When Pet Anxiety Strikes: How to Keep Your Pet Calm This Summer

It’s summer, and images of lounging by the pool, backyard BBQs, and summer celebrations are dancing in our heads. But for many pets, summer may actually be a more stressful time.

Fireworks, thunderstorms, and parties can all potentially turn our pet into a quaking, trembling, and fearful mess. What’s worse, their anxiety can sometimes manifest in behaviors destructive to their environment and even themselves.

While it’s impossible to shield pets from every loud noise or stressful situation, with a little awareness and preparation, it is possible to minimize the effects. Wellesley-Natick Veterinary Hospital shares some steps you can take to alleviate pet anxiety this summer.

Boom! Keeping Calm During Thunderstorms and Fireworks

Some pets may not be affected by the loud noises of thunderstorms and fireworks. Others are left to hide, pace, vocalize nonstop, or try to escape the house in a panic.

Try the following techniques to minimize your pet’s stress during fireworks or thunderstorms:

  • Give your pet a safe, enclosed space in which to hide, such as a laundry room or her crate
  • Comfort your pet with your presence, and offer reassurance
  • Distract her with toys, games, or treats
  • Mask the noise with a white noise machine, a spa or meditation app, or music from the radio or your device
  • Make sure all windows and doors are closed to help mask outdoor noises
  • Some pets may benefit from pressure based anxiety products, such as a Thundershirt.

If your pet seems to not be comforted by any of these measures, please talk to us about anti anxiety medication that we could prescribe for such events. Behavior modification training can also be a good way to help your pet, and we can offer you a referral for this if it seems to fit your pet’s needs.

Keeping Calm During Parties

While some pets may be social butterflies, most of the time a change in routine and a crowd in the house (or yard) is upsetting to pets. But getting friends and family together in the summer is one of our favorite ways to pass the time. So what’s a conscientious pet owner to do?

A little planning goes a long way toward making pets feel comfortable and calmer during social gatherings. Try the following:

  • Before any gathering, treat your dog to some vigorous exercise. A tired dog is a happy and calm dog.
  • Allow your pet to greet friends at the door on leash, so there is less of a chance she can scoot out the door.
  • Let your pet  – cat or dog – retire to her safe room or quiet space away from the hullabaloo. A crate, back room, or bedroom is perfect.
  • Give her access to her bed, water, food, treats and toys while in her safe spot. And check in with her often (once an hour) so she doesn’t feel left out.

Safety and Pet Anxiety

We always advise a microchip, and in circumstances where your pet might bolt out the door in fear or excitement, it can be a life saver – literally!

Whatever methods you choose to help your pet stay calm and relaxed during stressful summer events, we’re here for you. Call us with any questions or concerns, or for more information.