A sudden thunderstorm can be terrifying for any pet, and cats and dogs can become very stressed during storms. There are easy ways to help your pet feel more comfortable, however, and keep them from getting too excited or anxious when storms pass by. Here are 5 tips to calm your pet during thunderstorms:
1. Give your pet a safe space.
Prepare a room or crate where they can comfortably hide from the loud roar of the thunder. Your pet will feel more secure if they have a safe, comfortable place to retreat when a storm strikes. A small, interior room without windows works best, such as a laundry room, walk-in closet, pantry, or bathroom. Make sure there is a comfortable, familiar blanket, some water and other comforting objects in the room, but avoid crating your pet or restricting their movements, which would make them more anxious or destructive.
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2. Be calm during the storm.
Stay with your pet during a storm but be sure they do not see any stress or anxiety from you. Both cats and dogs can easily read body language and will react more strongly if you are upset, but they will also settle down more quickly if you are relaxed.
3. Soothe them with classical music.
If your pet cannot hear any sound of thunder or see the lighting, they’ll be less stress. Consider playing a classic music, turning on the radio or TV, or just using a white noise machine to help cancel out the sound of the storm.
4. Entertain them with their favorite things.
Distract him from the noise by giving your dog attention in the form of something he likes – throwing a ball, brushing his hair, or giving them interactive toys with treats to keep them busy and well entertained until the storm stops.
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5. Try desensitizing and counterconditioning.
If your pet is particularly sensitive to storms, some basic desensitizing training can be helpful. Play a recording of a severe storm, gradually increasing the volume and intensity of the recording with each playing, and flash lights or use a strobe light to simulate lightning if necessary.