Many pets can be fearful of loud noises such as thunder. Pets can sense a thunderstorm long before you hear the thunder or see the lightning. They feel the pressure change in the atmosphere. Pets often are scared enough to try to escape from their kennels, jump over fences, and even chew through leashes. If you already know your pet is afraid of loud noises, it is best to be prepared ahead of time. Here is some information to get you and your pet through thunderstorm season.


Signs that your pet may be afraid of thunderstorms include:

  • Hyperactivity, anxiety, pacing
  • Hiding
  • Panting
  • Becoming “clingy”
  • Excessive vocalizing (crying, whining, barking or meowing)

You have many options when trying to comfort your pet:

  • Keep pets in a safe and secure area during storms. It can be helpful to keep them in the basement or inner area of the house where there is less noise.
      • Medications- Sedatives can be prescribed by your veterinarian to help calm your pet. Different ones are available based on your pet’s medical conditions and history. A once a year physical exam is necessary to refill prescriptions. Often the medications need approximately 30 minutes to take effect.
      • Thundershirt®- A Thundershirt is a vest your pet can wear that has a calming effect on them. It applies gentle, constant pressure to certain points on the body. Experts believe this pressure affects the nervous system, possibly by releasing hormones like endorphins. Studies have shown that approximately 80% of dogs and cats have shown significant improvement with symptoms of anxiety, fear, and overexcitement.Use these calming techniques
      • There are pheromone treatments available that come in diffusers, sprays, and collars. The canine versions (exp: Adaptil®) contain the same calming pheromones mothers produce to comfort their puppies. The cat versions (exp: Feliway®) contain the facial pheromone produced when cats rub their heads against things they like. Both are odorless, non-sedative, and have no effect on people or other animals.
    • Distract them: Engage them in fun or relaxing activities or play their favorite game.

thundershirtFeliway Adaptil

  • Behavior Modification: Also called “desensitization” or “counter-conditioning”. Expose them to loud noises in a controlled environment. Start with quieter noises and then gradually work your way to louder ones. Make it a positive experience by praising them or giving them treats when they are being calm and relaxed. There are even special recordings that can be purchased for this specific purpose.

In case they do escape:

  • Equip them with collars and tags with their name and your current contact information.
  • Have them microchipped and keep your contact information up to date with the microchip company.
  • Alert animal control and veterinary hospitals and clinics in the area they are lost and at your regular vet.
  • Keep your contact information current at your local vet.

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If your dog or cat has thunderstorm anxiety, give us a call today at 751-2753. We can set up a consult appointment with a Veterinarian to figure out which approach is right for both you and your pet.