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Storm Stress in Pets

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With severe storm events hitting Australia in the next week, veterinary experts are urging pet owners to plan ahead to protect storm phobic pets...

It’s not just loud thunderclaps and flashes of lightning that can frighten your furry friends. A change in barometric pressure and howling winds also can cause storm phobia in pets.

What Is Storm Phobia?

Storm phobia is a fear of storms by pets that can start from an early age. Experts say it is important to identify a possible phobia at the first opportunity as the behavioural impact of storm phobia can increase as the pet ages.

    5 Symptoms Of Storm Phobia

  • panting
  • pacing
  • excessive licking of lips
  • dilated pupils
  • hiding under the bed
  • How To Comfort Your Pet

  • be prepared. Monitor storm activity
  • bring your pet inside before the storm starts
  • keep your pet in a darkened room and stay calm
  • in extreme cases, medication may be necessary for your pet. Have your storm stressed pet checked by your vet and ask for help to put into place a storm phobia management plan

Extreme Weather Events

  • In the case of extreme weather events like cyclones and floods, the Australian Veterinary Association recommend:
  • having a disaster plan - keep pet emergency contact details handy. Ensure pets are microchipped/tagged and can be identified
  • preparing an emergency kit: medications, collar/harness and lead, cage, litter tray and litter, food and water, toys/blankets/treats
  • packing a first aid kit: bandages, Betadine, gauze swabs, cotton wool, tweezers, scissors, rubber gloves, muzzle and leather glove (distressed or injured animals may become aggressive)

    Pets At Home Alone

  • keep pets in the safest enclosed room, such as a bathroom
  • don’t tie them up as they may hurt themselves
  • put a notice on the door/letterbox/fence saying that your pet is in the property. For pets in apartments, let the property manager know

    After The Storm

  • check your property for hazards such as sharp objects, live wires, contaminated water or other dangerous materials
  • check all fences and gates are sturdy and still secured
  • check pets for injuries
  • keep pets inside for a few hours as unfamiliar scents and environments outside may cause them stress
  • traumatised pets may need their own safe space away from noise, people and other pets in a crate or bathroom or laundry. Keep dogs and cats separate
  • check shelters and emergency contacts daily if your pet is lost.


Cockatiel plucking her feathers

Hi! I hope you can help me with my cockatiel, I write from Spain and here they aren't that common so vets don't know much about treating them. I have a 5 years old female cockatiel and she is very affectionate, 2 years ago I had to spend a couple of months at a hospital and my parents during that time were either working or visiting me, so she felt lonely and started plucking her feathers. Even after I went back home she continued with this behaviour and hasn't stopped. I took her to different vets, they told me to give her small amounts of a syrup that was meant for calming itching and an antibiotic in case it was something producing an itching, but neither worked. I also tried a spray called "Pluck-no-more" with the same results. In case she was lonely we got her a mate, but it may be also female since they don't pay attention to each other at all. She rubs her cloaca on the perch often but the other tiel ignores it (the pet shop said it was male but they said the same with her and then she laid an egg...). The layer that covers the feather while growing (not sure of the name in English) doesn't grow normally, looks more like bland plastic than a hard cover like the ones on my other birds pin feathers (besides her, I have another cockatiel and a lovebird). Is as if the feathers on the plucking areas aren't growing correctly. The areas she plucks are under the wings, the part where wings join the body, and the body area that is covered by the wings while resting. While plucking she lets out small cries. The fluff covers these areas so by just looking at her isn't easy to tell, unless you watch her while preening. I let her play outside of the cage very often, but lately she can't fly well and I think it may be caused by the loss of these feathers. As I said, vets in this area are more specialized in cats and dogs and know little about parrots, so I hope you can advise me since these birds are native to Australia. Is there some kind of balm or spray I can apply on her skin to soothe it? Some medicine I can ask my local vet to use? I love her and it hurts seeing her in pain everytime she preens. Any advice would be much appreciated. Greetings from Spain!