calming techniques for your pet, please don’t hesitate to contact us.