Along with the fun and sun, the summer months also brings with them loud noises, such as fireworks and thunderstorms, which often trigger a fearful reaction in pets. Unfortunately, some pets express fear by being destructive, excessive barking, or other anxious behavior such as cowering, drooling, or shaking. To alleviate the stress, consider following these five tips.
Whether it's a closet or a crate, it's good for dogs and cats to have a go-to place for relaxing or hiding away. A closet or crate, when your pet seeks out such a space, can provide a safe and secure feeling, much like a den. However, if a crate or closet creates more anxiety, it should not be used. Very often, a crate is more effective if your pet has grown up using a crate since they were young.
Distracting your pet with the TV, radio—classical music works well—or other "white noise" is will work to combat sounds of thunderstorms, fireworks and the like. Just make sure your alternative to the fearful sounds is not being played at a deafening decibel too. This may inadvertently add to your pet’s stress level.
There are some pets that are able to overcome their fears by listening to CDs or audio recordings of the loud noises during times of calm. Play it at a low volume while plying your dog or cat with positive stimuli, such as treats and affectionate petting. Slowly increase the volume over a period of weeks until it reaches the levels your pet would encounter in real life.
Though it may sound like voodoo, some experts believe your pet can become sensitized to the electromagnetic radiation caused by lightning strikes. One possible way to shield your dog or cat from these potentially fear-provoking waves involves using commercial products such as calming collars or storm shirts/capes.
If things are becoming overwhelming, seek professional help. Your veterinarian may be able to relieve some of the anxiety through the use of drugs. There are also board certified veterinary behaviorists that are skilled in handling these types of situations. In the end veterinarians want the same thing you want — for your pet not to suffer.