You can see the dark clouds in the distance, there is a different smell to the air, wind begins to pick up, lightning flashes in the distance, and then… BOOM!!! As a person you may get startled by the sudden clap of thunder but have you ever noticed any strange behavior in your pets when a storm is coming?
Has your dog ever tried to wrap himself around your toilet, does your cat disappear to the first floor, have you noticed your pets near walls, or does your pet retreat under the bed during the rumbles and flashes of a thunderstorm? The ASPCA’s Carmen Buitrago, a certified dog trainer who studies why dogs do the things they do, and she says it’s not all that uncommon for dogs to jump in the tub during storms either. “We actually don’t know why they do that, but some people think that it’s because there’s static build-up in the air during a storm—and dogs try to ground themselves near the pipes in toilets or bathtubs,” says Buitrago. It could also just be that the tub is small and snug, and makes your dog feel more comfortable.
The claps of thunder can very startling and send some pets into a complete panic attack. If your pets suffer from anxiety during storms one way that you can help them get through it is to direct their attention elsewhere. Play a game with them during a thunder storm so they begin to associate the storm with fun and the special time with you. Let your pet curl up next to you so they are comforted by your touch. Taking your pet into a quiet room with fewer windows and making a place for them there during storms may also provide them with additional comfort. Another thing that you can do is try and drown out the storm by: turning up the volume on the T.V. louder than usual, turning fans on, or turn the radio on so that the sounds of thunder are muffled.
If all else fails or your dog has an extreme case of the thunderstorm jitters you might consider purchasing a Thunder Shirt, which is similar to a dog vest that applies gentle comforting pressure to your pet (yes they have Thunder Shirts for cats too). According to the the Thunder Shirt website “80% of dogs show significant improvement” in reduction of their anxiety. If the Thunder Shirt does not work for your pet the company allows you to return it and get your money back within 60 days. They also donate any returned Thunder Shirts to non-profit animal groups.
What about tornadoes? They don’t happen too often in San Antonio but if one hit near your home would you and your pet be prepared? Below is a list of things that we suggest to put in a “Pet First Aid Kit” that can be used during any type of emergency and is easy to grab if you are in a hurry during times when you have to think on your feet like a flood or fire. This is a great activity to include the kiddos in so that they can learn to grow up and be responsible pet owners just like their parents.
Pet First Aid Kit Ingredients:
- leash with tags/collar/ harness
- several bottles of water
- collapsible bowl
- dry food and treats that will last several days
- also create a list of food allergies or other medical conditions
- pet medication (make sure to place in waterproof container)
- after pet clean up supplies (plastic bags, paper towels, and chlorine bleach)
- copies of important veterinary records (vaccination records and any medical conditions)
- copies of your pet registration materials (adoption papers, proof of purchase, microchip)
- emergency contact list (friends, relatives, veterinarian)
- photos of your pet that you can use for identification with their name, breed, age, gender, color and any identifying markings written on the back
- extra toys that are similar to their favorites
- small blanket or old towel
Keep all of your first aid kit ingredients inside of a durable plastic container that is easy to find in an emergency it might be a good idea to create one for your two-legged friends and keep them in the safe place making it easy to find your emergency supplies when you are pressed for time! Let us know if any of our remedies or if our first aid kits come in handy! We would love to hear your pet stories. We hope that this helps you and your pet stay safe as the summer storms begin to brew in the atmosphere!
Keep your heads high and tails waggin’ San Antonio!