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Keeping pets calm during thunderstorms

Published: Nov. 4, 2021 at 2:29 PM CDT
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(KTTC) -- Some pets are completely unbothered by storms while others may run and hide, whimper, shake and can even damage furniture!

Rachel Leaver of Leashes & Leads says those sensitive pets are likely reacting for a reason different than you may think. She says most animals are sensitive to the change in barometric pressure.

“It can cause static electricity in the fur of your dog, and it will feel like little stinging nettles,” Leaver said. “That’s usually what they’re reacting to, not the storm or the lightning but that feeling of static electricity. That’s usually right before a storm or right after.”

When a storm is occurring, Leaver said it’s important to stay calm. Pets can feed off of your stress, causing them to become more agitated!

Next, make sure your pet has something to keep them busy. Give your dog something to chew on that will keep them distracted. Rachel suggests a frozen kong with peanut butter, a bone or a lightly lavender-scented toy that can keep them busy while also having a calming effect.

Thunder Shirts are also a great tool for storm-fearing pets and have a similar effect to a weighted blanket.

“It has a variety of velcros to make sure you get the best fit for your dog,” she said “This will help keep their hair close to their body so they can’t feel that change in barometric pressure.”

However, it’s best to act instead of reacting to the behavior of your pet. If you know a storm is coming later in the evening, there are some things you can do during the day to prepare your pet.

Turning on a humidifier in your house will limit the amount of static electricity during a storm.

Keeping your pet busy, wearing them out with lots of walks and stimulating, puzzle toys to give them less energy to devote to anxiety when the storm finally comes.

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