Thursday, June 24, 2010

Riding Out A Storm With Your Pet

It's that time of year again, storm season, and Michigan has already had a number of dangerous storms.  All this wild weather is stressful for humans and their four legged friends.

Those of us who have grown up in Michigan know the importance of being prepared for tornados, floods, thunder and lightening, etc. We know to have flashlights, candles, bottled water, radio, cell phone, designated shelter in our home such as a basement or interior hallway. When the weather man says 'take cover' we know just what to do, grab the family and take cover, this includes our pets too!

We want to be sure that our pets are indoors as the storms start rolling in, especially if there is lightening. In the event that you could become separated from your pet make sure they're wearing collars with Identification. When ever our family is under the threat of severe weather I not only collar my dogs, I also have them on drag lines, leashes, to ensure that I can keep them with us. A dog can panic during a storm causing them to want to run and hide and we want to be sure they don't escape or become separated from us. Have an assortment of chew toys to give your dog something to do. It's helpful to distract your dog with a fun game of fetch or run through their list of obedience skills, anything to keep them occupied. If your dog is most comfortable in a crate, be sure to provide that safe place for them to rest and relax. With a youngter in our home we are quick to redirect him during storms and try to keep the mood light. Even when we are hunkered down in our basement we try to play with him, offer him treats anything that will help him not feel fearful or stressed. At 6 months  of age Bolt rarely notices thunder or lightening and can sleep through just about anything. I think living in a home with 3 teenagers has pretty much desensitized him to noise *grin*.

For dogs who are fearful or anxious during storms,  it's an especially stressful time. If your dog is experiencing fear and anxiety during storms, speak with your Vet. There are things you can do to help your dog be more comfortable such as using DAP products and if necessary prescription medication. A dog with storm phobia  rarely will improve without medical and behavioral intervention, so seek help.

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