Pets and noise phobias
Many pets can become terrified by the noise and flashes associated with thunderstorms and fireworks. This stress may cause some animals to escape their yards and roam the streets in an agitated and disoriented state. A lost pet may end up in an animal shelter or badly injured.
Pet owners can provide a secure environment for their pets during the time of year when thunderstorms and fireworks are common.
- Now's the time to check your gates and fencing!
- Consider installing self-closing and self-latching mechanisms on all gates
- Consider installing chicken wire under the soil at the base of exposed fences to prevent digging
- Move objects away from the fence or gates that may be used as a step or platform to scale the fence
- Consider installing a barrier at the top of the fence and/or gates that angle back into your property to stop cats or dogs climbing or jumping the fence
- 'Crate train' your pets so they can feel secure in a ‘safe’ place during the storm or fireworks
Tips to help frightened pets cope during thunderstorms and fireworks:
- Be prepared. Bring your pet inside or confine them to a small, secure area before the storm or fireworks begin if possible.
- Lights on. Leave the lights on in the room to disguise light flashes from outside.
- TV or radio on. Leave the television or radio on to disguise the noise.
- Calmly reassure. Don't fuss over your pet during the thunderstorm or fireworks.
- Behave normally. Continue with your regular activities during the thunderstorm or fireworks
Make sure your contact details are up-to-date on your pet's microchip. Ensure they are wearing a collar and identification tag. This way, if your pet escapes and becomes lost or injured, they can be returned to you as quickly as possible.
Consult your veterinarian in advance for further advice if your pet suffers severe anxiety during thunderstorms or fireworks. A combination of behaviour therapy and medication has been shown to improve the management of pets with noise phobias.