How to Calm Your Pet During a Storm



April 20, 2021

Summer is almost upon us. Can you believe it? And for many parts of the country, that means summery thunderstorms, that great archnemesis of pets far and wide. Whether your pet just gets a little edgy during storms, is paralyzed with fright and hides until it’s all over, or gets neurotic and attempts to run away or causes damage to themselves, it’s important to be prepared and do what you can to help. Read on for practical things you can do, and for why pet health insurance can come in handy in stormy situations!

Why Do Pets Become Afraid During Storms?

It likely, not surprisingly, has more to do with the sound of thunder than anything else. Dogs’ hearing is much more powerful than ours. But dogs and cats are also sensitive to changes in air pressure and static electricity. Don’t be surprised if you see your little one start to show signs of stress an hour before a storm actually hits.

So What Can You Do?

Keep your dog or cat inside during storms, for one thing. And make sure they’re microchipped and wearing a collar with your current address and phone number, in case they run away in an attempt to escape the scary sights and sounds.

And you can stick to your own routine, remaining calm. Our intuitive furry little friends pick up on, and take their cues from, our behavior and body language, so if you’re acting as if nothing’s wrong, that this is nothing out of the ordinary, they may be less likely to panic.

You can also let your pet go to a dark, den-like place, like their crate, under a bed, or in a closet. Let them be; don’t make them come out or be near you in an attempt to make them feel better.

And yes, background noise can definitely help. Classical music tends to be especially calming. And if your pet seems to be comforted, not further stressed out, by you coming near, talk to them softly and pet them in long, calming strokes.

Give them an interactive toy, or something to chew on to distract themselves. Something like a Lickimat covered with peanut butter, cream cheese, or banana. Or a Kong filled with peanut butter or kibble.

For cats, plug-in pheromones like Comfort Zone with Feliway, put in the area where they tend to hide during storms, can be helpful.

There are tons of calming supplements and treats on the market too, and some pet parents have sworn by valerian root supplements. Always consult your veterinarian before doing this, and to get guidance on the dose you should administer. It shouldn’t be given to puppies, pregnant dogs, or elderly dogs. But in general, to healthy adult dogs, it’s a very safe over the counter supplement available in many forms, including a powder, a capsule, a tincture, or an essential oil, which can be dropped on the neck, and rubbed into the skin.

How About Thundershirts?

Anxiety vests are highly touted by some. Thundershirt is the most well-known one. They run at about $40, and give a gentle hugging sensation, applying constant light pressure. Note: it’s made especially for dogs. If you’re a cat person, you may not be surprised to know that cats aren’t wild about being swaddled in vests, but there’s always the exception! Generally, cats will self-soothe in situations like storms by hiding, and not want anything to do with anyone until their stress has abated. So, back to dogs—according to Thundershirt, according to a survey, 80% of dog parents who have tried it have seen significant improvement in their dogs’ fear levels during storms. If you buy one, be sure to get your dog accustomed to it before the storm hits.

Join the Bivvy family and give yourself the peace-of-mind that comes with knowing you’ve got highly-rated pet insurance on your side. You can apply right here in three minutes or less, and approval is immediate. Our cat insurance and dog insurance costs less than $1 a day. Plus, if you’re traveling this summer in a stormy area and your pet gets into some trouble and requires medical attention but you’re far away from your home vet, don’t worry. You can take your pet to literally any licensed vet, get the care your furry loved one needs, and then submit your Bivvy pet health insurance claim quickly online. Learn more here.