It often starts even before a storm rolls in: Your dog starts panting, pacing, barking or even shaking. That’s because pets are extremely sensitive and can sense a change in the barometric pressure. It only worsens as the lightning flashes and the thunder rolls, the low frequency vibrations causing them discomfort.
June is National Pet Preparedness Month. The Department of Homeland Security recommends that pet owners have a plan for caring for their animals just as everyone should have a plan for their families when disasters strike.
In our part of the country, severe weather is the most common disaster we face. Snow storms, tornadoes and severe thunderstorms are part of living in the Midwest.
Some precautions to take when bad storms or disasters strike is to make sure your pet is microchipped and that your phone number and address are up-to-date. If you can’t get to your home right away or are displaced, you many need to board your pet. To do so, you’ll have to make sure your pet’s medical records are available and their vaccinations are current.
Make sure have basic survival items for your pet such as a three day supply of food stored in an airtight, waterproof container; at least three days of water for your pets; a first aid kit; collar or harness with an id tag and a leash; a crate or pet carrier; a picture of you and your pet together in case you are separated can help you document ownership and allow others to assist you; familiar items such as treats and toys to help reduce stress for your pet.
Pet owners – especially dog owners – know all too well how scared four-legged friends can get when thunderstorms roll in.
“Everything changes, and they’re not really sure why,” explained Pam Wiese of the Nebraska Humane Society. “They don’t understand, and it’s scary.”
While we can’t change the weather, there are things we can do to help our pets during storms, which Wiese explains in the above video.
- Let them do what they want to do to cope, within reason
- Get cozy
- Provide background noise
- Try calming pheromones or herbs
- Put on the Thundershirt
Sometimes, no matter what we try, our pets won’t calm down. Their agitation may get to the point where they hurt themselves.
“If nothing else will console your pet, your veterinarian can prescribe tranquilizers,” Wiese said.