Hurricanes are one of the biggest—and most dangerous–downsides of living in the Sunshine State. With the frequency of major storms increasing, this is something we all need to take seriously. Storms can affect our furry friends as well, not just physically, but also mentally and emotionally. Just like people, pets can develop a sort of PTSD after traumatic experiences, and hurricanes are definitely a valid cause. A Coral Springs, FL vet offers some advice on helping your pet cope in this article.
Fido and Fluffy are definitely creatures of habit, and can get very stressed out by major changes. Try to keep your furry pal on a set schedule for meals, naps, walks, and playtime. Pay extra attention to them when you do need to make adjustments.
Pets that are frightened of storms may be at greater risk of running off during them. Make sure that your four-legged buddy is microchipped. Dogs should also be wearing ID tags. We also recommend keeping cats inside. Fido may enjoy having a yard, but take him in when weather is coming in.
Many pets are already scared of thunderstorms, and that fear will be exacerbated after going through a hurricane. Come next summer, Fido and Fluffy may become extremely anxious even during our regular showers. There are products that can help soothe them, such as pheromones and weighted blankets. Your dog or cat may also appreciate having a safe spot to hide in, such as a crate or den. Ask your vet for specific advice.
Desensitization training can also be helpful. One thing you can try is getting an app or CD that plays storm sounds. Play it softly at first, and then, over the course of several days, slowly increase the volume. The idea is that over time, Fido and Fluffy will get so accustomed to the sound that it just becomes normal background noise.
Exercise can be extremely helpful for battling anxiety, both for people and pets. Make sure that Fido and Fluffy have lots of toys, and take time to play with them daily. Your canine buddy will also benefit from daily walks. (Some kitties also enjoy being walked on leashes, but that’s another topic.)
Please contact us with any questions or concerns about your pet’s health or care. As your Coral Springs, FL animal clinic, we’re here to help!