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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.