Storm phobia is a researched and proven distressed state of an animal which can be caused by the noise of thunder and visual stimulus of lightning. Some pets can sense coming storms long before humans can, which means they can go from placid and comfortable to agitated and timid very quickly.
During peak storm season, RSPCA Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Anne Chester advises, “Animals are more likely to cope with a storm if they are in an environment where they feel comfortable.”
Here are a few tips to prepare your pet during storm season:
- Create a safe and secure space for all of your animals away from visual stimuli. For dogs a pet crate or quiet room which shields them from lightning is ideal.
- Make sure outside food and water bowels are heavy or weighed down, allowing pets for continued access without them being tipped out.
- Try Feliway (cats) or Adaptil (dogs) collars or diffusers which help calm and reassure your pet in stressful situations. You can also try a thundershirt. They can be found at your local vet, pet stores or RSPCA World for Pets.
- Keep cats indoors.
- Don’t tether your pets if they are outside during a storm because this can lead to injury if they try and break free.
- If you are home, keep your pet comfortable in the best way that you can. You can try to engage them in normal activities such as playing, and reward your dog for calm behaviour with treats or toys.
It is important that your pet has appropriate identification such as an up to date microchip and identification on their collar.
“After every storm or fireworks we receive a spike in the number of lost and found pet reports. It's really important to ensure your pet has a microchip and the details are up to date so they can be reunited with you quickly if they go missing. Having a collar with identification also helps,” says RSPCA spokesperson Emma Lagoon.
The best way to check whether your pet’s microchip is registered and up to date is by visiting www.petaddress.com.au and entering the microchip number. If you lose or find a pet, contact our Lost and Found team for advice on 1300 363 736 or find more tips here on what to do if your pet goes missing.
Have you got an Emergency Action Plan for severe weather alerts? Find out what to do if there is a weather warning in your area.