Picnics, swimming, and long walks in the park: summer is a time to make lifelong memories with your pet. Whether you’re playing with your cat or your dog is letting loose in the dog park, a sudden thunderstorm can really put a damper on the fun. Thunderstorms can be even less fun for pets that struggle with loud noises that can cause fear, anxiety, and stress. And let’s not forget about those Fourth of July blasts and booms.
Pet parents often feel helpless when it comes to their dogs or cats that panic when they hear booms and bangs. If you’re bursting for a solution for your pet’s boom-anxiety, we have a list of suggestions that can help your pet be Fear Free this summer!
Signs of Stress in Dogs and Cats
First things first. Do you recognize the signs of your pet’s stress? We know our pets are all unique and their expressions of fear can range in symptoms, too. Here are some of the most common signs of a stressed pet:
- Hiding and isolating themselves
- Lack of appetite. Being too nervous to eat treats is a common sign of stress
- Diarrhea or vomiting
- A change in character: being aggressive or unfriendly towards other pets or people
- Yipping, yowling, whimpering, or whining
- Pacing and restlessness
- Dry mouth and foamy saliva
- Licking or chewing
- Tucked tail
- Shaking or shivering
- Sweating paws
- Missing the litter box
How Can You Help Your Fearful Feline or Anxious Canine?
When the lightning ignites the sky or the fireworks burst in the air, don’t feel helpless. There are ways to help calm your pet and help them cope with their fear. Many of our suggestions are easy and work well when combined.
1. Practice Mindfulness and Preparedness
This is one of the most important elements in helping your nervous pup or kitty cope with booms and blasts. You know your pup or cat better than anyone else, so when they start expressing those anxious signs, be ready to jump into action. Or if you know a scary event is right around the corner (like Fourth of July fireworks), start your plan early in the morning.
If fireworks or potential thunderstorms are on the agenda, walk your dog early and get your cat inside. Make sure the door to a room where they feel safe is open for easy access when they begin feeling nervous. Check that your de-stressing tools are ready to go.
Try to let your dog out for a bathroom break before the storm or Independence Day booms.
2. Set a Relaxing Mood with Desensitization Music
If you notice the forecast calls for thunderstorms, create a relaxing environment with desensitization soundtracks. You can find some really great ones online (like this one!) or you can purchase them on Amazon.
Desensitization works well because it masks the scary sounds with pleasant ones. We like the ones with birds sounds for added loveliness.
3. Adaptil for Dogs
Adaptil does wonders for most nervous and anxious dogs. It mimics pheromones that mother dogs use to calm their nervous pups. It is odorless and easy to use. You can use the nifty diffuser or the collar to help your dog feel reassured and safe during summer storms.
Side note: This is great for helping dogs with separation anxiety as well.
4. Feliway Products for Cats
Help your ‘fraidy cat feel cool, calm, and confident with a Feliway diffuser. This product helps fearful felines with its synthetic copy of a pheromone that makes cats feel safe and secure.
Bonus tip: This product works really well if you’re planning a summer move. It will help your cat feel right at home right away in their new space.
5. Thundershirts for Dogs and Cats
Thundershirts work for 80% of dogs and cats that suffer from anxiety. These shirts may be adorable, but they’re also quite useful. They work by applying gentle and consistent pressure to your dog or cat’s abdomen which helps them feel more secure, swaddled and safe.
Summer should be a time for adventure and fun. Don’t let thunderstorms rain on your pet’s confidence parade. Try out a few of these summertime stress solutions. If you have questions about medications to further assist with your pet’s summer boom stress, give us a call – our Fear Free Certified veterinary team is here to help!
Image credit: Sonja Rachbauer | iStock/Getty Images Plus