Summer means increased thunderstorms in many places. While some humans enjoy the beauty of the afternoon storm, it is a nightmare for pet owners.
Here we explain why your pet is scared of thunder, how to tell if they are anxious during the storm, and tips on calming pets.
Causes of Storm Phobia in Dogs and Cats
Several factors work together to cause thunderstorm phobia in dogs and cats. These include:
- Thunder – Pets don’t understand what thunder is and that it cannot harm them. The loud unexpected BOOM startles them and makes them feel afraid. Multiple reports have surfaced of puppies and older dogs suffering heart attacks during events associated with loud noises, such as fireworks displays and thunderstorms.
- Changing barometric pressure – The rapid change of air pressure in the atmosphere caused by the storm makes dogs uncomfortable and may even trigger a stroke. Your dog is sensitive to barometric pressure because of its keen sense of smell. Changes in pressure cause odors to move differently in the air. The dog notices this and becomes scared because they associate that sensation with the trauma of thunderstorms.
- Startling bright flashes of lightning – Sudden lightning startles pets. Dogs and cats show signs of stress even when there is a lightning storm without the thunder. They associate the streaks of lightning with the unpleasant thunder experience.
- Storms bring static electricity – Your dog may be sensitive to static electricity in the air. Rubbing a balloon creates static electricity that causes your hair to stand on end. Dogs and cats experience the same sensation all over their bodies before, during, and after a storm.
- Pets hear low-frequency thunder – Ever felt like your dog or cat can predict a coming storm? Fear behaviors outlined below may show up even before the storm clouds form. This is because our pets have remarkable hearing. They hear the approaching storm long before you do.
Signs Your Pet is Afraid of Thunder
Every dog and cat are different and has its way of expressing fear. Know what to look for so you know how to help your pet.
Common signs of fear to look for in your pet’s behavior during foul weather include:
- Ears pinned back
- Tail down or pulled between legs
- Barking or whining
- Shaking and pacing during thunderstorms
- Hiding or remaining near the pet owner
- Fecal incontinence
- Destructive behavior, such as destroying furniture or hurling itself against a glass window
- Easily scared by not-so-loud noises
- Body posture is low to the ground
If you think this kind of fear is nothing and will go away after the storm is over, it is a huge psychological problem for your dog or cat.
So how do you calm your pet during a thunderstorm?
How to Soothe Your Pet’s Fear
Your dog’s or cat’s fear is real and warranted, and they require support and help from you as their most trusted companion.
Some ways to soothe your pet during a thunderstorm include:
- Creating a haven your pet can retreat to
- Keeping their environment calm by closing the blinds or curtains and playing soft music
- Keeping guests away from your panicked pet
- Swaddling or wrapping your pet can help keep them calm according to research
- Using extra support tools like pet CBD
How CBD May Help Your Pet Cope
All-natural supplements, such as cannabidiol (CBD), may help ease the fear of thunderstorms. Pet CBD has a calming effect without the harmful side effects associated with anti-anxiety drugs.
Here are other ways CBD helps:
- Support nausea and digestive disorders – Pets, especially the younger ones, can suffer from nausea as a reaction to fireworks and thunderstorms. This is because the events are very uncomfortable for them and may also interfere with their diets.
- Plan ahead – Preparing ahead with cat CBD is the best means to counter your pet’s fear. Administering the product during the event can be difficult, plus the effects may not kick in immediately.
- Counter thunder phobia with regular use – CBD oil may help improve behavioral changes in pets by dampening fear’s effect on them. Offering CBD hemp oil for dogs and CBD for cats within an hour of the storm may help calm them down.
- Desensitize and award calm behavior with CBD chews – Desensitizing some phobias is possible with the right tools. CBD edibites are an excellent way to encourage relaxed behavior. Use them to train your dog to face the situation calmly.
- Improve sleep quality – One of the most important properties of CBD is its ability to help pets maintain a normal and relaxed disposition. It can keep your cat calm and even asleep throughout the entire duration.
Lose the Stress and Help Your Pet Overcome Fear of Thunderstorms
Storm phobia causes are different for different pets. For some, it is the thunder, while others are sensitive to the barometric pressure changes. You can soothe your pets with techniques like calming formulas of dog CBD or cat CBD when you observe the signs. Remember to always consult with your veterinarian before using any supplements.